Gear - basic conditions for C2C

Updated in April 2016
There are some basic conditions for Coast2Coast Sweden 2016 that will affect which gear and what techniques will be used. Some of the hikers will need no more to assemble their own, light and functional gear list. Others will want very specific advice.

In a number of articles here on our webpage I give you my views on suitable gear. My view is that we should all use the lightest possible gear that does the job.If this does not suit you, feel free to keep your own council. But you should be aware that the prevailing notion among a majority of hikers is that you need more and heavier gear than is actually the case. All hikers that have completed C2C since 2013 has used light or ultra light gear and none of them has worn boots, they all used different kinds of low cut trail runners, jogging or walking shoes.


I have peronally lowered the weight of my long-distance mountain hiking gear for summer backpacking from 18 kilos base-weight to 6- 6,5 kilos baseweight in the last 10 years. This I have managed not because I am smarter and tougher than most, but because I have weighed every single thing that I bring on my hikes and then contemplated either leaving it at home or choosing some lighter alternative. What you cannot measure you cannot manage.

In order to help you I will frequently use the word base-weight, which is the weight of the gear that you always have in your pack. Not included in base weight is food and fuel as well as the clothes you wear, your watch, glasses and what not.

Also, I will try to avoid claiming that what I think and what gear I use are based on eternal truths. In fact I will try to live up to what my friend Andrew Skurka (www.andrewskurka.com), the well known ultimate hiker and National Geographic "Adventurer of the year",  was kind enough to put in his endorsement for my book Smarter Backpacking:

"Some authors have a guru approach that's too specific to their personal hiking style, while others fail in offering practical advice because they're too generic and theoretical.  Smarter Backpacking achieves a happy-medium: Jorgen Johansson shares his personal preferences and opinions, but he knows that backpacking is not a "one size fits all-activity" so he is sure to qualify his views and to recognize the views of others."


OK, let's get going. The basic conditions that we have to take into consideration when choosing our gear are:
  • Season
  • Latitude
  • Altitude
  • Terrain
  • Temperature
  • Precipitation
  • Wind
  • Physical condition
  • Supply chain
 Season: It is May. Spring should be at it's most glorious. Latitude: Southern Sweden. Mostly maritime climate influenced by the Gulf Stream.

Altitude: From sea to sea, climbing to maybe 200-250 meters above sea level during a week or two. This means that there will be basically no strenous climbs of any size nor lenght. Oxygen deprivation should be non-existent :-)

Terrain: We will walk on small, well-drained gravel roads, logging roads and foot paths. There will be a bit of hardtop in and out of towns or larger villages.

Temperatures: Fairly variable for the latitude. Could be around 20 C, walking in sunshine or 5C walking in rain. Night temperatures could be below zero, but more likely around 5-10C.

Precipitation: It could rain every day. Not very likely though. Not very likely that there will be no days without rain either. Rain will normally be light and prolonged, not tropical down-pours.

Wind: Strong winds are unlikely, particularly at that time of year. We will almost all the time walk in the protection of the forest and camp in forest. Tarps for shelter will work well.


Physical condition: Up to everyone to determine their own. This of course decides how far and fast you can walk in a day and how long the entire hike will take. But your body will have to be conditioned to walk some 12 hours every day for a fortnight, something most people have never done. So the lighter the pack, the lighter the steps will be. Of course you have to condition yourself. If you are not into sports my recommendation is to take long walks. Like one hour every day or every other day for a month before May 5. Going on these walks with a 5-10 kilo pack will be even better. If you have never used walking poles you should consider this. I certainly will both train with and use mine.

Supply chain: Individual and to be determined. We will pass close to places where food and fuel can be bought almost every, or every second day. The same goes for lodgings. However, while food can be bought all day and brough along, lodgings are only useful in the latter part of the day. I will not rely on sleeping inside at all, but take these opportunities if they show when I need them and feel like it. Details on this is described in the trail guide that is included in your admission cost.

As far as food goes I will personally count on resupplying almost every day, in stores we pass. This year I will not send a box with resupplies ahead, like I did 2013 when I was uncertain of how frequently I would pass a decent supermarket. Some things, like instant coffee and perhaps morning muesli, I will likely bring for the whole route..



The sum for me personally of the above conditions is that I will use the same gear as I would for a summer hike in the Scandinavian mountains.  This means a sleeping bag that will handle 0 C and rain gear and other clothing to match this.

These are the basic considerations. I will update the articles and links to articles on sleeping gear, packs, stoves, shelters etc. Feel free to comment or ask questions about the above. You should also take the opportunity to read about the 343 (3 for 3) concept, a very useful  tool for getting a light pack.

The 3 for 3 method


9 comments:

MARIANNE said...

I hope that there will also be a/some group(s) who want to walk some 25 km per day, because 30 - 35 km is far too much for me.
Hope to have 2 or 3 resupplies and a backpack of 10 kilos incl. water, food and fuel.
At the moment my personal 3-4-3 is 2 kilos.
I am looking forward to the hike.
Marianne

Jörgen Johansson said...

Marianne, I am impressed by your 343 at 2 kilos. Please specify :-)

Anonymous said...

Cuben Fiber Trailstar 470 gr., down topbag + neo air small and homemade Dyneema X backpack 560 gr. I hope to have no more than 10 k incl. food and water, 1 liter?
Greetings, Marianne

Anonymous said...

Sorry, sleepsystem 900 gram, Marianne

Jörgen Johansson said...

Marianne, That is a pretty lightweight version of the three big ones. Should serve you well on this trip. So far I plan to have a baseweight around 6 kilos myself, and not carry more than 10 kilos neither. The first and last legs should be the ones where we need to carry most water. This is farming country and the water might be contaminated by grazing animals. But 2 liters should be maximum at that time. We can always stop and ask for water in houses, something that is easier if we do not arrive 20 persons at the same time..

Helen J. Fisher said...

I really liked how you analysed the conditions - altitude, latitude, etc. It made complete sense and is a reality check for people who don't usually hike somewhere different to their norm. It's a great checklist to adopt!

Jörgen Johansson said...

Thanks Helen. And everyone will think I payed you for this comment, since it gives me a chance to say that it is an excerpt from Smarter Backpacking after 50 or How any trekker can adapt any hike to any age or fitness, where the analyse is instrumental for most of the reasoning in that book :-)

Helen J. Fisher said...

Ha! Cheeky! I've a few years yet but enjoyed the *earlier* version ;)

Jörgen Johansson said...

Some things in life that apply for people over 50 are not terrribly amiss for younger people :-)

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