Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
First time SUL, need some tips
Display Avatars Sort By:
Christopher Williams
(ketkrokur) - F

Locale: Dalian, China
First time SUL, need some tips on 08/19/2011 01:39:01 MDT Print View

Looking to fit in a Trans-Catalina Trail trip while I'm home for Christmas. Conditions can be windy/rainy at this time of year, and occasionally temps can drop into the 40's. I reckon having a proper campsite with a fire each night makes for a good opportunity to try going SUL. Planning on 3 nights with about 20-30km between each stop and a fair bit of elevation change.

I've compiled a gear list, covering the basics, to see what you guys think. I'm trying to use gear I currently have as much as possible. Some things might not be ideal, but if it will get the job done I'm happy. Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

* = Things I will need to buy

*Mont-Bell dry-tech bivy 179g
Oware 2.5 square tarp (buddy is carrying)

REI Travel Sack (would like the mont-bell thermal sheet, but I'm trying to keep a budget) 770g
*GG Thinlight 1/8 (instead of ridge rest 3/4) 68g
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack 323g

*Vargo Hexagon 116g
Bombilla (for yerba mate, would love to make a custom Ti one) 25g
Opinel 60g
Snowpeak 3 piece Ti set (minus small pot) 135g
Snowpeak Ti spoon 20g
Chopsticks 10g
Exotac Nano 15g
Mate gourd 15g

Patagonia Rain Shadow 363g
Patagonia down vest 244g
Capilene 3 L/S 244g
Smartwool PHd light hiker socks 100g?
UA Coldgear tights (can't find exact weight) 200g

Platy 1l 22g
Platy Bottle 37g
Muji foldable toothbrush 5g

Total 2772g (6.1lbs)

Edited by ketkrokur on 08/19/2011 01:46:24 MDT.

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Nix the Rain Shadow on 08/19/2011 02:08:12 MDT Print View

Nix the Rain Shadow in favor of DriDucks. Considerable weight savings, cheap (check out thread in Gear Deals), and DriDucks has some breathability for double use as a windshirt to increase warmth alone or while wearing the down vest.

I see you've marked the bivvy as something you'll need to buy. Consider getting a bivvy from one of the cottage manufacturers that haunt this place. Ti-Goat's bivvy may fit your weight requirement and budget.

Christopher Williams
(ketkrokur) - F

Locale: Dalian, China
What bivy material for breathability? on 08/19/2011 02:29:39 MDT Print View

I was wondering what this DriDucks business was all about. How breathable is it in comparison to the more expensive fabrics? Also, do you have any experience with their poncho? Pricing/weight is pretty hard to beat.

I've checked out a lot of the cottage manufacturers for bivies, but I have no experience with them so I don't really know what to look for. I'm not worried about storm-proof rain protection as much as breathability. I've read so many reviews about people waking up with wet bags from condensation, and I'd prefer to avoid that. What fabrics would you recommend for sleeping under a tarp where you will, at most, get some indirect spray?

Edited by ketkrokur on 08/19/2011 02:43:44 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: What bivy material for breathability? on 08/19/2011 08:01:46 MDT Print View

DriDucks are very breathable. I find that they're more breathable than GoreTex. I think I read somewhere that eVent is more breathable than DriDucks, but it's also much more expensive. The downside is that they're not very durable, and the stitching is often poor, at least at the zipper. I had to restitch the zipper at the ends after only wearing the jacket a few times. I don't mind this for the price and breathability. I also put some small stick-on velcro squares on the zipper flap to keep it closed better and as insurance against zipper failure.

Edit: bring duct tape for repairs.

Edited by AndyF on 08/19/2011 08:03:57 MDT.

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Re: What bivy material for breathability? on 08/19/2011 08:19:03 MDT Print View


Most cottage manufactured bivvys on the market use the same top material. It's a 0.9oz. 20D nylon material treated with a DWR and has a finished weight of 1.1oz. It has a few different names but the same specs at a few places. There are also lighter options. Ti-Goat could probably make you a custom bivvy that uses the SevenD fabric as a top. This material is .64oz/sy. This probably wouldn't be suitable for use without a tarp in a downpour, but may be okay for use under a tarp like you plan. I'm not certain of its suitability as I haven't made a bivvy with it or heard of anyone doing so. Ask Josh at Ti-Goat -- he'd know.

