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Need Help with My big 4!!
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William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Need Help with My big 4!! on 09/10/2010 17:01:47 MDT Print View

Will be doing a Solo trek on JMT...want to cut down weight, but also need to pack 2lb bear cannister. However, I realize from Muir Ranch to Whitney is ten days I need to pack food. My base is 13 lbs..can someone suggest some changes?

My list is as follows:

Western Moun UL bag 1 lb 10 oz
Neo Air 14 oz
Big Agnes UL 2lbs. 10 oz. plus ground cloth 12 oz = 3 lb 6 oz
Arc Teryx Altra 75 5 lb 1 oz
Bear Vault 2 lbs

TOTAL: 207 or approx. 13 lbs

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Need Help with My big 4!! on 09/10/2010 17:30:31 MDT Print View

Are you planning on spending money to change this list?
How much? You can't get lighter without replacing these.

You could cut your pad weight in half by buying a short Ridgerest, even more with a GG NightLight torso length. That's relatively cheap weight savings.

Your pack is a beast. You can fit a bearvault in a Granite Gear Virga, Vapor trail, Golite Jam, etc. and save 3 or more pounds for ~$150.

Your tent could be replaced with a million options...
An MLD Duomid would save you 2lbs for ~$200 and still feel like a tent. Ditch the footprint and carry a plastic sheet for a few dollars and another 10oz. of savings.

A lighter bag will cost big bucks and only get you a ~6 ounces savings.

Seems to me you could cut your base by ~6 pounds for about $350.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/10/2010 17:35:55 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: You Mean Big 5 on 09/10/2010 17:39:46 MDT Print View

1. Western Moun UL bag 1 lb 10 oz
2. Neo Air 14 oz
3. Big Agnes UL 2lbs. 10 oz. plus ground cloth 12 oz = 3 lb 6oz
4. Arc Teryx Altra 75 5 lb 1 oz
5. Bear Vault 2 lbs

TOTAL: 207 or approx. 13 lbs

1. Bag - OK.
2. Pad - OK
3. Shelter - kind of OK -- but as above, ditch the footprint and replace with polycyro sheeting and save 9-10 oz.

4. Pack -- why such heavy pack for relatively light load? I find Zpacks comfy for total weight in the low 20's. If you want more support, consider packs in the 2lbs. range to carry up to 25-30 lbs. Gossamer Gear, Six Moon Designs and ULA are well worth looking into. Savings - up to 3lbs.

5. Bear vault -- double check on this one -- if your route does not mandate specific models like bear vault or Garcia -- consider the much lighter Ursack (w/o the aluminum liner) and save 1 lb.

Total potential savings - 4 - 5 lbs.

Edited by ben2world on 09/10/2010 17:44:57 MDT.

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Thanks..excellent suggestions...the pack is one that I've had... on 09/10/2010 18:04:20 MDT Print View

for my shorter excursions, and love it to death!! But, realize I need to get, I posted what I have now.

Really appreciate the options provided...I'll look into everyone of them!!

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Do the packs you've suggested have the capcity I need for .... on 09/10/2010 18:05:41 MDT Print View

ten days of food plus supplies? I was thinking I need at least 4500 ci of capacity..

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Do the packs you've suggested have the capcity I need for .... on 09/10/2010 18:21:44 MDT Print View

" I was thinking I need at least 4500 ci of capacity.

Maybe, maybe not...

Much depends on what you've got and how you pack. For example, I always attach my tent to the outside of the pack -- makes it a lot easier to access and pack -- and also saves a ton of precious pack space.

I pack a week's worth of food and gear into my 2,800 c.i. pack w/o any problems -- and I am pretty confident I can cram in another 3 days' worth. YMMV, of course.

I highly recommend that you sort out all your gear and food -- then shop REI on a slow weekday -- and do a costume rehearsal. Or maybe buy yourself a ULA Catalyst and try it out (they have good return policy as long as the pack remains in new condition).

Edited by ben2world on 09/10/2010 18:24:43 MDT.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
re: bear canisters on 09/10/2010 18:39:44 MDT Print View

You do need a bear canister for that last leg of the JMT. It's mandatory in the Whitney zone and down the back of the Rae Lakes loop, and you will meet a wilderness ranger several times along the way to make sure you have it - they are stationed at regular intervals at backcountry ranger stations and hike the trails checking things out. The Bearikade Weekender, which is lighter than the big BearVault, can be rented by mail and a skilled bear can packer with some repackaged meals can make 10 days fit in okay. I've gotten 5-6 days of food in a BearVault Solo.

I have a 40L pack that a Weekender fits in, along with my tarp, quilt, groundsheet, and the rest of my gear.

You don't say when you are going, but you will want to add a foam pad if you are going now. Regular low pressure troughs have been sending the night temps at elevation into the teens and the NeoAir isn't up to it all by itself. I've been comfy down into the 20s with mine, but it's just not made for low temps. The bag may or may not be adequate, depends on how many layers you have to supplement it.

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
I have looked at the Weekender, but was wondering about... on 09/10/2010 19:18:44 MDT Print View

the volume. I am thinking of going with a Ridgerest mat. Hopefully, that will work.

What pack do you have? I am really looking for suggestions on a pack that will be durable, light, and hold the capacity I need. I worry that with an UL pack, a heavier load (35-40 lbs) may not carry well, or at least I've read several complaints in that regard.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
re: bear canisters on 09/10/2010 19:26:45 MDT Print View

Lori, I think you have your canisters mixed up. I don't think anyone could fit 10 days of food in a Bearikade Weekender. I could barely get 7 days of food in an Expedition (that's the larger model). Anyway, the weight savings for the Bearikade vs. the Bearvault is only a few ounces, but the price difference is a lot, so I'd suggest the OP just go with the BV and spend his money to save more weight on the other items suggested above.

