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Gear list needing guidance
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Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Gear list needing guidance on 11/12/2010 07:44:51 MST Print View

I’ve been working on my “kit” for the past 2 years and largely by the great articles and posts here I have been able to reduce my base weight down from 38 lbs (yep, I packed my Lowe Contour 3 just like I did 20 years ago and weighed it) down to just under 14 lbs. The current list was developed for a 4 day backpacking trip I took with my wife and 2 kids this summer in Lake Tahoe but I’m ready to pair it down below 10 lbs for solo travel which I think is totally achievable with changes to my “big 4”

I’m planning on 3 weeks of backpacking this September in either the Sierras or the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness with the longest time between resupplies being 7 or 8 days and I will be travelling alone.
I’d also like most of the kit to be usable in midatlantic/northeast in the spring and fall for weekend trips since this is where and when I backpack most often.

Regarding a pack choice, I was thinking about possibly getting 2 packs – one larger volume pack that I could use when I need to carry a bear canister as well as when travelling with the family (when I carry more of the food/kitchen/etc) and the second pack for when I’m travelling alone for a quick weekend out east. What would you choose?

Finally, most of my backpacking is centered around fishing so I typically carry a 10 oz fly fishing set up (rod, reel, line, flies, tools) as well.

Item - wt (oz)
Clothing worn
Hat - Oakley 4.88
Shirt - RailRider Ecomesh 7.8
underwear - Patagonia 2.75
Pants - REI sahara convertables 12.5
Socks - Teko minicrew 1.5
Shoes - Solomon XT 30
sunglasses 1

Clothing Carried
Jacket - EB Downlight 14
Raingear Jacket Marmot Essence 6.75
Baselayer - shirt Patagonia LS 5.63
Baselayer - bottoms BPL merino 3.88
Beanie 0.88
Gloves polypro 1.5
socks Darn Tough 1/4 mesh 1.5

Sleep System
Tarptent Double Rainbow 45
Groundcloth Tyvek 5
Sleeping Bag WM megalite (long) 27.5
Sleeping pad BAIAC 22.75
vargo stakes titanium (8 total) 2.5

Backpack Madden frameless 35
BPL inner liner 1.38
cuben sack for sleeping bag 1.13
odor sack for food 1.38

Trail Designs Gram Cracker 0.25
Evernew Ti 0.9 L pot 2.83
Evernew Ti 0.9 L lid 1
Caldera Cone Ti 2.13
Sea to summit Ti spoon 0.38
minibic 0.38
Water bottles 1 L each 2 total 2.75
Bear Bag w/ line, carabiner 3
aqua mira kit 1.1

photon freedom light w/ hat clip 0.5
Repair kit 1.5
First Aid meds, bandages, glue 2
Spiderco knife 0.63
Chapstick 0.5
Toiletries toothbrush 0.5
Toiletries bandana 0.88
Toiletries dropper of DEET 1
Camera Canon Elph 6.25
Camera Extra battery, memory 1.25


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
solo on 11/12/2010 08:15:27 MST Print View

I've had much the same experience as you- starting out heavy and slowly working my weight down. When camping with my wife I've got our base weights down to ~ 12 and 10 #'s respectively- I've got a few ideas where I can shave a little, but I've come to the conclusion when hiking w/ my wife- it's not going to get much lower.

However :), I've attempted to push the envelope so to speak when going solo. These are 2-4 trips where I cover a lot of ground (and sometimes not so much ground if the fishing is good :))

I have a Golite Ion pack that was slightly modified that allows for trips up to 4 days in length. The Ion has been discontinued, but Ron at MLD has come up w/ even a better solution- the Burn- basically an Ion on steroids w/o much weight penalty.

You will have to pack pretty carefully as volume is limited and you don't want to carry a lot of weight w/ this pack.

What I did for shelter was go to a poncho/tarp- rain gear and shelter in one, you'd want a light bivy w/ this setup to insure your not getting any spray in the event of rain

I'd much rather hike w/ my wife, but my solo trips are a lot of fun and I like the idea of pushing things a bit. I definitely can eat up more country w/ this light setup.

Check out my gear list in my profile, also if you search for Ion you'll get a good idea on what folks are using in a low volume pack

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: solo on 11/12/2010 08:50:24 MST Print View

I have recently gotten back into overnight hiking. I did some research and found this site which has helped me greatly in looking for new equipment. Some items like shoes and packs where harder to figure out what worked best. I have purchased many packs and a few different shoes. At 35 ounces for you pack it is in the range of Aarn products. I finally settled on Aarn as my pack. It is extremely comfortable at 22lbs which is four days in the Sierra's with a Bare Boxer and 73 ounces of camera gear. I have tried a few soft packs and other internal or framed packs like the Osprey Exos. I think highly of Tarptent, I have the Sublite and RainShadow2 and MLD, I have the Solomid.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gear list needing guidance on 11/12/2010 10:58:41 MST Print View

Most of your stuff is pretty light already. Good job! I think it's your larger items that are keeping you over the 10 lb mark.

