The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 gear. Pt 1. Rucksack, Shelter and Cooking.

  A number of times i have been asked what gear am i going to take on the challenge and its always a bit of a quandary right up to the last minute.
So i have decided that i will do a few small posts on my gear rather than one big one which would otherwise bore folk to death.
Hopefully if i stick with a few headings at a time and give some detailed reasons as to why i picked that particular piece of gear it will help others putting together their kit. By all means please do comment if you agree or disagree or have any better ideas and even a bit of sarcasm will be appreciated.

So here goes.
First and foremost. The Rucksack.

I have 3 rucksacks which i could choose from.

  1. OMM Villain 45+10 with gear rail. - 1.1kg
  2. Mammut Creon lite 45. - 1.1kg
  3. Deuter Air contact 45 +10. - 1.7kg
I have chosen the OMM Villain. The main reason i chose this one is that it is made from Dyneema and solidly built, there is very little to go wrong with it baring any mishap. I use the gear rail so that i can leave my tent on the outside where it can drip happily without wetting the inside of the sack. The rail is not as good as the dedicated mesh pocket you get on sacks like the GG Gorilla for example but it’s a good second best.
I have modified the back slightly by adding a foam pad to give a bit of air movement between myself and the sack and a few straps have been added. The shoulder straps and the hip belt give excellent support. The lid could be improved by adding volume adjustment and i would have preferred to have an inner lid pocket but its a minor detail.
OMM villain 45
 OMM Villain 45 back mod. (Sorry its a bit blurred).

The reasons why i didn’t pick one of the other two sacks are that i find the shoulder straps on the Creon Lite too flimsy and don’t carry the weight very well. My collar bone starts to hurt after a few days. Mammut need to take a leaf out of Osprey’s book and make straps similar to them.
Also, i had problems with the back frame support spring and although Mammut have replaced the sack i havn’t tested it in anger and therefore the challenge is not the place to find out it fails again.
The Deuter Air Contact is a very nice and comfy sack and its perfect for carrying heavy loads. I am a fan of this sack and it’s only the weight of the empty sack that makes me not pick it for the challenge. It weighs 1.7 kg.

The Tent,
I have 2 choices.

  1. Tarp Tent Moment
  2. MLD Duomid with Oookworks inner.
I could pick either of these tents as they are both suitable.

I am taking the Duomid if all goes well on a pre-challenge backpack over Easter. The reason i have decided on the Duomid is space related and not weight saving.
There is not a staggering amount of difference weight wise but the space is completely different. The Duomid has twice the inner floor space as the Moment and cooking can be done inside if necessary using care.
Also, the Duomid requires a walking pole to erect it whereas the Moment uses a dedicated central hoop pole. My reasoning here is that a single walking pole is very useful for river crossings whereas the Moments dedicated pole is of no use other than to support the tent.

To the Duomid, I have added 2 tie down loops to the rear edge of the tent as per advice from Robin Evans and Martin Rye. Thanks for that info.
When the tent is erected, in my opinion, it’s obvious the 2 loops needed to have been there from day one. I hope MLD have added these to the current version.
I made the extender pole myself and it is solid. I don’t think i will encounter the same problems Colin Ibbotson had with his. Fingers crossed.
I am using an Oookworks inner which i have re-guyed so that it will pitch at the same time as the outer and hopefully doesn’t need pegging or adjustment.
All in it weighs 1.7 kg. That’s, tent, walking pole, pole extender, pegs and plastic doorway sheeting.
MLD Duomid plus accessories.

The options here are endless, i’m sure not alone in having lots of choices of cookware. I’ve experimented, made lots of my own gear, bought numerous stoves and pots of one type or another and done hours of trial and error with different windshields and all fuels.
What did i end up with.
Well it has to be the Trail Designs 12-10 stove with a Ti Caldera cone made to suit a 600ml Evernew pan. I found that this meths burner works well and although not as fast as a gas stove it still boils 500ml of cold water in around 7-8 minutes depending on temperatures and strength of wind. There are no moving parts, no filters, no regulators to go wrong, no jets to block up, no gas canister’s to fail. Doesn’t blow out in the wind and retains the maximum heat thanks to the cone design.
When i bought the kit it came in a very nice 2 piece plastic cylinder which you could use as a cup and bowl.
However, it is a pretty bulky item even if not a heavy item.

Alistair from Al’s outdoor world blog recently changed the cylinder for a cup and measuring bowl. So i did the same.
Below is what i came up with.
Alistair’s is here and you can see the difference between the proprietary offering and the modified version.
 The remodelled Caldera kit.
 The Caldera kit contents. L-R 150ml bottle of Meths in plastic bag, Food grade plastic bowl with heat removable protector used for porridge and the like at breakfast time, Ti Caldera cone, Ti mug with heat resistant lip, Plastic lid for bowl, Fire stick, Stove base plate, bag.
(The Ti mug will be replaced with a plastic mug when i find a suitable bowl that will fit inside neatly. The weight will come down slightly too.)
 How the kit looks packed.
 Total weight 366 grams.

The pan or pot kit as i said previously is a 600ml Evernew.
    Total weight of complete kit is 180 grams
Contents of the pan kit. L-R. Bag, spare lighter, cleaning sponge, lid, pan, 12-10 stove in plastic bag and tea bags.
I put the tea bags in the pan set so that i don’t have to get my food bag out just to make a brew. As i only drink herbal teas no milk or sugar is necessary.

So that’s my first 3 bits of kit. More to follow and at the end i will do an accumulative weigh in.


  1. Hi Alan

    Showing considerable ignorance here but what is a "gear rail" ? I have never used the term!

    1. The gear rail is an OMM term for an add on piece of kit that supports items like climbing helmets, waterproofs, tents, etc. Anything really that you want on the outside of the sack. When not required it can be removed to save weight. It also has a mesh pocket so that small items are easily accessible.

    2. Thanks Alan. And I have been enjoying your blog again.

  2. Fine kit for the trip. I do think I was a bit hard on the DuoMid. I still reckon it catches the wind to much, and the cuben version is better. But I do see it as a decent shelter choice.

    OMM rucksack is stellar choice. the cook set proven. Not long now till it all gets used Alan.

  3. Thanks Martin, The OMM is well used as is the 12 -10 but the Ti windshield is new as is the Duomid, to me. It had been very lightly used by Dawn previously and it will get used over Easter so that i can evaluate my decision to use it. I can always revert to the Moment if i have any doubts at all.

  4. You look well sorted Alan. It will be interesting to see how your Easter shakedown goes!

  5. We are looking forward to it Dawn. Hope your recent trip was a success.


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