Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

TGO 14 Gear Review

Prior to the TGO 2014 kick off I wrote a piece TGO14 Tactics and Kit so I thought a it was opportune to reflect on how the kit performed, I did make some last minute changes to kit (which I’ll go into) mainly due to a milder forecast than anticipated.

 Wearing – 1.9kg (No change)

Montane Terra pants (sprayed with Permethrin) , Janus base layer top, M&S Autograph trunks, X-Socks, Terroc 330’s (old style), TNF cap, Fizan Compact 4 poles

The Permethrin (Lifesystems EX4) sprayed on the Montane Terra pants seems to have worked again, not one tick.  The spray bottle that it comes in proved absolutely useless and I ended up using one of the wife’s gardening sprays.

Inov8 Terroc 330’s (old style) great shoes; light weight and fast draining.  They were however completely trashed by the end of the trip; they had previously completed the Cape Wrath Trail + a few multi day trips so with this years’s TGO say around 800km which isn’t bad considering the rough going they’ve handled.  I’ve only got 3 pair left which should last me through 2015, but what then?

Pack – 0.8kg (No change)

MLD Exodus backpack with poly sack ½ Pack liner.

The Exodus is still going strong with little visible wear and tear after at least 70 days use and 2,000km.

Shelter/ Sleeping – 1.9kg (reduced by 0.5kg)

MLD Trailstar (6 Easton stakes and 4 Ti skewers); MLD Superlight bivi; Alpkit Pipedream 400; Exped 13L dry bag; Exped 7UL mat & pillow; 3mm CCF footprint; Polycro sheet

MLD Trailstar – proved bomber as usual, though I did find a tiny hole near the apex during the trip; I repaired it with a small patch glued on with Silnet when I got home.  I do wish I’d replaced the Ti skewers with Ti Nails for the hard ground, even having one for ‘pre-drilling’ holes for the Eastons would have been great.  I had a look around the various shelters on ‘show’ during the Challenge, the only one that really caught my eye was the TT Stratospire 1 though I’d like to see it performing next to a TS in a 30mph wind.

MLD Superlight bivi – the mod’s I completed the day before kickoff proved more successful that first impressions, the additional headroom created a far more comfortable environment and the up-stand of fabric around the head and shoulders kept the drafts at bay.  I far prefer a bivi over the nest unless it’s heaving with midge.


Alpkit Pipedream 400 –Replaced with the Cumulus 250 Quilt which proved well warm enough, I reckoned the lowest temperature was +2 – 3C but others did report a frost in the same area (maybe they get up earlier than me).

Exped 7UL mat & pillow – Replaced with the Neoair X-lite Short.   I’d only used the Neoair for 1 -2 night trips previously and on reflection I wish I’d took the Exped I find it a far more comfortable a night’s sleep.

Silk bag liner – didn’t take one but wished I had and left the LJ’s at home.  I sleep in base layer in all but the summer but even with the light quilt I was overly warm on most nights during the second week.

Cooking – 0.35kg (No change)

Evernew 1L Pasta pot and CCF Cosy; Evernew 0.4L cup; Meths stove and wind shield.

The MYO chimney stove/ two part wind shield worked well and proved very fuel efficient.  I used Bio-ethanol (B&Q) for the first long trip and impressions were that while it is probably more difficult to get going on cold mornings it did seem to burn ‘better’ than meths and with very little smell; I did take the precaution of adding a splash of meths to tint the colourless liquid.

2 Part windshield

Clothing carried – 1.72kg (increased 270g)

Montane Minimus Smock; Berghaus Paclite trousers; Terra Nova Tuff bags; Montane Slipstream windshirt; Cumulus Incredulite down jacket; HH Lifa leggings; X-socks; seal skins; trunks; buffs; liner gloves; windstopper gloves.

The Montane Minimus Smock proved water tight and comfortable even in the heaviest rain.  On the negative side the lack of a peak on the hood is noticeable (I’d waterproofed the peak of my TNF cap with seam sealer which was a good substitute), the cut on the body is a little short and can ride up.  I’m still happy with it though for a 3 season jacket.

I probably wore the Slipstream jacket on the majority of days, a favourite.

The Cumulus Incredulite jacket – it didn’t get as much use as I thought it would.  In the first few days it was very cosy to use in the mornings and evenings, in the second week a fleece was ample.

I did put in the OR Helios sun hat which proved it’s worth in the 2nd week.

Also added the Euroschirm Liteflex Umbrella not exactly an essential piece of kit but a bit of a luxury, great for when its chucking it down but not too windy, I used it on maybe 5 – 6 days.

Bits & Bobs – 1.2kg (No change)

Large aLoksak; A4 maps ; Compass; GPS; Gehwol; Repair kit; Midge net & DEET; Sun screen; Toiletries; Penknife; headlamp; 1st Aid kit; trowel.

I didn’t use the Midge net or DEET (only had 2 nips in the Fetteresso) also didn’t use any sunscreen.


Fuel – 0.5L meths

Used about 350ml to get to Aviemore and then around 200ml to get to Stonehaven (bought 500ml in Aviemore); I reckon to have ‘boiled’ around 16L of water during the trip.  i.e. 0.5L = 17ml of fuel.

I suppose I could have cut back on the fuel carried but if the weather had been colder I would have been thankful of additional hot drinks, I’d carry the same quantity again.

Food 4kg (up from 3.2kg)

For the first leg I’ll take supplies from home, after Fort Augustus it’ll be whatever the shops/ supermarkets can supply. 

I ended up taking sufficient breakfasts (125g of Granola with 25g of Nido milk powder) to get to Aviemore + Tea and coffee that lasted the complete trip.

I set off with the first 4 dehydrated evening meals + 2 dehydrated pasta sauces + a few extra soups, dried herbs, chilli powder and a bulb of garlic + Lunches for 3 days – Butteries, Primula cheese, chorizo sausage, trail mix, cereal bars, snickers.

The initial overload reduced the reliance on what could be found in Fort Augustus’s supermarkets; in Aviemore I stocked up with enough breakfast food to get to the coast and lunch/ dinners to Ballater.  The supermarket Ballater was poorer than expected (not even a packet of Super Noddles) but I managed to concoct meals from what they had; the Haggis with Spicy Mexican rice was quite tasty.

I found this tactic a reasonable balance between not carrying too much and the practicality of buying on the hoof.


3 comments on “TGO 14 Gear Review

  1. Robin
    May 30, 2014

    I found the Lifesystems spray gun useless as well.

  2. David Williams
    May 31, 2014

    Only just discovered your site. Brilliant!

    I carried far more than you on this year’sTGOC -14Kg 3/4 days food included in that weight. I think I shall try a smaller trip with far less and see how it impacts on my personal weight v comfort balance.

    Incidentally, I didn’t get any ticks this year, either, despite taking no precautions. Last year I got 3 on the Challenge. My view is that there is a massive element of chance as to whether you get them or not.

    • Paul Atkinson
      May 31, 2014


      I’ve lost 10kg off the feet in 2 years, 5kg off the belly and 5kg out of the pack, I can tell you which was the cheapest. I’m a firm believer in the old guideline of not carrying more than 20% of body weight. I the end it’s very much down to the individual, some are happy carrying 18kg.

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2014 by in Gear, TGO Challenge 2014 and tagged .

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