The list of kit I compiled at the planning stage of the expedition is not the one I have now. Evolution at work. I have very little in the way of fixed ideas about what is "the best" of something, I do, however always make sure any equipment I own is
tested in an environment fitting the destination and of simple design. I dislike shiny goretex or velcro, as do most horses. Natures own wet weather expect, the sheep, has been clothing itself for sometime in the single best material for any long ride. Wool.
Some things remain, my saddle for instance. Based on an old McClellan design which in turn is based on an older cavalry model. Sometimes old ways are better, particularly with horses. It allows a far great flexibility with the varying size horse, hugely
important in any long ride as your mounts condition fluctuates throughout the journey. The pack saddle (just below my riding saddle in the picture opposite) is one I had made in Canada, Mongolian pack saddles simply don't exist in any useful form.
my stove is a trusted swedish model from the 1950s, it has never failed in over half a century. Its earned a place.
My knife, the life and soul of the adventurer, is one of the newer additions. It was made by a man called Steve who runs Habalis
Bushtools. It is the perfect marriage of beauty and function. I often catch myself looking at it. Mongolia will be its first test.
My first aid kit is extensive, being in the trade. All items therein follow a simple rule, good for people and horses.
Sutures, bandages and various lotions and potions.
Boots, half wool, half leather with a decent heel and broken in. You walk just as much as ride on a long ride. A broad brimmed hat is essential, both for fair/foul weather and for fanning your fire.
A down 3 season sleeping bag and a light sleep mat are new additions, I will be conducting some outdoor tests later next week once my tent arrives.
The tent. THE tent. I learnt sometime ago that the things that are exactly what you need often don't
exist outside your fevered imagination. Therefore you have to construct them, or in my case, find someone who's job it is to make dreams tangible. That person lives in America is named Peter and owns a tiny company called TentSmiths. Peter built my dream tent,
from waxed canvas, with his hands. It took 4 months. The beauty of a tent tarp that has no footprint is the huge flexibility that offers for multiple configurations. Many travellers of old lauded the virtues of a simple tarp like shelter for both ease of pitch
and putting you in the heart of the landscape you are traveling within. Modern tents simply encase you. Like a florescent coffin. A more through review will follow on my tent when I have explored all its wonderful quirks.
Kit mentality is a polarizing
subject, many seasoned adventurers will disagree with my kit list. Many others will share similar traits. The only real answer is to be familiar with whatever you have and learn that the lightest and easiest thing to carry is knowledge. The sort of kit you
have doesn't dictate the quality of the adventurer, it simply facilitates the adventure to the degree of your knowledge and research. Look at everything you have and ask if it has proved its self enough.
Enjoy making the list. It is after all, part
of the adventure.