The Adventure Gene

Our GPT Two Person Gear List (4.4kg/9.7lb each)

The Greater Patagonian Trail is a real challenge for ultralight hiking. There is little information about ultralight attempts online and there is a high likelihood of encountering extreme winds, persistent rain, and even snow storms (in summer). On top of this, the route is remote; the border police you encounter are more likely to think you are smuggling drugs from Argentina into Chile rather than hiking. The GPT involves extended periods of off track navigation and can include long stretches of pushing through thick scrub (10D materials beware!). You have to navigate digitally as you can’t buy physical maps for most of the walk. The GPT is an unofficial route where hikers are not normally found, and activating an EPIRB could mean a rescue days away.

Therefore, on this trip we skewed heavily towards safety, durability and reliability. We were pretty happy with our gear choices, but it’s safe to say we learnt a lot from this trip. You can find our analysis of our gear choices at the bottom of the gear list.

Total weight in list: 10651g/375.70oz
Worn weight (Maddie): 1021g/36.01oz
Worn weight (Tom): 896g/31.61oz
Individual base weight (half total base weight): 4367g/154.04oz


ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Two person tentTarptent StratoSpire Li with solid inner0.5oz/yd2 DCF. Held up well in poor weather and liked the solid inner. A bit annoying to pack due to the carbon rods. Generally fiddly and PitchLoc corners can be difficult when not on flat ground.848/29.91
Two person sleeping matExped Synmat HL DUO M3.3 R-value. Super comfy and avoids heat loss between individual mats when using a twin quilt. Not very durable (we got a puncture on the first night!). Also had baffles blow out and have had to warranty this model twice.830/29.28
Sleeping mat inflation sackExped Schonzzel Pumpbag ULSize M. Necessary to inflate Exped mat. Inflation with the bag is fiddly, especially with a two person mat in the rain.58/2.05
Twin quiltUndercling Mike -5°C (23F) Twin QuiltVery warm. Had a few clips on the straps break, but it was fixable in the field and Mike has since improved the design.850/29.98
Tent stakesDAC Alloy Pegs (thin)8x 160mm long. Only stake we haven’t broken at 10g or less.80/2.82
Foam mat3mm EVA 30 foamFor using underneath mat. Prevents punctures, stops slipping, adds maybe 0.5 R-value. Also use to sit on during the day. We don’t normally carry a foam mat to protect an inflatable mat but we didn’t want to have issues as replacing is hard in South America.180/6.35


ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Water bottles1L Balance bottleCarry 2 each. Nice shape (Smart water equivalent in Australia). Swapped out lids for push pull tops.144/5.08
Alcohol stoveKojin Alcohol StoveStores unused methylated spirits for next time.16/0.56
Methylated spiritsFor cooking. Carried up to 150ml as we didn’t know when we could restock.130/4.59
PotEvernew 1.3L Titanium UL PotFor cooking and eating out of. Perfect size for two people.139/4.90
Caldera ConeTrail Designs Sidewinder Ti-TriWind shield and pot holder. We think it’s the best design for alcohol stoves.42/1.48
LighterBIC Mini Lighter11/0.39
SpoonToaks titaniumOne short (10g), one long (13g).23/0.81
Food bagALOKSAK16″ x 24″ (40.6cm x 61cm). One each. Should have taken OPSAKS instead for scent proofing.160/5.64

