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Fire damage = opportunity to discover UL or just L backpacking?
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Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
Fire damage = opportunity to discover UL or just L backpacking? on 04/15/2011 18:33:04 MDT Print View

I had a fire at our house recently (everyone was safe, but still a bit traumatic).

In any event, my old gear (not used for 2 yrs about) was all smoke damaged. I have the chance (and a bit of a budget) to try to trend towards lighter gear.

This is in preparation for a VIrginia section hike NOBO starting mid-May this year - in a few weeks.

My question is any suggestions about the big 4/big 6 below. Since I am buying everything new, any advice you have will definitely steer me in a better direction. Keep in mind that until the fire, I was in an old Kelty external, REI 1/2 dome tent, 4 lb bag, etc.

1) Tent: Currently leaning towards TT Moment ($220, 28 oz). Have read lots of positive reviews here in hundreds of threads. Not sure I can leap to a tarp or hammock yet.

2) Pack: Current choice Osprey Exos 42. Leaning here because I sweat a ridiculous amount, and it really kills me when hiking. A bit heavy at 37 oz and $180. Two questions: other packs that are not horribly expensive that have a back suspension? Will 42 be enough, or do I need 58 at 3 more oz?

3) Sleeping bag: This is where I am pretty sure I have wrong choice. Current idea is cheap bags like MS +35 ($90, but 46 oz) or REI +45, $100, 27 oz. Not sure I am ready for $300 down bag, or for MLD quilt - a bit scared of the latter. I did see Sierra Designs on sale with last year's wicked hot +45 for $120, but haven't seen great things posted about that. I am pretty sure that +45 is not enough (say at Mt. Rogers in May) but worried about carrying too much.

4) Pad: ThermaRest NeoAir - $140, 13 oz. This would be a hard one for me to change as I really don't sleep well outside and have loved the feedback on the NeoAir.

Big 4 = around 8 pounds, which everyone here I think would guess a bit too much. Probably greatest opportunity is on sleeping bag or pack

5) Filter = steripen (just a personal preference) - $65, 8 oz

6) Stove = homemade alchohol stove or maybe one of the keg systems at 5 oz or so.

Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Exos on 04/15/2011 18:57:09 MDT Print View

Sorry for my short reply; posting from a smartphone.

The exos is a great pack, and I have the 58 which has become too big for me after I've whittled down my kit. You'll probably be just fine with a 42. The back ventilation is as good as you're going to find.

It's heavier than frameless packs, but it carries any size load wonderfully. There's a current thread about pack comfort, and many agree that the slightly heavier framed packs make up for their weight by their load hauling capabilities. However, comfort is king. Don't necessarily go by weight with some gear.

Glad to hear everyone is safe from the fire. Good luck!

Edited by T.L. on 04/15/2011 18:59:36 MDT.

Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
re: on 04/15/2011 19:04:32 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply. I have just been reading reviews on BPL of MLD quilts. That may be the most sensible approach to reducing weight.

Zachary Zrull
(zackcentury) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
Pack and bag suggestions on 04/15/2011 19:23:03 MDT Print View

If you ever become a member, take a look at these reviews for the Lowe Alpine Zepton 50L. It's about 2.5lbs, 50L, internally framed, with vented straps and backpanel, and very sturdy construction for a lightweight pack. Roger's review mentions a very short throat on the Zepton, but perhaps this is particular to the women's model because the throat on mine is relatively tall. The frame, hipbelt, and shoulder straps are stiffer than I expected, and I appreciate it.

I've checked out the Osprey Talon line, and I've noticed the Lowe Alpine lightweight line is much sturdier. Sorry I can't comment on the Exos though, I've never tried one. They do seem nice, but they are pricy, as you said.

How big are you? I ask because I found a great way to get a deal on sleeping bags: I am 5'8" and pretty skinny, so I bought a couple GoLite womens 800-fill bags (40F and 0F) for $50 and $75 on closeout, and I use the 40F as a quilt. Shop around, whatever you do. I've found deals by going on and searching by % discount.

There's also a review here for a $100 Kelty down bag.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Fire damage = opportunity to discover UL or just L backpacking? on 04/15/2011 19:30:24 MDT Print View

How tall are you/how much do you weigh?

Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
RE: on 04/15/2011 19:39:03 MDT Print View

Short, and fat...180, maybe 5'5"

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pack and bag suggestions on 04/15/2011 19:45:50 MDT Print View

> Roger's review mentions a very short throat on the Zepton,
True, but sometimes the companies do change a 'feature' when it gets a bad review. Could well have happened here.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: RE: on 04/15/2011 19:46:14 MDT Print View

sleep still, or roll around a lot? (you should set up your PM so these types of conversations won't clog up your thread)

Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
Re: RE: on 04/15/2011 19:50:09 MDT Print View

Thanks, I have been lurking a lot but need to learn how to use BPL better (and become a member, surely).

I sleep like a stone. Until I wake up freezing.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: RE: on 04/15/2011 20:04:10 MDT Print View


Edited by idester on 04/15/2011 21:54:50 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Fire damage = opportunity to discover UL or just L backpacking? on 04/17/2011 15:35:46 MDT Print View

The Exos is a fine pack, if it fits. The metal frame digs into the top of my hips in a most painful fashion. I think it's really designed for skinny people, which I am definitely not.

Other pack choices: I love love love my ULA Circuit. I like my ULA Ohm, but I think it's been overtaken by the Circuit. Great suspension system, easily carries all my gear, even my winter gear, and at 36 ounces it's pretty good on weight. I sweat a huge amount, too, and I've just learned not to worry about it.

If you can get to Damascus, VA, you can try on the ULA packs at Mt Rogers Outfitters.

Sleeping bag: really, you should just suck it up and buy a $300 down bag. You'll end up doing that eventually anyway, so any heavier intermediate purchase ends up being a waste of money. (Ask me how I know this....)

The Montbell ultralight spiral stretch bags are great -- my wife loves both of her stretch bags (she has a #0 and a #3.) The #3 would be a good 3-season choice in Virginia. But any good high quality down bag that fits well would be fine.

Tent: Love my Moment. Have been using it for a year. Great tent.

Good luck on the trail. May is a beautiful time to be hiking the AT in Virginia.