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u.l. beginnings ...
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Sean Krajacic
(photosean) - F

Locale: Midwest
u.l. beginnings ... on 02/12/2011 09:50:31 MST Print View

3-season setup ... early working list. First trip being a week on Isle Royale in late spring/early summer.

What can I cut or replace for lighter gear?

*Red indicates gear that still needs to be purchased.working list

Thanks for looking.


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
u.l. beginnings ... on 02/12/2011 12:33:42 MST Print View

Um, beginnings? Looks like you're already there! There is no need to drop any weight on your list unless you have some strong desire to go below 5lbs. Btw, there is another recent thread about going under 5 lbs if you're interested.

As far as the list goes, I don't any water treatment. Is that needed in Isle Royale?

Sean Krajacic
(photosean) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: u.l. beginnings ... on 02/12/2011 13:34:18 MST Print View

You're right, you need to treat water. I plan on using tablets, unless I can talk someone into carrying the filter.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Take some kind of filter on 02/12/2011 14:49:15 MST Print View

Isle Royale is known to have hydatid echinococcus in the water that if not filtered and consumed can cause deadly little tapeworm cysts in the head. I think 1 to 3 microns is the recommended filtration level to remove them but suggest you look into it yourself.

Sean Krajacic
(photosean) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Take some kind of filter on 02/12/2011 18:29:48 MST Print View

In 11 years of backpacking, I've never ventured out without some type of water treatment - tablets or filter.

Although, on a week-long trip in the Smoky's some years ago, I decided I was going to boil all of my water, even though I packed iodine tablets. I would switch between my carried fuel and wood fires for water purification and carry enough water in my pack for the day. Between the weight (fuel and water) and time spent building fires with wet wood, I don't remember much more than boiling water for that week. But at least I can say I did it for a week.

Craig Kowalski
(KillerKowalski) - F
Re: u.l. beginnings ... on 02/13/2011 01:09:54 MST Print View

IR had some of the best tasting water I ever drank besides at home. Most of it came from Superior and I pumped it with min clogging. It was so cold and clear.

Steve Parr
(srparr) - F

Locale: SE Michigan
Isle Royale and u.l. beginnings ... on 02/13/2011 09:30:46 MST Print View

I know you are looking for input on your 3 season list, but I chose to look at it in the context of your planned trip. Isle Royale is an awesome place!

In late spring/early summer you will still have some mosquitos hanging around. Depending on the temps in the spring they shouldn't be too heavy, but they will make their presence known. Do you have any kind of bug protection? I don't believe that the Grand Trunk hammock has a bugnet, and I don't see even a headnet on your list ...

I've had weeks up there that were perfect weather, but also weeks where it rained 5 days out of 7. You have some good raingear on your list, but plan on how to keep your clothing dry (especially the down jacket) as it probably part of your sleep system with that light a sleeping bag. During the first week of July I've experienced 20 hour thunderstorms and the temperature dropping to about 36 degF. I've also seen nights in the 60s, so there is a huge amount of variation!

Are you taking any spare socks, or will your sleeping socks do double duty? If the forcast is for rain you may want to reserve a dry pair for sleeping.

What clothing are you planning on wearing? If you are carrying the clothes on this list you might be able to do without the shorts?

What boots/shoes are you planning on using? Much of the terrain is rocky so a good sole is important.

That pad should be fine in a hammock, but there are shelters available at some of the campsites. It may be a bit spartan if you stay in a shelter instead of hanging.

As has already been mentioned, water should be boiled or filtered. Boiling adds fuel weight and extra work; it works out lighter to add a couple ounce Sawyer filter with a sipper tube to drink thru or use as a gravity filter?

I don't see a pack on your list? Were you planning on doing a bedroll and using the hanging suspension? That would be cool, but maybe not so convenient for accessing items on the trail.

The Trails Illustrated map of Isle Royale would be good to have alongside the compass. A compass may not be needed if you are staying on-trail.

I'm not familiar with that cookset, but I assume it has a spoon or spork included in the weight. Also a windscreen? 8 ounces seems heavy for a kit using a Heiny pot, unless maybe it also includes fuel?

Food weight may be easy to trim down at Isle Royale, depending on your route. Points of entry are at Wendigo in the west, and Rock Harbor in the east. During the time you are planning, food is available at both these locations. You can purchase sandwichs and camping food at Wendigo, and there is a small restaruant and grill at Rock Harbor as well as a small store with food. If your route is end-to-end you can resupply at the far end if you aren't too picky about selection, and if you are spending a night at either end you can purchase meals rather than carry food.

