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Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?


Postby sarajessica » Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:21 pm

Hi all, it's a pleasure to meet you.

I'm starting to round up gear to do the WHW later on this year and was looking for advice on what size of backpack I'd need as well as figuring out the most realistic weight it would end up being. (I've got my eye on the Lowe alpine Altus 50:55)

I'm a fairly small female at 5'5" and 52-55kg so feel a bit lost after reading a lot about not letting my pack weigh more than 15-20% of my body weight. Which would be around 10-11kg i think? :crazy: It seems doable with ultralightweight gear. I'm only just starting out and don't want to blow the bank straight away, but also don't want to scare myself off by having a rotten time of it.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Marty_JG » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:44 pm

Important question: are you using B&Bs or are you hiking. That makes a big difference to weight.

The default go-to lightweight comfortable hiking bag recommendation is Osprey Exos 58. I can't speak for the Lowe for or against.

When you do start to pack use lighterpack.com to calculate your weight then post the "public" link here and we'll help do a gear shakedown.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Scottk » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:49 pm

Will also depend on where you are going to eat. If you aren’t carrying all your food, 10kg should be pretty easy. You can also use the luggage transfer for single legs of the trip eg if you were too sore after day 3, get your bag taken to the next stop and then the following day carry your bag. Last time I was there, it was £7 for a section. Never used it myself but talked to a few people who have and were very happy with the service.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Scottk » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:52 pm

Also, don’t take too many clothes! My friend dumped 3kg of clothes before we started after feeling the weight of my bag. He then proceeded to carry 3 litres of water! After 2 days when he was knackered, he eventually got the idea and only took a bottle of water. Take a water filter though.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Marty_JG » Tue Mar 30, 2021 5:36 am

Oh, by the way, an "ultralight" setup is your rucksack, all your kit, the clothes you wear, the boots on your feet, the sticks your hand, the stuff in your pockets, EVERYTHING other than consumables (fuel, water and food) coming in at 4.5kg (10 lbs) or under.

There's a reason the ultralighters stride across the earth with big smiles...

Here's one US trailster with her UL hiking kit for under $500. You might need to have a bit more (midge stuff, a fleece layer for night) but it's a good watch. At the risk of mixing metaphors twice over: you look after the grams, the pounds will look after themselves.

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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby AyrshireAlps » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:43 am

Some good advice already, but aye, it's a different ballgame altogether weight wise if you're camping and carrying your own food.

If you are, then just accept you're gonna smell. It's far better than carrying too much!.

There are taps all along the way, drymen, rowardennan, inversnaid, beinglas, green Welly, bridge of orchy, kingshouse, kinlochleven all off the top of my head, there will be more than that.

Enjoy, despite some folks protestations and snobbery, it's a great walk.

Ps - its such a good surface, some nice comfy, light trail shoes will suffice, no need for boots unless you've ankles that need them. The weight saved on your feet is a boon.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Giant Stoneater » Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:45 am

On my multiday trips i just have one set of clothes for walking and one change for night plus extra underwear, it's one way of keeping the weight down.

Do a trial run, back your bag, stay overnight, and all the things you hardly used ditch them or narrow what you take down.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Alex W » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:24 pm

As above, I do walks of up to about a week on a set of clothes for walking and a set for "evening wear". I also keep a stock of almost worn out clothes which I'll wear travelling to the start of a walk and then dump before I set off. If the clothes I'm wearing at the end of a walk are a bit niffy I might buy something fresh to travel home.

At the end of a day's walking, hanging your walking clothes by a window or outside your tent keeps them a bit fresher. Disrobing and stuffing your sweaty baselayers into a poly bag will guarantee niffiness off the scale.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby KatTai » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:48 pm

I'm 5' and found it was best to go to an outdoor shop (Tiso in my case) and a staff member there helped me with getting a suitable rucksack that fit properly (in my case it was the women's Osprey Renn 65). Being a bit taller you may find it easier/have more choice of packs than what I did, I think there were two that were suitable fitting-wise but one of those really didn't feel at all comfortable so I was left with a choice of one :lol:

While I haven't done and long-distance backpacking, I do have to keep the weight/bulk of my pack down even for short distances. I got a great deal on an end-of-range down sleeping bag at I think it was Go Outdoors. It is so compact, light and keeps me warm, though I do prefer to be cool when sleeping and of course have an additional doggy hot water bottle which means I can still end up getting too hot. The other side of that though meant there was space for me to take the dogs inflatable camping mat. Of course, having the dogs I have a slightly heavier 2-person tent rather than a one-person tent.

