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Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/18/2010 10:15:31 MST Print View

Tent is really heavy; bugs can be horrid then, so I would stick w/a tent, but I'd look for something lighter. A good budget tent might be the Mountain Hardwear Lightpath ($180/~4 pounds) or the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight ($200/~3.5 pounds).

First aid kit is... really, really heavy. Take a look at some first aid kit threads using the search function. A few ounces will take care of nearly anything... honest.

GPS completely unnecessary for the trip. Woo-hoo! Lose another 1/3 pound!

One light, one whistle, less soap. You don't need a backup light. If you have one and your son has one, then there's automatically a backup...

I don't like 100% Deet. It has melted bike computers and cameras; I don't want it on my skin! I've also found that the 100% stuff actually isn't as effective as Ben's 30%. You probably don't need a full 4-oz bottle.

In your search, FWIW, it's a Marmot Precip... (not TNF)

You only need one baselayer shirt. However, nights can get down into the 40s even sometimes, and a single long underwear top might not be enough warmth. You might look into a light insulated vest (0.5 pound or less). Also ditch either the shorts or the swimsuit; you don't need both, and either will dry quickly if you wear them into the lake.

Backpack: If you're actually going to carry 45+ pounds, then the Aether might still be a good way to go. But with some tweaking, your baseweight (including clothes) should be able to get into the 15# range. A week's worth of food for you and your son would come in just over 20 pounds. Add water; if you tank up, ~5 pounds. So, yeah, at the start you're looking around 45 pounds. Oh, but that didn't include the 5# Aether. The pack will get lighter as you eat, but it might be a good one to start. You might also look at the GoLite Quest, a 3# 70L framed pack, or the Exos 58, a 2# ~60L framed pack. Perhaps the Z65. In the cottage-industry realm, check out the ULA Catalyst, or maybe even their Circuit!


Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/18/2010 20:49:53 MST Print View

What is FWIW? ( not tnf) I am lost?

I like the ideas for the first aid kit I will have to do some looking around. The Exos might be a better bet and cheaper why to lighten up a bit. I am nervous in getting a cottage-industry realm pack.I just watch the " your a wimp" you tube video from steve at Gossamer gear. I am inspired to lighten up before buying this new gear. the tent will have to wait this year as the sleeping bag is needed over the 5lb coleman and pack. Going to take some of these items out and re weight my load see where I will be at. Everybody states to weight the gear first and pick the pack for the trip so that is what I am trying to do.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
kids pack on 02/18/2010 20:57:36 MST Print View

still can't find a UL pack for kids . Anybody have kids in a gossemer gear, ULA, six moon designs pack etc?

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
brad on 02/18/2010 21:15:36 MST Print View

Just looked at the six moon designs swift, travler, gossemer gear gorrilla and compared these to the catalyst. Wow they all look nice and really lightweight compared to the Osprey aether. I guess I have to make a choice to go with the more duriable pack of the aether or exos and lighten the load or go with a UL pack and really lighten the load!!! Most of the UL packs I would be pushing it on the weight limits.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Just to add... on 02/18/2010 22:26:12 MST Print View

because I hadn't seen it mentioned yet. You have three fire sources. And three firestarters. You don't need matches, and you don't need vaseline soaked cotton balls and dryer lint. Either that or ditch the hand sanitizer (which will work as a firestarter) and bring the cotton balls, and wash your hands with bronners (you can put this in a smaller container).

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/19/2010 09:51:17 MST Print View


Edited by annapurna on 05/02/2010 06:09:01 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/19/2010 12:28:49 MST Print View

Thanks, Anna.

Matt, in terms of finding the more durable pack, there's no question that the Aether wins over the Exos. The question is whether you really need the durability. Of the cottage-industry packs, no reason to be concerned at all. The Catalyst is made with a super-durable fabric, has a great frame, and is well-padded. It's at least as comfortable and supportive as an Aether, but weighs a couple pounds less and costs a little less.

For another budget idea on shelter, you could use a tarp and a bug net insert. My 10x12 siltarp and MSR trekker tent insert weigh 2.5 pounds combined, sleeps 2 comfortably w/plenty of room under the tarp to cook, stow gear, etc. You could get a cheaper tarp and look into options on the bugnet... for example, could you rig a Sea to Summit double net to work? Again, cottage industry a good place to look.

Edit: In terms of getting the most bang for your buck, if you could shed 4 pounds by getting a lighter shelter, or 2 to 3 pounds by getting a lighter sleeping bag, then if you can switch out the tent for roughly the same price as the bag it would make more sense...

Edited by 4quietwoods on 02/19/2010 12:31:16 MST.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Just to add... on 02/19/2010 22:58:02 MST Print View

I think you are right on that. I will pull out some of the fire starters. I am going with 6 others in our group we should have enough firestarter with us.

thanks for the tip.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/19/2010 23:03:55 MST Print View

You are losing me on this one?