Tarptent Double Rainbow 45 - you could save ~25 oz by going to a tarp like a SpinnTwinn with your Tyvek groundcloth or a MLD superlight bivy. Or ~20oz by going to a solo shelter like the Tarptent Contrail.

Groundcloth Tyvek 5 - Don't need this. Get a polycryo one to protect your Tarptent, or just spend 5 minutes picking up pine cones before you pitch it.

Sleeping pad BAIAC 22.75 - A NeoAir medium would save you 10 oz and is in the same warmth range as your MegaLite. Supplement with a foam pad for colder use.

Backpack Madden frameless 35 - If you want a frameless pack for solo use, you can get a Granite Gear Virga for $110 that weighs 19 oz. But it won't be comfortable when you are carrying more weight with your family.

Like you, I had multiple needs for my backpack - sometimes ultralight, sometimes with a bear canister, and sometimes carrying climbing gear. I got a Lowe Zepton 50, which at 41 oz is not the lightest, but carries a bear canister and heavier loads easily, and it means I only need one pack. Another good choice would be the Granite Gear Vapor Trail (37 oz, full internal frame)


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gear list needing guidance on 11/12/2010 12:06:16 MST Print View

Looks like you have a good kit to me. You have a 12.8lb base weight including your camera-- from here it is a question of how much farther you want to go, at what price, and at what comfort level. The difference I see in the SUL kits is less comfort and fewer essentials-- no extra clothing, minimalized sleeping gear, shelter, cook kit, no knife, few first aid supplies, no cameras or other electronics (not listed anyway), and so on.

BTW, I didn't see navigation or signaling gear in your list. Do you carry map and compass, or a whistle?

As to packs...

I chose the GoLite Peak pack to use for day trips and light summer summer 2-3 day trips. I can adjust the pack for the volume I need. I found a framed pack to be more comfortable and stable for heavier loads. Having two packs for highly variable loads makes sense to me (that tis what I do).

No one single pack is going to handle a wide range of loads *well*, but a large pack that has some compression features will do--- you may be carrying extra pack weight with the smaller kit.

What pack you choose is simply feature set, comfort, volume, weight and price. For my own use, the feature set is mostly external water bottle pockets, and some outside pockets. I do like something with reasonable durability and cost. The rest is a choice of framed/frameless and volume--- higher volume and weight=framed. Lighter and smaller volume=frameless. I find that framed packs are easier to load as I'm not worried about the lumps and bumps of batches of gear settling against my back.

I can get my hot weather kit down below 8 pounds and there isn't anything all that large to deal with-- some spare clothing, a 1lb down bag, small sleeping pad (Prolite short), and essentials. The rest is food, water and cook kit. It really only varies from my day pack by a couple pounds, less consumables.

As I get older and grumpier, I've grown tired of trying to pack everything too tight. A little spare volume and having things more organized works for me. That means a few more ounces than optimal, but I'm willing to make the compromise and not having everything floating around loose and taking more time to pack up in the morning, trying to jam and tweak the gear back into the pack. There is some perverse law of hiking physics that says your kit will never be as small on Sunday morning on the trail as it was on Friday night when packed at home-- shelters and sleeping bags topping the list. I am through with packs that are big (overstuffed) stuff sacks with shoulder straps, that ride high and bouncy on your back--- my "rabid raccoon" analogy. I am all for wider packs that can compress the load closer to your back and ride stable.

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
gear list needing guidance on 11/12/2010 17:03:35 MST Print View

thanks everyone for their comments.

Mike – nice to hear you had the same path I did. I’m envious of your gear list and like your review of the ion. What kind of fly rod is in the back mesh? I had seen the burn and read the reviews but I think it may force me too light right now and need a few trips with more flexibility before I’ll be comfortable going that small. I really like the idea of a tarp / bivy combination but only for fall because I don’t like the claustrophobic feel of the net over my face and like bugs even less. Was looking at the SMD Wild Oasis or the Hexamid with the net. Would I need a bivy with either of these?

Carl – thanks for the Aarn backpacks suggestion. I’ll check them out but I think I’m going to go a bit lighter, if possible.

Andrew – I don’t normally use trekking poles so I’ve been hesitant about the tarps that utilize these. I have some poles I use to ski with so I was planning on doing some day hikes this winter with my filled pack and see if I like them. That would open up lots of possibilities like the conrail or spintwin. Re: the tyvek, I’ve always wondered about when and where a ground cover is needed. Trading this for a bivy, I gain flexibility for only a few ounces.

Dale – I usually carry a map in my pocket and a whistle is currently on one of my backpack straps. How to approach the transition into UL and maybe SUL is something I’ve thought a lot about and my plan is to take the step into UL with a much smaller single wall tent or tarp/bivy system, smaller pad and test out if I can use thinner closed cell or not and a smaller pack. After I’ve refined that, I’m going to explore using a quilt. At 46 years of age, I’m not afraid to spend a few extra dollars knowing that will lighten what I’m carrying and keep enabling me to get out into the mountains.