Gear advice for walk across Europe?

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by [email protected], Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Hi, I'm Lee. This year I'm walking across Europe and making a film of
    it. (More info can be found at my website. Start at
    http://www.madridtokiev.com/plan.html to learn why I'm doing it and
    look at a basic map of my route.)

    Can you folks recommend what gear I should take? I'd like two pairs of
    very sturdy boots and/or shoes, a waterproof jacket, trousers, a big
    waterproof rucksack that can store all of my supplies including camera
    equipment, etc. I'm based in the USA, not the UK, so stuff that is
    readily available here would help. I would like to spend $500 - $1000
    on my clothing and supplies.

    The route I've chosen specifically avoids any major changes in
    altitude. Except for the plateau in Spain, most of my route is at 500
    - 1,000 ft above sea level. In other words, I'll be avoiding
    mountains. However I will not always be taking main roads so I need to
    be prepared for that. My main concerns are that my stuff is
    waterproof, rugged, and lightweight.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Also, can you recommend other
    newsgroups or web forums where I could get advice about this?

    Best,
    Lee
     
    Tags:


  2. Paul Gretton

    Paul Gretton Guest

    That's quite a walk you have in mind! Have you done much long-distance
    walking before? (Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the tone of your question
    suggests you may not have.) Are you aware of what you are getting into?
     
  3. No, I haven't done much long walking. I am plunging into this. I
    expect it to be a great struggle, which will be one of the main themes
    of the film.

    Lee
     
  4. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Message-ID: <[email protected]> from
    [email protected] contained the following:

    >No, I haven't done much long walking. I am plunging into this. I
    >expect it to be a great struggle, which will be one of the main themes
    >of the film.


    I'd read some comments from people who've walked Land's End to John O
    Groats, perhaps a quarter of the distance you are planning. Plenty of
    websites about it.

    --
    Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
    It's only Usenet, no one dies.
    My opinions, not the committee's, mine.
    Simple RFDs http://www.ckdog.co.uk/rfdmaker/
     
  5. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > Can you folks recommend what gear I should take?


    As little as possible, and if you need more or to replace stuff then get
    it on the way.

    > I'd like two pairs of
    > very sturdy boots and/or shoes


    For example, two pairs of heavy duty boots/shoes for the whole trip
    means you always have to carry 1 pair of bulky, heavy shoes. It's not
    too hard to come by replacements in Europe, so just go with one.

    > a big waterproof rucksack that can store all of my supplies


    There are some waterproof rucksacks about, but very few and fewer still
    are a good size. Problem is they leak through the seams, or through the
    holes acquired on a big trip. To keep the water out use either a
    raincover and/or a waterproof inner liner.

    > However I will not always be taking main roads so I need to
    > be prepared for that.


    I'd suggest you do it as much as possible, simply to make it much, much,
    much nicer. Do you want to look at Europe, or passing cars?

    > My main concerns are that my stuff is
    > waterproof, rugged, and lightweight.


    Problem with most waterproof stuff is it's not especially comfortable to
    wear all day, so many folk prefer to take light waterproofs for heavy
    rain and otherwise just wear stuff that dries out quickly. Also note
    that an umbrella is a very effective piece of rain equipment as long as
    it isn't blowing a gale, is a lot cheaper than a jacket and doesn't have
    you swimming in your own sweat after an hour or so.

    Your absolute primary concern for your kit should be comfort in use.
    Non-waterproofs will dry out, fragile stuff can be replaced, but if it
    isn't comfortable it will impact your pleasure every step of the route.
    Lightweight is good because that feeds into comfort, especially
    carrying the stuff you're not wearing at the moment.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  6. Hi, these are just my opinions and other people in this group with more
    experience will probably disagree, but here we go:-

    I must admit to having done nothing more than 5 days on the trail, and
    therefore can't even start to imagine trying to tackle anything like
    the distance you're aiming for.

    Having had some uncomfortable boots in the past I can't stress how
    important comfort is, what feels comfortable in the shop often feels
    very different after 20 miles - if you end up with boots that
    aren't comfortable they'll make every step absolute hell!!

    Similarly I have trouble travelling light, and if you're carrying any
    significant weight IMHO it's worth shelling out for a comfortable bag
    with a decent adjustable back system - if your going to be carrying a
    significant weight you may as well make it a comfortable as poss.

    Apart from boots and bag most of my kit is relatively cheap -
    personally for low level walking if it's raining and not blowing a
    gale I'd rather use a large umbrella than waterproofs which unless
    you pay an absolute fortune for make you sweat like a pig! - so
    I've got cheapish waterproofs for when It's absolutely heaving it
    down or bitterly cold and windy - nothing like waterproofs to cut
    down wind chill!

