1 Oct 2012

Eifelsteig: The Gear Overview

As promised you still have to get an overview of the gear we used on our trip, you can see a gear list further down. Do not count this as a gear review and enjoy :) .

The Backpack
First of all I want to start with the pack, this was my first trip with the Laufbursche Huckepack (Large) and thus my very first trip with an ultralight backpack. It sat comfy and packing it was easy thanks to the brochure that came with it and of course the movie Hendrik made, or this example.

I used my Thermarest Prolite Plus as the burrito and filled it. Trying it on was a revelation: It actually sat very good, I was not in pain and didn't grin over the weight. The HuckePack is a huge improvement over my old pack.
I can now move around, my back is more flexible, and my hip straps don't hurt, in fact I only used them when we just refilled water or to move the weight from my shoulders. Most part of the trip my pack was light enough for shoulders only-carrying.

The HuckePack on my back
(don't mind the garbage)

All in all I like the pack a lot! Its quality build, its details and its simplicity. I did need getting used to the lid because the sides are sewn on the the pack, still trying to figure out how to keep it open and upright.

The DaklaPacks

The 2 bottles after the trip
Performed like a charm. I won't carry bottles anymore! I carried a 1 liter bottle and one 2,5 liter bottle. Next time I'll consider bringing three 1 liter bottles because due to their smaller size you can get them more easily in your pack. Also you don't have to refill the small 1 liter bottle every time.

The larger bottle takes up lots of space and is a massive brick in your pack. Lots of smaller bottles would resolve this.
Mateusz started selling them now (under the name Faltflaschen) so definitively check them out and I advise the 1 liters because of the above reasons.

I had my doubts about durability, and after this first trip, they are gone. No hole or rips, just the plastic getting a bit more crinkly. I still like that they can stand up on their own and that they fit under most water taps (if you fold a little).

Close up of the bottom. No damage at all

The Tent
Our Tarptent Squall 2 remains a very good buy.
We did have lots of condensation but that's quite normal I was told. Plus I had a towel so it wasn't a problem to dry the tent, the only 'annoying' bit was that our gear and sleeping bag was a bit wet.
When I got home I reread the manual and learned that we should've left the beak open when sleeping, this would've allowed for more airflow. Duly noted!
The pitching was tight every time and when we woke up the tent had sagged a bit. A quick pull on the strings or heightening the poles solved this.
The floor is still slippery as hell but we've overcome this: We tied our mats together (Sarah's mat does not slip) with elasticated cords and cord locks we received with our Laufbursche packs.

The sleeping bag
Sarah ordered an Alpkit Pipedream 600 in the hope of using it often and coping with low temps. And we both feel the bag is up to the job.
We slept under it, zipped open as quilt and draped it over us. I was lucky, getting the side where the hoods sits. We both were warm in it in temps around -2°C, I did wear a winter longsleeve baselayer top and socks. We didn't have much draft as the bag is wide enough to cover us completely and tuck a bit under us.

Alpine dreamin'

It was damp every morning and every night. We did not dry it on breaks but after we set up camp we lied under it and it dried rather quickly because of our body warmth.
I'm still amazed about how we got that huge pile of down in a tiny stuffsack, I can't say that about my cat's Meow.

The shoes
I wore my Salomon Speedcross 3 again, which is an example wisely followed by another blogger. I'm still very pleased with them. They are grippy, comfortable and lightweight.

Did I mention they look awesome?

They dried in less than half an hour. Only the sole is wearing a tiny bit but the upper shows no signs of use. The lacing system is still keeping strong, this was a concern I had, reading about how the system broke on some people. The only comment I have is that towards the end of the day my large toes started hurting a bit. This could be due to descending, will keep an eye on this.

Aah socks, the warm, protecting and soothing wraparound. The great fitting and soft feeling comrades that take the hard abuse every day. Mine were a gift from Sarah: the Lightweight MerinoFusion Trail socks and this was the first multi day test for them.
I have to say that I have no complaints. They only showed a bit of wear around the ankle before washing.
I wore them 5 days on end with no washing (yes I know this can cause blisters) and they had just the faintest 'used smell' in the toe area. They got wet from grass and condensation but not from sweat, they are airy enough together with my shoes and the temps were low enough on our trip.

Clothing system
I can be brief about this but I know myself and I won't:
The clothing consisted of 1 longsleeve winter top, above that a polyester t-shirt and depending on the weather a microfleece or sofshell, or both.
Rainy conditions or cold mornings asked for a softshell and my fleece also came in handy for the coldest nights or as a pillow or as a warmer layer when resting.
My pants were the same as I've always used: a polyester based Regatta pair and they still serve me well.
A buff was used in windy conditions or at night and in the mornings.
Gloves were sometimes needed (Sarah had handwarmer pockets), like for folding an iced tent or to hold a frozen pot until we reached a cafe to wash it.

I found my clothes to be perfect! I was 100% happy. I hiked most of the time in just the baselayer and t-shirt, this gave me warmth and some extra torso insulation together with maximum breathability.
I probably could get away with just the softshell but I enjoyed the soft feeling of fleece in the sleeping bag, in cold cafes and knowing I still had an extra sweater for when I'd get too cold.

