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Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/27/2009 21:42:17 MST Print View

I am planning a Southbound thru hike of Minnesota's 205 mile Superior Hiking Trail starting on May 16th. The trail will be damp, cool, and rain is likely. Average highs in the area that time of year are mid-upper 50's and average lows are upper 30's. So, not *cold* but not warm. The record night time low that time of year is 24 degrees. I am a very warm person (sleeper, sitter, walker, whatever).

I'm planning average daily mileage of 13.9 miles/day for the first 7 days with my wife. Then I'm kicking it up to 21.6 mile/day averages for the second half when i go solo for 5 days.

I am trying to fine tune my gear list for this trip. I'd love any input. Items preceded with a * are not purchased yet. I do have lightweight items in their place today, I'm just planning on some new stuff. To test things out, I am doing a 3-day "shakedown" hike on the trail with a buddy the weekend before the thru hike. My wife is taking the 6.3 oz camera for the first half, I'm not sure if I'll throw that in the belt pocket on my pack for the second half or not. If it's on my belt in the front, is it worn or pack weight? Not that it matters. :)

Weights should be pretty darn accurate - most of it was on my scale, a few things are from specs though.

---THIS PACK LIST UPDATES AS THE THREAD GROWS---

Total Pack Base Weight: 10 pounds 11 oz

Pack, Shelter, Sleep System - 7 pounds 11 oz
32 - *Granite Gear Vapor Trail
27 - WM MegaLite Long, S2S Ultra-Sil Sack, Mylar bag liner
14 - *Therm-a-Rest NeoAIR
45 - SMD Lunar Duo w/ stakes

Kitchen - 5 oz
0.75 - Windscreen
0.50 - Homemade RedBull Stove
3.25 - Snow Peak 700 Mug & Home made Lid
0.25 - Mini Bic
0.25 - Lexan Spoon

Hydration - 7.25 oz
1.00 - 20oz Aquafina Botte
3.25 - Platypus Hoser 1.8L Bladder
0.50 - Aquamira/Micropur Tabs
2.50 - Katadyn Filter Cartridge (inline/gravity)

Hygene & Misc - 1 pound 3.25 oz
1.0 - Toothbrush, floss, baking soda
2.0 - Toilet Paper
1.0 - Dr Bonners Soap in dropper
0.5 - Sun Block
3.0 - Food Line, Bag, & Caribeaner
3.0 - 1st aid kit
2.5 - Petzl Headlamp
6.25 - Canon SD880 IS Camera

Clothing System - 1 pounds 5.5 oz
5.50 - DriDucks Jacket
1.00 - Bandana
1.50 - REI Fleece Hat
<strike>15.0 - REI Spruice Run Jacket (insulating layer & wind breaker)</strike>
7.00 - Mont Bell U.L. Inner Down Jacket
2.00 - Smartwool Socks
3.50 - Ex Officio Underwear
1.00 - S2S UltraSil Dry Sack & Mylar bag liner

------------------------

Worn Clothes & Carried Items - 2 pounds 8.15 oz
3.50 - Ex Officio Underwear
13.0 - REI Sahara Pants
7.40 - *SmartWool Microweight Zip-T (base layer)
12.5 - REI Peak UL Trekking Poles
1.75 - BenchMade 530 Knife (pocket)
2.00 - Smartwool Socks
???? - Brimmed light weight hat - weight not available
???? - Shoes... not sure what I'm wearing yet
???? - Smith Slider Sunglasses

For the curious... contents of First Aid kit (in a baggie):
16 Ibuprofen
6 benadryl
6 anti diarrhea
8 wound closure strips
4 band aids
3 Alcohol wipes
4 knuckle bandaids
1 finger tip bandaid
4 Neosporin single use
2 4x4" gauze pads
1 3x3" moleskin
1 partial roll of athletic tape (over 3' worth)
1 Tweezers
1 Mini Bic

Edited by mn-backpacker on 02/22/2009 15:39:45 MST.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Additional Detail on 01/27/2009 21:54:08 MST Print View

I should also mention I'll have one resupply when my wife splits off and goes home since a car will be there (almost exactly 1/2 way through). Any suggestions for things to throw in there other than my food/fuel resupply would be great.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: 2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/27/2009 22:29:55 MST Print View

This is a very solid list. You're obviously in the fine tuning phase. So here's a few suggestions although you don't need to change anything.

I prefer having a separate wind jacket. 50F is perfect weather to hike in a base layer + wind jacket. I over heat if I add any insulation.

You're pack is kind of heavy. The gg mariposa, ula circuit or mld ark could save 1 lb. If you lighten you're load a little more you can get a lighter pack.

