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Porcupine Mountains Gear List
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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Porcupine Mountains Gear List on 10/02/2010 08:41:05 MDT Print View

I just posted my current fall gear list in my profile. I'm sorry I couldn't find a way to link it here.

This is the list that I just used on a 5 day solo trip along the North Country Trail/Porcupine Mountains (kind of nice hills really) in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Daytime temps were 50-60 F and nights were 35-40 F. It rained nightly with isolated periods of heavy rain during the day.

A couple of substitutions: I had not yet received the MLD Burn or superlight and used a GG virga (19 oz) and similarly weighted Montbell GTX sleeping bag cover (with the addition of a 4 oz tyvek groundsheet. The Virga was too big and I never used the extension collar even with all my food. Once the food dwindled, it was hard to fill the interior volume even with sleeping bag loosely stuffed. The headlamp I used (BD ion 1 oz) was lighter than my EOS, but after some difficulties with nighttime navigation, I will not skimp in this area again unless I am on a familiar trail.

Overall, I was pretty comfortable with one exception. My feet were wet all day every day (rain, mucky trail, and unbridged stream crossings) and the daytime pair of socks (smartwool PhD light trekking) I used never dried, even when placed against my chest overnight (yuck). I reserved the second pair so my feet were dry and warm at night. I might consider 2 light nylon socks in place of one pair wool socks, but would love any suggestions.

Notes: Actual food weight was 6 lb 6 oz with 2 packs ramen noodles uneaten at the end of the trip. The listed soda bottle is for fuel. The camera case is a samh special with belt loop and button closure top. The "emergency kit" has safety pins, a needle, floss, cotton ball tinder, and some misc fishing stuff. I know I could drop the Mora, but I really like a fixed blade knife (fish cleaning mostly)

Thanks to Mike C for eliminating 2 oz of completely unnecessary weight for this trip, Sam H for my current bubble wrap obsession, and Meir Gottleib for the award winning spreadsheet I use.

Mark Roberts
(redwedge) - MLife

Locale: Lapland
shelter on 10/02/2010 08:59:23 MDT Print View

Did you just sleep in the bivy? I didn't see any kind of tarp mentioned...

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
poncho tarp on 10/02/2010 10:13:23 MDT Print View

It's the integral designs silponcho, listed under rain gear.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
wet feet solutions on 10/02/2010 10:19:51 MDT Print View

I just did a 10 day trip in Alaska, and I have some ideas about wet feet.

I found great success using NEOPRENE SOCKS (5.5 oz size large)

- example -

I hike with these all day in wet conditions. No liner socks, just these things right over my bare feet. I make no attempt to dry them out, I just put 'em on wet in the AM.

I sleep in a pair of "sacred" sleeping socks that NEVER get put in my shoes (unless it's the last day hiking out).

The NEOPRENE socks keep my feet warm, and they are impressively comfortable. My feet end up soggy - sure enough - but they are warm and wet.

In the morning, I just put the wet neoprene socks on (wet and clammy) and start the day with them, alaska has a LOT of stram crossings, rain and bogg travel.

This is the best solution I have ever found for long term wet weather feet strategies.

Mike C!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: wet feet solutions on 10/02/2010 10:27:03 MDT Print View

After ten days, those socks must have developed quite a character of their own.


Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Neoprene Socks? on 10/02/2010 15:09:46 MDT Print View

Mike- Did the water or mud go over the tops and into the socks, or are they snug enough to prevent that?

Bob- I didn't wear these for 10 days, but they were no prize either. They got so mud-logged that they were standing on their own by the end of the trip.socks

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
wet feet on 10/02/2010 15:54:18 MDT Print View

During the 10 day alaska trip, I probably hiked in the Neoprene socks 60% of the time.

I fully submerged my feet on a daily basis in river after river, so I was in up to my knees several times a day.

They got smelly, but the river crossings really kept the smell to a minimum. I never waisted time drainig them or changing during the day.

Edited by mikeclelland on 10/02/2010 16:01:49 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Can you guys help me take it to the next level? on 10/03/2010 08:09:42 MDT Print View

I've been scrutinizing (obsessing over?) this list for a while. What do you think I need to do to get it in the 6-7 lb range?

One easy thing would be to come up with an alternate plan for vision- usually I wear contacts but on multiday trips take the listed prescription glasses and polarized sunglasses. I should probably buy a pair of day-night glasses ($$) or find a way to be comfortable in lenses while camping (usually my eyes start to feel scratchy if I leave them in for too long). This could save almost 4 oz.