If I can't afford for this first trip to lighten the tent. I just don't have the funds. My price cap on the sleeping bag is around 250-300 and my cap for the pack is 300. I see the REI tent that was just reviewed would save serveral lbs but I have a tent and don't have a SL bag or Pack yet.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/20/2010 10:04:33 MST Print View

Guess I was confused; initially saw the TNF bag on your gear list, then saw reference to "sleeping bag needed over 5# Coleman," which I interpreted as a 5# Coleman sleeping bag. Assuming that you had a 5# sleeping bag, my point was that if you could spend the same amount of money on a different item and save more weight by doing so, it might be wiser to go for the item that saves you more weight for the same amount of money.

That said, you're working w/a $5-600 budget. Looking for sleeping bag and pack, perhaps a tent. To make that work for you: The GoLite Quest is 70L, framed, 3#'s, and $175. A TNF Cat's Meow is 20*F, 2.5#, and $170. Let's say you've spent $350 out of $600. That leaves you $200-250 to work with; I mentioned at least two tents earlier that are that price or cheaper. Same with the tarp and mesh insert. It would be a pretty good system to start with...

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
I gotcha on 02/21/2010 12:35:21 MST Print View

Wife had show me how it worked on her hands. :-) Duhhh.. Got it Brad thanks for the explanation. I looked at the golites and bit and really like the look of them and the cost from the giant Osprey 70 liter i was going to buy for 260.00. I tried a Aether on at the store yesterday and like the fit and feel but for weekend trips mainly or overnighters it seems like over kill. I just don't see myself doing week trips right now maybe 4 nights tops. The 2010 model was redesigned with more compartments so the weight is around 5# now. I asked the store about lighter packs and he explained they just wouldn't sell enough of them to the general public. Osprey was top dog right now.
I have since took another look at my gear and reweighted it with everyones advice. and saved alot of weight I was surprised.

A few changes listed below.

removed ground cloth from tent. down to 7.7# > 6.4#
First aid kit in opsack and less of it from 12oz > 2.9 oz
Got rid of one pack towel pulled it out of its sack 2oz > .9oz
Using duct tape for repairs to mattress instead of bringing tear aid tape and duct tape. rid of an 1oz
Rid of GPS we are on good trails and not doing alot of mileage with kids. saved 5.6 oz
1.5 fenix light with whistle down to .9oz
2.1oz for flint starter wtih dryer lint in pill bottle. Rid the flint starter bring just a lighter with duct tape on it and put lint in zipper bag. less 2.1oz > .3
swiss army big pocket knife put my classic in 2.5oz > .5oz
rid of camp soap 2.5oz
rid of 1.5 for duct tape by itself. put on lighter less 1.5oz

5.5 > 3lbs
Less the insulated layers depends on temps for July might have to throw them back in.
Less one less base shirt
Less swimsuit
added biking rain jacket from performance wear.

Total baseweight before 21.14 # without food or water
current baseweight 17.07 # without food or water
Savings of 4#.07oz you guys rock!!

I have been researching sleeping systems like crazy along with the packs.

I have a clearpad from big agnes and like the looks of there sleep systems. They just came out with a new sleeping bag( Tumble Mountain) that is getting rave reviews for its new down baffles system so it prevents cold spots. Cost is 289.00 weight is 3# fill weight of 15.5oz. I am a cold sleeper and want around a 20degree bag.big agnes tumble mountain

I did look a bit more at the Golite bags. has the quest pack last years model it appears on sale for 122.00 4400cu in. blue only

I am confused by the way Golite rates the packs. I go under the backcountry mens they list two packs. The Quest or the ultralight Jam. I then see below some other packs in the 50L-70L range including the Pinnicle for 175.00 72L 2lbs and the Pursuit 3# 165.00 50L. hmmmmm confusing.What are the differences? Are these others not for backcountry use?

Pursuitpursuit golite

Pinniclepinnicle golite

My other question is what do Ultralight parents do for the kids? I would love to get a lightweight pack for my son to carry some of his gear. I was looking at the Jib by Osprey for 130.00 but is there a lighter option cheaper? I just want him to carry some clothes , his bag and a pad. Is there a go foam pad for him. I was looking at the folding zrest from thermarest.

thanks in advance.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/22/2010 23:52:18 MST Print View


You aren't hiking but a few short miles, so weight isn't that critical. But don't let an 8 year old fool you. My son made his first hike to the top of Mt San Jacinto when he was 7. It was his idea, not mine.

So here are some general observations. Regarding the cottage industry packs. Don't let the weights make you shy away. These things make thru hikes on the PCT, CDT, and AT every year, and at times their owners carry more than the rated capacity.