First Aid

ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Pocket knifeSwiss Army Knife ClassicKnife, scissors, tweezers.21/0.74
Blister tapeFixomull4/0.14
Duct/electrical tapeFor repairs and blisters.8/0.28
Repair tapeDCF and tenacious.8/0.18
Antihistaminesx10 for mosquito bites etc.4/0.14
Ibuprofenx10 for pain relief and inflammation.4/0.14
Paracetamolx4 for pain relief.2/0.07
Codeinex4 for strong pain relief if stuck in the middle of nowhere in trouble.2/0.07
Caffeine tabletNo-Dozx6.3/0.11
Anti-diarrhoea tabletsImmodiumx6. Street food.2/0.07
Anti-nausea tabletsOndansetronx2. Street food.1/0.04
Hikers woolFor blisters.Not much
Safety pinFor blisters.2/0.07
Sewing needle and thread3 needles. For repairs and popping blisters.3/0.11
ToothbrushCut short. One each.4/0.14
SuperglueFor large cuts and repairs.4/0.14
Alcohol padx6 for cuts and mat repair.4/0.14
Mat repair kitExpedFabric and glue repair for big punctures/cuts18/0.63
Glue dotsx6 for small mat repairs.2/0.07
MatchesRedheads (short)1 pack.10/0.35
Menstrual cup20/0.71
Ear plugsSleeping. Two spare sets.Not much
SleepmaskImproves sleep.6/0.21
HairlackiesSpare for tying stuff.4/0.14


ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Lip BalmCarmex Squeeze TubeSPF15 and stops lips/under nose cracking.14/0.49
Water purification tabletsAquatabs175 x 5 L tabs. Split 5L tabs into quarters.24/0.85
Anti-chafeGurney Goo, Rawleighs Antiseptic OintmentEach in 30ml tubs.86/3.03
Hand sanitizerIn 50ml container. Resupply in towns.45/1.59
Toothpaste dropsHomemadeIn zip lock bag.35/1.23
Toilet paper18/0.63


ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
PowerbankAnker 10050mAh QC3.04.5 iPhone SE charges. Full powerbank recharge in 4hrs. NB10000 didn’t exist yet.230/8.11
HeadtorchH600w Mk IV Zebralight + headbandOne each. 1400lm and use the 18650 cells as battery packs (doubles as backup power for charging other devices). Extra brightness is important for remote untracked wilderness on GPT.140/4.94
Headtorch batteriesSanoy/Panasonic 18650 NCR18650GAx4. Two for headtorches, two for backups.184/6.49
USB battery chargerXtar PB2Charges/discharges two 18650 batteries (unprotected). Backup charger if powerbank goes flat. Important when this remote.50/1.76
Charging Plug4 Port USB chargerOnly 40W but devices were all low draw. Includes travel adapter for different countries.100/3.53
PhoneiPhone SEx2 with waterproof case. Efficient battery life. Camera quality not great.308/10.86
HeadphonesAirpods ProWith case. For listening to music together. Pro is nicer than normal.46/1.62
iPhone CableGeneric15 cm. Carried two for redundancy (both USB A). 7g each.14/0.49
Micro USBGeneric10 cm. Carried two for redundancy (both USB A). 7g each.14/0.49
Garmin 935 cableGenericFor charging Tom’s Garmin 935.15/0.53
Satellite device/safety beaconGarmin inReach MiniFor safety, texting, weather forecast, backup GPX route.100/3.53
Spare headphonesGenericSo we can listen to separate music and podcasts whilst travelling.30/1.06

Clothes carried (Maddie)

ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Hiking pantsDeacthlon QuechuaFor bush bashing on GPT. Also adds warmth and sun protection. Heavy compared to wind pants but durable in thick scrub.208/7.34
Rain jacketMontbell Peak Shell Rain JacketSize M. Good fabric durability but the zipper broke towards the end.220/7.76
Rain pantsMontbell VersaliteFor warmth in wet weather. Not super durable but good enough. Water seeps through eventually.100/3.53
Possum glovesWarmer than fleece. Would bring conductive ones next time.33/1.16
Rain glovesMLD eVent Rain MittsFor warmth when wet. Not very durable and leaked (were second hand so unsure of prior use). Hard to seam seal properly.41/1.45
Down jacketNunatak SkahaSize XS. 900fp, 10d shell (inside and out), 43g (1.5oz) overfill compared to standard model, 176g (6.2oz) down total. Kangaroo pocket, half zip and hood. Super toasty, one of Maddie’s favorite pieces of gear.297/10.48
Spare shirtMontbell ZEO-LINE Cool Mesh T-ShirtFor sleeping in if everything is wet. Partially see through.38/1.34
Spare tightsMontbell ZEO-LINE Cool Mesh TightsFor sleeping in if everything is wet. 3/4 length and partially see through.47/1.66
Spare socksIcebreaker Lifestyle, generic bamboo socksWas able to pick up generic bamboo socks in most towns if needed.39/1.38
Spare undiesExOfficio Bikini Briefs23/0.81
Buff1/2 length.20/0.71

