Coast to Coast Kit List
Feet are starting to recover from the coast to coast walk. I removed all the remaining plasters last night and have been giving them a good airing. No further details are necessary. I’ll soon be switching this daily diary back to my personal website philosopherontap but for now, whilst I have coast to coast stuff to say, it’s going onto trefor.net. Today I thought I’d talk about my coast to coast kit list. The gear that I took along on the walk. I figured that I’d need all the help I could get and decided that price wouldn’t be an obstacle to buying the right kit. This didn’t necessarily mean I ended up paying top dollar for everything. It just meant that I chose what seemed right for me without worrying about the money.
The first port of call were the boots. I have a slight problem when it comes to choosing footwear in that my left foot is sized 9 but my right foot is sized 8. Ordinarily this isn’t a problem because a pair of sized nines does the job and I hardly notice the looser fit in the right foot.
When it comes to walking 190 miles up hill and down dale as in the coast to coast the story is different. Both feet had to be a comfortable fit with not too much play. I tried on numerous pairs in both Blacks and GoOutdoors but never felt comfortable enough to make the buying decision. Instead, on one of my trips taking kids to university (Hannah to Durham and Joe to Newcastle) I stopped off at the Alt Berg factory shop in Richmond.
Alt Berg is a wonderful shop with a factory attached. You can see them making the boots whilst you sit there fitting your own. They supply the armed forces and are willing to sell you a mixed sized pair. Unfortunately they didn’t have a wide enough fit for my feet and I ended up with a pair of Meindl Meran GTX in size 9 1/2. Very comfortable.
The story unfortunately didn’t end there. After ten or so practice walks i concluded that the left boot was rubbing a toe and took it back to see whether they could do anything. They used a very hot tool to put a bulge where the boot rubbed but a couple of walks later I found that this had a knock on effect of allowing my foot to slip forward in the shoe and rub other toes.
I was running out of time. We had a walking holiday in snowdonia coming up fast on the rails and after that only a month until the coast to coast. My boots needed to be right. I but the bullet and bought a second pair of the Meindls at size 10. I wore the ten on the left foot and the 9 ½ on the right. This does mean I have two pairs of odd sized shoes , one of which is no good to me, but needs must. The odd pair are a perfect fit!
My socks were Bridgedale merino fusion Trail. These were really comfortable. I had three pairs. One on, one off and a spare in my day bag. I’d wash that day’s socks in the shower each evening and dry them overnight on the radiator, or the B&B/hotel drying room.
I bought pretty much everything other than the boots in GoOutdoors where they not only match the cheapest price online but let me have a further 10% expedition discount.
My day sack was a Deuter Futura 32. This is a great bag that adjusts both chest and hip straps to your size. It’s got a lower compartment for your waterproof, an inner slot for your camelback and all the straps and pockets you can think of. I was really pleased with this bit of kit.
I bought several base layers, both short and long sleeved and synthetic and merino. I ended up just using the North Ridge short sleeved merino and Rab long sleeved merino/polyester job. These were not only comfortable but had great wicking properties and I felt a lot more comfortable having the long sleeves on the hot sunny days as protection against sunburn. The sleeves were looI needed to cool down.
I bought a couple of cheap thin Hi Gear half zipped fleeces but didn’t use them much at all. The weather was not cold and I didn’t need the extra insulation. In fact I spent half the time just in a base layer.
I did use my Berghaus full zipped fleeces a good 50% of the time. The layering system works really well. Zips go up and zips go down dependant on my body temperature. These fleeces have large side pockets that are map sized and really handy.
I had two of most things except for the Marmot Red Star outer/waterproof. This is a pretty minimalistic lightweight garment designed to be windproof and waterproof but not particularly warm. On the first day, which was very wet and windy, I left the pocket zips open and the pockets filled up with water!
When wearing base, fleece and outer and climbing I found the small of my back was often soaked. Dripping even. The wicking properties were phenomenal and I never felt wet. When we stopped I’d dry off in no time.
All the clothes got a wash a couple of times during the walk but otherwise mostly dried off each night. The previous day’s kit would be put away in the morning and reused the following day. Our bags were carried to the next night’s stop by a company called Packhorse.
One item that proved essential were the Lowe Alpine gaiters. These saved me from having wet boots on a number of occasions, especially in the Lake District. They were chosen only because I had trouble finding a pair that fitted but were perfectly good.
My Montane Terra Stretch trousers were fantastic. Lightweight and comfortable, very breathable and with side vents that stayed open pretty much all the time after the first day which was the only really wet one. I had Berghaus waterproof overtrousers.
The merino buff was used mostly to wrap my phone in after it was dropped and cracked in the rain on day 1. Finally my Tilley hat was fantastic. Used come rain or shine and very versatile.
I’m running out of steam here and it’s bedtime so that’s all you are getting from a coast to coast kit list description. I’ll add more tomorrow as I think of it.