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New to BPL - gear list help
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Jeffrey McConnell
New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 01:07:30 MST Print View

The gear list is in my profile and was created with a 3-5 day Sierra trip in mind during Summer time. I really need help with the big 3, but at this point cost is a major consideration. Suggestions of used gear or gear I could find on sale is appreciated. Suggestions on any part of the list are appreciated as well. I didn't include the SLR camera in the weight totals because I only take it when photography is my main goal.

I could also use some suggestions on footwear. I currently use Vasque Breezes and they are heavy. I'd like to use trail runners but I had a bad experience. Maybe you can tell me if it was just situational? I bought Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes. They fit and felt great. I took them on a 20 mile hike going up the back side of Saddleback Mountain in Orange County, CA. A large portion of the hike was fire road. My feet were KILLING me at the end of that hike! I was wearing a light day pack. I didn't break them in before, which may have been the problem. I don't know. They were a great fit and they didn't feel like they needed breaking in. I didn't get blisters but my feet were REALLY sore. Did the fire road have to do with it? Should I have broken them in first? I know I do have more sensitive feet than the average person.

Anyway, thanks for the help in advance!

Edited by Catalyst on 02/24/2010 01:09:13 MST.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Big 3 on 02/24/2010 01:43:14 MST Print View

Your carrying 14lbs in just your big three. I would try to sell the Pack and tent online, and use the money to pick up maybe a Golite jam/pinnacle, and a tarp/used tarp tent. You don't need to jump right into a 300 cuben tarp, a PU/sil nylon would be fine for now. check out gear sales online (being from Canada I cant order a lot of the super deals with cheap shipping) also check out the gear swap page in the forums. probably can find some of the big three people are trying to get rid of.

Edited by rcowman on 02/24/2010 01:47:56 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 01:46:00 MST Print View


Okay, lets keep in mind that cost is important. Oh and your big 3 is BIG. The most expensive thing with be a sleeping bag or quilt. Might help to know exactly when and where in the summer you will be going, but I shall assume lowest temperature you will see is 32F. My preference is down, lightest for the warmth. So... just keep an eye in gear swap. Or you might look at the GoLite website. I noticed theirs are pretty reasonable.

You Thermarest is heavy. I would consider alternatives... lighter air matress or going to a foam pad. I can sleep on foam pad comfortably.

Pack should be your last purchase once you have assembled all your gear, so you get the right capacity. Just read all the reviews and posts regarding packs... there are hundreds posted every month. And you can usually find the one you need in Gear Swap. Some brands to look at are Gossamer Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Mood Designs, Ultralight Adventure Equipment, GoLite, and Granite Gear. GoLite and Granite Gear can often be found at reasonable prices new on the Web.

Bladders are heavy look at other options like Aquafina bottles (free) and Platys.

You only need one shirt.

With trail runners, you don't need sock liners. I will discuss trail runners later.

That tent is too heavy. Cheapest option is a 8' X 10' tarp. Easy to set up with a little practice. Not much rain in the summers in the Sierras anyway. Bugs are another issue. I do fine with DEET. A headnet could be helpful. Or you could buy a net tent and pitch the tarp over it. Also light weight tent systems are available all the time in gear swap. Cruise the SMD, MLD, GG, Tarptent websites for research and information.

You don't need a cup. Use the TiPot to drink out of. However there is a cool factor in a Sierra Cup.

If you are hiking on trails, you don't need the GPS. Actually with practice and skill you don't need a GPS at all.

The Sierras are one of the most beautiful places on earth. Dump the iPod and enjoy the scenery, smells and sounds. Emerse yourself.

There are a lot of little other things you can tweak, but start with the big 3.

Now regarding your trail runners. Probably be best if you describe the foot problems in greater detail. Generally trail runners require no break in at all. But perfect fit is a must. Most people buy shoes that really are too small. Salomons happen to be the brand that fit me best. I have two pairs, Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra and Salomon XA Comp 4 GTX. Generally using the GTX Goretex is not a good idea in most conditions. They don't breath that well. Last December I wore a brand new pair of the Comp 4's on a 50 mile trip and my feet were absolutely comfortable.

Jeffrey McConnell
The trail runners on 02/24/2010 02:03:42 MST Print View

Thanks for all the help so far. I knew my big 3 were pretty heavy, so its great to get suggestions on thosThe gear list is really just a general 3 season list. Another consideration I forgot to mention is that I plan on using my gear for more serious hikes as well such as Shasta this summer and Rainier in the future.