I probably need to lose the knife, though I am pretty attached to it.

Does anyone bring fishing gear and still approach being SUL?

Incidentally, I omitted 1 water bottle (+0.5 oz)from the list I posted.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
SUL ideas on 10/03/2010 10:18:15 MDT Print View

The way to get your weight down is to:

1) Leave stuff behind.

2) Replace gear with lighter options. (and this might seem expensive)

Your gear list is pretty darn tight, so this is not easy. You'll be tweaking and subtracting items to save a few ounces here and there.

NIX - all the fishing gear, or at least put it in it's own category so you can quantify it's weight exactly

NIX - any redundant stuff sacks

NIX - the camera

NIX - the towel

NIX - the knife


REPLACE the Neo-Air for a really thing foam pad (a loss of comfort)

REPLACE the sleeping bag for something lighter (a loss of comfort)

REPLACE the shard case (sunglasses) for something lighter like bubble wrap.

REPLACE the headlamp with a lighter option


CUT STUFF OFF - your backpack

Q: Where is your tarp in the list?


Also - I wouldn't spend extra money on glasses just to save 4 ounces. It would be a lot easier to simply be very self-aware of how you carry water. Just drink 4 ounces of water off your back.

Edited by mikeclelland on 10/03/2010 10:50:25 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Revised. Nightlite vs ridgerest? on 10/04/2010 09:20:01 MDT Print View

Thanks Mike,
I can swap out the Neoair short for a GG torso-length Nightlite and save 5.6 oz. That's easy and affordable (though the neoair is hands down the most comfortable pad for a side sleeper like me). I also have an old ridgerest I could cut down for free. Does anyone know if the nightlite is significantly more comfortable than the ridgerest?

Drop 1 pair of glasses. Rarely need sunglasses in woods. Save 3.8 oz

Drop clothing stuffsack and just ball up the nanopuff as pillow. Save 1.4 oz.

Drop fishing hemostats/scissors and save 1 oz.

Drop birthday candle from emergency kit and just use the cotton balls with some hand sanitizer. Minimal savings, but 1 less thing to keep track of. 0.1 oz.

I may try to trade my SP trek 700 for something like a firelite 550 SUL- save 2 oz.

These are changes I can make with minimal expense or changes in function. Pack weight now 6 lb 14 oz.

If I drop the fishing gear and knife (8 oz total) and sub in my victorinox (0.7 oz), I'd be at 6 lb 6.7 oz. Whether or not I do this would depend on the goals of my trip.

I could probably find a lighter sleeping bag than the summerlite, but have little desire to do so. That bag is so versatile, it is perfect for all but winter, and would be pretty expensive to replace.

Camera- can't do. I don't keep a written journal but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Headlamp- I realized on this past trip that my BD ion (1 oz)was useless for all but camp chores. It was not good for finding blazes in the dark, locating a tree for bear bagging, and I would not feel safe trying to self rescue with it. The EOS is heavier (3.5 oz)but great for all those things. I would consider swapping it out if I could find something 1.5- 2 oz lighter that could still throw a decent beam for night navigation.

I will try these mods out on my next trip. Any other suggestions very welcome.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Revised. Nightlite vs ridgerest? on 10/04/2010 10:39:23 MDT Print View

I would keep the Mora, especially if fishing.

I haven't tried the NeoAir, but I use an Exped Downmat 7. Going from that to a Ridgerest is quite a shock comfort-wise. Although, I'd be fine with a Ridgerest if I could sleep on my back instead of my side or stomach. I'd be hesitant to drop the NeoAir unless I had proven my ability to sleep well without it through backyard testing. Maybe if you could sleep on your back it would help with using a foam pad?

A birthday candle, especially a trick one which is difficult to extinguish, is a huge firestarting aid. I'd keep it. I even carry two! Cotton balls are great, but only give about 15 seconds of burn time unless saturated with Vaseline.

I'd add a backup fire lighting method and pealess whistle, both carried on person.

I have the Petzl Tikka2 (weight 2.9 oz with 3 AAA alkaline) which I find adequate as long as the battery capacity is around 60% or greater. At 50%, there's a blinking red LED warning, and it becomes mostly limited to task-lighting rather than navigating and bear bagging. It does use lithiums for better performance in the cold and a .1 oz weight savings.