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un_rap Cornwall : packing zero waste

#un_rapcornwall is about to start, but I have been preparing for weeks. Packing for a 300 mile hiking adventure takes time, but aiming for a zero-waste and ultra-light trip really requires some research.

I truly love long distance hiking, so investing in the big 3 pieces of gear was very exciting. The big 3 are: pack, shelter and sleeping bag. These are unavoidable and necessary to survive.

I already had an Osprey backpack I bought on ebay for other trips. However I did invest in an MSR tent (ultra light weight) and a very warm Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. These 3 items and a sleeping mat are investments I cold not avoid, but they will last me many years and many miles.

My brother is a shoe designer for New Balance, so my boots and the majority of my clothes are Christmas presents collected over the last few years. For example, my jacket is from 2016. Alternatively, I buy clothes on ebay.

Now, down to the nitty gritty and why you are all here. How will I complete this hike zero waste? So...

- Using ingredients from un_rap and locally-sourced, unpackaged veg, I will prepare meals at home and dehydrate them (in a dehydrator from ebay). I will pack them in reusable containers and rehydrate them on the trail. I will carry the containers to my next resupply pickup where they will be refilled for my next resupply drop. This eliminates waste as much as possible throughout the supply chain. The reusable containers will also last me years of hiking. It is a lot of work, however I have learned many new skills and its rewarding to know I am having minimal impact. The next blog post will go into my food prep in detail.

- I will carry a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and lunchbox. If I buy food along the way, it will only be in my own reusable containers, or I will go without. I also won't buy food that quite clearly came out of packaging. We are talking proper homemade foods from small local businesses, ideally organic...

- I will use eco toiletries. Only bamboo toothbrushes, cardboard tube deodorants and compostable plasters for me. This is normal in my life anyway, so no big changes. Even my alcohol hand gel is refilled from un_rap and my face mask is reusable. I must confess though, there is one item I cannot leave without and it cannot be found plastic-free... Voltarol Pain-eze. It is an anti-inflammatory gel for joints, muscles and tendons. Having walked El Camino I know my knees struggle with tendon and ligament pains and this gel is the difference between walking or not walking. If anyone has a more eco-friendly alternative, I am all ears?

- I will carry a pencil - no plastic pens or harmful ink.

- I will carry paper tape & a needle with thread - no gorilla grip to fix my broken gear or toes.

- I will carry a refillable water bottle with a filter, so no single-use water filter tablets.

- My tea is loose leaf.

- My coffee is delivered to un_rap straight off the roaster, stored in a dispenser, then ground into a reusable container.

- My camera requires no film.

- My spork is bamboo.

- My shampoo is a bar or refills. - The books I read are second hand. - My notepad is made of recycled paper.

It is very easy and very rewarding to live with barely anything, which is always the most sustainable choice. Everything I am taking I have thought about and tried my best to make sustainable choices.

Tune in for the next blog, which will go into detail about zero waste food prep. #un_rapcornwall


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