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SUL in Dolly Sods
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Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 11:03:43 MDT Print View

Just took my first SUL (5lb base weight) trip over Labor Day weekend in Dolly Sods wilderness in WVA. The weather was perfect and I think conditions in "the Sods" were about as benign as they'll ever get. There were more hikers out an about than I'd ever seen in one weekend.

Overall I'd rate the weekend a success. I didn't feel I really had to skip or compromise to achieve a 5lb base weight and I almost felt I wasn't wearing a pack for most of the time.

Basic gear was:

GG G5 backpack 7.8oz
GG Spinnshelter w/bug net & stakes 16.9oz
Ground sheet 1.5oz
Marmot Atom sleeping bag 17.4oz
GG Nightlight torso pad 3.7oz
O2 Rain jacket 5.4oz
Montell Zeoline long sleeved shirt 6.7oz

The balance of the 5lbs was taken by a lightweight alcohol stove w/foil lid, two Platypus 1L canteens, and the usual miscellaneous acqua mire, DEET, headlamp, first aid basics, toothbrush etc. I wore REI soft shell convetible pants, an EMS long sleeves synthetic shirt, and a Tilly wide-brimmed hat.

I did "cheat" by allowing myself to bring a book and not counting it as part of my base weight. That said my total starting pack weight for the 3-day 2-night trip was about 11.5lbs.

My one big lesson: The G5 is way to big for a SUL trip. I'm now waiting for the G6s to get back in stock.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 11:15:17 MDT Print View


came to the same conclusion when i dropped ~2.5 or 3lbs of gear to make the SUL sub-5lb barrier. still love my G5, but it was too big for use with the SUL kit. i received the G6 a couple of months ago and it's perfect. enough room left over for 3+ days of food (i don't need a bear canister, so i don't know how that aspect would affect the use of the G6 for a SUL 3-day).

Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 11:27:45 MDT Print View

Hi Paul,

Regarding the G5 (I have one of these and like it), I'm wondering about the "too big" comments, based on the fact that you can have your sleeping bag take up lots of space in the pack as necessary if you don't use a stuffsack. I do agree that the G5 can hold quite a bit, I've used it with my 7 year old son carrying both my stuff and lots of his (about 14 lbs base wt before food/water).

With just my own stuff I just don't compress my bag and let it take up lots of space.

With that said I plan to get a G6 when they are available.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 14:07:12 MDT Print View

Daniel, Agreed.

I too like my sleeping bag in the G5 to "fluff" as much as possible. To that end and for lowering my CG when i'm wearing the pack, i tend to put the food in the bottom of the pack so that the food doesn't compress the bag. later on in the trek the bag will be placed in the bottom and fluff to fill the entire, wider bottom portion.

Here's my experience & rational:

For a colder weather bag, or possibly a synth. bag (not sure, however, i could break the SUL 5lb load barrier with a heavier winter or synth bag), the G5 & UL (in my case, ~7.5lb base pack wt) are made for each other. Plus there would be room for more than 3d food in the G5 with my kit. For a warmer weather bag and 1-3d food the G5 was still too big even with the bag "fluffed". Even with the top rolled all the way down, there was still room and stuff sacks would shift a bit. I suppose if had transferred all of the gear (including items like rain gear that i wanted handy) from the side and front pocket into the pack (or used a pad inside the pack instead of in the outside pad pocket) then the G5 would have been full with the top rolled all of the way down. I could also have possibly wrapped the pack in some fashion with a 1/2" web belt for some compression (adding slightly to the base pack wt). Also, for some, possibly, the added few ounces of the G5 (and some compression webbing and/or bungee and toggle) might push them over the 5lb SUL barrier if they were close to it.

In the G6 my bag is compressed just a tad more than I would like it to be, but only slightly so. It's by no means compressed like some do with a compression sack.

I should mention that Glen sent me a pack labeled a large. I didn't specify a size, but had told him i was a little concerned with volume (not weight). Actually, since there is no hipbelt, I hadn't even realized that the G6 came in sizes. Not sure if the 'large' has to do with internal volume or just shoulder strap length and/or placement, or both. If anyone knows the ans. to this ques. about the meaning of G6 sizing, please enlighten me.

i've written this rather quickly. i hope that it is clear and not too confusing.