Clothes carried (Tom)

ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Hiking pantsQuechuaFor bush bashing on GPT. Also adds warmth and sun protection. Heavy compared to wind pants but durable in thick scrub.217/7.65
Rain jacketMontbell Peak Shell Rain JacketSize L. Good durability, but zipper was nearly broken by the end.230/8.11
Rain pantsMontbell VersaliteFor warmth in wet weather. Not super durable but good enough. Water seeps through eventually.100/3.53
Possum glovesWarmer than fleece. Would bring conductive ones next time.33/1.16
Rain glovesBorah Gear eVent mittsFor warmth when wet. Not fully waterproof as seam sealing isn’t perfect. More durable than MLD eVent Rain Mitts and work ok.34/1.20
Down jacketGooseFeet Gear Down Jacket950fp, 10d shell (inside and out), 156g (5.5oz) down. Kangaroo pocket, half zip and hood. Ben at GooseFeet Gear was awesome to work with and I’d highly recommend him.284/10.02
Running shortsNikeFor chaffing redundancy and wearing around town.80/2.82
Spare shirtMontbell ZEO-LINE Cool Mesh T-ShirtFor sleeping in if everything is wet. Partially see through.54/1.90
Spare tightsMontbell ZEO-LINE Cool Mesh TightsFor sleeping in if everything is wet. 3/4 length and partially see through.52/1.83
Spare socksIcebreaker Lifestyle, generic bamboo socksWas able to pick up generic bamboo socks in most towns if needed.39/1.38
Spare undiesExOfficio Briefs30/1.06
Buff1/2 length.20/0.71


ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Hiking packMLD Exodus (55L), Hyperlite Mountain Gear SW2400 (50L)MLD 490g (with hip pockets added), Hyperlite 660g (without internal stays and some straps cut off). Both pretty durable for DCF but the Hyperlite wasn’t useable for another long trip afterwards (from 6 months of use). Tom didn’t like the straps and hip belt on his Hyperlite and would get an Exodus next time.1150/40.57
Water bottle holderJustin’sUL2 x 1L bottle holders for shoulder straps on each pack. Mesh not super durable but otherwise fantastic product.54/1.90
DCF walletUltralite Hiker Dyneema Trail WalletGood for travelling in South America but would take a Zip Lock bag instead in most cases.8/0.28
Emergency cashIn USD.6/0.21
Dry bagZpacks DCF Large Food Bag (14L), Sea to Summit silnylon (8L)Zpacks 14L for quilt and sleep clothes. Sea to Summit 8L for down jackets and gloves.37/1.31
DCF passport holderUltralite HikerGood for travelling in South America but would take a Zip Lock bag instead in most cases.10/0.35
PassportsOne each.79/2.79
Yellow fever vaccination bookletOne each. Required to return to Australia.30/1.06

Clothes worn (Maddie)

ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Long sleeve shirtMont Reactor Long Sleeve Zip TeeGood collar. Zip for ventilation. Super breathable. Thumb holes. Prefer OR Echo now.165/5.82
Running shortsLorna JaneTwo regular pockets and a small zip pocket at the back.119/4.20
Sports braNike111/3.92
UnderwearExofficio Bikini briefs31/1.09
HatOutdoor Research Sun RunnerVery stylish. Also use cape as towel for drying things.80/2.82
Trekking polesHelinox FL120120cm. Alloy for remote track so won’t snap but have bent one once.145/5.11
SunglassesJulbo Aero SegmentReactiv 0-3 photochromic lens. Don’t go dark enough.26/0.92
SocksIcebreaker lifestyleThin merino socks.44/1.55
Running shoesNike Terra Kiger 5Good shoes but would have chosen Nike Pegasus 36 Trail if they had the right size in store in Santiago.275/9.07
WatchCasio W-202Simple and good back light. Alarm isn’t loud enough though and no vibration.25/0.88

