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How do you Go Ultralight Without Spending Major $$$? (please ignore previous thread).
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paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
GG = Gossamer Gear on 04/05/2005 16:01:48 MDT Print View

sorry, Glenn. my apologies, i wasn't clear.

in some of my posts i first mention Gossamer Gear (formerly GVP gear), and then refer to it as GG. i've never owned any Granite Gear products - only a lot of Gossamer Gear products. so, for me there is only one GG, viz. Gossamer Gear. i'll have to remember to make myself clearer in the future.

sorry for the confusion.

take care,

p.s. just checked my 3/19 post in this thread. here is what i wrote "...check out the GossamerGear 3/4 length NightLight Sleeping Pad..."

Edited by pj on 04/05/2005 16:05:13 MDT.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Oh, yeah. on 04/05/2005 18:20:30 MDT Print View

Sorry, Paul - I forgot that GVP had changed its name. I was skimming posts when I read your reference - when I went back and read it thoroughly, you were completely clear. Thanks, and I apologize for my oversight.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
GoLite Gust Virtual Frame on 04/10/2005 02:53:18 MDT Print View

I loaded my medium Gust with 44 lbs.(10.5lbs. base load, 5.5lbs. bear cannisters(2,Backpackers Cache cannisters), 26lbs. food(including 2 liters vegetable oil)and 2lbs. water when I started my 12 day unsupported hike of the 211 mile John Muir Trail. I didn't have room to put my foam sleeping pad inside the pack, so at 14lbs. over it's rated capacity the pack buckled badly and carried poorly. Exacerbating this was the lack of a sternum strap which caused immense pain at this weight level. Fortunately I was able to fashion a makeshift strap for the remainder of the trip and attach a proper sternum strap when I got home. At the Berkeley CA, Marmot Mountain Works I recently upgraded to a Large '04 Gust for $60 and was assisted by Tim, the designer of the Gust pack. Following his instructions I inserted my foam sleeping pad into the pack and folded the last 12" back against itself and placed this doubled section against the part of the pack that rests against my back. I then unrolled the rest of the pad inside the pack forming a large tube allowing the end of my 61" pad to overlap the doubled section creating a triple layer of foam against my back. This created a very effective frame for carrying loads of 30lbs. and above with the weight on my hips like a frame pack. This is how I will be using my Gust in the future. Notes: I removed the foam sheet that came with the pack since I use my sleeping pad for padding and pack structure. I attached 1/2" ladder lock buckles and straps to the tabs that the manufacturer provides on the sides of the pack to form 4 compression straps like most packs have. These are very useful for decreasing the size of the pack for small loads, for carrying skis and for hanging my Camelbak hydration bag. Yes, the Gust is a large rucksack. But it's a very ergonomically designed and tailored rucksack. It fits the curve of the human spine beautifully and the shoulder straps probably don't need a sternum strap at the pack's rated load. Once I hit 30lbs. on day 7, I ran 25 miles per day over 12-14,000 foot passes and had no problems. I look forward to many challenging and fun days on the trail with my Gust. I wish you the same. P.S. I agree 100% with Ezra's posting that recommends all the creative lowcost solutions from Wallmart and sinking $360 into a 1lb. bag like a Nunatak bag from or the ARC-X that they make for Bozeman Mountain Works available through Backpacking Light. Cheers, Al

Edited by Al_T.Tude on 05/04/2005 02:53:11 MDT.

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
Just Purchased a Sleeping Bag! on 04/30/2005 22:49:41 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the information, especially pj and Alan, and today i found a bag that i could not keep from buying for a number of reasons. Today, EMS had a 20% off sale so i decided to use my $100.00 EMS giftcard, that i got for christmas, towards a bag. I couldn't help but purchase the EMS Mountain Light 20 (with the sale it cost just over $160.00, leaving me to pay about $60.00 cash for it). I love that it has a Pertex Microlight shell, 725-power fill down, a full length zipper, and weighs in at exactly 2 lbs for the regular. Now I'm
set with everything except for a shelter. I'm not 100% opposed to using a tarp, but I do appreciate the simplicity of setting up a tent, and bugs are always a problem. Any suggestions???

Edited by CThiker on 05/01/2005 11:10:06 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
simple to use insect resistant shelter on 05/01/2005 06:29:37 MDT Print View

TarpTents are quick and easy to setup and offer excellent bug resistance. I use one in northern MN and WI during peak skeeter season. You can find places with worse insects but not without trying hard.

Edited by jcolten on 05/01/2005 06:31:58 MDT.

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
Tarptents on 05/01/2005 11:07:52 MDT Print View

Hey, thanks for the info, I like how the Tarptents look. Which model do you have? I was thinking of getting either the Virga or the Squall, and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the two. Also, do you know where I could find one (of either) with a sewn-in floor that is relatively cheap, and still in good condition?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
TarpTents on 05/01/2005 21:25:31 MDT Print View

I started with a Squall as a large solo. That got me comfortable with the idea that I could be OK under a tarp. After surviving a few downpours in the squall I moved up to a Cloudburst as a more roomy shelter for two and down to a home made TT1 as described in the "projects" section of (and elsewhere).

