Gear tips - from Paddy Pallin
We Quizzed Paddy Pallin - Australia's leading adventure store supplier, on their TOP gear tips. ENJOY!
1. Top 5 must have items for a supported trek like Kili or EBC and why
- Icebreaker base layers (Oasis 200 weight top & bottom) - You will live in these & come to love them!
- Sea To Summit Wilderness Wipes for keeping some of the dirt at bay & Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash, one little bottle of biodegradable wonder liquid that's great for washing clothes, dishes... but also for body wash & shampoo if needed. Keeping on top of sanitation in cold places (where hot showers are not available) is important.
- Osprey or Sea to Summit Dry sacks, a variety of sizes to divide up your gear & keep it dry. Knowing where your gear is, but also that it's going to stay dry brings great peace of mind.
- A neck gaiter or Buff. This little tube of material is so invaluable & versatile, neck warmer, head band, beanie, balaclava, sun protection, face towel, pillow case, hair tie, the uses are endless! I always carry at least two on longer treks. Icebreaker is great for warm merino wool varieties. Whilst the Buff brand high UV version is excellent for warmer climates.
- Head Torch If your wanting something lighter for use around camp, in the tent and finding the loo the AAA battery offerings from Black Diamond, Petzl and Princeton Tec are all highly regarded. If a brighter headlamp is required for a lot of night or pre dawn use the Petzl MYO headlamp is a simple, reliable & really really bright. The battery life is great & it takes AA batteries which are available anywhere. The battery pack being on the back is my preference as it feels balanced on my head.
2. The one piece of gear they never go without no matter the trek
Couldn’t nail it down to one piece of gear, as both a Head Torch and Rain Jacket are vital.
3. The common mistakes people make when choosing a backpack and footwear/boots
Most common mistakes: Fashion over function. And looking for the sale or a “cheap” price.
- Always try to avoid choosing the footwear based on price, how it looks or the colour. Fit, comfort & suitability should be the primary concern.
- Taking the time to explain where & how you're going to use the boots/shoes to one of our experienced staff, then trying-on the options they suggest.
- Be wary of buying your footwear 'the size I usually wear' firstly hiking footwear is generally sized up between a half to full size due to thicker socks and swealing of the feet.
- Take your socks that you will be using with you to try on the boots.
- Sizing varies between brands, so taking the time to measure your foot is recommended.
- On top of that, allowing the sales assistant to help with sizing will go a long way!
- One common mistake we see people making is thinking they need a bigger pack than would be necessary.
- Less is more, within reason of course as you still need to fit all the essentials.
- Are the zips, pockets, etc easy to find and will they hold the things you want in the way you want them to be organized.
- Try the pack with some weight in it at the store. All packs will feel comfortable when empty.
- Getting the harness fitting correctly is really important, packs come in a huge variety of sizes & styles, so getting an experienced staff member help with fitting can really help.
4. Top tips for packing gear in to your backpack to ensure weight is distributed well.
- Provided the pack is well adjusted of course, the distribution of the gear inside can really change how well it carries.
- Start with fairly lightweight items in the bottom of the back, sleeping bag is an obvious one.
- The all of the heavier (or denser) items - so water, food, stove, gas - you would ideal pack in the middle section, but as close to the body (harness area) of the pack as possible.
- Use more lighter items, clothing usually again in the middle region, but away from the harness to keep everything in place.
- Then top it off with gear you will need a lot throughout the day.
- Another general rule of thumb is pack items you'll only need a night towards the bottom (sleeping gear for example).
- Using packing cells & dry-sacks can help divide up the gear, but keep in mind of the cavities can be created between each one.
- Keeping your contents dry is vital (especially clothing and your sleeping bag). A pack cover isn’t 100% waterproof so a pack liner or dry bags is advised.
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