Sean Krajacic
(photosean) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Isle Royale and u.l. beginnings ... on 02/13/2011 22:18:03 MST Print View

Thanks for the input Steve. You definitely caught on to the "beginnings" part of it.

I haven't decided on a pack yet. I have a Golite Jam, but plan on purchasing either a GG Murmur or MLD Burn in the next couple of weeks.

For bugs, I've used Sawyer clothing spray with great results in the past ... to the point where no extra bug spray/nets were needed.

The socks on the list are for sleeping only. I plan wearing a pair of North Face Hedgehogs with a pair of wright socks. I was entertaining the idea of wearing my FiveFingers KSO's, but I don't really see that happening this year.

You're also right about the Heiny Pot/Blue Mini cooking set. I pulled it out yesterday, and it's about 4 oz total. The last small trip I took, I used 4 oz of alcohol, which pushed the weight up to 8 oz - which is where I pulled that number from.

The shorts are a comfort item I could probably lose. I wear a pair of Mountain Hardwear Canyon pants while on the trail. I use the shorts for sleeping or lounging at camp. Although, I've always justified carrying them just in case the pants get torn up or it's too hot out. But that's never happened.

If there are trees, I'm hanging onto the hammock. I started hammocking last year and found I can actually sleep through an entire night without back/hip/knee pain. (I've even had problems with large Coleman air mattresses while car camping)

As far as keeping the down sweater dry ... that's probably the one reason I haven't bought it yet. Although, I've read reviews that state it's still super warm when wet. I'm still deciding between the down sweater and a comparable synthetic.

Thanks again for your input. For sure I'll be weighing the pros and cons to carrying the shorts and, now, a head net.

Craig Kowalski
(KillerKowalski) - F
Re: on 02/14/2011 00:39:49 MST Print View

I was at IR third week of June last year. Bugs were not a problem at all. I brought a headnet and it is was a waste. Where the trail was flooded there were some mosquitos, but nothing unbearable. The 50% discount through the Ranger is still valid this year for the June sailing dates. One thing I under estimated was the cold nights. They were getting down to the mid 30s. I had my summer 45 bag. My toes were freezing every day. Other than that, I think you have everything covered. Like the other poster said, there is a small store at RH and a walk-in food place that servers burgers and like five beers.

Steve Parr
(srparr) - F

Locale: SE Michigan
Re:Re: Isle Royale and u.l. beginnings ... on 02/14/2011 17:06:36 MST Print View

Sean, do you have your route picked yet? How are you getting to the island? If you arrive by sea plane be aware of the flight restrictions for carrying fuel.

I didn't mean to pick on your shorts, just trying to find anything that you could cut (as per your original request). Maybe you could replace the canyon pants with a pair of convertibles, giving you the option for shorts or long pants?

I often carry a pair of shorts myself so that I can switch between pants & shorts when hiking on hot days. It also gives me something to wear when washing the pants, and are great for swimming!

If you are going solo then an inline water filter makes more sense than boiling ... but if going with a group maybe you can share the weight or take turns carrying it?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: isle royale list on 02/14/2011 18:17:07 MST Print View

I was on IR the third week of July last year, and there were a few stretches where a headnet was invaluable.

I'd also worry that, baring an August trip, your system will be too cold.

Sean Krajacic
(photosean) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Isle Royale and u.l. beginnings ... on 02/15/2011 05:34:56 MST Print View

I'll go by boat. For me, that's part of the romance of the Island. I live on Lake Michigan, aside from kayaking a couple days a week and an occasional outing with the Coast Guard, I rarely get to relax on boats.

For water treatment, I'm not a big fan of boiling. I was leaning towards tablets. There should be four of us, where one or two aren't that concerned with going U.L. One of them will probably opt to pack the filter.

I own a Hiker Pro with a jaw-dropping dry weight of 11oz. If someone's willing to carry it, I'm willing to reap the benefits. Heck, I bought the thing.

Steve Parr
(srparr) - F

Locale: SE Michigan
RE: Re: Isle Royale and u.l. beginnings ... on 02/15/2011 20:46:28 MST Print View

I agree with getting there by boat ... it puts the island into proper perspective.

You said you have 11 years of backpacking experience, but that this is your first foray into ultralight weights. I'm not sure how light you normally travel (my list isn't as light as yours), but I strongly recommend you don't skimp on the water treatment.

