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Help me pare down my gear for a speed hike
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Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: race pace on 03/20/2010 14:02:51 MDT Print View

You can always bring a 2L platy and a 1l platy too. One thing I learned, don't sweat a couple ounces in the name of speed. Efficiency counts too.

The 1/8" thinlite doesn't work for everyone. I sleep on it just fine during race pace efforts, even on concrete floors! But for $9 they're cheap to experiment with and worth having around.

My heatsheets bivy has at least a dozen nights on it with only a couple small packing tape patches. The heatsheets are much much more durable than a typical emergency blanket. You will soak your sleeping bag if you use it inside the bivy for very long and I was recommending using it alone (no sleeping bag hence the synthetic vest or jacket). This setup is more bold but works well for many people in race efforts. If you expect very little chance of rain, you can also use the heatsheets bivy as a ground sheet and last resort in a short heavy rain. It will keep you dry but since it's non breatheable obviously your sweat will go somewhere. Wearing your rain gear inside the bivy can slow this process a little bit and will keep the insulation a bit drier for longer.

Stove you can take it or leave it. I've done it both ways. I've usually been happy with bringing it on trips where there is no "outside" chance of hot meals like a restaurant but on a bike I cover a lot more ground. I use a BPL ti wing stove and a Sterno can cleaned out as a pot (11oz capacity, 11g). Th rest is just a ti foil windscreen, DQ plastic spoon long handled if you want, alum foil lid etc. I can get 2 boils per esbit tab easy. Since esbit tabs are so light I usually bring one "extra" beyond what I think I'll need.

Anyway lots to consider. Obviously some suggestions are pushing it more than others but take what you think fits your skill/comfort level.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Re: race pace on 03/21/2010 18:21:49 MDT Print View

Yeah, the 2L bladder plus the 1L bottle may be the way to go. 2 oz isn't much of a compromise if it'll help me stay hydrated. Then again, that could also encourage me to carry an extra couple pounds of water when I really don't need to.

Someone mentioned on another thread that they switched to the steripen when they realized it would save them from carrying more water. This makes a lot of sense to me, although I imagine I'd waste more time by constantly filling up and sterilizing the water. Definitely something to consider, though.

As far as the 1/8" pad goes, I sleep pretty soundly on most surfaces and after 40 miles, I imagine I'd do okay on one of these. Like you said, even if it doesn't work, it's only a $9 experiment. It'll just become my dog's pad instead (he's not going on this long trip, but does come on most others).

Only problem with the pad is that the thinlites are out of stock until mid April. Would the BPL Diad be pretty much the same?

The weight of the heatsheets bivy is tempting, but there's a good chance of at least some rain for the time of year that I'm going, so I'm probably better off buying the ID tarp or a light bivy that's capable of breathing a bit. Either way, I'll definitely pick up a headnet. That makes plenty of sense to me.

Because of my limited budget, I think I may skip buying an esbit stove and just go stoveless on this trip. If it looks like it's going to rain a fair bit, I'll bring the extra few ounces for the alcohol stove and fuel so that I can have a couple of hot meals.

As far as getting the weight of my food down, do you have any suggestions for that? I figured a diet of Clif Bars would be pretty solid, but I'll take other suggestions. Is 4,000 calories per day more than I need? I've never backpacked with that many before, but then again, I've never done a 40 mile day before.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: race pace on 03/21/2010 20:03:01 MDT Print View

hey nate, sounds like a great trip. I wish you luck.

when I hear race pace, I think minimalism. Cut out everything you do not need. for three days, thats alot you can lose.

If you really want to cut weight and increase mileage, comfort will not be a consideration.
I am not sure how you feel about hiking at night, but by adding a few ounces on a backup headlamp, you could drop over a pound on a sleeping bag by taking your rest during the warmth of the day, or the moderate temperatures in the evening. shelter then could also be made very simple: a rain jacket, and trash bag for your gear. Ridge rest pad cut to my torso length with my pack under my feet has always done me well for ground insulation.

I have always used aquamira or katadyn chlorine dioxide tablets. they are very easy, fast and light.

other gear:
bring some duct tape, minor wound care kit (minimal). leukotape (for feet). some matches and esbit in a plastic bag for emergencies, nav. equipment. headlamp and a backup. rain gear. whatever insulating clothing you will need (minimal if you are moving at night and resting in the day) 2-3 pairs of socks. baby wipes. OP sack for food and large stuff sack (I usually hang this to keep small critters away) 2liters worth of water bottles. Gloves and beenie for night hiking. A backpack that is small and well balanced for fast moving.
that should be all you really need. maybe a small dropper of DEET and a whistle and mini knife for good measure, but that is just the boy scout in me.

for clothing: A pair of running shoes you trust and have broken in. some running shorts or compression shorts. a long sleeve polyester Shirt,( I like the ones with a zipper for ventilation) sun glasses, a alti/baro/compass watch. and wool or poly socks. ( I use smartwool, defeet and asics) Visor if you like.

you could get this kit really really light considering you are not carrying a sleeping bag, shelter, cooking gear.

its all in eliminating unecesary gear, some of the above items are not even really necessary.

for food, 3-4,000 calories should cut it. I also like bringing some sort of sports drink to mix with one of my water bottles.
check out andy skurka's food lists for his reccent treks, he manages to get alot of calories in a little weight.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: race pace on 03/21/2010 20:22:53 MDT Print View


I imagine I'll be able to move a fair bit faster in daylight, so in the interest of keeping my speed up, I'll probably sleep at night and bring a sleeping bag.