If you have the time, watch the gear swap forum here at BPL, or post a want to buy note there. I'm sure there are other places to look but I'm not familiar with them.

My original squall is for sale but does not have a floor. If I thought I'd need to pitch a TarpTent on packed soil or in a depression I'd be inclined to get the "extended floor". However, I've been able to find good locations and feel that a groundcloth just a little larger than my full length ridgerest pad is the best way to go. Any floor that extends near the perimeter of the roof is liable to catch and retain water. Much better to give that water the opportunity to soak into the ground.

I might be more prone to use a sewn in floor if I lived where insects and reptiles are more venomous.

If cost is an important factor and you have access to a sewing machine it is not so hard to make your own. sells kits. and you could buy extra material there for a floor.

BTW, I've found that I always bring in a bunch of skeeters when I enter the TarpTent but if I lay down they gatther near the peak and I then unzip the entrance and chase them out with my hand and close up again.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo e on 05/02/2005 01:40:27 MDT Print View


You might also want to consider Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo e - CLICK HERE [Note: the 'e' is their current model & stands for "enhanced".]

When you click the above link, be sure to move your mouse pointer ON-AND-OFF the picture of the Green Tent. The vestibule will open-and-close in response to your mouse movements.

It's basically a hexagon (when the vestibule fly is deployed) & has a floor & 15" of bug netting on 4 sides & full bug net on front door. Has overhangs on 4 sides to prevent wind driven rain from entering & the vestibule prevents rain from entering the front mesh door.

Improvements have been made over the prev. slightly diff model (Lunar solo) which is reviewed by BPL's very own Dr. J RIGHT HERE

Wt. is a bit lighter than the HS Virga2 (current model) and even lighter when the Virga2 has a sewn in floor.

I have no first hand experience with either, but have been reading everything I can on both in prep. for a purchase myself. So check out the Lunar Solo e & Virga2, & also the HS Original TarpTent (similar to a Virga) manufactured by license from HS TarpTents by Moonbow: HS Original TarpTent

The original is far lighter (15oz + 2oz for "beaks" - you will want the beaks since you live & prob hike in CT & the No.East. - a whole lotta' rain). You can get other custom features like a sewn in floor if you feel that you really require one. For 1.3oz you can get a Polycryo gnd sheet HERE

[note: In case you haven't heard of GossamerGear, they are top-notch. Best service I've ever had from any web merchant. BPL carries one of their packs on this website . I don't think BPL would carry GG products if there were any problems with GG gear.]

Good idea on gettin' rid of the skeeters. All these years I've been swattin' 'em. I'm going to try your idea. I should have known better since insects are negatively geotactic (i.e., they move away from the source of gravity) and positive photo-tactic (i.e., they move toward a light source) This, BTW, is a good way to get a little bugger out of your ear (i.e. ear up & a light shining in it).

Edited by pj on 05/02/2005 04:29:24 MDT.

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
Tarptent Squall on 05/03/2005 19:08:18 MDT Print View

Hey, Jim and Pj, thanks for all of the info. Jim, you said that your original Squall is for sale. After looking at some really light groundsheets, I've decided that a floor isn't a priority anymore. What's the year? The condition? What are you asking for it?

Edited by CThiker on 05/03/2005 19:18:27 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
squall on 05/03/2005 20:13:17 MDT Print View


let's take this off line ... my_firstname at my_lastname dot net

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
light weight tent on 05/04/2005 03:09:40 MDT Print View

I've spent 100s of nights in a Black Diamond Megamid (now I own a Megalight made with silnylon fabric). Both are a floorless pyramid. I recently downsized to the 14oz. GoLite Cave 1 tarp.
Dr. J. recommends a highly breathable bivy sack to protect from rain splash when using a tarp. I tend to agree with this which is why I have ordered a Pertex Quantum 6.5oz. bivy from BPL.
For bugs I use a homemade mosquito net hood. I only need to keep bugs off my skin, not out of the tent.
Gossamer Gear sells 2.5oz., 32 inch wide ground cloths and 5.5 oz. double width ones that I will start using/testing next week on a 6 day ski crossing of the Sierra Nevada.
Cheers, Al

Edited by Al_T.Tude on 05/04/2005 03:58:23 MDT.

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
What's Your E-mail??? on 05/04/2005 20:12:15 MDT Print View

Sure, Jim, we can talk about this off of the forums. But I don't dig it, because I can't seem to get your e-mail right. I probably entered it wrong. Can you be a little more specific (like where do these_ go in your address)??? Thanks - Frank.

Edited by CThiker on 05/04/2005 20:15:49 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
squall on 05/04/2005 21:19:34 MDT Print View

that would be jim at

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
E-mail on 05/05/2005 14:08:54 MDT Print View

Just letting u know that I dropped u an e-mail. - Frank

John Dante
(filo) - F
home made on 05/05/2005 14:24:45 MDT Print View

Just make it... Going cheap will only get you stuff that either doesn't fit right or doesn't have the kind of features you like. Get a sewing machine and some lightweight fabrics, if you have the time...Who knows, you might come up with a poduct that you can start a company with.

good luck

Edited by filo on 05/05/2005 14:25:47 MDT.