    That's enough from me for now. Good luck with your trip

    James
    http://www.wheresthepath.com
     
  7. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    WheresThePath.com wrote:

    > Similarly I have trouble travelling light, and if you're carrying any
    > significant weight IMHO it's worth shelling out for a comfortable bag
    > with a decent adjustable back system - if your going to be carrying a
    > significant weight you may as well make it a comfortable as poss.


    The main point of adjustable backs is that a single pack can be made to
    fit a large number of people. If your own back is the right shape and
    size for a set system there's little to be gained from being able to
    lengthen it. My own big pack has an adjustable back, but once I'd set
    the length and bent the staves a little more than as supplied to fit me
    personally I haven't touched the adjustments much in the 17 years or so
    I've had it, except when lending it to other folk.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  8. Peter Clinch Wrote:

    >The main point of adjustable backs is that a single pack can be made to
    >fit a large number of people. If your own back is the right shape and
    >size for a set system there's little to be gained from being able to
    >lengthen it. My own big pack has an adjustable back, but once I'd set
    >the length and bent the staves a little more than as supplied to fit me
    >personally I haven't touched the adjustments much in the 17 years or so
    >I've had it, except when lending it to other folk.


    Apologies the comments were based on my experience, and in my case I
    found that last time I bought a 'large' pack most of the fixed
    length systems weren't comfortable for me, and have been recently
    looking for a new pack and encountering the same prob, and therefore
    need an adjustable back system to get it comfortable - maybe I'm just
    a funny shape - and you're right once setup I've not touched the
    setup in years.

    I agree lengthening/ shortening the back system won't allow you to
    carry more weight, but it does allow you to set the pack up comfortably
    to fit your back. On the other hand if you can find a comfortable
    'set system bag' then you're luckier than me!

    James
    http://www.wheresthepath.com
     
  9. Roos Eisma

    Roos Eisma Guest

    [email protected] writes:

    >Hi, I'm Lee. This year I'm walking across Europe and making a film of
    >it. (More info can be found at my website. Start at
    >http://www.madridtokiev.com/plan.html to learn why I'm doing it and
    >look at a basic map of my route.)


    >The route I've chosen specifically avoids any major changes in
    >altitude. Except for the plateau in Spain, most of my route is at 500
    >- 1,000 ft above sea level. In other words, I'll be avoiding
    >mountains. However I will not always be taking main roads so I need to
    >be prepared for that. My main concerns are that my stuff is
    >waterproof, rugged, and lightweight.


    When it comes to route choice I would look into the network of long
    distance walking routes. Many of these are not particularly mountainous,
    and will follow for example tow paths and forest trails rather than main
    roads, which would make for a much more pleasant walk.
    Search for "GR routes", someone here will probably have a link to a map
    somewhere.

    Roos
     
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Guest

    Paul Gretton <[email protected]> wrote
    >That's quite a walk you have in mind! Have you done much long-distance
    >walking before? (Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the tone of your question
    >suggests you may not have.) Are you aware of what you are getting into?
    >

    And don't forget to take plenty of shockblockers...
    --
    Sam Spam
     
  11. Thanks guys, your comments are helpful so far. Thanks Roos, I'll look
    for the GR routes. Can you folks recommend some specific brands of
    packs/boots/waterproofs etc that you've discussed? I've never bought
    proper hiking gear.

    Lee
     
  12. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Can you folks recommend some specific brands of
    > packs/boots/waterproofs etc that you've discussed?


    "The ones that fit you best".

    Difficult to say what those are sitting here, so find a good outfitter
    (REI is a good place to start if you're in the US with a good value own
    brand as well as lots of others, though far from the Only Game In Town)
    and try a load of stuff having discussed with the staff what it is you
    intend to do. They can give you a shortlist of stuff to try and then
    you can decide which fits you most comfortably. Try some other local
    outfitters before you lay down $$$s to get a better feel for what's
    there and make sure you're trying a representative selection.

    When discussing your needs make sure you don't end up getting persuaded
    to get more technical gear than you need. A waterproof that will keep
    out a blizzard at 8000m is all very well but will sink a rather large
    chunk of budget on all sorts of things you don't need. Though in
    general you get what you pay for (subject to the usual law of
    diminishing returns), if you get stuff you don't need (like slings for
    climbing gear and quick release ice axe loops on a pack) you'll still be
    paying for it.

    I'd suggest trying in person rather than buying over the 'net. Fit is
    generally the most important aspect of comfort, and no amount of
    testimonials from people with different bodies from yours will make
    stuff fit better.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  13. Mike Painter

    Mike Painter Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >> Can you folks recommend some specific brands of
    >> packs/boots/waterproofs etc that you've discussed?

