I think the point that has to be made on the issue of the orange survival bag is exactly that it is a survival bag!!! It is not something that is intended for use over a long period in normal circumstances. You can buy a better quality of plastic bag in a builders merchants for collecting rubble, difference is it isn't orange hence it wont help when people are looking for you again this is why it is called a survival bag not a bivi bag. If you are heading out with minimal kit one of these orange survival bags will fold up and slip into your coat pocket or side of you rucksack or your map pocket so they are easy and light to carry. Lives have been saved because of these bags if they are used right. Kit dosent cause people to die from exposure the peoples ignorance is what does it. One thing to remember if you are cold and shivering and you wrap a foil blanket around your body, you will basically refrigerate yourself. They are intended to keep the heat in not actually make you warm, you need to warm up first.
Any feedback on the following would be very much appreciated.
- What would be the risks going by myself? (only my wife would no my route i think)
For your first time out i would test your kit out for a couple of nights closer to home to make sure you are happy with what you have and that you actually need everything you intend to take. have a think through scenarios in your head, the what if this happens type crisis. Make sure your wife actually does know where you are going ie map grids timings etc especially if you are heading onto dartmoor. Take a mobile for emergencies and call in at an agreed time.
What would earliest in the year in should schedule this for? (temperature wise)
If you havent did it before i would advise waiting until the better weather before venturing too far. The real cold weather will be one less thing you have to worry about.
Minimum equipment that i should buy.
This really depends on how long you are going for but heres a rough idea.
Something to sleep in ,sleeping bag goretex( or similar breathable waterproof material) bivi bag.
Something to sleep onThis can be military type foam roll mat or the more expensive inflatable type.
Something to sleep undera waterproof tarp big enough to cover you and your equipment. Some people like hammocks which which usually need trees though some types can be pitched on the ground between 2 poles.
Something to eat with. For me this is a plastic pattern 58 army cup, a 1 litre army bottle and a metal crusader cup it all packs together in a pouch and i add to this knife fork and spoon.
Food whatever you want to take with you depending on how long you are going for.
Water again depends how long you are gong for and what you will be doing i carry a 3 litre camelback and a ceramic water filter kit for purifying water i find.
Cooking There are a variety of stoves out there all will require fuel i use an msr wisperlite which is use with petrol carried in a seperate bottle. you may be able to make a fire for cooking but again it depends how long you are going out for, if you will be staying in one place for a while or moving everyday. fires do also require time and fuel. You may also decide you take cooking pots i just use my crusader for cooking in and eating out of. A lighter and a firesteel are good items also to carry.
First aidA decent first aid kit is a must, do not go for the cheap useless b&Q or poundland or ikea type. Build your own and tailor it to your needs it works better. A foil blanket is a usefull item to add as is the orange survival bag along with a small torch and spare batterys.
Lightcarry a handheld torch and spare batteries as well as a head torch and spare batteries.
Clothing Again depending on when you are going but better looking at it than for it. Layer your clothing base layer mid layer top layer and then waterproof outer. Wool works better than any other fabric for warmth i use a merino wool base layer which keeps you nice and toastie. Modern wicking fabrics are fine but can stink, goretex i find is great if it dosent become water logged, their is also triple point which is better. Cost is a big factor though here. Socks and boots are to me the most important items of clothing. They need to fit properly with out being too tight or too loose. I again advise wool sock stay away from nylon they will rip your feet to bits. Wear a thin pair with a thicker outer pair this will help lessen the development of blisters. If you do feel a hot spot when you are out stop immediately and deal with it dont walk on this is when problems start. Boots again are a big cost item but they are the one item you will be using more than any other. Best advice is speak to someone in an outdoor equipment shop they will know better than i will about the make up and quality, just make sure you try them on with the type of socks you will be wearing before you buy. Hat and gloves i have a lowe mountain hat which is very good for me and i have a pair of lowe mountain gloves for when it gets nippy.
Something to carry it in A rucksack that fits your frame and has a good adjustment on it. Again this is something you need you try before you buy, If you ask at any good outdoor equipment shop they can load a bag up with the weight you want. You can then get it on your back and see how it feels.
The last thing would be a small pocket knife and a small sharpening stone. You dont need a big knife, i have never found them of any use and most who do use them i have found are compensating for something else(only joking knife nuts). I would go for a mora type knife they are cheap and easily concealable in your pack. They can also be easily cleaned.
There are literally thousands if items out there and im sure the good people on this site will add anything i have left out this is just a fraction of some of the things you might need it all depends on what you want to do while you are out, how far you want to go etc.
- Any pointers on good routes to walk in Dartmoor?[/QUOTE]
Its been a long long time since i was on Dartmoor so wont even attempt to help you with this one im sure some who live closer will give you some advice.
