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Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 12:05:32 MST Print View

My hubby and I are trying to get started in Backpacking this summer, and could use some help before we buy since we don't have the money (or pack weight) to afford a mistake. We both have back issues, his due to car accidents mine are from a chronic compacted spine issue from years of horsework and jumping so we are really intent on going as lightweight as our wallets can afford. My husband works at REI so some of our choices are out of the necessity of getting the discounts than favorite choices, he also hasn't chosen a pack yet. Any suggestions on what would fit a 6' tall 280 lb man would be great.
We are looking at mostly N. GA as well as S. Carolina, Fl, and Alabama. We'd like to try some section hiking the AT as well as thru-hiking some of the shorter local trails. (BentonM, Foothills ect.) For now sticking to 3 season,to start.

Husband's Pack
REI Half Dome 2 and ft print-5lb 8oz
Camping Quilt (homemade)-1lb 8oz
REI Lite-Core 1.5 Pad-1lb 11oz
Stuff Sacks(homemade)unknown weight yet
Compression Sacks(homemade)unknown wt
Hydration Res-6.3oz -got it
Brunton Classic 9020G Compass-1.6oz
Blk Diamond Cosmo Headlamp-2.8oz -got it
Batteries + 3 extras-2oz
Buck Scholar Knife-1.3oz
Light My Fire Flint and Steel-1oz
Small Personal First Aid Kit-1oz
Toilet Paper-1.5oz
Sanitary Trowel-2oz
Whistle-.5oz
Outdoor Products Poncho-9oz

I know the headlamp could be reduced but it is my husband's guilty pleasure item (I know, weird item.) The first aid is just some extra band-aids and things just in case we get split up as is the flint and steel.

My pack
Deuter Futura Pro 34SL Pack-3lb 12oz
Emergency Tarp and 4 Stakes-13oz
Camping Quilt (homemade)-1lb 8oz
REI Trekker 1 Self-I Pad Kids-1lb 3oz
Stuff Sacks(homemade)unknown weight yet
Compression Sacks(homemade)unknown wt
Soto Micro Regulator Stove-2.6oz
GSI Pinnacle Solo Cookset-10.7oz got it
GSI Microbitesx2-1.6oz
Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter-11oz
Hydration Resivour-4.6oz
4L Platypus-3oz (My Hub drinks alot of water)
Buck Scholar Knife-1.3oz
Light My Fire Flint and Steel-1oz
Whistle-.5oz
First Aid Kit-11.5oz
Outdoor Products Packfrm Poncho-9oz
Duct tape
Rope

Due to our bad backs we have to have self-inflation pads but thanks to my mom's insistence on me learning how to sew I can make quite a few things instead of buying. Anything else anyone can think of that I can make is welcome. Also I'd like some advice on what we really need to buy as far as clothes. We both have
one pair of pants (mine are convertible)
Water Wicking Shirt (short, Hub has 2)
sock liners and socks
wide brimmed hat
rain jacket
WW long john pants
and fleece lined snow pants that can be used as rain pants
light hiking shoes
Do we really need two of everything if we're only going out for 2-3 days if we've got fresh undies for every day? I mean it's not a fashion show right?

I really am not sure what size pack to get for us. We don't want to get anything too big because we really don't have the money to waste. Also we will be most likely to buy at REI unless you know of the perfect packs for the least cost ever. I personally LOVE Deuter and Kelty Packs and I prefer top loading packs with sleeping bag compartments but I'm not tied to it if it doesn't work in field.

I'm really second guessing my choices and am worried that I'm forgetting something immensely important or adding something that horribly unnecessary. Any advice or suggestions would be great!

Edit btw My pack total is looking at about 13-15lbs Base Weight and His is 15-18lb Base Weight.

Edited by LynB87 on 02/23/2010 12:08:44 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 13:41:23 MST Print View

Jo, here is my take on you list- also take no offence at any of my ideas- I use to work at REI and understand the discount vs UL items, but you can get good UL stuff if you look for it- (besides the store, look at REI online or outlet, you will still get the discount)
Here is goes:

Husband's Pack
REI Half Dome 2 and ft print-5lb 8oz= get the Quarter dome and save 2 lbs!

