Expedition Planning

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Phew, been spending a huge amount of time planning for our Lakes District hike. Only two weekends between now and the weekend we head off. Next weekend we’re going for a trial run, a two day hike around countryside along the River Stour north of Colchester. It is just for the weekend, camping at a proper campsite on Saturday night. We’ll have packs fully loaded as they’ll be for the start of our Lakes District trip though.

This quick weekender will give us one last-minute chance to make adjustments and find any issues with our gear or procedures. (The weekend after is a write-off as the local Rhythms of the World festival is on and we’ve all volunteered for the opening and closing steward slots. 0800 until midday Saturday, and 2000 to midnight Sunday. We won’t have time for much else that weekend!)

What is fully loaded? That’s the main question that has been bugging me. The most obvious thing is water, we each have 500ml bottles and 3 litre platypus bag (they go into your pack and you drink from them using a hose.) In my case I’ll aim to start each day with the full 3kg of water, plus an additional 1000 to 500 millilitres. Food is the next big thing, and what’s great about food is that over the trip it gradually reduces in weight :) (As does the water through each day of course.) I’m working on carrying myself 8 days worth of ~2100 Calories per day (I’ll be burning more than that, but that isn’t a problem), that’s about 3.5kg of food. The food in question is mostly carbs, lots of high-Cal-per-gram dry carbs like granola and couscous. Plus plentiful dried fruit and nuts.

The 8 days is one day is surplus of requirements, which gives us some flexibility. We also do go through one reasonably sized town, but we aren’t planning for ad-hock sustenance on the road. No doubt we’ll have a pub lunch if we find such a thing along our more cosmopolitan walking routes, and National Trust tea and scones at Beatrix Potter’s house is probably on the cards.

Combine the food and water above with packs, clothes, tents, mats, bags, and other gear and I seem to be talking a starting load of about 12kg. Our test walk next weekend will be interesting! If it goes well perhaps I’ll pack some additional luxuries, if not then I’ll have to see where we can cut back. Kathlene will, of course, be carrying a lighter load from the outset (I’ll take the tent and all the cooking gear.) Hopefully Yaël will have a weight somewhere between the two of us, though she also has to take her whole tent (which is heavier than ours) – perhaps I can carry the poles or something to rectify the loadings.

So much stuff, so many online orders rocking up at work (my collogues may think I’m about to go off-grid!), so much planning. But it is a “first time”, of sorts. We’ll make mistakes no doubt, but I’d prefer to minimise them. And next time it’ll be so much easier!

Meanwhile we’ve also been working up our endurance a little, nice long weekend walks. I also rode all the way home from work on Friday, a 67km bike ride, which took me a little over 2.5 hours (about 25km/h average speed, which was better than I expected.)

So much to do! But first I must cook dinner: tagliatelle with prawns, scallops, and chorizo (the latter from Barcelona!)