Gear Mistakes I Made On My Baltic To Atlantic Trip

I can’t think of many things I wasn’t happy with on this trip, but, with hindsight, there were a couple of important things I would change.


I currently own two backpacking sacks, a 65 litre and a 70+ litre. Given that the 65l one is slightly lighter than the other, that’s the one I decided to take. However, it only took one supermarket shop for me to realise the mistake I’d made!

It’s a few years since the last long trip – The Kungsleden in 2019 – where we were totally reliant on shop bought food for the duration, and I had totally forgotten how much space 3, 4 or occasionally 5, days’ worth of food takes up, when none of it is freeze dried (never mind how much extra it weighs!).

I managed – I had to! – but every shopping expedition brought another infuriating battle trying to fit it all in. Out of interest, on long trips I always have one day’s worth of emergency food which I don’t touch unless I either have to, or right at the end of the trip, if I haven’t used it. This is freeze dried/lightweight food, and it gets wrapped up, sealed and packed at the bottom of my pack so that it doesn’t get used by accident.


I woke up in a flat panic one morning. I suddenly realised that if I lost/broke/dropped it in a toilet/etc etc, being without my mobile would be a real nightmare.

Not only do I use it as a camera, it has my Kindle on it, my mapping, emergency contacts, airline tickets, detailed planning, and not to mention the internet- which I was constantly using to find and book accommodation, as well as book the occasional train and bus. Added to all that, there were also the less important, but pleasant things, like music and I-player.

Of course I had paper maps and a compass with me, but to be honest the mapping would have been the least of my worries if something had gone amiss with the phone.

I should have had a cheap, pay as you go thing with me, with all the important stuff duplicated.

Once I’d realised this, fairly early on in the trip too, I became totally obsessive about constantly checking my pockets to make sure both the phone and my wallet were where they should be – and I mean obsessive…


Geoff and I both have two sleeping bags which are the same – a Rab 600 and a Rab 800 – but Geoff also has one of their new Rab Neutrino 400 bags. I decided that since I wasn’t expecting much in the way of very cold weather, I would borrow this bag.

As it happens, I did end up camping in temperatures of minus 3C for a few nights, and to my absolute surprise I was actually warm enough, but only if I wore nearly every piece of clothing I had with me, including my lightweight down jacket. So the sleeping bag wasn’t actually a mistake, but not trying it out properly first at home was, as it’s a very slim cut design and I felt decidedly claustrophobic in it on those very cold nights with all my extra layers on.

With hindsight then, I would take the same rating of sleeping bag again on a similar trip, but I’m now saving up for a slightly different model for myself, the Rab Alpine 400 Bag, which has the same rating but a looser cut, at only 65g more than Geoff’s version.

I find it’s very rare to come back from any longer trip and not think of something that you might have done differently, and often these are just quite minor things, but I think this time there were definitely a couple of quite major issues that were worth noting for myself!

8 thoughts on “Gear Mistakes I Made On My Baltic To Atlantic Trip

  1. Hi Chrissie, a thought-provoking blog piece. Thank you.
    I’m also terrified of losing my phone on a journey as I’m a bit scatterbrained!
    I usually carry paper photocopies of all my documents. Passport, tickets, insurance documents and contact numbers etc. They take up space but it gives a little more peace of mind. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie, I thought it might be of interest to a few folk 😊
      I became so obsessive once I thought about the phone, it was ridiculous! I did actually spend a few hours copying as much as I could into my notebook, too…😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Chrissie, so very true with your mobile. I thought exactly the same on Cape Wrath, at times it just got very damp & played up, I was so worried that it would fail. Overseas like Julie I have papercopies of everything in a sealed bag, but you made me think that a cheap pay as you go would be a good back up..
    Thought provoking blog, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jenny. They’ve become so important in our lives, haven’t they? My friend Matt had been in Sweden on his own for a month, just before I went, and I had been vaguely aware that he had a back-up phone with him, but hadn’t really twigged how important that could be until I woke up in a panic that morning!


  3. Great idea for a blog post!

    I’m often very obsessive about constantly checking for my car keys on walks here as I know I don’t want to go round again and look for them just before dark when I’m tired!

    I also keep emergency rations with me on serious hikes (e.g. Scotland here) in case I get benighted. I don’t need to worry about being tempted to break into them though as they’re generally in my pack for so long, they’re not even remotely tempting – but obviously they’d be great if you needed them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’m sure that if I’d had car keys with me, they’d have joined the obsession! As it was, my passport made sneaky appearances into my brain as well, although not on a daily basis like the other things, as it was safely wrapped up in my pack.

      Actually I always have some emergency Chocolate bars in my day pack, generally out of date as they’re hardly ever used, and I have to admit that with them, there us also a handful of emergency Bonios…😁

      Liked by 1 person

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