A quilt could save 1/2 lb.

The lunar duo looks very luxurious although there are significantly lighter options.

Other things to drop an ounce or 2:
alcohol stove
foil or oven liner lid for your mug
get rid of the hose and 2 aquafina bottles
use natural tp :)

You're already at a a base weight that's low enough to make the going nearly as easy as a day hike. So pick your luxuries and enjoy them. You don't have many left.

p.s. no camera?

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Looks good on 01/28/2009 06:35:14 MST Print View

I did this hike with my brother last May, so I understand the conditions you could see. We averages about 19 miles/day. Here is my trip report: http://crazyrunnerguy.blogspot.com/2008/05/splash-down-i-have-returned.html. I don't have a full gear-list from that trip, but it was similar to your current list.

Your list looks great - you are definitely into serious fine-tuning. What is your backup pad is you can't get the NeoAir? Going with even a 3/4 ridgerest could save you 6 ounces. You could also drop the pillow and use your puffy jacket instead. I would also look hard at your SmartWool bottoms. These (along with my bandanna and zip-off pant legs) were one piece of gear I thought I could have done without.

I think you could drop your mid layer and swap your hat for a thin balaclava - you don't have a hood on that puffy jacket, do you?

Are you taking two utensils? What shelter will you be using when you are solo?

I might be up there around your time doing a fast-pack, so I'll let you know.

PM sent.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 01/28/2009 06:58:11 MST.

Paul Wozniak
(PaulW)

Locale: Midwest
2009 SHT Thru Hike - Exos weight on 01/28/2009 07:17:20 MST Print View

Dan,

Just an FYI, the Osprey Exos 46 Medium specs out at 37 oz. The weights unfortunately were increased from the specs given at last years Outdoor Show. You can find the pack and specs on the Osprey website under the heading Active Light Pursuits.

Paul

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Responses... on 01/28/2009 07:48:36 MST Print View

Nia - I prefer having a separate wind jacket. 50F is perfect weather to hike in a base layer + wind jacket. I over heat if I add any insulation.

Good point - I'm a heat machine. Any good lightweight suggestions that aren't a sauna?

Nia - You're pack is kind of heavy. The gg mariposa, ula circuit or mld ark could save 1 lb. If you lighten you're load a little more you can get a lighter pack.

I don't use a closed foam pad, and I want some form of suspension. I'm actually quite happy with my Granite Gear Vapor pack, but I find I sweat like a pig with the foam backpanel. The Exos mesh backpanel looks like it would do me well. Although I see it was mentioned that their quoted weights are off.

Nia - A quilt could save 1/2 lb.

Good suggestion, especially considering I rarely zip it up, but I love my Western Mountaineering bag, and appreciate the time that I can zip it up.

Nia - The lunar duo looks very luxurious although there are significantly lighter options.

Doesn't it look luxurious? :) The first half of the hike I'm sharing it. Almost all of my hiking is with my wife, so I can't really justify a buying something like a Lunar Solo for the rare solo hike.

Nia - Other things to drop an ounce or 2: alcohol stove, foil or oven liner lid for your mug, get rid of the hose and 2 aquafina bottles, use natural tp :)

Alcohol stove may work for part 2, so I may put mine in the car. I made one that works great with the relatively narrow bottom of my Snow Peak mug. For two people and 7 days, the Giga is more efficient. Good tip on the lid - the 1.25 ounce piece of stainless has always annoyed me. I really like having a hydration hose. The plan is to purify, let the chems work for 15 min, then have the Frontier hose hooked to the bladder to filter out Giardia. Natural TP? I've read the thread... I'm not ready yet, and I will NEVER convince my wife. :)

Nia - p.s. no camera?

My wife is carrying it the first half. It's 6.3 ounces... I think I'll cave and throw it in for the second half. I'll edit and add it to my above list.

Matt - What is your backup pad is you can't get the NeoAir?

I have a 14 oz Ridge Rest and a strangely heavy 27 ounce BA Air Core mummy cut. I don't know why it's so heavy. I side sleep and it's soooo much more comfortable on my hips that haven't gone back to my ridge rest even though it's... gulp... 10 oz heavier.

Matt - You could also drop the pillow and use your puffy jacket instead. I would also look hard at your SmartWool bottoms. These (along with my bandanna and zip-off pant legs) were one piece of gear I thought I could have done without.

I've been wondering about the jacket/pillow thing. I just got it this winter, so I haven't tried it as a pillow. It looks like it'd do pretty good though. I side sleep, so I need decent head elevation. I think I'll try it. On the smartwools - thanks for the tip. I am a very warm person, but was concerned if it got windy/rainy.

