Discover the secret to crossing the Alps

Hiking and flying 1,800km across three mountain ranges requires one essential thing – light gear.
By Tarquin Cooper

What to pack? It's the eternal dilemma faced by anyone heading on a trip. Getting the weight down takes on a whole new level of importance when you're trying to hike and fly almost 2,000km across three mountain ranges in Europe. The answer, says Tom de Dorlodot, is 'as little as possible'.

The gear of Tom de Dorlodot and Paul Gushlbauer for Adriatic Circle
It's the gear that makes this trip possible © Philip Platzer/Red Bull Content Pool (graphic: Andreas Aust)

“We're taking only what we need and nothing that we don't.” The pair and their gear manufacturers have taken a truly minimalist approach, shaving grams wherever possible.

Tom's Black Diamond helmet for example weighs under 200g. Paul Guschlbauer's Skywalk Glider, at 3.5kg, is one of the lightest around.

“It's been a year of development,” says Paul.

“With vol bivvy, light is right,” adds Tom.

Their sleeping arrangements are seriously spartan. “We're not taking sleeping bags,” says Tom. Instead the pair are sleeping underneath their gliders to save the 700g weight of a bag. But they will take roll mats.

“If you go fast you need to sleep well,” says Tom.

Paul Guschlbauer and Thomas de Dorlodot using the GPS to navigate in the mountains.
It says 1,800km to go. © Philip Platzer/Red Bull Content Pool

Their flying gear weighs around 7kg and their total weight with water and extras is between 12-13kg.

It's the gear that actually makes the trip possible, says Tom. “If you tried to do this 10 years ago you'd have a 25kg backpack.”

There's just one area where the pair are hoping not to lose weight – and that's on themselves. Tom says this is a particular issue for him. “In my first Red Bull X-Alps I lost 7kg! To be successful, I also need to eat well.”

Fortunately, if the Alpine regions are famous for one thing – it's calorie intense cuisine. Bring on the cheese...

Paul Guschlbauer starting with his paraglide.
Preparing to launch © Philip Platzer/Red Bull Content Pool

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