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Please pick apart my list! =)
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Tristin A
(ttripl3) - F
Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 01:54:46 MDT Print View

Base weight is around 15lbs and about 4lb more worn. That's too much! (Doesn't include consumables and food.) Please let me know what I should get rid of/replace and any tips you may have for me. I'm just trying to get a basic lightweight three season system.

P.S. I have to carry a lot of extra food and water weight due to my dogs needs. So I'm not quite ready to make the leap to a frame-less pack.

Thanks ahead of time for your help! =)


Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 08:43:19 MDT Print View

Looks like a well thought-out start!

Can the dog carry any of his own food?

The only extra clothing you really need is one pair of socks which are dry for sleeping. You don't really need a second pair of wicking (polypro?) socks because they're thin and can be washed, squeezed, and then worn right away. Wash one pair in the evening, and hang it on your pack or put it next to your body somewhere to dry it (such as inside pocket of rain jacket).

For the colder months, you'll probably need rain pants, especially if there is wind. You can wear these (or a lightweight set of polyester running shorts) and rain jacket when washing other clothing.

You'll also likely want a warmer insulating jacket unless you plan to drape your sleeping bag around you under your rain jacket at night around camp. Consider adding some light fleece gloves and fleece cap also.

Consider trying non-waterproof trail runners instead of boots. At around 40-50F, I start wearing Rocky GoreTex socks to keep my socks dry. I just wore these (Inov8 Roclite 295) on a trip in 4 ft of snow with night temps down to at least 10F. I also wore thick wool socks and waterproof gaiters.

It might help to break down the weights of all of your kits which you have grouped together.

Your cook kit could easily be cut down to around 5-6 oz by using a small titanium pot, no bowl, solid fuel tablets (Esbit/Bluet), and freezer bag cooking (no pot mess to clean up).

One good extra light is a coin cell sized Photon Freedom which weighs about 0.3 oz. Sometimes, it's my only light.

I have the First Need XL. It's great, but I like the new Sawyer Squeeze better because it's only 4 oz (including dirty water bag). It doesn't filter out viruses like the First Need does, but the general consensus is that viruses aren't a concern in wilderness areas of the US and Canada. A Steripen Adventurer Opti is another lightweight solution if you don't mind relying on something with batteries and electronics. I only use that when it's cold enough during the day that I'm concerned about my filter freezing.

Your sleep system seems like it might be a little heavier and warmer than it needs to be? What low temps are you expecting?

The ZLite might be a little cold on colder nights, but you might be ok if you're a side sleeper. On the other hand, if you're a side sleeper, you might find it to not have enough hip padding for comfort. I'd suggest getting an Exped Synmat UL7, but then you might think you're sleeping in a hotel. :)

3 oz is probably the most needed in a first aid kit. I would add a plastic, pealess whistle carried on-person. And, don't forget maps in a waterproof bag.

I didn't see sunglasses.

That backpack is probably heavier than you need. Take a look at the weights and weight capacities of packs by Gossamer Gear, Granite Gear, ULA, Six Moons Design, and the Golite Jam.

Edited by AndyF on 03/25/2012 08:48:51 MDT.

Tristin A
(ttripl3) - F
Re: Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 14:15:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply, very helpful! =)

My dog can carry some of his gear but I graduate in August and am looking for a thru-hike to accomplish. (I will be hiking somewhere between a month and four months straight, depending on which hike I pick.) My dog has never hiked with me for more than a few days at a time, so I don't want to make him carry anything. He is 55lbs though, so if it comes down to it I can make him carry some of his own things. I would just like to be prepared to carry everything just in case.

Thanks for the tip on the socks! I've always carried around an extra pair of liners but now that you mention it.. it is unnecessary!

While I agree that the XL purifier is sorta overkill. (Okay, very overkill.) I'm not sure it's something I want to part with just yet. I'm very picky about my water and this thing makes me feel safe about almost any water source. Hopefully I will take a leap of faith on a light filter soon though. =) How confident do you feel with the Sawyer Squeeze on sketchier water sources?

