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What should I change?
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Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
What should I change? on 10/02/2010 09:41:43 MDT Print View

I am rounding up a gear list for my general backpacking on different parts of the AT summer of 2011, but ultimately for a thru hike in 2012.

I am still not sure if I should want to thru hike the CDT or PCT instead. Or maybe keep it shorter and do the Colorado trail.

I like to keep a light load and splurge on food and will also be backpacking in smaller groups occasionally, so I need a pack that will still handle 25 to 30 lbs if the need ever arises. So I'm still considering my options, but I do not mind spending three pounds on a comfortable, durable pack. Seeking suggestions.

Any other suggestions on the list? Again I intend this to be a rather default/ go to gear list for my self in the late spring to early fall months.

I do not own everything yet and am willing to sub out items.

Packed Clothing
-Mont bell EX Light Down Jacket 6 oz
-Craft Gore Windstopper hat 1 oz
-Marmot SuperMica Rain Jacket 8 oz
-Darn Tough 1/4 sock 1.5 oz
-Patagonia Lightweight Tights 5.5oz
-Mountain Hardwear Wicked Lite T 4 oz
-Go Lite Chrome Dome Umbrella 8 oz
34 oz

-NOT SURE YET (we'll say 3lbs to be safe) 48 oz
-Integral Designs Silcoat Stuff sacks (3) 3 oz
(one for clothes, ditties and food)
51 oz

-Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter 12 oz
(steaks and lines included)
-Polycryo Groundcloth 1.5 oz
13.5 oz

-Montbell UL super spiral #3(30F) long 24 oz
-Possibly NeoAir (s) + stuff sack 9.5 oz
-Light Flexair Plus Ultralight Pillow .5 oz
34 oz

-Evernew 900mL Deep Pot with Frying Lid 6 oz
-Ti Spoon .5 oz
-Soda can stove w/ mini Bic 1 oz
-Aquamira 2 oz
-2 L Platypus bladder 3.5oz
-1 L Platypus soft bottle 1 oz
-8 oz alcohol fuel bottle .5 oz
14.5 oz

-Toothbrush+paste 1.5 oz
-Dr. Bronner's bar soap 2 oz
-Princeton Tech Fuel headlamp 1.5 oz
-Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Knife 1 oz
-GobSpark Fire Steel 1 oz
-Compass 1 oz
-First Aid (benadryl, triple antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen) 2 oz
-50' line for bear bag. 1 oz
11 oz

-Pocket Sized Bible 4 oz
-Ruled Moleskine Soft Cover+ Pen 4 oz
-iPhone 4 oz
12 oz

Total Base Weight= 10lb 10oz

Worn (Not sure on specifics)
Running shorts
Trail Runners
Darn Tough 1/4 sock
Running Hat
Not sure on top

Give me all you got.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Either Umbrella or Rain Jacket on 10/02/2010 09:56:23 MDT Print View

If the terrain is open, then maybe bring the umbrella and leave the rain jacket at home. If the terrain is not good for umbrella and/or a jacket is needed to block cold winds -- then leave the umbrella at home. I wouldn't bring both.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Pot on 10/02/2010 10:01:15 MDT Print View

You mentioned soda can stove. Am I right in assuming that your 'cooking' will be limited to boiling water to rehydrate your meals? Curious, do you really need a 900ml capacity pot with lid? What type of meals and what's the quantity of water required?

Speaking for myself, the most water I need to boil at any one time is a pint. And I find the Firelite 550 perfect -- just small enough to fulfill my water needs -- and yet big enough to house my entire 'kitchen'. YMMV of course.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What should I change? on 10/02/2010 11:04:08 MDT Print View

Another vote here for the Firelight 550ml (2.0 oz) or similar 2-cup Ti pot.

If you decide to do the Colorado Trail or CDT, you might want more warmth/dryness on your legs, at least rain pants. You can expect freezing temps and snow any month of the year. If you do the PCT, you'll want rain pants in WA. Even if it isn't raining, you'll be hiking through lots of wet brush. Long pants help keep off the bugs and stinging nettles.

The umbrella is fine for vertical rain, but useless if the wind is blowing, which generally happens in Rocky Mtn. thunderstorms. The northern portions of the PCT tend to be brushy and not suited to umbrellas. It would be useful as a sunshade in the desert portions, though. I can't speak to the AT, but for the other trails use it for the southern desert sections and then send it home.

Out west, you won't get much, if any, reception on that iphone outside of towns. If it's also your camera, though, it's half the weight of mine! How are you planning to recharge it?

