Preparing an Outdoor Trip with a TripDoc

Before I leave on a nature trek, I like to document the specifics in a TripDoc and share it on Google Docs with the trek participants and the people who stay at home. The document includes the goal of the trip, participants’ contact info, the route we’re planning to take, transport, gear & food to bring, estimated costs and the expected weather conditions. The TripDoc serves multiple purposes:

  1. It’s a preparation checklist so I won’t forget anything
  2. It simplifies communication between the participants
  3. It’s a convenient information source for the people staying at home

At the end of the trip, I usually add some extra info to the document: some travel statistics (time, distance, height ascended and descended for each day), a link to our final route, links to shared pictures and some lessons learned. That way I end up with a complete log of my trek which can be a useful guide for future trips.

Below you’ll find an example of one of my TripDocs. Feel free to use it as a template for preparing one of your own outdoor adventures.


TripDoc Scotland Trek June 2015

Activity
Goal
Date
Location
Trekking route
Participants
Program
Online info
Transport
Food & drinks
Sleeping
Costs
Navigation
Gear
Weather
Other
Results

Activity

Hiking and wild camping

Goal

Have fun, pretty intense hikes (about 5 hours/day with a backpack over rough terrain), learning some outdoor skills (e.g. navigation)

Date

Mon 15 June 2015 (about 6:00) – Sun 21 June  2015 (about 21:00). This is 7 days including 2 days traveling and 5 days in the mountains.

Location

The Cairngorms. This is the largest and highest national park in the UK. It’s located in the East of the Scottish Highlands, about 45 km South-East of Inverness (Scotland).

Trekking Route

See our planned main and alternative trekking routes on Google Maps (incl. distances, times, elevations and campsites). The main route is partly the hiking route described in Jolanda Linschooten’s Dutch Hiking Guide “Bergtochten in Schotland, Wales en Engeland”. In bad weather we might hike the alternative route.

Participants

Participant Contact in case of emergency
Marc Smeehuijzen
Maasstraat 190-3
1079 BL Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Mobile: +31 6 24 525 136
E-mail: marc@onlinecaveman.com
Date of birth: 27 Nov. 1972
Marcy Smeehuijzen
Main Street 123
3000 AB Utrecht
The Netherlands
Mobile: +31 6 11 222 333
Pete Jones
High Street 44
1111 XY Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Mobile: +31 6 44 555 666
E-mail: pete.jones@hotmail.com
Date of birth: 2 Aug. 1980
Pam Jones
Freedom Ave 6
1222 PJ Haarlem
The Netherlands
Mobile: +31 6 77 888 999

Program

Every day hiking and wild camping except the last night when we stay in a hostel in Aviemore. (Typical day: 8:00 get up, 9:30 leave camp and hike, 12:00 lunch, 13:00 hike, 16:00 make camp, 18:00 dinner, 20:00 explore camp area).

Online info

Transport

  1. Bus/train from home to Amsterdam Schiphol airport (NL)
  2. Flight from Amsterdam airport to Glasgow airport (Scotland)
  3. Bus from from Glasgow airport to Glasgow train station
  4. Train from Glasgow train station to Aviemore
Flight schedule
Date 15 June 2015 21 June 2015
Route A’dam-Glasg. Glasg. – A’dam
Flight no. KL 1471 KL 1478
Time 07:55 ­- 08:30 16:55 – 19:30

Source: https://www.klm.com/home/nl/nl

Meeting time and loc. Mon 15 June 2015, 06:30, meeting point Amsterdam Schiphol airport (= big red-white checkered cube in the hall with all the escalators down to the train tracks).
Travel distance 10 km (train/bus) + 700 km (plane) + 15 km (bus) + 220 km (train) = 950 km. (Straight line: 800 km).
Travel time (excl. waiting) 0.5hr bus/train + 1.5hr flight + 0.5hr bus + 2.5hr train = 5 hr
Public transport schedule
Date 15 June 2015 21 June 2015
Route Glasg. air. – Glasg. station – Aviemore (about 250 km) Aviemore – Perth – Glasg. station – Glasg. air (about 250 km)
Transport Bus – Train Train – Train – Bus
Time 9:40 – 10:10 – 12:45 (3 hr 5 min) 11:25 – 13:05 – 14:27 – 14:51 (3 hr 26 min)

Source: http://www.travelinescotland.com

Food & drinks

We bring food for the 5.5 days that we are in the mountains.

