Coastal Trail - Spring
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Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/19/2009 10:16:29 MDT Print View

I am hiking the Coastal Trail at the end of April/beginning of May (in a couple of weeks) and would like some input on my gear list. Especially if you are familiar with LSPP, SHT, or any of the trails along Lake Superior.

Looking at temperatures, they seem to be about 10*C during the day with lows of around 0*C but I can't rule out the possibility of dropping as low as -5*C during the nights.

My list is attached to my profile. I added an extra baselayer just before posting so that boosted my weight to about 7.5 lbs. This is not the final list...looking to refine it based on comments.

Oh yeah, I know I've been posting lists like crazy lately, but I'm actually out there using them ie. not cyberhiking :)

Matt? Dan? Sam? you out there?

Here is a link to the trail for those who are interested.
http://www.lakesuperiorpark.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=45&Itemid=77

Edited by Steve_Evans on 04/20/2009 15:42:28 MDT.

Matt Foehrenbacher
(matt_f) - MLife
early may conditions on 04/19/2009 10:36:58 MDT Print View

Hi Steve -

I'm a Minnesotan who was on the SHT from May 2-9 last year, essentially hiking the "middle" 100 miles of the trail. I'm not very familiar with the coastal trail, but I can tell you that for the first few days of our trip on the SHT we had night time lows in the mid-to-high-twenties (F), with some puddles frozen until 10:30 or so in the morning. Later in the trip lows were probably a bit above freezing, with day-time highs in the mid-fifties (F) Also, late april/early may on the SHT means mud season, with possilbe snow storms...just somthing to keep in mind. The tricky thing about that time of year is that you could see a week of sunshine, or get absolutely hammered by rain/snow. However, fewer leaves on trees meant great views of the lake, and we literally watched the trail dry-out while we walked. I think early May is a great time to be at that lattitude, and I look forward to seeing your photos!

I don't have a lot of input as far as your gear goes, but you strike me as the type who can make those decisions on his own if he knows what range of conditions to expect.

Have fun,

Matt

scott burgeson
(DrDystopia) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
gear list on 04/19/2009 14:06:22 MDT Print View

I did not notice a wind screen, I am sure that your bringing this but I wouldn't want you to forget it because it is not on your list (it might be included in the stove weight.)

Esbit can be a problem in windy conditions and the gusts coming off the lake could make cooking a chore.

I think the full rain gear is a good choice. Getting stuck with a week a straight rain and a poncho tarp could have been unpleasant.

--scott

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/19/2009 14:43:57 MDT Print View

For us non-metric users, -5C is 23F; 10C is 50F. So that's what we're dealing with.

I can't argue with your gear selection. Everything is nice and minimalist. Like I said in your earlier post, you can't go wrong with that setup. You'll be able to stake the shelter down, crawl in to erect the pole and then deal with any wet clothes, guylines etc. While this is (theoretically) doable with a poncho/tarp, it is of course harder because you are wearing your shelter. I have not been able to use my poncho/tarp and am a current novice with tarp camping, so I cannot truly question your judgment. The process of concern for own's own safety is the product of a rational mind, so said Joseph Heller.

Considering the posts re: Neoair, good decision to supplement it with your Torsolite. I would sleep without as a test of the new pad.

A few comments:

1. Pack liner?

2. With full fain gear, that is a nice light setup. Does your jacket cover your crotch/butt that is not covered by the chaps?

3. What guylines are you using? Cordlocks or tensioners?

4. Torso layers in order of lightest to warmest: MEC wicking, Thorofare, MEC Mid, Arc'Teryx, Skaha. Can you layer the O2 jacket over the Skaha? Whare are the MEC and Arc'Teryx pieces made of?

5. windscreen/caldera cone? Alan Dixon, and others, swear by them for efficiency.

6. What about a wide-brimmed hat or a baseball-style cap? Sunglasses?

7. WP sack for camera?

My brother and I hiked the SHT sobo in 2008; it took 11.5 days and we finished on Memorial Day at about noon. We were both carrying full rain gear and we slept in a DoubleRainbow. We donned jackets for the rain, and it was not needed for the foggy, final day. It also rained overnight night 10. It was done by morning, but it was chilly.

We camped at the northern terminus the day before beginning (Day 0, as we called it). There was frost on the ground when we woke up. Weather was very dry, and we were rained on twice and had one very misty morning. The rain was all just drizzle and nothing fierce. It did snow, too, but it was more like small crystals and not flakes. It was light but windy. We did wear out rain jackets occasionally as windshirts.

