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Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Shared Gear for Family of Four (3 season, Australia) on 06/09/2011 06:07:46 MDT Print View

I've been reading lots of posts here for awhile and spreadsheeting my ideas based on people's suggestions. I'd like to get some feedback before I go shopping.

We have been doing days walks from 10-25km (6-16 miles) and want to start doing longer, multi-day hikes with our two older kids (early teens). We'll start out with weekend walks so 1-3 nights and then build up to 6-8 days during school holidays. My gear list is aimed at 3-season hiking around Victoria (Australia). Daytime temps 10-25C (50-80F) Nightime temp 0-15C (32-62F) - we'll avoid walking on really hot days (no 100F walks for us!)

I want to sort out the shared gear we need to move to overnight hikes before I go through our individual items like sleep gear and clothing which will be multiplied by four (possibly headached inducing?). I recognize that we'll need to experiment with our gear until we find the setup that works for us but I would love to benefit from others' experience before I head out buying lots of stuff to hopefully reduce the error in our trials!!!

I'd like to try to go lightweight right from the start.


Current Thinking:
* I am happy to look at alcohol stoves but thought it might be easier to get started with a gas canister stove
* I chose the cooking system because the cup/bowls can nest neatly with the stove and gas cannister inside the pot so it should be an efficient use of space, though perhaps not the lightest solution
* We may not need to treat water depending on where we are walking
* The initial trails we are looking at have designated camp sites with compost toilets so I have included TP at this stage, we can nix it when we are ready
* Snake kit will only be taken during Australian snake season (ie. not during winter)

QUESTIONS
Q1: Is a 1.8L pot going to be enough for 4 people (using FBC)? Are there better options in terms of weight vs compact space ?
Q2: How do you wind off some of the Leukotape without ruining it so that you don't need to take the whole roll? It's heavy and we haven't actually had any blisters so far
Q3: Any suggestions for a good multi-purpose lighweight rope? Someone recommended Spectra

You can see our list at: http://www.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/forums/gear_lists/6edf35ac51593d894d81cfbdf97426a2.pdf

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Help? Shared gear for group on 06/11/2011 02:24:17 MDT Print View

Suggestions anyone? There must be room for improvement???

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
Re: Shared gear on 06/11/2011 05:26:20 MDT Print View

Your list is pretty good. The only thing I'm really missing is a few meters of thin rope (1 or 2mm) that you can use for just about anything. Good laces don't break fast and when they do, you can easily tie them together again. No real need for spares. If you do want to replace them, cut a piece of the earlier mentioned string to size.

Are you taking a pole slider thingy (a small piece of tube that slides over your pole to make an emergency repair if it should break) with you? With a good piece of string, you can temporarily repair a broken pole, but one of those slider thingies is a lot easier.

As I mentioned in your other topic, I would use a bigger pot. You can make a trail meal at home and see exactly how many liters you really need.

Are you taking just one knife for the entire group? I'd take at least a second one with me.

I don't know if this is in your first aid kit, but you should take emergency blankets (one for each person) with you.

An extra compass is not strictly necessary, but your kids might find it fun to have one of their own. Plus, a little redundancy can't hurt.

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
shared gear on 06/11/2011 05:50:17 MDT Print View

Mark, thanks for the feedback.

I definitely want to take some thin rope so I’ll look for 1 or 2mm varieties. We will drop the spare shoe laces.

I’ve never heard of the “pole slider thingy” but it sounds like a good idea for tent pole repairs. Can I just get some tubing from a local hardware store and cut it to size? Will duct tape hold the pole slider in place?

Bigger pot – OK. We will cook some of our planned meals at home and work out what size pot we really need. Probably best to avoid a mutiny from hungry teens who can't wait for more food to heat up!

I was only planning to take the one knife. We can get a multifunction one as well so we have a second knife. I’ll look into the forums to see what is popular and lightweight.

I had planned to make the 'kids' a waist bag (we call them bum bags) emergency kit that they should wear at all times which would include an emergency blanket, CLIF bar, and one of those Coghlan’s 6-in-1 multifunction whistles. The multifunction whistle can also be worn on a lanyard and it has a compass and light on it. But I’ve just realised the compass won’t be all that helpful in the Southern Hemisphere. Doh! I am sure I can pick up some small button compasses for them here in Australia.

Thanks again. :-)

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
Pole thingy on 06/11/2011 10:34:17 MDT Print View

The pole slider thingy is essentially just a piece of aluminium pipe (roughly 10 cm long) with a slightly larger diameter than the poles. Mine came with the tent, but you could easily make one yourself. If one of the pole sections breaks, you simply slide it over the damaged area to reinforce it. That being said, I have never taken one with me myself. The one time I had a pole failure I simply wound a piece of string around the end of the pole section that had started to split.