With the trail runners, from what I remember, the balls of my feet were just really sore after the hike. The salesperson at REI told me that they were the "wrong" type of shoe for backpacking, and I started to believe him because my feet were so sore. That's when I traded them for the boots. It may just have been the length of the hike though. My feet were also really sore after day hiking Whitney (22 miles) in the Vasque boots. It could be that after so long my feet just get really sore. I don't know.

Edited by Catalyst on 02/24/2010 02:15:41 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The trail runners on 02/24/2010 02:39:50 MST Print View


One thing about gear, you always need to try to buy the best quality that is within your budget. And when you are young, there often is not enough disposable income to do it. In the "old" days I had one pack and bag for all trips, which meant it often was overkill and overweight. Today I have several of each, for different conditions. So study and research.

Now back to the shoes. Of course REI recommended boots. The box said trail runners, not hiking boot!!

When I dropped by an REI and asked them to open some boxes of crampons so I could fit them to my running shoes, I accumulated quite a crowd of REI employees to talk me out of this insane idea!!

You could try some sole inserts, but that really shouldn't be necessary. Runners pound their feet in these shoes and they work just fine. It may be that your feet weren't in hiking condition. Perhaps some shorter trips to get them into shape is in order. I am lucky, normally no feet problems at all. Also, fire roads tend to be hard packed. I wouldn't give up yet. Start doing some shorter day hikes and wear them around town.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The trail runners on 02/24/2010 02:39:50 MST Print View

Opps... double post.

Edited by ngatel on 02/24/2010 02:40:34 MST.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Rundown on 02/24/2010 06:28:32 MST Print View

It's been said already... your big 3 are... well... big. Ha! Looks like you do your shopping at REI. Good news... it's not working out for you, take it back. You can actually pick up some decent UL gear there if you look hard.

The general rule is to get your gear in order and then pick out your pack. Take a look at the Granite Gear Vapor Trail. About $170 at REI I believe. It's around 2 lbs. With a little surgery, you can drop 5 ounces or so from the pack. That reminds me... I need to do a write up on that. This is a great starter pack, and if frameless packs don't work for you... again just take it back.

Plenty of good UL shelters to choose from there as well. Personally I like a tarp/bivy combo. Not too many options in the bivy department there. I would check out Mountain Laurel Designs unless you are in a hurry. Ron might correct me, but I believe the current wait time is about 6 weeks for gear. You could do just a tarp shelter alone if you really want to drop some weight.

I'm not a huge fan of synthetic sleeping bags/quilts. They don't have the warmth of down, and they don't pack down like a quality down sleeping bag/quilt does. Plenty of options. Check out Nunatak, Mountain Laurel Designs, enLIGHTened Designs, ect. I'd get going on this pretty quick. The wait times are a factor. If you want to stick with sleeping bags, I have a brand new Feathered Friends Kestrel sleeping bag rated to 30F. I'll let it go for $289 which includes shipping. It's not SUL but it's a great bag at what I think is a good price.

Try to swap out your sleeping pad for a NeoAir at REI.

Lose the camelback. Check out platypus bladders.

Lose the cup as mentioned by other members.

8oz pot? Check for lighter options. That's on the heavy side for sure.

1 shirt

Lose the sock liners, lose the toothbrush/paste, lose the iPod, lose the GPS

Try to drop an ounce or two from your first aid kit. You don't need much. I take a couple of bandaids with the antibiotic already built in, some mole skin, and a little duck tape and some Tylenol. Anything that requires more than that... time to go home. You can improvise a lot in the field.

A knife is very personal. I carry the Benchmade 530 that I picked up at REI. Mine weighs 1.6oz and it's a great knife. Some just carry a razor blade. Think of your actual needs. If you don't need it, lose it.

Unless you are doing night hiking, you don't really need that much of a headlamp. Check out the Photon Freedom Micro LED. You can find it for about $10 online. Puts out plenty of light for around the camp. Weighs around .25 ounces. I carry one in my pack and one in my pocket.

You listed two whistles. I carry none. One should be more than enough. Some packs have built in whistles into the sternum strap.

