A Winter SOTA Walk - Equipment List

Following on from my two recent topics covering an activation report, I thought I would upload an equipment list for my multi-night SOTA expeditions, so here is. I would be interested in any comments you might have on alternative items that you prefer to use.


Backpack – Osprey Kestrel 58

Recently moved to using Osprey backpacks, previously have used an Exped Lightning 60 for winter walking. The Exped is much lighter than the Osprey kestrel, but can be lacking in comfort. On balance I now prefer the heavier Osprey Kestrel due to the additional comfort and the convenience of extra features.

For 3-season walking I use an Osprey Exos 48

Tent – Hilleberg Akto (with additional guy lines added for winter use)

I’m on to my second Akto, having worn out the first over a period of 10 or more years of Walking and Cycling with several hundred nights spet in it. Ihae used the Akto is seriously foul weather, and only bent the pole once – in conditions where it was impossible to stand up. The fabric remained intact despite the bent pole, so I fully trust this tent.

For summer backpacking I use either a Clone Trailster Tarp; 3F UL Gear lanshan 1 or 3F ULGear lanshan 2 (the extra space is absolute luxury), I also occasionally use a rectangular Sil-nylon tarp and Rab Survival Zone Bivy Bag.

Sleeping Bag –PHD Minim 600 (drishell fabric, 800 fill power down) with Rab silk liner

Purchased in 2012 and still going strong, higher fill-power down is now available, the drishell fabric is waterproof (with a proper sub-membrane – not just a spray coating on the outer surface). The bag remains warm and lofted in even if the inner tent becomes sopping wet with condensation.

I use a PHD minimus bag in summer/autumn and Rab 400 down bag in spring.

Sleeping Mat - Thermorest Neoair Xtherm

I use the standard Neoair for three season camping. I also use a TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflating Pillow and carry a NeoAir pump sack to inflate the Xtherm (this avoids condensation forming on the inside of the pad from your breath – which would raise the thermal conductance of the pad, and also lead to nasty mould growth).


  • Titanium pot with a MSR pocket Rocket and winter gas mixture. I also carry a White-Box meths stove as backup (meths is easier to buy from just about any service station and hardware store). During summer I use a Caldera Cone plus home made Pepsi-can meths stove.

  • Titanium Spoon/Fork (not a spork though – a I can’t stand having the serrations cut the side of my lip often each time I use them!)



  • Army-surplus style nylon thermal undergarments; PHD Minimus down pullover (drishell outer with hood); balaclava


  • Buffalo special-six mountain shirt - I have great trust in this to keep me warm in any weather and have used Buffalo shirts for many many years in all sorts of weather - much more sited to British weather than fancy down jackets; Haglofs L.I.M MTN WaterProof Half Zip Jacket - I only use half-zip or quarter zip jackets due to weight-saving and the fact that if the zip breaks it is still useable as a jacket. I dont wear the waterprrof jacket much as teh Buffalo is sufficient.

  • Ronhill Leggings; Montane Pertex waterproof overtrousers

  • Smartwool Socks

  • Thermalite Wooly hat; Thermalite gloves; Gardening Gloves; Spare Gloves


  • Petzl Snowalker – Long shaft Ice Axe

  • Grivel G10 Crampons

  • Altberg Mallerstang B1 Boots (wide fitting) with Superfeet Green insoles

I use Altberg Tethera for walks not requiring crampons.


  • Ocean Signal Rescueme Plb1 Personal EPIRB (satellite emergency locator beacon)

  • Basic first aid kit – pain relief; allergy tablets; tick remover; super glue (useful for all sorts – from split toenails and nasty cuts to broken gear); Zinc-oxide tape (for blister protection); Duct Tape; Thermarest Fast-and-light repair kit.

  • Victorinox Mini-Champ

  • Ear Plugs – stormy weather does not sound so threatening in the tent when wearing ear plugs.

  • Whistle; backup miniature phone (weighs next-to-nothing)

  • Spare laces


  • Pertzl Aktik Head Torch

  • BLF A6 1600 lumens torch (using 18650 batteries) – for providing broad beam illumination when I have lost the route!

  • Lumintop tool AAA torch attached to a tritium light– spare-spare torch with tritium light to aid location in the dark – if you drop your head torch and it breaks, finding your backup torch can be difficult.

  • 5 sets of AAA batteries for the Petzl; Litl Kala 18650 charger powered by USB for the BLF.


