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Please Critique My New Gear List
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Danny Korn
(d0nk3yk0n9) - F

Locale: New York
Please Critique My New Gear List on 09/01/2011 13:13:14 MDT Print View

Last year I posted my gear list and got many, many suggestions. After incorporating most of those suggestions, my pack weight has gone down tremendously.

However, it's still heavier than I'd like, so I'm looking for more suggestions. I've looked through it again and again and I just can't find anywhere that I can easily lighten up my pack (without buying more expensive gear).

I'm probably missing a few minor things (my sunglasses, for example, which weigh about an ounce), but for the most part, the gear list in my profile accurately reflects what I bring on most trips.

I'm also planning for a possible JMT thru-hike next summer (late July or early August most likely, if it happens at all), so I'd like anyone with experience or knowledge of the JMT to chime in on my gear list and its suitability for the JMT. I've never hiked the JMT or even been in the area, so I have no idea about many things, such as how many layers to bring, etc. Any information or input would be greatly appreciated.


Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Please Critique My New Gear List on 09/01/2011 13:46:36 MDT Print View

I didnt see your earlier list, but this one looks pretty good. As for suggestions:

- If you have a pot then nix the bowl. There is no need for 2 items to eat out of. If you are going solo then switch to a smaller and lighter pot if you have it. Also since you have a bandanna you can drop the pot holder too. Possible savings 4oz

- look for a lighter ground cloth. Even if you use a painter tarp it would be cheap and lighter.

- You can swap out your rain jacket for something lighter like Driducks and save yourself about 9oz.

- Take a look at your med kit and see if you can drop a few oz off that as well.

- If you really want to save some weight and have a few $$$ the Kelty Lightyear would be a good place to start. A 20* quilt is right around 20oz and that would save you about 15oz right there, but it would cost you a bit as well.

As for things you might be missing - firestarter, bug spray, sunscreen, whistle and what about a bivy for around 9oz that will give you bug protection and the ability to nix the groundsheet. Also is the minima vest enough insulation for you with the indie hoodie?

Edited by Slvravn on 09/01/2011 13:48:17 MDT.

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Some cheap options on 09/01/2011 13:52:24 MDT Print View

Some cheap solutions:

You could get rid of the camp suds and fill a small bottle full of Dr. Bronner’s

Nix the knife and carry a razor blade

Your first aid kit seems heavier than is necessary.

Nix the headlamp and go with a Photon Freedom, which is cheap and can be clipped to the brim of a hat to serve as a headlamp.

You could lose an ounce easy by choosing different long underwear bottoms; the P Capilene 1 regularly go on sale

Nix the rain jacket and replace with DriDucks

Why is your bowl so heavy? Can you use the pot for a bowl?

Forget about the pot lifter and use your gloves instead, saving you around 2 ounces

Your tent stakes seem heavier than need be. What are you using?

You could definitely save a lot of weight by switching your trekking poles with some lighter ones. Ben has a single Gossamer Gear LiteTrek Fixed Pole 133cm for sale on his clearance page (i.e., GooseFeet) for $40.

Your shorts… do they weigh that much, or are you including the weight of the entire pair of pants. If just the shorts, you could lose a lot by switching to other shorts.

I’m no expert on these things. Hopefully a few of them will give you their thoughts as well. I hope this helps.

Chris Grove

Locale: Colorado Front Range
Lighter bowl option on 09/01/2011 14:42:13 MDT Print View

I understand the extra bowl. I like to have a pot + bowl so I can drink coffee with my cereal.

I use a recycled Chunky Soup microwaveable bowl ( It weighs 1.1 ounces so its fairly light for my 5-star breakfast.

Did somebody already comment about the Nalgene bottles? That's an easy and cheap to replace. Recycled 1L Gatorade work great.

That should save you about 8 ounces for $8.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
cheap changes on 09/01/2011 14:45:41 MDT Print View

Easy mac bowl and water bottles. I am always surprised how much the Nalgene bottles weigh. The easy mac bowl even insulates and you can cook the mac first night out if you want too.

Pilate de Guerre
(deGuerre) - F

Locale: SE, USA
Re: Please Critique My New Gear List on 09/01/2011 15:37:04 MDT Print View

Your sleeping bag was already mentioned as a large source of weight reductions, and that would be pretty expensive or time consuming (same thing). A better option for comparable weight reduction and probably net-positive cash flow would be to: Ditch the Nalgenes! You are carrying about ~11oz. of unnecessary weight right there. SmartWater bottles are great. When you buy the bottle, it's filled with overpriced water that you can drink. That's one advantage ;) They hold 1L and have a long, skinny shape that is easy for packing. There are other lighter options as well, like the "green" initiative Dasani bottles that use less plastic. Another venerable option is a Platypus-type container. But they don't come filled with overpriced water ;)

The rain jacket is heavy and unless it is so breathable as to double as a wind shirt, it's pretty much single use. You could bring along a poncho tarp and use it for a number of things including very ventable rain protection, a ground cloth, an extension or vestibule for your tarp or even as a bit of a bivy in case your SilTwinn doesn't keep you completely dry. All that for less weight.

You have a lot of weight in socks. Consider keeping just the one pair of heavier wool socks for sleep if your feet need the warmth and switching to light weight low cut synthetic socks or just cheap, thin dress socks for hiking in.

Dr. Bronner's in the place of both toothpaste and Campsuds. If you don't know, Dr. Bronner's is a natural liquid soap that is safe to use in the backcountry and is totally non-toxic and can be used as toothpaste. It's also super concentrated so you only need a teeny-tiny little bit. It also comes in different flavors or smells or whatever, but consider going unscented as that stuff is meant to be diluted so it is pretty smelly and may attract bears or other creatures.