So far I have avoided hiking in a crazy storm on SHT. It did rain on my father and I last September around Bear/Bean Lake. It was also sufficiently windy. Had I not been with my father (it was his first hiking trip), I would have continued. I was in full rain gear (eVent jacket/Precip pants). It was also getting late, dark and it was about time for supper.

The 2008 SHT hike was before I truly discovered BPL, and the hike with my father was UL in spirit if not in weight.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 04/19/2009 14:45:01 MDT.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/19/2009 18:12:39 MDT Print View

That's a good list. Matt is more qualified for this type of list than I, but I did have a few thoughts. Unfortunately, Matt took most of them...

I'd be curious what's in a .6 oz first aid kit. Mine is pretty stripped back and still weighs 3 oz. I probably prefer more of a safety margin though.

What if your one lighter dies? A book of paper matches in your first aid kit (which is in a ziploc or other waterproof bag?) is nice and almost weightless insurance.

Fleece or liner gloves? I think you will want them.

Is the rope (.5 oz guyline) for hanging your food bag? If not, how do you intend on dealing with the back bear issue?

I would carry more light, but that's my issue, not yours. :)

Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/19/2009 18:13:26 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/20/2009 13:11:15 MDT Print View

New list has been uploaded. Not a huge difference, just added a couple of things that I left out.

Matt F.
Thanks for the weather info - that's very useful for me. I'm feeling better about going with the Duomid over the poncho.

Scott.
Thanks for the reminder. I added a windscreen - forgot about that. I usually cook in my shelter so wind is typically a non issue. The windscreen is heavy but doubles as a wood stove...I may cut it down to make it lighter.

Matt L.
Thanks for looking at the list. I'll definitely test the Neoair thoroughly with and without the additional pad.

1. Pack liner?
Added it to my list. Good call.

2. With full fain gear, that is a nice light setup. Does your jacket cover your crotch/butt that is not covered by the chaps?
Not really. There is still a small area exposed. Once in the past, I tucked a bag in my waist band to cover the area. I think I can deal with it.

3. What guylines are you using? Cordlocks or tensioners?
I use the guylines that came with the Duomid. There is little tensioners on the loops.

4. Torso layers in order of lightest to warmest: MEC wicking, Thorofare, MEC Mid, Arc'Teryx, Skaha. Can you layer the O2 jacket over the Skaha? Whare are the MEC and Arc'Teryx pieces made of?
I can fit the rainjacket over, but it is really tight. The Skaha is super duper puffy. If I wear all my layers without the skaha, it would have to be mighty cold out for me to want to add anyhing else.

5. windscreen/caldera cone? Alan Dixon, and others, swear by them for efficiency.
Windscreen has been added.

6. What about a wide-brimmed hat or a baseball-style cap? Sunglasses?
I almost always wear a bandana/buff and I'm not a big user of sunglasses. However, I added my GG sporteyez just in case. I read somewhere that the lake works like a giant reflector, especially hiking southbound, which I intend to do.

7. WP sack for camera? The camera is actually waterproof...it's a great feature.

Dan.
You are right. My FA kit is pretty much a blister kit with some bandaids and a few little extras. I'm comfotable with it.
I should add some matches. I have a small magnifying glass in my FA kit that I always figured I would use in an emergency.
I've got the liner gloves in my pack. I'll probably wear them for most of the trip so I guess I should move them to clothing worn.
The guyline is for hanging my foodbag. Just some cheap stuff from my hardware store. Works well.
Yeah, the light is pretty minimal. I may swap it out for my e-lite, but I really don't use it much.

I'd be interested to see your list for the SHT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/20/2009 13:53:58 MDT Print View

I don't think was answered by your reply: What are the MEC and Arc'Teryx torso pieces made of?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/20/2009 14:04:42 MDT Print View

Ooops, forgot.

MEC Midweight
Made of Polartec® Power Dry® fabric 91% polyester (recycled and heavy metal-free), with 9% spandex for a snug, yet unrestrictive fit.

MEC BC Thermals
Made of 74% recycled polyester, 18% virgin polyester, 6% spandex, and 2% nylon.

Arcteryx Top
Off hand, I believe it is 100% Polyester

scott burgeson
(DrDystopia) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Giant reflector on 04/20/2009 15:16:50 MDT Print View

I don't know about the lake as a giant reflector. I have lived near both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and have never seen them calm enough to reflect the sun to the degree I would want sun glasses.

