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3 Seasons from a beginner
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David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 08:45:00 MDT Print View

I've been lurking around this site for a few months and have learned a LOT from the forums. Looking forward to learning much more!

Let me start by saying I AM NOT "ULTRALIGHT" - yet ;-). I aspire to continue to reduce weight and am sure that eventually I will be, but for now I've made good progress from the "pack-the-kitchen-sink" camper I used to be. I only started backpacking this last year so I've got LOTS more to learn.

So, all that being said I'd love to hear your constructive criticism/advice.

This list was created for a recent quick 2 day trip. The weather was on the hot side (upper 80's in the day, around 50 at night).

Thank you!


Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: 3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 10:10:32 MDT Print View

Good start! Here are some initial thoughts.

While it's comfortable, there are much lighter packs. If you like Granite Gear packs, a Vapor Trail could cut out over a pound and a half and can handle the weight you have in total comfort. I'm not sure if you've used the Meridian yet, but you may want to consider exchanging it. It should also sell easily.

I would loose the compression sack for the sleeping bag. S2S Ultra-Sil dry bag is only an ounce. Non dry-bags are even lighter. You don't want to over compress your bag too much.

BA Pad is nice, and I didn't give mine up until the NeoAir came out. That said, there are lighter options. NeoAir cuts 10 ounces from your pack, but also $150 from your wallet.

I don't think you really need a ground sheet unless you are on rocky desert soil. A clear poly drop cloth is much lighter if you feel you need one.

You could probably trim an ounce or two out of your first aid kit pretty easily.

Don't need a trowel. Tent stake + shoe heel = hole.

I'll leave the TP discussion to Mike C. I bring TP. :)

I got a hand sanitizer squirt bottle at REI that's .75 ounces. Deet could be lighter too. Together, those are 1/3 pound.

I'm sure you love it, but I would replace the Jet Boil. Alcohol, regular canister (giga power), BushBuddy, and Esbit are all much lighter. One pound for a stove and pot is a lot. For example, an alcohol stove, windscreen, and snow peak 700 can be as little as only 4.5 ounces and works great, and you could ditch your Titan Cup and save 2 more ounces. Just something I would look at.

I would loose the Nalgene bottle. 1L Aquafina is only 1.5 ounces and works great for all the same stuff except boiling water.

You really shouldn't need long johns at those temps.

Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/27/2009 10:12:18 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: 3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 10:24:40 MDT Print View

My thoughts:

Ditto dropping the compression sack. I use a SeatoSummit roll top waterproof for my 30 degree down bag, and it is 1.16 oz.

Ditto also swinging down to the Vapor Trail. Mine is 36.16 with the lower compression straps removed, about 37 if they were there.

That's a very heavy pad. A 57" Ridgerest is ~8 oz and is very warm. Throw you pack under your feet, padding up, belt away from you, and you're set .(GG packs are great for this.)

Is your Tyvek cut to the size of the DoubleRainbow's floor? With or without the floor pulled up into bathtub mode?

Is the GPS necessary?

Skip the sit pad. Store the tent vertically in the compression straps and a pad (closed cell only) on the top of your pack on the closure straps. Pull it out at breaks.

What's in the first aid kit?

What stakes are you using?

Ditto skipping the trowel and diminishing amount of Deet and hand sanitizer.

I'm OK with taking the JetBoil, but do you also need the MSR cup? I'd also loose the hard-sided Nalgene and boost the volume of your bladder. However, I see that you're using a Steripen. I take it you're using the cup + Nalgene for this? Nalgene also makes wide mouth canteens that you could use a Steripen with.

Clothes: As Dan said, the Duofold bottoms are not necessary at those temps. You have two pairs of shorts.

Otherwise, enjoy.

Thanks for joining the site.

David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
Thanks! on 04/27/2009 11:03:40 MDT Print View

Well thank you both for the quick replies. I pretty much knew what to expect but it's always nice to get some reassurance.

Pack - I did realize on my latest trip that the Meridian (yes I've used it a few times) was just bigger than I needed. Not being too familiar with lighter packs I'm curious how comfortable they really are with weights approaching 30 pounds?

Sack - Good thought on the compression sack. I'd originally bought that to save space in my pack, but as my other gear has become smaller and smaller I dont think there's much need for it now.

Pad - I've been staring at that NeoAir since it came out. I'm a side sleeper (as much as I try not to be) so it really helps to have some decent air padding. I have a full size ridgerest that I've tried to use but no sleep = no fun and the point is to have fun right?

Cloth - And here I thought Tyvek WAS the lighter option! I suppose I'm also being overly protective of the new DR.

Trowel - Excellent tip.

TP - I've read Mike C.'s TP thoughts and thats great for him, but I'm gonna pack it. :-)

Bottles - I actually have some tiny squeeze bottles at home but never thought to repackage the hand sanitizer and deet. Awesome.

Stove - Yep, the Jetboil was one of my first "new" purchases a couple years ago so there's some attachment. However, I know that to reduce the weight it's one of my big targets (along with my pack).

Nalgene - Meant to get an Aquafina bottle before I left (having read about them over and over on this site). Just never got to it unfortunately.

Long Johns - Turns out I didn't need the long johns but I was pretty darn cold first thing in the morning when I woke up and got out of my bag. Nothing unbearable though.

GPS - Not necessary at all. More of an interest when I get back home and study our routes, etc. Easy weight savings there.

