Let me first say, a massive thank you to Gaiters for putting me onto the Exped Lightning 60L pack!
Sunday night after work I loaded 12kg into the pack, drove to the Divide, and did the 10km to McKellar Hut on the Greenstone.
7am I re-set my Garmin gps wrist-mounted tracker, and on a bright, cloudless day set off on a 14-hour walk.
I went back up the Greenstone to Howden Hut, where I stopped for breakfast and to chat to a hunter.
1 1/2 hours to get there, half an hour for brekky, and I set off up the Routeburn. 2 hours later I arrived at MacKenzie Hut.
Chatted for a bit, had a snack, then carried on.
Took about 3 hours to reach Harris Saddle shelter. I hadn't done this side of the Routeburn before (got beaten back on the other side of the saddle in October due to snow). I also enjoyed a leisurely lunch perched on a rock overlooking the Hollyford Valley.
I didn't stop at the shelter, as there were lots of people. I went up over the saddle and down to the lake.
Then it was time to turn around.
By the time I'd gotten back to the shelter, many people had moved on. I dropped my pack, and scooted up Conical Hill with my camera. I nearly forgot it; so glad I didn't!!
I was back at the shelter after an hour, and after having a chat to the only other people there - 3 members of a wedding party - while having a snack, I then set off back towards MacKenzie Hut. I left at 4.10pm, arrived at
This post has been edited by the author on 8 April 2017 at 14:34.
Where's the edit button on my phone? !
Anyway, I arrived at 5.50pm. Told a guide about the two parties I had just stopped to try and dissuade from continuing on. Both parties were avoiding paying anything on the track; they wanted to camp at Lake Harris. I told them it wasn't allowed, and was irresponsible; especially crossing the saddle at night.
So I passed all this on before continuing on my way.
I arrived at the waterfall
along with the last of the ambient light at 7pm. From there, even in the dark, it was an easy hour to Howden Hut, then 40 minutes to the Divide.
I arrived at 8.40pm, 13 hours and 40 minutes after setting out from McKellar Hut at 7am. I'd covered 48km.
So... This is a GEAR post:
The 60L Exped Lightning absolutely ROCKED!!! NO pain or even discomfort after wearing it for that long, both up and down hills.
Thanks to Gaiters, I have found the almost-all-purpose pack I've been looking for!
This bad boy is most definitely coming to Nepal with me!
Things I love about it:
Weight: just 1.1kg!
Space: unlike most other high-end packs these days, the actual volume isn't ultra narrow due to frames and back netting for 'air flow'. Fits my winter bag, thermal liner, bivvy bag, down jacket, rain gear, paraphernalia and food easily, without bulges, lumps, uncomfortable weight distribution etc.
Hip belt: Ridiculously comfortable, even with my survival belt and Leatherman on. Pockets are easily accessible.
"Frame": It doesn't have a traditional frame. It has a single central stay that provides THE most easily-adjusted harnessing ever! Dispensing with bells and whistles, it has one exceptional lumbar support pad. I was a little skeptical at first, but hey, NO discomfort of any kind after 14 hours is proof enough for me!
External fittings: As you can imagine, these are minimal. Single roll-top entry to the main compartment gives me confidence; break a zip mid tramp, and your outing just got a lit more difficult and frustrating. It has an external, almost spider web-like strap system. I haven't had to use it yet, but have seen demonstrations of all sorts of things being attached, including snow shoes. There are a couple of pockets, which are beautifully designed. One is an internal mesh pocket, large, for keeping important items inside but separate to the main compartment. There's a seam-sealed small pocket at the top of the frame/where the carry handle is. A really handy pocket I used quite a bit. There's two water bottle pouches, one on each side, made of stretchy material, but also with a cinching strap inside. Can't quite reach your water bottle when wearing the pack, but that doesn't bother me. Then, as mentioned, there is a pocket on each side of the hip belt.
Zipper pulls: An absolutely great little bonus is that the zipper pulls are glow-in-the-dark.
Simply the best-designed, most comfortable pack I have EVER come across!
Thank you once again Gaiters!!!
This post has been edited by the author on 8 April 2017 at 14:37.