My sleep system is sort of weird. I have a synthetic bag liner that I use. It's good for me down to about the 70s. (I'm in the South so that bag/liner works for me most of the time). But I will soon be receiving a down quilt that is good for at least, I heard, 40-45. I'm thinking for colder weather I could just pair the two together. Once I pick a specific trail/location I may decide that I only need to carry the down quilt but I'm a cold sleeper so I would like to be prepared to carry both. Do you have any other suggestions as a lighter option for an outer layer for the quilt?

Being from the South and only having one real season (summer) all year long I think it is my winter gear that is really shifting things around and making my pack heavier/making me have to rethink some of my go-to gear. I think it is also the winter gear that I'm having the most fuss over making sure I'm prepared in that area.

I think you're right about the bag. I really don't want to part with it though. =/ Do ya'll know any good bags for women who are thin but tall? I'm 5'7 and 105lbs. In addition to that pack weighing too much, it really doesn't fit me right. The body is too short and the hip belts are too big. Perhaps since I'm so thin I should not be looking at bags made specifically for women? I've carried a few mens packs in the past though and this one definitely feels a lot better to me, but perhaps it's just the quality of the bag. (The mens bags I had were cheaper.)

There were a few things I forgot to weigh out and add to my pack, thanks for reminding me! I'll have to get back to that later tonight. =)
(rain Pants, warmer jacket, hat, gloves, sunglasses)

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 15:21:49 MDT Print View

Hi Tristin.
I assume the Alps Razor is your liner? 29.6 oz is crazy heavy for something you only use at 70F--by comparison, a Western Mountaineering Ultralite weighs the same, but is conservatively rated for 20F (true, it's also 10X as expensive). If you can return the quilt you have coming, and if budget is a concern, you could get something like the Golite 3 season down quilt (20F rated, 26 oz, $230). I have the 1+ season, and have been very happy with the quality for the price. If you're committed to buying a new sleep system anyway, there's plenty of ways you can easily cut 1.5# *and* guarantee a warm night's sleep under 3 season conditions.

There are also much lighter packs in the 40L range. You can prob. find offering from Osprey (Exos and Hornet series) and Golite (Jam series) at big retailers (REI, etc) if that's important to you. Or go the cottage gear route (Gossamer Gear, ULA, SMD, etc). Good news is, a simple lightly-framed or frameless pack will often cost less than an overbuilt monster. Shouldn't be hard to cut 2# here (or more).

Hydration: 31 oz is extremely heavy for empty weight--it's more than your tent! And will you really need 5 liters of capacity? Dropping close to 1# here should be easy. As many here do, I use 1 oz repackaged Aquamira drops and have found them completely reliable and virtually tasteless.

These changes will cut at least 4.5# from your base (that's equivalent to more than 3 days of food!), with zero loss of safety, and a big increase in comfort. There's plenty of other places where you can whittle away some ounces as well, and your feet will love you for dropping 2# sweaty waterproof boots in place of <20oz breathable trail runners.

If you don't have it, Mike Clelland's book Ultralight Backpacking Tips is $10 very well spent. Fast, entertaining read.

Edited by DavidDrake on 03/25/2012 15:29:07 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 15:55:22 MDT Print View

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 16:32:35 MDT Print View

Ok, just for the record, I saw that Anna had posted and I clicked on this thread just to see if she posted a link. :)

Long live the Link Queen!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 03/25/2012 16:43:18 MDT Print View

Travis,I don't know what your talking about;)

Tristin A
(ttripl3) - F
=) on 03/26/2012 00:34:50 MDT Print View

Thanks all for your help! =) If you go to the link you will see that I have made some changes as per your suggestions. My list is now around 12lbs packed and 4lbs worn.