Do your own research, but you will find that water treatment on Isle Royale is NOT the same as elsewhere due to the tapeworm eggs. Chemicals are not effective against them and water must be boiled or filtered.

Edited by srparr on 02/16/2011 20:58:16 MST.

Brad Amundsen
(bjamundsen) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Isle Royale List on 02/15/2011 22:27:02 MST Print View

The last time I was on IR was in July 2009, and my mosquito headnet was definitely worth its weight (less than an ounce) for a few spots along the Minong Ridge Trail. I will mirror Steve's comments regarding water treatment. You should do your research and consider a filter. I use ClO2 tablets almost exclusively, but decided to take a filter to IR after researching the hydatid echinococcus.


Locale: Western Michigan
Water Treatment CAUTION on 02/16/2011 08:26:32 MST Print View

This information is taken from the Isle Royale park newspaper The Greenstone 2010

“Potable water is only available at Rock Harbor and Windigo. All surface lake and stream water should be considered contaminated with natural parasites. Drinking contaminated water can make you very sick. Water collected in the park should be boiled for at least one minute or passed through a 0.4 micron water filter followed by chemical treatment. To be assured of no risk of contamination from small bacteria and viruses, all filtered water should be chemically treated. By itself, chemical treatment or filtering is not an effective method of water purification. If you boil your water, bring plenty of stove fuel. If filtering, bring a replacement cartridge for those filters that cannot be cleaned in the field. If you filter water from Lake Superior, change your filter or backflush several times with filtered water before using inland – this will assist in keeping Superior’s invasive species from entering the inland lakes. Precautions should be taken to prevent filters from becoming clogged. Filter water from a pot rather than directly from a lake or creek. Allow the sediment in the pot to settle and filter only from the cleaner water on top.”

Isle Royale is known to have Hydatid echinococcus in the water (especially in the inland lakes) that if not filtered can cause deadly tapeworm cysts contamination in humans as in moose as was documentation in 2001 by Rolf O. Peterson’s, in his wolf/moose report, Ecological Studies of Wolves on Isle Royale.

“Prevalence of cysts is high in moose, the alternate host, and all moose examined from Isle Royale that are at least three years old harbor hydatid cysts in their lungs. Craig found antibodies for Echinococcus in all but three of the 88 scats collected from Isle Royale wolves in winter 2000.”

A .4 micron pre filter with chemical, or UV treatment should handle the 25 micron hydatid tapeworms and other "unwanted critters" if present in the waters of Isle Royale.

Peter Burke
(Fishmonger) - F

Locale: Midwest
tapeworm on 02/16/2011 08:56:42 MST Print View

I just scratched Isle Royale from my future hiking destinations.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: tapeworm on 02/16/2011 09:10:02 MST Print View

Well if you're gong to scratch Isle Royal from you list of hiking destinations because of the potential for tapeworm then you also better never hike on / in:

Superior Hiking Trail
Yellowstone NP
Glacier NP

Tapeworm can be on all of these trails. You simply need to treat your water, problem solved. I for one have been using the Steripen for the past three years on IR, SHT, NCT, Yellowstone, and Glacier without any problems.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Steripen not tested on worm eggs on 02/16/2011 09:40:07 MST Print View


"We have tested SteriPEN only against bacteria, viruses and the protozoa Cryptosporidium and Giardia. We have never tested against worm eggs, so unfortunately we cannot give a definitive answer with regards to UV treatment in this case."

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Steripen not tested on worm eggs on 02/16/2011 11:17:25 MST Print View

Look at the post by Ken (a few up from mine). The NP service states that UV treatment should handle the tapeworm eggs.

No water treatment / filter system is 100%.

Then again what do I know, I've only been using UV treatment at least six liters a month for three years on these trails that have tapeworm without any issues. I suppose that I could just be really lucky. ;)

Although a tapeworm could be a good way to lighten up the old body. :P

Edited by chadnsc on 02/16/2011 11:23:46 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Steripen not tested on worm eggs on 02/16/2011 12:38:22 MST Print View

All I know is this about Steripen: I used it extensively on a 7-month RTW trip -- passing through eastern Europe and China -- treating tap water coming out of all sorts of bathroom taps -- including some truly filthy ones located in bus and train stations -- and never got sick even once. Ditto for a more recent 2-month trip through Burma and Bangladesh.

And if I didn't get sick drinking Steripen-treated water in Bangladesh -- I certainly wouldn't worry about our North American water out in the wilds -- so long as the water is reasonably clear to allow UV to work.

Edited by ben2world on 02/16/2011 12:39:38 MST.