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Help a Poor College Student Out!
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Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Help a Poor College Student Out! on 03/23/2012 17:25:43 MDT Print View

Hello! Been lurking for awhile and decided to hop on board the UL train. Being a college student (poor) I have some questions about gear purchases that I trust y'all can answer and it would be a huge help for me with saving money.

Next Trip Planned: Front Range in mid-May.

Concerning Packs:

I sold my Osprey Aether 85 in favor of a smaller a lighter pack. I have all but purchase the GG Mariposa Plus but I would like to know about the durability of the pack. I cant afford to buy a new pack for every trip and for every specific scenario and I feel the Mariposa is a pretty sweet all around pack. Right now my base weight including the Mariposa and TT Contrail (also considering) is 13.25 pounds with out much weight to drop at all.


Pretty much I want the best tent (or shelter) for all weather and bugs etc and also the lightest and durable (if such a thing exists). The Contrail is the frontrunner for me at the moment. I considered the Sublite but it isnt great for heavy rain. Oh yes, I cant spend more than around 200 bucks.

Rain Gear:

Right now I have no rain pants and I have $165 to blow at REI and I was thinking about getting the Patagonia Torrentshell Pants that weigh 8.6 oz. I would like to just get a rain kilt but the pants will double as camp pants to keep me warm. As for the jacket I am just going to go the Dri-Ducks route I suppose.

Thanks ahead of time for reading and any help/idea it is much appreciated.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Help a Poor College Student Out! on 03/23/2012 17:37:19 MDT Print View

Take a look at the SMD Lunar Solo as well, if you haven't already. With longish tents like the Contrail, you should take care to orient the foot end toward the wind. But we know how winds can change directions multiple times. With a Lunar properly staked down, it can take the winds from most all directions.

One other thought... once you've decided what you want, don't get into any rush to buy. Instead, pay your BPL dues, and post "want ads" on the Gear Exchange. You'll often find good second hand gear at good prices.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Rain pants on 03/23/2012 18:40:52 MDT Print View

I wouldnt buy rain pants. For me at least they are not needed. Having soaked legs while hiking even at zero doesnt bother me as hiking keeps you warm. In camp before bed it is cold but since its raining you are eating and getting in the tent as fast as possible. Once you are in the tent you throw on your dry base layer bottoms and go to sleep.

Another option which keeps your legs mostly dry is the rain skirt. You can get one from ULA for about $30 or make one from sil nylon and some cordage.

pants on 03/23/2012 18:48:37 MDT Print View

the driducks jacket comes with pants.

or if 5 oz is too heavy, get some tyvek pants for 2 oz.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/23/2012 18:49:17 MDT.

Kenneth Houseal
... on 03/23/2012 18:51:10 MDT Print View

I really don't feel like rain pants are necessary either. I carried a pair for about 350 miles until I realized I would never use them. I recently bought a zpacks cloudkilt weighing in at 1.1oz, I'll prob never use it except for a door mat for my tent...but hey, you never know.

I would highly recommend getting a bpl year membership and then head to the gearswap and post up some WTB adds. You should be able to pick up a used contrail, if that's what you really want, for between $100-$150. A lot of guys have spare packs laying around...and while they don't feel like putting them up for sale, they'd jump at a WTB add. Heck you could probably pick up a contrail and pack for less than the price of a new contrail.

I'm a college student as well and heading in the UL direction. I had to save for almost 2 years, but now I've got some awesome gear. Just when you think you can leave the ramen get the UL gear obsession :D.

Edited by Homewardbound on 03/23/2012 18:52:09 MDT.

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re on 03/23/2012 19:00:35 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies.

The SMD Lunar Solo I really like as well would anyone happen to have experience in heavy rains in it vs. the Contrail?

I am still on the fence about the rain pants, it is just a big deal to me to be warm-ish in camp at night because I got with buddies and we stay up a while after dinner and talk or do whatever. How about myog Tyvek?

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re: ... on 03/23/2012 19:03:13 MDT Print View

Haha I understand the Ramen diet!!

What temps were you in when you decided to ditch the pants?

Kenneth Houseal
Pants on 03/23/2012 19:06:08 MDT Print View

For pants, I would either carry convertible shorts...or buy some down pants. Perhaps you can pick up a pair of used montbell ul down pants? I just don't remember my rain pants offering much to any warmth, good windbreakers I suppose.

Edit: I wear shorts hiking from anywhere just below freezing to any temperature higher than that haha, I do sweat a bunch though. I ditched the pants in mid 40*weather, I had a pair of convertible pants given to me...and they were the key at the time. Now, I've found the wonderful world of Down...and I'm always warm.

Edited by Homewardbound on 03/23/2012 19:09:24 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Re on 03/23/2012 19:08:32 MDT Print View

If it is storming enough to need rain pamts you wont want to be hanging outside and if it is nice enough outside to not need rain pants ie a slight drizzle then you dont need the rain pants.