For the pack, if you expect to hike the PCT at some point, make sure there's room in it for a bear canister, required in parts of the Sierra.

The luxury weight could be cut in half or more. I had an old, ratty pocket Bible that I cut into sections; I take the sections I'm reading at the moment in a ziplock sandwich bag for less than 1 oz. You could do the same and change sections when you resupply. I asked my pastor about this before I did it, and he pointed out that the physical book is not sacred, it's the Word it contains. The same is true with your notebook--carry just sections, not the whole notebook. This will save you 3 oz. on each!

Cut the bar of soap in 4 pieces, sending the other 3 ahead--save another 1.5 oz. You can probably save similarly by taking only the amount of toiletries needed for 1 or 2 stretches between resupply. Consider baking soda instead of toothpaste--lighter, dentist recommended, multiple uses (deodorant, paste for bites/stings).

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/02/2010 11:07:59 MDT.

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Edit. on 10/02/2010 15:04:26 MDT Print View

Add iPhone charger. 2 oz. Forgot to put that on the list.

Concerning the iPhone: I'm not worried about getting service on the trail. That is not my goal, but the camera on it is actually superb for it's weight. The battery can actually last about 10 days if I only turn it on for an hour or so per day.

And concerning the umbrella/raincoat deal: I like having the wind/ rain coat and the umbrella acts as a quick cover for light rain, but more than that, I like having it at night to place at the top of my tarp if there is heavy wind and or rain. There are a lot of uses for it too; sun, being another big one.

Any more ideas for a pack?

Edited by FauxRealz on 10/03/2010 14:40:30 MDT.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
What should I change? on 10/03/2010 00:36:33 MDT Print View

That looks like a thorough list. Thanks for posting.

There are some ul packs out there in the 8oz to 24oz range that should comfortably carry the amount of gear on your list (plus the food, water & fuel needed for a 7 - 10 day trip between resupply).

Gossamer Gear Gorilla is at the heavy end of this range (24.2 oz for the large), but it's the most durable of their packs:

Also, the GG Mariposa Plus is larger but made of less durable/lighter weight material:

Both of these packs come with removable internal frames and pad pockets. Both will easily carry a large bear canister on top with the help of the y shaped straps. I've used the Gorilla with a large canister on top in the Sierra's with good comfort.

For a very light weight quality pack that has been used on PCT, CDT and AT thru hikes the Zpacks Blast is under 8 ozs. 2,000, 2,600 or 3,200 ci, cuben fiber, currently backlogged about 4-6 weeks. I use one of his tarp/tents (Hexamid) for UL trips and a Zero for SUL. The quality is excellent and Joe provides great customer service:

Mountain Laurel Designs has a full line of Dyneema packs from 9.75 ozs to 17.5 ozs. I have not used these yet but they seem to be highly rated on the BPL blogs:

My wife uses an Osprey Exos 46 and loves it. It's just over 2 lbs, but it has a full suspension with a mesh back panel and 2-3 inch airspace between your back and the actual pack bag. The fit and carry are very comfortable. I like the two built-in hipbelt pockets. I considered getting one of these, but opted for the lighter GG and Zpacks packs. I have seen this pack used on a JMT thru hike:

Don Jones
(djfrogg) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
hike the CDT or PCT or Colorado trail." on 10/04/2010 17:36:07 MDT Print View

"I am still not sure if I should want to thru hike the CDT or PCT instead. Or maybe keep it shorter and do the Colorado trail."

I second the comments about more on your legs if do these high, exposed trails. My choice would be the tights plus UL wind breaking pants plus rain pants for northern parts of the PCT. I would also add another layer on top. I like to combine an UL merino wool tee with a hoody. Yes, you can always stop hiking and bed down if gets too cold and wet with your gear list, but you will likely want to keep hiking. Keep the down jacket in reserve. It will get too damp under a rain jacket while hiking.

I love my NeoAir but suggest a thin pad on top if gets too cold. I use my small pad to stiffen a nearly frameless rucksack. All of these add weight, but safety and some comfort on the long trail is as important as light weight (IMHO).

Carrying both a light rain jacket and umbrella (Montbell 5.6 oz?) add weight but give a lot of flexibility for the wetter climates. Overall, you have made some great choices, but expect to add and subtract as you go (some options in your resupply?).

Sherpa Don

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
CDT / CT / PCT on 10/04/2010 18:09:11 MDT Print View

Based on personal experience, I'm here to say that when you do the PCT, CDT or CT, you will DEFINITELY need a high-quality hooded wind shirt. You'll hike a goodly portion of those trails in one due to the high winds that can blow constantly at high altitude above treeline. You can save by combining the wind/rain pants by using something like the GoLite Reed pants. That brush gets full of very cold water early in the morning or after a thunderstorm. Usually, long nylon hiking pants are sufficient, but there will be times when you'll love your WP/B pants.

