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My start at Ultralight camping.
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Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
My start at Ultralight camping on 12/11/2010 13:17:17 MST Print View

I have a lot of heavy Eq from years ago. I keep on hanging on to most of it though.
Finally tossed my old tent the other day.

Might as well keep your pack. YOu might want to load it up to 50-60# one day
to remind yourself why you love ultralight.

Way back when it was sort of a macho thing to have a 55-60# pack. Nuts.
I was always looking for ways to lighten my load but rarely was under 40# for a few days.
Better materials and knowledge now though.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
Sleeping bag on 12/11/2010 13:23:54 MST Print View

So I am considering returning my Kelty cosmic down 20 bag and buying a montbell UL spiral down hugger #3 long from prolite gear for $216.....should i take the plunge? btw I am 6'1 200 pounds so I need the long.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Sleeping bag on 12/11/2010 14:57:45 MST Print View

I like the hugger bags. Very comfortable, and the only bag I have ever been able to sit up in and cross my legs. The ratings are accurate for me.

I am 6-3 and 225. You will definitely need a long.

I thought the #2 was a better bag due to the draft collar but its no longer made.

If you could talk yourself into a quilt I would say find a used golite ultra 20 long.
Weighs 21-22 oz.

Edited by tammons on 12/11/2010 14:58:43 MST.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
Spiral down bag on 12/11/2010 15:24:24 MST Print View

Should I get the superspiralndown #3 in regular( is rated to fit 6 feet long) I fit in most 6 foot long bags, or the regular spiral down bag in long?

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Spiral down bag on 12/11/2010 16:25:56 MST Print View

From what I have read, if you are 6' even you need the MB long unless they have changed anything. Actually I barely fit lengthwise in the old hugger longs and they are advertised as 6'-4". I am 6'-3"

I had a normal spiral #1 and returned it.
The Spiral is more roomy than a lot of bags but not close to as roomy and stretchy as a hugger or super spiral.

It is lighter though.

When I got my normal spiral it was only available in right zip and I prefer left zip.
I ordered a left over the phone and got a right.
If it would have been a left zip I probably would have kept it.

I guess its really up to you, if you want a more roomy bag at 4 more oz or a bit slimmer and lighter. I preferred the huggers myself.

Dont know when you will be hiking but I like a warmer bag than 30dF. The old #2 hugger had a collar and was rated at 25dF and thats the one I preferred. heavier though.

If you buy a new bag just get it from prolite.
Great people and will take back a bag no questions asked.

Edited by tammons on 12/11/2010 16:28:17 MST.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
Lightened my pack some more... on 12/12/2010 21:28:55 MST Print View

So I returned the Katadyn Hiker water filter at almost 14oz, and got the Aquamira Frontier Pro at about 2oz. So 12oz shed right there. I also returned my sleeping bag which was listed at 2lbs 6oz, but actually weighed 3.06 lbs!! I am going to buy a Montbell spiral down Hugger #3 long which is 20oz, so 29 ounces lighter!! I have all the supplies to make my cat stove including some aluminum flashing to make a windscreen, but i have been lazy and have not finished it yet. I bought the gsi minimalist cook set which weighs 6.3oz for the pot, cozy, foon, lid, and pot gripper, but I feel like I can get something lighter. After I get everything, I will fit it into my pack and see how much room I have left over, and will buy a lighter pack that doesnt have to be as large. Let me know if I should head a different direction on sleeping bag or cooking setups. I know someone mentioned the golite quilt, but it is the same weight as the hugger #3 and I think I want a bag for the same weight. Thanks!

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
My start at Ultralight camping. on 12/13/2010 07:20:04 MST Print View

Funny I did almost the same thing, bought a water filter and returned it, bought a bag sent it back.

Your plan sounds good to me.

One trick with the aquamira, is to hook it up to a platy full of H20 and put some pressure on it.

That was me on the ultra 20. Its rated lower than the #3, but I am a hammock convert and it works better for that.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Been There on 12/13/2010 08:49:21 MST Print View

I'd say you're on the right track. I was in a similar situation to you... only a bit worse when I started off backpacking (Large Alice pack and 6 or 7 pound synthetic 0 degree bag that I don't even want to weigh). You're doing the right thing holding onto your pack and using it until the rest of your system is together so you'll know what you need size wise.

By the time my kit was pretty much completely together, other than settling on some little items like the Frontier Pro filter or just chemical treatmen (for the record I still haven't settled on just one), I was at a 12 1/2 pound base weight. About 6 1/2 of that was the large Alice pack and frame. Nothing feels better than shaving those last 5 pounds all in one go.

Remember you'll need to use bleach in combination with your Frontier Pro to actually kill everything. This is discretionary though depending on where you're at and what actually needs killing.

As far as bags go I'm really happy with my Golite Ultra 20 but the Montbell #3 Spiral bag was really tempting too. They're about the same weight and, honestly, my purchase was driven by cost at the time since they were being discontinued and on sale cheap.

