First timer would like some comments
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Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
First timer would like some comments on 07/05/2010 17:45:36 MDT Print View

Hi there,

To start, I've read a lot of topics on this site and learned a lot. Thanks!

This summer I'm going on my first multi-day hike. It will be solo in the Scottish highlands. Because I'm unexperienced and weather/bugs there can be quite bad, I decided to go with a small tent and take along a ponchotarp. This way I can practice tarping, which is not really doable in my residence. The same argument is true for the woodstove while I also take a alcohol stove.

This is what I came up with.
http://pdfcast.org/download/gear-list.pdf

The total money to spend had to be below 400 dollars and I had to buy about everything, so as you'll notice, there is not much high-end stuff.

I hope you guys can give me some tips to maybe reduce the total weight by some more. I haven't got a lot of money to spend anymore, so no down bags or cuben tents for me ;) But other tips are more than welcome.

Also if I forgot some things, please tell me. I will buy a emergency blanket tomorrow to add to the gear.

Thanks in advance,
T-Rex from Holland

Edited by T-rex on 07/05/2010 17:51:31 MDT.

Joe Cangelosi
(JoeFish) - F

Locale: All Over California
Re: First timer would like some comments on 07/05/2010 19:36:11 MDT Print View

T-Rex,

Where exactly are you going? If you're headed to the inland waters, you can expect more or less constant drizzle. I used to live up there, it can be brutal. The bugs, also, can get quite bad; beware the biting flies. It is, however, beautiful country and I'm quite jealous!

A few thoughts:

Have you gotten everything into the virga? That sleeping bag and much else might be a challenge. I presume you're keeping your 10 Z-lites on the outside...

Repurpose sitting bag for pack liner. You'll need it.


I don't see any kind of water treatment. You might want to consider it, especially if you'll be in the border regions where there is a lot of sheep farming along the banks. If you do decide to go with tabs, particularly ClO2, you might go from 1 2L bottle to 2 1L bottles, so you can drink from one while the other tablet works (they usually recommend 4 hours of treatment). I just use supermarket water bottles (like Fiji bottles - square so they pack nice).

Now the ounce counting:

Do you need a separate cloth for your pot and packtowel? I bring a bandanna for everything unless I'm on a longer trip where I'll be doing some actual bathing.

That cap might serve you better as a sun/rain hat. You can get a decent one for the same weight.

Do you really need 2 extra pairs of socks?

I don't think 15 lbs is terrible, though, considering you've spent very little money and are carrying TWO complete shelter systems and TWO mess kits.

Have you thought about using the woodstove in your house for a couple of days to test it out, rather than carry two stoves? Ditto the tarp, maybe pitch it in the park a few times?

Good luck!

Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
Re: Re: First timer would like some comments on 07/06/2010 03:55:34 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot Joe!

I'm going to walk the West Highland Way and a few parts of the Great Glen Way. People already warned me about the rain and bugs, so I tried to prepare for those. I'll buy some anti bug spray over there, for over here it is not really strong and friends of mine say it didn't work at all.

After some tries everything fits into the Virga, including the Z-lite as a back support. Only the tent poles are strapped on the outside. It was quite a challenge indeed, but with some tricks and ropes to compress sleeping bag and the tent, I did it with room to spare. I could fit it all in without using the top lid, but I found it more comfortable to pack things higher instead so that's what I did; placing the Z-lite on top of my sleeping bag instead of in front of it. I put a placemat between them to make it quite stiff. Might also be useful to squash some flies ;)

I'll try to DIY the sitting bag into a pack liner for the small drizzle, but could offcourse just use the the poncho because it is big enough.


I didn't think about water treatment. Thanks for noting. Tabs are hard to get by in The Netherlands, but I'll try to find something.


The bandana thing is a good one. Might be a better idea as is the rain hat. I'll look into them.

I don't know about the socks.. If there is a lot of rain they will inevitably get wet and aren't very fast to dry. Do you (or somebody else) think I need the extra T-shirt? I could sleep without it and if it gets cold, wait for my blouse to dry or use the fleece.

I already tried the woodstove. It worked quite OK, but I imagine in the Highlands it isn't always easy to find trees and dry wood, so it can't really be the only burner. But I imagine I can save the weight in alcohol by cooking in a forest a few times. Also tried the tarp, but on a clear night so not much of a challenge. And I haven't got a garden, so can not practice at any moment.

Edited by T-rex on 07/06/2010 04:18:42 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
water on 07/06/2010 08:25:46 MDT Print View

@Jaap: Looks pretty good to me! I wish I'd been that hip to the lightweight style the first time I went backpacking!

I'd get rid of the useless, heavy trekking poles, but that's a matter of personal preference/religion.

It sounds like you're anticipating a significant chance of rain, so make sure to get something waterproof around your sleeping bag and your dry clothes. Here in the US, they sell 18-gallon trash compacter bags, which I use as a pack liner for my entire pack.

