Feath­er­weight gear for easy car­ry­ing.

Feather-light kit makes coun­try walks so much more fun. So what’s the best way to keep the weight down? Hanna Lin­don packs her bag with a full set of easy-to-carry items

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents - Photography Steve Say­ers

ack­ing for a walk al­ways used to be a com­pro­mise be­tween com­fort and com­mon sense. Should you hit the trail weighed down by a mam­moth ruck­sack, or brave the con­se­quences of leav­ing out the ex­tra layer and that rarely used first aid kit? A new wave of high-tech out­door gear has taken the strug­gle out of trav­el­ling light – but keep­ing your pack weight to a min­i­mum is still a sub­tle art.

Trawl­ing the shops for a wa­ter­proof jacket that will squeeze into a golf ball­sized stuff-sack is just the start. If you want to go fur­ther and walk faster, in com­fort, then ev­ery gram counts.

To start with, be ruth­less with un­nec­es­sary kit. Swap mul­ti­ple dry bags for a sin­gle ruck­sack liner; wear wa­ter­proof socks in­stead of pack­ing an ex­tra pair; and choose ver­sa­tile cloth­ing such as trousers with zip-off legs.

Heavy kit can of­ten be ex­changed for lighter equiv­a­lents. Why lug count­less litres of wa­ter around when a packet of pu­rifi­ca­tion tablets does the same job? Mod­ern phones will stand in for heavy cam­eras, and ex­cess in­su­la­tion may be ditched if the fore­a­cast is good.

Fi­nally, a com­pact stove and gas can weigh in at less than 300g, so dump­ing the sarnies in favour of a de­hy­drated meal might make sense. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to brew up a sneaky cuppa when­ever you start flag­ging.

The key to a light­weight ap­proach is im­mac­u­late or­gan­i­sa­tion. Cut­ting down on grams re­quires for­ward plan­ning and a bit of bother – but when you’re skip­ping up­hill with­out a pack the size of a baby ele­phant, the ef­fort will feel worth­while.

Hanna Lin­don 1. Nam­che mid­layer jacket, Sherpa, £70. A light and durable fleece that holds plenty of warmth in its 315g weight, and dries quickly when wet. 01572 772504, www. sher­paad­ven­turegear.co.uk 2. Light­wool Head­over, Aclima, £23.95. Wear this merino wool buff as a scarf, head cover or ban­dana. 0131 552 3000, www.nordi­cout­door.co.uk 3. Wind­boiler Stove, MSR, £110. Jaw­drop­ping fuel ef­fi­ciency, im­pres­sive wind re­sis­tance and a speedy boil time, all wrapped up in a flask-sized pack­age. If you walk in all weath­ers and need a com­pact, fuss-free stove, this is for you. 07734215821, www.wind­boiler.eu 4. Abisko Hy­brid Zip-Off Trousers, Fjall­raven, £115. It’s worth splash­ing out on th­ese feather-light but durable con­vert­ible trousers, which count map-sized leg pock­ets among their plus points. 02392 528711, www.fjall­raven. co.uk 5. Moun­tain 50 Combi-Stick, Lifesystems, £7.25. All-in-one fac­tor 50 lip and face pro­tec­tion. 01666 575500, www. cotswold­out­door.com 6. Quest 4D boots, Salomon, £155. Com­bin­ing the stur­di­ness of a walk­ing boot with the sup­port and light­weight com­fort of a trail run­ning shoe, th­ese Gore-Tex boots need no break­ing

is a free­lance jour­nal­ist who writes about walk­ing, scram­bling and gen­eral out­door ad­ven­tur­ing.

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