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Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/20/2009 22:03:42 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 00:16:51 MDT Print View

Hi Mark

Very good. Well written, and hopefully useful for others in a similar situation - just starting.
I can see the improvements, but there's a lot of room yet! To open the discussion:

Clothing worn: Marmot Down Jacket 691 g
?? You WEAR a down jacket while walking in WA??

Clothing carried: Gore-Tex Rain Coat 240 g
Not all that heavy, but Gore-Tex?

Clothing carried: Socks DeFeet (second day) 48 g
You change your socks on the second day? (Around day 4 for me.)

Clothing carried: Shirt (second day) 251 g
You change your shirt? I regret to say I never bother. :-)

Misc: Water 2,500 g
Rather a lot, unless you are talking about mid-summer with no water available all day? Check: would you normally drink all of this? (Maybe so in WA.)

Misc: Garmix eTrex GPS 200 g
Is this really necessary around the Bib? Even in the Blue Mts jungle we don't carry a GPS.

Just a thought, but I reckon there's at least 1 kg to go yet. :-)

Let the discussion rage...

Anton S
(maelgwn) - F

Locale: Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Re: Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 01:08:59 MDT Print View

Agree with Roger here for the first four points.

But, I would quite often drink 2.5 litres in a day in any season other than our 'winter'. Certainly more in summer.

GPS: I would just carry one to be sure, a bit of security ...

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 01:38:05 MDT Print View


I will try to answer for you, I am currently in Malaysia and in the only internet cafe I could find. THe keyboard is in the local dialect so this will be fun!

Clothing - down jacket, yeh I wear it while walking. The other reason its listed like that is because I never actually carry it so dont record that as a hit the trail weight. Does that make sence? So when its cold I have it on, when its warm its stays at home.

Gore-tex raincoat, well that was the lightest I could find when I was in the market, so Gore-tex it was. It does breath ok actually.

Socks - definately, I take two pairs and rotate the entire length of my trips., It took me a long time and some hard lessons to get my feet sorted out, now I do so its something I will stick with. I had many a trip where I was limping my way out.

Shirt - thats the same as the socks above in that I rotate day in day out, mind you I do sleep in the shirt also.

Water - thats a full bladder/container, summer here you cannot rely on there being any water around. The huts generally do but if I have the option to take my own and leave the supply in the tanks to those who need it more, then its a good thing.

GPS- I just like to record my track as to where I have been. Sometimes i use it to record POI as I go and I generally geocache at the same time.

Thanks for the notes, and yeh I have a few kg's to go yet, Perhaps part II.

Cheers guys


Dan Baker
(heeler) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Agree... on 10/21/2009 02:24:08 MDT Print View


Great article, I have followed pretty much the same path...
I am down in Victoria, so the Otways are my playground.
I agree with everything you have said/take, most of your gear I have had or have and have only really 'replaced' for lighter versions. Eg:
GPS- I went to a bluetooth datalogger, single button for POI recording and logs for 30 odd hours on one charge, uses a generic Nokia battery so I can carry a couple of need be, I download into the software that came with it that integrates into Google Earth. Qstarz BT-1000 I think it is. 66 grams with battery

Down Jacket- I went for a Patagonia synthetic fill, 383 grams, XXL covers me to top of thigh, fantastic for cold night sitting, or even cool day rest/meal stops. Like you, purchased from these forums.

SteriPen- 159g with set of spare nimh batts, carry 500-1000 ml and sterilize on the way. Mind you I am in the Otways where it (usually) rains every day!

Aarn Pack- Natural Balance, an absolute joy to walk with, at 1990 grams it aint light, but the comfort and load carrying ability is unbeatable, it is totally waterproof ( I have towed it behind my kayak all day)

I could go on...

I think the main point is to 'try' everything and work out what you want, the 'got to be the lightest' philosophy is a personal choice, one I do not want to follow, if I am comfortable, well prepared, and enjoying myself, I don't care!
If you have the means, get into MYOG, the satisfaction of sleeping/hiking in a tent, sleeping bag, pack, poncho you have made is second to none!

Keep it up Andrew, and remember, if it works for you, find the lightest possible and go for it!



Edited by heeler on 10/21/2009 02:28:29 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Transitional Hike on 10/21/2009 07:05:29 MDT Print View

Nice job Mark, it was a good read.

While I have made a move to light I can't get it that far down and applaud you.

Have fun in Malaysia.

Oh yeah, I am sending a present today. More of that light weight stuff...

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Great work on 10/21/2009 07:20:08 MDT Print View

Thanks, Mark - informative and interesting. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 14:40:56 MDT Print View

Hi Mark

* Two pairs of socks mean happy feet? I'd go for it every time!
* GPS for recording and geocaching? Fair enough if you are into that.
* Water because of shortages? Obviously.

