Apline guide and photographer Mike Edmondson reveals some of his favourite outdoor products he always takes on his Kosciuszko walks.
Backpack I use an Osprey Xenith 88 litre or Aether 85 litre backpack with an Osprey XL rain cover and large plastic pack liner for double rain and weather protection in an alpine environment. These Osprey packs come in different sizes and can be custom fitted with a load instore to suit most body shapes and genders.
They have many pockets for water bottles, ski poles, snacks with have large top pockets. The Aether also has a removable lid that doubles as a big bum bag ideal for half day use close to camp. The large 88 to 85 litre range is ideal for longer treks and Alpine environments when bulkier and heavier clothing and camping equipment are required. For full day trips from camp the side compression straps collapse to make the pack thinner, keeping your weight close to your back.
Top loading packs are ideal. I don’t use packs with the lower compartments as this allows more efficient packing of your pack. Hint - sitting your packs on rocks and dragging them of as you stand up wears holes in packs and tents tied to packs.
Clothing top layers Depending on the weather forecast, I remove or add clothing to my pack before the walk to suit the conditions. We can have four seasons in one day in this diverse alpine environment so it’s important to do this at any time of the year.
Waterproof breathable outer layer I have found that the Hydronaute material that Mont use is more breathable than Goretex fabrics. For the full protection I like the durable and tough Mont Men's Austral Jacket with good length to overlap your rain trousers in bad weather.
Puffy Jacket Primaloft filled-jackets like the Mont Guide Hoodie are ideal for milder weather forecasts and have the added advantage of having the waterproof Hydronaute material on the outer fabric. It’s good to have a backup light waterproof jacket as well. In colder winter conditions you can’t go past the Mont Fusion down jacket with Hydronaute to wear around the camp at night, on a peak at sunrise or to use in an emergency.
Fleece Jacket I use the Mont Bushirt in the super soft 100 weight Polartec Classic Micro fleece. In very wet alpine conditions I have found that a fleece under the waterproof jacket works a lot better than all types of down or Primaloft type puffy jackets as it stays drier and warmer longer. So on such trips I remove the puffy jacket and add a second fleece jacket.
Vest I love a lightweight windproof vest that adds a bit of warmth to you core whilst blocking the wind and allowing your arms to move freely. I use a Patagonia recycled material vest with large inside chest pockets which are ideal for drying gloves or socks and keeping your mobile phone warm (increases battery life). In wet conditions I would prefer a fleece vest.
Thermals I love the feel of Australian merino on my skin wherever I can get it! Icebreaker is the most popular, using New Zealand merino wool. I use a woollen T shirt plus mid weight zip neck skivvy. Wool feels warm against your skin and doesn’t retain body odours as much as other fabrics. Constantly washing merino wears it out so I air mine overnight to reduce washing.
I constantly adjust layers and my speed uphills so as not to sweat too much. But many people who sweat more prefer a synthetic that dries quicker, such as the Mont power dry garments which is a lot more high tech than the old cheap polypro smelly garments.