Camping Quilt (homemade)-1lb 8oz= make a down quilt and save 8 oz

REI Lite-Core 1.5 Pad-1lb 11oz= you can buy a NeoAir by Theramrest with the discount and save over 11 oz. and be as comfortable or more

Stuff Sacks(homemade)unknown weight yet= you only need 1 or 2

Compression Sacks(homemade)unknown wt= not need- waste of weight and damages contents

Hydration Res-6.3oz -got it= use old water bottles save 5 oz
Brunton Classic 9020G Compass-1.6oz= ok
Blk Diamond Cosmo Headlamp-2.8oz -got it= you can worry about other things

Batteries + 3 extras-2oz= no need- they last a long time if you are going on an long trip put new ones in. Mine are a year old in the same type of head lamp

Buck Scholar Knife-1.3oz= he might balk but one of you should at least move to a Swiss army classic- .7 oz

Light My Fire Flint and Steel-1oz= ok

Small Personal First Aid Kit-1oz= ok

Toilet Paper-1.5oz= some here would so "go with out" your call

Sanitary Trowel-2oz= maybe a bandana instead

Whistle-.5oz= ok

Outdoor Products Poncho-9oz= no need you both have rain jackets listed below

My pack
Deuter Futura Pro 34SL Pack-3lb 12oz= Sarah on this forum uses a Deuter for her back also- if you lighten your load enough you can both use a Golite Jam2 and save 1.5 lbs each- you can get them at REI

Emergency Tarp and 4 Stakes-13oz= you already are taking a tent so this is redundant, if you are worried about emergency shelter when separated one of you carry the rain fly and the other carry the tent. BTW I don't let my wife get more then 50 feet from me, so it is never a worry

Camping Quilt (homemade)-1lb 8oz= see down quilt above

REI Trekker 1 Self-I Pad Kids-1lb 3oz= Neoair

Stuff Sacks(homemade)unknown weight yet= see above

Compression Sacks(homemade)unknown wt= no need!

Soto Micro Regulator Stove-2.6oz= get the Snowpeak Gigapower instead, much better stove!

GSI Pinnacle Solo Cookset-10.7oz got it= if you haven't used it take it back and get a REI 1.3 lt. titanium pot and save 8 oz, you aren't making a turkey dinner so you don't need a cook "Set"
GSI Microbitesx2-1.6oz= just get 2 ti sporks and save 2 oz

Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter-11oz= way to much hassle and weight- go with AquaMira or if you don't like chemicals get a Steripen

Hydration Resivour-4.6oz= no way- use an old Gatorade bottle or 2 save 3 oz- see below

4L Platypus-3oz (My Hub drinks alot of water)= redundant with above- you can use the Gatorade bottles or a Platy 2L a 4L is way too much

Buck Scholar Knife-1.3oz= see knife above

Light My Fire Flint and Steel-1oz= ok

Whistle-.5oz= ok

First Aid Kit-11.5oz= you should cut this to 3 oz max, you can make do with all the other stuff you bring- save 8.5 oz

Outdoor Products Packfrm Poncho-9oz= no need see above

Duct tape= no more then 3-5 ft rolled up on a broken Popcicle stick

Rope= small stuff more like thick twine (Mason's line- get at Home Depot for $4) for bear bagging- 50 feet repackaged

Water Wicking Shirt (short, Hub has 2)= REI has plenty, watch the weigh

sock liners and socks= good wool socks- I don't need liners

wide brimmed hat= get a Lightweight "Tilley" with your discount, they are great and worth the money

rain jacket= get a Marmot Precip on sale with your discount

WW long john pants= go with the lightweight SmartWool with your discount

and fleece lined snow pants that can be used as rain pants in the summer you don't need rain pants, you LW pants dry very quickly

light hiking shoes= use trail runners, boots add 8.6 lbs to you back for every pound on your feet- read up on this- plenty of information on this forum

Do we really need two of everything if we're only going out for 2-3 days if we've got fresh undies for every day?= No you don't need 2 of anything- bag the fresh undies for a short trip, unless you are bathing out there you don't really need to change

I mean it's not a fashion show right?= only for the yuppies and wannibies

I really am not sure what size pack to get for us.= Get all your stuff first (including quilts made) then you will see how much space it will take up. The have your husbund bring a few pack of different sizes home to see what size you need.

