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Desert Island Kit List

Westman Islands

If you were marooned on a desert island it would be helpful to have, in addition to your statutory selection of reading material, music and luxury items, some really good outdoor travel gear.

Here then is my very own Desert Island Kit List. It’s an unusual desert island – it is hot-cold-wet-dry all at once. Humour me, please. It’s some of the favourite bits of gear that I’ve accumulated over the years. If you are planning travels that involve much hiking, biking or camping then I’d certainly pack some of this stuff.

  1. Therm-a-rest – packs down to the size of a loaf of bread but makes nights in tents or airport floors extremely comfortable
  2. Leatherman – a more manly version of the Swiss Army knife. I love them primarily for the tools and pliers. If I didn’t need those then I’d plump for a mid-size Victorinox instead
  3. Hilleberg tent – the best of the best and probably overkill unless you are going to be camping in some hardcore conditions. For most conditions I’d look at Terra Nova’s tents as a benchmark and then perhaps find a different brand with a price to suit.
  4. MSR Dragonfly – quite expensive for a stove, but it will last you for many, many years. I’ve used mine on expeditions galore, but also for cooking up a cheap meal in places as varied as a Roman theatre (Syria) and a 5-star hotel I’d blagged a night in where I couldn’t afford room service (Japan). If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Ray Mears and like to travel light then this is a good option for you
  5. Down Jacket – essential kit meets lovely luxury. They pack down small, are very light, are very wonderful and worth the money!
  6. Head torch – In readiness for power cuts, reading on the nightbus or getting an early start in the hills, LED head torches are small, long-lasting and cheap
  7. Sunglasses – obvious, but vital, and not just for looking cool for your Facebook photos
  8. Sunhat – obvious, but vital, even if you won’t look cool in your Facebook photos
  9. Buff – headband, neck warmer, ear warmer, balaclava, hat, eye-cover, hair scrunchie, knee brace, face flannel, towel, bandage… A useful little thing!
  10. Silk sleeping bag – keeps you cool when it’s hot, a nice extra bit of warmth when it’s cold, keeps you off flea-ridden mattresses, stops your sleeping bag becoming smelly and packs down tiny. Worth tucking in the pack

What do you think of my selection? What should I take instead? What would you never travel without? Please have your say in the comments.

This piece originally appeared in Wanderlust

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  1. Where is your fishing rod?!

  2. Katie Tibbetts Posted

    I’d hate to be marooned without my Crazy Creek; it’s the ultimate camper’s couch. Also doubles as a cooking mat, tentdoor mat, and sweet place to roll up your tent when the ground is wet/muddy/rocky etc. And, not to sound too soft, but I might add the therm-a-rest pillow to that list.

  3. Exped Pillow and spare of underpants; M&S microskins preferred.

  4. Alistair from Africa Posted

    “If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Ray Mears and like to travel light then this is a good option for you”

    The link in that sentence is broke!

  5. Well, if it’s “hot-cold-wet-dry all at once” then I wouldn’t be without my Icebreaker base layers for the cold days. I buy a lot of New Zealand-made kit, I reckon if it keeps out the rain and cold over there, it’ll do it anywhere.

  6. Smartphone with OSmaps, bottle opener and super light comfy trainers for post hiking delight.



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