Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Planning Pieterpad I - early thoughts

Well, it's time to kick off this blog and what better way than to start it with an item that this blog is for, recording the outdoors aspect of my life.

Lande and I got exited by the TGO challenge but realised that it was not possible for us to do it this year as we've just had a baby, and that it would probably be a good idea to get some practice and exercise in before we tried it. Therefore we've decided to section-hike the Pieterpad as it's here in the Netherlands where we currently live, and it's even something we can do with Ingrid, our little girl.

So far we're still in the early stages of planning, just looking at options and starting to think of how to do it practically. Fortunately the public transport links are good along the Pieterpad so we can park at the end of each stage and get transport to the beginning. As we're only thinking of doing weekends (at least mostly) it's going to be quite a few weekends spent on it.

Our plan is to hike it from south to north, hoping that we can get the tiniest of advantage in following the spring up through the country. Another advantage is that we'll have the sun more or less at our backs most of time.

We're also hoping to be able to do some wild camping along the way, but we're going to have to look quite closely at the route and hopefully also get some advice from some locals. This brings me to the "in" for other posts I hope to make about hiking with infants. I'm going to have to think really hard about shelter, packs and sleeping arrangements for Ingrid.
  •  Obviously we want to make sure she's warm enough, but with an infant we're also going to have to make sure she's not too warm. Another issue is that she's going to grow out of things very quickly, so we don't want to get something too expensive.
  •  Since we have to carry her I want to try to find the lightest possible carry pack which can still take some kit and while the UL community has a lot of information available there seems to be little information about this kind of kit. Again I hope to be able to take advantage of advice from other hikers with children.
  • In terms of shelter we're going to want something with quite a lot of space. I'm thinking that maybe the Hogback from Tarptent might be a viable option, however I want to talk to others who have tried that to see what they think.

Unfortunately we're not in possessions of any proper sleeping bags at the moment and Lande has very little gear so we're going to have to do some very careful investments in the coming months. We have a pair of pads, and even though they're not to heavy and easy to inflate, neither of us like them and I'd like to replace them both. Our current tent weighs in just below 3kg, which I now think is way too heavy and it's also not of a good size for Ingrid as well. I might see if I can modify it to lighten it and make do for now.

Stay tuned to more thoughts on gear and planning as we move towards the start of the walk which we hope to be early in spring.