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Wise Women Go Light Pt. I
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Cat Jasins
(CatJasins) - MLife
Wise Women Go Light on 07/19/2006 01:52:13 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Wise Women Go Light Part 1
Wise Women Go Light Part 2
Wise Women Go Light, Conclusion

Edited by cmcrooker on 12/26/2006 18:06:59 MST.

Carol Corbridge
(ccorbridge) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Wise Women on 07/19/2006 09:08:53 MDT Print View

Hi Jean and Sue,
Thanks for writing this article. I'm a older women living and backpacking in Southern Oregon too. My story is quite similar to yours. I'm a little younger (55) and my base weight is a little heavier (22), but our paths are much alike. I've gone the hammock route and have not yet given up my jetboil or my water purifier.
If you would ever like to get together for a gear pow wow let me know. I run a landscaping business, Carol's Colors, so you can reach me there or my email is ccorbridge4 at msn dot com

Lynda Swink
(llswink) - F
Wise Womean Pt. 1 on 08/08/2006 10:38:19 MDT Print View

Dear Jean and Sue,
Thank you for your timely article. I am 53, new to hiking and back packing, and looking forward to a partial hike through on the AT next summer. One of my major concerns was what to take, and how to make sure my back pack was not too heavy! I look forward with interest to parts 2 and 3. Thanks again, Lynda Swink

Clinton Ohlers
(rcohlers) - F - M

Locale: Eastern PA
Women's Lightweight/UL Packs on 11/22/2006 12:23:29 MST Print View

Hi, Jean and Sue,

Thanks for the articles. I'd be interested in what you (or other women readers) have found regarding lightweight packs for women.

For example, as a guy, I would think that women might prefer going slightly heavier on the pack (rather than frameless) in order to have better load distribution to the hips. What do you think?

I've considered recommending the Granite Gear Vapor Ki, with its internal plastic frame (34 oz.), to a female friend. Of course, the forthcoming Jam2 looks to have better shoulder comfort and weight distribution to the hips with the new shoulder straps and belt.

Any thoughts?



Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Wise Women's views on clothing, etc. on 11/22/2006 21:00:30 MST Print View

Hi Ladies!

Thank you for sharing your adventures! I was curious about the 6 oz pants referred to in your second article. What brand and style did you choose, and why? Also, do you use layering in pants for leg warmth during hiking or sleeping? I tend to have cold legs and would value any insights you have.

Could you post the lesson you had regarding pitching the Six Moons tent to prevent lag, etc?

Thanks again for everything!

Mary Simpson
(maryphyl) - F
Going Lighter on 11/24/2006 20:13:49 MST Print View

I just turned 60 last summer--I started on the road to a lighter pack about 10 years ago. I own nice lightweight equipment but many of the things that lightened my pack were learning how to do the multiple use thing and not trying to cover every possible situation that might occur. I forget who said it first but I work with the idea that in a worst case scenario I will only suffer minor misery. Good luck to you--Mary

Jean Rogers
(Boonga) - M

Locale: Northwest
Packs on 11/26/2006 11:52:17 MST Print View


I agree that women need more support in their packs than men. Weight on my shoulders drives me crazy. I used a ULA Circuit Pack (32 oz) on my planned 8 day backpack. It uses a 1.2oz. carbon fiber and delrim suspension hoop. It transfered the load weight nicely to my hips-where we women are made to carry wt. The fabric is sturdy and can take being bang around.

If you have a REI or EMS near you, take your friend there. Have different packs fitted to her and weight added to the pack. Then have her walk around the store/up and down stairs, etc. for a good 20 min. I found almost all packs felt good during the first 10 min., but by 20 min. you will start to notice anyplace that doesn't feel right. REI had a great return policy: if you take the pack on a trip and it doesn't work out, you can return it.

The frustrating part is that each year they come out with new and improved packs-sort of like purchasing a car...

Jean Rogers
(Boonga) - M

Locale: Northwest
Pants on 11/26/2006 12:00:10 MST Print View


I took along Golite's Woemn's Reed pants. A medium weighs 5oz. They come with taped seams and an elasticized waist with draw cord. No pockets or ankle zips. I take them everywhere with me: daypacks, purse, etc. They work great, but are a no frills item.

I often layer under my rainpants, depending on temperature: trailpants, longjohns or both.

Once I was caught out in 34 degree weather with only a summer weight sleeping bag-I slept with my longjohns and trailpants under my rainpants and that kept my legs warm. As they say "It's all about layering."

Jean Rogers
(Boonga) - M

Locale: Northwest
Tent Pitching on 11/26/2006 12:14:59 MST Print View

Jane: With the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo e tent, it comes down to finesse. You start by staking out the two front corners (I don't put the stakes in all the way at first). Then stake the center rear corner. Put up the front pole and stake out the guyline. Now stake out the two remaining corners. I loosley stake out the guy lines.

Now you look inside the tent and see what part is sagging (for me it is usually the two rear corners). The finesse part is moving the stakes at the corners (usually the last two stakes) to get rid of the sagging netting. Ron can do this in a snap. It was surprising to learn that all it takes sometimes is to move the stake towards the tent an inch or so. The tendency is to have too much tension on the elastic that is attached to the floating bathtub floor, by removing some of the tension, the sagging netting isn't sagging anymore. Also, snugging down or lettin up on the tensioners helps too.

