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Ten of the best.

An ice-laden Mongolian river is a pretty unforgiving environment, and while Jamie's slightly cobbled-together kit did the job, he would undoubtedly have been more comfortable if he had been able to afford everything in this list. Anyone thinking of packrafting somewhere cold will be sure to find some helpful suggestions here

1. Semi-dry jacket

Yak Pursuit Touring Cag

170 [pounds sterling]/875 grams

A durable top made from a waterproof and breathable material. Sufficiently adjustable to make it easy to doff it while portaging. Features a large chest pocket--perfect for keeping lunch within reach while paddling

2. Tent

Nemo Pentalite 4P

400 [pounds sterling]/2.2 kilograms

The central pole of this innovative five-sided pyramid-style tent can be raised or lowered to suit different terrains and weather conditions. This pole can be replaced with a kayak paddle to further reduce the overall weight

3. Legwear

Yak Assault trousers

100 [pounds sterling]/750 grams

An ideal complement to the Yak Pursuit Touring Cag, the Assault is a durable trouser made from a waterproof and breathable fabric. Latex ankle cuffs and a neoprene waistband ensure that only a little water gets in after a full immersion. Essential if you're paddling in near-freezing temperatures

4. Action camera

Drift HD

200 [pounds sterling]/142 grams (with battery)

A tough camera that allows you to shoot video from cramped locations and in fast-paced situations. Add the optional waterproof housing if you'll be negotiating white-water environments

5. Packraft

Alpacka Scout

US$525/1.45 kilograms

The packraft I would have bought if I could have afforded it. A tough, lightweight and simple boat, the Scout is designed for high-lake floating, canyoning, spelunking and other flat-water situations

6. Sleeping mat

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Mummy

US$90/570 grams

Although you'll still be puffing away when other sleeping mats have been inflated, the Big Agnes will reward you with a terrifically comfortable bed. The outer vertical air channels are larger than the internal channels to help cradle you in the centre of the pad. Add an inexpensive closed-cell foam mat in cold weather for extra insulation

7. Booties

Nookie Xtreme Sox

25 [pounds sterling]/200 grams

These three-millimetre-thick neoprene booties help to keep feet warm and can stave off potential cold damage, as I can attest. On one occasion, I didn't wear my Kevlar-reinforced Nookies while looking for a place to cross the cold river, which led to nerve damage in one of my toes

8. Stove

MSR XGK EX

105 [pounds sterling]/489 grams

This stove can burn most types of fuel. Regular cleaning is essential when using Mongolian petrol, which is the dirtiest fuel imaginable. The XGK EX can be dismantled and serviced in the field. I recommend carrying a spare fuel pump

9. Load-carrying aid

Beast tumpline

6 [pounds sterling]/115 grams

Designed and manufactured by my expedition partner, Matt Travers, the tumpline is a traditional carrying aid that helps to transfer the weight of a backpack from the shoulders to the head, neck and back. Although it takes time for previously unused muscles to adapt, a tumpline can ease load-carrying once you've got the hang of it

10. Paddle

Lomo Emergency kayak paddle

25 [pounds sterling]/1.46 kilograms

A four-piece paddle that can be dismantled to fit into a backpack. Adjustable for both right- and left-handed paddlers. It has a selectable 0[degrees] or 75[degrees] feather. If you're not too tall, the pieces can also be used as makeshift walking poles

DON'T FORGET ...

... Marigold gloves. The fluorescent accoutrements to Britain's washing-up bowls are an inexpensive way to keep hands dry on the river. Slip them over your gloves and into the cuffs of a semi-dry jacket to increase their water resistance
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Title Annotation:ESSENTIAL GEAR; packrafting
Publication:Geographical
Geographic Code:9MONG
Date:Feb 1, 2014
Words:621
Previous Article:Where the ice flows by.
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