Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Today Has Been Productive..... But Expensive!!

Today has been a rather productive day for me and I have managed to acquire some much needed equipment for our journey. I have been looking at tents and the like for a while now and considering what would suit our needs best. Whilst I obviously have to be mindful of weight and packed size I also need to make sure that there will be more than enough room for myself, Roman and anything that I decide to take with us.

I decided to go for a Vango Swift 300 pop up tent. It is a three man tent so there is a substantial amount of room inside for us but it also means that I will not have to worry about where we are going to keep all of our stuff. A two man tent would barely have been big enough for Roman and I so I decided, now that I know I won’t have to carry everything, to go for the larger model.

I bought the tent from the Great Outdoors shop on Sealand Road just outside of Chester and it cost £99 – quite a bit more than I was hoping to spend if I am honest but I felt it was worth it to know that we were getting a quality brand tent with more than enough room for us. Whilst I was there I decided to pick up a sleeping bag, sleeping mat and some waterproofs.

The sleeping bag cost £19 and, again, that is a Vango. It advertises itself as being a pretty good sleeping bag and would be suitable for temperatures as low as -8 degrees but is recommended to be used in temperatures between 7 degrees and 20 degrees. This should perfectly cater for what I need it for. I decided to pick a Vango sleeping mat also and opted for the self inflating one – I can’t be bothered with blowing things up! The mat cost £22 but I am sure it will be worth every penny if it ensures my comfort at night.

The waterproofs were perhaps the most difficult thing to choose. I wanted something that was reasonably lightweight but also capable of providing warmth just in case I needed it. After much perusal I opted for an Adidas Gore-Tex jacket that also has the Clima Cool feature, much like modern football shirts. I think this will provide warmth when I need it but also ventilation in the important areas. The jacket cost £69 but I feel this will be money well spent. Another added bonus of this jacket is that it is a very bright orange so will ensure that I am seen when walking in it!

As for the waterproof pants, I eventually decided to purchase a pair of Berghaus. They’re not particularly fancy but they have both zips and poppers up each leg – this means that if the rain subsides I can undo the zips to provide ventilation if I feel that the rain will be returning pretty soon. The trousers cost me £40 which, again, was probably more than I originally wanted to spend but I am happy with my purchase. Well, Great Outdoors must like me – I spent £249 in total!

I also decided to order the bicycle trailer / stroller today. I had not received a response to my email but managed to find the same model on another site that confirmed the answers I was looking for. Including postage it is costing me about £70 so it’s a pretty reasonable price all things considered. For a similar model from a bike shop or Halfords I would probably pay between £100 and £150 so it’s a bargain when you look at it like that. When you consider how much easier it will make things for me it’s definitely money well worth spending!

I had also been mulling over for quite some time whether or not to buy a solar powered charger so that I would be able to take my iPod with me. The more I considered it the more it made sense. Although I have been making progress with Italian I am definitely not near the standard I will need to be when I arrive. I decided to download some Italian discs so that I could upload them to my iPod and then I will be able to use these on our walk to help me learn as much as possible for when I arrive.

After having a good look around for a few hours on the internet I finally decided to purchase a model called the Freeloader Solar Charger. It comes with a whole host of adaptors to enable you to be able to charge all sorts of different devices and, most importantly, includes the adaptor for my iPod. It charges fully within as little as 8 hours and can power an iPod for up to 18 hours on this charge. I think I will charge it each day and then use the iPod each evening to brush up on my Italian. In total this cost me £35.

So, in total, I have spent £354 today – that’s quite a commitment really! There’s still quite a lot I need to make sure I have before we leave and I will be focusing on ensuring we have everything we need before we leave. I will be (attempting) to draw up a kit list in the next day or two so that I can tick everything off as I go along. I am hoping to get some help of a guy I have mentioned here before, Benedict Protheroe, on that one. He walked from Canterbury to Rome last year so has first hand experience that will help me no end.

Day Four

Our fourth day of walking will be slightly more intensive than the previous three days as I hope for us to cover about 25 miles. The day’s walking will take us from our starting point of Brownhills West right through to Nuneaton, passing through Tamworth on the way. I have a friend who lives in Nuneaton so I will be trying to get hold of him to see if he fancies putting us up for the night – fingers crossed!

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