Matt - I think you could drop your mid layer and swap your hat for a thin balaclava - you don't have a hood on that puffy jacket, do you?

Drop the mid layer? Hadn't thought of that. If it was going to be warmer I'd argue, but I think you're on to something. It's coming off my list. Regarding the balaclava, hmmm... I have a shaved head and use the hat mostly for sleeping. My scalp is VERY sensitive to what is pushed up against it for 8 hours of sleep. I don't have a hood on my puffy jacket. I have bought many-a-hat that felt good in the store that got tossed after I realized they irritated my head after a few hours.

Matt - Are you taking two utensils? What shelter will you be using when you are solo? I might be up there around your time doing a fast-pack, so I'll let you know.

Yep, although - I'll probably leave the fork behind if I do all freezer bag cooking. They weigh almost nothing though. As mentioned above, I'm using the LD castle. I can't really justify shelling out a bunch of cash for a solo shelter that would be rarely used.

Paul - Just an FYI, the Osprey Exos 46 Medium specs out at 37 oz. The weights unfortunately were increased from the specs given at last years Outdoor Show.

JERKS! I'm updating my list above. I'm still thinking that mesh backpanel would be nice, but I'm a little less sure now.

Edited by mn-backpacker on 01/28/2009 07:51:16 MST.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Updated my List on 01/28/2009 08:18:55 MST Print View

I updated my gear list:

+7 = Updated Osprey pack weight
+6.3 = Added camera, (which will only be carried for the second 1/2)
-.25 = Removed Fork
-6.80 = Removed Eco Mesh Shirt (mid layer)
-5.60 = Removed SmartWool Microweight Bottoms (base layer)
-2.5 = Removed Mont-Bell pillow

Keep the ideas coming... :)

Jeremy Gustafson
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
RE:2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 09:00:09 MST Print View

Here's my thoughts... first check out my list as it is geared for the SHT down to about 35F. I don't know if it will be of any value to you, but here you go. I haven't actually tried this exact list yet as I am constantly upgrading, but I've been up there enough to have a feel that it should work. Notice that I am going to try out the no tp thing on my next trip... daring I know.

My 35F Gear List

One thing I am going to try this year after taking two trips on the SHT last year. The first was end of May 2008 where I saw temps down to about 30F. The second was end of October where we saw 20F, lots of rain and a little snow. In both cases, I never used my insulating jacket unless I wasn't moving. I'm thinking about trying out not bringing the insulated jacket and just grab my sleeping bag to through over my shoulders when I get chilled... If you decide to lose your insulating jacket, you would need to throw that midweight back in.

I also have always used my rain jacket as my wind breaker of which you could easily do. It was rainy and very windy for part of the October trip and one of the guys wore his driducks suit constantly... It was a lifesaver for him!! He didn't have much for insulation under it and was very comfortable.

I just recently bought my BA Clearview, so am curious to see if I can get by without any other insulation under me down to 35F. I am going to bring my short Z-Lite just in case on my next trip, but hope to not have to use it. I think that the 35-40F is going to be the bottom for not having a closed cell under me. If you sleep warm, you could pick one up and I bet you would be good down to that temp as well. This would save you a few more ounces on your pad and save some cash as well. I always carry a sit pad with me as having that insulation under me when I'm sitting around helps a ton. I would use this in combination with my BA Clearview as well for sleeping.

From my experience, you can lose the headnet and insect repellent. I've seen mosquitos in northern MN in the middle of May, but they are rare and usually harmless.

That's all I have for now...

Edited by gustafsj on 01/28/2009 09:05:31 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 10:27:16 MST Print View

My thoughts from my 2005 thru hike (May 1st - 15th):

1. I had snow on my first night out with temps below freezing.
2. In May the SHT will be running with an endless supply of water so you can make do with one water bottle no problem. All campsites are near water sources for easy water retrieval when cooking as well.
3. It rained 5 out of 15 days. Driducks are good, but if this is your first thru-hike you may want something super comfortable and extra breathable.

Now my thoughts on your hike:
1. Are you already an ultralight backpacker to the core? If not, don't use this trip as a means of becoming one. Use what you know and what are comfortable with otherwise you'll never go on a long distance hike again. Take away from it what you've learned and apply it to lightening up on future trips.
2. Save weight by resupplying often. Lutsen, Grand Marais, Silver Bay, your car. All good options. If the shuttle is running at that time they'll drop off food for you as well.
3. A twelve pound base isn't bad - yes I could suggest ways to lighten it but more importantly I'd rather you were comfortable and walked the trail from beginning to end.
4. Bring your camera - backpackers should always save room for a camera!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
OT: 2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 11:42:59 MST Print View

Sam, your note prompted me to re-visit your photo album. Let me try to guess the location of another photo ... #2of36 ... North Carlson Pond?? (near the Arrowhead trail) ... the Hoover Dam of beaver dams!