Water Source: local lakes and streams (there are many). Purification: UV light (Steripen), filtering (Sawyer filter) or cooking (Primus camp stove). If there is enough wood around, we can also cook on a campfire.
5 x breakfast Cruesli/porridge with milk powder and water
5 x lunch Hartkeks (= crackers from the outdoor store) with toppings
5 x dinner Freeze dried expedition meals. For sale in outdoor stores. Preparation: just add boiling water and wait 10 min. A typical 2-person meal is 1200 kcal, needs about 800 ml of boiling water and costs about €10. (This trip each person eats 2-persons meals!)
Snacks Chocolate, muesli-bars, dried fruit, nuts, crisps
Estimate calories needed per day 3000 kcal

Carry all food in a large stuff sack. Everybody brings their own food but Marc brings these items for general use: some tea bags and some chocolate powder.

Sleeping

Shelter Waterproof, wind resistant and lightweight tent (1 per person).
Sleeping bag rating At least until 0C
Toilet & shower Not available so we do everything in nature. Bury excrement at least 30 m from water sources. Use moss as toilet paper or bring toilet paper and burn it after use.

Last night (20 June 2015): Aviemore Bunkhouse, Dalfaber Road (no number), Aviemore, phone: +44 1479 811181
http://www.aviemore-bunkhouse.com/index.html

Costs

Item Estimated costs/person
Flight € 150
Food € 100
Bus/Train € 100
Hostel (1 night Aviem.) € 50
Total € 400
  • Excluding costs own outdoor gear!
  • Make sure you have travel insurance that covers off-trail hiking and wild camping in the mountains

Navigation

Maps

Name Scale Last update GPS position format GPS map date
Aviemore & Central Cairngorms (AA Walker’s maps 28) 1:25.000 2012 British Grid Ord Srvy GB
Cairngorms & Lochnagar (BMC Harvey Mountain Map) 1:40.000 2011 British Grid Ord Srvy GB

Gear

* = Optional
M’s pick = Marc’s pick (brand and type)
W (g) = Weight (grams)
P (€) = Price (Euro’s)

Per person

Item Comments M’s pick W (g) P (€)
BACKPACK & CLOTHING
Backpack About 50L with hip belt Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Windrider 830 290
Backpack liner/rain cover Waterproof Mountain Laurel Design liner 36 2
Hiking shoes Waterproof & breathable La Sportiva Eco 4.0 GTX 1230 170
Gaiters* Outdoor Designs Alpine AS-G10 240 30
1 pair wool hiking socks Perry Sport 82 15
1 pair wool hiking socks Perry Sport 82 15
1 pair undersocks* Against blisters Coolmax (Synthetic) 31 10
1 pair undersocks* Against blisters Coolmax (Synthetic) 31 10
Boxershort Icebreaker Boxershort Anatomica 55 35
Boxershort Icebreaker Boxershort Anatomica 55 35
T-shirt Icebreaker Quattro Short Sleeve Polo 160 90
T-shirt Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve 125 70
Long pants Quick drying so no jeans Fjällraven Forrester 510 100
Belt* Eagle Creek AT Money Belt (money compartment removed) 60 10
Long sleeve shirt/sweater Mosquito-proof North Face Men 100 Glacier Fleece 233 55
Puffy jacket/warm fleece jacket A puffy jacket is a warm and compressible down/synthetic jacket PHD Ultra Down Jacket: K Series Performance 250 410
Rain jacket Mammut Albaron 440 280
Rain pants Rab Bergen 340 110
Cap Patagonia Unisex Beanie 65 50
Gloves Ziener Idea WS 70 30
Buff* OutdoorDesigns 45 15
Hat Fjällraven G-1000 67 36
Headnet Sea to Summit HeadNet 30 9
Little towel/dishcloth* Bijenkorf 100 5
SLEEPING
Tent Wind resistant and lightweight Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid (2 person cuben fiber tarptent) 460 390
Tent stakes 12 Easton Nano Nail Stakes 170 27
Sleeping bag Rated until at least 0C PHD Minim 400 Down 610 380
Sleeping pad Therm-A-rest NeoAir Xlite 230 90
Bivy bag* Preferably with integrated mosquito netting Exped eVENT/PU (with integrated mosquito netting) 585 229
FOOD, DRINKS, COOKING
Water bottle/bag Volume at least 1L, for purifying with Steripen it needs a wide opening Nalgene cantene PE folding bottle 60 10
Bowl to eat and drink from Trangia 81 9
Spoon Preferably long one so you can eat directly from freeze dried food bags Sea to Summit Alpha Long Spoon 12 8
Pocket knife Bear Grylls (Gerber) Compact II 33 30
Lighter Bic Mini 12 1
Matches Flix veiligheidslucifers 6 1
OTHER
Hiking poles* Leki Makalu Classic (also for supporting tent) 510 60
Headlamp Fenix LD02 (clip on cap) 24 33
Spare batteries* Albert Heijn Alkaline AAA battery 10 1
Compass Silva Field 7 28 16
Mobile phone With phone no. trek participants and emergency no. Apple iPhone6 127 654
Whistle Fox40 micro 7 8
Sunglasses* Julbo Reflex/Instinct 30 100
Watch* For navigation, e.g. dead reckoning See GPS under Gear for general use
Toiletries Toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm Lactona compact toothbrush, Elmex travel-size toothpaste, Lypsyl lip balm 38 1
Notebook & pencil* Schrijfblok A7 + IKEA pencil 50 1
Travel papers Passport, tickets, insurance, money, cards
Stuff sack To organize everything in your backpack Granite Gear Air ZippSack 5L 25 20
Stuff sack For carrying food Granite Gear Air ZippSack 16L 45 30
TOTAL 8320 3981