Clothes worn (Tom)

ItemProductNotesWeight (g/oz)
Long sleeve shirtMont Reactor Long Sleeve Zip TeeGood collar. Zip for ventilation. Super breathable. Thumb holes. Prefer OR Echo now.165/5.82
Running tightsUnder ArmourFor chaffing. Nike Pro are 70g and would take them now.94/3.32
UnderwearExOfficio Briefs31/1.09
HatOutdoor Research Sun RunnerVery stylish. Also use cape as towel for drying things.80/2.82
Trekking polesHelinox FL120120cm. Alloy for remote track so won’t snap but have bent one once.145/5.11
SunglassesJulbo Trek SunglassesZebra 1-3 photochromic lens. Nice but we prefer the Julbo Shield now as they go darker.32/1.13
SocksIcebreaker lifestyleThin merino socks.44/1.55
Running shoesNike Pegasus 36 TrailBring them back! Newer models are too big and bulky255/8.99
WatchGarmin 935For GPS tracking as required by Jan to obtain GPX files for the GPT.50/1.76

Gear analysis

It’s fair to say that a lot of the ultralight gear we used was near the end of its life after the GPT. This is one of the unfortunate aspects of ultralight hiking, where gear is often designed to be solid for 3-6 months of use. Durability beyond this lifespan is often traded against to reduce weight. For us, this is a trade off we are usually happy to make as we enjoy carrying light packs, love trying out new gear, and are fortunate enough to be able to replace potentially expensive ultralight gear as needed. Below, we highlight what we thought did and didn’t survive the hash conditions of the GPT so well.

What worked well


One of the biggest successes on the GPT was our electronic setup. To recharge our devices, we took a 10050mAh powerbank coupled with a USB battery charger (which served as a backup powerbank by discharging the 18650 batteries in our head torches). Due to the remote nature of the walk, and the fact that we didn’t always know when we would be able to recharge, we were glad that we had the backup option to charge our devices using our head torch batteries. Our main power bank only ran flat once. We were glad that we didn’t have to worry about conserving power in tricky nav sections, and always had a few days buffer in case poor weather slowed our progress.

3mm foam:

In terms of our sleep system, this was the first time we used 3mm EVA foam to protect our inflatable mat from punctures. The foam successfully protected the bottom of our mat, albeit it was a bit fiddly to set up. The foam also helped prevent the mat from sliding around on the tent floor, something that was noticeable when we struggled to find a flat spot to pitch the tent. We also enjoyed the foam doubling as sit pads during the day (although we had to be careful not to tear a hole in them as they were quite thin!). Next time, we would consider taking only foam mats instead of an inflatable mat with foam underneath, provided the foam mats were warm enough for the conditions.

Pack volume:

Our 50-55L pack volumes were the perfect size for us (we normally use 40L packs). They provided enough volume for some of the longer food carries, but were also able to be compressed as we ate through our food supplies.

Alloy poles:

For this trip we opted to take alloy poles instead of carbon poles. Alloy poles have the disadvantage of being less stiff and heavier. However, alloy poles are incredibly hard to snap, and are still useable even if you bend them. Maddie managed to bend one of her poles but it remained functional for the remainder of the trip.

Hiking pants:

Taking hiking pants over wind pants proved to be a good option for the GPT. Despite our experience with wind gear being surprisingly durable, we enjoyed using hiking pants for the overgrown trails and off track walking. We also think that taking either wind pants or hiking pants is important for sun protection as there are long stretches of track on the GPT without any shade cover (e.g. walking along volcano fields).


