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Packing for Yakking!

I thought it might be of value to my fellow travellers to give you a look at how I pack light for travelling and in particular my pack list for our upcoming Himalaya Quest.

I’m one of those backpackers who likes to travel as light as possible and have been around the world using just carry-on luggage. I really got into this because of the budget airlines and the ability to keep my travel costs low by not having checked-in luggage. I then realised the value of not dragging too much stuff around and the freedom of being able to walk straight out of an airport without wasting valuable time waiting for my luggage to meander around the carousel. (And my backpack never gets lost!)
I normally use an Osprey Atmos 35 litre pack and if I can’t fit something in I probably don’t need it!
With a little thought and the use of versatile clothing it’s amazing how far you can travel with pack weight of under 10kgs. (Actually I’ll write another piece specifically for travelling light and stick to my Himalaya trip for this one).
Uniquely for me the Himalaya Quest means that I have to have checked-in luggage, because I wanted to take my own bike for The Yak Attack mountain bike race, and this presented me with a few problems regarding my weight allowance. 30kgs/66lbs with Emirates is pretty generous though and I think I may have solved that issue. Fortunately with an additional allowance of 10kgs/22lbs of carry-on/hand luggage I think I can squeeze everything in.
Everything in under 40kgs! My trusty travel packs. That Osprey pack has seen a few places!
For the bike I purchased an Evoc Bike Travel Bag which weighs in around 20lbs (9.1kgs); add the bike to that (26lbs/11.8kgs) and it’s up to 46lbs/21kgs straight away; ouch!
Into the bike bag I’ll be packing bulkier items like my sleeping bag (3.25lbs/1.5kgs) which will also give the bike a little extra protection along with my helmet, bike maintenance products, spare tyre & tubes, trail crampons, liquids, several pairs of gloves and a sturdy carryall for transporting extra equipment during the Yak Attack.
Everything else goes in the backpack. Clothes, Camera and Netbook, GPS, Chargers etc.
On the Yak Attack I am allowed a 10kg bag to be transported by the porters and anything above that I have to carry with me on the bike.
3kgs plus of hydration and recovery mixes alone!
I also have over 3kgs of powders in the form of recovery shakes and hydration mixes that, luckily, I can spread around my companions for the outward journey to Kathmandu; along with the lubes I need for the bike. I’ll be using all of them during the trip, so they won’t be an issue on my return flights, and Dave will taking items I don’t need for the Yak Attack home with him including my walking poles.
To keep some of the weight down I will wear my hiking boots, down jacket etc to travel in; the airlines never weigh the passengers! (This is probably a shame really because my tickets might come in a whole lot cheaper than some!)
Many of the items I need for the trek can also be used on the Yak Attack allowing me to reduce what I need.
Current pack list:
1 x Rab Neutrino Endurance jacket
2 pairs of Rohan Superstriders Trekking Pants
1 x Mountain Equipment windproof mid-layer jacket
2 x Rab Aeon silk-weight tee shirts
2 sets of Rab MeCo thermal base layers (zip top/pants)
3 x Rohan Cool Silver Trunks
2 pairs of thermal liner socks
2 pairs mid-weight Bridgedale hiking socks
2 pairs heavy-weight Bridgedale hiking socks
1 pair Outdoor Research P1 Base gloves
1 pair Outdoor Designs McKinley gloves
1 x waterproof/breathable jacket and trousers.
2 x Buff neck tubes and 1 x beanie
1 pair of North Face Hedgehog GTX training shoes
3 litre Camelbak hydration reservoir
Oakley Jawbone sunglasses with 2 lenses.
Travel towel, toiletries, padlocks, survival bag, suncream & lip balm.
Additional stuff for the Yak Attack:
1 x Mountain bike!
1 Fox Flux helmet
1 pair of Fox sidewinder cycling gloves
1 pair Gore Alp X Windstopper mountain bike gloves
2 pairs of cycling undershorts
2 pairs of baggy cycling shorts
2 loose fit cycling tops
200mls GT85 lubricant, 120mls Squirt Dry Lube, 250mls Chain Degreaser, spare inner tubes, spare tyre, spare rear mech hanger, multi-tool, pump, puncture repair kit, tyre boots, power link, brake pads, spare spokes, GPS, cable ties, duct tape etc.
The Blacks 40l Stuff Bag for essential gear on The Yak Attack.
For portering of gear on The Yak Attack I have a Blacks 40litre Stuff Bag which will hold the bulk of my kit along with my trusty Osprey Atmos for everything else. All of the kit listed will comfortably go in to my two smaller packs. One of my Aunts travels with three full size suitcases; that would drive me around the bend!
I’d like to take some extra (partying) clothes and luxuries for our time in Kathmandu and most of that will be flying home with Dave to save me weight on my return.
This still seems like an awful lot of gear to someone used to travelling very light.
The Rab Aeon tee shirts I have used for the last couple of years and they are a traveller’s miracle; super cool in the heat and just as good as a wicking or thermal base layer at other temperatures. I use them for sport and travel throughout the year. They weigh almost nothing and pack down to pocket size. They are hard wearing, wash well and dry in minutes. They are my ‘can’t do without’ travel essential.
Three pairs of underpants for 7 weeks! And the amazing Rab Aeon Tee shirt.
The socks and base layers are all Merino Wool based, which resists the build of odours and can be worn for extended periods
Three pairs of underwear might seem a bit spartan too but they are technological wonders and the guys at Rohan assure me that you can wear one pair for a whole week! Let’s hope so! 😀
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About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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