As far as trail runners? I wear La Sportiva Wildcats. I used to wear boots. Asolo boots to be exact. I spent top dollar and kept have feet trouble. I went to trail runners and I'll never ever go back to boots. I'm gonna have to agree with the above poster and say your feet just need to be conditioned. I've never had to break in trailrunners.


EDIT: I just realized you don't list toilet paper. Good on you. :D

Edited by Junction on 02/24/2010 06:31:46 MST.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 08:04:38 MST Print View

I'll start off with a shameless plug; I have a used(slightly damaged but repaired) Tarptent Rainbow for sale here. It's only a one-person tent, and I see you're carrying a two-person now. It makes a nice transitional tent(which is why I bought it) since it sets up and looks like a 'mainstream' tent, but it weighs only 2lbs. You won't be taking it up Shasta or Rainier though. Not built for that.

If you're a large torso, I also have a pretty good all-around backpack for sale cheap It's not the lightest pack for summer, but it's the kind of pack that could go up Shasta and also compact down for smaller, lighter summer loads, and shave 2.5lbs off your base weight. I've taken it snow camping with 45lbs and summer camping with 30(pre-ul). I've just transitioned to a winter pack/summer pack duo.

Now that the self-promotion is out of the way, for an affordable sleeping bag, I owned and really liked the Montbell Spiral Down #3, good to 30 degrees. It's a great Sierra 3-season bag, will knock close to 2.75lbs off, and can often be found on sale. A 20 degree bag/quilt is actually a great all-around Sierra bag, but I don't know of a cheap one. You couldn't go wrong with a Western Mountaineering Versalite if you can afford it and understand it is a slim cut.

I'm not sure how to lighten your pad without spending some money or just going to a CCF pad, which won't be as comfortable. Big Agnes Air Cores can be found cheap, but can get a little cold in lower temps.

If you have foot issues, I can see bringing extra socks, but not the extra top. Merino doesn't smell, which is the point of it. Rinse it in a stream, wear it to dry, and you're good to go.

Why a watch when the nano and GPS would certainly have a clock?

No trowel, use a tent stake.

Too much hand sanitizer. If you can spend a little money, pick up some mini bottles here or on BPL. I carry .25 oz of sanitizer for 4 days and am fine. Only need a drop or two before eating. .25oz BPL bottle weighs .5oz full.

1.7 for toothbrush/paste? I sawed down a TB to .21 oz. I carry a micro bottle of baking soda for paste that weighs .07oz. Baking soda is an acquired or tolerated taste though, so look at Mike C!'s toothpaste dots

Edited by jrmacd on 02/24/2010 08:08:15 MST.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 08:33:39 MST Print View

I use the same shoes, only the non GTX version, and can generally hike around 20 miles before I get “tired feet”. I used a pair of Inov-8’s, that so many people like, and my feet were “tired” after only about 14 miles. What it amounts too is that everyone’s feet are different. It could have been the fire road, but maybe not. Insoles might help, but which ones will work for you is hard to say. You shouldn’t need to break them in, that is for big heavy boots. You best bet is to go to a running store that really knows what they are doing and have them fit you for trail runners. No offense to REI, but every time I go in there, I am less than impressed by the knowledge of most of their staff.

You do really need help with your big three, and you already have some good advice so I am going to echo much of what they have said.

I would sell your tent, bag, pad, and pack and use that money to start over. You can get some good deals online sometimes, but the gear swap here, might be your best bet. For Example :

Shelter: John Divitt is selling (or may have sold) a Golite Lair 2 with nest for $150 shipped
Shelter: James MacDiarmid is selling a Tarptent Rainbow for $160 shipped
Shelter: Claudia Garren is selling a brand new Tarptent Contrail for $180 shipped
Shelter: Matt Saunders is selling a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 for an incredible $130 shipped!

Sleeping Bag: Thomas Conly is selling a Thru-Hiker Quilt for $225 shipped
Sleeping Bag: David Stenberg is selling a Western Mountaineering Megalite for $215 shipped
Sleeping Bag: John Devitt is selling a Golite Adrenaline 40* bag for a super cheap $125 shipped

Slim Pickings on packs on the gear swap now, but keep checking, as they come and go.
Pack: Dayla Austin has an older Dana Designs Racer X for only $50
Pack: has the Granite Gear Vapor Trail for $128

For a sleeping pad, get a 12.75oz $25 Thermarest Ridgerest.