That said, I like your direction of thinking. I try to be fairly minimalist no matter what, but I bet there's a lot I could leave behind that I would normally bring with me. For three days, I can stand to suffer a bit, and I don't think I'll need much help to sleep after 40 miles.

If I use an ID 5x8 tarp, a thinlite pad, my Marmot Hydrogen, and my Golite Jam, that puts me at under 60 oz for the big four. I have a 9 oz fleece that should be all I need for insulating clothing. If I work at it, everything else I bring should total less than 3 lbs. Add a liter of water and 6 lbs of food and I've got 15 lbs at the start of the trip. Not bad!

I've checked out Andy Skurka's site before, but I'll have to take another look at it.

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Speed hike fueling: water and nutrition on 03/22/2010 15:07:36 MDT Print View

Use what many adventure racers, ultra racers (cycling, running, etc.) food replacement fuels.

My favorite is Hammer Nutrition. They also have a great forum to discuss fuel needs, have a revised "product user manual". Their product is focused on keeping out the "ose's" (frutose, sucrose, etc.)

Their user manual has been a great source for deciding the amount of kcal & water a body can use per hour. Above that, and you're just wasting money and risking bloat, etc.

Their are other same-type products from many companies.

One thing interesting on research, is that the body uses almost 1/2 of the kcal of food just to process it. You gain the whole amount by using liquid mixes.

Their website:

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Speed hike fueling: water and nutrition on 03/22/2010 17:53:22 MDT Print View

"One thing interesting on research, is that the body uses almost 1/2 of the kcal of food just to process it. You gain the whole amount by using liquid mixes."

It works great for regular backpacking, too. Perpetuem is all I use between breakfast and dinner on trips up to 10 days.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
hammer nutrition on 03/22/2010 18:08:06 MDT Print View

the hammer stuff is good. I've used it and it works. But I usually take some of that stuff and some food that sounds good to eat, usually junk (cookies, candy, bacon, whatever).

I had only 2 packs of Oreo cakesters in my Iditarod drop bags and I would have traded handily for more of those out there, haha!

Oh yea and from above to Nate...the fastest is moving day AND night ;)

Edited by Pivvay on 03/22/2010 18:09:16 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Hammer Nutrition ... the good and the bad on 03/22/2010 19:00:42 MDT Print View

First ... I love Hammer products and use them all the time.
Gel, Perpetuum, Recoverite, Enduralytes ....

by whatever way I measure the contents (weight or volume), the large Hammer gel bottles hold only 23 servings, not the 26 servings that they claim.

I haven't complained to them yet.
Anyone else notice this?

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Hammer Nutrition on 03/22/2010 19:18:31 MDT Print View

I keep saying I'm going to pick up some Hammer Nutrition and try it out, but I keep spending my money on new gear instead. I will try the Hammer stuff, though. Too many people have recommended it to ignore it.

Christopher -- I will probably be hiking an hour or two in the dark each day. I'd love to do 45-50 miles the first two days to give myself a shorter day on the third. This would make for a much more enjoyable finish and put me on top of the mountain at the end of the trail in time for sunset.

If I can manage a few more hours in the dark, I just might go for it. The thing is, I've heard that the hours spent on your feet take more of a toll than how fast you go. I think I can work up to 14 hours at 3 MPH, but 20+ hours, even if I go a bit slower, seems pretty daunting.

That said, I have no idea what my body will be capable of when I try this out in a few months. I'm doing an overnight trip next Monday and Tuesday and am just going to hike one way until I can't go much further on Monday, and then hike back that same distance on Tuesday.

Despite my intense training these last couple of months, I have yet to hike a 25+ mile day, so I'm interested to see how this goes. Hopefully I'll do at least 30 miles each day. Either way, the trip will give me a good gauge for the work I need to do to get in shape for this.

Right now, my gear list is still a bit heavy, so that will probably slow me just a bit. I'll be taking a Tarptent on next week's trip, since I haven't been able to get a lighter shelter yet. This is also going to be my first trip using Micropur tabs, so I'm sure lack of technique will cause me to carry more water than I need.

I did just pick up a short Ridgerest, though. It's too cold out to try a 1/8" pad, but I plan to pick one of those up later this spring and try it out as well.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Hammer Nutrition on 03/22/2010 21:34:19 MDT Print View

Have fun. Soon enough gear will be dialed (3-5lbs baseweight is as light as I realistically go most of the time) but the body and mind will keep getting stronger and stronger if you keep pushing them. One step and mental barrier at a time.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
where in MA will this be taking place? on 03/23/2010 08:52:00 MDT Print View

Is this taking place on the M-M trail? I'm curious, especially because I know the distance is similar to what you are attempting-but that would include NH too. I can't really think of any trail that distance in MA unless you are doing an out & back.