I know my clothing could be more compact or lightweight but this would mean a large investment.
If I could I would've brought for these conditions: A a grid lined baselayer with balaclava hood like the ME Eclipse Hoodie or Rab Baseline Hoodie. For wind protection I'd be satisfied with a light windshell like a Montane Slipstream or a Rab Cirrus. And for camp and cold moments I would choose a down puffy like a Rab Microlight jacket.

Unwashed and frozen. 
On this trip the Cat Can Stove came with us again and did a marvelous job, even in a grassy and cold meadow.
I did bring too much fuel, I reckoned 2 full cat cans per meal due to the colder or windier autumn conditions but I got away with half that amount. So next time I'll just bring 15 cl of Ethanol for four cooks.

The pot is from Decathlon, holds about 1L and weighs 265 grams with pot grip. I'll stick to it. Paying over €50 for 100 grams less is not a priority at this stage.

Sarah used the spork and I used a long Ti spoon. It kept my fingers from getting mashed potatoes on them. Downside: no more finger licking.

Yes this also deserves a proper look :)
I mention toothpaste because I tried to dry some using Jermm's Outside recipe but it failed. I guess the aim is to have toothpaste becoming powder but it didn't. It just became a tiny roll of toothpaste and did not start foaming. It could be the wrong toothpaste (Elmex) or maybe I didn't dry it long enough (3 days) but the dots are something to be tested before taken with us in the future. We bought toothpaste in Einruhr for the remainder of the trip.

The Book
The moment the decision was made to hike the Eifelsteig was the moment I went to Amazon.de to search for a guide. Delivery would have to be quick since we left Tuesday and I ordered Friday. But like always, Amazon was fast and by Monday morning I received the book.

It's 'Eifelsteig, 16 Touren von Aachen nach Trier' by Ulrike Poller and Wolfgang Todt.
Completely in German, has a large foldable map on the back and every tour has its own information like distance, points of interest, restaurants and hotels, transportation and altitude profile.
The detailed description was sometimes read but the general info and data was most handy.
They describe the trail but not detailed enough on places where you need to take a turn but have different options. The guide is abstract like 'we head from a green forest up to a broader path further east...' Well that does not provide the info we needed and the small map of each route isn't detailed enough to see what left or what right is meant.

Plus points: It's light, sturdy and fits in the side pocket of my pants, where it sat the whole trip and remained in good condition.
Could be better: Map of each section could be more detailed. Lack of description of shopping options like supermarkets and bakeries. The points where a turn is confusing should be very clearly explained.

On this trip we took 1 headlamp: my Petzl Tikka Plus. We decided one was enough since it wasn't the deepest of winter yet and we had daylight from 7:15 in the morning until 19:30 in the evening. After that, darkness set in quick. So we only had to cook in the darkness, the tent was always set under the remaining daylight. I'm still very happy with it and the red light was ideal to keep bugs away and to be in 'stealth mode' when we camped close to houses.
For summer use, I'll drop it because I've found a smaller light will even do for middle of the night chores.

So now we've come to the end of this post I'll share my gear list with you.
Comments are very welcome and please do note that I didn't take the time to translate it all, I did put in brand names sometimes. Also I didn't weigh everything as I should've done. This was due to a small lack of time when we packed.

Everything with a red box to the side of it was an item we did not use once (First Aid and repair kit excluded).

  • Olive Oil: Not needed on this trip
  • Micropur: Water was filled using tap water. No rivers were encountered.
  • Mini game of cards: Too tired to concentrate on the train. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. I'm thinking about my own hike on the Eifelstieg. Do you have any suggestions on where to (or not to) camp? Thanks, and very helpful post!

  2. Hey and thanks for your comment!

    I've only walked a part of the Eifelsteig so I can only help you with that. My recommendation is to read my article http://hikelighter.blogspot.be/2012/09/hiking-eifelsteig-lighter-roetgen.html which has some tips but I'll sum them up here.

    Good places to camp:
    The first day in Steling was great, this is between Roetgen and Monschau. This is the highest point of stage 2 (in my book it's P9 on the map). There's a meadow and you can see windmills on the other hill. Jump in the meadow and camp there. It's stunning

    Stage 3: Monschau-Einruht. This is tricky. You have lots of ups and downs and the best places to camp are or too early to stop or too far (for us) to reach with daylight. So we camped near Dedenborn but I suggest you walk the entire stage to Einruhr and get a nice spot there when things flatten out.

    Stage 4: No doubt about it, if you feel it's time to set up camp and you're in Kickley or Modenhübel, do it. These are two high points with lots of sun and views. We made the mistake to keep going and ending up near a water filtration station near Gemünd.

    Stage 5: After reaching Steinfeld (no shops whatsoever!!) we camped just outside the village. In a meadow where we could still see the houses. This stage has large open spaces all through but some of it is for agriculture. We camped here https://maps.google.be/maps?q=50.499228,+6.568686&num=1&t=h&vpsrc=0&ie=UTF8&z=17&iwloc=A

    And that's is!
    Let me know how your trip was and enjoy!