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What am I doing wrong here?
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Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
What am I doing wrong here? on 09/07/2010 23:51:05 MDT Print View

Please take a look at my gear list at the link below. I've been working on getting my weight down each season and here's where I am. What would you change or add/remove?

A couple notes:

I'm going to MYOG a poncho with some extra silnylon I have here so that poncho number should drop to 5-6 ounces from 12.

I like my tents, I'm not ready for tarp (yet). I know, I know, I could drop 1.5 pounds from that Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 but still, please don't make me give up my tent. :)

What else should I change?

Google Spreadsheet

Thank you,

Edited by nwgarner on 09/07/2010 23:52:01 MDT.

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
Also on 09/07/2010 23:56:43 MDT Print View

A couple other things I thought of:

I'm not very interested in Tenkara fly fishing, maybe I'll try it someday but for now I'd like to stick with traditional methods.

That bear canister is a BV500, it will be a BV450 for my next trip so that will come down to around 900 grams.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: What am I doing wrong here? on 09/08/2010 00:46:46 MDT Print View

Multiple season gear? I see thermals and a 20 degree bag & VBL bag along with a mosquito net and bug juice. I'll just assume you select your gear based on the season. First things I'd do is swap the Camelback for Aquafina bottles and then swap the tent floorprint with polycro.

Ole Saether
(osaether) - MLife

Locale: Norway
Re: What am I doing wrong here? on 09/08/2010 04:48:14 MDT Print View

I do not know where/when you are hiking but here is what I would have removed from the list:

p**p shovel (I use a stone or my hiking poles to dig a hole)
emergency poncho (I use my shelter)
pee bottle (drink less right before bedtime and take that occasional trip outside during night)
towel (I use air to dry and seldom go swimming when hiking)

I wonder what you need the 8 quarters for? Phone booth?

BTW: I live in Norway where it is perfectly normal to walk a few meters from the camp and take a leak :-)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: What am I doing wrong here? on 09/08/2010 06:30:55 MDT Print View

Ditch the tent footprint. If you must bring the wet ones dry them out first and rewet when ready to use. A debit card is lighter and more versatile than quarters. HotSac, really? A platy system would be lighter than the Camelback.

Edited by kthompson on 09/08/2010 06:33:21 MDT.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
probably won't use on 09/08/2010 08:33:37 MDT Print View

Here is what you most likely won't use....or won't take next time:

WM Hot Sac (unless it's winter)
wet tissue
emergency poncho
Frontier Pro filter
pillow case
trash bag (make one from a food bag you empty)
pot cozy
tent foot print
camelpack (switch to a platy system)

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
Thanks on 09/08/2010 11:45:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

My next hike will be in Ansel Adams Wilderness up around Thousand Island Lake and Ediza lake, below the Minarets. I'm expecting some cold. This list is more of an all around list tapered down based on what I'm doing. So, no bug spray and head net this time around.

The quarters are a hold over from a hike sometime ago where the exit trailhead had a payphone and no cell coverage and I had no car waiting for me. I had to call my wife.

The HotSac is an experiment I want to try in staying warm. I sleep very cold and want to try some options. Not listed on there is a cut down ZLite that will go in the back pocket of the GG, I'm going to put that under/over the neoair to try to get a little more warmth on my back so it's not shivering. I figure since the HotSac is only 4 oz. I'd throw that in too to try it out.

For the camelback, it's something I've used forever and it has the large opening at the top. I believe a bigzip from platypus is lighter and will be just as easy to fill. The platypus with the small opening seems like it would be hard to dunk in a stream to fill, I'd need to pull out my pot and pour the water in. Something I've been tossing around is getting a one liter plastic bottle, PET type, and then drilling a hole to insert a tube into. Then sealing the tube and putting a small air hole. That would be light and allow for dunking then drop a aquamira tablet, attach the hose with frontier pro filter and be on my way. Basically a bottle with a straw in it. I could then have another 1L vessel that gets a tablet and gets sealed at the same time so I can carry a that on the other side of the pack. How does that sound?

For cooking, I imagine I could use my sleeping bag or jacket as the insulation for the freezer bag cooking which removes the need for the home made Reflectix cozy. And I like the idea of using one of these used 1 quart freezer bags for a trash bag.

Regarding TP and wet wipes, I've read others saying that paper towels go a lot farther than TP. I usually use the wet ones for a bit of a shower refresher after a couple days. Paper towels can be wetted for wiping and do double duty as TP. I might have to try that.

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I've been a long time reader and recently started posting. There are some great ideas on here.


Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Remember - this is a lightweight backpacking forum. on 09/09/2010 11:32:42 MDT Print View

NIX the tent, and replace it with a tarp. You said you weren't "ready" yet, but I don't quite know what that means. Nows the time! C'mon, I haven't used a tent in years (in the summer in the mountains). Remember - this is a lightweight backpacking forum.

