/ The Spine Race

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Wonrek - on 11 Mar 2014
Yikes.....I have a place in the Spine (Challenger) race next January. Not the full 268 mile race, I'm afraid I'm only in the 108 mile fun run ;-)

Unfortunately the kit requirements are the same. So I've got a few ideas but can I have thoughts and opinions on winter mountain marathon kit. In particular tent, sleeping bag, stove and bag (22-25l?)

The long road of preparation begins!

Thanks muchly
mrchewy - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

Nice work on the entry - after I did The Wall 18 months back I did think to enter this but thankfully I talked some sense into myself!

I was really into lightweight camping in winter for a while, so have tried a fair bit of kit. Things I didn't like were the Terra Nova Elite 20ltr sack. Horrible carry, really was unless it was crammed full. I use an OMM Adventure Light for weekends now, as I can just about fit everything in and it's comfy when running. My lightest cook stuff is a titanium mug (400ml), a small stove (coleman f1) and the littlest gas cartridge. Never got on well with meths.
Tent-wise - Vango Helium 100 was too small and had daft internal guys, Power Lizard was spacious but daft guying again. I use an old Laser Comp but in winter, I have been known to just use the outer with a groundsheet - loads of space to spread, cook and sleep but obviously colder. Some of the newer bivy tents aren't much different to that setup.
Sleeping bag, only you know how warm you sleep and it's hard to offer advice but you can get away with seriously lightweight if you have a decent winter mat. Working out which is lightest is when the fun starts!

Best of luck tho... psyched for you.

Wonrek - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to mrchewy:

Cheers Kelvin! Laser comp is on my radar but the stove suggestion is a new one. How's it stability wise?

And are you *sure* you don't want to enter?!?!
Bespoke by Nature - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

I bought a PHD Minimus bag for MM's and general camping duty this year. It's the best investment I've ever made, and I had a brilliant night's sleep at the OMM in it in stinking conditions. Packs down to nowt and it's warm as toast. I was sleeping on a foil bivvy bag at the end of October and was plenty warm enough with long johns and a thick base layer on. Had to take off extra layers!

Bag wise, I've got an Inov8 race pro which although they've stopped making you can still get hold of. I'm 6'4" and found OMM bags too short in the back; the adventure light waist belt used to end up under my ribs and Inov8 seem to have longer backs. Good pocket arrangements and really comfortable, I love it.
mrchewy - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

The right knee is beyond help these days, just a two hour run in Font in the last 6 months and happily that makes The Spine beyond me!

Stability seems to be fine, never managed to spill any water and 400ml is usually enough for a freeze dried meal if that's your deal food-wise. Not all mini stoves are equal in span, so it's worth checking compatibility. A long handled titanium spoon from Alpkit rather than a spork too, nothing worse than trying to get into the corners of freeze dried packets and getting your hands/gloves all messy in winter.

Regarding the Laser Comp - I've used mine in 50mph winds quite happily, even if it has been flat on my face. The trick is to pitch them side on to the wind, then the hoop happily deforms and springs back. Put them end on, in a strong wind and you're just asking for trouble. It's a lot tougher than people give it credit for and there's no second guessing what weather you'll have that time of year.

Agree with what was said above too - the OMM Adventure Light has a very short back, even on me at 5ft 10in. Not sure where you are in the country but if you're nearby and wanna try it/borrow it, you're welcome.
r0b - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

I did the Challenger this year (DNF at 81 miles, back for another go next year!)

I used the Inov-8 RacePac 25 plus Inov-8 RacePac 2 front pack which was perfect. I didn't carry a tent as I planned to go straight through to the end (this may change next year!) so had a Rab Summit down bag which met the kit list requirements (extreme rating of -10C) and an ultralight bivi bag. Stove was an MSR pocket rocket with smallest gas canister.

Worth reading people's blogs to get an overview of different strategies. Full Spine complete Anne Green has put together a good list of blogs from 2014 Spine here: http://www.anne-green.net/personal/Blog/Entries/2014/2/1_Spine__blog_list.html
Wonrek - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to r0b:

Ooh so I'll see you in January then! I'll be the one looking bewildered at what I'm about to partake in!

Seriously, thanks all for the kit suggestions. I'll be back for more once the bank account allows. For now it's bag time. Now do I get the phd minim which is in the sale under 250 but only 800 fill and not the full spec on the 500 deign it yourself bag?

Worth it for extra fill, shorter length and a few other bits?

By the way, I'm a girly so will be looking for small everything
mrchewy - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

I have a Minim 300 with standard shell that I've used quite a bit colder than they recommend, so if it's the 500 with drishell you're after then it'll be a nice bit of kit. They're not the biggest of bags, so you may be okay with a standard one, I fit snugly in mine at 5ft10in and 12st. I have some of their 900 down gear but unless you are serious about ultra lightness, I wouldn't be too worried - the money saved would buy the tent!
richprideaux - on 01 May 2014
In reply to Wonrek:

Resurrecting a zombie thread - but I've just had my confirmation through for my place on the Spine (big one)...

Is it ethical for your business partner to sign you up alongside their own entry I wonder? At least I have a reason to buy more kit now...
Banned User 77 - on 02 May 2014
In reply to mrchewy:

I have borrowed a lazer comp, nice tents. I'd go with that wonrek, its one person. For a stone the MSR pocket rocket is great, you'll need to use it in sheltered spots but any small stove will need that andyou'd want to use it in shelter anyway.
steveriley - on 02 May 2014
I went to a great little talk last night by Charlie Sharpe on this year's event. He took a bivi bag and reckons only to have slept about 4.5h total. It makes you wonder how total time might have been effected by more rest offset against possible better moving time? Also relied on checkpoints for hot food, so on that basis you could go as small and light as poss for stove, etc.
Wonrek - on 02 May 2014
In reply to IainRUK:
I'm starting to lean towards the bivvy option. Reading deeper if you take a tent you still have to take a bivvy.

By January I should be good for two nights on my feet so think it might help just to go as light as possible?

I certainly have the mindset of no stopping, no sitting and just forward movement however slow.

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