Edited by jcolten on 01/28/2009 11:43:56 MST.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Resupply on 01/28/2009 11:45:59 MST Print View

Great comments from Sam - I was waiting for him to put some up. I resupplied in Tofte. It is not much of a town - cafe, post office, no gas station or other grocery store. But what it does have is a that post office and it is only about 1.5 miles off-trail. The hike down is mostly on a road-size path and it quite easy. It is downhill, so hauling back up can be a little less fun. The post office is about 100 yards west on 61 once you reach it.

When I stopped there my brother and I went to the cafe there just as it closed. The owner, the only one working there, made my brother and I sandwiches and the taste of fresh food was like mana from heaven. The tomatoes and red onions had sharp flavor and enlightened my spirits (I had one extra-fierce blister).

One more thing: if you want more trip beta, I have photos posted on my Facebook.

Also, that beaver pond just blew me away the first time (and now everytime) I see it.

Here's some pics:

Arrowhead Pond 1

Another:

Arrowhead Pond 2

It is, however, not my favorite beaver dam. That honor squarely belongs to the dam at Sawmill Bog, where you need to walk some 100 yards over it. See:

Sawmill Bog - yup, that's a boardwalk on top of a beaver dam

Edited by citystuckhiker on 01/28/2009 12:01:48 MST.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
more... on 01/28/2009 11:50:33 MST Print View

Jeremy - From my experience, you can lose the headnet and insect repellent. I've seen mosquitos in northern MN in the middle of May, but they are rare and usually harmless.

I don't think I'd need it for the first half. I may put it in the car. Towards the end of May, it could get buggy if it warms up. If it stays cool, I'm probably okay.

Sam - Are you already an ultralight backpacker to the core? If not, don't use this trip as a means of becoming one.

Ultralight to the core? That sounds so definitive. ;) In June of 2003 I met a friend of my wife's on the SHT for short hike. His pack was incredibly light (he's hiked the AT and PCT many times - he's in his 60's). I saw his alcohol stove, tennis shoes, and little GoLite pack, but I didn't get it and our hike was easy. Two weeks later we went on a real trip in Colorado and it started to make more sense to me. Over the next two years I kept cutting more and more weight. I'd say 2006 was the first year I really got it. I haven't looked back. My longest hike, however, has been about 50 miles. Most of this has been due to getting vacation time.

Sam - Save weight by resupplying often. Lutsen, Grand Marais, Silver Bay, your car. All good options. If the shuttle is running at that time they'll drop off food for you as well.

The car will be in Tofte at Bluefin (my wife is treating herself), so that's an easy one, but the only one I had planned. Considering I'm going to have 10-14 pounds of food on day one of each 1/2 of the hike, splitting it in half again would be quite a savings. How much time do you spend going off trail to get to the food drops on the SHT?

I can post my itinerary if you want.

Edited by mn-backpacker on 01/28/2009 11:51:35 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 12:42:24 MST Print View

Ultralight @ Dan

Dan, it sounds like you know what you're getting into in terms of whether you should or shouldn't save weight. I take a cautious approach to suggesting people save lots of weight in their pack right before a long hike. It's better to try those techniques out on shakedowns.

Resupply @ Dan

As Matt mentioned, there's a post office at Tofte, there's a post office (and grocery) at Grand Marais and Silver Bay as well. Those two towns are an hour's walk off the trail so you'd add half a day to your overall trip length using them probably. Restaurants are basically on-trail at Cascade, Lutsen, where else? That might be outside your style of backpacking though.

Photo @ Jim
Jim I'd agree with you but I'm not sure which photo album you might be looking at. I have those pictures posted in at least three locations.

ps - Bluefin? Your wife is obviously smarter than all of us who would rather be on the trail than at that posh, lakeside location.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
adding weight on 01/28/2009 12:44:22 MST Print View

Sorry, but I would not rely on DriDucks on a long trip. They tear too easily.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
more... on 01/28/2009 13:15:40 MST Print View

Sam - ps - Bluefin? Your wife is obviously smarter than all of us who would rather be on the trail than at that posh, lakeside location.