FWIW, the CDT is the hardest of the Big Three long trails; not a place for a beginner. Do yourself a big favor and do the PCT first, then the CT (the CT and CDT share the same tread for about 230 miles through CO, albeit in two distinctly different pieces). Do yourself an even bigger favor when you do the CT - when you get to Durango, take a couple of zero days to recoup. Then take the Durango-Silverton RR back up to the CT and retrace the 9 miles up to the CT/CDT split at the top of the Elk Creek drainiage. Follow the CDT 160 miles south to the CO/NM border at Cumbres Pass, then hitch into Chama and go home. That gets the San Juans section of the CDT out of the way so when you do the NM CDT, you aren't locked into a narrow window because of the snow levels in the San Juans.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
windshirt on 10/04/2010 19:46:11 MDT Print View

^ I'd echo the above comment- in the Mountain West you'll definitely want a windshirt (I'd recommend a hooded one)- it's a very versatile piece of gear. I end up using mine almost every day I'm hiking- besides the obvious- cutting the wind; it's great for deterring biting insects; light, short rain (most have good DWR)- which you'll see very frequently in the West; adds a good additional thermal layer around camp or even in your sleeping bag

I'd also agree that solo you can get by w/ a small pot- I often use a 450 mug and 600 is easily enough.

2 oz for soap is too much (for a 7 day stretch)- I carry liquid Bronner's and can get by w/ 0.3 oz easily

I think you can easily get by w/ less cord for your bear bag (although the extra might come in handy for repairs, etc)- mine is 35' and find it more than enough

might have missed it- water treatment?

for a top something long sleeved- I like both the Capilene 1 and Merino 1 long sleeves offered by Patagonia

for packs where your going to be carrying quite a bit of food (and potentially water)- maybe one of the framed options from ULA- you can still get sub 2 lbs even w/ a frame

Edited by mtwarden on 10/05/2010 07:17:55 MDT.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: bb line on 10/04/2010 20:06:49 MDT Print View

I'm gonna dissent about the Bear Bag line, unless you're a serious pro or masochist, keep the 50'. I often found myself angry when I only had 40.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: What should I change? on 10/05/2010 05:59:48 MDT Print View

That looks like a really nice list, but I do have a couple of suggestions:

1. You may want some bug protection (at least on the AT) during the warmer months. I use a Alpinlite Bug Shelter 1.25 with my SpinnShelter and it works great.
2. I agree about the pot, if you are just boiling water, you could go to a smaller lighter pot.
3. For a thru, change out the NeoAir for a Ridgerest, CCF is bombproof.
4. Download the bible on your iPhone and save yourself 4 ounces. There are a lot of people that do that at my church and they seem very happy with it.

For packs you might look at the ULA Circuit or Gossamer Gear Mariposia Plus.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Aarn on 10/05/2010 06:05:42 MDT Print View

Take a close look at Aarn packs. They are heavy and have lots of straps but have exceptional compfort and the front pockets do help your balance while walking.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What should I change? on 10/05/2010 16:22:45 MDT Print View

Bradford wrote: "Download the bible on your iPhone and save yourself 4 ounces." Now why didn't I think of that!

You'll find lots of bugs on the CDT and PCT, too!

For the pad, whatever gives you the best night's sleep! But if it's an air pad, take something to patch it with, just in case. Keep it well away from cactus, of course! The NeoAir will probably not be warm enough for below freezing nights in the Rockies (where it can freeze any time) or the last part of the PCT. You'll need a CCF supplement anyway.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/05/2010 17:27:24 MDT.

Tony Fischer
(adfischer) - F
iPhone / Bible on 10/12/2010 12:55:51 MDT Print View

On the iPhone...test out what you want to do with it first. A couple of notes:

- Reading your Bible on the iPhone will eat your battery. I would go with the paper version to maximize battery life.
- Pictures will eat your battery, especially if you have location service turned on. Turn the GPS feature off and you will save battery.
- If the phone is really important to you, consider a battery pack to charge it. I have an IMP500 from Newtrent that will charge it several times before needing a recharge. Its 6oz so decide if thats worth it to you.

