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Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack
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Lucas Csovelak
(ljcsov) - F
Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack on 07/21/2011 11:44:54 MDT Print View

Does anyone have any information on this pack?

I am a newbie and purchased this pack perhaps as a overnight/weekend pack. I live in PA and most of the backpacking consists of AT hiking.

My goal: To start out backpacking without excessive weight.

Concern: Is this pack too small? It looks large on the Kelty site but people argue about this volume of pack and what it is good for. I didn't want something monstrous especially because after visiting shelters on day hikes I noticed how small many thru hiker packs were.

::Gear Ideas::
-Sleeping - Eno Hammock + Tarp
-Cook Gear - Alcohol Stove, LightMyFire Spork, Bottle Cup, Nalgene
-Water Purification - Potable Tables, Camelbak 3L
-Survival- KaBar, Lensatic Compass, Small First Aid Kit
-Clothing-will need some space for additional clothing, poncho for raingear
-Hiking Poles- Komperdell Highlander
-Food- space for 2-3 days food

As you can see, I am TRYING to do an ultra light set up. For the most part, I already own all this gear except for the hammock set up. If this pack is viable, I could possibly be out there doing some overnights in the very near future.

What do you guys think on the pack? Too small? Just right?
Is there anything I am missing gear wise?

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
"Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack" on 07/21/2011 13:07:12 MDT Print View

Sorry if I missed it but.... what pack are you referring to?

Also my suggestion is to pack everything in a box that you plan to be in your bag. Calculate the liters of volume in the box. This will give you some feedback as to what you need.

Edited by Trout on 07/21/2011 13:08:57 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: "Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack" on 07/21/2011 14:03:50 MDT Print View

That is why the pack should be one of the last things you buy. It isn't just the issue of volume but whether the pack (1) fits you and (2) is comfortable for you to carry with all your gear inside, including fuel, water and the weight and volume of a week's food. Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit!

FYI on the volume--pack your gear (plus consumables) in the box, calculate cubic inches (length x width x height). For estimating purpose, 1 liter equals 60 cubic inches.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
hammock on 07/21/2011 14:16:39 MDT Print View

I know this is off-topic a little, but you said you hadn't bought the Eno hammock yet. Before you do, check out the Warbonnet Blackbird. Seemingly everyone who hammocks starts out with an Eno or a Hennessy, only to switch to the Blackbird a few months/years down the road. Check 'em out...
Same goes for using sleeping pads inside the hammock for insulation underneath you (a must when hammocking in temps below ~75). Most start out with a cheap CCF pad, only to wish they had pulled the trigger on an underquilt.

Head on over to for lots of great hammock info.

But definitely get your pack last. Also, you should go through the gear list section too, to see how others put together their kits, it helped me tremendously. Here's mine, if your interested.

Edited by dbriggs9 on 07/21/2011 14:17:26 MDT.

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack on 07/22/2011 04:06:39 MDT Print View

Edit: Oops, you already have a pack.

I was going to recommend looking for a "Golite Jam 2" on Gear Swap for $50-60. They come up about once a month. If your pack is in fact too small, you may want to try it. Not too pricey, and I find it to be comfortable, practical, well designed, durable and its volume to be very versatile.

Worth $60.

BTW, I got my pack first as well, you have to carry it all in something. It was a very small volume pack too, but I had money to spend on a compact sleeping bag, down sweater and tiny tent. I'd say with something like the Jam 2 you won't have to worry about the volume using your present gear and as you go lighter. It's 3100 cubic inches, so if your pack is close to that, you should be good.

