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PCT / summer backpacking list -- input appreciated
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Reply to sleeping in clothes. on 02/05/2011 15:09:09 MST Print View

"I keep the wet stuff I took off in a pile under the tarp. I know from experience it won't dry out over night, and I just put them back on (cold and wet) in the AM."

I think some reports of Yeti screams were just me putting cold socks and boots on in the morning :)

Makes you walk at a good clip!

Brendan Lammers
(mechB) - F

Locale: Washington DC
Thank you for your replies on 02/05/2011 16:31:01 MST Print View

Thank you everyone for your all of your help and replies. Planning for the PCT is obviously a lengthy recursive process. I won't bore you all with my constant waffling on the ULA Ohm vs. ULA Circuit vs. GG Mariposa Plus issue.

Ben -- You make some good points about food resupply. I guess I have been looking at things from the perspective of what is possible, rather than what is desirable. That is likely a mistake. There is definitely merit to staying out on the trail for long stretches of time. I suppose I should be prepared for either possibility (10 day stretches or shorter ones) since it's probably one of those "see how I feel" kind of things. That's also a good tip about the Bearikade Expedition, although the price (even with rental at $6/day) is kind of tough to swallow. As far as the water purification method, I've only ever used Aquamira for purifying water--and I love the stuff, it's liquefied peace of mind. It is a fair point about the cost though, I will have to try to calculate that difference out.

Mike -- Thanks again for all of your tips. I haven't yet ordered the Hexamid Twin, that's going to require a pretty big investment. I am looking into cheap tarp options to gain some experience with before making a decision on shelter options. Bug protection would be nice (I have to make some compromises due to hiking with my girlfriend), but I'm not at all opposed to sleeping with just a bug net on over my face. Especially if I'm going southbound (likely scenario), bugs should not be as much of an annoyance.

Dirk -- Thanks for the tip on the snowpack in Washington. As far as Mexican food--ah well. I guess the demographic is different in trail towns than other places I've visited/lived in California. Authentic Mexican food is something of an anomaly in Michigan but I will survive.

Eugene -- As far as the baselayers go, that is something that will probably require some testing. They are mostly for the purposes of staying warm when I sleep. I eschewed carrying a 20 degree bag with the understanding that I might need slightly warmer clothes for sleeping, since I tend to sleep cold. It also adds to versatility, since I can use them for hiking (at least the top baselayer) in slightly colder conditions. To be honest, based on the temperature data I've looked at, I could do without them--particularly the pants baselayer. It's not so much the smelling issue--I personally take it as a point of pride when I see the disgusted look on peoples' faces when you come back into town (favorite quote: "mommy what's that smell?" -- little girl at the snack shop on top of Mt. Washington). I do have an interest in keeping my sleeping bag relatively free of body oils and sweat/moisture in addition to an extra amount of warmth while sleeping (which I need). I considered carrying lighter and cheaper silk baselayers for this purpose, but I could really use those for hiking and thus they aren't as versatile. You do make a good point about not wanting to get out of hiking clothes and into baselayers at night. That was a problem when I owned these insanely constrictive Marmot tights that were impossible to get on.

Dug -- I actually haven't purchased the Tarptent Rainbow yet, I think I must have posted that by mistake. I was strongly considering it though (in addition to the Tarptent Squall). I do however have a SMD Wild Oasis which I own for solo use.

Bryan -- I would bring a small iPhone wall charger for use in towns. I'm not exactly sure how good the battery life will hold up, so I will use it sparingly. I only plan to use it as a GPS if I get in a bind or for making sure I'm still on the trail periodically in snowy Northern Washington. I don't need, or always like, music when I'm hiking but it's kind of a nice luxury sometimes.

Thanks for the replies everyone, all of the fresh viewpoints help me keep the gears constantly turning.

Edited by mechB on 02/05/2011 16:31:58 MST.

