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What Camping Gear to Take on a Climbing Trip

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 30 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Climbing Tent Boots Sleeping Bag

If you’re going on a trip that combines climbing and camping, then you know you need to carry the absolute minimum of gear. Everything will be on your back, and you’ll not only have to walk with it, you’ll also have to climb with it. So it’s in your own interests to keep the weight down.

That means figuring out what’s vital in your camping gear and what can be left behind. Part of those calculations will depend on where you’re going. If you’ll be passing through villages and towns where you can replenish food and water supplies, then you won’t need to bring enough for the whole trip from home.

Tent

You’re going to need a tent, of course. But if there are two of you going on the holiday, you could cut down by using a two-man tent, rather than each carrying one. If the party is bigger, then you will either all need individual tents, or a number of two-man tents. By sharing, you can trade off on the loads. Make sure that your tent is suitable to the weather you’ll experience, but also that it’s the lightest possible weight and will pack away easily. Carry as few tent pegs as possible, and no mallet – rely on rocks to hammer them in instead.

Sleeping Bag

A good sleeping bag is vital on a climbing and camping trip. If you’re going to climb the next day you need to be well rested, and that means being warm and comfortable at night. It’s one of the few areas where you shouldn’t stint. Modern sleeping bags can pack a lot into a little, but make sure it’s one that traps the warmth well. Down is ideal, even if it is bulkier than man-made materials. If you’ll be somewhere cold, you’ll be glad of the extra warmth.

Similarly, you need to take a sleeping mat, one that’s thick enough so you won't feel all the rocks and indentations in the ground when you sleep. You need a mat with a thickness of at least ½ inch, although a full inch will serve you better. At least these will roll up and fit easily under or on top of your backpack.

Boots

A camping and climbing holiday is also going to involve walking, so you’ll need hiking boots. Take a pair that’s already broken in and comfortable, so you don’t end up with blisters or sore feet. But make sure the boots are lightweight, since they’ll be on your pack when you’re climbing. There are plenty of sturdy but lightweight boots on the market; just make sure you put quite a few miles on them before a trip like this.

Food And Water

Your biggest problem on a climbing and camping trip could come with food and water. Unless you’re going to travel through places where you can replenish your supplies, these could become bulky and heavy.

For food, carry freeze dried meals. These weigh less and take up less room, so you’ll be able to pack enough for a few days without breaking your back. Water is a different matter. Since you’ll be exerting yourself, you need ample water to remain hydrated, and also supplies for cooking and washing. If your trip is going to last more than 24 hours, then carrying enough water is going to be difficult, if not impossible. The solution is to have a supply of water purification tablets. These will let you take water from streams and lakes and drink and use it safely (no matter how pure it looks, don’t trust untreated water).

By cutting things down to the bone in this way, you’ll still be able to enjoy the climbing part of your trip as much as the camping.

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