I have probably taken off about 4 to 5 pounds of unnecessary or heavy stuff. Its best to start with less then more, that way you don't have to stop using something that you've "always" taken but never used.

BTW- you can find some great stuff at the store Garage Sale, have your husband go to it with a list so he can see what you need and then start checking it off as he finds stuff.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/23/2010 13:47:57 MST.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Re: Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 21:27:44 MST Print View

Just so you know I never take offense at good advice from people that are way better at this than me, lol.

First off, thanks for all the advice, I can already see a few pounds disappearing. Second, I agree with you about the tent but there's really nothing we can do about it. We have to go with that tent or we can't afford a tent at all (due to an employee sale I can't disclose any further).

I checked out the pad you suggest and once again I agree, if I had $210 (after discount) to spend on sleeping pads these would be the ones on my list for sure! The choices I've got cost me only $70 instead. I got lucky that I found out that the REI Kids pad is just long enough for me, only 19oz and $40. The question is, is the saving of 18oz worth $140 and having to wait an extra month before we can even start. I was just thinking that in a hobby where weather is a factor we really couldn't risk losing another whole year by saving 2-5 lbs in gear that cost several hundred more. Maybe next time when we replace our gear, it'll be an option.

I do have a question on how do I make a down quilt small enough to fit into a cheaper smaller pack without a compression sack? After doing some more research on down I see what you mean and I had been considering down previously, I'm just not sure how it works without the compression. I was only planning on one at all for the quilt.
My other worry is the water bottles, they can't compress at all they will always take the same space no matter what they weigh, whereas the camelbaks distribute the water in a flatter and more even shape. If pack size is an issue wouldn't it be worth the extra oz.? Although I grew up in Az so I'm sure I've just over calculated the amount of water we'll need in Ga, we will be getting the 2L instead.

About rain gear, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to this subject due to a life spent in the desert where if it rains you don't put a jacket on, you put out all your extra pots and enjoy being not dusty. So maybe this is totally stupid but even with a jacket and a rain cover for your pack won't the straps and back get wet anyway? The poncho covers both person and pack. We don't really have what one would call backpacking rain jackets, just wind breakers that work more or less. They are very lightweight and I doubt I could do much better without spending scads of money, so we had the ponchos as a backup and I was considering using mine as my emergency shelter, but I was concerned that all the websites and books I've found said that I should always be careful doing this sort of thing if you have never backpacked before. But if the likelihood of us getting separated is so slim I'll fore-go the caution.

The stove has a regulator which means I have a 4min boil time at the beginning and end of every canister that causes me to carry 1/2 the fuel as any other stove I found for the same price. I figured that was worth it. As for the "cookset" It's 1L pot with lid, a plastic bowl and bag. The bowl weighs less than those sold separately. Actually I really ought to weight it with what I'm taking, probably weighs less than I think. It came with two forks and a stove bag I was going to leave at home.

As it is the things we will for sure change has already saved me 3-5lbs that I can tell already.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 21:58:18 MST Print View

If it takes $210 to get pads that allow you to get a good nights sleep (with bad backs), that's money well spent. Although I'd get an Ether Thermo 6 for $60. And if you watch the forums here, you can get a lot of lightweight stuff at a great price.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 22:01:10 MST Print View

It probably won't help too much, but I'd sell my Big Agnes Insulated Air Core for $40.

JASON CUZZETTO
(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: "Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help" on 02/23/2010 22:17:10 MST Print View

I loved everything the guy above said. I am in the 280 mark also. It sounds like the only gear you are stuck on is the sleeping pads. I know from experience that if you think you need it let it be your comfort item. Don't worry about the headlamp. Usually at that weight it has a little more lumens than the smaller ones.

I think you should start thinking about the packs though. A couple of thoughts here since you make your own.
1. Look into the Ray Way kits. He has all kinds of light gear you can make right down to the tarp. The prices are fantastic too. Make the largest one for your size to start out.
2. Look into Z-Packs if you want one premade. His are really light. Prices are great.
3. REI might have the Golite packs. If you can get your husband and yourself the Pinnacle it will have more room than you need and you can forget about stuff sacks altogether. You might be good with the Jam2. I picked each of these packs up clearance over the last couple of years for under $70 each.

