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Help a newbie out! $300 bucks to upgrade this kit. What to do?
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Michael Foster

Locale: Louisiana
Help a newbie out! $300 bucks to upgrade this kit. What to do? on 02/28/2012 19:53:19 MST Print View

This is my first post, I don't have the experience to contribute yet, but I have enjoyed and learned SO much from reading this board. Over the last 2 years I've reduced my pack weight from 30lbs to this:
I've listed only packed, nothing that I wear
I have $300 budget before my next trip to upgrade my kit in the hopes of getting it lighter and better. Items I've been eyeing: WM Highlite, Exped Synmat UL7(I have a z-lite but i need the air as I am a side sleeper)I never had any problems lugging a 30 lb pack, but I've enjoyed lightening up. I'm not quite to ultralight, I think I need some more time "out there" getting comfortable with less. Your suggestions are eagerly awaited, don't hold back I don't bruise easily!

Edited by nolamyke on 02/28/2012 20:14:29 MST.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Great Start ! on 02/28/2012 20:04:15 MST Print View

Having around 17 lbs with food and water carried on your back is what most people only dream of. First big thing is your Sleeping Mat / Sleeping Bag Combo -- If you get away with a Neoair Small + small z-lite sections for feet (or use your pack) and a WM Highlite you'd save a bit of weight right there (obviously looking for them on Gear Swap to save you some $$). I'd go for a simply Alcohol stove set-up w/ HEET carried in a plastic 16 oz. (or 8 oz.) soda bottle to save weight.

Looking good for a lightweight kit on a budget. I'm impressed you use a 34L pack as most would go right for the 50L.

Maybe try dropping the Insulated bottoms and the Arctyx top and get a $20 Dri Ducks set that could also be slept in to boost warmth (that's what I did for my A.T. thru-hike and it worked out very well).

Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
Re: Help a newbie out! $300 bucks to upgrade this kit. What to do? on 02/28/2012 20:08:26 MST Print View

I dunno man it really looks pretty solid. You could lighten up for free by eliminating a few items like extra clothes or the gerber saw for example, but you may also prefer to have those luxuries. A Platypus could save you almost 2 oz over the dromelite.

You said you were interested in the WM Highlite. Definitely a good bag but for summer use would a quilt be out of the question? You could get even lighter yet for the money with a quilt. Also for the pad, would you put up with a shorter length pad or do you need full length? Again you could get lighter for the money with a shorter torso length pad and maybe a scrap of foam at the feet if necessary. Both these items could be half the weight of your current ones.

I also would second the alcohol stove. Again though could be personal preference.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 02/28/2012 20:18:18 MST.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
upgrade on 02/28/2012 20:08:27 MST Print View

That's a pretty slick kit really. You've pretty much done a good job of putting this together. Everything from here on in is nickle-and-diming it to reduce the weight.

A new sleeping pad would be pretty good. I am a slide sleeper as well, and am not really comfortable on the z-lite pads either. I have a similar pad, a big agnes insulated air core size regular: 24 ounces and worth every gram.

I just picked up a neo air x-lite small, 8.1 ounces with stuff sack and repair kit. I've only spent one night on it in my living room to test it out, and I was comfortable enough, so it might be an upgrade option for you.

If you have the sewing prowess and willingness for a few days of work, you can put together an M50/900fp down quilt kit from thru-hiker and put together a 13-14 ounce quilt.

With $300 you might be able to just squeeze in a Neoair X-lite and a MYOG quilt, or possibly a used Neoair and making a quilt. Doing so would drop roughly 22 ounces from your kit.