For general use

Item Comments M’s pick W (g) P (€)
MARC BRINGS
Camp stove Primus OmniLite TI (for all types of fuel) 341 230
Windscreen Primus 65 15
Fuel Good for boiling about 23L water. (Not allowed on plane so buy in Scotland) Primus large 975ml canister (450g gas) + medium 460ml canister (230g gas) 1025 15
Camp stove Selfmade alcohol stove (Andrew Skurka design) 6 1
Windscreen Selfmade alum. foil windscreen (Andrew Skurka design) 4 1
Fuel bottle Nalgene 0.5L 54 2
Fuel Good for boiling about 5L water. (Not allowed on plane so buy in Scotland) 500 ml denatured alcohol 410 1
UV water purifier Steripen Adventurer Opti 110 80
Spare batteries For UV water purifier CR123 3V Panasonic Lithium Power 15 5
Waterfilter Sawyer mini filter 60 40
Waterfilter cleaning plunger To backflush the Sawyer waterfilter Comes with the Sawyer mini filter 33 0
Water bag Needed for Sawyer filter Platypus 1L 24 10
Water purification tablets Backup water purification method Katadyn Micropur Forte MF 1T 1 19
Cooking pot Volume depends on group size Evernew ECA-252R Titanium Ultralight Pot 0.9L 105 69
Cooking pot Volume depends on group size Primus AluTech Trek Kettle 1.0L 200 18
Cooking pot grip For gripping cooking pots/bowls MSR 45 10
Hiking map See Navigation for more details Aviemore & Central Cairngorms (AA Walker’s maps 28) 96 15
Hiking map See Navigation for more details Cairngorms & Lochnagar (BMC Harvey Mountain Map) 83 15
Map case Waterproof Ortlieb 27 x 27 60 20
GPS Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS watch (no built in map) 89 500
First aid kit Contents depends on trip and group size Bandages, plasters, compeed (anti-blister), sports tape, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, tick remover, pain killers 140 30
Repair items Sowing set, duct tape, air mattress repair kit, Seamgrip glue 50 10
Sunscreen Aloe Gator SPF 40+ total sunblock gel waterproof UVA-UVB protect 32 3
Bio-degradable soap Bever Zwerfzeep 40 4
Toilet paper Backup From supermarket (only little bit) 15 1
Small plastic shovel For burying excrement Patrick Plastics 50 5
Camera Sony Cybershot DSC-WX220 122 200
Camera spare battery Jupio Li-ion Model CSO0025 13 20
Stickpick To mount camera on hiking pole BackpackingLight 10 20
Monocular Bushnell Bear Grylls 140 65
Kindling For fire lighting in wet conditions Roll of birch bark in plastic bag 10 0
Fixed-blade knife For splitting wood Mora Training Knife Model 780 110 23
Extra rope 2m paracord 60 10
watersocks For river crossings Vincere Grip/Boat Socks 88 23
Wind & temp. meter Kestrel 2000 95 140
TOTAL 3801 1620
PETE BRINGS
Camera GoPro Hero + headstrap 111 140
Powerbank For charging electronic devices Anker 16000 mAh 308 30
TOTAL 419 170

Weather

General

The Scottish Highlands are wet, gray and cool. The highest mountain tops are often in fog and hard wind (can be up to hurricane force!)

Temperature, precipitation and wind in Cairngorms in June
Average. temp. Max. 12 C, min. 5 C
Average precipitation 98 mm
Av. no of days with precipitat. 19
Av. wind speed 3-4 Bft
Dominant wind direction South-West

Source: https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/modelclimate/cairngorms-national-park_united-kingdom_10104113

Keep in mind: temperature drops about 0.8C every 100m of elevation (= lapse rate), and wind generally increases.

Sun
15 June 2015 21 June 2015
Rise 04:19 04:19
Set 22:12 22:14
Moon
15 June 2015 21 June 2015
Set 20:35
Rise 04:08 10:05
Illumination 2% 22%

Source: http://www.heavens-above.com/

Scottish Mountain Weather Reports (look under “Cairngorms National Park, Monadhliath”):
http://www.mcofs.org.uk/weather-reports.asp

Webcams (e.g. to check snowlines):
http://www.winterhighland.info/cams/cairngorm-mountain/

Other

  • Keep your stuff light! Preferably max. weight: 17 kg.

