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Suggestions please
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Jeffrey McConnell
Suggestions please on 04/09/2010 20:26:53 MDT Print View

Well, I'm a newer lightweight backpacker. When I first showed up, I had close to 15 lbs in my big three!!! I'm happy to say that I've come a long way. Now that I've made some improvements I thought I'd ask for some suggestions and definitely let me know if I'm missing something important.

The list is in my profile or here:

Just a couple comments first:

Pack: I know its a little heavy, but right now its pulling double duty as 3 season and winter-ish pack. Its going up Shasta end of June. I'm considering getting the GG vapor trail in the future to lighten it up a bit.

Sleeping bag: Considering a MYOG quilt once funds permit.

Knife: I could lighten it up, but I just love it too much. :)

Toilet paper: none included...but I haven't actually tried going without. A little nervous to try - old habits die hard I guess.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Suggestions please on 04/09/2010 21:48:02 MDT Print View

"Toilet paper: none included...but I haven't actually tried going without. A little nervous to try - old habits die hard I guess."

Go Jeffrey!!! :)

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
wow - lotta food on 04/10/2010 08:40:58 MDT Print View

How long is your trip?
please review this:

Sleeping Bag - 34 ounces - THis is HEAVY for a 3 season bag. I would NIX the bivi sack. Even if this bag gets a little damp in a rain storm under a tarp, you'll still be totally fine.

The PACK is way too much for a lightweight outing. Bite the bullet and find a lither pack. There are LOTS out there that are MUCH lighter, and these are easy to find cheap. At least go at it with the razor blade and scissors, and subtract what you can. Take off the top lid, pull out the frame sheet, cut off all un-used straps (etc).

Headlamp - 2.6 oz is a little heavy.

Nix the knife - replace with a 0.1 oz single edge razor.

Where are you hiking? Why do you have capacity for 3 liters of water? Why are you hiking with TWO liters on your back?


1.8 pounds of food per day is a LOT for 4 days! You note 7.19 POUNDS of food! This is an EASY place to nix weight.

A) Go down to 1.4 Pounds of Food Per Day.

B) THe first day you'll eat breakfast BEFORE hiking, and the last day you'll eat dinner after hiking, so you can subtract the weight of those two meals. Approx. 4.5 oz per meal, so subtract 9 oz from total weight of food

C) 1.4 pounds per day (x) 4 days = 5.6 pounds (next) subtract 9 oz from 5.6 pounds = 80.6 oz or 5 pounds exactly.

THat means, you've saved 2.19 pounds without buying any new gear! You've saved the weight of an expensive new LW pack!


Also - I would take the word "survival" out of your spreadsheet. This is the kind of thing that gives campers a weird stigma. Duct tape is not "survival" gear, it is simply gear. Maybe repair gear. But you will "survive" without duct tape.

And - Right ON for you for nixing the TP!

Edited by mikeclelland on 04/10/2010 08:42:07 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
good suggestions on 04/10/2010 14:05:07 MDT Print View

The trips are solo and in either the Sierras or Southern California area (San Jacinto, San Gorgornio, etc.). The trip range is 2-5 days. I set the consumables up on the list for a 4 day trip I think.

The pack is something that could definitely be changed. It will have to wait until after my Shasta trip though - low on funds. I have 3L capacity for water but only carry 2L because I typically carry 2L. However, if I'm hiking in the desert I take at least 3L. It just depends. The gear list was made as more of a general 3 season list, rather than one with a particular trip in mind.

I'll definitely take a stab at mixing up the food. I think you're right in that I can save a lot of weight there. We'll see how the no TP goes. :) Thanks for all the suggestions thus far!

Edited by Catalyst on 04/10/2010 15:01:19 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
The list looks great! on 04/10/2010 14:31:15 MDT Print View


Why do you carry 2 liters of water? Just curious. The desert is different than the mountains where there is a lot of water.

The list looks great! But (please) get a pair of scissors and go to town on that pack!

Jeffrey McConnell
water on 04/10/2010 15:04:11 MDT Print View

I like carrying 2L for basically two reasons. The first is that I tend to get dehydrated faster than others and I like to have the extra water on hand. The other is that I can have one liter to drink while the other is being chemically treated.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: The list looks great! on 04/10/2010 15:08:30 MDT Print View

> But (please) get a pair of scissors and go to town on that pack!

