Sunday, 17 August 2008

Akto, an II

At the beginning of July, 2006, my Hilleberg Akto arrived. Last year I marked this with a post called: A Year With An Akto. So, what has happened in Year II? The only maintenance on the tent was the repair of a hole that appeared.


I pack the night before an early start, and find that laying my kit on the bed is a great aide memoir. I make piles of clothing to wear, carry and so-forth. Unlike what follows, which doesn't go into each nook and cranny of every pocket.



My preference is still for the Scarpa ZG65 boots. I had swapped out the footbeds with the moulded superfeet. I use Nikwax cleaning products after brushing or washing off excess mud.

Recently I have tried the TNF Hedgehog XCR trail shoes, swapping out the laces with those from my old Inov8 Terrocs. I picked up some blisters in Dartmoor and tightened up the lace fittings on return, no problem walking in last week, but picked up 1 1/2 blisters on the return as I had forgot to change out of the Sealskinz socks I was using as camp shoes.

My favourite pair of socks are a black & grey pair labelled "Ultimax", and have a spare pair of socks in my kit. I find that the Air Force X-socks make my feet smell.


I am still using the Osprey Atmos as pack of choice. In fact, for overnights to longer, it is a comfortable pack that handles what I throw at it. I could shave some weight off by using a smaller pack for short trips, but I can't afford it and just tighten the straps on the pack.

I bought a new Camelbak hydration sack during the year, and now use the insulated one. I might be imagining that it keeps the cold water colder.

Poles are still the PacerPoles. They are good at doing the job, and I break them down after hikes, and sometimes at night too, to stop the mechanism seizing.


On my last two trips, I took the MiniBullDesign Blackfly 3 meths stove. I never liked the open fire meths stoves as they seemed too uncontrollable to me. This small stove uses two ends of a wick to boil enough cold water for a brew in about 10 minutes. Slower than my Primus Micron, but I can merely refill the fuel bottle at the end of a trip. I cannot do that with gas. After about 4 days, the size of a gas canister starts making it viable again.

The mug/bowl combo from GSI is great, and I've been using the folding spoon instead of the folding spork (photos). I still have food to sort, and haven't had a serious attempt at freezer bag cooking. I have a cupboard of supplies, and just grab what I need.

Bob kindly sent me an AquaGear water filter to test (and I've still got the write-up to complete). This lives in the side pocket of a pack, and I use it to drink at a packs-off stop. I also fill the hydration bag from it.

Sleep Kit

My bag is still the Cumulus Ultralight 350. It does the job. I can unzip it and use it as a duvet. I slide the Insul Mat Max Thermo Lite down the inside of the pack. It is full length and I didn't find it cold when out in the low temperature. Having failed to replace it with an Exped, I might try next year's Thermarest release.

After seeing an Ajungilak Air Pillow in use, I upgraded from rolling up clothing into and around a stuff sack. Mine now lives in a small waterproof Exped stuffsack.

From the washing line I have rigged from ties in my tent, I can hang a small torch, as well as the more Alpkit powerful headtorch (I've not used the e+lite since the meet at Brecon last year). My pack stays at the foot end of the tent, kitchen outside in the porch, and fragile things safely up at the head end.


With Sunday's purchase, my base layer is all merino wool. Shreddies, long-johns and longsleeve t-shirt.

Beyond that, my trousers are Paramo, meaning I can leave the waterproof overtrousers at home. Above that is a TNF fleece, and Montane primoloft lined windshirt. Buff and maybe a bonnet live in the pockets, along with liner gloves and Garmin Geko 201. In the top of my pack is a Montane Quickfire waterproof jacket.

I replaced my 'Ultimate' hat with a cammo one from Mackays, and sprayed it a couple of times with Nikwax waterproofing. The brim keeps the sun and rain off, and it folds into my pocket.


The first aid kit, toilet bag and lotion & potions make up most of the rest of the kit. The small containers that I got this year allowed me to take various items like germolene and soap in smaller bottles.


Last year finished with illness outside Killin, the pain returned and I got little hiking done as I was concerned that whatever it was would return. A trip to the physiotherapist ruled out a hernia. I got some short walks in, and bagged no further Munros until late Spring. In early summer, I was signed off with cellulitis. As it was still itchy and swollen, I wanted to keep pressure off it, so used that as an excuse not to get much done before a trip to Dartmoor in the summer.

So, in the last year, despite illness, I have hiked 132km (80 miles), spent 7 nights in my Akto, and bagged 1 Munro. Not as good as I could have been, but my motivation has been hit by concerns about another bout of pains. The main lesson this has raised is, whatever you do, don't say you go hiking, as the medicos seem to jump on that as the causes of illness. For the pain in my side, it was caused by my rucksack. I tried to explain to the doc that the pains started in my flat, before I went near my pack. And the infection in my leg was due to a tick (there weren't any) or a midge (ditto).

Some pitches

And now, some pitches with the best all-round solo tent in existence. I store the fabric in its carry bag, and then put that inside an Exped compression bag. This lies across the rucksack, near the top. The peg bag and pole all fit into the supplied bag, and that goes inside the rucksack on the side opposite the hydration tube exit. When I pitch the tent, I make sure that no gust of wind can lift empty bags, so clip the compression bag to my rucksack, and put the empty tent bags into it as I am pitching the tent.

Night-time brew IMG_0890s IMG_0857s IMG_0725 DSC04191 Nodden Gate ford IMG_1586f

Happy trails.

Cairn a' Mhaim (1037m/3402ft) [Munro 46]


paulmartin42 said...

"don't say you go hiking" us docs need all the clues available. Having seen your blog I would diagnose omg-wotno-mattress

AktoMan said...

There are clues, and there are 'snap decisions'. With my recent illness, I got a 2nd doc who's diagnosis worked, so I stuck with her. Which wasn't easy as she was part-time.

Last year I went through 3 docs, each with their own diagnosis. It can't be easy for the medicos, but since there are no evening or weekend surgeries, it makes appointments difficult without disrupting classes.

Martin Rye said...

Nice wildcamps Duncan - seeing that Akto pitched up reminded me of the great night in the hills in my old Akto. It is the only way to spend time in the hills - wildcamping not Aktoing it that is.

AktoMan said...

See the doctor about shrinking your height, then go and by an Akto with the money you've saved in buying longer trousers.

In the end, getting out there is important, whether in a bivvy, hammock or tent.