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New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear
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Mike Malley
(heatx) - F

Locale: Vail, Colorado
New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear on 03/28/2011 16:46:10 MDT Print View

I'm fairly new to the Ultralight crowd but I've made some new purchases and would like to know what you guys think. What can I do to improve my current setup?


Here's the GearGrams link:

Edited by heatx on 03/28/2011 17:08:39 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear on 03/28/2011 16:56:49 MDT Print View

No first aid? No hygiene? Clothes? It's probably easier for people to look at if you take the consumables (food, water) off the list.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear on 03/28/2011 17:01:13 MDT Print View

yeah missin some stuff

Hyperflow = drops/ pills
2L res = platy
raincover = compactor bag
packtowel = bandanna
Ipood = tent stake

should save around 20oz or so only spend around $30

-do you need a 15deg bag?
- looks like your fuel weight is off

Edited by WoodenWizard on 03/28/2011 17:04:12 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear on 03/28/2011 17:06:33 MDT Print View

Tent, sleeping bag and backpack have all much lighter options. What is the capacity of your pack right now? What kind of temps will you be camping in? A tarptent or a tarp with a bug net could save you some pounds too.

Mike Malley
(heatx) - F

Locale: Vail, Colorado
thanks on 03/28/2011 17:07:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies so far, I went ahead and changed the link to a GearGrams list. Makes it easier to read and update. I took the food/water/fuel off the list and added some stuff.

Also, the 15 degree bag is the only bag I have right now. Pack is 44 liters.
I'll be out in the spring/summer in Colorado so warm during the day and colder at night.

The tent does have a "FastFly" option to set it up. Basically just uses the footprint and rainfly. Shaves off about a bit more than a pound.

I've read that the purification drops can be potentially hazardous over long periods of use, that's why I opted for the filter.

As far as hygiene I'll be going with a toothbrush and toothpaste along with some cleaning wipes. We will probably be doing quite a few hikes where there is water around. I'm also in the process of getting clothes.

Edited by heatx on 03/28/2011 17:15:52 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: thanks on 03/28/2011 18:33:15 MDT Print View

Hi Michael,

Yes- you've got a good start here but it won't really tell you everything until it has everything.

What I do is pick a certain trip (maybe one that's typical for my area) and build a list that includes all of the clothes I would take, my 2.25 pounds of food per day, small items, stuff sacks, etc. That's when the real refinements will emerge.

For instance, I used to carry too much fleece and redundant clothing. I probably saved more weight there than you would in a tent. It's what helps prioritize your gear changes and updates. If your list has a warm down jacket and you're planing for a summer trip, it's pretty easy to trade for a quilt and sleep in the jacket for dual-use.

Adding everything such as your empty fuel canisters will bring up some interesting weight areas too. A canister stove is light until you consider the weight of the canisters. This is where an alcohol stove really beats it.

After those cheaper items, you can look at the big 3- pack, shelter, bag. A 16 oz pack and a 16 oz bag used with a puffy insulation jacket would drop 53 ounces (3.5 pounds) which is a lot.

Have fun with this and beware- it can get really insane! That said, trips are so fun with a lighter pack. You have a solid starting point. Doug

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: thanks on 03/28/2011 18:38:44 MDT Print View

FYI- no issues with chlorine dioxide tablets such as Aqua Mira. Iodine-yes, but not Chlorine dioxide.

Aqua Mira is great- simple, cheap, and really, really light. I've read a lot about it and use it with my children without concern. It's used a lot in municipal systems as well.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: New to the UL community, would like some critique on my current gear on 03/28/2011 18:43:49 MDT Print View

Michael, I would look at a Steripen instead of the MSR pump. I have both and prefer a Steripen much, much more

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Suggestions on 03/28/2011 18:52:34 MDT Print View

Since you said your list is incomplete, I will just comment on what you do have. I am by no means an expert, but things I see based on some info I have received on my own gear:

1. Pack has much lighter options, look into something like a GG Mariposa Plus or SMD Swift to keep the same size.
2. Drop the Pack Cover, they usually leak. Better off with a trash compactor bag liner.
3. Cooking setup is pretty good. If you wanted to save a little weight you could switch to alchy stove so you would only be carrying the amount of fuel you needed, but your current setup is fine.
4. That is a very heavy reservoir, and you also have a heavy Nalgene. Switch to a Platy Hoser setup (~2oz) and drop the Nalgene for a plastic water bottle (or gatorade bottle). Or better yet drop the reservoir all together.
5. Drop the Hyperflow for Aquamira. Or if you must filter, use a Frontier Pro + bleach.
6. Drop the heavy pillow. Use extra clothing in a stuff sack.
7. I am sure you know, but there are lighter sleeping bag options.
8. Not horrible on the shelter, but you could get down to ~20 oz with a tarp + net tent.
9. Drop the back towel for a shamwow.