I'm going to stick my neck out (sorry Mike) and suggest you don't do this. The pack is a viable unit as it stands - a bit heavy maybe but functional. Hack it and it may cease to be of value to anyone.

Better (imho) would be to mark it as 'to be replaced', and to use it as it stands until such time. Then you could sell it to help pay for the new and lighter pack. And you would notice the difference - with pleasure.

My 2c.

Edited by rcaffin on 04/10/2010 15:09:04 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
pack and bear canister on 04/10/2010 15:17:23 MDT Print View

On the subject of lighter packs, what are a couple lighter packs that would be worth looking at that are able to hold a bear canister? I currently have the BV500 and would need a pack that could hold it.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: water on 04/10/2010 15:55:40 MDT Print View

"I like carrying 2L for basically two reasons. The first is that I tend to get dehydrated faster than others and I like to have the extra water on hand. The other is that I can have one liter to drink while the other is being chemically treated."

In some places, 2L is a lot. In some deserts, it is not much. If you get dehydrated faster than others, it might be because you consume pure water. Your body will create more urine. If you goose up your electrolytes just a bit, that will cause more water to be bound up into your muscle tissues. You don't need to consume a lot of electrolytes, because that might push you the other way. I just consume some half-strength Gatorade and it doesn't bother me.

During one hot summer in military training, we were required to take salt tablets and wash each one down with a pint of water. That is no longer in vogue, but a little bit of that helps.


Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
On Headlamps on 04/10/2010 16:18:26 MDT Print View

I disagree strongly that a headlamp at 2.6 ounces is heavy. Yeah, if you only camp with it, I would agree that an e-lite or something similar does the trick. If you hike at night for any reason, an e-lite is fairly useless, imho. Obviously, everyone has a different perception of what makes a decent headlamp, but for camp, it is hard to beat the e-lite. For the trail, I would probably go with an xp or something like that.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
the role of gear modifier on 04/10/2010 18:38:53 MDT Print View

I had a friend look at my gear on during an expedition in the mountains of alaska. She asked (somewhat perplexed): "Do you modify all your gear?"

I replied: "Yes."

If I get a new pack (or any piece of gear) I absolutely ALWAYS trim it down and retro-fit it using scissor, razor blade, glue, needle and thread, more glue, a lighter (very useful!) fabric tape and smaller anything (like fastex buckles and cord locks).

Sometimes I barely get the new piece of gear in my house and I've gone at it with something sharp.

I will add that I am exceptionally skilled in the role of gear modifier. I do beautiful work.

The thought of buying a piece of gear and NOT modifying it is alien to me. What's the point of having gear unless you can tweak it to make it meet my needs more efficiently?

The gear is BETTER once I do my handiwork with a scissor. (Ooooh, I'm getting all excited as I write this, I might need to spend some quality time with a razor blade and my summer pack)


Also - Be cautious about how much water you carry. Only carry what you can truly drink BEFORE you get to the next water source. In the Tetons, where I hike a lot, that means I carry ZERO water (almost always).

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Bivy query. on 04/10/2010 19:50:29 MDT Print View

Jeffrey, I was just wondering how you like the Ti bivy?

I am considering ditching my Tarptent for a tarp/bivy setup and $110 the Ptarmigan seems like a winner.

Did you opt for the net hood or the net window?

Jeffrey McConnell
Bivy on 04/10/2010 20:23:29 MDT Print View

Hey Chris,

I actually haven't used the bivy yet. It's being made still. I went with the all net hood and also added a side zip. I've heard good things about them though.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
BV500 and Jam2 on 04/11/2010 07:55:12 MDT Print View

I have a very similiar sleeping setup as you and it fits nicely with either BV. Folded pad up front, sleeping bag in bottom and bearvault standing up in center. The rest of the gear goes on top. Today I am really going to hack up my Jam2 and also my new Ridgerest deluxe. Instead of just folding the RR flat I am going to score it so it folds into a U. Two potential advantages. The thickness of the pad against my back will be less so the bear canister will have more room front to back. Second, with sides it will be vaery rigid and frame like.