Edited by Markacd on 06/11/2011 10:39:19 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Shared Gear for Family of Four (3 season, Australia) on 06/11/2011 16:58:56 MDT Print View

Hi Simone

I live in Sydney, but I have done a fair bit of walking in Vic as well.

Stoves, with young kids. I recommend two tiny gas stoves with screw-thread canisters. NOT puncture-style Bleuet stoves!. Let the kids drive one under supervision.

Treating water: I suggest a Steripen Adventurer Opti unless you can be sure of always getting municipal drinking water for drinking. The kids will be a bit more susceptible than you.

TP: we ALWAYS take this. I acknowledge that some don't.

Snake bite kit: we haven't carried one for 40 years. You leave them alone, and they will leave you alone. Really, it is simply not a problem.

> Is a 1.8L pot going to be enough for 4 people (using FBC)?
No.
We use a 1.8 L pot for two people. I suggest that you run two 1.5 - 1.8 L pots. Yes, 1.8 L of boiling water may be enough for dinner, but a 1.8 L pot containing 1.8 L of boiling water is a disaster waiting to happen. Get the kids helping with the cooking!!!

> Leukotape
Never carry it. Thick wool socks and light joggers which are WIDE ENOUGH. Measure everyone's feet (on a Brannock device) for width, buy shoes of the **correct width and at least 1/2 size larger** than they measure, and do NOT compromise on either width or size. Your feet WILL swell while you are walking. Shoes too small are the biggest source of blisters imho. Known fact in the shoe trade: women always buy shoes which are too small for their feet. Pain and suffering.

> good multi-purpose lighweight rope?
Why? Seriously?
Useful in the Blue Mts, but in Victoria?
Spectra is hard to handle and knot. It is not a good choice. Go for 10 m of 4 mm or 5 mm accessory cord from the rock-climbing department. You do NOT need anything heavier.

Cheers

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Shared Gear for Family of Four on 06/11/2011 23:49:18 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

Great to hear from another Aussie. Thanks for the snakes tip. I wasn’t sure what to do here and was erring on the side of caution. In reality, the closest we have come to a snake is when it dropped onto the path from above and took us by surprise so I am happy to keep out of their way and leave the bandages at home.

Thanks also for the rope tip. Someone I suggested I take some rope and since our upcoming walks are not likely to require much climbing support, only some rock scrambling, I wasn’t even sure if it was worth the weight.

I must be an exception to the women and shoe trend you mentioned as I like to walk with my shoes in slip-on mode and only tighten my shoelaces when the track is steep. I’ll skip the leukotape unless we are breaking in new shoes. I’m feeling lighter already!

Someone in another post suggested 2 cups per person which, as you say, would be 1.8L to the brim. I take your point about safety. I’ll start my web surfing again for a better pot setup.

Cheers 2 u 2.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Hi Simone on 06/12/2011 04:53:13 MDT Print View

Nice looking list! I'd be keen to see how the Hogback works out. Our Megalight is starting to come to the end of it's useful life (12 years later) so I may be looking for a new tent. Over all your weight looks excellent.

I'm going to disagree with Roger on the snake bandages though. Being bitten is very low risk, although kids probably raise the risk a little. A bandage is one thing that I find impossible to improvise, and I don't want to be there looking at two puncture holes in someones calf and wondering if it's a dry bite. However those 7.5cm crepes you are carrying really are useless. Try wrapping a limb with them, and see how you go. On a pretty skinny adult, I reckon you'll make it almost to the knee, and they will come loose after about 20-25 minutes. I like the Setopress 10cm bandage from Independence Australia. They're almost $20 each including postage, and you need two to reach from toe to groin of an adult, but they're printed to show how tight to wrap, and how to overlay for effective control, and the velour finish doesn't come undone. You can also use them for a sprain or wound. Two of these, a couple of bandaids, a 50ml saline vial, a 10g needle, a 3mm drill bit and a small roll of sports tape make up my entire first aid kit.

I disagree with Roger on the cooking too. If your kids are big enough to help with the cooking, they're big enough to do it all!! Take one pot, and one stove. I have a GREAT 3L pot from someones Grandma's kitchen. Very thin aluminium, with a flashing lid that weighs under 300g. I paid $3.50 at a charity shop. It's big enough to cook for all of us, and makes a great washup dish at the end. We do carry a light weight 1L ali pot as well, which blows our weight out a bit. You wouldn't need it for FBC though.