As a lighter alternative to toothpaste, you could try baking soda.

88 oz of food for 2.5 days is 2.2 lb/day. That's pretty high, but it depends on a lot of factors, such as your body mass. I'd suggest keeping careful records of how much food you bring on this trip, so that next time you can avoid packing out large amounts of food.

Joe wrote: "I don't see any kind of water treatment. You might want to consider it, especially if you'll be in the border regions where there is a lot of sheep farming along the banks. If you do decide to go with tabs, particularly ClO2, you might go from 1 2L bottle to 2 1L bottles, so you can drink from one while the other tablet works (they usually recommend 4 hours of treatment). I just use supermarket water bottles (like Fiji bottles - square so they pack nice)."
Jaap, I see your note that you have enough fuel to boil 13 liters of water. Do you intend to boil only the water you'll use for cooking, or all your water? I agree with Joe that it's probably a good idea to treat your water if you're going to be around livestock. Boiling all of it seems like it would be extremely cumbersome. If water sources are close together (say 8 km or less), then in my opinion it's not necessary to carry 2.5 liters of water. That's a huge amount of weight. One liter should be plenty.

Have fun!

-Ben

Joe Cangelosi
(JoeFish) - F

Locale: All Over California
Re: water on 07/06/2010 10:20:47 MDT Print View

Jaap,

Cl02 may be tough to locate, but once you're in the UK any Boots (pharmacy chain) should carry iodine tabs.

Good call on not finding wood. There is not a ton of forest where you are headed and most everything will be moist. I would skip the wood stove altogether.

Since it's your first time out, you will learn a lot about how much you sweat and how wet or dry you stay. I find that I stay pretty dry. On the other hand, I have terrible experience using a poncho, so I carry WPF rain gear. I find that in a poncho I just wick rain water up into my clothes, but admittedly I have a lot of nervous habits. YMMV.

Can't wait for your trip report!

Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
Thanks on 07/06/2010 10:44:38 MDT Print View

Thank you both on your replies. I'll go into them later, because right now I'm going to watch Holland beat Uruguay at the World Soccer. ;)

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
my insights on 07/08/2010 11:58:23 MDT Print View

My insights (and hello to my mother country!)

=

Why do you need 2.5 liters of water?

=

Food comes out to:
1.6 pounds per person per day (at three days)
or
2.5 pounds per person per day (at two days)

Both are high. 1.4 PPPPD should be plenty.

=

Are you solo camping? Or in a team, your fuel number is really high. A good calculation is .075 liters per person per day,

=

6 ounces is a lot for toiletries for 3 days

=

Why a wood stove AND an alcohol stove?

=

Cotton shirt and cotton underwear for camp/sleeping is unnecessary

=

58.6 ounce for a shelter is a LOT.
and
40 ounces for a sleeping bag is a lot too.

=

Your base weight is over 15 pounds, and that is a little too much.

=

Things easily NIXED:

watch
redundant underwear
phone
toilet paper
piece of cloth (for cleaning pot)
cotton carry bag

=

I like the pie chart!




.

Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
Re: my insights on 07/08/2010 17:33:10 MDT Print View

Hi Mike! Thanks a lot for your reply.

I have not really looked into the amount of food, water and fuel, so I just estimated. Seems like I can drop some weight there, which will be great. By the way, I'm going solo.

The toiletry is a lot for 3 days, but I'll be out there for 2 weeks and will be restocking my food. How do you go without toilet paper? Just use some leaves?

I'd like to see how the wood stoves fares and cooking on wood sometimes, should make me able to take less alcohol. Or so was my plan. Maybe it is better to leave the thing indeed. On the other hand, I just love a fire especially when I'm on my own. It becomes my best friend. So I'll think about it.

The shelter and sleeping bag are quite heavy, I know. But that was mainly a result of my tight budget and the fact that the climate and bugs there can be quite annoying, or so I've heard. I'll hope to learn from this trip and next time I can maybe have a lighter shelter and sleeping bag. Also I know my jacket is quite heavy, but I just love that jacket. ;)

By the way, here is a picture of the shelter, so you'll see why (in UL backpacking terms) it is quite heavy:
http://yfrog.com/mcsdc10019j

The tarp is quite useless like this, but it will mainly be used like a poncho.


I dropped some of the things you mentioned, but my home front wants me to take my phone along ;) I was already wondering about the T-shirt, but it was advised to me by people. I'll sure leave it at home. Some other weight saving changes I made:

- Dropped some of the pegs.
- Dropped the main compass, I have a small one on the whistle and I'm going on a well signed trail.
- Dropped the clothes stuff sack and replaced it with a lighter zipplock bag.
- Exchanged the beanie hat for a buff.


Your tips combined with the ones I got from the previous replies saved me quite some weight!

I'll edit the gear list and post it again. If anybody would like to have the original spreadsheet to use it for themselves, I'd happily hand it over.