The other big ticket item would be shelter... but the contrail is pretty sweet. Use the contrail for this year, sell it, and upgrade to a lighter shelter next year perhaps.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Michael Foster

Locale: Louisiana
Awesome Advice on 02/29/2012 16:02:53 MST Print View

Thanks for the excellent advice guys. This is what I have done:
I spent $130 at and reduced my weight by 22oz with the new items and an additional 15.5oz by dropping some additional items that I didn't use last trip out in similar conditions.
my swaps:
1)POE PeakElite AC for Big Agnes Air Core---10.1oz for $80
2)Thermarest Campseat for Cocoon Air Pillow---1.1oz free(already had this, serves as camp seat &pillow)
3)32oz Platypus for MSR Dromlite 2L---2.3oz free already had this
4)Whitebox Alcohol Stove for Oprimus Crux--- 1.75 oz for $20 (cat can would be lighter, but I'm willing to sacrifice the weight for the durability & I didn't have a hole puncher)
5)fuel swap---3.20 for free and dont have to spend 5 bucks on fuel
6)Black Diamond Ion for Petzl Tikka Plus---1.75oz for $20
7)Ultimax socks for wool socks---2oz for $10
my drops:
ArcTeryx long bottoms 6.5oz
xtra T 4.8oz
xtra shorts 4.2oz

My two "luxury items" that I'm not ready to give up yet are the Arcteryx paclite shell and the gerber saw. I could save 11.5oz if I dropped them and added the driduck top.

My next moves for next spring when the misses approves the budget will be the WM Highlite and SMD Skyscape X. This will save an additional 15.5oz.

This is all for a 3day kit for temps 35-60degrees. For hotter temps I'll lose the long thermal t and probably do the driducks.

Thanks for all the help I cant wait to see how this lighter kit feels on the trail. I'm hitting Eagle Rock Loop in AR, Mar 9-11

Edited by nolamyke on 02/29/2012 17:32:54 MST.

brian lowe
(gonecrazy) - F

Locale: pacific north west
Re: Awesome Advice on 02/29/2012 21:09:43 MST Print View

your def on your way to becoming an ultra light freak. but always keep in mind the cost of dropping such weight. ie the sox,shorts,and t are a great way to drop weight but what happens when you throw in the "what if" variable ? this being said "for me" i would choose more clothes and less sleeping bag..but depending on the season that sleeping bag is looking pretty dang good,also id ditch the camp towel,the saw,and the camp seat.the tarp tent is def a full proof shelter but how much shelter do you really need ? a bivy or maybe even just an umbrella could lighten up you load pretty good (with the umbrella you might choose to leave your pack cover/rain coat at home as well). another side note is since your under 20 pounds you can switch to a pack that is half the weight,such as the granite gear virga.the trekking pole
could also be ditched but that's up to you and your knees

that is just my opinion,as you know everyone has dif needs/wants

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
bag on 02/29/2012 21:13:57 MST Print View

MEC is clearing out their 800 fill -3C and -10C bags. 200CAD for the -10C

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Awesome Advice on 03/01/2012 00:26:11 MST Print View

Nice work

That's some solid gear, which is a good thing. It will last a while. I wouldn't consider the jacket a luxury item, its solid and dependable.

10lbs is light enough. Don't worry about upgrading any more unless things wear out/break. Of course you can always try things that are basically free, like the cat can stove as an example if you find the time and are interested.

Eddy Mercx (cyclist) said: "don't upgrade, ride up grades". Now that you are ultralight, that's the best way to improve your hiking; by keeping fit and healthy and hiking.

Enjoy the outdoors mate :-)

Michael Foster

Locale: Louisiana
thanks on 03/01/2012 12:06:11 MST Print View

Brian, those are good things to think about. I've never gone without a tent due to the amount of precipitation and bugs I encounter in my neck of the woods, I'd like to try a bivy to see how it suits me. As far as the pack goes, I really enjoy the structure that this pack has, and it allows me to load up a few more pounds if I'm going longer, need to lug more water, take my son, etc. This pack is a step in the minimalist direction for me as I've used an Osprey Atmos 65 for the last 2 years. Adam, what you say is exactly where I want to be, and I think I'm getting more comfortable and switching out less each time I go out. Again thanks for the input! I really learn from and consider all of the unique perspectives.