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Seems to be the larger Expedition may be a good route, as .... on 09/10/2010 19:49:28 MDT Print View

it appears lighter and with more capacity than the BV500...700 vs 900 CI. Also, about 4 oz lighter..
Maybe I'm reading the specs wrong. Also, looks to be only 1.5 inchers shorter.

I guess the question is how well it rides in the pack..which gets me back to my first priority, that lightweight, comfortable pack with the capcity I need.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
re: bear canisters on 09/10/2010 19:57:08 MDT Print View

No, I chose the right one - but people all pack canisters differently. I packed 7 days in the Weekender with room for a bottle of wine (in a platy) and some fishing tackle. Not everyone packs like I do, tho. YMMV. Depends on the food you are willing to tolerate.

The Weekender should fit in a ULA Catalyst easily, even the Ohm. The Expedition will probably fit in them too.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Need Help with My big 4!! on 09/10/2010 20:16:57 MDT Print View

My thoughts...

Bag is fine.

Neo Air is fine. You can save a few ounces, but will you be comfortable?

Tent is a little heavy, but to save a lot weight here, you will need to move to something that requires additional skills/experience (I am thinking tarp). A Contrail or Moment will probably weigh close to 2 lbs with stakes and dedicated tent poles.

Pack... I am going to disagree with everyone. William said he will be carrying 35-40 lbs. My experience with UL packs that "state" you can carry over 30lbs has not been good. With that much weight, I would want something truly comfortable carrying the weight. Perhaps if William could post his entire gear list, then we could be more helpful. But if his pack weight is going to be 35-40 lbs, he might as well stick with his Altra 75.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Need Help with My big 4!! on 09/10/2010 20:35:13 MDT Print View


I agree -- for 40 lbs loads, get a pack with commensurate frame and padding (there are good ones that weigh in the 3-pound range)..

But relating to the JMT specifically, OP stated a 13lbs base weight. How much consumables does he intend to carry?

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Nick....appreciate the candid post. Again, I am really trying to ... on 09/10/2010 20:38:38 MDT Print View

lighten the load, but also realize the ten day span without resupply means at least 20 lbs of food. Base weight, plus food, my required bottle of spirits(won't compromise here), and least 35 lbs!!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: JMT lightening on 09/10/2010 21:59:08 MDT Print View

Sell the tent, get a tarp. (Sil, 8 by 10 or so.)

Sell the neoair, get a ridgerest.

Sell the Arcteryx, get a ULA or Osprey.

I bet you can come close to breaking even if your existing gear is in good shape.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Again, I am really trying to ... on 09/10/2010 22:14:57 MDT Print View

At least 20lbs. of food for 10 days? That's on the high side -- YMMV, of course, but well worth looking into IMO.

Bottle of spirits? Not literally a glass bottle, I hope. Use a bladder instead.

Edited by ben2world on 09/10/2010 22:17:17 MDT.

Don A.
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
"Need Help with My big 4!!" on 09/10/2010 22:53:24 MDT Print View

I have to agree that your food weight may be on the high side. With every long range hike I've done my food weight has decreased. I just did a JMT section hike from Red's to Le Conte canyon exiting over Bishop Pass and found I still carry too much snack food (nuts and candy bars). I now plan about 1.5lbs per day. This doesn't mean I consume less calories. I just pack food that is denser in calories. Also I pack so that the weight is in the food and not consumed with the packaging. If you've ever seen the hiker barrels at MTR and VVR you'll realize many people pack too much food as well as inappropriate food.
I would consider adding a resupply between MTR and Whitney. You can arrange for a resupply to be waiting in Onion Valley at the pack station or leave a resupply in the parking lot bear boxes there (just make sure you label your package with the date you'll pick it up). If you have lots of bucks you can arrange for resupply via a packer at the Charlotte Lake pack station.
That is one huge and weighty pack but if you're carrying that much weight you may need it. I used a Mariposa plus last year with a BV500. This year for the section I did I used a GoLite Jam2 with a BV450. I was carrying 6 days of food from MTR. I had to hang food (allowed down to Pinchot Pass) one night. Good luck.

Edited by amrowinc on 09/10/2010 22:57:23 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
no weights listed? on 09/11/2010 09:35:48 MDT Print View

You should post an ENTIRE gear list, rather than just the big 4.

- Aren't there lighter bear canisters than 2 pounds?

- You should be able to have an ENTIRE pack weight BELOW 30 pounds on day-1 as you start your trip.

- Why a tent? Exchange that for a tarp (SIMPLE). THe Sierras have notoriously calm weather.

- 2 POUNDS OF FOOD per day is WAY too much. Really - Himalayan climbers in winter take that, and still end up with leftovers.

10 pound BASE weight (without bear canister)
14 pounds FOOD = 1.4 pounds of food per day
1 pound FUEL
2 pounds full liter of water
29 pound PACK-WEIGHT



ALOS - - You didn't post any weights on your list, making it pretty hard to offer any insights.

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.

Edited by mikeclelland on 09/11/2010 09:47:24 MDT.

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Don...yes, realize that the food weight initially will be reduced along... on 09/11/2010 09:37:55 MDT Print View

the way and that my consumable weight will be cut in half by 5 days in. I gave the 2lbs/day as worst case, and I do believe with more caloric dense foods this will be reduced.

I did 8 days out in July in the Sierras, and really struggled with the weight..yes, took too much food and the Big 4 above. So, I am determined to look at each item.

Again, I want to start with the pack, and one that can hold what I need and be comfortable.

So, any further comments you have will be well received.

William Cefalu

Locale: Louisiana
Mike...I will take advantage of this due time will list everything... on 09/11/2010 09:40:47 MDT Print View

and hope for a "virtual shakedown"..