You may want to bring them just for normal sunshine though. Personally I would just wear a brimmed hat.

Edit - I had not heard of this trail until your posts, this looks like an awesome hike. A great combo of forest, beach, rocks, climbing... I am putting this one on my list, thanks.

Edited by DrDystopia on 04/20/2009 15:21:57 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Giant reflector on 04/20/2009 15:22:56 MDT Print View

I have seen Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg calm enough to act as giant reflector. Granted I was canoeing on Lake Winnipeg for three weeks, but it still can happen.

Unique circumstances make Lake Winnipeg different: although it is the 9th (or so) largest lake in the world by surface area, it is only ~35 feet deep at max, and there is nothing to the west of it to stop or slow down wind. As a result, a 5 mph wind is 1+ foot rollers.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/20/2009 19:07:46 MDT Print View

I'd be interested to see your list for the SHT.

Steven - I've uploaded my current planned gear list to my profile. I keep tweaking it, so I don't know what the final list will look like, but it'll be very close to what you see. As you can tell, it's quite different than yours - several pounds heavier. :)

I was down under 11 pounds, but added in a gravity filter (didn't like sucking water through a Frontier Pro filter) and a BushBuddy Ultra. While the BB adds base weight, it reduces overall weight due to zero fuel carried.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/20/2009 22:44:31 MDT Print View

Dan, thanks for that. that's a solid list. It really isn't that far off from mine. Just your pack and tent that are heavier then mine, but they are solid pieces of gear.
My only thought was that you have no baselayer to change into at camp, but then again your sleeping bag is warmer then mine. I'm a little nervous about my sleep system...I know if it gets too far below freezing, I'll be a popsicle.
The Bushbuddy rules...I picked one up last year and love it for when I camp with my girlfriend.
I just reread the BPL article on gear for wet and cold conditions and am feeling pretty good about setup. I think it was a good choice to take the Duomid over the poncho.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/21/2009 07:01:53 MDT Print View

Regarding a base layer at camp... I'm still waffling back and forth on bringing my Ice Breaker 150 weight wool bottoms (5.75 oz). I'm also contemplating getting some light silk PJ's instead. Either one is not needed, and would just add comfort. I've used my bag with just socks and boxers down to 28 degrees F and was still comfortable.

The lower base layer is nice for pushing my bag further, but it's also tempting in case my pants get wet, or if it's just cold and damp. I won't have to sit around with a cold lower half. If I did grab them and later decided they weren't needed, I could send them home with my wife 100 miles into the hike (she can only go with for the first 1/2).

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/21/2009 12:44:49 MDT Print View

I left my comments on your other thread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=20433&skip_to_post=163333#163333

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/22/2009 03:54:31 MDT Print View

Sam, thanks...I knew you hiked the SHT so I was wondering where you were. :) yeah, I'm bringing some extra gear. I think it is required for those conditions. Actually, I was just looking up the long term forecast (not that it is ever right) and the weather looks just horrible. I was supposed to leave on Monday but I'm thinking either to push it back one week or swap some stuff out for a warmer sleep system. Either way, this will be a good test of my skills.

Edit: Naaah, I think I'll be good. I may swap my sleeping socks (2.2 oz/pair) out for my FF down Booties liners (4.4 oz/pair) just to seal the deal.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 04/22/2009 04:31:06 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 04/22/2009 04:55:33 MDT Print View

OK, I have insomnia...my new list is uploaded.

Changes:
Added addional 10L of water purification (+.25 oz)
Added fuel weights (+4.6 oz)
Swapped Sleeping socks for Down Booties (+2.2 oz)
Added VB Socks in case I get real wet feet (+2.25 oz)

This is just under 8 lbs base weight. I think it is a pretty bomber list. Weather is looking like rain/snow on and off. Highs look to be a bit lower at maybe about +8C or so. And lows will be the same. Cold and Wet baby!

Edited by Steve_Evans on 04/22/2009 04:56:17 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Coastal Trail - Spring on 05/03/2009 13:56:37 MDT Print View

Just wanted to thank you guys for the input. I pulled it off in 5 days which included hiking the road to the trail head which was closed because of the snow. The hike was a blast and the weather ranged from beautiful to horrendous! If I brought my poncho/tarp, I wouldn't have survived. I'll put a trip report together and post it in the following days. Thanks again.