***start looking at one pot meals and concider a titanium pot at about .9 liters. for the two of you. I know you bought the GSI set but... Well, I find that using dehydrated meals, the pot and a recycled plastic bowl, or tv dinner dish is lighter and wirks just as well as a two or even 3 person kit (there are six of us and we use variations of this set up to save $$$).
***The water thing... here is the gyst from my time in the army to the camel back to the 1 gallon water bottle or 3 liter soda bottle. The camel back is nice, but I think it is more of a pain. In the army we had the plastic canteen and we had the two liter soda bottles in the ruck. they were great for flating a ruck or other gear across a river. Plus the soda bottle holds extra water. The gatorade bottle is strong and works well. But you can cook an extra meal in a nalgene bottle if you need to boil double the water. Some metalized bubble pack from the hardware with some flume tape makes a grate bottle cozy. then you can cook another part of your meal with the one pot.

Have your husband use goodwill for most of his outdoor clothes. I get most of mine there. You don't need the ski pants. Overkill and they won't dry. a fleece and nylon layer is max.

Enjoy and PM me with questions and I can get you pics.

Jason
***

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 22:47:10 MST Print View

There isn't a difference in the thickness or comfort of the pads suggested and the ones we were planning to get, it was a difference of weight in the pack, and to be honest we can't afford $140 for one lb off our backs. Will check out the Ether though sounds like a great price.

Thanks for the offer of the Agnes but with our discount it's only a 2 dollar difference and since we are buying our tent soon we don't really have the money to spare right now.

I went back a weighed my 1L pot and plastic bowl (the only bits I plan on carrying) and it weighs exactly 6oz the manufacturer lied profusely about the weight.
We already have the 2 hydro bags but for extra water we'll probably just throw in a 2l bottle since it seems to be a majority who agrees on that. Still not sure how it'll work but I'll try anything once and what's the worst that could happen, I learn I do have to spend the money I was already planning on spending? Best possible, I save myself the money and recycle.

Edited by LynB87 on 02/23/2010 23:00:19 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 22:53:07 MST Print View

Jo, more comments:
Go with your pads for now- you can always use them for something later on if you decide to upgrade later. If you have the money it does make a difference-

>I do have a question on how do I make a down quilt small enough to fit into a cheaper smaller pack without a compression sack?>
Making the down quilt small enough to fit in a pack is the least of your problems- they compress better and smaller then anything else you carry without the need for a compression bag (heavy)

>My other worry is the water bottles, they can't compress at all they will always take the same space no matter what they weigh, whereas the camelbaks distribute the water in a flatter and more even shape<
I carry my water bottle in an outside elastic pocket so it doesn't need to be compressed- I don't want to take my pack off to get a drink. If you are worried about the size of an empty bottle buy the Platy 2L, they fold down very small, I carry one deflated for extra water for cooking. I carry it empty and fill it at camp.

>So maybe this is totally stupid but even with a jacket and a rain cover for your pack won't the straps and back get wet anyway? The poncho covers both person and pack. We don't really have what one would call backpacking rain jackets, just wind breakers that work more or less.<
If you don't have a real rain coat and have good sewing skills you could make this Silnylon Mountain Poncho you might need a BPL membership to view it- to a bad idea regardless.
Also a good lightweight raincoat like a Marmot precip can handle most of what you will run into.
Don't get a pack cover- use a pack liner instead, something like a trash compactor bag- cheap and it works. even with a pack cover things can get wet so just use the liner.

>The stove has a regulator which means I have a 4min boil time at the beginning and end of every canister that causes me to carry 1/2 the fuel as any other stove I found for the same price. I figured that was worth it<
This is advertising hype- and no it is not worth it! If you are worried about whats in a canister keep track of the weight and that will tell you what is left in it. On a short outing it isn't a big deal. Go with the Gigapower, trust me!