Your cook kit isn't bad but you don't need the pot gripper IMO. Just use a glove... of course this is made easier by having handles but you can still just grab the pot. My cook kit with stove and wind screen comes in at more than ounce lighter than GSI kit.
I went with:
- Backcountry 700ml ti pot at 3.35 ounces pot b/c it was on sale
- It's lid weighs .63 ounces.
- A random off brand thick plastic spork I came across weighs .32 ounces.
- MYOG Pot Cozy made out of an old aluminized automotive sun visor (free). It's .67.
-Pot gripper = sleep sock, wool glove, or bandanna depending on what season it is and what's most convenient. Weight = 0 becaused I'd have to have it any way.

That's a total of 4.97 ounces vs. the 6.3 ounce published weight of the GSI kit. The big difference is really the cozy and the lack of pot gripper. The ti pot is a bit better for cooking over an actual campfire, I'd assume, but I haven't tested this theory. More weight could be shaved by using an aluminum foil lid and an even smaller pot. This one is a bit big for its primary purpose (brewing coffee) and would still work for freezer bag cooking at a smaller size. What can I say? It was on sale.

The big downside to this setup? The pot is the only thing you'd really have to shell out for and it's MSRP is at least half again as much as what the GSI setup costs. Look for a sale.

Edited by veriest1 on 12/13/2010 08:56:14 MST.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
backpacks on 12/13/2010 16:00:38 MST Print View

What do you think of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus Ultralight pack?

Kevin Clark
(rifleman3353) - F
Miniposa,Mariposa Plus on 12/13/2010 19:05:10 MST Print View

I just got 2 Gossamer gear packs within the past couple months.I haven't used them yet but I like the weights.The Miniposa comes in at 16.98oz and thats the one with the carbon fiber stays.I dont think they sell that one anymore.The Mariposa Plus comes with a single aluminum stay and it weights 21.64oz.I cant wait to try them out.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
Montbell UL Spiral Down Hugger #3 on 12/13/2010 21:18:55 MST Print View

Just bought this bag in Long size from for $216 shipped to my door! Can't wait to get it! Now the only thing left to buy is a lighter backpack!!

Kevin Clark
(rifleman3353) - F
Montbell on 12/13/2010 21:53:03 MST Print View

I have that bag too. Tried it out in Ga. on the A.T. a couple weeks ago and it was really cold outside the bag.Inside i was sweating like a pig.

Ron McCarthy

Locale: So Cal
My new baseweight!! on 12/14/2010 17:00:49 MST Print View

So after recalculations, my new baseweight is 192.6oz (12.03 lbs) with my 3.5 pound pack. I plan on getting the Mariposa plus pack at 23oz, which will subtract another 32oz!! bringing my base weight to 160.6oz (10.03 lbs)

I will be getting lighter NON cotton pants, and will be looking for even lighter options at everything in my pack (No nalgene bottle etc..). I am happy that with an actual tent, sleeping bag and full pad, my baseweight will be right under 10 pounds!!! Almost 25 pounds lighter than the last time i went out!!

I also subtracted 6 ounces from my cook setup. My new cook setup with alcohol cat can stove and snow peak 600 weighs 4oz.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Congrats! on 12/14/2010 22:27:28 MST Print View

Congrats on the lighter base weight!

I would definatly go for the Mariposa+. Its what I have and what I used for 2 weeks in philmont and I fell in love with it. They are a great company too, I borrowed the founder's pack for philmont to see if I liked the pack or not. I prefered it to the ULA but thats just me.

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
Re: My new baseweight!! on 12/15/2010 00:07:55 MST Print View

You'll love the Mariposa Plus. You're list is looking real nice now. Its amazing all of the knowledge you'll find on this site. :)

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: My new baseweight!! on 12/15/2010 02:49:01 MST Print View

Congrats! You are now an OOfficial UL hiker!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Gear list with weights on 12/15/2010 10:34:59 MST Print View

I would look for an alternative to 18.5oz trekking poles. There are alternatives from GG that take it down to below 8 oz. And remember this weight is in motion just like your shoes and will be a bigger factor on fatigue than the equivalent weight in your pack.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Of course, there is always lighter.... on 12/15/2010 16:25:39 MST Print View

Sure, he can always go lighter. Been there... It is fun, but it is not always the best IMHO. I have been on overnight fishing trips with just a bag and my cup.
(Well, a bit more, really, but it all fit in my fishing vest...) But, we can talk about that some other time. A single homemade staff only weighs 4.5oz. And costs less than $10.

In Southern California, I am guessing you can still get out with your gear. Here in the colder climate of NY, I envy you. (Too old to do winter camping anymore.) You will need to get out there and practice with your new gear. You may not trust some of it IS new, after all. Stay as dry as possible. Bring an extra set of clothing till you get comfortable with what you have. Get used to the stove/pot combination. Monitor your fuel consumption, but, bring a little extra till you *know* how much you will use. Practice setting up the tent. And, taking it down. Don't worry too much about milage, you will get used to doing 20mi/day. Make sure you bring an extra water bottle or two. Till you know exactly how much you need, don't try to cut back on water...bring enough. There are ways to cut back your food till you can get by on about 1.2-2# per day. Enjoy the light pack and light weights on your hikes. Again, A well done job! When are you going SUL? (hey, hey...)