They only thing in your list that is killer is the tent. To be honest, I have camped on Manatoulin Island, the UP and the peninsula around Tobermory and Sable beach. The insects have never been that bad for me... unlike the golf courses around my corporate office in the Detroit area. But then maybe I have just been lucky. All you really need is a bug net and a tarp tent combination. Check out the offerings on SMD, MLD, GG, etc. and wait for something to come available on Gear Swap.

Your boy sure looks excited in the picture. Nothing beats planning your first trip and then doing it.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
non-gear tips on 02/23/2010 09:17:52 MST Print View

Hi Matt,

Good for you and your son planning this trip. S. Manitou is a great place to introduce your kids to backpacking.

You're getting tons of great gear advice. A couple of tips if you haven't been to the islands.

Be close to the last on-board both going and returning. The gear is piled into the bow of the boat via human chain gang. First in goes on the bottom and there are some ridiculously heavy rigs. Your lighter gear may not fare too well piled under 60 other packs. Plus, if it's rough the gear on the bottom WILL get very wet. Regardless use some sort of pack liner - I like trash compactor bags.

If any in your party are prone to sea sickness pack dramamine. It can be glass calm or very rough. Our group stayed on the top deck in 8 - 10 footers and enjoyed the ride but, as one of the crew said, " you don't EVEN want to go below".

Take a watch so you don't miss the return boat.

I agree you don't need a GPS but you could bring it to teach your boy how it is used, and maybe do the same with a compass. It's pretty cool when you show your kid the basics of a compass and then set him up to get you cross-county from one trail to the next. I did this with my boys across the south end of the island (closed for bird nesting). They get a lot of confidence from it AND get to take the lead. At eight I think he's probably ready for taking a general bearing and following it.

Let's for poison ivy. Hope you have great weather but more importantly a great trip.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/23/2010 20:45:50 MST Print View

Thanks for the tip Nick. The one question I was wondering is do these cottage industry packs as you call them get hot to the back without the ventilation like the Osprey or REI flash? I looked at the Golite Pinnnacle tonight looks like this would make a great day bag once we get setup at camp. I looked closer at the Gorrilla of gossemer gear and need to look at the mld and ULA packs yet. Its almost overwhelming the choices out there.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: non-gear tips on 02/23/2010 20:48:36 MST Print View

Paul ,
thanks for the tip on the boat. I will have to write that one down. I don't want to get sick on the way there.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Newbie list/ Summer /weekend MI on 02/23/2010 23:51:15 MST Print View


My opinions on "hot to the back." Depending on the conditions, you are going to sweat at times. And it is just part of the sport, like many other sports. I don't worry about it. To me, sweat droping on my sunglasses is more of an irritant than a sweaty back.

Here is some feedback on packs I have used.

I have Dueter Futura Pro 42 and a REI Venturi, both have suspended mesh panels. Yes, they are cooler than other packs, but at a penalty - extra weight and moving the load pack a little bit from your center of gravity... not a lot, but it moves it. And like any other pack, you will still sweat in hot weather. Plus the construction pushes the mesh panels against the pack material and the space is awkward for packing stuff. And I mean really awkward. But I still have both packs and use them occassionaly for specific hiking... usually in temps over 100F where I am carrying mostly water.

The GG packs have an outside pocket to place your sleeping pad, so the pad rests against your back. I normally use a GG Nightlight pad with the bumps against my back. I supose this might provide a tiny bit of ventilation, but probably nothing the scientific folks here could measure. :)

The ULA packs are constructed for the sleeping pad to fit inside the pack, resting against the pack material that pushes against your back.

The ULA's in general are a itty bit heavier to similar GG packs, but are made of more robust materials and I would anticipate they will last longer with similar use.

So which pack? I have three criteria:
1. Pack that is comfortable to carry.
2. Pack that is easy to live out of (I don't see this mentioned a lot).
3. Weight.

I had a ULA Conduit and an Ohm. I used the Conduit the most of the two. It was comfortable, but not extremely comfortable. For me it was hard to live out of, because I hated the short slanted side pockets. I could not carry 1L platys in them, without them falling out. It just drove me nuts.

When I was looking for a SUL pack for short trips, I was interested in the ULA Amp, but it had been discontinued and I could not find one. So I bought a GG Murmur. I love this pack, and it was so convenient to live out of. So based on this, I decided to get a GG Mariposa Plus hoping it would be able to replace both ULA packs. And this pack is wonderful to live out of, and also carries well. So I sold the ULA packs. Nothing wrong at all with the ULAs, my personal preference was I just liked the GG packs more.