For the GPT, we took two iPhone SEs (1st gen) with GPX files uploaded into Gaia GPS for our navigation. In the incredibly detailed 1200 page GPT Hiker’s Manual, Jan strongly recommends using a handheld GPS as your primary navigation device, and taking a phone as a backup. As we were both taking our phones already, we thought we would save some weight and not take a handheld GPS. We had already spent lots of time navigating exclusively with our phones and we were happy that we had a system that worked.

In the end, our navigation system worked well, but it wasn’t perfect either. As Jan rightly points out in the hiker’s manual, smartphone touchscreens don’t work very well in the wet and we certainly had a couple of frustrating moments trying to use our screen in the rain. It’s easy enough with a wet phone to look at the map to check you are on track (as the map updates with your location automatically). However, trying to do anything complicated, such as looking at upcoming route choices, quickly becomes tricky. Although a wet phone is not a new problem for hikers, the stakes are significantly higher on the GPT given how much you are relying on your phone for navigation. We ended up hiking mostly northern sections of the GPT and didn’t get much rain. If hiking further south where rain is more common, I could certainly see the value in a handheld GPS.

Another benefit of using a handheld GPS (specifically a Garmin), is that you get to use the IMG map files meticulously created by Jan. These have the benefit of displaying each route type and waypoint exactly as Jan intended. This is important for an exploratory track like the GPT where it is incredibly useful to be able to quickly distinguish between different levels of track quality and the contents of waypoints (e.g. water, camp spots, food resupply etc). When using a smartphone app, we couldn’t figure out a way to distinguish between different types of tracks and waypoints without having to set it all up manually (this would take a very very long time). We certainly underestimated the usefulness of this prior to our departure (see the Primary Navigation Device section of the GPT Hiker’s Manual for a visual comparison between using a smartphone and handheld GPS for navigation).

Another option could be to use the mapping software on a Garmin smartwatch (like Tom did on the AAWT FKT). As before, we specifically mention Garmin watches as they correctly render the IMG map files created by Jan. We suspect this will become a useful option as smartwatches continue to become more powerful (and they have physical buttons like a handheld GPS).

Ultimately, using our phones still worked very well and we didn’t have any issues. We found utilising satellite imagery particularly useful to help determine where the GPX files intended for us to go.

Water purification:

We chose to use aquatabs to purify our water for the GPT, and did not take a water filter. This worked well for us and we never had any issues with water purification. Aside from walking through occasional farmland, nearly all water sources on the GPT are pristine. As such, we didn’t feel the need to treat for cryptosporidium (which aquatabs don’t work against). Given the abundance of water on the GPT, a water filter could be a good option to reduce the amount of water you carry, but we don’t think a filter is strictly necessary.

Google translate:

Despite committing to learning some Spanish before our trip (thanks Duolingo), we were unsurprisingly quite out of our depth when it came to conversing with the locals in South America. As such, we heavily relied upon translation apps such as Google Translate. Downloading the Spanish translation offline worked surprisingly well. Whilst not being the most efficient form of communication, it proved essential for helping us ask locals for bus timetables, or simply to explain to the police what we were doing.

A word of caution: we certainly feel like we missed out on the cultural side of the GPT because we had pretty shocking Spanish. We were always able to get what we needed, but missed out on one of the most important and unique aspects of the GPT. We would spend a lot more time and effort to have a higher level of Spanish if/when we return such that we could have meaningful interactions with the locals whose land the GPT passes through.


We needed to buy new shoes in Santiago before starting the GPT as we had worn our current shoes down hiking in Peru. Tom was fortunate to find a pair of Nike Pegasus 36 Trail in his size, whilst Maddie was only able to find some Nike Terra Kiger 5 in her size (she would have preferred some Pegasus Trail shoes instead). Despite them both being less than ideal colours (a mix of brown and black), they proved to be durable enough and provided sufficient grip on technical terrain. They also dried quickly after the many river crossing on the GPT. Whilst they both lasted the whole trip, by the end the tread was almost completely worn down and the shoes had holes on the sides. It would have been ideal to replace the shoes halfway through the trip, however, it was never convenient to find a Nike store during a resupply in town.