E.g.:

Max. weights
In backpack Gear 10 kg
Food 4 kg
1 liter water 1 kg
On your person Clothing & Gear 2 kg
Total 17 kg
  • Airplane luggage: max. allowed weight (KLM): 12 kg (carry on) + 23 kg (in hull) = 35 kg.
  • Packing tip: pack your bag at least 2 days in advance.
  • Fitness: make sure you are fit enough to walk 5 hours with a backpack over rough terrain.
  • Wild camping: in Scotland you are allowed to wild camp under the following conditions: in a small group, with lightweight tents, max. 3 nights in one place and out of sight of paths, roads, houses, etc. (Land Reform Scotland Act 2003).
  • Currency in Scotland: their own version of British Pounds (same exchange rate). £ 1 = about € 1,4. One pound is subdivided into 100 pence (singular: penny).
  • Time difference: in Scotland it is 1 hour earlier than in The Netherlands.
  • Power plugs: if you want to charge electronic devices in Scotland, you need different power plugs than in the Netherlands.
  • Mosquitos, midges and horse flies can be real plague in the Summer in Scotland so sometimes you need to wear long sleeve shirts, gloves and a headnet. Prime midge-time: 15 Jun. – 15 Sep.
  • Ticks: every day check your body for ticks (some carry Lyme Disease). If you remove them within 24 hours after a bite, normally you are fine.
  • Flora and fauna to expect: red deer, sheep, roe deer, scottish highland cattle, reindeer, rabbit, hare, fox, red squirrel, adder, all kinds of birds, pine, spruce, larch, common juniper, birch, rowan, gorse, bracken, all kinds of moss, grasses and heather plants.
  • Hunting: the stag (deer) stalking season is from 1 July to 20 Oct. 2015 so we should not have problems with hunting during our trek. (The Heading for the Scottish Hills website has some [limited] information about where and when hunting is going on).
  • Peaks: the Cairngorms are home to five of the six highest mountains in Scotland: Ben Macdhui (1309 m), Braeriach (1296 m), Cairn Toul (1293 m), Sgor an Lochain Uaine (1258 m) and Cairn Gorm (1245 m) and features 18 Munros (mountains over 3000 feet or 914 m) in total.
  • Tree line elevation in Scotland is about 500 m.
  • Scottish mountain words that might come in handy:
Allt Stream
Beinn Ben = Mountain
Bothy Small mountain hut
Burn Stream
Cairn Mound of stones
Coire Corrie = Curved-hollow
Ford River crossing
Glen Valley
Loch Lake
  • Other people: the Scottish Highlands are often very quiet so we probably won’t see many other people.
  • Connection: Assume that you have no (or very little) connection with your mobile phone in the area (no calling signal and no internet).
  • Alpine distress signal: 6 signals (e.g. whistle blasts) per minute, 1 min. break, repeat. Reply: 3 signals (e.g. whistle blasts) per min., 1 min. break, repeat.
  • Emergency plan: If Marcy (Marc’s sister) has not heard that we have returned to civilization on Monday morning 22 June 2015, she will contact Scottish Mountain rescue.
  • Emergency phone number in Scotland is +44 999 or +44 112 (ask for police and then mountain rescue).

< The section below is added after the trip >

Results

Dist. (km) Asc. (m) Desc. (m) Peak (m) Time (u:m) Break (u:m)
15 jun. 7.0 70 0 280 1:30 0:00
16 jun. 17.0 200 100 350 4:30 0:45
17 jun. 22.0 530 330 615 7:00 1:20
18 jun. 15.0 230 200 800 4:00 1:00
19 jun. 15.0 350 600 825 4:30 0:40
20 jun. 16.0 80 180 330 3:30 0:45
TOT. 92.0 1460 1410 3200 25:00 4:30
Avrg / day 15.3 243 235 533 4:10 0:45

Final trekking route (on Google Maps)

Photo’s (on Facebook)
Film (on YouTube)

Lessons learned

  • Incorporating the latest mountain weather forecast (wind, snow, temperature, rain) is crucial for planning our hiking route on the Cairngorms plateau.
  • Snow was still an obstacle on the higher routes on the plateau (even in the second half of June 2015).
  • The midges were a real nuisance under the tree line. Good head nets (+ anti-mosquito stuff) were needed.
  • Andrew Skurka’s selfmade alcohol stove + aluminum wind screen both work well but need some fiddling and care (need flat & stable surface, good wind protection, takes about 15 min. to boil 600ml water).
  • The 1 : 40.000 BMC map was more accurate in some ways than the 1 : 25.000 AA map.
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