The more you set up the tent, the easier it is set it up without any (or very little sagging). I have set the tent up several times in the rain. No time for finesse, just stake and dive inside. The sagging netting doesn't interfere with the functionality of the tent. You will still stay dry.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Wise Women Go Light Pt. I on 11/28/2006 21:06:22 MST Print View

This makes a great article for anyone who is trying to get into the lightweight swing of things. You avoided a lot of the more technical jargon that we discuss elsewhere on BPL and focused on simple reasons why things do or don't work for you.

I find that when first getting into a new thing sometimes I just want to be told what to do. I can then immediately begin to form my own opinions once I have a jumping off point to start from.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Re: Pants on 11/29/2006 15:03:43 MST Print View

Jean, thanks for your reply. Clothing is an area I know little about as I make the move to lightweight backpacking. I live far away from retail stores, so it's difficult to get my hands on a variety of clothing to determine its trail value.

I see that the Reed pants are rain pants. You also mentioned trail pants - can you elaborate? I'm looking for something light (of course) that doesn't limit my range of motion, and is tough enough to stand up to booty-scooting down numerous granite boulders here in Maine. I am planning to start an Appalachian Trail hike next summer. Any suggestions? Thanks again for your time and help!

Jean Rogers
(Boonga) - M

Locale: Northwest
Clothing on 12/05/2006 08:24:25 MST Print View

It is hard when you don't have an outdoor retailer near you. I have found some great clothes in the Men's side of Wal Mart, etc. They have lots of wicking T-shirts, wind pants, etc.

The top notch gear can be found on the internet: each company has their own size measurements. What is a medium at one company will be a large at another. Try Golite or Outdoor Research. Buy just one item, try it on and return it for a size up/down if it doesn't fit. Once you find your size, it will be easier to order the right size each time. Returns are easy.

Better yet...take a road trip to The BIG City and shop to your heart's content.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Thanks for your thoughtful article on 01/02/2007 16:23:14 MST Print View

Nice job with your article. Writing of your "low morale" times, health and other struggles, reminds us that hiking is not all about the gear, the good views, and bonding with the natural world. Your frank realism makes your report that much more meaningful and helpful to others.
Of course, two hours taken out of your hike to round up cows, now that is impessive! PS a cuple of gear points: You mention struggling with the poly gound cover in the wind...that makes me wnat to leave it at home and stick with the heavier ripstop coated nylon piece just a bit wider than the sleeping bag. At this site, the review on the Golite Reed pants suggests adding a 14" or so opening slit at the bottom for easier on and off over footwear. I wonder if the between-the-toes blisters meand that your footwear is too narrow in the toe-box? Sometimes, too, a different lacing pattern can help aleviate pressure points.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Wise Women Go Light on 01/02/2007 16:40:53 MST Print View

Thank you so much for that report on a trekker's vision quest. I also have had asthma chronically in the past so know what that means. But, the honest blow by blow descriptions of real people getting out 'there' are wonderful, invaluable for lots of reasons to me. It is not always easy or fun, and gear isn't the only issue, but it sure helps reduce the negative dark side to have good gear when the dark side rears its ugly head. Thank you so much, I have forwarded your venture story to my partner, and still have lots of questions to ask. bd

PS: You are invited, both of you, to visit down here and use our place as a base to trek on the PCT in the Lassen-Shasta area anytime, or head off into the local wilderness areas which are safe and generally bee and wasp free. Georgi H. is a PCT angel who is quite well known, as it turns out, a woman who spent many years teaching camping, hiking, and winter camping to the Girl Scouts in her youth -- I think she is in her 7th decade -- we just met over the holidays and she lives a mile or two from us. She knows about gear, from the 100's of people who stay with her and would be a goldmine of info for you. She also sews and modifies gear for people who need it. Keep on trekkin, and thanks for the article, again. Another person in their 6th decade mode. (Wouldn't it be wonderful to have this gear and be in the 2nd or 3rd decade mode?) bd

Edited by bdavis on 01/02/2007 17:06:48 MST.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Wise Women Go Light Pt. I on 08/03/2008 10:04:34 MDT Print View

I completely agree with you. I read this article with my mouse coping and pasting every piece of gear into Google to find them and see how much they are and where to purchase. I am new to backpacking looking to start out with just 1-2 night trips. I have no gear except my boots. I have been reading(Lighten up) and researching like crazy and this article was great.
I day hike, run, walk ,commute by bike to work and still lack the self confidence to get out there and enjoy an overnighter. I can't get past the fact of " what if" heavy storm, bears,shock, reactions to bees, lost, etc. i thinking finding the right gear might go along ways. I have seen the six moons shelters but thought that "can't hold up in a down pour". Articles like this help others with the gear decision before buying heavy packs and then having to lighten up. I currently am trying to find the best 1-2 night pack for the money and the ULA packs look like a good choice. The Go-lites look like another option.

sage Clegg-Haman
(sageclegg) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Wise Women Go Light on 12/01/2009 01:43:31 MST Print View

This is great! I hope your words and courage to dump excess pack weight will inspire many other women to get out on the trail- there just aren't very many chics who go lite! Sage