My next travel gear review will cover the essentials such as my Crux AK70 Backpack and Nordisk Pasch tent, as well as the sleeping bag and mattress. Since I cover all climate regions in the world within one trip, I have to be prepared for cold temperature as well and carry the appropriate gear with me constantly. For that reason, I have spent a bit more money in those basic items, making sure they are as light and durable as possible. Check out the review for the details!
Crux AK70 Backpack
This 70+7 litres Backpack, designed by a British mountaineer, is simply a masterpiece. Not only is it extremely light weight with just 1,5kg in the 2016 edition (my 2014 version is actually even lighter), but it is also even more durable thanks to the 40% Keflar used in the fabric. I have used it scrambling in a lot of very sharp mountain terrains and never ripped it open. You would probably even have a hard time doing it on purpose with a knife. I also like the fact that it fits so well and is really comfortable, even when I loaded it with nearly 40kg on my Greenland Trip! The drawbacks for some might be the fact that side pockets or any extras such as a camel back hoe are missing, the backpack is made really simple but manages to stay very light that way.
Currently, it seems that the Backpack is out of order, but maybe you are able to get a used one in England. As alternatives, check out the well built Bach Specialist 2 or the cheaper and also bigger TASHEV MOUNT 120, which I have seen in action already and only heard good things about. They are both much heavier with 2,5kg, but I have never ever come across another backpack in the same liters-to-weight ratio as the Crux AK70 yet!
Nordisk Pasch Tent
Just like the backpack, I have used this small 1-person tent for ages already and am still doing so now. After keeping me safe from wind, heavy rain in countless situations and even allowing me to sleep in a deep snow pit in Patagonia, I have to say that this purchase was a surprise for it’s affordable price tag of just 140€! It is fairly small and really light weight with about 1,5kg, yet still allowing me to comfortable stretch my legs without having my face pinched on the other side of the tent. I am 1,88m tall and probably a bit above average and can still fit the backpack in the tent as well, so it should be fine for most people. It barely takes any space in my back and can be set up in under 3 minutes, making it a great choice for most weather conditions. If you plan to head into serious alpine territory, consider getting something more stable and robust instead though.
Cumulus Panyam 600 Sleeping Bag
The Cumulus Sleeping bag was my third after not being satisfied with two other brands. While probably less known, Cumulus is producing great Sleeping bags made out of Polish goose down. The Panyam 600 seemed to be the best weight/temperature ratio with -6°C comfort and -32°C extreme limits while staying below the 1kg mark. During the past five years, I have used it on countless camping nights and never got too cold camping out in the snow on higher mountains. Nowadays, it sadly lost about half of the feathers inside due to normal wear and tear, but it is still warm enough for most situations and I do not intent to replace it for the remaining trip. I also used the Yeti Fusion 500 for a short while and it appeared to be a good alternative made in Germany.
Trangoworld Skin Micro Lite Sleeping Pad
Last but not least, it is of undeniable importance to have a good inflatable sleeping pad / mattress, making sure you have all the comfort to get a good night’s sleep. As with the other articles described in this post, I was looking for a very light weight solution and the fact that you can actually get a smaller and only 120cm long “lite” version of the Trangoworld Skin convinced me to try it out. With only 370g, it is considerably lighter than the standard 185cm version (540g) but offers the same for me personally as I do not need any comfort for my legs and feet. It packs super small as well and is really comfortable with just 3cm thickness. Well known Therm-a-Rest offers a small 119cm version of the NeoAir Xlite and it will be my next buy as it seems to be even better though.
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