Gear for Porters
LFTO News Team
17 March 2012 00:00
They carry your heaviest bags over the same ground as you, feel the same cold as you and need the same kit as you – but there’s a difference. Porters are tackling some of the harshest conditions in the world in clothing you probably wouldn’t go to the shops in. And here’s your chance to change someone’s life – and all it will cost you is the old gear you no longer need.
Every year, hundreds of porters – from the very young to the very old – carry massive loads in locations such as the Himalayas to aid western trekkers. Many are very ill-equipped, most are paid little, and a huge number rely on donations from trekkers to buy the clothing they work in. Many suffer hugely; some die.
In 2008 Trail teamed up with the charity Porters’ Progress UK to collect sunglasses for Himalayan porters at risk of agonising snow blindness when travelling across icefields. The campaign was a huge success – so we’re asking for your help again, and not just for sunglasses.
“There is a big shortage of breathable kit – Gore-Tex jackets, boots, overtrousers, technical gloves – plus, of course, sun-glasses of category 3 and above,“ says Gabrielle Dean of Porters’ Progress UK. “Some clothing can be made locally, such as fleece – we’d avoid these as we want to help support the local economy.“
||Mountaineer Kenton Cool – who has climbed Everest nine times – is a keen supporter of Porters’ Progress. “What many people think of as porters are the high-altitude Sherpas who we climb with. They aren’t: they’re the guys we see every day on the trail, sometimes in flip-flops, sometimes barefoot and in little more than shorts and a T-shirt, carrying back-breaking loads,” he told Trail. “There’s an expectation put on porters to keep up with western trekkers, but sometimes this exposes them to conditions they’re not equipped for. I’ve seen horrendous frostbite, and porters have literally frozen to death on high passes. And it’s totally avoidable. I implore your readers to get behind this.“
Here’s your chance. If you’ve got any of the kit on the list below that you’d like put to good use, send it here and we’ll make sure the people who need it get it.
What’s more, include your name and address with your donation and we’ll select a winner at random after 30th April to receive a cache of gear from the Trail gear cupboard as a thank you.
For more information on porters visit www.portersprogress.org