wayno wrote:a lot of history in that brand, one of my earlier packs and sleeping bags in the eighties was fairydown, not flash but, rugged and did the job. i still see their packs in use and you can see the gent lists their sleeping bag still in his kit...
i've got their warmest sleeping bag i bought mid eightes, got a lot of use out of it, still have it, its still has great loft, but havent needed to use it for a long time.
I've just got back from my overnight trip! After coincidently bumping into an old school mate and camping with him and his mates (yeah what are the odds of that, esp not having seen him in 12years?!), I was able to compare gear and load-outs and gained some valuable insight and ideas. They all had new and top of the range stuff unlike myself, so the comparisons were very interesting haha!
Just a quick review on how my Fairydown stuff performed. My old Fairydown pack is far more rugged than the newer offerings, and has served me well for many years. It's built like the proverbial outhouse, using tougher materials and zips, survived every conceivable adventure I've thrown at it, even a decent motorbike crash and slide down the bitumen. It's a little faded and stained these days but, no tears or damage at all, and still works like the day I bought it! It's a fraction heavier than the new packs but is worth the weight penalty. The harness and lumbar comfort is one of it's strengths, and is far better than my other and newer Kathmandu pack...they just don't build 'em like they used to!
My Fairydown sleeping-bag is definitely too bulky and swallowed nearly 1/3rd of my pack space. Back when I bought it that was considered a compact and lightweight bag, but oh how things have changed! It's also too heavy, and far too hot for most normal conditions I camp in. I initially bought it for a ski-trip, so no surprises why I always end up roasting in it, haha! Over the past few years I have been using it purely on 4x4 trips, but cannot take it on the motorbike due to its bulk. It will live on and be used for many, many more years, as it's still as good as the day I bought it, but am definitely going to find a smaller and lighter replacement more suitable for warmer weather.Anyway, back to the topic of what gear is essential!
This is based upon my experience and observing others btw.
As much as it really hurts me to admit this, Crocks are great...so long as you don't wear them in public!
Brilliant for around camp, for river crossings, and weigh absolutely nothing. Just strap them to the outside of your pack when not in use to avoid wasted internal pack-space . One of the guys in the group had a pair and am absolutely converted to the idea.
Walking poles I used to think were for posers until I finally got to see them being used instead of strapped to a pack. I was in amazement seeing them in action, and made negotiating trickier terrain and waterways soooooo much easier. They also take a lot of strain away from your knees and unquestionably assist with balance when you have none. Once again, I am converted.
Good quality socks...Lt Dan wasn't kidding!
I have always used Explorers, but teamed up with my leather hiking boots, forgot how much my feet sweated, which brought about the dreaded sock-scrunch-up in the boots, resulting in hot-spots. I gave a try with some extra thick MX socks which breathe this time and found them to be fantastic...right up until they got wet, acted like a sponge, then my feet felt like lead. I might have to look into some of those fancy waterproof socks, so any suggestions would be most welcomed!
Gaiters might seem like an obvious one, but are an essential bit of kit!! Get the knee-high ones though, ankle ones seem pointless. In the space of 45mins, we saw 5 snakes (2 in about 10m!), and to not have them is just asking for trouble...cheap life-insurance imo. Putting a bit of Elastoplast over any seams or folds internally will make a world of difference for comfort btw.
Zip-lock bags are another thing which I consider essential. Ranging from keeping your TP dry, to keeping books, maps, mobile phones, cameras, food, clothing, first-aid kit, etc all safe from harm. Using them to store food is especially handy, as it lessens the attraction of animals to come and source a free meal or interrupt a good nights sleep.
A folding-saw is another essential bit of kit I've always carried. Much lighter, more compact and safer than a hatchet, getting firewood is no longer a chore and is faster. Make sure you get a good quality one. I have a Felco 600 which has lasted me for years without the need for sharpening, and use it all the time in the garden. Double-win!
There's plenty more to add, but these are the things which spring to mind immediately (fresh from a trip) and often get overlooked. Hope these have helped!