THe HOT-SAC is a VB liner, and it probably isn't appropriate for anything except a winter environment.

NIX the 3-liter Camelback and replace with a 1.5-liter soda bottle. Where are you camping? THe Mojave in July?

NIX the toilet paper - easy!

NIX the wet tissues.

I see no soap listed, and this should be considered required. Studies have repeatedly shown that basic soap is superior to eliminating germs (fecal contamination on hands) compared to alcohol gels.

Trash bag AND a pack liner? NIX one or the other, no need for both.

NIX the trowel and use a tent stake

8 Quarters? Is this a joke? Emergency poncho AND a poncho? No need for both, NIX one of 'em.

NIX the spot.

Where are you camping? Is a bear canister required?

NIX the Towel.

Hiking poles should be part of the gear carried , and NOT in this list.

NIX the pee bottle, that would be more appropriate for winter or alaskan mountaineering.

Pillow case?

Why bug repellant and a bug-head-net? When are you going?

I don't see any primary insulation in the clothes, is that the JACKET?

I don't see any mug or pot?

NIX the filter.

NIX the aqua-mira tablets and replace with AQUAMIRA drops. Much faster.


I started a thread titled:

- LINK -

I started this thread because there are some key points that really help when you post a gear list. You didn't share where you were going and the time of year. (initially) THat made it very hard to give any kind of feedback.

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
Thanks for the feedback, Mike. on 09/09/2010 11:50:15 MDT Print View

Thank you for the feedback, Mike. I addressed some of your "are you serious?" questions in my last post, like the quarters being on there and where my next trip is. Not everything is expected to go into the pack, more of an overall list and then pick and choose as I need to.

The mug/pot is the GSI Minimalist.

Thanks for noticing I didn't have soap on there. I've been using the alcohol sanitizer stuff forever; I'll have to look into soap.

I'm sorry but I hadn't seen your previous post about gear list posting rules. Perhaps someone at BPL could sticky that to the top of the list?


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
spot and tent on 09/09/2010 12:06:20 MDT Print View

personally i wouldnt nix the spot if yr solo and you want that safety margin ... but they thats just me

if you like the tent and feel its worth the weight go for it ... some people like tents over tarps ...

i also cant live without TP ... lol

guess im not going SUL anytime soon

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
gear list on 09/09/2010 12:10:23 MDT Print View

- About the suggested "etiquette" for gear lists - They aren't *rules* but just helpful suggestions. People will pst a list and ask for help, and those suggestions simply make it easier.

- You say the quarters are a "holdover" from something you did a while back. That doesn't mean you should take them now. Nix 'em!

- You ask about the camel back. I feel that this is easily NIXED. Just go with a standard soda bottle. No more volume than 1.5 is required for most environments (excluding the driest deserts). A one liter soda bottle, and a 1/2 liter water bottle (from any recycle bin) should weigh LESS THAN 2 ounces together. No hoses needed.

- Yes - Filling bottles with tiny openings requires using your mug or pot. Just keep it at the top of your pack. Easy, not a problem.

- I would test the HOT SACK in your backyard, VB liners are for sub-freezing temps. I would add 4 ounces to your pack in insulating layers. Add a balaclava and NIX the VB liner.

- QUESTION - Do you sleep in ALL your clothes?

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
- on 09/09/2010 13:07:10 MDT Print View

I removed the quarters and the emergency poncho.

The balaclava is something I've been meaning to add to the list, just haven't found one to buy. Do you have a recommendation? For that, and a tarp. I've glanced at tarps in passing on websites but haven't sat down to make a decision.

I sleep in the capilene and then put on the jacket inside the bag if I get cold. I hike with drifit shirts and a pair of non-convertible Mountain Hardwear pants. I usually don't want to bring them into my nice and cozy bag in the evenings.

Need to start shopping for a preferred bottle too...


Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
sleep wearing EVERYTHING! on 09/09/2010 14:23:08 MDT Print View

- You said you sleep cold, and then you write you sleep in just capaline? Hmmm, this is EASILY solved!

Here's my advice:

Just sleep in ALL you clothing, EVERYTHING! It is SO sismple. You have a 20 degree bag, so you should be perfectly fine. This solves any issues as far as being cold at night.

The only thing I do NOT sleep in is any wet gear (from rain) and my shoes, and hiking socks.

I wear ALL my layers - including my hiking pants - and gloves and balaclava - easy!

It is common for me to wear my rain parka (with the hood up) inside my sleeping bag. In the morning, it is SUPER easy to get out from under
the tarp. No need to RE-dress.

- and - My suggestions for a tarp is the Gossimer Gear Spin Twin.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Sleeping Bag and Sleep Wear on 09/09/2010 14:41:21 MDT Print View

"I sleep in the capilene and then put on the jacket inside the bag if I get cold. I hike with drifit shirts and a pair of non-convertible Mountain Hardwear pants. I usually don't want to bring them into my nice and cozy bag in the evenings. "

I too have a separate set of sleep wear -- which in my case are silk long johns plus a pair of Coolmax liner socks -- a comfy set of wear that helps keep my body sweat and oils away from my beloved down bag.