- 3L Platypus probably weighs a lot less than the Camelback.
- 710 ml Gatorade Bottles instead of the Nalgene. Still wide mouth to mix drinks, packs easy being slim and tall.
- Not sure about the kabar, if you like it carry it, but my most used knife is my Swiss Army Classic. The scissors and tweezers are very useful.
- If the poncho doesn't work out, look into the Driducks Ultralite 2 for around $15. Completely waterproof, breathable, you can use it as a windshirt/windbreaker/sorta maybe protect my down jacket from sparks all purpose jacket. Just fix with duct tape accordingly.
- Use scentless trash compactor bags ($5 @ Ace Hardware for box of 20) as packliner instead of packcover and drybags.
- For food, unless you don't plan on hot food, I'm a big fan of this dehydrator . Seriously easy, and the weight you save on food/easy preparation is awesome.
- What are you using for a pot? A lot of people use the big Heinken cans (almost free).
-make a pot or freezer bag cozy from reflectix (dollar store windshield sun protector), so you can save on fuel and don't actually have to "cook" your food. See this . You can make this stuff if you don't want to pay for it.
-Keep an eye out on Gear Swap for an "EB (Eddie Bauer) Downlight Sweater" for around $45-65. It may be overkill for your neck of the woods, but it's superwarm and compresses really well. With the driducks you're good down to near freezing for well under $100.

The biggest easiest weight, and more importantly bulk, savings was from re-evaluating my clothing (rain and warmth) and food. With the down jacket and dehydrator I was able to shave a lot of weight and free up a lot of space in my pack. Everything else, use what you got and you'll figure it out soon enough.

Edited by elf773 on 07/22/2011 05:18:48 MDT.

Lucas Csovelak
(ljcsov) - F
The pack on 07/22/2011 11:57:58 MDT Print View

My pack is the Kelty Courser 40, its a 40L pack. If is too small, its not such a big deal because it can be a pretty nice day pack.

Here is a pic of it stuffed with pillows. Gives an idea of size.

For a pot I have one of those bottle cups which fit nicely over a nalgene.

I guess for sleeping bag I would have to go with down in order to get it small enough?

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
sleeping bag on 07/22/2011 12:46:31 MDT Print View

Yes, definitely go with down. Any synthetic bag would likely take up about a third to half your pack volume. But if you're going to be hammocking I wouldn't go with a sleeping bag, but a quilt. Sleeping bags are pain in the @$$ in hammocks. I'd recommend the Golite 3-season for a lightweight, affordable quilt.

You could probably find on in the gear swap section if you keep your eyes peeled. They also have a 40% off sale at some point in the year, not sure when, though.

Lucas Csovelak
(ljcsov) - F
thanks for the help! on 07/22/2011 15:13:08 MDT Print View

Those down quilts look pretty versatile.

I could potentially switch to the Kelty Redwing from the Courser. 50L vs 40L. The Redwing doesn't look like it transfers weight as nicely though.

Will Shewell
(Wshewell) - F

Locale: South East USA
Re: Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack on 07/22/2011 21:44:43 MDT Print View

Your list is great for a night, or two. Anything more then rethink.

Take a Saturday or Sunday and totally research and rethink your gear list for longer trips (Aka anything longer than two nights). Great lightweight gear is select and its easy to totally miss the target and end up with heavier gear selections that you will simply want to replace within weeks/months after you start serious backpacking. Not to mention, if you quality internet shop, you can secure most desired gear for same price (sometimes lower) that heavier non-desired gear.

I recommend a few items that are lightweight, GREAT quality and very versatile for good/bad weather and differing backpacking conditions:

-- Big Anges Fly Creek Tent - Get a two person if you have a gf, bf, buddy, etc. Hammocks are great but AT often has balds and other camp spots that make hammocks difficult to hang. A lightweight tent is more versatile and a good back-up for an AT rainstorm! A BA tent can be lighter than your Eno Hammock and tarp. Deals in Forums and ebay.

-- Thermarest NeoAir Regular Sleeping Pad - Pay the extra $ for the lightweight, small size. Don't need the pad if you do hammock only.

-- Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag. Read Reviews, pick one, will be happy. A good bag is a must if you plan on doing fall, winter, early spring backpacking. Temps in the mts will drop at night by 20 to 30 degrees from what you experience at home in the city. You dont want to be caught of guard with the wring sleeping bag, especially in a hammock. Just trust me - been there done that, we all have.