    >
    > "The ones that fit you best".
    >
    > Difficult to say what those are sitting here, so find a good outfitter
    > (REI is a good place to start if you're in the US with a good value
    > own brand as well as lots of others, though far from the Only Game In
    > Town) and try a load of stuff having discussed with the staff what it
    > is you intend to do. They can give you a shortlist of stuff to try
    > and then you can decide which fits you most comfortably. Try some
    > other local outfitters before you lay down $$$s to get a better feel
    > for what's there and make sure you're trying a representative
    > selection.
    > When discussing your needs make sure you don't end up getting
    > persuaded to get more technical gear than you need. A waterproof
    > that will keep out a blizzard at 8000m is all very well but will sink
    > a rather large chunk of budget on all sorts of things you don't need.
    > Though in general you get what you pay for (subject to the usual law
    > of diminishing returns), if you get stuff you don't need (like slings
    > for climbing gear and quick release ice axe loops on a pack) you'll
    > still be paying for it.
    >
    > I'd suggest trying in person rather than buying over the 'net. Fit is
    > generally the most important aspect of comfort, and no amount of
    > testimonials from people with different bodies from yours will make
    > stuff fit better.
    >
    > Pete.


    This is excellent advice but remember you are (here) in America. It will be
    difficult to find staff at most stores that really have any idea of what you
    want to do and what is required. Chances are very good that they will be
    much more into walking as exercise, rather than walking as a recreation.
    Even the idea that you might have "staff" rather than "order takers" who
    push what's on sale and can't tell you that there is a difference between a
    running and walking shoe is rare here in the US.

    I'd be tempted to buy boots here so I could wear them for a few day walks
    and picking up the rest over there. Just because them for-in-ers talk funny
    don't mean they ain't got a lot of common sense.
    (For non- Americans not having "common sense" is an anti intellectual slur
    in most cases.)
     
  14. David Millen

    David Millen Guest

    On 17 Jan 2006 11:29:18 -0800, leekazim[email protected] wrote:

    >Hi, I'm Lee. This year I'm walking across Europe and making a film of
    >it. (More info can be found at my website. Start at
    >http://www.madridtokiev.com/plan.html to learn why I'm doing it and
    >look at a basic map of my route.)

    ....................
    >Thanks in advance for your help. Also, can you recommend other
    >newsgroups or web forums where I could get advice about this?
    >

    Read "Clear Waters Rising", by Nicholas Crane.
    Remember the "carry no more than 10% of your bodyweight" rule. This
    will mean (unless you're very large) dispensing with some (a lot) of
    the things you think you are going to take with you.
    Have a good lunch every day (helps the above rule).
    Don't plan on walking every day.
    Good luck.
    --
    All the best
    David Millen
    Xativa, Valencia
    www.fincacasablanca.com
    please reply in group
    if you have to email me, remove the obvious:
    [email protected]
     
  15. <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi, I'm Lee. This year I'm walking across Europe and making a film of
    > it. (More info can be found at my website. Start at
    > http://www.madridtokiev.com/plan.html to learn why I'm doing it and
    > look at a basic map of my route.)
    >
    > Can you folks recommend what gear I should take? I'd like two pairs of
    > very sturdy boots and/or shoes, a waterproof jacket, trousers, a big
    > waterproof rucksack that can store all of my supplies including camera
    > equipment, etc. I'm based in the USA, not the UK, so stuff that is
    > readily available here would help. I would like to spend $500 - $1000
    > on my clothing and supplies.
    >
    > The route I've chosen specifically avoids any major changes in
    > altitude. Except for the plateau in Spain, most of my route is at 500
    > - 1,000 ft above sea level. In other words, I'll be avoiding
    > mountains. However I will not always be taking main roads so I need to
    > be prepared for that. My main concerns are that my stuff is
    > waterproof, rugged, and lightweight.
    >
    > Thanks in advance for your help. Also, can you recommend other
    > newsgroups or web forums where I could get advice about this?
    >
    > Best,
    > Lee
    >


    Buy the best kit you can afford. Read any available guide books. Enjoy
    yourself
     
  16. Nigel Cliffe

    Nigel Cliffe Guest

    David Millen wrote:
    > On 17 Jan 2006 11:29:18 -0800, [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >> Hi, I'm Lee. This year I'm walking across Europe and making a film
    >> of it. (More info can be found at my website. Start at
    >> http://www.madridtokiev.com/plan.html to learn why I'm doing it and
    >> look at a basic map of my route.)

