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Ten of the best.

Whether it's quick-drying underwear, a super-soft merino-wool mid-layer, a length of rope or even a whistle attached to your backpack, choosing the right clothing and equipment for an expedition to the Zanskar River or a similar environment can make all the difference, as Paul Deegan found out. Remember that windproof and insulated garments will be the most useful. And if, like Deegan, you're unfortunate enough to fall into the water, waterproof jackets or trousers won't be of much use

Don't forget ...

... a few spare pairs of sunglasses in case any porters or members of your team forget, break or lose theirs




1 CRAMPONS Kahtoola MICROspikes 45[pounds sterling]/360 GRAMS (MEDIUM)

The rubber soles on boots such as Baffins and Sorels provide sufficient purchase on slick ice most of the time. But on the odd occasion when glassy ice prevents you maintaining a purchase, these superlight spikes might provide sufficient traction


2 HOLDALL Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 110[pounds sterling]/1.36 KILOGRAMS

This style of luggage is ideal for strapping to a porter's sled. The U-shaped lid means its easy to pack and unpack. The Black Hole is made from a waterproof fabric with water-resistant zips and is supplied with removable shoulder straps


3 BOOTS Baffin Impact Women US$175/2.95 KILOGRAMS

Baffin's high-leg boots extend 14 inches up the lower leg. They can feel a little snug until the eight-layer inner boot conforms to the shape of your feet. A men's version is also available. Baffin advises buying a pair one size larger than normal

4 ROPE Edelrid Confidence Walkers' Rope 47[pounds sterling]/1.26 KILOGRAMS

You'll want two of these 30-metre ropes in case one of your party falls in the river, as the person carrying it is bound to be the one who needs rescuing. These ropes can also be used with a sling and karabiner to set up a handrail if you need to cross an ice-free section of the river


5 BACKPACK LINER Podsacs Rucksac liner FROM 10[pounds sterling]/110 GRAMS (MEDIUM)

With taped sealed seams, a roll-top closure and a quick-release buckle, this liner will keep your gear dry in the event of a dunking. I prefer to use a bag that's one size larger than my rucksack's capacity so it will fit into every nook and cranny


6 WINDPROOF JACKET Marmot DriClime Windshirt 50[pounds sterling]/322 GRAMS

This full-length zip jacket is wind-resistant and also sheds snow. The bi-component liner and mesh pit-vents wick sweat away. The jacket features Marmot's trademarked Angel-Wing Movement so it won't ride up when you raise your arms. A women's version is also available


7 MID-LAYER Smartwool TML Light SportKnit Full-Zip 110[pounds sterling]/417 GRAMS

The traditional Zanskari clothing goncha can feel a bit scratchy to sensitive Western skin. But the same can't be said of the supernaturally soft merino wool. And this mid-layer garment has all of the advantages of wool and has integral thumbholes help to keep wrists warm



8 UNDERWEAR Patagonia Men's Active Sport Boxer Briefs 28[pounds sterling]/60 GRAMS

Soggy underwear is no fun. Fortunately, these boxers will trap heat when wet and dry quickly. A sports briefs version for men and bras, briefs, hipsters and shorts for women are also available


9 TOWEL Lifeventure Hydro Fibre Trek Towel 18[pounds sterling]/178 GRAMS (XL)

After wading through a section of river or going for an unexpected swim, a towel is a welcome luxury. This model is reasonably light and quick to dry under a hot Zanskari sun, and its fabric has an antibacterial finish


10 WHISTLE Lifesystems Survival Whistle 5[pounds sterling]/10 GRAMS

If I had had one of these 122dB whistles attached to my rucksack, I wouldn't have come as close to drowning before attracting Seb's attention. If your backpack doesn't come with a whistle, you can use 2mm cord to attach one of these
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Title Annotation:Essential gear; outdoor recreation gear
Comment:Ten of the best.(Essential gear)(outdoor recreation gear)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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