Paraglider Tom de Dorlodot tells Andy Pag about his favorite gear for long vol-bivvy trips.
I love my Gradient Aspen 4 Light paragliding wing. It's famous for it's agile handling, and it's a safe wing to fly so I can relax in the air. Often I have my hands off the controls taking pictures because I trust it so much. I can use this wing in a range of conditions, so I'm rarely hemmed in by strong winds. It's relaxing to fly which is important because after I land I need energy for hours of hiking.
When I'm travelling solo and taking even the smallest risks in the air, a tracker is essential. The Spot Connect pairs with my iPhone and allows me to send custom messages to my followers. It links to a map on my website www.thomasdedorlodot.com. A few times I've arrived in a village to find people waiting for me.
I've been fishing since I was a kid, and paragliding is a great way to scout a good fishing spot from the air. During the month-long hike and fly across New Zealand's South Island I took my Sage TXL-F 4-Piece Fishing Rod. With just 300g of rod, line and flies I was able to regularly fish two kilograms of trout for dinner. That feeling of self-sufficiency is really liberating.
I like light shoes, and I've never seen the need for hiking boots. Even in remote areas I'm usually following trails, so I wear Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX trail shoes. They have good grip and are made with breathable Gore-Tex. They don't offer as much protection as boots in a bad landing, but it's a worthwhile compromise.
I think about every gram in my pack. It weighs 12kg but in the next five years, gear will evolve to get it down to 7kg. Made from carbon fibre, Black Diamond's Ultra Distance trekking poles are the lightest in their range. With weight on my shoulders, the poles spread the load and stop me getting fatigued. I'm not much of a runner, but I can hike forever.