Yeah... I know. She thinks I should do a night there to freshen up, have a hot meal, some beer, and then continue on. It might be nice, but I'm not sure how I feel about a "hotel night" on my SHT thru hike. But man, I bet that'll sound pretty d-a-m-n good 1/2 way through. :)

Frank - Sorry, but I would not rely on DriDucks on a long trip. They tear too easily.

My only defense is that every area I've ever been through on the SHT is pretty open. I'm more concerned about how they'd preform under sustained rain. Will they eventually wet out, or will they shed rain all day long? I've been fortunate enough to not hike in them all day in the rain.

Edited by mn-backpacker on 01/28/2009 13:16:18 MST.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Sawmill bog beaver dam on 01/28/2009 13:19:35 MST Print View

Matt - I've hiked that beaver dam at Sawmill bog. It's very cool! There was some water running over the boardwalk when I did it, and it was a bit slippery. Didn't fall in though. :)

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
SHT Openness on 01/28/2009 13:30:47 MST Print View

Like Dan said, the SHT is very, very open for a trail that goes through forests. There are some narrow sections but for the most part, the only areas to worry about snagging something is going around deadfalls.

Everytime I go over Sawmill Bog I unbuckle the hipbelt, undo pole traps, etc. Falling in on either side would suck.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 01/28/2009 13:31:19 MST.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:2009 sht thru hike on 01/28/2009 16:13:28 MST Print View

Dan. Hope you and your wife have a great hike. You both are brave ones, hiking SHT in early may. I can't get myself to hike it any earlier than memorial weekend and that can be cold..infact, a group of us are hiking that weekend. Sounds like you will be done by may 28th. If not, see you on your last leg of the trail....Happy hiking

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 16:21:55 MST Print View

My comments below:
=============

The Pack, Shelter, Sleep System weigh in at a whopping 8 pounds 0.2 oz! That's a LOT. A true ultra-light hiker could easily go out with their entire base weight WELL under that number.

Ospre Exos 46 is pretty heavy. There are lot's of lighter backpacks.

What's a "mylar bag liner" ?

Why the stuff sack for the sleeping bag? Just use a trash compactor bag in the pack.

Why a true tent? WIll a tarp suffice?

Why a butane stove? Alcohol is lighter.

Toilet paper AND wet wipes (and more wipes in the first aid kit?) Why both. You CAN leave the toilet paper behind...

a 2.5 oz headlamp? THere are lighter options...

The DriDucks are a fine option, but BE careful (especially with the easily ripped pants)

A 2 oz compass?

Cut the bandana in half.

A 15 oz jacket? For May?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2009 SHT Thru Hike List on 01/28/2009 16:51:16 MST Print View

Here's a quick list I put together with some changes that could save you five pounds. I left a bunch of your expensive items on there because it's doubtful you're going to replace those items (although if you did more weight could be saved)

20.00 - ULA Conduit
27.00 - WM MegaLite Long, S2S Ultra
06.00 - Gossamer Gear Thinlite and Nitelite
12.00 - Silnylon or Spinnaker tarp
65.00

01.00 - Whitebox Stove
04.25 - Snow Peak 700 Mug & Lid
00.25 - Mini Bic
00.25 - Lexan Spoon
05.75

00.00 - leave Aquafina at home
03.50 - Platypus Hoser 1.8L Bladder
00.00 - leave Frontier Pro at home
00.50 - Aquamira/Micropur Tabs
04.00

01.00 - Toothbrush, floss, baking soda
00.00 - leave TP at home
00.00 - leave Wet Wipes at home
01.00 - Dr Bonners Soap in dropper
00.50 - Sun Block
00.00 - leave Insect Repellant at home
00.00 - leave Headnet at home
03.00 - Food Line, Bag, & Caribeaner
03.00 - 1st aid kit
00.20 - Photon Freedom
02.00 - Compass
06.30 - Canon SD880 IS Camera
17.00

05.50 - DriDucks Jacket
00.00 - leave Rain Pants at home
01.00 - Bandana
01.50 - REI Fleece Hat
15.00 - REI Spruice Run Jacket
02.00 - Smartwool Socks
00.00 - only need the pair you're wearing
01.00 - S2S UltraSil Dry Sack & Mylar bag liner
26.00

03.50 - Ex Officio Underwear
13.00 - REI Sahara Pants
07.40 - SmartWool Microweight Zip
12.50 - REI Peak UL Trekking Poles
01.75 - BenchMade 530 Knife (pocket)
02.00 - Smartwool Socks
04.00 - Tilley LT5
32.00 - Inov-8 Terroc 330s
76.15

117.75 oz (7.36 lbs)