Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Ready for the Rhinogydd...

The Rhinogydd range of Snowdonia National Park.
So I will be heading to Snowdonia for the first time next weekend, and straying from the comfort of the familiar Peak District for the first time also. I'm very much looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone, especially in what looks to be a stunning area...

It will be the first time also that I will meet up with a friend that I have chatted with for a while about heading out of the Peak District. He had offered to drive (as I do not) in exchange for me "teaching" him some tricks and tips with wild camping. Now, that baffled me at first if Im honest - because I'm certainly no expert. But sharing the experience with a friend is a good enough reason, and if he learns a thing or two along the way I'll be very happy to have helped. Another of my friends may come too if money permits.

I've been looking at the map for a little while now, looking at good routes and spots to pitch a tent. There seems to be far too many to choose from! Whether to camp next to water, such as the idyllic looking Llyn Du or up on higher ground to catch a nicer sunset and sunrise... We might even leave it to the day to decide.

I have bought a few new bits and pieces of gear since I last camped - expectedly so, as it has been too long since! The main purchase is a Montane Atomic waterproof jacket. Made from Pertex Shield material, its has a highly rated hydrostatic head and is very light. That said, it is light without feeling too fragile. The difference in weight and packability between this and the Craghoppers Kiwi 3-in-1 that I was using prior, is what led me to the Atomic. I tend to run quite hot, and so dont wear a hardshell jacket if it isn't raining. I only really wear a fleece, or if the wind picks up I'll throw my Montane Featherlite smock over the top. The saving in weight and space will benefit me greatly. The Atomic should be more breathable when in use also. The chances are that I may even use it in colder months coupled with a thicker fleece and baselayer combination (I dont very much like softshell jackets). With how rapidly I tend to heat up when active, it should suffice rather than purchasing a heavier hardshell such as one made from a Gore-Tex or eVent material. We shall see!

The Montane Atomic jacket.
 The next piece of gear that I have treated myself to, is one thing that I have been looking at since I realised that they were readily available. A water filter. Since the first time I ever went walking, water has always been the heaviest item in my pack. Which I assume is the same with everyone. It becomes even more the case when out for more than one day. A water filter, of course, allows you to take water from a natural source such as a stream/river/reservoir/lake and drink without the fear of any ill effect. There are many different brands, and models, and systems on the market - but I decided to go for a nice simple option. A personal water bottle with a filter attached to the screw top, from Water - To - Go. It is pretty much the same as the more popular 'Travel Tap' from Drinksafe Systems, but uses different 'technology' as far as I can gather. One filtration system that is getting alot of attention at the moment is the "Sawyer Squeeze", although this doesn't filter out virus'. From a bit of reading, I don't think that virus' are as big a concern as bacteria and cysts - but I didn't see the need to take the risk of going with a filter that couldn't quite do everything that one of a similar price could. There are benefits of the 'Sawyer Squeeze' over the "Water-To-Go" filter however; but I shall go into them at another time. For me - I will have clean, safe, drinkable water frequently enough - without having to carry it all in with me. I shall write up how the filter bottle performs.

The "Water-To-Go" filtration system. Not as well known as the 'Travel Tap', but every bit the part according to research.
Now, back to looking at routes and tantalising over wild camping spots...