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Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
What have you changed your mind about? on 02/20/2010 18:30:12 MST Print View

With the discussion about BPL's new Absaroka and how people might have changed their UL weight target, I was curious about what strongly held opinion or perception that has changed with the members in the last few years.

Maybe for some of you newer members it's that you can sleep under a tarp without worring about bugs (that was one of my early concerns).

For the members with longer tenures maybe it's that you actually have a better trip carrying some extra weight in the form of a cushy sleeping pad.

I don't want to limit this query to just gear (although I doubt I could control the discussion anyway), so it could be thoughts about your environmental footprint while hiking or while at home, the sense of community that you experience on BPL, how you source gear, etc.

Tom

Edited by TomClark on 02/20/2010 18:31:04 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/20/2010 19:46:55 MST Print View

Well, on the PCT I had trouble with laundry. When you carry only enough to wear and you have to wash your clothes, what do you wear while you are waiting for your clothes? Rain chaps? I don't think so. I finally decided to carry extra clothes.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Washing clothes on 02/20/2010 19:48:16 MST Print View

That's why some people recommend a full rain suit- so you can wear it to do laundry. Though, I'm sure that if you did the laundry in rain chaps you'd get a lot of attention...

Edited by acrosome on 02/20/2010 19:49:19 MST.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 06:45:30 MST Print View

I went back to using a filter. I was caught up in the ounce-saving ability of just using Aqua Mira drops, and ditched the filter. In the end, I decided that I felt more comfortable with a filter (water cleanliness, less wait time), and have since upgraded to a Platy gravity filter system (from the AM Frontier Pro).

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Washing clothes on 02/21/2010 07:42:24 MST Print View

I guess I should add that I found the extra clothes to serve dual use besides just wearing them during laundry. I packed a skirt. I could wear the skirt over my pants when I was in mosquito country where the mosquitoes were so bad they bit through my pants. Sometimes I slept in the skirt if my pants were wet or dirty. It really didn't weigh much, so it's not like it was that much extra.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 08:23:16 MST Print View

Joe,
I think that there are place where Aqua Mira work great (Sierra Nevadas, Cascades). In those places the size and simplicity is much of an advantage as the weight. However, along the AT when flow is low and there is lots floating in the water, I agree that a pump can be easier.

There are probably other examples of gear/techniques that work great for one area of the country, but may not be the best elsewhere...can still work, but just may not be optimum.
Tom

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:11:07 MST Print View

I think for me the biggest thing I have changed in the past 4 years are:

#1 - If I'm not comfortable sleeping, my trip isn't comfortable. Therefore 1/4 inch ground pads and the like are out. Being broad shouldered and a side sleeper, bivies and 3/4 length pads are out. I've finally settled in with a Big Agnes IAC. I tried the NEO and I just didn't find it as comfortable. That extra 10 ounces is wroth it to me to be comfortable sleeping.

#2 - I used to be filter only, regardless. After trying several types of drops and tabs, and methods for pre-filtering floaties, I am comfortable using either system and since being in Montana now for past 2 1/2 years, I have been using chemical treatments mostly. Although, if we go back east, I take the filter ;)

#3 - Trail Runners vs. Boots. I haven't bought a pair of boots now in 4 years. I'm a firm believer in trail runners but admittedly, always seem in a constant battle to find the right ones that fit me well.

#4 - Bags versus Quilts - It took a few tries, and over the past 4 years I sewed several quilts for myself, but I finally figured out a quilt system that is comfortable for me and I have used it to modify a Jacks R Better Springer quilt

#5 - I have been unwilling to change packs. I am using a 4 1/2 pound Osprey Aether 70 as both a summer and winter pack. Alot of times I leave the top pack behind which reduces weight a half pound, but I love the comfort and adjustability. And because I'm a big guy, a couple pounds extra doesn't really bother me. I am willing to try new packs, but I am rough on packs and the ultralight silnylon and that variety are definitely not for me. The new BPL pack looks interesting to me but I have a feeling it's price range is not going to be to my liking. If it's under 250, I may consider spending the dough to try it.

Last Thing - Canister versus Alcohol. I have learned that if I am out anymore than a night, I want my canister stove. Period. Seems like every time I go for multi-day trips with alcohol, I always under estimate or over estimate my fuel usage. With my canisters, I weigh them before and after each trip and mark the weights on the cans. I always know how far that fuel will take me.

All in all my venture into better eating, lighter packing has been a good one and I have enjoyed the tips and tricks I have gotten here from BPL members and from the BPL articles. It's helped me changed my mind several times about how we do things..

