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Yay the Ray-Way!

Inspired by Ray Jardine, my best friend and tramping partner Matt introduced me to the Ray-Way.

To me Ray-Way means lightweight tramping, aiming for a pack weight (including all equipment and gear) as low as possible. Food is not counted in pack weight, only the dead weight of essentials. For a 25 day off-track traverse of Fiordland, my pack (without food but including fuel) weighed 8 kg. Even this is too heavy!

All of my Ray-Way equipment is homemade on (borrowed) sewing machines, using fabric purchased from Ray-Way or from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics in the USA. It is impossible to source many of the fabrics needed in New Zealand (except cordura used for my pack). It is also impossible to buy commercial versions of this equipment, and if it is possible, hugely expensive.

Of course, sewing is an enormous and time consuming chore and drives me insane, but the end product is worth it.

In the past I have always tramped with traditional New Zealand tramping gear. I have a 2.5kg, $400 MacPac Torre pack, a $200 MSR cooker, $500 Italian Kayland boots, $300 Macpac bivvy bag, etc etc. I now use none of these, and dont ever plan to use them again (unless mountaineering).

All of the following I have made myself from homemade or RayWay patterns:
– Lightweight $40 pack
– 600g fly and net-tent
– Nylon shell suit – the most versatile piece of clothing you can have!
– An experimental thermal skin (wetsuit) vest for wet weather
– Synthetic sleeping bag
– Synthetic jacket, vest and bomber hat
– Beer can meths stove with potstand and windsheild
– Goretex raincoat

My packweight for a 25 day trip in Fiordland National Park:

Pack =
690g Cordura Pack (no frame or waistbelt, drain holes at bottom)
360g Two packliners (one for sleeping gear)

Sleeping system =
500g Fly
260g Groundsheet
200g pegs
170g Foampad
670g Synthetic sleeping bag
370g Synthetic vest and bomber hat
440g Polypro bottom and longsleeve top

Wet weather equipment =
500g Goretex raincoat
80g Goretex gauntlets
440g Malden 2000 thermal skin vest, mittens, balaclava and hat

Footwear =
Adidas running shoes
240g 3 pairs Warehouse nylon socks
190g Gaiters

Clothing =
290g Polyester shirt and sunhat
100g Nylon shorts
390g Nylon shell jacket, pants, mittens and booties, Headnet
440g Polypro longsleeve top, shortsleeve top, bottom

Cooking equipment =
700g Beer can meths stove, 2 billies, Spoon, potstand, windshield
700g Meths

Sundries =
400g Camera
540g First aid kit
300g Maps and map case, compass


Comment from Phil Cawley
Time: December 23, 2009, 11:17 am

Surfed in whilst looking at lightweight “stuff”! Am busy playing at making stoves!! Best so far is a Spam tin with holes in the top. Light as and Oh, so easy to make!! Cheers, Phil.

Comment from Michael
Time: October 22, 2014, 11:19 am

Just wondering where you found Cordura here…?



Comment from Tristan Riley
Time: November 21, 2014, 10:01 pm

Hi. I got cordura from Harald’s fabric shop in Christchurch. Haven’t checked there for a while. Also bought via net from Outdoor Wilderness Fabric, and Ray Jardine (rayway), both USA. I need more now for new backpacks.

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