Brendan Lammers
(mechB) - F

Locale: Washington DC
Pants, schmants on 02/05/2011 20:32:44 MST Print View

Eugene, you also mentioned a lack of long pants for hiking. I do have a light pair of wind pants for chilly conditions or to shed rain. Additionally, I am bringing the Polartec Power Stretch tights, which would also help repel a bit of water if worn under the wind pants.

As far as some sort of long hiking pants to wear on a daily basis -- I don't see the value in this. It would be clammy and uncomfortable for me, and at extra weight. It's easy to ignore the weight that is carried on your body itself, but I would still expend energy carrying those extra ounces. In this case, it's about a half pound extra for pants (if I got something like those convertible cargo hiking pants that people seem to like).

Also, I can't support this with any sort of substantive physiological theory, but reasoning by analogy tells me that the extra weight held in the pants fabric located below the thigh would actually feel relatively heavier than an object weighing the same amount that you carry in your pack. I'm basing this off the rule of thumb that one pound on your feet = five pounds in your pack (I think it's actually closer to six pounds, the figure comes from US Army research). The logic, I suppose, is that you would expend more energy moving a weight that is further from the force that is acting on it. The way I think of it is like a donut weight on a baseball bat. If you were to place the weight on the handle of the bat, it would feel lighter when you swing it than if it were located at the end of the bat. Disclaimer: I have no formal knowledge at all about physics, physiology, kinesiology, or anything of that nature (I study math and economics, we don't look at the real world). Translation: I'm basically making this up, although it sounds true. Can anyone back me up?

It's pretty shocking if you actually work out the numbers. A 2oz pair of gaiters would, in effect, weigh 10-12oz (again, reasoning by analogy). That's as much as my tent! I'm glad I ditched those.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Pants, schmants on 02/05/2011 20:58:48 MST Print View

If temperature was the only reason for wearing pants, I'd go without it. My main reasons are for sun, tick, poison oak and scratch protection, pretty much in that order of importance. Tick protection is somewhat provided by the fabric, but also by a coating of permithrin. I also wear a long sleeve shirt for the first two reasons. If you aren't worried about those things, then good for you. As far as the base layers go, that's not a big deal because you can always send them home or drop them in a hiker box.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Reply to sleeping in clothes on 02/06/2011 01:21:57 MST Print View

Dale, I completely agree...nothing like waking up on an exceptionally chilly and dewy morning to wet pants and cold socks.

Mike - I understand better, I could have foregone long underwear for most of the PCT but found it nice to have in the northern reaches and in the Sierra when it got chilly. I felt it was tough enough when it got down the single digits and low teens in northern Washingnton - but as you said, it is at least clear and low humidity under those conditions .

The worst was the constant steady rain that hovered above freezing only to snow at night. The humidity pretty much makes you thankful for any warm layers you have.

And in regards to pants, I had never hiked in them before the PCT, but for the reasons already cited (particular the issue with sun and the brushy conditions), was glad I hiked in them.


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Pants, schmants on 02/06/2011 04:03:15 MST Print View

You might consider a pair of long pants for the first part of the trip --- IMO the best way to handle the hotter, sunnier parts in the south are to wear light, loose high SPF long sleeved clothing (pants and shirt). Plus sungloves (and of course a good hat).

I personally just always wear such clothing on trail; the pant legs are long enough that I don't bother with gaiters unless perhaps in a lot of snow. And indeed they have kept me from getting my legs scratched up a few times.

The shorts approach is generally fine too, I just suggest you think about the so-called "desert" part. Of course, hikers tan (dirty legs) will help augment any sunscreen you apply, so who knows.

You mentioned snow in northern WA --- depending on your personal time table, of course you might encounter this, but FWIW I did not. The only times I used the GPS on my smartphone were a couple of times in the Sierras, plus very infrequently for fun ("where exactly am I?"), or to note an unambiguous end-of-day camp location for my journal. Of the two times I recall using the GPS in the Sierras, one was because I found the trails out of Reds Meadow confusing, and so followed the wrong one for a short bit ...