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:19:52 MST Print View

Well, I started to carry a much bigger pot and a frying pan along with a ti-tri as I ve given up trying to make that horrible unappetizing processed nutritionally bankrupt "trail food" and "trail bars" work. Food is just too important to skimp on both psychologically and physically. On a warm weekender is easy to go cookless if you really need to save weight but most people can't do that on a long trip.
Sleep is another, bring a good warm bag. I read storys about people doing jumping jacks and crunches at night to stave off hypothermia - sleep is just too important and I never spent a cold night shivering and thought that half a pound saved was worth it.
Any fool can be miserable it proves nothing-trust me.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:32:29 MST Print View

Also, Ive given up chasing numbers. The whole point of going UL is to keep the weight down to a level where you can travel far without undue fatigue and stress on the body. Many people can carry 30 lbs and accomplish this. Ive found that as long as my base weight is about 10lbs give or take a few pounds, I'm golden. And with the gear available today even mainstream gear; that is very reasonable for most anyone to accomplish in most situations.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:36:22 MST Print View

"Canister versus Alcohol. I have learned that if I am out anymore than a night, I want my canister stove. Period. Seems like every time I go for multi-day trips with alcohol, I always under estimate or over estimate my fuel usage. With my canisters, I weigh them before and after each trip and mark the weights on the cans. I always know how far that fuel will take me."

This has been the complete opposite of my experience. I am beginning to think there is something wrong with my canister stove, because predicting how much and how long a canister will last has been impossible. I ran out of fuel twice before I just stopped taking the stove with me. Alcohol OTOH has let me predict usage with more accuracy.

christopher shive
(cms432)

Locale: Along the AT in PA
Re: Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:45:58 MST Print View

"There are probably other examples of gear/techniques that work great for one area of the country, but may not be the best elsewhere...can still work, but just may not be optimum."

Tom,

I don't want to drift the topic of this thread, but I've always wondered about how geographic location affects gear choices and backpacking styles. Are there certain techniques that aren't best for me based on the fact I hike in Pennsylvania? Like I said....new thread....

Chris

Mark Ferwerda
(mnferwerda) - MLife

Locale: Maryland
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 10:53:59 MST Print View

I went through several backpacks, each one getting lighter and finally sewed and used a GVP4 backpack and used it for about a year. I finally gave up on it because it hurt my shoulders too much. Now I have a Mountainsmith Ghost that rides like it's not there for weights under 25lbs. So I realized that one of my keys to happiness in backpacking is a comfortable pack.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 11:09:56 MST Print View

I started off as a traveler before I took on hiking. My first hiking pack had different openings and compartments. But soon after, I settled for a "one big hole" backpack for its simplicity and quick packing ability -- and just used front, side, and hip belt pockets for organization and easy access. I still won't use "floating tops" though; I find the fussing and the myriad of straps annoying.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 13:14:16 MST Print View

Chris,

Your geographical questions already has been evident in gear list "standards". Earlier in the thread, Tom mentioned that using a filter out here in the east isn't necessarily a bad idea, knowing the initial quality of the water. Out west, where the water source may be more "clean", AM drops may be more suitable.

Also, ask people about using a down sleeping bag in the northeast or northwest. Most people may recommend using synthetic in these "wetter" climates.

However, all these "stereotypes" may be debunked if you know how to properly mitigate the circumstances that have formed these stereotypes ("gear failure") in the first place. For instance, using a down bag/quilt with proper ventilation or a bivy is OK in the east (like I do).

Edited by joegeib on 02/21/2010 13:16:00 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 13:34:08 MST Print View

> trouble with laundry. When you carry only enough to wear and you have to wash your clothes,

GoLite Whims and GoLite Wisp
Worked well, very light, dual purpose.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 13:34:53 MST Print View

> I still won't use "floating tops" though;
+1!

Cheers

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: Canister on 02/21/2010 17:08:23 MST Print View

@ Lori ---

I do mostly FBC style cooking. It took some practice to know how long it took to boil a cup,two cups of water etc. I also set my fuel throttle on the stove at about 3/4's instead of full blast. Doing this and testing it through several times and then weighing the canisters is what helped me to learn approximate fuel volumes I use and what is left. When I get close on a canister, I take my alcohol stove along with the canister so I can use up the canister but not be without a stove. Most people wouldn't do that but it doesn't bother me.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: What have you changed your mind about? on 02/21/2010 18:02:33 MST Print View

Chris,
You know that COULD be a good thread all by itself, but let's talk about it some here since I'm curious where it could go.

If you want to steroetype, you could say that the east is hilly, has lots of forest with small trees, bushy undergrowth, spotty water sources, and could see rain for weeks on end.

The Sierras can often be drier, have lots of areas above treeline (tough for hammocks) with pleanty of flat spots for campsites, more predictable weather patterns.

I also think that the folks out west have led the lightweight trend, although there are now lots of cottage manufacturers here in the east.

Tom