Most of what I'd suggest has already been discussed. Going stoveless is a good idea.

I live in MA too and while there are definitely bears I might not bother with the ursack. I understand the desire to not have to deal with hanging a bear bag, but it would mean spending more money. To tell you the truth if carrying an enclosed shelter I might just sleep with the food, since it's for a short time. Depends on the area, really.

One last nutrition thing: chocolate protein powder mixed with nido (whole powdered milk) is really delicious. Makes for a nice recovery drink packed with lots of calories. You can buy Nido at the ethnic grocery store in Hadley (not sure where in MA you are but that's Western Ma for me!).

Good luck. Sounds like an awesome hike to attempt.

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
Baselayer on 03/23/2010 13:57:08 MDT Print View

For the temperatures here in the Arizona desert nothing beats Ibex woolies. The standard wollie is 150 weight, so it keeps me cooler than my Smart wools (Ironically I think they are warmer than my smart wool mids too).

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Yep, the M&M Trail! on 03/23/2010 14:49:31 MDT Print View

@ Angela - The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail runs right by my house and I've always wanted to through hike it. I had a chunk of 4 days off this summer and decided to try and do it in 3, resting on the 4th.

I'll be hiking sections 7-12 next week to try and push myself a bit and test out some new gear and techniques.

@ Frank -- I'm checking out those Wollies right now. Thanks!

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Yep, the M&M Trail! on 03/23/2010 14:56:31 MDT Print View

I'll 2nd the ultralight wool shirts. I have a couple light weight woolies and i'm pining after a Patagonia wool 1 t shirt. Someday when I find a good sale or cheap like new used one...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: where in MA will this be taking place? on 03/23/2010 15:01:53 MDT Print View

"One last nutrition thing: chocolate protein powder mixed with nido"

I've discovered this fabulous DARK chocolate protein powder at my local organic grocery. The stuff actually tastes good just in water! I add it to my hot cocoa at night and my oatmeal in the morning. Unfortunately, I can't remember the brand name!

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
M-M Trail on 03/23/2010 15:10:57 MDT Print View

Have you thought about what you're going to do to get across the Westfield and Connecticut Rivers? It sounds like the Westfield is fordable if it's low.

I'm halfway through doing the M-M Trail in sections, but I might be doing a thru-hike in October. It's a great trail--I'm surprised it's not more popular.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: M-M Trail on 03/23/2010 16:04:09 MDT Print View

It is a great trail. I'm really looking forward to the hike, as well as several recon hikes I'll do in advance to improve my overall time on when I attempt the whole thing.

The Westfield should be fordable in late June when I do the through hike. If not, it'll be low and slow enough to swim without any danger. It's not a very wide river. I'll just swim across with a rope attached to my pack, which will be on the shore in a couple of trash bags and be lined with a trash compactor bag. When I reach the opposite side, I'll tow it across. I think that should do the trick.

The Connecticut river will be different. Boats have killed swimmers in this section before, and I don't want to become a statistic. I'll also have hiked 27 miles so far that day, and it'd probably be unsafe to swim 1500 feet in that condition. To make this hike as unsupported as possible, I think I'll barter a ride across at the boat ramp where the M-M trail ends. I'm sure I can convince someone to ferry me across for 10 or 20 bucks.

Trevor Greenwood
(Skippy254) - F

Locale: Colorado
nutrition on 03/25/2010 01:39:11 MDT Print View

I would also like to highly advise trying out the Hammer nutrition. I use it for 24 hour bike races and have used it in the tough conditions of the Leadville 100 and it works great for me.

Good luck and I hope you follow up later with a post on how your adventure ends up.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
swimming with a pack on 03/25/2010 13:33:01 MDT Print View

I've found the "Arctic 1000" technique to be very effective.

-Get lots of air in your drybag(s).
-Lay on pack.
-Kick facing upstream and a bit towards your direction of travel, letting the current ferry you.

It feels more controlled than swimming full on, as you can breath and see easily. It also keeps your torso a bit drier and is thus warmer.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Help me pare down my gear for a speed hike on 03/25/2010 15:11:36 MDT Print View

I just quickly scanned through the posts, as speed hiking is not something I am really interested in. That being said, it sounds like you might be over thinking this. If I go with the assumption you are not going in weather much under 32F and the terrain is not difficult...

You need to average just under 40 miles per day. I don't see the need to do much running. If you hike 12 hours a day, that calculates to 3.3 miles per hour. That is brisk walking, not running.

Take a look at my gear list in my profile. I think it is a pretty good list at under 4 lbs base weight. You won't be needing to carry much water, and with the right kind of foods you can keep that weight down. You will also notice in the gear list that the total was 17lbs, which included 4 liters of water. The trip I used it one was a 3 day 60 mile loop. First day was a 10K foot elevation gain, which burned up some big time calories. But the total food weight for the trip was 4.7 lbs. I had a day's worth of food left over... just in case I wanted to stay out an extra day.

To be honest, I could par that list down even more. I am doing the loop again in May, and if snow is not a problem, will be dropping the extra food, and using some lighter gear.

Your limiting factor is cost of any gear you want to replace.