A pot this big does prefer a remote canister stove though. Roger, I've retired the Chinese one you helped out on. It did eight days through Tassie for the four of us, but I admit, I took my Snowpeak as backup, since I didn't trust it. I've bought a Primus Spider to replace it. This is heavier than even two of your Litemaxes, but you only need one cylinder, so overall a better option. Stability can't be matched by a screw on stove

For plates we use the Decore 800ml round containers, the clear ones, not the red. These also work well for rehydrating food, with a lid on, and tucked into the sleeping bag. Plus they either stack, or can be used for storing food, such as tomatoes etc. It's also much easier to shake up a couple of sachets of iced tea or powdered milk in one of these, than a Gatorade bottle.

If you're looking for another knife, I love the Vitorinox Tomato knives. Kitchen shop, not camping. They don't fold, have a rounded end for getting the peanut butter or avacado out, are serated, and sharp enough to cut anything, including straight through a thumbnail into the flesh underneath. (Not mine.......see bandaids above)

I wouldn't normally carry a rubbish bag, and just use the zip bag from the first packet of flat bread we eat for lunch on day one. These are much tougher plastic than the ziplocs too, which always seem to tear on anything even remotely sharp. FWIW I find the Wattle Valley breads hold up the best after 2-3 days in the pack.



Let us know how you go. It's always great to see other Aussies, and other families out there.

Rod

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Shared Gear for Family of Four (3 season, Australia) on 06/12/2011 09:25:23 MDT Print View

We did a 2 night trip in a wilderness area here in the Eastern US with our family of six last fall. The kids ranged in age from 1-7, with only one carrying their own sleeping bag. We used a Hogback and a Scarp 2. Except for some minor issues with sleeping pads sliding on the silnylon on a very slight slope, the tents worked well. (I've since fixed the slippery floor issue by coating both sides of the floor with a diluted silicone caulk mixture.)

For the pot size, determine the maximum amount of water you will need at one time, and bring a pot slightly larger than that. We ended up taking an Open Country 4 liter aluminum pot, but a 2-3 liter probably would've worked. We cooked over a fire, so there was nothing extra to carry. A stove would've been more convenient and time-saving though, but it was nice to not have more weight in my already-heavy pack.

For general-purpose cordage for use around camp, Kelty Triptease works well.

If my kids were in their early teens, we'd probably not treat or filter the water if others had done so successfully in the area. Since my kids are so young, we used a heavy filter which was probably overkill for an area where I was able to drink untreated water with no effects. They've been infected with worse from playground equipment, poorly washed fruit and veggies at restaurants, and swimming in lake water.

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Shared Gear for Family of Four on 06/13/2011 08:37:45 MDT Print View

@ Rod. Will definitely let you know how the Hogback works out for us. It looks quite spacious which we need – my husband is over 6 ft and my son is heading there quickly – but we haven’t slept in it yet.

Thanks for the suggestion on the setopress bandages. I read your BSAR article about them so I will reset up the snake bite kit using them instead and retire the crepe bandages to our home FAK. We can always choose to leave the kit at home depending on where/when we are walking, but at least if we have it with us I want confidence that it will do the job intended.

I am still thinking about the 1 large pot vs 2 smaller ones. I think I’ll borrow from friends to try both ways to see what works for us before shopping. We have the Victorinox Tomato knife you mention – it is VERY sharp. I will admit I am petrified of it as we have given ourselves some pretty bad cuts using it. The flat bread bags is a brilliant suggestion – first we eat the contents, then we fill it – fitting nicely into my reduce/reuse philosophy. They are so much tougher than an ordinary ziplock bag.

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Shared Gear for Family of Four on 06/13/2011 08:40:39 MDT Print View

@ Andy. Thanks for the tip with the Hogback floor. Did you coat the entire interior floor or just paint stripes? Why did you paint the underneath?

Sounds like you have a busy time with 4 young kids! I won’t tell my littlies that you took all the kids hiking, they will just have to enjoy car camping for the moment until their legs grow some more. Our two teens love having us to themselves when we leave the little ones at home. It means we can go faster, further and higher. There are some other advantages with teens, which you will find out in due course… they can cook, pitch the tent, and carry more of their own weight (pun intended).

I have been surfing the net to find a light 2-3L pot and have come up with a few options. I think I might try out friends'gear before I buy unless I can find something reasonably priced. Hiking gear is really expensive in Australia.