Edited by Ultralite on 03/28/2011 18:54:39 MDT.

Mike Malley
(heatx) - F

Locale: Vail, Colorado
Re: Suggestions on 03/28/2011 19:18:37 MDT Print View

Right on, thanks everyone for the suggestions so far.

I'll definitely look into getting some of the gear you guys recommended.

The main reason I went with a nalgene is I'm worried that if I use a platy or a regular gatorade bottle there is the possibility that it can get crushed and explode in the pack, soaking all of my gear with water. I got the camelbak-style Osprey hydration reservoir because my pack has a spot in between the suspension system and the outside of the pack to put your camelbak, so that it's not actually taking up room (and getting crushed) inside the pack, but I guess I can have a similar lighter setup with the platy hoser setup... Has anyone had their platy explode in their pack?

I'm definitely looking into the SMD Swift pack and the GG Mariposa. Haha, They're ugly... but practical for what I'm aiming for, which is less weight.

Although not a huge priority right now I have been checking out the tarp+tent combos such as the PyraTent +Net combo. I don't really use trekking poles and, depending on where I'm camping, there might not be trees to hang the guylines from.

Sleeping bags are just so. damned. expensive. I'll think about that later.

aaaannnnd as far as the the Stripen, I'm not too familiar with how these things work. I got the MSR Hyperflow in case the water isn't completely clear and has some debris in it. How big of an issue has this been with the Steripen/Aquamira users?

Thanks again everyone! These forums are AWESOME.

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Suggestions on 03/28/2011 19:25:16 MDT Print View

No need to get it all right away. The good thing, is your big three are not that bad weight wise. So you could replace some cheaper options to lighten up a tad.

As far as steripen, I do not use one. I use aquamira tablets. Works great, but in the winter I use a Frontier Pro and bleach for the faster treatment time (Aquamira tablets take about 3-4 hours to kill EVERYTHING if the water is just above freezing).

I quit using hydration bladders 2 trips ago. Switched to gatorade bottles. It worked great, and I will continue to do this.

Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
Re: Re: Suggestions on 03/29/2011 13:58:30 MDT Print View

"I'm definitely looking into the SMD Swift pack and the GG Mariposa. Haha, They're ugly... but practical for what I'm aiming for, which is less weight."

You may think they are ugly (I don't) but hey ultra lite backpacking ain't know beauty contest :)

As far as the the sleeping bag goes I just spent a good chunk of change on my 15 degree bag and you get what you pay for (amen for tax returns) plus it's a investment to keep you warm and happy at night instead of cold and miserable at night. I'll choose warm and happy.

Good luck

P.S. thanks for posting that site I'm going to look into it. Looks pretty sweet.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Re: Suggestions on 07/06/2011 18:30:33 MDT Print View

I agree with the comments on the reservoir. I don't use them the I do know that the Platy is much lighter. Also, I do use the platy soft bottles and have actually had more trouble with leaking nalgenes (sometimes the lid is not screwed on as tight as it needs to be) then with my platys.

As far as getting by with drops or a steripen I will use one of my buddies quotes: "FILTER IT WITH YER TEATH!"

Instead of a pillow you can use a stuff sack with extra clothing.

IPood is way heavier then some of the other options including a MSR groundhog tent stake or one of the trowels offered by a member here:

What do you use your towel for? Will a bandana cut the muster for that? Much lighter and more versatile IMO.

It looks like, in my opinion the firs aid kit that you have might not be adequate. I would substitute some of the 2x2 gauze with some 4x4s (I find that 4x4 is much more useful in backcountry wound management). You might also want to take a look at investing in some basic or even wilderness first aid training as well. Very useful information.

Any reason that you are using the normal size bic lighter? You can get two (YAY for redundancy) for a mere .1oz hit. Or if you feel comfortable with one, you save .3oz.

I also agree with the above posters, a trash compactor bag liner is lighter, and much more efective in most cases. I especially like that you don't have to stop every time it rains, it also keeps your stuff dry if you were to fall into a creek or what have you.

Finally: I think that having a small pack looks way better then a large pack that has been designed by a marketing team to make it look good, regardless of weight. I heartily recommend the Gossamer Gear Mariposa+. It is a great pack from an equally great company. There are definitely lighter packs, but this one does well. Also take a look at ULA for a more fully featured pack.

Happy Trails,