I love to hike...
I have been hiking on many short hikes and loads of 2 week adventures in my life. I am really torn between ultra-light hiking or carrying the kitchen sink.
To backpack around the country and then take the step in to the wilderness is exciting to me and i love to travel or hike with good company, my old mates.
My gear has seen great terrain and served me well so a backpack is the only item i will upgrade this time, I will be setting aside my trusty old One planet backpack named the One Planet Strzelecki 70 Litre. I really enjoy a very streamlined backpack with no bells and whistles but i have had to change if i want to take the kitchen sink.
The one planet strezlecki does have an easy access bottom section and a front pocket for ease of access when the backpack is of your back and on the ground. It does have a couple of water bottle pockets with one on each side of the harness system hip belt which i love.
I will now be upgrading to a backpack with lots of features and pockets and a superb harness. I have had an inspection of many current backpack manufacturers, Macpac, Kathmandu, Mountain Designs but i haven’t seen anything that suits me perfectly...a bit too fussy with my requirements as usual.
Surfing the internet with "buy backpacks" as usual i found an interesting pack Osprey Xenith 75Litre Backpack. If you fit/buy this backpack and depending on the size harness you are the backpack volume increases. Which is excellent as i am just over 6ft so i am trimming along with an X-Large harness which calculates to an impressive 85Litres.
The lid has two zippered pockets, is extendable for overloading the pack and is removable. It converts into a roomy bum bag for side trips. It has a built in hip belt stowed behind a ventilated lumbar pad on the underside of the lid.
The Xenith Backpack is hydration compatible. The bladder fits in a sleeve behind the back panel making it simpler to refill and reducing the risk of leakage inside the pack.
The Xenith Backpack has dual ice axe loops. The axes are tied off at the top with bungees.
There are dual side compression straps for load stabilisation. They are also handy for securing items carried on the side of the pack eg. tent poles.
A simple to adjust hook and loop system allows for easy and precise adjustment of the torso length over a 13cm range providing excellent customisation of fit.
Osprey's stow on the go system allows the user to easily stow trekking poles while on the move. No need to remove the pack.
Red, highly visible, compression straps, help to compress down loads for fit and stability.
There is a sleeping bag compartment in the base of the pack. It has a large zippered access and internal removable divider.
There are removable sleeping pad straps at the base of the Backpack.
Easily accessible zippered hip belt pockets keep on trail essentials close at hand.
There is a large zippered access panel on each side of the pack to allow access to any part of the main body of the Backpack pack.
Two roomy side pockets with coated zips help keep often needed items handy.
A stretch woven mesh stash pocket is great for storing extra gear.
Stretch woven mesh side pockets provide excellent storage for water bottles and other pieces of gear.
Now that’s a lot of user friendly features in a light weight backpack at 2.5 KG in total pack weight which can be expected to carry up to 33 KG. Making my decision was an easy heart felt one as i was truly in love with my new backpack.
Now to race home and pack the backpack and try the kitchen sink out.
Once at home i opened all the compression straps and unzipped all the zippers to start loading my backpack up to the limit and really make use of the 85 Litres the Osprey backpack offered.
Grabbing my sleeping bag and thermarest pro lite plus i neatly placed both into a single dry bag and sealed the roll then strapped this to the outside on the bottom of the backpack. The straps are cleverly positioned so i have attachment straps at the very base of the backpack and also just above on the front of the backpack for my hiking tent which is a beautiful msr hubba hubba for 2 people to camp comfortably.
Internally with in the backpack i placed several dry bags filled with ready to use and easily identifiable equipment.
Packing internal equipment.
Old clothes for a good hike of approx. 1 week which consisted of 3 quick dry shirts
one pair of zip off pants and a pair of quick dry board shorts which i always take.
i have another bag for thermal underwear for use in all conditions and an old fleece jacket which are kept at the bottom for emergency use only approx. 6 pairs of socks for comfort and two pairs of exofficio underwear "one pair for six weeks travelling to six countries" mine last six days..
one led headtoch and one hand held led torch.
Medical kit containing a lot of medication, bandages and hope.
Cookers are a favourite to me as you get to take two if you fancy, but i only use one cooker and that an msr pocket rocket and a couple of cans of butane which i pack into the Pots for cooking from msr which burns quicker so you actually only need to take less. Along with my hiking stove i group together my eating tools and cup plate and bowl with all cleaning gear stored including the kitchen sink as well.
Flint and steel, matches are a totally separate dry bag for extra security.
Gps and compass, whistles, signal mirror and emergency blanket and a trusty trowel.
To charge my electronic devices i also carry my solar panel.
water bladders are my most crucial piece of equipment so i pack a camelbak 3litre in to the backpack internal which takes up a lot of space. Then i find a will also have msr Dromedary bags in 2litres each for the outside of the pack to carry a total of 6 Litres which should last me about a day..
I hike with a helinox chair and that straps on to the side of the pack.
Food food glorious food, Pizza and spaghetti Bolognese are my starters then i break out the dried backcountry pasta, chicken twin serve for me as i eat large.
Repair kits for everything, tents, backpacks, cookers, rain jackets, sleeping bags that generally keeps me occupied in the early hours of the morning if my gear needs alterations or quick fixes.
Nothing worse than walking down a trail with all the ducks following you because your down bag got a snag and is leaving a trail of feathers.
Are you getting the idea of how i pack...
That’s why i bought my new backpack.