Sell the Camelbak Bladder and get a Platypus if you really like the hydration system, or use Gatorade Bottles.

Drop the separate cup.

You don’t need an extra shirt, especially with wool and being out west. If you have to have an extra shirt to sleep in get the lightest weigh synthetic shirt you can find.

Those socks seem really heavy to use with trail runners. Most people use something like the Smartwool Adrenaline socks that are 1.9oz each.
Most people find they don’t need liners with trail runners.

Repackage the Hand Sanatizer in a mini dropper bottle.

I would drop the towel since you already have a bandana

I would drop the Ipod

Do you really need a GPS? You already have a map and compass.

I would go with a lighter knife. Something like a Ultralight Gerber LST or Spyderco Ladybug. They are relatively cheap and only weigh 0.6oz.

I would repackage your sunscreen in a smaller container.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 08:53:54 MST Print View

Pretty simple really.

Sell or return your heavy gear and don't ever buy anything heavy again.
Buy a good oz scale.
Do a spreadsheet and work towards a 12# total base weight goal and buy according to what fits in that goal. You will save $ in the long run.

First buy a good oz or gram scale rework your big 4, IE bag, pad, tent, pack that weigh 6-7#.
6# or under is better.

While that may seem undoable its not that bad. There are a lot of variations, but this is one potential 6# big 4 setup.

Campmor 20dF down bag, ($120 36oz) or a Golite ultra 20 quilt, ($200 20oz). The ultra 20 was just replaced with a new slightly heavier quilt.

Neoair regular pad (Expensive 14oz) or cheaper a blue pad ($7 7oz) and or a short thermarest prolite 3 (Cheap used 11oz)

Tarptent moment/rainbow/contrail tent (Expensive 30oz roughly) or just a tarp and bivy bag (cheap if MYOG).

Gossemer gear Mariposa plus backpack (Expensive 24oz) or buy a used golite Jam II here for about $50 and strip it out (18oz) There are a lot of packs out there. Best to buy your pack last when you know how much Volume you need.

With the campmor 20dF bag, prolite 3, tarptent and mariposa plus you would be at 6#-5oz.

Plan everything else for a bare minimum. Thnk hiking and not camping. Toss everything else you dont need out and rework the rest of your gear into 6#.

Make a SUL freezer bag cook kit out of a 24 oz beer can.
Cook on a MYOG wood stove or a MYOG alcohol stove.

Get your everyday stuff and navigation items down to 16 oz or preferably less.
Reduce your medical kit down to 2-3oz
Reduce your emergency kit down to 4 oz
Reduce your water filtration down to something ultralight.
One cheapie is a aquamira 2 oz filter and household clorine drops (5-6 per quart) to purify water.

Use platypus bottles or just use 1L plastic water bottles from the grocery store.

12# base weight + 5 days of food at 2# per day + 4# (2L) of water works out to 26# total.

Where did your feet hurt after the hike. Maybe you have a high arch and need custom inserts.

I have that problem.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 08:57:19 MST Print View

I am going to avoid the temptation to sell you my used gear and just give you advice.
When you swap out your pack, do so with one that weighs 2 or 2 1/2 lbs. Id say either the Osprey Exos 55, Granite Gear Vapor Trail, or a ULA Catalyst or Circuit. The first two are available at REI, the latter is not but all of these can handle 30-35lb loads more comfortably than a frameless pack like a Jam and would probably be a better transition.

As for a sleeping bag. Down in better for the Sierra since it is usually not wet, especially in the summer. Check out the review of the Sierra Designs sleeping bag on this site. Scroll down and there is a chart comparing 30degree sleeping bags which should be fine in the sierra when supplemented with long underwear and a jacket in necessary. All those bags are good options and the Western Mountaineering Summerlite is especially popular on this site. Ill assume youre on a budget since you want to repalce all your gear. The Mountain Hardware Phantom 32 is on sale at Campmor for $100 off making it the cheapest choice of the bags on that chart.
The bag that I use that not many people here seem to use is an REI Halo 25. It weighs more at 2lbs. It is 750 fill power down instead of 800 so it compresses slightly less. However it has 18.6oz of down instead of the 10 or 11oz of those in the chart. You just have to decide what works for you.

This is probably the hardest decision youll make since the options are limitless in terms of deigns, uses, capabilities, and weight. Spend some time searching old forums for discussion of tents or tarps you are interested in before you make a choice.