Frank P.
(CThiker) - F
Good Idea - But How do you Sew? on 05/05/2005 15:50:26 MDT Print View

I really, really, like your trane of thought, but a needle and thread are just as foreign to me as a Lamborghini. Does anyone know how I can pick up the basics, without attending one of those sewing classes that is geared towards women and creating "pretty patterns"? Also, what's a good thing to look for in a sewing machine? Is there a particular type of thread that is best for gear??? Thanks - Frank

Edited by CThiker on 05/05/2005 15:52:34 MDT.

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
sewing on 05/05/2005 18:48:30 MDT Print View

first, handsewing is like tying your shoelaces. You don't need any instruction or any books. Just thread the needle and then experiment. You'll very quickly reinvent the wheel.

Regarding sewing machine, just buy the cheapest Singer/Brother machine at Walmart. Should be under $100. I have a Singer myself. You'll also need some basic tools, also available at walmart, such as decent scissors, some pins and a pin cushion, a small ruler and maybe a yard stick as well. A rotary cutter and mat is amazing helpful for cutting fabrics, though scissors will also do the trick. All you need is a small 8"x18" mat which you can move around as you cut--this will cost about $15 at Walmart. Then buy ten yards of $1 a yard fabric at Walmart and then practice.

For a first project, try making some stuff sacks. Just imitate the design of existing stuff sacks.

Later, you can ask questions here or at various other forums on the internet. To answer your specific question about thread, always use either 100% polyester or nylon. Avoid cotton, which rots in the outdoors. Most people use ordinary 100% polyester for everything except very heavy duty items, backpacks, where heavy-grade nylon thread might be used.

Edited by frprovis on 05/05/2005 18:52:53 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
how do you sew? on 05/06/2005 01:41:36 MDT Print View

Frank P., there's good advice on the net. I wanted to make some of my own gear to save money and get it to fit me just right, but I didn't want to figure it all out from scratch and find the right material too. I found Ray Jardine's website. He sells kits for tarps, quilts, packs, etc.

My wife and I made the Bomber Hat and a quilt, and the tarp and net-tent are next on our list. The instructions are excellent and provide exact details on how to do each step, and everything needed for the project is included in the kit (except thread, which is sold separately). These are well-thought-out and tested designs.

If you don't buy the kits (which I think are a good deal), his Tarp book will show you how to make your own. Beyond Backpacking has a short section on making your own gear.

Here is a link to Jardine's page on sewing machines and sewing tips, which will probably be useful regardless of what you want to make.

A message on another thread mentions Thru-Hiker as a source for good do-it-yourself help; here is the URL.

They also sell kits and material.

If you're interested in making a hammock, there are several very easy designs out there. I won't bother looking up and posting the URLs unless somebody is interested, though. (I'm still figuring out how to survive in my Hennessy Hammock.)

Jay Ham
(jham) - F - M

Locale: Southwest
Sewing at BPL on 05/06/2005 07:55:08 MDT Print View

Hi everyone,

It will take a little time, but we are going to show sewing how-to in our Make Your Own Gear section at Backpacking Light. Sewing can be intimidating, but is really no more difficult than using wood and nails to build a birdhouse. The real trick is in creating the pattern and making straight cuts on slippery fabrics (silnylon can make you insane in this regard).

We are planning to start with easier projects and teach skills as we go, to develop the experience needed to make a full featured pack or down sleeping bag. One of our early projects will be sewing your own stuff sacks (out of spinnaker of course). The work has begun on this, but we have other MYOG articles coming out real soon. Look for a MYO alcohol stove article coming next week.

Jay Ham

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Patterns and cutting... on 05/06/2005 11:03:21 MDT Print View

are the most difficult part of DIY stuff. I just built a 3 person tarptent (full netting, front/back beaks, sewn in floor) which weighs 25oz (before seam sealing).

The hardest part was determining the size/shape of the beaks and the wacky front netting door (single piece, no zipper, but still rolls away). I had to whip out a bit of trig ("Law of Cosines" , etc.) to get it done.

The next most difficult part was cutting the large pieces of material. The thin materials like to bunch up, strech a bit, wrinkle, etc. So, making cuts on loose fabric is difficult. I ended up taping my sheets of silnylon to the kitchen, or garage, floor with masking tape and then placing duct tape over the masking tape. This would allow me to hold the fabric still so I could pull out the wrinkles and keep the sides squared up.

Relateded to cutting, is pattern layout (not sure of the term). Trying to determine the best way to cut the material so you have the least amount of wasted material. Again, a bit more trig was needed.

The actual sewing part is very, very easy. If someone would have designed and cut all of my material for me, I could sew another tent in a coupe of hours. The design and cutting easily took 40+ hours.

Edited by tlbj6142 on 05/06/2005 11:05:15 MDT.