I had the pleasure of meeting up with Rob, otherwise known as Mr G, a photographer, explorer and climber from Sussex, to discuss his recent trip to the mountains of Tajikistan, where he found great use in his Gearing tripod for a multitude of purposes.
Hi Rob, thank you for giving us some of your time to hear about your recent trip to Tajikistan. Can you tell me why you chose this country in particular? I can’t lie, it is one country that I have never really heard of.
Not at all - I’m happy to share my experience of being out there. I took a trip in 2017 to Kazakhstan where I was blown away by the difference in their lifestyle to ours. Having been a keen traveller and adventurer all of my life, I have highly valued what immersing yourself in another culture and country can do to your soul. We are all so comfortable in our lives in the UK, yet complain so much. It's important to see how fortunate we are and get a real shock to the system sometimes. So I like to take myself off to a new remote country every few years to realign my chakras and take some time to appreciate the world. Tajikistan is a lot smaller than Kazakhstan but I had heard great things about the mountains and the people that could be found there. So I decided to venture back out to Central Asia to try something new and see what Tajikistan had to offer.
What a great way to live your life. Something many of us wish we could do more. So, when you go on these trips, what kind of kit do you see as absolute necessities?
When you are entering conditions like these - temperatures hovering around -30 celsius, super thin air and being very exposed to the elements - you need gear that will survive and help you survive. Layers are your best friend - always start with Merino on the skin and work your way up from there. Super strong but supple boots in a larger size will keep you warm. For your kit, you will be entering the most remote of locations where you can have no phone signal for days. Don’t even think about leaving the UK without a satellite communicator and GPS - Garmin makes the inReach Explorer+ which has worldwide coverage and allows you to text and email, and can send an SOS message out. For my photographic needs and my trekking poles, I brought the Gearing Tripod with me. The sturdiness and strength of this bit of kit is truly unmatched and it proved its abilities in the toughest of climates. Aside from the tripod itself, the trekking pole handles, snow baskets and spikes came with me. The ease in transition from tripod to trekking poles and back again was invaluable and made taking photos incredibly easy. It is undeniably a huge part of the success of my trip in Tajikistan.
We’re glad to hear our tripod provided you with all the strength and support you needed. How did you cope with other changes out there? I can imagine altitude sickness, diet and hydration took a toll on your body.
Entering the mountains of Tajikistan is a bit of a shock to the system - we stayed well over 4000m for the duration of the trip, and the ascent and descent of these heights were rapid. It's important to keep your hydration levels as high as possible. Some people like to add sugar powders and syrups but I personally find these can worsen the sickness. Due to the remoteness of our location in the mountains, I brought high fat energy bars to keep me going, but we ate a lot of raw meat from what nature provided us with. In order to prepare my stomach for the massive change in diet, I took a variety of probiotics for a few weeks before my trip. These lessened the effects and helped me stay strong. Luckily for me, though we were in arctic conditions the entire time, we were surrounded by snow to boil down. Chuck a water purification tablet in with your water and you're sorted.
Thanks for the tips - we’ll make sure to remember them if we find ourselves in some of the most remote mountains in the world! Finally, have you got any more to add about your experience with the Gearing tripod?
As a man who knows a good piece of gear when he sees it - I know that you guys have got a seriously impressive product in the Gearing tripod and a real game changer in the camera technology world. I tested it out for a few hikes in the UK around Scotland and Exeter before I went abroad to make sure it could handle the conditions out there, and it did not disappoint. Out in Tajikistan, the spikes survived well through the unpredictable path of snow, rock and frozen ground, the handles were comfortable through hours of trekking, and the carbon fibre poles showcased their strength to the max. I had no doubt in its ability before I went and it has come back fully intact and ready for more. In addition, the whole kit is field serviceable, meaning no matter what weather or ground it encounters I can make sure it is clean and fully functional. I am planning a trip to the Atacama Desert as soon as I can get there and I know the Gearing tripod will be coming with me and will consistently perform well.