The value you have brought here lies first in reminding others why we go walking - it isn't a competition over packs, it's for the fun, and a lower pack weight means more fun, still in safety. Many beginners are nervous about reducing weight in the BPL style: your experiences should help them.

You mentioned further weight reductions? Should be more fun!


Edited by rcaffin on 10/21/2009 23:23:11 MDT.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 14:48:53 MDT Print View

Hi Mark,

Great read, thanks.


Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 14:53:09 MDT Print View

I appreciate the local flavor in this article the most. I want some instruction in kylie hunting.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story on 10/21/2009 15:56:13 MDT Print View

Hi Mark,
Great read, thank you. Water is a big factor in SA and Victoria too, you can't rely on anything up high so often have to fill up at a creek in the valley and carry it up hill all day. I remember meeting hikers in Tasmania that just carried a cup and drank straight from the creeks, it blew me away! No iodine or filtering and definitely no carrying a day or two's worth of water!
Keep up the great work.
(You could have removed the label from your Mt Franklin water bottle in the first solo hike photo to save a bit of weight too!!)

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Transitional Hiker on 10/21/2009 21:22:50 MDT Print View

Hi Mark -

What a great article! Thanks so much! I really enjoyed it. I, too, am in the midst of an ultralight overhaul of my backpacking gear, so it's nice to read articles by people who are in the same boat. I also enjoy hearing from hikers in other areas of the world, too. Australia is definitely on my list of places to see some day.


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Transitional Hiker on 10/22/2009 00:29:18 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the encouraging words,

@Ray - Legend, thanks again for the on shipping, mentioned in my article how much I rely on great guys like yourself.

@Richard - Thanks mate, Oh and thanks for the down jacket.

@Roger - Great feedback as always Dear Roger. All about fun, work is so hectic this is my escape from it all and brings me great enjoyment.
As for further weight reductions, well on my list to get includes Mont-Bell Down Inner jacket that’s something I cannot ignore, I can save myself a further 490 g.
I would also like to look at a cuben pack although I am happy with my Golite Dawn and ULA Relay so will see how that goes.

@Tony - Thanks for the kind words.

@Kevin - Well not out of the question. Over the coming months I will undertaking a course through work that will give me some more exposure and contacts, will keep you posted.

@Brett - Too funny that you spotted that label mate, I will rip the next one off and see how much it weights! Oh and perhaps the pink ring that sits under the lid :)

@Kathy - I am sure that you will be able to get to where you want with some good planning and research. Being a member here is a great start, it's what got me hooked.

Cheers again,


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Transitional Hiker on 10/22/2009 03:10:19 MDT Print View

Hi Mark

> Great feedback as always Dear Roger
I hope it didn't come across too critical? I was actually quite impressed with your article. Sometimes I get a bit too enthusiastic, but only for the interesting things. The less ept (inverse of inept) just get ignored.


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Transitional Hiker on 10/22/2009 22:00:39 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

Not at all mate, always welcome feedback. Enthusiasm is a good thing.


Gordon Bedford
(gbedford) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Transitional Hiker on 10/22/2009 23:15:19 MDT Print View

I was very interested in what Dean said about a Patagonia synthetic jacket. Which one is it Dean? I notice they have a new non-down jacket out called a Nano Puff. It is very light but how durable? Anybody know anything about it?

Gordon Bedford

Dan Baker
(heeler) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Patagonia Jacket on 10/23/2009 04:17:49 MDT Print View

Hi Gordon, the jacket I have is the Patagonia Micro Puff, just the old version I think, it is so light yet so snug!
I don't think the OP appreciated my input, glad it was of interest to you.


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Patagonia Jacket on 10/23/2009 05:33:04 MDT Print View

Hi Dan,

Not at all, very interested, I was just thrown out/ missed it as you referenced the author, myself, as Andrew. Just doing quick scans at the moment while overseas.I completely agree with your comments, it's all about how we each enjoy ourselves.

Apologize if missing your post offended.


Dan Baker
(heeler) - MLife

Locale: Victoria, Australia
My aplogies Mark... on 10/23/2009 05:57:08 MDT Print View

Sorry Mark,

i have no idea where i got Andrew from :) when i scanned the replies I saw that you had missed my remarks and was worried I had offended you in some way...

As I said, great post in that it mirrors my original and on-going (neverending) dilemmas...

i must admit though, it is a fun problem...


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: My aplogies Mark... on 10/24/2009 06:16:54 MDT Print View

No prob's Dan, I will take more care in future.

I am definitely with you on the fun part of the might be an issue. Perhaps there should be a "Dummy's guide to spending money without the wife knowing"