And in warm and hot weather I have a sweaty back, and I just ignore it, not high on my list. It seemed like I sweated more with the ULA packs, but not enough to warrant any concern.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
packs on 02/24/2010 20:22:48 MST Print View

Thanks for the explanation on the packs. I was thinking the GG Gorilla looking at the specs and my base weight at 17lbs before food it looks like it would work for me. i also might have to carry some of my sons supplies.What do you have to use as far as a pad? Does it have to be GG pad? I also have been looking at ULA and they seem price for what they are. I would rather buy a GOlite quest or REI flash 65 over the ULA.

I am still having a hard time finding a pack for my son. Looking for an UL rucksack of some kind that he can put water bladder in and they just don't exist. Still thinking the Osprey Jib for him at this point.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: I gotcha on 02/25/2010 09:51:00 MST Print View

Just a few thoughts... I wouldn't spend $300 on a 3# bag when I could get a 1.5# bag for around $350 (ie a Western Mountaineering bag). If your budget is tight right now, I'd go for a decent quality synthetic... that Cat's Meow is a half-pound lighter than the Tumble Mountain, and it's about half the price. FWIW, the Clearview pad will probably be ok in the dead of summer, but for any spring or fall trips it offers zero insulation.

Most of my backpacking has been in northern Michigan, the UP, and Minnesota, and I've had a lot of really, really bad bug incidents. I have a not-so-fond memory from childhood of being on North Manitou and all of my exposed skin looked like a pulsating mass of black. I would plan on bug protection; nothing can ruin a trip more than getting eaten alive and having no place to escape the buzzing critters.

Don't worry about how GoLite organizes their packs... Basically, the Pursuit and Quest and framed packs. The Jam and Pinnacle are kinda the frameless versions of the other two. You'll likely be carrying a bit more weight than you'd want in a frameless pack, so if you found a deal on the Quest, man, snatch it up! A hundred and twenty bucks for a good pack!? Leaves you some extra for tent and bag!

FWIW, (and not to sound snarky!) the heaviest pack that I typically sell is the Aether. And we do sell a lot of them. But Gregory's Z series, the GoLites, and the Exos/Atmos are pretty good sellers, too. Whether or not a shop sells light packs depends much more on the staff than on public demand. A lot of shops are "stuck" on traditional stuff; if they talked about lightweight more, that's what they'd sell.

For kids, the Jib or Ace are great packs. Sure, they're a little heavier than some of us might like. But they fit really, really well, are supportive, highly adustable while retaining good fit characteristics.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 02/25/2010 12:29:09 MST.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: I gotcha on 02/25/2010 19:08:54 MST Print View

Wow thanks 4quietwoods,

I found a guy with a large aether for 125.00 used once so going to get some pictures of it and take a look. I think for now you are right stick the money into the sleeping bag that I will be using all summer for a total of 5 camping trips mostly car camping with my flying diamond tent and family along . Get a bargin pack for now used or 2nd hand then slowly start upgrading to the good stuff. I so wish I could find a Jib for under the 130.00 asking price. Och.. for our first trip I hate to spend that kind of money if he doesn't have fun. I found a Jib on ebay last week but the price ran up to 100 in no time!! I contacted, Gossemer gear, six moon, golite and some others and know lightweight packs for kids.
I did look at the exos.Looks like the aether on a diet !!! Pretty small and lightweight only 2# 8oz for the biggest 58 series lighter then the Quest which surprised me alot. The REI flash 65 is around 3# and getting rave reviews so that is another one in my sites at around 170.00

I went to Western Mountain and can't find the summerlite bag ? I thought as a cold sleeper a 20 degree bag should do good for spring, summer , fall camping.

Any deals out there right now? I having been shopping backcountry and REI the most when trying to find the retail prices on items.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: I gotcha on 02/26/2010 09:28:36 MST Print View

So, first I'd make sure that you have the frame size right. 90%+ of the people I measure are not a large. It's not based on your bulk or weight, only on the length from the top of your iliac crest to your 7th cervical vertebrae. You could be a large, but the likelihood is that you're not. It'd stink to buy a large Aether and not have it fit. Frame size is also not a matter of just a slightly different volume; it's all about the fit. The Exos in medium is 2.19 pounds. Or buy the Quest for $125 and call it good.

If you sleep cold, you need enough insulation underneath you. The sleeping pad alone can account for 35% of your insulation. Sleeping bags are rated to their temps assuming a R-value of ~4 in the pad underneath. Doesn't matter if you get a warmer bag but still have an uninsulated mattress underneath, you'll sleep cold. Personally, I'm a cold sleeper and find that the Summerlite and a warm pad keeps me warm spring thru fall... and that bag only weighs 19oz for $315. Go to, click products, click extremelite series... Summerlite is the fifth bag listed on the menu on the left, just click on it.

Re: the Jib, another option could be that you buy it; if he doesn't like it, put it up on Ebay. Sounds like the packs are selling well there.