First Aid Kit - Contains one ace bandage with velcro, handful of asprin and tylenol, antiseptic, bandaids, a few safety pins and a couple larger bandages (3x3in.).

Stakes - I have some MSR Groundhog stakes but have been using the ones supplied with the Double Rainbow. I dont know what brand they are but they are a lighter nail/spike-type.

Cup - I bring it along for hot drinks but I guess there's no problem brewing some tea right in the Jetboil is there?

Thanks again

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Thanks! on 04/27/2009 11:10:50 MDT Print View

I've humped ~35 lbs in winter in my Vapor Trail. While the weight is definitely noticeable, it is manageable. I've also humped 20-25 lbs in summer with the same comment. The key is the burly hipbelt and to have the pack adjusted properly.

As for the pad, if you can't sleep on a foamer it's no good for you. With a GG pack, I'd still look at 3/4 length pad. My Ridgerest is 57" and works fine.

The stakes that come with the TarpTent are 6" Easton nail pegs. They're great and I use them myself. BPL did a great article on stake holding power, and the Easton pegs did very well for their weight and length. (Linky:

And you can brew tea in the JetBoil.

Are you sharing that shelter weight with someone else? When I hike, I generally get the shelter and my partner gets kitchen.

Finally, remember to cut pounds before you start cutting ounces.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 04/27/2009 11:13:31 MDT.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Thanks! on 04/27/2009 11:43:56 MDT Print View

Just some food for thought regarding the GPS... Yes, humans managed to cover the globe without them. A map and compass is actually more useful for navigation if you know how to use them, and they are lighter, and they don't have batteries.

That said, I think a lot of people carry GPS's for fun. Some people love to plot their trek, analyze the info, or link photo's to locations. If it's really fun for you, then don't worry about bringing it with. One of the nice things about going light is that you can bring with some fun stuff too.

Personally, I'd never monkey with a GPS. However, there are some trails that I would swap out my little 6 oz pocket camera for my 2.5 pound DSLR, because I know I'd love to have it with in the right place. There are many that wouldn't dream of throwing in a 2.5 pound camera (actually more when you consider the other stuff it comes with).

So bottom line, HYOH. :)

Also, regarding the VT weight capacity - I find the pack is fine up to the upper 20's, but gets uncomfortable over 30 pounds. However, that could just be because I find carrying 30 pounds uncomfortable. ;)

Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/27/2009 11:45:42 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: 3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 13:16:11 MDT Print View

The only thing to add that I don't see mentioned is to maybe drop the rain pants unless the forecast is for definite extended periods of rain. If the daytime temps are in the 80s, and you are wearing nylon shorts, there should be no big deal about getting wet and drying out. That'd cut half a pound.

David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
Re: 3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 13:20:58 MDT Print View

Good point! My two rain articles are always in a little stuff sack so I never really thought about them separately. Thanks!

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: 3 Seasons from a beginner on 04/27/2009 14:57:26 MDT Print View

That was one of the first pieces of advice I was given when I posted my first gear list. Ultralight Adventures makes a rain wrap that is very light. I got one when I ordered my Ohm backpack. (Another pack you might want to consider in cutting weight) I wanted something to pack along in the spring/fall when it might still be a little too cold to let my legs get wet. As the description points out, it can double as a ground sheet as well, though it's not that long (54"). For my purposes, I figure I can also rig it up as a cooking shelter in the rain.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
3 season gear on 04/28/2009 13:27:15 MDT Print View

If you revise the items below, you'll save a LOT of weight. Every one of the items is easily replaced by lighter (and inexpensive) items.

59.7 ounces for a backpack.

25 ounces for a sleeping pad

45.5 ounces for a shelter

15.6 ounces (almost a pound) of hygiene and First Aid

15.2 ounces for a Jet Boil

6.4 ounces for 1-liter Nalgene? (Just use a soda bottle)

Gregg Carsen
(chopper) - F
Just some other ideas on 05/07/2009 18:02:07 MDT Print View

First i to am not a ultra-light hiker either, but here is just a couple ideas to think over.
For a ground cloth that helps keep my tent floor clean i use one of the foil space blankets.
For tent stakes i have been using the small titanium shepards hook stakes as well as a few of the heavier titanium nail stakes for in the wind. (believe they are made by Varga) the easton stakes are fairly light though.
The Ion headlamp from Black diamond i think is lighter and puts out plenty of light, but would sugest using on the dimmer mode as the brighter setting does suck the battery down.
And for tent tie downs and spare rope i use the ;Kelty Triptease Guyline" its sold for tent tie downs and is fairly strong. And learn how to tie a few basic knots so you wont have to have any fancy binders.
If you can be sure that your sit pad is the type that doesn't absorb water. Then they work great as something to stand on in the woods while taking a bath. Believe me, even cold fresh melton snow water feels good after a couple hard days of backpacking. And if your with someone else they might be even more happier...LOL!
Keep in mind that your platypus might also be used as a pillow!
Also check, as i found that the plastic caps on the 1 liter water bottles fit my platypus perfectly. This comes in handy if one of the caps break. I carry an extra one that fits my water bottle and my platypuss.
Something i am going to try is instead of carrying an extra pair of normal wool socks to sleep in. I am looking at just wearing the wool liner socks, still warm and let my feat breath but lighter and smaller to pack.
And don't skimp yourself out of food. Its not fun!
Also, and this goes to the rest of you. Do any of you use some kind of electrolyte replacement, like the Nuun tablets?

Edited by chopper on 05/07/2009 18:05:30 MDT.