Home made daily ration packs typically containing:

  • Adventure foods dehydrated meal

  • 200g Chocolate Bar

  • 200g bag of nuts

  • 200g dried fruit (mango, dates, figs, raisins – to keep regular!)

  • Flapjack; cereal bars

  • Jelly Babies (lots)

  • Kendal Mint cake (150g chocolate covered) – a useful provision in the event of an unsettled stomach as the peppermint is quite soothing

In order to save on carrying fuel I generally do not make hot drinks, or cook at breakfast or lunch.


Sayer Water Filter

Chlorine Dioxide Tablets as backup (or sometimes I carry a Steripen as backup); spare hose washers to replace the Sawyer Squeeze washer which always goes missing.


  • Yaesu VX6 plus ruibber duck

  • RH770 SMA

  • RH770 BNC (with SMA adapter) as backup

  • Rite-in-the-rain notepad with Uniball PowerTank pen

  • 5200 mAH 3S LiPo (with 12V-5V buck coverter to allow USB charging)

  • Quick-charge-3 compliant USB powerbank and Quick-charge-3 compliant 240V mains adapter (to allow rapid replenishment of power in a café stop if required)

I have also carried an FT818 during warmer weather, when I don’t need to carry winter gear.


  • Harvey BMC map of the Lake District (1-40k) – I prefer Harvey maps to the OS maps.

  • Garmin Etrex 20x (loaded with SOTA summits as POI)

  • Silva expedition Compass (with Clinometer and Slope Card)

  • Backup compass (old Silva compass)


  • Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles

  • Backpack Liner; Various sil-nylon dri-bags to hold gear

  • Sunglasses; ToolFreak Rip-Out glasses (great as clear mountain goggles)

  • Fleece Buff

  • Kindle E-reader


Hello Matthew,

I would say there is not much to improve as you have demonstrated with your recent report. I like the thoughts on redundancy although I personally might not go overboard.

One thing I can recommend is to try https://lighterpack.com/
to first of all show, but also to play around with various setups. This allows also to share in a nice way a visualized list of your loadout.

For example my pack from a multiday hike with overnight at mountainhuts in last year September.


There was no need for stove and shelter so all in all more focus on snacks and radio equipment (there I went a bit overboard haha)

More or less the same setup but plus a pot, soda can stove, 3x3 m tarp, z-lite and 900g down sleeping bag as seen in my video:

Looking forward to more adventures.

73 Joe


Thanks for sharing. A comprehensive list from someone with lots of experience !1


Thanks for sharing Matthew. Multi-day SOTA hikes are the best…

Many thanks Matthew, useful and detailed list!

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Did I miss First Aid Kit and Space blanket?

73 de Marek

I have a four season tent and waterproof outer sleeping bag…and would use this in the event of myself becoming a casualty. In the worst case (such as on a very windy summit) the tent would be wrapped around the casualty, with thermorest used to insulate from ground. I also carry a personal locator beacon (Ocean Signal Rescue me)

First aid kit consists of some ibuprofen, super glue and duct tape. Do you recommend carrying anything else?



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A couple of asprin - useful field treatment for a heart attack - I think quite a lot of MRT callouts in the lakes are heart related.

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Aspirin is a good idea…I had not thought of the heart attack application.

I really need to write up a more recent gear list, this one is from 2009. But it hasn’t changed that much, probably a couple of pounds lighter.

  • Pack is now a Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60, version N-1
  • Upgraded to the sleeping pad to a NeoAir, then to a NeoAir Uberlite, both REI garage sale finds
  • Camera is now a Canon SL1, much lighter
  • Ditched the compression stuff sack in favor of an Ultra-Sil dry sack, saved 4 ounces
  • Fleece jacket and primaloft vest replaced by a Feathered Friends Eos down jacket
  • I either take the 8x10 tarp, a Mountain Laurel Designs Speedmid silnylon pyramid, or a Dyneema cat tarp—the first two are about the same weight (1.25 pounds), the tarp is half that
  • Switched to a Mont-Bell Alpine 14 bowl and the Soto Amicus stove

Radio gear is still the Yaesu VX-6R plus a KX3 and wire antenna on SOTAbeams midi winders. I use a hand mic, Apple earbuds, and ARRL Minilog (paper).

This is for three-season camping in the Sierra or coastal mountains (California).

Photos from a backpacking and SOTA overnight. I took the cat tarp and the yellow tent is another MLD Speedmid. My Speedmid is grey.