Edited by pj on 09/14/2005 14:07:42 MDT.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 15:19:52 MDT Print View

I didn't realize the G6 came in sizes - I thought it was one size fits all.

I never thought to put the sleeping bag on top of the food sack, although I prefer my CG fairly high so I'm not sure how that would have felt. What ended up happening to me was that over time the food sack ended up compressing the (initially uncompressed) bag and leaving a big gap at the top. Even with the bag uncompressed there was barely enough content to "fill out" the G5.

It does make me think of the possibility of doing a long trip with no resupply using the G5 and still not breaking 20lb.

Paul: On a follow-up note you responded to a question I posted in July asking about the weight limit for a G5 (I was preparing for a 6 day trip to the Sierra National Forest in August). I ended up carrying about 24lbs in the G5 from the trailhead, going down to about 22 the following day. It actually wasn't too bad because I used a semi-inflated Thermarest Prolite 3/4 pad as an internal cylinder frame and it made a big difference. My shoulders were a little sore but it was manageable. Not sure I'd advise it as SOP though.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/14/2005 15:47:56 MDT Print View


thanks for the follow-up info to the July query.

as i stated, i'm not sure if the size Large (maybe it was on the G6 packing slip - i'll have to look at the G6 pack closely again), referred to the internal volume or the shoulder strap length. it definitely refers to the shoulders strap length in the G5.

agree with you that the G5 with an SUL base pack wt can hold a lot of food and is a real possibility for a relatively long no-resupply trek and not break (go above) 20lb. starting total pack wt.

my XL gear list showed me that with an UL ~7.5lb base pack wt + 5days food (another 7.5lb) + water bottles full i would only be at ~19.5lb total pack wt, depending upon how much water i want to carry. drop the base pack wt. down to 5lb and thats another ~1.67days of food (all food at 1.5lb per day). increase food by 1/3 more day and take the 19.5lb total pack wt. up to 20lb even. now we're up to (let's see if i have enough fingers for counting this one)...7 days of food if i've added correctly. reduce the water a bit if it can be done safely (i always figure at least 2L of water max carried & so always used the full amount in calculating total pack wt) and add in maybe another 1/2 day or more - now we're up to 7.5days of food without breaking 20lb. total pack wt. i've noticed some people only carry 1L max, so they would be able to get close to 9days of food (at 1.5lb per day) into the pack. of course, i'm forgetting here about adding in 4more oz of fuel for the difference between the 5days we started with and the 9days we ended up with. of course, some GORP only days would loose part or all of the final 9oz of fuel. in my case, with my SUL kit/gear, i don't think volume will be an issue as i use only about 1/2 or less of each side pocket volume and around half, or just a tad more of the front pocket volume. of course, in your case, if you used a diff. pad & put it in the pad pocket, you could fit even more food inside the pack, but then a day's worth of food weighs a lot more (2 times as much???) than the pad, so maybe that would push you over the 20lb mark.

also, i'm thinking that to keep the load inside from shifting as the food is consumed, some form of compression is really helpful if the shifting is objectionable. this could be accomplished with either bungee+toggle or half-inch wide webbing with buckle.

so,...was this what you had in mind, i.e. 7.5 to 9 days no-resupply? any suggestions?

Edited by pj on 09/14/2005 16:11:06 MDT.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/15/2005 07:19:24 MDT Print View

This is the kind of thing I was thinking. For a SUL trip I definitely wouldn't use the Thermasrest (way too heavy) - I use a Nightlight pad in the pad poacket instead. I only usually carry 1L of water so that would theoretically leave me with 13lbs just for food. Makes for a long trip, but I hate to think how my clothes would smell at the end.

I'm not sure if anyone's seriously approached a PCT hike from this perspective, but it'd be interesting to think out a SUL-like gear list for that (perhaps using bounce boxes for crampons etc if they were necessary) using a pack like the Mariposa that I think has a much larger carrying capacity.

Haven't thought about compression straps for the G5 but they'd definitely be a good thing. Might have to experiment.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: SUL in Dolly Sods on 09/15/2005 09:35:40 MDT Print View

Mariposa is a great pack - rcv'd one as a gift.

Going UL is definitely doable, but SUL might be another story - you're adding a tad over 8oz to the base pack wt.

Let use know what you decide & how it turns out. Will make for some interesting posts when you return from your trek.