What didn’t work well

As with almost every trip, there are a few things you could have done better. Below, we discuss the gear choices we made that we would likely change if revisiting the GPT.


For the GPT, our main form of insulation was our down jackets (Tom has a GooseFeet Gear Down Jacket and Maddie took a Nunatak Skaha). Whilst we felt the down jackets provided a good level of warmth for when we were stopped at camp, we found that we missed having an active layer. Our rain jackets didn’t breathe well enough to fill this gap and we often needed something slightly warmer whilst walking in inclement weather (when our down jackets were safely packed away).

The GPT was a good learning experience for us in terms of layering, where we now prioritise having a more modular system that can work in a broader range of temperatures (and in the wet), despite not having the same overall warmth. Because of this, next time we would choose to swap the down jacket for a synthetic jacket and a wind jacket. We think the synthetic jacket is a good choice because, although the GPT doesn’t dip below 0°C often, it’s possible to spend a lot of time between 0-5°C where we aren’t quite warm enough with just a rain jacket.


Whilst we were very grateful for the the warmth our possum gloves provided on this trek, they were certainly not durable enough to last the entire trip. By the end, they both had holes around the fingers and thumbs at high friction points between our hands and our trekking poles. We attempted to sew the holes up once they appeared, however, it didn’t provide a long term solution and they generally reappeared a few days later. As such, the gloves were much less effective towards the end of the trip. It could have been a good idea to replace the gloves half way through the trek, however, it would likely have been quite difficult to find a suitable replacement due to the remote nature of the track. Starting with a more durable option that provides the same amount of warmth would be a good alternative. Montbell make good fleece gloves but they aren’t as warm as possum. On the other ‘hand’, other gloves with the same level of warmth tend to be much heavier.

Perhaps more of an issue with our gloves was that they were not touch screen compatible. This was problematic when we had to navigate off track sections in cold and/or wet weather. Next time, we would choose to take a set of gloves that are conductive so that we don’t have to remove them to use our phones (Zpacks make conductive possum gloves that we use now).

Waterproof gloves:

One of the biggest fails for our gear on the GPT were our waterproof gloves. Simply put, they did not work. Whilst the gloves undoubtedly provided an additional layer of insulation that helped shield our hands from the wind and rain, they were not remotely effective at keeping our hands dry in wet weather. This is because the models that we took (Borah Gear eVent mitts for Tom and MLD eVent Rain Mitts for Maddie) require seam sealing at home, something that we didn’t do a very good job of despite our best efforts. Next time, we would take a set of rain gloves that come pre seam taped (e.g. Zpacks), or opt for a set of plastic kitchen gloves that are 100% water proof.

Sleeping mat:

Our choice to take a two person sleeping mat had both benefits and draw backs. At that time, there were limited options for an ultralight two person sleeping mat. In the end, we opted to take an Exped Synmat HL DUO. The mat proved useful for adding warmth to our sleep system by removing the draft between two single person mats (important for us when using a twin quilt). However, the mat itself was not very durable and we found it finicky to set up. We somehow got a puncture on the top of the mat the first night of the GPT, and had a baffle blow out at some point along the trip. Additionally, the inflation sack for the mat was fiddly, and it was always challenging to inflate the mat inside the tent due to the limited space. When the tent fly was wet on the inside (as it often is from condensation), it was always a challenge to inflate the mat without accidentally hitting the walls of the tent. We thought this wouldn’t be an issue with a double walled shelter, but it was still a problem for us. Additionally, only one person could sit inside the tent whilst inflating the mat, meaning the other person had to wait outside (sometimes in the rain). This is perhaps more of a criticism towards a two person inflatable mat in general, as opposed to a problem specific to this product.


For this trip we decided to take a Tarptent StratoSpire Li over the Zpacks Duplex (our usual three season tent). We made this decision based on wanting a tent that could handle high winds and snow (this tent was used as part of a broader trip to South America). Whilst the tent performed exceptionally well in high winds, we had many problems with the tent.

