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Birthday Money
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Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Birthday Money on 11/02/2009 19:22:29 MST Print View

I still have $200 left from my birthday money and am looking for suggestions on how I should spend it to lighten up my pack.

My wife and I are going to hike the AZT starting the second week of March so that is what my current gear list is planned for.

Current Gear List:

Sunglasses SportEYZ 0.3
Fleece Hat Black Fleece Cap 1
Bandana Generic Red 0.9
Insulated Jacket REI Helix Jkt Synth Insul 20
Waterproof Jacket REI Black 12
Thermal Shirt REI White L/S L 5
Pants REI Tan 34x30 10
Fleece Pants REI Black M 9
Thermal Pants Burton Lightweight M 6
Socks Wigwam Cool-Lite Hiker 2.5
Socks Wigwam Cool-Lite Hiker 2.5
Shoes Salomon XAC 10.0 22
Long Sleeve Shirt Columbia Blue M 7
Gloves Synthetic Glove Liners ?
Hiking Poles REI Peak ULS 12
Total Worn (lbs.) 3.3625
Total Packed (lbs.) 3.525

Pack & Sleep Gear
Backpack REI UL45 Med 36
Pack Liner OR Ultralight Dry Sack 25L 3.5
Stuff Sack 1.5
Sleeping Bag REI Sub Kilo +20 25
Hammock MYOG Tyvek hammock 10
Tarp MYOG Tyvek tarp 12
Sleeping Pad Blue Closed Cell Foam 12
Brady’s Pack (lbs.) 6.25

Cooking Gear
Soap Dr. Bronners 0.4
Spork Lexan spoon 1
Fuel lil nipper full of yellow heat 8
Pot & Lid Heineken can w/ foil lid 0.5
Eating Containers Ziplock Container 2
Alcohol Stove Red bull can stove 0.5
Windshield Aluminum foil 0.5
Seasoning M&M Container w/ straws ?
Lighter Mini bic lighter 0.5
Brady’s Pack (lbs.) 0.8375

Miscellaneous Gear
Cell Phone Apple iPhone 3g 4.5
Towel MSR PackTowel UL - M 1.5
Umbrella Birdiepal Swing Liteflex - Silver 8
Knife Gerber UL LST 1
Headlamp Garrity 1W 8 LED 6
Mosquito Hood BPL UL Headnet 0.3
Fishing Kit line, bobber, weights, hooks 0.5
Water Filter Katadyn Hiker 12
Water Carriers Platypus 2+ 1.2
Water Carriers Platypus 2+ 1.2
Drinking Tube Platypus 1.7
First Aid Kit Adventure Med Kits .5 5
Bug Repellant DEET in a 1 oz. container 1.4
Suntan Lotion SPF in a 1 oz. container 1.4
Toothbrush Sawed off handle 0.5
Toothpaste Travel Size 1
Toilet Paper 10 sheets/day 1
Potty trowel sawed off EZEE trowel 1.5
Wet Wipes Travel pack 1
Brady’s Pack (lbs.) 3.41875

Brady's total pack = 14lbs.

One thing I was looking at was a Steripen, either the adventurer or the voyager. We've never done longer than a 5 day trip before and I'd hate for either of us to get the runs from filtering water without removing the viruses. So let me know what you think about the steripen idea and also any other recommendations. Thanks for being such an awesome resource and I look forward to your comments.

Gordon Towne
(gordontowne) - MLife

Locale: New England
Down on 11/02/2009 19:28:11 MST Print View

I wouldn't think you'd be having too much trouble with wet on the AZT in March. Why not look at getting a lightweight down jacket rather than your REI Helix synthetic?

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Birthday Money on 11/02/2009 20:28:49 MST Print View

Maybe a lighter pack? I have the REI UL45 and I love it to death but I hardly carry it because my base pack is always under 10lbs. No point in carrying a heavier than necessary backpack for lightweight items.

I have always used Katadyn Micropur tablets but to be honest, I've thought about getting one of the lighter Steripens as well. I am well under 10lbs and don't mind carrying an extra 3oz or so for the Steripen over the tablets. At the rate that I use tablets, it would be much more economical to get the Steripen. I'm not too concerned about the quicker wait time since 20-30 mins. is not that long imo. I've thought about the Aquamira Frontier Pro as well but I feel pretty uncomfortable throwing out that whole system every time it runs out.