-- SnowPeak LiteMax Stove & SnowPeak Solo Cookset - Shop forums or ebay and buy used. Lightweight, small, easy, and will always and work! The Etowah alcohol stove, or similar, is good to graduate to, but a solid light canister stove is best for a newbie.

-- Water Purification - Get a lightweight water bladder and purification tablets. Trust me, you will invest a lot of money on heavy crap that will fill up your pack, break and you will stop using over time! Cheap water bladder, tablets and find a nice stream.

-- Backpack - Totally depends on length of trip and gear you take.

AT is awesome, you will have tons of fun. Hit for a night or two in good weather and move on from there. It will teach you to plan.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
re:"Backing / AT Newbie / New Pack" on 07/23/2011 00:38:41 MDT Print View

"Hammocks are great but AT often has balds and other camp spots that make hammocks difficult to hang. A lightweight tent is more versatile and a good back-up for an AT rainstorm! A BA tent can be lighter than your Eno Hammock and tarp. Deals in Forums and ebay."

I respectfully contest this statement. There are a few balds on the AT, but probably less than 1% of the entire trail. It's not known as the Green Tunnel for nothing. I just did the Roan Mountain stretch of balds- about 12 miles of back-to-back balds, but trust me, even here there is no shortage of trees to hang from. You may not be perched up with a gorgeous view from the top of a bald, but camping on top of these balds may not be the best idea anyway. Many are over 6000 feet...not a good place to be completely exposed all night, for a multitude of reasons. A hammock you can hang anywhere (except for in the Smoky's) and not have to worry about rocks, roots, uneven ground, etc... And how many times have you been on the AT, come to where you had planned to camp that night, only to find out 12 other people had the same idea as you, and now there is literally no place to pitch your tent. It's happened to me more times than I care to mention. Had I had a hammock it wouldn't have mattered.

Here's a list of everything necessary for a hammock setup:
Warbonnet Blackbird Double Layer 1.1 with suspension (24oz)
Warbonnet Edge Silnylon Tarp (10oz)
Warbonnet Yeti Underquilt (12.5oz)
Total: 46.5oz

Here's a list of everything necessary for the tent setup:
Big Anges Fly Creek Tent (35oz)
Thermarest Neoair small (9oz)
Total: 44oz

The hammock setup I listed costs more than that tent setup, but many people find the cost and weight penalty (over tarps and tents/tarptents) to be far outweighed by the comfort of hammock sleeping.

I also really can't stress enough how you should consider the Warbonnet over the Eno. Head over to and see how everyone raves about their Blackbirds. But if you really do like the Eno, you could probably find one for sale used on that forum...probably by someone switching to a Warbonnet, though ;)

Lucas Csovelak
(ljcsov) - F
Tarps on 07/23/2011 09:11:12 MDT Print View

How do you feel about tarping it?

Treated nylon 9x9 tarp + Tyvek ground cover + few light stakes + shock cord

for sleeping...short ridgerest + 30 thermolite slumberjack

I could get all that stuff for a pretty cheap price. It seems rather versatile and super light.

Michael Moore
(lilricky) - F
well.... on 07/25/2011 09:13:19 MDT Print View

Tarping can definitely be versatile, cheap, and light, but you have to be pretty tough facing the conditions of the AT. Snow, wind, muddy & rocky ground, and rain run-offs can make your AT trip a miserable experience if you're not the type that can take that sort of thing.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Tarps on 07/25/2011 12:27:32 MDT Print View

Here is Matt Edward had to say about using a tarp on his AT thru hike

yes, tarps are great,extremely versatile and a cheap,light way to go.Ray Jardine and many others have thru hiked the AT,CDT,and PCT using tarps in all kinds of weather no problem.

Edited by annapurna on 07/25/2011 12:31:34 MDT.