Christopher Williams
(ketkrokur) - F

Locale: Dalian, China
Patagonia LW Travel Pack, Mont-Bell Thermal Sheet on 08/19/2011 19:02:46 MDT Print View

Those Ti Goat bivies look solid. Definitely going to pick up the DriDucks as well. I'm quite careful with my gear, and like to go as stealthily as I can through the brush, so hopefully the durability will not be an issue.

LW Travel Pack
Wondering if anyone has had experience taking the Patagonia LW Travel Pack on a SUL trip. I know it is not specifically designed for such things, but I've carried similar loads in it before without issue. A lot of the other SUL packs I've seen, like the ION or the mont-bell versions, don't seem to have side pockets for water or other nicknacks you might want to grab on the fly. I'd rather not lug around the weight/space of a camelback, but I don't know how else you could get water quickly out of those other packs.

Mont-Bell Thermal Sheet
This seems like a solid mix of quilt and bag, has more warmth than my Travel Sack and is more stuffable. Are there quilts that are equally versatile at a similar price point? Is it annoying trying to stay warm on a 3/4 pad with a quilt? It seems like the bivy helps contain everything and keep you cozy, but I have no experience in this area. Any tips?

Thank you very much for the help!

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Re: Patagonia LW Travel Pack, Mont-Bell Thermal Sheet on 08/19/2011 19:44:42 MDT Print View

I don't know the price-point of the sleeping insulation you've named above, but check out Hammock Gear's line of top quilts. If you're 5"11" or shorter these are probably the best value out there right now. Te Wa's offerings are also very nice and a good value.

Check out the dedicated SUL forum and ask for some advice there. Cross-posting is frowned upon, so maybe ask the staff to move this thread.

Edited by deGuerre on 08/19/2011 20:06:29 MDT.

Christopher Williams
(ketkrokur) - F

Locale: Dalian, China
moving thread on 08/19/2011 20:14:58 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help, how does one go about asking to move a thread?

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Re: moving thread on 08/19/2011 21:49:01 MDT Print View

Wrangle down one of the staff here. I'm not sure how best to contact them. Check the forums at the very bottom of the forum list. I think there is a meta-forum there for forum issues.

James Klein

Locale: Southeast
Re: moving thread on 08/19/2011 21:59:25 MDT Print View

I would just post your question in the Gear/SUL need to worry about getting this thread moved. No one should have a problem with you posting a question in your own thread--that's silly...(ie don't worry about "cross-posting"). That said you will get more answers in these the other threads.

Cross posting is usually looked down upon when you are trying to direct the attention of thread viewers to something you are selling etc.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: First time SUL, need some tips on 08/19/2011 22:05:41 MDT Print View

Sorry. Previous comments were meant for the Decagon stove.

BTW You are still a pound over SUL.

Ditch the mate' equipment

Edited by kthompson on 08/20/2011 09:38:26 MDT.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Re: First time SUL, need some tips on 08/20/2011 09:08:57 MDT Print View

That's the stove I took to the meet up at Henry Coe this past February.

At one point I would have passionately defended the Vargo Hexagon wood burner. The first season I used it, it worked flawlessly and served me well. I liked it so much I packed it even if I was taking a canister stove...but not anymore. After time, the pins started working their way out as everything loosened up with use and now the fiddle factor is too high for me, as pin slots and pins need to be messed with every time I want to use it. In the end, it was too annoying having to keep track of whether or not things were falling off/apart when I took it out and attempted to use it.

Recently, I've picked up a Caldera Cone Ti system and like it very much - I can make my small fire or use alcohol/Esbit. It's a bit more money, but worth the investment in the long run...and I can leave the canister at home.

Edited by AaronMB on 08/20/2011 09:31:50 MDT.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: First time SUL, need some tips on 08/20/2011 14:20:31 MDT Print View

Hi Christopher,

I'm also working on a first SUL list, prob. for next season. So take what I say with the necessary grain of salt.

If your goal is a just a very light load, and you like a few creature comforts, maybe 6# is good enough. I've been carrying a little less than 8# on recent hikes, and it's a joy. If you're aiming for the magic <5# number, my guess is you'll need to be more ruthless. What I like about having a particular weight in mind, is that I really scrutinize each item, wondering if I really need it.