Oh, and get a good headlamp.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Birthday Money on 11/03/2009 00:15:31 MST Print View

Here's my initial thoughts:

I would replace the REI Helix jkt with a Montbell U.L. Down Inner Jacket. The Montbell retails for $165 but you can probably find one online for ~$140 with free shipping. This will save you 12.5oz and there will be no loss in functionality.

Next, I would buy some DriDucks raingear on eBay for $15. The jkt is under 6oz, so you will save 6oz here over your current jkt. I don't see rain pants on your gearlist, but if you do have these then the DriDucks will likely save even more weight. The DriDucks jkt isn't that great but it's perfect for trips were little rain is in the forecast and you'll be spending very little time in your rain gear.

Next, I would scour the BPL classifieds for a pair of the BPL Thorofare for hopefully $45 (they retail for $70). These weigh 4oz which saves you 6oz.

Weight saved: 24.5oz
Money spend: $200
Compromises: rain jkt fits baggy, down jkt and BPL pants are a bit less durable than gear being replaced.

As others mentioned, replacing the pack with a lighter internal frame pack (ie. GG Gorilla or ULA Ohm) is a good way to save about a pound with no loss in functionality. Since you only have $200, you need to decide whether you want to replace the pack or the insulating jacket since you probably can't do both unless you are able to sell your old gear for a good price. If you could sell your Helix jkt for maybe $50 and the pack for $30 then you would probably have enough to buy the Montbell down jkt and a new pack and you'd wind up saving about 28oz combined.

1) Why do you need 'fleece pants' and 'thermal pants'? Perhaps you could use one of these pants for both uses? I brought light fleece pants on my last trip and thought they would be great to wear during cold evenings but I almost never put them on. The only time i wore them was to bed and I could have just worn my boxers if I didn't have these. Having two warm layers for the legs seems excessive unless you are winter camping.

2) What's up with the 3.5oz pack liner? 25L doesn't seem big enough to be a liner for your 45L bag. Is this just a big dry sack you use for a lot of your stuff? Maybe use a garbage bag or get a cuben pack liner and save a couple ounces. Your 1.5 oz stuff sack could probably be lighter too. Consider getting some cuben or spinnaker stuff sacks or making your own using the great kit from If you make some spinnaker stuff sacks they will be waterproof if you seam seal them and they'll weigh a lot less. You could probably make a huge liner for your whole pack for about an ounce.

Edited by dandydan on 11/03/2009 00:19:03 MST.

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Thanks on 11/03/2009 15:39:29 MST Print View

Gordon - Yeah, upgrading to a down jacket is a great point, considering my elements.

Jeff - I couldn't agree more, I love the UL45 and have realized its weight, just haven't found its replacement yet. The one problem I'm having with our upcoming hike is that all this gear fills the bag, and theres' only enough food for 2-3 days supply. How am I going to fit 6 days worth in it on the arizona trail? I could really use some experienced thru hiker input here, whats the best thru hiking pack when my gear fills up a 45liter bag?

Dan - Thanks for truly breaking it down for me. I'm now looking all over for the montbell ul jacket you recommended, just curious, what's the thickness of the loft? Seems like they run small, is that your experience as well?

DriDucks - Great point, will be ordering them later today

Thorofare - At first I wasn't sure what you were talking about, but found them on the site. At this time I really like my REI pants and will continue to use them up to and through the AZT, probable that I will wear them out on the trail so when I return to normal life, I will look into these for the future.

Packs - You've got me thinking of ways to get more $ so I can get both the jacket and a new pack now. What are your thoughts of the new REI Flash 65, I can remove the frame sheet and aluminum stays because I will be using my pad as the frame, this also solves my lack of volume issue.

General Comments:
1. Agreed, I just bough smart wool top and bottoms at a REI garage sale and the bottoms will replace the burton bottoms and the fleece pants when I'm not in the snow.