I hope i haven't completely confused you mate and what i have included is of some use.
Again thanks a lot for the replies. Really a lot of useful information.
Got to agree with most of what Ghost has to say although, for me, military stuff is generally too heavy to be lugging long distance, I would prefer lightweight versions of all that kit, most of which I'm lucky enough to have collected.
The only thing I would add is that mobile phone signals are dreadful on large parts of Dartmoor. I was extremely concerned that I couldn't phone in at the agreed time on my last trip. The light was fading and I was having to walk a fair distance from my camp to phone my wife so she didn't call for help. Not only that but, when soloing, if you get injured when you're out of signal, you have a big problem. You should carry a whistle to raise an alert using the international distress signal of 6 blasts with a minute delay between each burst of six blasts.
Routes on Dartmoor are too numerous and personal to list, I've been walking up there on and off for 28 years. Why not buy a guide book? Or search on line, there are plenty to choose from. Whatever you decide, make sure you are competent and confident in using a map and compass to navigate. If you aren't then please don't contemplate a solo trip, particularly not during the winter.
Anything else we can help with, please don't hesitate to ask.
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
The "fair bit of walking" on your own is also potentially a major risk that you otherwise wouldn't have if you had someone else with you. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it but I am saying it's worth thinking about that. Considering that your carrying your home, food, water, cook-system & spare clothes on your back, one wrong footing and a broken-ankle later, next minute your on the floor, not mobile, you can't see anyone from horizon to horizon and typical you've got no mobile-phone reception where you've dropped! - On your own a situation like that can soon turn shitty quick, but even with just one more person with you it changes that scenario completely.
There are plenty of friendly & knowledgeable folk on here that will help you RE kit recommendations, I'll leave it to them, but I look forward to seeing you learn more and letting us know of your experiences. All the best,
I appreciate what my good buddy has said on his consecutive posts above, and very comprehensive information it is too, listen to him..But consider a few other items, there are a couple of guys on BB who work in Mountain rescue in scotland and will tell you, to NEVER use an orange bag for sleeping in, yes, good for short periods to keep wind and rain off, but do not consider them a long term solution, the 2 things they recommend above all others as emergency kit are Bothy bags and Blizzard bags..if thats what they use I'd prefer to use their knowledge to my benefit.
Last edited by luresalive; 31-12-2010 at 10:19 PM.
For many years, I really wanted to walk the Cape Wrath Trail. Its not a proper recognised walk like the Penine Way, but a trail taken on by a guy called David Paterson. He had walked The West Highland Way, from Glasgow to Fort William in Scotland, and wanted to carry on walking up to Cape Wrath (the most North Western part of the mainland).
He made the trail using mainly old stalker paths, and covers the most remote and wildest part of our Country. He wrote a book about the trip and had to carry all his photography equipment on the trail, so he had to go minimal. His bivvy bag was dustbin liners. lol.. Two parts of the walk, you are totally on your own for three days at a time, with no houses or shops. There are two fairly big rivers to cross too, and if you get the timings wrong and the rivers are in spate, its a big walk to find a bridge. People have died attempting this walk. It 200 miles long and goes across some serious but beautiful Country.
This had (has) appealed to me, but there was no way I was going to try it with a bin liner for kipping in. I was going to carry all my food (water in no problem to be collected on route), so I had to go as light as pos. I thought about just taking the outer skin of my mountain tent, but opted for the Brit army bivvy bag and a very light weight PHD sleeping bag. There was going to be two places I could sleep in luxury on route, the good old Cluanie inn and a hotel in Ullapool, so I was going to give them my estimated time of arrival..
I don't know why I am saying all this.. I guess this thread reminded me of planning the route and that guy sleeping out in the most remote part of this Country in bin liners.
I still have not attempted the trail, but l hope to one day. I love the Western Highlands, and the remoteness of this trip really appeals..
hi sojot and welcome to the forum, i think dartmoor is a great idea for your first real wildcamp, id suggest starting somewhere like ivybridge at the bottom end of the south moor and taking the puffing billy track upto red lake on your first walk, its an old tramway about 7 miles long and mostly packed stone would be ideal first day hike, you will see a few good spots to camp on your way aswell, (i know of numerous, the south moor was my 1st wildcamp), it also has the benefits of being a well walked cycled track so if god forbid you did get into trouble on your first night as long as you got to the track you could make it to ivybridge in total darkness as long as you take a torch. hope you enjoy your first camp, have fun and as martin said you will find there is lots of people who jump at a jaunt on dartmoor so if you want some company for the first night just ask on here and you will get at least 1 reply.
Last edited by sleeping bags; 03-01-2011 at 04:11 PM. Reason: i cant speeel