The Mountain's Silhouette

Hiking and backpacking in the mountains of Scotland

First Camping Trip Review

Looking back at my camping trip last weekend I've been checking out my weights and kit list to see how things worked out, what will be in the bag next time, what can be left behind and what I have still to purchase. My total base weight before adding food and water was just over 7kg. In total (though I didn't weigh my full bag with food and water) I estimate that I carried in just under 8kg from the Linn of Dee. Looking at my GPS report this weight doesn't seem to have hampered my level(ish) trail pace very much, although going uphill was a different matter. Still, it definitely wasn't debilitating and I was able to cover 15 miles carrying the heavy bag which I am pleased with.

Wild Camping in Glen Dee

What I Took

The main items of camping equipment I took with me:

Osprey Talon 33 rucksack

Terra Nova Laser Competition Tent

PHD Minim 400 Down Sleeping Bag in Ultralite Spider Compression Sack

Thermarest Prolite 4 Regular Sleeping Mat

Optimus Crux Stove with fuel, Optimus Pot, Lid and Spork

My full kit list for the trip can be downloaded as a PDF by clicking this link.


The Laser Competition did the job perfectly. Although I hadn't done a practice pitch for a long time the instructions sewn into the stuff sack were sufficiently detailed for me to get a reasonably descent set-up. I did short-cut a couple of steps which are shown in their pitching video but are not adequately described in the written instructions. Pitching is definitely something I need to work on though. Luckily the conditions were not at all testing on my trip - some light rain during the night and a very gentle breeze.

I could feel the breeze in the tent and so there was only minimal condensation on the inner of the fly in the morning. Next time I probably do need to attach the pole hood, just to be sure it wasn't rain that had got in.

I found the size of the tent inner and porch to be perfect for me. The porch space easily swallowed all my kit and I had plenty of room in the tent.

Sleeping Bag and Mat

Both worked well throughout the night. I used a Rab silk sleeping bag liner inside my PHD Minim 400 bag and felt a good temperature, perhaps slightly on the warm side throughout the night (and I'm fairly sure I sleep cold). It was definitely a cold night (probably mid-to-low single figures) as I progressively had to get more of my body inside the bag as the night went on.

The mat was good though it didn't completely protect me from a slightly rocky ground. Everyone last year was raving about the Neoair but I think I will persevere with the Prolite a little longer. If not, then this year's 'must have' mat seems to be the Ether Elite.

I used a travel pillow with my fleece stuffed inside - it was a little on the small side but I will supplement this with additional clothing in the future.

Stove and cooking

I only used the stove to heat up some water for a mug of hot chocolate before bed. Once lit it did this well, boiling 200ml of water in less than 5 minutes as I played around with the gas. I think I’ll need to pick up a wind shield as even the light breeze I had was sufficient to blow the flame around significantly.

It took me a while to light using a Light My Fire flint and striker which, although it sparked well, didn’t seem to want to ignite the gas. Eventually it did, though I’m not sure what persuaded it. I will practice more with this at home before changing to a turbolighter or similar.