    > ...................
    >> Thanks in advance for your help. Also, can you recommend other
    >> newsgroups or web forums where I could get advice about this?
    >>

    > Read "Clear Waters Rising", by Nicholas Crane.


    Yes, I was about to recommend digging out Crane's book.


    There is also a book on the French footpath network by an American;
    http://www.franceonfoot.com/fofbook.htm which might provide useful
    background for one leg of the trip.



    > Remember the "carry no more than 10% of your bodyweight" rule. This
    > will mean (unless you're very large) dispensing with some (a lot) of
    > the things you think you are going to take with you.
    > Have a good lunch every day (helps the above rule).
    > Don't plan on walking every day.
    > Good luck.



    And that 10% is the upper limit. If possible, I'd get a lot lighter than
    10%. I recently did a 2 week hotel to hotel walk in the Swiss Alps. I took
    a 14lb pack. It was the upper limit of sensible weight, and I've a list of
    things not to take next time. If walking low-level, a number of things I
    was carrying would be superfluous.

    For footwear, I'd seriously consider trekking sandals rather than
    boots/shoes if staying at low-moderate levels.




    - Nigel


    --
    Nigel Cliffe,
    Webmaster at http://www.2mm.org.uk/
     
  17. > Can you folks recommend what gear I should take? I'd like two pairs of
    > very sturdy boots and/or shoes, a waterproof jacket, trousers, a big
    > waterproof rucksack that can store all of my supplies including camera
    > equipment, etc. I'm based in the USA, not the UK, so stuff that is
    > readily available here would help. I would like to spend $500 - $1000
    > on my clothing and supplies.


    Just a couple of things: keep the weight off your feet - the most important
    thing about your footwear is the fit, followed by the weight. Get
    something light.
    Shoes/boots are bulky, so if you must take a second pair, trekking sandals
    would be a brilliant choice.

    Don't take luxuries. Your luxury is not having to carry them.

    Lightweight isn't light stuff, it's less stuff.

    Sew a Canadian flag onto your rucksack[1]



    [1] :)
     
  18. Mark Thompson wrote:
    >> Can you folks recommend what gear I should take? I'd like two
    >> pairs of very sturdy boots and/or shoes, a waterproof jacket,
    >> trousers, a big waterproof rucksack that can store all of my
    >> supplies including camera equipment, etc. I'm based in the USA,
    >> not the UK, so stuff that is readily available here would help. I
    >> would like to spend $500 - $1000 on my clothing and supplies.

    >
    > Just a couple of things: keep the weight off your feet - the most
    > important thing about your footwear is the fit, followed by the
    > weight. Get something light.
    > Shoes/boots are bulky, so if you must take a second pair, trekking
    > sandals would be a brilliant choice.
    >
    > Don't take luxuries. Your luxury is not having to carry them.
    >
    > Lightweight isn't light stuff, it's less stuff.
    >
    > Sew a Canadian flag onto your rucksack[1]
    >
    >
    >
    > [1] :)


    Have a read at this article, a bit over the top but it should give you
    some ideas.


    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00034.html


    --


    Don`t Worry, Be Happy

    Sandy
    --

    E-Mail:- [email protected]
    Website:- http://www.ftscotland.co.uk
    Looking for a webhost? Try http://www.1and1.co.uk/?k_id=2966019
     
  19. [email protected] wrote:


    > Thanks in advance for your help. Also, can you recommend other
    > newsgroups or web forums where I could get advice about this?


    Worth a read is
    http://members.aol.com/hockeylejog/
    an account of a Lands End to John groats walk. The author says
    " I did not plan any rest days, except for 4 days at my Oxford home. I
    expected to do longer days the more I walked. But in fact I was fittest
    between 3 and 6 weeks into the walk. After that, the stress on my
    muscles and joints began to tell, and I had to rest for 2 days, and
    take it easy for several more, because of shin splints."
    I've never done anything of the magnitude you are attempting but from
    reading various accounts regular rest days are vital or your body will
    break down. Plan rest days whether you feel you need them or not. Good
    luck
    Iain
     
  20. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Message-ID: <[email protected]> from
    [email protected] contained the following:

    >" I did not plan any rest days, except for 4 days at my Oxford home. I
    >expected to do longer days the more I walked. But in fact I was fittest
    >between 3 and 6 weeks into the walk. After that, the stress on my
    >muscles and joints began to tell, and I had to rest for 2 days, and
    >take it easy for several more, because of shin splints."


    I've either read the same thing, or something very similar, which is why
    I urged the OP to read other accounts.

    --
    Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
    It's only Usenet, no one dies.
    My opinions, not the committee's, mine.
    Simple RFDs http://www.ckdog.co.uk/rfdmaker/
     
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