Osprey backpacks with their Anti-Gravity (AG) back system are the most comfortable and easy to carry we’ve ever used. We highly recommend them!
We couldn’t have done this trek without them and met plenty others of the same opinion. Cork handles are by far the best when it comes to hot sweaty palms and carbon fibre will help you keep the weight down. After much deliberation we chose these poles and they’ve done us proud on countless trails now.
Order the EWP Fann Mountains map before you leave home. You’re highly unlikely to find it in Tajikistan. It’s the most detailed and useful paper map out there, plus it has a wealth of information about the area, local customs and more. We used this to plan our route in advance and in conjunction with Maps.Me while we were actually trekking.
There’s nowhere to charge your devices other than homestays, so you’ll need this to keep everything working! It folds up small and light and can attach to your bag if you want to use it on the go. It works perfectly for us, charging everything apart from our laptop and drone batteries.
Water Treatment System
There’s no shortage of water on the trek, but you’ll need to treat it before drinking. There are numerous ways of doing this, like purification tablets, pumps, squeeze filters or a LifeStraw. Our personal favourite is the Steripen. Used in conjunction with their filter this gives us pure water that is sterilised by UV light, killing any harmful bacteria. It’s really quick and easy to use, requiring minimal effort. We can recharge the battery via USB using our solar panel every few days. (We use this day in day out everywhere we go on our travels, not just when trekking. It’s been a huge backpacking game changer for us and we’ve more than made back our money on it!)
It’s useful to have a water bottle for around camp and filling up at streams. We love our Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth bottles. They’re see-through and have markings down the side, making it easy to measure out the right amount of water for our dehydrated meals. Easy to carry and use, they go everywhere with us these days.
For easy drinking on the go. We’ve tried a few, our latest Hydrapak winning hands down for ease of use and cleaning. You can use it as a water reserve around camp too.
We debated long and hard over whether to buy this or not as it’s pretty expensive, but in the end our safety is more important to us than our bank balance. This SOS emergency device is capable of two-way messaging via the Iridium satellite network, providing us with a lifeline to a 24/7 emergency response team. There’s no mobile network coverage in the Fann Mountains, outside of a few select villages or base camps, so having something like this is your only way of communicating with the outside world. The only times we had phone signal were in Zimtut and at Alplager Base Camp near Artuch (we had T-Cell SIM cards). We also used our InReach to message family to reassure them we were safe, to get accurate weather reports, and as an extra GPS tracking device. Del planned out all our routes in advance via the Earthmate app, a third map source for us. You have to have an active contract to use the InReach, with monthly and annual options available. If you travel in remote areas regularly it’s a good investment.
Scrubba & Suds
Even with the best no-stink merino wool T-shirts in tow you’re gonna need to do some washing at some point. The Scrubba is a genius solution to doing laundry on the go and ideal on a trek like this. Collect water from the river, add suds and rub away. Empty out the soapy water away from your water source and rinse with fresh water. Drape your clothes over a nice rock, or string them up to dry.