To me, for example, your kitchen setup seems too heavy with too many pieces. I'm not sure fuel savings for just 3 nights justify the weigh of the wood burner. No need for more than one pot, or for chopsticks *and* spoon. I'm sure you can adapt your mate' drinking to a simpler kit--use a SP 600 mug for cook pot and in place of gourd, for example. Make your own bombilla, not out of titanium, but out of aluminum (lighter). I'm not a mate' guy, but I bet if you take a 6" length of thin wall aluminum tube, pinch one end closed, and cut a few slots near the closed end with a Dremel or file, you'll have something that works well. I happen to have a piece of 3/16" dia. x 0.014" wall tube lying around (easy to find at a hobby store). The weight of a 6" piece on my scale is about 2 grams.

BTW, Muji = great store. Wish we had them in the states.

Edited by DavidDrake on 08/20/2011 15:58:16 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Bivy on 08/20/2011 15:43:05 MDT Print View

Considered going with no bivy? I don't typically use one.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 08/20/2011 15:53:34 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Stove on 08/20/2011 15:52:45 MDT Print View

Cat can set up can be stove and stand for a lot less weight.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
yerba mate on 08/20/2011 16:30:47 MDT Print View

Your mate set-up caught my eye - I'm a big fan myself but haven't seen mention of it on the site before.

What is your bombilla made from? I got a bamboo one super cheap that seems about as light as one could possibly be.

You could ditch the bombilla and gourd (seems uneccesary, especially with two pots already) by:

-mixing the mate with water (hot or cold) in a pot
-putting a bandana over the mouth of your water bottle
-slowly pour mate through bandana into your bottle
-enjoy your mate on the move

Edited by ctwnwood on 08/20/2011 16:32:57 MDT.

Josh Platt
(EasternBox) - F

Locale: Southeast
patagonia pack on 08/21/2011 13:46:23 MDT Print View

The only issue I have had with this pack is the water bottle pockets are too tight. But, I have seem the packs elsewhere and the pockets seemed a lot looser than mine. I may have a manufacture defected pack? Other than that, it's a great pack.

Christopher Williams
(ketkrokur) - F

Locale: Dalian, China
Ditch the yerba mate?? Noooooooooooooo! on 08/21/2011 18:46:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the responses! I suppose I may not really be qualifying for Super Ultra Lite. Mainly wanted to see if I could pare enough stuff down to comfortably fit into my little pack for three days. The idea of tramping around in a backpack the size of a college student's jansport is appealing to me.

As to the Yerba Mate...
This is probably the least Ultralight caffeinated beverage available. You need a good bit of it to make a cup, it isn't particularly light, and to do it properly you need the gourd and bombilla. Despite all of that, I really enjoy a nice mate with a friend before, during, and after a nice day outside. It's more social, and it is ritualistic. The bamboo bombilla seems like a solid option, definitely more lightweight than steel. Have you had any problems with it becoming nasty after consistent use, or does it hold up pretty well to moisture?

Alcohol vs. Wood
I'm a fan of the wood stove for a number of reasons. I enjoy making a fire from scratch, I like the heat it provides, and the soft light of the flame is soothing. Wood just feels right to me when I'm outside. Alcohol cat cans are something I've been looking at for a while as well, and in places where wood isn't an option it seems like the best bet, but I prefer wood when I have the choice.

Vargo Hexagon
I've heard similar things about the construction of the hexagon. How many times did you use it before it started coming apart on you? The Bushcooker LT also looks pretty solid, and it weighs even less, but the thing I liked about the hexagon is the packability. The caldera cone seems rather complicated to put together, is it easier than it looks?

With two dudes under one tarp (9'x9') is there enough coverage to go bivy-less in a down bag? I haven't done much tarp camping, but it seems like if you had much of a wind with your rain you would end up with a soggy bag. Was also planning on sleeping under the stars as much as possible, the bivy would be better then nothing if there was unexpected precipitation in the middle of the night.

Thank you very much for all the input!

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Stove on 08/21/2011 22:43:22 MDT Print View

Chris - I used the Vargo Hexagon quite a bit. The packability was a huge plus for me, but in the end, was not worth the durability issue, in my opinion. Penny for penny, I think the Caldera is a better investment and will last longer, assuming it's taken care of accordingly; it's also very easy to set up. FWIW, I attempted to contact Vargo a while back but never heard back from them.

Edited by AaronMB on 08/21/2011 22:44:13 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Ditch the yerba mate?? Noooooooooooooo! on 08/22/2011 12:32:10 MDT Print View

Edited by annapurna on 08/22/2011 12:44:32 MDT.