I also differ from Mike above in that I try to match my sleeping bag with the expected lows. My hiking clothes (including shell and insulation layers) serve as "insurance" against unexpected lows. Surely we have all been 'victims' of inaccurate forecasts and downright unpredictable weather?

For me, I would not feel comfortable going out expecting to use up every last piece of clothing inside the bag to keep warm.

Will Webster
Bears on 09/09/2010 14:48:52 MDT Print View

I'm just barely getting into UL territory and I haven't backpacked in the west, so take my comments for what they're worth. You mention a bear cannister, but you're considering using your sleeping bag or jacket as a pot cozy. This will make what you're sleeping in smell like food. This strikes me as an extraordinarily bad idea if you need a bear cannister. My bubblewrap cozy goes inside the Opsack and hangs in the bear bag.

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
Tarp Pros/Cons on 09/09/2010 15:13:20 MDT Print View

That's a good point, Will. I've used a borrowed knit cap as a cozy once because I forgot my usual one. I never figured that smell would be imparted onto the fabric since it's inside a ziploc but then again, I don't have a bear's nose.

Thank you for your ideas, Benjamin and Mike.

Mike and other tarp users,
Do you bring a bivy for use with your tarp? A bivy is something I've never been interested in because it seems they're all pretty heavy and you lose quite a bit of space. My tent is 2 lbs, I can sit up, it holds heat in, and I can get hit by rain from any angle. I see the SpinnTwin goes all the way to the ground so you have some pretty good protection from blowing rain on either side. do you find that you're colder under a tarp? What about mosquitos during those annoying early months? Do you use anything to cover your face at that time?

However, I would love to be able to see the stars while laying down at night...


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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Tarp Pros/Cons on 09/09/2010 15:56:07 MDT Print View

Nick, I took a slightly different approach. I have one of the SpinnShelters that GG made a few years ago, so it is single-layer, but it covers much more than a simple tarp. To that, I sewed on a mosquito net skirt that hangs down about 4-5 inches. So, I can raise it up and let the breeze blow under, or I can lower it down and seal it up better. In the triangular entrance, I sewed in a couple of pieces of net, so it will ventilate that way, or I can close the entrance to seal it. I did most of that to defeat Alaskan bugs in July. I don't use trekking poles, but I have a couple of sectioned Fibraplex poles to hold this thing upright. If I really wanted to see the stars, I would have to slither toward the entrance until I could see straight up between the entrance flaps. It works for me.


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
bivy on 09/09/2010 16:41:23 MDT Print View

I love my bivy and use it most nights without the tarp weather permiting. Don't know about others but I have had great luck extending my temperature rating of my quilt with my bivy. I beleive it helps enough that I would likely take the bivy for use in a tent during expected snow conditions in a tent.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
sleep with it all on! on 09/09/2010 18:15:33 MDT Print View


I almost NEVER set up my tarp. I almost ALWAYS sleep out under the stars. I do most of my camping in the rockies, and the evenings are cold enough that bugs are not an issue.

I camped a fair amount this summer, and NEVER ONCES set up the tarp. I simply ALWAYS slept outside (I had good luck with clear weather)

NOT setting up a shelter on a clear night means I save time, and see the stars.

I NEVER need to change at night - so it's easy getting in bed, and the same in the morning. I can get up and there is almost nothing to pack. I have ALL my clothes on, so I simply start hiking. I stop when I get warm and eat breakfast and brew up coffee.

I do NOT cary extra clothes to sleep at night. the clothes I have on are synthetic or wool (quick to dry) my body oils are all next to my skin (under multiple layers of clothes) so nothing to make a bag "oily".

Also - the *extra* clothes that some carry should be (more correctly ) called pajamas.

I do use a bivy sack. It weighs under 6 oz, and I use it with a quilt (19 oz) so my bivy / quilt combo weighs 3 oz LESS than your 28 oz sleeping bag.

If I had a 20 degree sleeping bag and a SpinTwin tarp, I feel that a bivy sack is not needed, the tarp is big enough to protect a down bag from the rain.

But, with a tiny quilt, a UL bivy is really nice. (I love my bivy-sack too)

I have (very rarely) used a mosquito head-net to sleep. I wear my baseball style hat, put the head-net on, wear ALL my clothes (3 layers of hoods!) and the bugs are never an issue.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
"what am I doing wrong here" on 09/09/2010 18:26:34 MDT Print View

Mike: I can understand the appeal of sleeping in your clothes, but here in the Cascades we are just coated with volcanic dust by the end of the day. I'd at least take off my pants and socks . I'm also wearing Permethrin soaked shirts as a kind of jacket and take them off too.