Following his last blog (Your ideal desert island books) Alastair has been contemplating what else he'd like to take to a desert island...
If you were marooned on a desert island it would be helpful to have, (in addition to your statutory selection of reading material - see previous blog) music, luxury items and some really good outdoor travel gear.
Here then, is my very own Desert Island Kit List. It's an unusual desert island - it is hot-cold-wet-dry all at once. Humour me, please. Here's some of the favourite bits of kit I've accumulated over the years. If you are planning travels that involve much hiking, biking or camping then I’d certainly pack some of this stuff.
1. Therm-a-rest Packs down to the size of a loaf of bread but makes nights in tents or airport floors extremely comfortable.
2. Leatherman A more manly version of the Swiss Army knife. I love them primarily for the tools and pliers. If I didn’t need those then I’d plump for amid-size Victorinox instead.
3. Hilleberg tent The best of the best and probably overkill unless you are going to be camping in some hardcore conditions. For most conditions I’d look at Terra Nova’s tents as a benchmark and then perhaps find a different brand with a price to suit.
4. MSR Dragonfly Quite expensive for a stove, but it will last you for many, many years. I’ve used mine on expeditions galore, but also for cooking up a cheap meal in places as varied as a Roman theatre (Syria) and a 5-star hotel I’d blagged a night in where I couldn’t afford room service (Japan). If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Ray Mears and like to travel light then this is a good option.
5. Down Jacket Essential kit meets lovely luxury. They pack down small, are very light, are very wonderful and worth the money!
6. Head torch In readiness for power cuts, reading on the nightbus or getting an early start in the hills, LED head torches are small, long-lasting and cheap.
7. Sunglasses Obvious, but vital, and not just for looking cool for your Facebook photos.
8. Sunhat Obvious, but vital. Even if you won’t look cool in your Facebook photos. Or pick up a headband, neck warmer, ear warmer, balaclava, hat, eye-cover, hair scrunchie, knee brace, face flannel, towel, bandage... All useful little things!
9. Silk sleeping bag Keeps you cool when it’s hot, a nice extra bit of warmth when it’s cold, keeps you off flea-ridden mattresses, stops your sleeping bag becoming smelly and packs down tiny. Worth tucking in the pack.
What do you think of my selection? What should I take instead? What would you never travel without?