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Ambleside and the Akto

Mon 05 Apr 2010 22:22 » Jon

Following the broken rib 5 weeks ago, painkiller-allergy 4 weeks ago and hernia operation 3 weeks ago, I’m unable to walk too far at the moment, and haven’t yet ventured back onto a bike. Normally this would make a stay in Ambleside rather frustrating, but while the rest of my family are out cycling the Fred Whitton or walking, I’ve been discussing tents, stoves, ice-axes, crampons and water-purification with the shop-assistants here.

The Hilleberg AktoMuch of the kit requires a bit more research but I’d already decided that the Hilleberg Akto was at the top of the tent shortlist, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover one set up in the first shop I visited here – The Climbers’ Shop. The Akto is renowned as a great one-man tent, hardy enough to survive extended high-mountain conditions but weighing only around 1.5kg, which compares very well with the more flimsy ultra-light tents designed for mountain marathons.

I had a good look over the tent from outside, then jumped inside and closed it up. Inside it’s not quite the Tardis but it is surprisingly roomy. Even though I’m 6’1”, there was length to spare when I lay down, and there’s room inside to store kit if the vestibule gets too damp. I can also sit up inside it, which is quite important if I’m going to spend 2 months living it!

The one negative comment I’ve read about the Akto is that it can suffer from condensation. I asked the chaps in the shop about this and one said that with the vents open it was normally ok but using a footprint can help, as this prevents the moisture coming up out of the ground underneath the tent. I’m going to take the tent for a weekend up in Scotland sometime to test it out and I’ll see how the condensation goes, but I’d rather avoid the extra weight of a footprint if I can avoid it.

I’ve got just over 6 weeks left at work (they decided not to offer me the sabbatical), so need to complete my recovery from the op, buy the remaining gear and get out there to build some fitness and make sure all the kit works. Having read about the snow in June I’m now aiming to start a week or two later than originally planned, which gives me just over 2 months until I leave Hendaye…

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