Edited by T-rex on 07/08/2010 17:41:58 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: my insights on 07/08/2010 18:37:05 MDT Print View

Jaap wrote: "The toiletry is a lot for 3 days, but I'll be out there for 2 weeks and will be restocking my food. How do you go without toilet paper? Just use some leaves?"

You will encounter strong opinions on this site about the seemingly trivial issue of ass-wiping. There are people who advocate toilet paper, leaves, and bare hands. The most recent discussion we had about this developed overtones of religious war.

Whatever you do, make sure to wash your hands very thoroughly with soap after pooping. "Backpacker's diarrhea" is almost always caused by bad toilet hygiene, not contaminated water. Don't rinse the soap off of your hands in a stream, because that's environmentally harmful. Wash and rinse your hands in the same area where you pooped (i.e., at least 100 feet from water).

The toiletries you mention are towel, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, and sunscreen. For a 3-day trip, here's the amount of those that I would take:

towel: 0 (not needed)
soap: 0.3 oz of liquid in a dropper bottle
toilet paper: 2 oz (about 1/3 of a roll)
baking soda: 0.2 oz (rather than toothpaste)
toothbrush: 0.4 oz
sunscreen: 1 oz
---
total: about 4 oz

So I'm not really sure I agree with Mike that 6 oz is significantly too high, but you could cut it a little. You can minimize the amount of sunscreen required by wearing a long shirt and long sleeves and a hat.

Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
Toiletry on 07/09/2010 05:46:11 MDT Print View

"You will encounter strong opinions on this site about the seemingly trivial issue of ass-wiping. There are people who advocate toilet paper, leaves, and bare hands. The most recent discussion we had about this developed overtones of religious war."

Haha! I'll see if I can find some of those topics.

Thanks for your reply. I'll try some leaves just for the fun of it. I'll watch the hygene. But again, I'm going away for 2 weeks, not 3 days.

I took 3/4 of a roll of thin toilet paper and not a lot of sunscreen for I will wear a hat most of the time. The soap is a piece of a degradable barsoap. Very light and will easily be enough.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
TP on 07/10/2010 12:41:38 MDT Print View

I teach for NOLS, and for the most part, we do 30 day expeditions without toilet paper. It is extremely easy, and I have never - in over 15 years - heard anyone complain.

It seems I've posted this article dozens of times, but here it is - again.

- LINK -
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.html

When I chime in on these gear lists, I simply suggest nixing the toilet paper, and the results are always interesting.

I don't take toilet paper, and I do fine without it. And my students do fine without it, and my co-workers do fine without it. I have a lot of experience teaching (and practicing) and I do fine without it. But still, it always gets a reaction.

Just know - it can be done - and its easy.

Edited by mikeclelland on 07/10/2010 12:44:02 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: TP on 07/10/2010 15:09:46 MDT Print View

Hi, Mike,

If you want to evangelize against toilet paper, your effectiveness is going to be limited by the fact that the article is behind a paywall, but it's your choice, of course. Googling, I ran across what is probably the same article mirrored here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33200788/Toilet-Paper-Free-Expeditions Dunno if it's okay with you that it's there, or if someone uploaded it without your consent; if the latter, scribd is pretty responsible about dealing with takedown requests from copyright holders.

Anyway, reading the article, it has some interesting ideas in it. Snow or river rocks seem like reasonable options in cases where they're available, but they're usually not available where I hike (summers in the Sierra). If they're available, I'll definitely give it a try next time the opportunity arises. Where I hike, I don't think I've seen wooly lamb's ear, and there aren't usually big fields of grass. Anything above about 8000 ft in the Sierra is pretty delicate ecologically; to me, LNT means not pulling up a ton of plant life for butt wiping in an area like that.

The article's emphasis on good hand-washing is great. I love the cartoon with A saying "I just took a dump!," and B saying, "I'll help you wash your hands." I've been B many times -- the subtext being that I definitely don't want to get backpacker's diarrhea from my hiking partners, so I'm always Mr. Helpful with the soap and water.

-Ben

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"First timer would like some comments" on 07/10/2010 15:14:37 MDT Print View

Would Purell serve to clean the Purell bottle?

Jaap Aap
(T-rex) - F
thx on 07/18/2010 16:19:10 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments guys. I've managed to same a few oz by your suggestions. Most of the weight is because of the heavy tent and sleeping bag, but it is ok. I won't be racing for the finish anyway. It's quite easy to carry now and I'm happy with it. Most important is I just don't take anything unnecessary.

At least I didn't take a 6 pound backpack and a 2 pound sleeping mat like they first suggested in the store before I found this site.

About the toilet paper. The article is convincing and very funny also. So I'll just take some paper along (an amount that won't be enough) and try some leaves and things on the way.

Edited by T-rex on 07/18/2010 16:33:27 MDT.