2. I'm pretty tough on gear, so I don't think I can get away with a trash bag on the AZT to keep my down dry, the 25L size fits perfectly inside my rolled up CCF pad with some room on top for "quick grabs" I will definitely look into the kits from thru hiker, I have been trying to learn to sew my own gear for awhile (so far I've only made some hammocks) so those kits would be another good lesson.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Thanks on 11/03/2009 22:30:24 MST Print View

"I'm now looking all over for the montbell ul jacket"
I'm 5'11", 165lbs and I like my medium. I do like my clothes quite fitted though. Some similarly sized people are wearing the large. This jkt fits a bit short in the torso so if you are taller than 5'11" you'll want a larger size. The length of the arms is generous and the girth of the torso is generous. I think ideally a medium would fit someone about 5'9", 180lbs.

This jkt was updated about 2 months ago with a cinch-able waist hem, less shiny fabric and a few other slight changes. The cut is known to be overly generous in the waist area, so if you don't have a gut then you'll appreciate the new cinch-able waist hem so you can seal the waist hem around you. Retail is $150 on the jkt and $165 for the parka version (which I have) which adds about an ounce but you get a hood. I think this is actually lighter and simpler because you can leave your beanie at home.

I'm not sure if this is the latest version or not, but here is the jkt for $118:

Regarding the Thorofare pants....they really are amazingly light. 4oz pants was a shocker for me, but they held up unscathed on the recent 5 day trip and they seem adequately durable. Keep an eye on the classifieds. That's where I got mine.

"You've got me thinking of ways to get more $ so I can get both the jacket and a new pack now. What are your thoughts of the new REI Flash 65, I can remove the frame sheet and aluminum stays because I will be using my pad as the frame, this also solves my lack of volume issue."
I think going to a 65L pack is a bad idea. As you go lighter, your gear will fit in a smaller pack so even if the 45L is too small now, there's a good chance this will be a good size if you make a few gear changes. If your pack is too small then change your gear, don't buy a larger pack. It's heading in the wrong direction.

Seriously, consider a 1.5 cuben pack. When BPL posted a review on the Zpacks blast pack a few months ago I didn't even read it because I dismissed it as crazy, disposable gear for SUL wierdos. Now I realize that 1.5 cuben is actually quite durable and ridiculously light. If you are going to go frameless, you may as well go with one of these. I'm wishing I would have bought one instead of my 24oz Golite Jam. You can buy a Zpacks Blast in a 52L size if you really need the space. This pack weighs just 4.3 oz vs. 36oz for your pack. This is a HUGE 2 lbs savings. These packs are only about $115 plus options. Zpacks is closed right now but I think they are re-opening in a week or two. If you can keep your total pack at 20lbs or less then you'll be comfortable carrying one of these with your sleeping pad rolled up as a frame. I don't even do this and I find frameless packs comfortable to 25lbs. I don't even mind 30lbs in my Jam. On my recent trip I carried 25lbs in my Jam without the waist belt or sternum strap and the weight on my shoulders didn't bother me for several hours.

The stuff sack kit from comes with some good directions. I hadn't sewn anything before this and after one messy stuff sack, I was easily able to make several more than look quite nice using just the straight stitch. The square bottom design they show comes out really nice and it's easy to do. I've ordered some Spectra cord on eBay though since it's a lot lighter than the cord supplied.

Edited by dandydan on 11/03/2009 22:36:53 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Montbell on 11/04/2009 00:39:21 MST Print View

New Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka on eBay for $125 buy it now or the bidding starts at $79:

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
I think I'm a medium on 11/04/2009 07:02:12 MST Print View

I'm 5'9" 155lbs, thinking I would want a medium. Thanks for the links, I'm watching the one on ebay to see if it stays low enough to where I could buy it and trade/sell it to get a medium. The prolitegear one appears to be last years, but still a good price. I like the idea of a hood, probably go that route.

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
New pack on 11/04/2009 07:14:08 MST Print View

What about the G4 pack kit from quest outfitters? I'm thinking about making a pair of those for my wife and I. That would knock of 3.25lbs from our combined weight, more if we used cuben.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: New pack on 11/04/2009 07:45:41 MST Print View

What about the G4 pack kit from quest outfitters?

Your gear list included an REI UL45 pack ... 45 liters, 2750ci. The G4 is much larger than that (about 50% larger).

I have a G4 and like most (all??) frameless packs it doesn't carry well if not kept pretty full. If your load fits in the UL45 I doubt you'll like it in a G4.

There are other pack kits that are more your size. The RayWay Kit is one. I used to have a Golite Breeze (based on the RayWay pack) and it worked well (but my kit was too large for it at the time).