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Re: iPhone / Bible on 10/14/2010 07:45:47 MDT Print View


I was thinking the same thing about the Bible. I actually just picked up an NIV with just the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. It is about the size of a passport but three times as thick. It weighs 2.8 ounces. I figured that I probably won't be opening up to Ezekiel for any trail side prophesy studies, haha. So I think for my needs, it'll be just fine.
Bibe, PassportSide View

In regards to the iPhone, I hiked the hundred mile wilderness with my younger brother this summer and we took it slow. I think it took us the full 10 days, even. Anyway, I had my phone, but I only used it for 1 phone call to the parents at Jo Mary Lake and for about a hundred pictures. When I wasn't calling it was either off or on airplane mode. It lasted the whole ten days like that.

I was surprised, too.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: iPhone ibooks/battery life on 10/14/2010 08:58:16 MDT Print View

I've been reading various books on my iphone the past 6 months or so. If you change the font to white lettering on a black background it's very miserly with the battery. I can often read for an hour or so and only have the battery percentage go down 2% or so.

I tend to read at night in the darkness and the white on black background works good.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Changes on 10/14/2010 11:44:06 MDT Print View

Great list and good suggestions so far. Here's a few more ideas:

1) Replace the Mtn Hardware T-shirt (4oz) with a GoLite Wildwood Trail SS Tee (3oz) and save an ounce plus you get a shirt that will be faster drying which is always good.

2) Regarding the 900ml vs. 550ml pot, if you're just boiling water for drinks or freezer bag meals then 550ml is fine, but I cook a lot of meals that require 2 cups of water and then adding in the food (ie. mashed potatoes) so I personally would stay with the 900ml.

3) The SuperMica rain jacket is sweet, but if you are looking to cut a few more ounces then the North Face Triumph Anorak (5.5oz) will do that. The SuperMica looks quite durable, but if you have the umbrella then you won't likely wear a rain jacket enough to warrant that. I personally would do SuperMica w/o umbrella or the Triumph with Umbrella.

4) Regarding packs, please don't select one anywhere near 3 lbs. You look like a great candidate for a simple pack with frame stays like the Gossamer Gear Gorilla, ULA Ohm, HMG Windrider etc. All of those packs are 1.5 lbs.

5) I agree that adding the Alpinlite 1.25 Bug Shelter would be really nice in bug season.

6) Use a ladies hair elastic (0.05oz) to keep your NeoAir rolled up instead of a stuff sack. It's easier and lighter.

7) What thickness are you using for your groundsheet? 1.5oz sounds awfully light. I would use 3mil if you want it to hold up for a long time.

8) Zpacks Blast food bag is the best. It's stronger, more waterproof and more rodent resistant than a silnylon one. For the clothing and ditties bags, why not sew them yourself since you are already sewing your own shelter? This will allow you to size them perfectly.

9) The FireSteel mini sold by BPL works well and it's 0.3oz instead of 1oz.

10) 8oz of alcohol isn't much. Even if you plan to carry this much I would still take a bigger bottle (ie. 16oz) so you have room to carry more if you change your mind

11) Can bugs (mosquitoes) bite through your lightweight tights? If you just have shorts and these tights then you may be vulnerable to bugs. My personal preference for my lower body setup is light hiking pants (ie. 7oz Patagonia Sol Patrol, on clearance now for $35), really light shorts (ie. 2oz nylon ones) and an insulated layer like my GooseFeet 7.3oz down pants for colder trips. I also carry 4oz GoLite Reed rain pants. I've never tried tights...

12) Bring a windshirt

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What should I change? on 10/14/2010 19:35:29 MDT Print View

I also recommend a windshirt! I bought one originally because flies were munching on me through my hiking shirt every time I stopped. I now find it the most versatile garment I own. I often wear it over a base layer top when hiking for cold, windy and/or foggy days, or even in a drizzle.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: What should I change? on 10/15/2010 07:35:07 MDT Print View

wholeheartedly agree w/ Dan and Mary- add 3-4 oz of a windshirt, it is probably my versatile garment- light rain- no problem, wind up high- no problem (and breathes while moving), bugs- yup stops those too, add it over any layer at camp and your warmer- I've even used it under my quilt

edited to add: that while the neoair is very comfortable and pretty warm for the weight- for a thru hike it might be a little sketchy- there is a good thread in the G Spot discussing thru hike pads- the general consensus is that a ccf mat might be a better option (or maybe a thinlight under the neo)

Edited by mtwarden on 10/15/2010 07:38:03 MDT.

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Windshirt suggestions? on 10/15/2010 11:45:40 MDT Print View

Title says it all.

also... sweet stache.

Edited by FauxRealz on 10/15/2010 11:47:29 MDT.