Bottom line: it is going to take a lot of time researching online if you want to get the perfect piece of gear the first time. That is one of the reasons there is so much up for sale on Gear Swap. You will inevitably buy something that doent work for you which you will probably sell on this website. Also, when replacing your gear I have had the tendency to place importance on a good deal over the gear I really want that is very expensive. Sometimes this works out fine but other times Im left still wanting the gear I really wanted. For example if you gotta have the NeoAir sleep pad but are giving its insane price tag a second guess, think about being in the bush and bedding down. Youll probably want one when you cant get any sleep on a CCF and youll get one eventually. Thant kinda thing can be expensive since you bought 2 pieces of gear instead of one.

Best of luck!

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F

Locale: Southwest US
As far as REI goes... on 02/24/2010 10:52:13 MST Print View

Something I've learned from talking to the salespeople at REI is to make sure you ask the person if they know anything about Ultralight backpacking! When I first started getting my gear list together, I had a salesperson there tell me that I needed to carry a tent, backup tarp, poncho and rain clothes. Found out later that guy has got a base weight of about 35lbs and doesn't do ULB. The people at my REI know what they are talking about within their own areas of expertise (most of the time). But I'm seeing a ton of people from other areas who have the same bad opinion of the staff so maybe it's just my store. I'd always take everything anyone suggests with a grain of salt, do my research and get more than one opinion no matter what.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: As far as REI goes... on 02/24/2010 12:00:50 MST Print View

It really depends on the REI store. I have found that large ones on So Calif have some very knowledgable people. Other stores like Fontana and Las Vegas are boutiques. The one in Henderson Nevada has some knowledgable people... even found a lady there that had memorized the weights of dozens of products!!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
REI on 02/24/2010 13:55:02 MST Print View

You will get very mixed results trying to ask a ultralight question at an REI store. In general, REI does not "do" ultralight. They have an unlimited return policy on gear, and since most ultralight gear has to be babied a bit to get it to last, REI would be knee-deep in ultralight returns. There are a few individual sales people who know a little, but it is very few, at least among the four REI stores in my area.

REI will stock some 4-pound tent and call it ultralight, simply because it weighs less than the 5-pound and 6-pound tents that they sell.

Don't get me wrong. I have shopped at REI for 33 years. In some respects it is a good store. But they don't do ultralight.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 14:07:48 MST Print View

> fire road. My feet were KILLING me at the end of that hike!

Quite common. Why were they sore? Because your shoes were too small. No ifs, no buts. (Tired feet are not the same as sore feet: anyone can get tired.)

You said they were a great fit - but that was at home. You mentioned 'I know I do have more sensitive feet than the average person'. Did you know that your feet will grow about a size after 4 - 6 hours walking? And that shoes which are too small will bruise the insides of you feet, between the bones, making them sore?

The single greatest problem we face is persuading walkers to buy shoes large enough. Buy some thick wool socks such as Darn Tough Vermont boot socks. Get your feet measured for WIDTH on a Brannock device, with the socks on. If the shop does not have a Brannock, find a better shop.

Once you know your foot width, NEVER buy shoes which are not wide enough. When you find a pair of shoes which feel right in the shop, go up at least half a size, maybe a full size. You may have to ignore the shop assistants: some of them are clueless but think they know it all.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 14:20:37 MST Print View

Would that also cause blisters on the outsides of the heel? More precisely an inch from the center of the heel, near the bottom of the foot--right where the insole meets the heel.

Or could that also be caused by wearing shoes whose soles were too soft for the incredibly rocky trails? And by rocky I mean loose rocks the size of baseballs and up.

not myrealname
(icthy) - F

Locale: CO Front Range
more newbie questions on 02/24/2010 15:55:20 MST Print View

I've been reading this thread with great interest, both as someone who wants to learn UL backpacking, and to just get reacquainted with backpacking in general. Some questions come to mind:

1) With the tents recommended, the backpack will be presumably be sitting out night to get rained/snowed upon. Do you folks take, say, a plastic garbage bag to keep the backpack and contents dry? Similarly, would you recommend keeping one's sleeping bag and/or clothes in a plastic bag while hiking?