The redundant bowl is redundant. Let your heating pot be your eating pot. Less weight, simpler, less cleaning, etc. The pot holder is unnecessary with so many socks and gloves. If you really prefer a pot holder considering fiberglass wick or some pieces of kitchen silicone.

The knife can be traded in for a single razor blade in a cereal box cardboard sheath. If you just really like handles and folding, you can get an 8g derma-safe. It is possible that Nanny State and her muscle Johnny Law would consider the derma safe to be a prohibited straight razor weapon though. This varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Could you switch out the convertible pants/shorts for lightweight running shorts and wear your long underwear bottoms at night/in the morning when you're chilly? I find my legs are never very cold when active if I have a hat on and proper core insulation. You may want to move up to some heavier weight underpants though ;)

All of this adds up to some considerable weight savings. I see you have a MYOG vest in your pack. Have you considered putting together a quilt to suit you? If you prefer a sleeping bag type cut you could make it a top bag or do like some of Javan's quilts where they have extra fabric to tuck underneath you.

You mentioned not wanting buy more expensive gear. If you buy the hardware and fabric from OWFInc. or DIYGearSupply and the down from that would save you money over a Thru-Hiker kit and only weigh about 2 oz. more if you went with 800 fill versus 900 fill.

What brand are your 1.67oz. Quick-Dry Briefs?

Edited by deGuerre on 09/01/2011 15:57:33 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Missing Items - Light weight options on 09/01/2011 15:48:21 MDT Print View

Hi Danny,

Most likely I will repeat a lot of things other posters have already said, but I will give you nevertheless my complete feedback. I did the JMT last year and this year during the last week of July and the first week of August. Although the conditions were vastly different in regard to snow on the passes and creek levels at crossings, the overall conditions on the JMT were very similar. Both years I had only two days with rain/hail. Both years the temperatures at night went only once below freezing. That gives you a good impression of what to prepare for.

I missing on your list several items: Hat, sun glasses, lip balm, sunscreen, headnet, DEET, maps, whistle, bear canister, camera, fire starter, fuel bottle.

Items where you could save weight are rainjacket (Dry Ducks are only $15 and you get the pants for "free" with the jacket), head lamp (Photon Micro is sufficient light in camp), ground cloth (for example the GG polycryo), stakes, bowl, Nalgenes (get either Platypus or free gatorade bottles).

One item where you could save a lot of weight - but for a lot of money - is the sleeping bag. I was both years fine in my WM Summerlite (had to put on my down jacket during two nights below 30F). At 19 oz it saves you almost a full pound.


Danny Korn
(d0nk3yk0n9) - F

Locale: New York
Re: Please Critique My New Gear List on 09/01/2011 16:30:32 MDT Print View

So, far, it looks like I have a bunch of little changes and a few bigger ones to make. This isn't an exhaustive list, but here's some of the things it sounds like I can do:

-Ditch the bowl, as it isn't necessary at all. It was a holdover from previous trips when I cooked with a group and needed a separate bowl.

-Ditch the pot holder. I've got enough things I can grab pots with that I don't need it.

-Cut down the ground sheet, as right now it's way too big and thus heavy. It's actually 0.5 mil painter's plastic, so once I cut it down (to probably less than 1/3 its current size), it'll be much better on weight.

-Swap the Nalgenes for disposable water bottles (probably 1L gatorade or smartwater bottles, as I like the size/shape of those).

-I'll probably swap my really heavy rainjacket for the much lighter DriDucks. I've been meaning to do that for quite a while and just never got around to it.

-I forgot to list the hat and sunglasses; I'll find it and update the spreadsheet sometime soon.

-I didn't think about the bear canister issue. I'm really early in my planning for the JMT and this is mostly my list for other trips (where I don't need a canister). Thanks for reminding me that I need one for this trip.

-I don't know why my stakes are so heavy in this spreadsheet. I think I'll re-weigh them and the tarp separately, as they should be fairly light (GossamerGear titanium stakes).

-I don't have a fuel bottle yet, as I haven't decided what I'm going to use for that. It'll probably end up being a disposable water bottle that's a different color from the ones I'll use for water.

-At some point, I plan on doing a MYOG quilt which should come in significantly lighter than my current bag (haven't decided on the exact design or materials yet). Until then, I'm going to keep using my Kelty bag.

EDIT: Oh, and I can repackage my Camp Suds into a significantly smaller package. I don't need the whole bottle, so taking a smaller bottle of it should save weight as well. I might do toothpaste dots as well, but I couldn't get it to work the last time I tried.

Edited by d0nk3yk0n9 on 09/01/2011 16:31:38 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
insight / feedback on 09/02/2011 09:06:45 MDT Print View

2x 1L Nalgene ------ 12.3 ounces ----- Uggh! Swith to 2x one liter size water bottles out of your recycle bin. 0.6 ounces each, for a total of 1.2 oz, savinv over 10 oz!

Camp Suds --- 2.80 ------ Too much, just repackage into something smaller.

Phone 4.60 ----- You need to ask youself if you truly NEED this or not. A lot of wilderness environments don't have service anyway. I would strongly advocate NIXING.

ID, money, etc. ---- 2.10 ------ Realisticly, there is no NEED for this, nix it.
First aid kit ----- 6.00 -------- This is heavy, cut it down by half. Save 3 oz.

Smartwool Socks (2 Pair) 5.60 oz --------- Replace with thin little shorty running socks. Under an oz per pair, saving approx 4 oz.

ULA Ohm -------- 23.90 -------- You could easily take a scissor and razor blade to this pack and shave off plenty. My guess, up to 8 oz or so.

Coldgate TOTAL is the best toothpaste for making little dots!

Edited by mikeclelland on 09/02/2011 09:08:34 MDT.