I think my pack - backpack, 2-person tent, sleeping bag, camping mat x 2 - comes to less than 6kg and it isn't the top of the range gear if that helps with the weight of those things.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby sarajessica » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:46 pm

Thanks for all the great replies and info, it's all been really helpful so far!

I plan on camping and carrying some of my food, but know I'd definitely end up using some of the stops along the way for a heartier meal, but have to admit that food never crossed my mind! :shock:

I've made up a rough list of the kit I think I'd like to use:


    Lowe Alpine Altus ND 50:55 - 1.79kg
    Snugpak Travelpak 3 - 1.5kg
    Vango Trek 3 Compact
    Sleeping Mat - 0.85 kg
    OEXPhoxx 1v2 Tent - 1.6kg
    Mini Trangia Cookset - 0.35kg

(can't post the link as I'm still a new member)

All advice is welcome! I've been pretty overwhelmed with all the youtube videos I've been watching.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Marty_JG » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:37 pm

They key to food is to stick to dehydration. Not you, the food. Water is available. You can throw a trek pack in there if you want but you can easily do those days just from the dehydrated section of a supermarket.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby rgf101 » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:14 am

I think for a beginner on the WHW, in warmer months, sticking to camping at or near the usual stops, there's possibly a case to be made for forgetting the cooking kit and budgeting extra for pub / hotel / shop food. It lets you travel lighter and there are likely to be points you just want to spend a few hours sitting in somewhere for a rest and to get out of the rain anyway.

Depends on your circumstances, of course. If you see this as practice for trips into the wilds, you'll want to try out some cooking gear, and if you're on a tight budget the pub fish and chips will eat through it quite quickly.

I might suggest deciding on a pack (and this is something it's worth speaking to folk in shops about), getting that and perhaps any gear you're very sure you want, and then doing a few practice walks with dummy loads - chuck some clothes in, put a bottle of water in the side pocket, and try it out at different weights.

Don't forget you can resell anything you don't get on with - you're not necessarily making a life time commitment to the gear you buy now. And it sounds like you know you can't just get the biggest pack available and chuck everything in, which puts you ahead of lots of people. Including me 10 years ago...
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Scottk » Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:00 pm

Have a look at alpkit sleeping bags and you could save quite a bit of weight. The more you spend, the lighter you can get! For breakfast, I use granola or instant porridge with Nido milk powder and just add water. Lunch-most days you can get something to eat on route. Dinner-I use dehydrated meals but there are places to eat at most stops unless wild camping. Mix it up and you could reduce your carried weight.
Quite a few wild camping spots and plenty of camp sites on the route. Inversnaid Hotel is nice and, up the hill, Inversnaid Bunkhouse is great with decent food. At Tyndrum, we stayed at Pine Trees campsite which wasn’t great- the area for tents is pretty poor. Beinglas campsite was very nice. I’ve done it twice in 3 days and 6 days. Both times carrying my gear and using campsites and wild camping.
Glencoe mountain resort has pods and a small campsite but it can be very wet and lots of midgies. Kings house hostel looks very good and the few people I bumped into who had stayed there, spoke highly of it.
At Kinlochleven, Blackwater Hostel has a good site and the Ice Factor is very close for a bacon sandwich, coffee, soup etc. A few restaurants too and a supermarket.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby Scottk » Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:04 pm

I see you are in Pitlochry. I did the Cateran Trail one weekend to check my gear before the TGOC. You could do that before the WHW.
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Re: Recommended Beginner Kit - Pack Weight?

Postby davekeiller » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:34 pm

50-55l should be OK, some people would prefer slightly bigger (65-70), but it depends on your kit.
You really don't need lots of clothes, one walking set and one clean set for the evenings is enough.
You can save weight by carrying less food and intending to buy en route. Most campsites will have a small shop, and there are shops in all the villages. Take dehydrated food (think instant noodles, flavoured rice, celebrity chef couscous), maybe with some chorizo or something to liven it up. Also look at the calorie density of your food - calories per 100g for hummus is hard to beat, some of that on some wraps and you've got a lightweight, space saving lunch.
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