What are you planning on bringing to hike in during the day and what is your base layer at night? iI usually have convertable pants for hiking in plus a lightweight base layer for sleeping and for cold mornings. If you are just planning to hike in shorts than rain pants might work but for me i cant hike in rain pants because tbey are too clammy.

I would try a hike or two without them and see how it goes before buying them.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Help a Poor College Student Out! on 03/23/2012 19:11:24 MDT Print View

Tyvek pants are so cheap from US Plastics that it hardly seems worth it to make your own. I haven't used mine in the rain yet, but I used them a couple times while doing laundry.

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re: Re: Re on 03/23/2012 19:27:14 MDT Print View

During the day I just hike in running shorts. And I have Capilene 2 pants for a base layer. I suppose I could go the convertible pants route and if its raining I could put on a rain skirt and take off the legs to keep them dry for sitting around at night. Also thats a good point if its raining its not like ill be sitting outside.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
bivy/tarp? on 03/23/2012 20:11:25 MDT Print View

are you set on a tent or have you considered getting a bug bivy and a tarp?

there are a ton of tarp options...

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
SMD gatewood cape with the inner net tent on 03/23/2012 20:17:17 MDT Print View

go with six moons cape and net tent, then that covers your shelter, rainwear, and pack cover, and then bring a set of windpants/windjacket for light rain and wind. you'll be lighter, and more comfortable in everything except heavy blowing rain, in which case you'll probably want to be in your tent instead of hiking.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
My Ideas on 03/23/2012 20:20:51 MDT Print View

I would NOT spend big bucks on rain pants at this point. If you need them I'd start with cheap ($20) Wal Mart brand. Not as nice for sure but they'll do the job if you really need them. I'd spend the REI money on your choice of the following
1. A raincoat (a good quality raincoat is more important then nice rain pants).
2. A tarp
3. A pack.

A potential REI pack choice would be the Osprey Exos 46. Its a bit heavier than the Mariposa but you could use your dividend on it. Then I'd buy a cheap tarp (Etowah outfitters) and a cheap rain suit (a Equinox poncho is one option or a driducks suit).
For packs I might consider the Golite Jam as a cheaper alternative. If you learn to pack it properly its pretty good up to 25 pounds (30 if you're lucky). I would be cautious on the pack. I've tried a variety of packs and so far nothing has been quite perfect.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
luke on 03/23/2012 20:59:34 MDT Print View

i like luke's suggestion of checking out the exos 46. that's a really nice lightweight pack. that frees up your money to buy your shelter.

if you want to go frameless and shave some more weight perhaps look at the hornet:

i 3rd or 4th that you don't buy rainpants...

i also like the driducks suggestion. all rain gear really sucks, so you might as well go cheap and repairable...

great advice really all around.

Edited by StainlessSteel on 03/23/2012 21:04:07 MDT.

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re: bivy/tarp? on 03/23/2012 22:15:05 MDT Print View

I really just like the convenience of a tent cause its a all in one thing you know? But I have never used a tarp/bivy combo so I really wouldnt know how to compare them

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re: luke on 03/23/2012 22:30:50 MDT Print View

I also really like the Hornet it just doesnt have water bottle pockets on the side of the pack that I can tell which is a bummer. But the idea of using the dividend for it is very tempting.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: bivy/tarp? on 03/23/2012 22:32:47 MDT Print View

I haven't used a tarp since I was a kid, I'm happy with my GG TheOne tent, although I did have some issues with it standing up to sustained downpours last year on the CT.

For your budget, and since you're undecided on tent vs tarp set-up, I would also recommend becoming a BPL membr and checking out the gear swap forum, even posting an ad for some of the things you're looking for. No need to spend so much on all new gear. Try out a few things and you can always resell what doesn't work for you.

Also, +1 on wind pants rather than rain pants. the top is more important for rain gear. Checkout Montbell stretch wind pants and some or their rain jackets, or also Montane for jackets. Their prices aren't bad and the weight is reasonable also.

have fun.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
rainpants! on 03/23/2012 23:04:28 MDT Print View

Ok I'm going to take the opportunity to play devil's advocate here and say that rainpants ain't a bad idea.

I've often wondered why people bring a pair of lightweight quick-dry, convertible, what have you pants when you could just bring rain pants. You definitely get some warmth (lack of breathability helps) and you can wear them through brush, etc.

I say ditch the hiking pants and bring a pair of light rainpants. I do think a cheap pair is good advice though, the Sierra Designs Microlight seem like a good option.

Just my .02

Edited by ctwnwood on 03/23/2012 23:05:02 MDT.

Clint Lum
(clintlum91) - F
Re: rainpants! on 03/23/2012 23:38:16 MDT Print View

Thats what I was thinking as well, but the plus to the rain skirt or tyvek is weight obviously which i need help getting down.

I really appreciate all the advice