Or you could scale up Jay Ham's pack (instructions available to BPL subscribers).

Or yo could look at the "Scout Pack" instructions at Gossamergear and scale that down a bit.

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Scout Pack on 11/04/2009 10:07:32 MST Print View

I'm pulling together a shopping cart at quest outfitters to make two G4 scout packs for my wife and I. About $50 for two packs, should drop 24 ounces from each of our loads, and I'll still have money left over to get a down jacket.

Any comments on my desire to get the steripen? Seems most users are chemical cleaners. My pump just seems too heavy and I hate the fact that it doesn't kill viruses.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Scout Pack on 11/04/2009 21:19:44 MST Print View

It's hard to argue with $50 for two packs that will save 24 ounces x 2 but 4400 cu inch is pretty massive. At the least, I would add compression straps to them so you can keep the load tight. See if you can make them skinnier to reduce the volume. You can also not use a stuff sack for your sleeping bags/quilts if you need to take up excess space.

One other pack option to consider is the Zpacks blast at 3-6oz depending on sizing and options. These packs are about $105-$125 depending on the size you choose. That's a lot more money than the MYOG G4's, but it's also less than half the weight.

About the seems like a nice gadget. Probably better than a Miox since it works instantly and doesn't leave a taste. However, I'm totally diggin my AquaTabs ( which weighs way less than the Steripen. They weigh 1.2g for 10 liters worth. You could treat 250 liters with one ounce of these. The taste is hardly noticable...much better than my old Miox...and 30 min wait time isn't unreasonable. They are much quicker to use than a Steripen (no zapping the water for a minute per liter). I definately prefer the AquaTabs. The only reason I can see to opt for the Steripen is if you really desire absolutely tasteless water OR if you are consuming huge amounts of water where a 30 min wait time is unacceptable (ie. adventure racing). I carry two 1L platybottles and once one is empty, I fill it up and then I drink from the other while the first bottle treats. By the time I'm done that one, the other will be ready to drink. Oh and these cost $8 for 50 liters worth.

Edited by dandydan on 11/04/2009 21:21:35 MST.

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Aquatabs on 11/04/2009 23:35:36 MST Print View

Where did you find them for $8, I found them here:
for ~$12.

Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline) - F

Locale: Southern California
subkilo weight on 11/04/2009 23:35:58 MST Print View

Are you sure that the REI Subkilo only weighs 25 oz? I thought it weighed closer to 30 oz for a regular (6') and more for the long. Did you actually weigh it?

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Pack Size on 11/04/2009 23:45:49 MST Print View

Good advice on the size of the pack. I have some material from wally world that I'm going to make a test bag with, we're going out on an overnighter next friday, so that's my deadline to sew up my first pack. I'm going to shoot for 54 liters and see how my gear fits in it/how it feels on my back. I know I don't need the extra space for my gear, but its the 5-6 days worth of food I'm trying to prepare for. Hopefully 9x12x30 with the top 8" being a collar.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Birthday Money on 11/05/2009 00:05:30 MST Print View

i didnt even read past the word "steripen"
the water here in March is too iffy and too dirty to rely on a steripen.
if anything, bring a Hiker Pro and Micropur tablets as a backup, then you can ditch pack weight elsewhere.

the steripen may be nice, light, cute and trendy but it will not remove the taste of dead coyote from a cattle pond.

if you are going to go N-S, you can drop some of your pack weight when you come off the Mogollon Rim and into the Mazatzal (maz-at-ZAHL) mountains.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

AquaTabs on 11/05/2009 00:10:10 MST Print View

I get mine here for $8.75 Cdn which is equal to $8 USD at today's rates:

I guess the MSRP is $12 though....I don't know if there's a good spot to get them in the USA. can get them on eBay for $1.10 for 6. That works out to about $9.40 for 50 L worth but you can bid instead for $0.99 for 6 so that works out to $8.50 for 50 L worth.

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: AquaTabs on 11/05/2009 00:14:45 MST Print View

I think I remember reading somewhere that AquaTabs do not treat that true?

(wentworth) - F
no on 11/05/2009 02:36:43 MST Print View

no they don't treat crypto.

Brady Fulton
(bfulton) - F

Locale: Phoenix Arizona
Filter on 11/05/2009 11:29:05 MST Print View

I have the hiker, will the replacement cartridge for the hiker pro fit it?