I’m not going to lie, I’m probably the least capable person to be reviewing outdoor wear and hiking products. Before this trek came up the only trekking I had done was walking over a few headlands in South Australia to find new waves. Carrying a camera, wetsuit, flippers, and whichever pair of Havaianas which didn’t have a blow out at the time, or the bread tag holding the plug together was still strong, usually over my arm or in a Woolworths bag.

Upon entry to Paddy Palin I admitted defeat, and asked what I’d need for the 20 day World Expeditions Nepal media famil shoot.

Through my extensive research (read : I Googled it once while boarding the flight) I assumed it would be a lot of ups and downs through foot power, sometimes the days walk would stretch out to eight hours, but being reassured that this wasn’t their first rodeo, I knew it’d be pretty relaxed…even if I did have a camera on my shoulder and the ‘run ahead, film them walking past, repeat’ strategy would come into play.

icebreaker thermals

The guys at Paddy Pallin hooked me up with the outdoor clothing I’d need to ‘not die’ in the elements, and the gear to keep my camera equipment safe during the day. The fact that it looked pretty rad as well would go a long way for my drone selfie routine, unfortunately it crashed on day 5, and I had to resort to the good ol’ days of tripod selfies.

Here are the 3 items that I found to be crucial to the trips enjoyment.

Icebreaker Helix Hoody

outdoor wear

Picking this icebreaker thermals jacket up I noticed it was one of the lightest jackets I’ve ever held, let alone worn, and thought that there must be a catch – it’d probably be super cold and the breeze would get straight in and chill me to the bone. Nope, even without the hood I was toasty warm (I admit wearing it to bed one night – I’m not made for the cold), plus the tiny packdown size made it easy to throw in the bag in case another cold snap hit. I didn’t wear this in any rain conditions, and can’t comment on the waterproofness – but was great for a campsite comfortable jacket.

The Icebreaker Helix is a great lightweight jacket for the campsite, travel & packs down to nothing & it’s great value for $. No cons at all, just a good, warm, lightweight jacket.

Scarpa Nangpa-La Gore-Tex Boots

outdoor clothing

These guys saved my life. I was being an idiot and scaling down the side of a creek bed to get a shot of the journos walking across the bridge, sure, there’s a raging river below and a drop until I get there, but it’d make for a great shot and I don’t really think about too much when I’m shooting. Of course, the shale rocks slipped out from under me and pushed me further off balance, before I had time to say a prayer the boots dug in and stopped my descent. That was day one, so we got along great after that. I stepped on anything and everything, through rivers and snow, and always stayed dry. I rarely ever wear shoes, thongs at the most, so being advised to wear scarpa hiking boots for 20 days straight was scary at the start, but enjoyable – which sounds weird as I’m typing this. I must have missed the memo on wearing socks above the high boot line, so I was being all cool and wearing short socks which the others said was dumb and I’d get blisters, but the joke was on them as I didn’t get one blister or rash spot, even led by example and one of the journos followed with some cut off socks on the last day.

Even though I didn’t wear the Scarpa Nangpa-La in (I was too busy to train) I didn’t have any issues with the boots. Occasionally I’d put them on too fast and one of the shoelace clasps would twist around, but they didn’t bend which was surprising.

10 out of 10 boots with the only con would be the shoelace clasps rotating when pulled too tight, but that’s more operator error than design flaw. Simply good, lightweight, sturdy boots.

Osprey Stratos 34L Day Pack

hiking gear

Photo: Mark Watson

I was in two minds about taking the Osprey Stratos backpack away. I’m somewhat of a hoarder with bags, be it day packs for the bus or yet another partitioned camera bag to hold my lenses firm, I was sure I could find a bag I owned that would work. In store I tried one on, just to see what the difference was, initially it didn’t feel different at all, then Manish put 15 kilograms in the compartment without me realising. If I had 15 kgs in my camera bag it’d ride low on my hips and pull on my neck, but the Osprey distributed the weight like some antigravity witchdoctor spell. Lucky for me this meant I could bring more camera gear, even brought a heavy prime lens I thought I’d use a lot – didn’t even touch it, but didn’t matter as I didn’t notice the weight. This bag rocks.

With a lot of storage pockets throughout there’s plenty of room for hiking gear. The weather cover works well, and is fast dry for when at the camp.

I’m fairly tall, and finding a bag that sits on my hips has been an effort in the past. But, this bag just works.

travel backpacks

About The Author

Mark Tipple

Mark Tipple is a photographer and filmmaker who constantly gets lost and confused by what he’s supposed to be shooting. Primarily found underwater working on environmental or humanitarian projects he somehow stumbled into Kathmandu and tagged along with two World Expedition treks; through both the Annapurna and Everest circuits. Along the way rumours spread of his knee blowing out and had to ‘catch a horse back to Lukla’, but that’s only speculation; he states that if you could swim in the mountains he’d probably give up the underwater pursuits for a mountaineering lifestyle. When not on assignment he lives in a van on the South Australian coast and fumbles between writing his own bios and a personal photo series of the shakiest landscapes begging him to buy a tripod.

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