As you said, water treatment will depend on location and advice from others who have walked that area before. From everything I have read on BPL, every method (filter, UV, chemical) has drawbacks and it comes down to personal preference. Ironically, I think it is my husband who has the most sensitive stomache in the family.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Shared Gear for Family of Four on 06/13/2011 09:27:12 MDT Print View

I coated the bottom (ground side) of the floor entirely because the silnylon will slide on the ground and stress the netting inner to tent fly connections, which weren't really designed to support that kind of weight. Also, it helps with waterproofing to prevent water from seeping through if someone lays or kneels directly on the floor over soggy ground. I originally used palm-sized dots of silicone on the top of the floor. That was barely adequate on a slight slope with certain pads. If I remember correctly, coating both sides of the floor along with regular seam sealing added around 5-6 oz to the weight of the tent. It might be overkill, but it was worth the weight due to it improving sleeping comfort--not having a kid wake up crying in the middle of the night in a pile at the end of the tent. :) Other than the weight, another disadvantage is that dirt and sand sticks to it and can't be swept out. Some report that it peels after a while.

I followed this general procedure:
http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/Silnylon1/index.html

I definitely look forward to the kids carrying more of their own gear as the get older! (And not packing out dirty diapers.) I've been meaning to post a trip report for a while now.

This is a smaller version of the pot we used. It's very inexpensive (hopefully true there too) and aluminum:
http://www.rei.com/product/401067/open-country-2-quart-pot-with-lid

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Pot on 06/14/2011 07:00:03 MDT Print View

Hi Simone,

Apart from the local Vinnies, try out any of the Asian supermarkets/markets for very lightweight aluminium pots around the $10 mark. Hot Bargains in Preston is a favourite of mine, but mostly because it's local.

Rod

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Family gear - pots on 06/14/2011 07:42:01 MDT Print View

Andy, thanks for the details on coating the Hogback floor. Look forward to a trip report! You may inspire me to give our 3 & 5yo a hiking adventure once Spring arrives and the weather warms up. Also, for the pot link.

Rod, thanks for the local shopping tip. I hadn't thought of the local Asian supermarket. I'll check them out. It will be hard to beat your $3.50 find though.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
You're welcome on 06/14/2011 08:08:33 MDT Print View

Don't be afraid to take the little kids out. I remember us all coming over St Gwinear after my wife and I spent a sleepless night listening to the wind howl through the valley and then slam into the tent in the saddle. (My fault) The kids slept right through. The wind was so strong on the way out it blew Macs off his feet. He was laughing, but Evie was crying because I wouldn't put her down so she could watch him get knocked over again. (It's the only time I've carried either one of them) They were 3 and 5 at the time. We did an 8 day walk through the Walls of Jerusalem in Tassie this year, including two days off track with packs, and one day with over 300mm of rain in 24 hours. They were 11 and 9. Neither of them are sporty or big boofy kids, but I think the only complaints were about who ate more than their share of the Twisties. (And mostly that was me complaining)

David Long
(DavLong) - F
Did i miss something? on 06/14/2011 23:58:27 MDT Print View

Did i miss something or are there no sleeping bags or mats in that list?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hi Simone on 06/15/2011 01:51:42 MDT Print View

Hi Rod

> If your kids are big enough to help with the cooking, they're big enough to do it all!!
Yeah, I did think of that one later. :-)

> I don't want to be there looking at two puncture holes in someones calf and wondering
> if it's a dry bite
IF and only IF that's where you get bitten. Two genuine snake bite cases I know of were on the ... backside ... when the person was squatting down carelessly. Bit hard to bandage there ...

> A pot this big does prefer a remote canister stove though.
And how! And a windshield to block the heat from under such a large pot from reaching the canister too.
The 2 problems with a big pot are stability and heat reflection. You need to handle both of them, especially when there are kids around.

Cheers

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Did i miss something? on 06/15/2011 06:40:10 MDT Print View

Yeah, and clothes as well. Bloody hippies.

Sorry David I couldn't resist. I think you missed the heading. Shared gear only, not personal stuff.

Simone Zmood
(sim1oz) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
Did i miss something? on 06/15/2011 06:51:47 MDT Print View

Hi David,

You made me laugh. For I moment I pictured myself as a tough mom who makes her kids sleep on the ground with no blanket!

Actually, I broke my list up into two parts because we are moving from day hikes to multi-night so I focussed on shared gear first (eg. shelter, cooking). That we can get started on the overnighters asap. Once I finish the shared gear shopping (THANK YOU everyone for the great feedback) I will turn my attention to individual gear which will definitely (!!!) include sleeping gear (I am more of a softy mom).

With individual gear, my list will be a target or wishlist. I'll weigh what we currently use and then look at the ways we can cut the most weight. I know we will save at least a pound each by replacing the sleeping bags we currently use for car camping. Anyway, that will be another post as there are lots of things I need to pull out and pop on the scales.

Cheers!

ROGER - Ouch, I will remind the kids to watch where they p.