>As for the "cookset" It's 1L pot with lid, a plastic bowl and bag. The bowl weighs less than those sold separately. Actually I really ought to weight it with what I'm taking, probably weighs less than I think. It came with two forks and a stove bag I was going to leave at home.<
Most of that you don't need- If I were to use a bowl I would take an old cottage cheese container or the like. The pot w/lid should weigh about 4 oz, loose the bag and everything else. Use the pot to carry your new snowpeak gigapower stove, no bags.
I hope this help- also read thru old threads to learn about all the stuff in your pack, the pack itself and all the stuff you wear, cook with and food- its all there for you to learn.
Good luck, its a never ending process.....

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/23/2010 23:23:34 MST Print View

Okay won't worry about the compression sacks at all then!
Will definitely be making ponchos and not even bothering with all that heavy rain gear unless we're looking at the colder temps.

threw out some stuff and got my "Kitchen" sans stove down to 6oz. Probably will still go with the Soto because it's an oz lighter and with my Hubby's discounts costs the same but if it doesn't work out I can always return it and get the giga. We are actually considering going without the "kitchen" altogether for the most part so it's not even a priority first thing. We got the pot set first because we didn't have anything for car camping and didn't want to waste money buying for the two things separately.

I'm personally paranoid about thrift store clothes, but Hubby doesn't care and who knows one great deal-of-a-lifetime could win me over. As it is I have my full one outfit for $50 shopping the clearance racks.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help on 02/24/2010 00:43:12 MST Print View

> Probably will still go with the Soto because it's an oz lighter and with my
> Hubby's discounts costs the same

The SOTO has a lot of absolute marketing crap floating around it. All the claims for the miracles wrought by the regulator should be totally ignored. The claims that the regulator will make the stove work no matter what the temperature or canister pressure are simply false. In general, those claims are made by retailers, not by the manufacturer (SOTO), due to the ignorance on the part of the retailers.

Despite all that, the stove is well-made. It emits more carbon monoxide than I consider tolerable for use inside a tent or other confined space, but you can always get adequate ventilation.

Cheers

Patrick Matte
(JPMatte) - M

Locale: N. Georgia
Newbie couple on 02/24/2010 06:20:12 MST Print View

Hi Jo, it sounds a s if you are now in Georgia? Email me and I can answer some questions regarding the trails.
Patrick Matte'

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Patrick on 02/24/2010 19:42:09 MST Print View

I'd love to chat a bit but I'm having some trouble with this site, I can't figure out how to get a private message to you.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Thanks everyone!!! on 02/24/2010 19:52:56 MST Print View

Thank you to everyone who gave advice I just recalculated our gear list and we have it down to 10lbs for each of us!!! Some of that may go even further down since I've calculated some of it by manufacturer listed weight and probably wrong. As always any extra advice or suggestions are fully welcome!

Patrick Matte
(JPMatte) - M

Locale: N. Georgia
newbie on 02/24/2010 20:11:02 MST Print View

xtreme_cleaning@hotmail.com

LL Bean
(LLBean) - F
Re: "Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help" on 02/25/2010 18:47:52 MST Print View

Sounds as though you've given a lot of consideration to the matter. I think your main focus should just be getting out there for now. I think you were wise to skip some of the more expensive suggestions you've received. You can gradually refine your gear over time -- best to first make sure it's something you enjoy.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: "Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help" on 02/25/2010 18:54:42 MST Print View

"Some of that may go even further down since I've calculated some of it by manufacturer listed weight and probably wrong"

Probably it'll go up from the mfg weight- They like to 'embellish'

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F
Re: Re: "Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help" on 02/27/2010 16:27:24 MST Print View

Yeah I know they like to say things weigh less than reality but they also like to add in things that are completely unneeded, such as the massive amounts of bags for every little part of a tent. These types of things I will store or toss and probably get rid of a few things most people would bother to keep, so I'm guessing I can make a few things go down, maybe not very much but every ounce counts. Plus I'm getting so many great patterns for things I can make on here instead of buy, giving me more hands on control of my pack weight.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: "Newbie Couple Needing Gear Help" on 02/27/2010 16:33:52 MST Print View

Hi Jo

Blatant commercial, but if you subscribe you will find MANY MYOG articles just begging to be used.

Cheers