Making Small Things Smaller To Save Weight and Space:

Diane Sioni has some fine advice here. It pays to go through your gear again and again. It is always a game of ‘putting and taking’ (one of the first games we learn and still lots of fun at nearly 70!) What you take and what you leave is matter both of individual choice and dependent on the trip you are doing. Eg; How long. How long between resupply. Likely conditions…

Some time ago I posted about making containers out of straws. If you have tried this, you probably hate yourself, but lots of folks are still reposting it on Pinterest, so I guess it’s cute. My advice: try getting some really small snaplock bags from eBay instead. eBay is also an excellent source for small bottles, test tubes, atomisers, etc. A small plastic test tube can have some Dyneema fishing line wound on it (glue one end, snap the other with the lid). It can contain your needle (a self threader I think, Diane), a few fish hooks and sinkers and still weigh just a few grams. Some polystyrene balls for floats will double as spare tarp clips: fish for tea one night will generously repay carrying that little extra weight – as will being able to repair gear, or yourself – and not stabbing yourself with that needle!

I did a little ‘show and tell’ a little while back of some of my gear here: Some things surprise: eg I would not have thought of taking a musical instrument – but then being deaf, I hate music. Then again, not being a woman I would not have considered a DIY ‘Lady J’, but I have also had my bottom attacked pretty ferociously eg by sandflies in Fiordland. The article is a good starting point for a review of your gear. You can always save a little – but do not jeopardise your safety!

Above: ‘Possibles’ bag contents: on green cuben bag: ulralight fishing kit, 2 handlines containing hooks, sinkers, bait, self threading needle (repairs), two springers, 4 polystyrene balls, alum foil for cooking fish; on green S to S bag, Iridium Sat Phone; on white cuben bag: spare glasses in plastic case, Kabar knife, Adventure Medical Kits space blanket bag (emergency day pack & ground sheet); snaploc with glasses cleaner; Bushnell mini solarwrap charger; on white cuben bag: cuben bag with charging connectors AAA to AA battery converters, in blue bag spare batteries = 6 Eneloop AAA, 2 camera, 2 phone, 2 Photon, 2 hearing aid; USB AA/AAA battery charger; first aid kit: Antisan (bites) ointment, Mylanta (indigestion), earbuds in snaploc, Leucotape on cuben bag containing variety of plasters and blister pads, triangular bandage (sling) below: elastic bandage, cuben bag with variety of tablets eg pain, inflammation, diarrhoea, allergy etc; Toiletries on white cuben bag: wet tissues, 2 pocket Kleenex (enough for a week!); below on small green cuben bag S to S ultralight head net (mozzies – sleep) and microdripper of insect repellent (Deet); magnifier on mirror; square of silnylon for repairs with 2 stickon tie outs on top; spare trekking pole basket; clip on glasses cleaner; bottom row: on snaplocc bag length Dyneema, glasses repair kit, various bits and pieces: 2 safety pins, 3 line locs, 2 tarp tie outs, I carabiner, I mitten hook, 1 cord loc, 1 spare mini compass; on cuben bag, cuben tape (repairs) rubber band, spare bottle cap; on white cuben bag: 2 lightload towels, comb, Aloksack (for camera); on blue cuben bag: microdripper bottles containing: handcream, suncream, deodorant, iodine, wash, anti fungal cream, tube anti inflammatory cream, tub toothpaste, tub heel balm; anti allergy cream.

Some of these things I have cut down substantially since then (eg for my Everest hike see eg here: For example I have made an ultralight glasses case: I have substituted these for the Photons and reduced the number of batteries needed, and so on. The quest to be ‘ultralight’ goes ever on and on…

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