2) Jeffrey calls his gear list a 3-season list. I'm curious if your recommendations would be different if you were thinking about a more all-around 3-season list rather than just the Sierras in the summer. For instance, if you expected temps down to 15-20F, and the possibility of snow or a week of cold rain... e.g. the Cascades in October for rain, or the Colorado Rockies in May/June for snow or colder temps.

3) I've tried sleeping with a bivy sack and a down bag up in the Canadian Rockies in August (where it got down to 15F and we had about 8" of snow). I found the bivy sack prevented water from evaporating, so frost formed on the top of the sleeping bag at night when it was below 32. Then as it got warmer the frost melted and got the bag wet. What was I doing wrong? Do you folks that use bivy sacks find this works if there is significant rain or snow.

My thanks in advance... pardon my paranoia, but the few times I've backpacked, I've had either days and days of rain, or huge cold fronts that dumped snow in the backcountry.

Edited by icthy on 02/24/2010 16:05:40 MST.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: more newbie questions on 02/24/2010 16:34:46 MST Print View

1.) There should be room in most UL Tarps, Tarptents, and Tents to keep your pack out of the elements. The only UL shelter that I can think of that wouldn’t is the Tarptent Sublite and perhaps a very small tarp. That being said many people use their pack as additional insulation under their legs often with a shorter torso length sleeping pad. I do recommend lining your pack with a plastic bag (trash compactor bags work well) or if you are going to be somewhere very wet, Sea to Summit makes pack liner dry bags (3.4oz for the medium) that work very well. They have a dry bag roll top closure.

2.) It is true that every environment is different and that calls for a slightly different gear list for optimal performance. We get 100 inches of rain where I do a lot of hiking with very high humidity (ie things get wet and do not dry) so I take a pack cover and dry bag pack liner. If I were hiking somewhere more arid like the Sierras I wouldn’t take both. You can check out my gear list in my profile to see what I use. For colder temps, I change out the down jacket for a slightly heavier one, add some fleece mitts, and a few other small items but the basics are the same. I have taken my setup into the single digits which is about as cold as we get here, and certainly as cold as I want to be out in. I have used my set up in a storm where we got ten inches of snow and it did fine, but for real snow you would want a more storm worthy shelter like a Mid from Oware, Golite, or MLD, or perhaps a Tarptent Scarp. We don’t see that much snow often enough to warrant a four season shelter for me.

3.) I don’t use a true bivy so I wouldn’t be the best person to ask for help on this issue, but may I ask what bivy it was? I would think that under a tarp you would want a very breathable bivy (like the TiGoat Raven) rather than a waterproof/breathable bivy.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: New to BPL - gear list help on 02/24/2010 17:07:20 MST Print View

Hi Travis

> Would that also cause blisters on the outsides of the heel? More precisely an
> inch from the center of the heel, near the bottom of the foot--right where the
> insole meets the heel.
Um ... tricky. I would need a couple of photos - heel with blister and inside the shoe. But the last bit of your question makes me wonder about a different cause. Do you mean on the vertical part of your heel, or underneath, or right at the corner?

I have seen an insole stick up in the heel region a bit, to press on the corner of the heel. You can't really feel anything there, but the continued localised pressure from the edge of the insole can cause a nasty blister sometimes. Just from the repeated poking.

I have also seen this happen when a small hole developed in a thick wool sock - the wool all eroded away leaving a thin mesh of synthetic behind. You might think it was just a little hole of no great significance - but the abrupt edges of the hole can also create blisters.

There is a bit more info at the FAQ at
with a diagram illustrating some of this.

> Or could that also be caused by wearing shoes whose soles were too soft for the
> incredibly rocky trails?
Soft soles on rough terrain may give you tired feet, and maybe even bruised feet if you are a bit rough, but not blisters. Half the world travels barefoot over such country. We wear very soft-soled shoes over scree and boulders - excellent grip!

But, I might have completely misunderstood.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: more newbie questions on 02/24/2010 17:09:29 MST Print View

Hi icthy

> the few times I've backpacked, I've had either days and days of rain, or huge
> cold fronts that dumped snow in the backcountry.
Me, I would use a TENT under those conditions!
And my pack would be inside the tent during the night.

> Then as it got warmer the frost melted and got the bag wet.
Yup, that's how it works. Try a tent.

OK, I'm a heretic. But a warm, dry and comfortable one. :-)


Edited by rcaffin on 02/24/2010 17:10:41 MST.