We found it was hard to pitch if not on completely flat ground. As such, we often had difficulty getting a taut pitch. The other problem with pitching on uneven ground is that you need to adjust all of the tensioning between the fly and inner, otherwise the inner sags or sticks to the fly.

On a similar note, we found that the PitchLoc corners significantly reduce the flexibility of where you can pitch your tent. The problem is that the tent pegs have to be staked directly to the PitchLoc corner, meaning you are in trouble if you can’t get your peg in the ground at that one spot (the cord isn’t long enough to use a rock). Therefore, you need to make sure you can peg in your PitchLoc corners before setting up the tent, which can become a guessing game trying to find a spot where both PitchLoc corners can be pegged down given the complicated shape of the tent.

We also had many significant and ongoing issues with sewing coming undone and cords, straps, zips, and clips breaking. As just one example, the clips between the fly and inner would often come undone between packing up and setting the tent up again. It became a joke for us guessing what part of the tent would break next, and a chore fixing things when they broke. We definitely were using the tent in high winds and snow, however, we also feel that was its intended use. We feel many of the issues stem from inadequately reinforced sewing and reflects that the SS Li is a complicated tent with lots of adjustable components.

We also started having issues with the main zipper towards the end of the walk. Although the zipper had been used a lot, we think the problem was exacerbated by placing the zipper on a high-stress corner of the tent. We found that, to get a taut pitch, the zipper had to be placed under significant tension. If we wanted to undo the zipper after a drum tight pitch, we had to loosen the guy lines and then retighten them after doing the zipper back up (otherwise there was too much strain on the zipper). We think that placing the zipper away from a main guyline tieout would significantly reduce the strain on the zipper (like on the X-Mid).

Finally, the carbon struts on the tent made packing the tent more challenging as it did not fit horizontally into our packs as we normally prefer. It’s not a deal breaker but it’s another artifact of a complicated design.

Having since looked at the Tarptent website, it seems that some changes have been made that would remedy problems we’ve had (we got our StratoSpire Li as soon as it was released). There is no doubt the tent has a clever design and is exceptionally strong in snow and wind for its weight. However, we have had too many issues to confidently recommend it and almost feel like we received a pre-production version (on the other hand, we love our Tarptent Protrail). Despite this, Tarptent have been very patient and helpful sending many spare parts to us in Australia.

We think either the X-Mid 2 or X-Mid Pro 2 would likely be simpler and more reliable if looking for a tent that is stronger than the Duplex. We haven’t used the X-Mid but we look forward to trying it.


On the GPT, we took two iPhone SEs (1st gen), which we chose based on their battery efficiency and light weight. However, looking back we realised that it would have been more useful to bring a larger, heavier phone. Given the lack of track information, and subsequently the amount of time we had to spend researching the next section of track, it would have been much nicer and easier if we had a bigger screen to work with. Additionally, the camera quality wasn’t great and we regret not taking a phone with better a camera and multiple lenses (e.g. wide, ultra-wide, zoom).


Not taking lightweight trail gaiters was certainly a mistake, one we will not make again! There are decent stretches of track on the GPT that traverse volcanic areas, and as such we found that we frequently got loose stones, dirt, and ash in our shoes (meaning we had to spend a lot of time emptying them!). More importantly perhaps, we think that gaiters would have vastly increased the lifetime of our socks and reduced issues with blisters.


Whilst our two person quilt was generally a big success, there were some aspects that were less than ideal. The first problem was that we opted to not use a draft pillow as we didn’t think it would be very useful and would get in the way. However, we found that lots of warm air was lost without one and we have been much warmer in subsequent trips since attaching it.

Additionally, we had a few clips on the quilt snap when we tried tightening them. This was fixable in the field with sewing and some superglue, but was slightly annoying. We understand the design has since been changed and improved.


If there is some part of our gear that you are unsure about, or wonder why we chose X instead of Y, drop us an email! The GPT is an interesting challenge for ultralight hiking as it pushes beyond the scope of a typical 3 season gear list used for more popular hikes.

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