I ordered the GoLite Jam. Unfortunately I do not have an REI or any major retailer anywhere near where I live, so I will just have to order it and see how it goes.

I ditched out the Mountaineer outer layer of my sleep system, looking for a lighter replacement. To explain to the above questions though, it's not a liner exactly (that would be impossibly heavy for a liner!) It's like a liner only it goes on the outside of your bag instead of the inside. It's pretty thick (hence it's weight. it's 28oz) but it is what I use here in the south as my sleeping bag. It only keeps me comfortable down to 65-70 but it's perfect for the humid and hot weather I usually experience. I was thinking it would be good as an outer layer (What it's intended for) for my 40ish quilt that is on the way. Should add a lot of warmth to it. But I probably don't need that many layers. Anyone know a very light weight version of something like this? (I really like to have a synthetic outer layer not only for heat, but it will put a layer between the down quilt and my yucky dog.) Open to suggestions on this one.

I knocked off a bunch of random ounces. Getting rid of the extra socks, changed the trowel to a bottle cap (just so I can try to avoid getting dirt all in my nails.. I am still a girl after all), same cook system but smaller, lighter fuel container, etc.

Being prepared for cold weather is really throwing off the weight I'm used to hiking with. Gotta love the South! =)

Again thanks ya'll for the help so far. Any more advice is welcome, and I'll be watching the videos on that link soon.


Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Tips book on 03/26/2012 06:49:11 MDT Print View

Mike's book has been a great addition to my library, some excellent tips and many that you know but have never considered because, well, you never really were forced to think about them :)

the videos Anna linked are just great - i would love to hike with Mike, seems like a character.

your list looks like a good place to get out there with...

the more you get out, the better you can gauge what you will need and what works and doesn't work for you. you can read about this stuff until your brain is all mushy, but getting out for a long weekend trip to hone your skills and test your gear will really open your eyes to what works for you.

that is the key, what works for you. for me, having a heavy pack (48 to 64oz depending on attached crap) works for me - it is comfortable and can expand to carry any load i would want to carry. it was custom fit to me and feels so much better than any of the off the shelf packs i have tried. some of the UL packs simply aren't long enough.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/26/2012 06:57:05 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
more picking on 03/26/2012 09:28:21 MDT Print View

You're welcome! A base weight of 12 lbs is a good balance between comfort and cutting weight. I'm usually at around 12 lbs on colder 3 season trips too.

If there are no houses, cabins, or campgrounds upstream along the water source, I'm very confident about using the Sawyer Squeeze. I also carry Micropur tablets as a backup, and I can use those in addition to filtering if I have any doubts about a particular source. As an extra precaution, I do plan to ask my physician about getting the hepatitis A vaccine. That's routinely given to children now because the virus is transmitted in childcare settings. Sawyer also makes a filter which will remove viruses, although I think you might have to rig up your own gravity feed setup to use that.

The liner would be nice on a longer hike in varied conditions because of its flexibility and allowing you to select your warmth for the conditions. On shorter journeys, it would be nice to have a second quilt or bag which is warmer, maybe something which would keep you warm down to 20F. With your current quilt, you might be comfortable down to 30F wearing all of your extra clothing. Plus, you have a dog generating heat nearby. Test out your sleep system in the backyard or a car camping trip so that there are no surprises.

On one winter trip in West Virginia, the low the first night was around 10F, but it got up to 38F the next night. I was sleeping on an inflatable down pad and using a 0F bag. On the warmer night, I had to use the bag as a quilt over my legs and sleep in my jacket because it wasn't as warm as my bag.

For the price, Marmot makes good bags, but there are better ones such as Western Mountaineering. MontBell makes down and synthetic stretch bags which would likely fit over your quilt, but having two different bags/quilts is going to be heavier than just one. REI has an excellent article on sleeping bag ratings.

You mentioned "winter gear." Do you mean that you'll be using this in winter conditions, or just that it feels like winter gear compared to what you're used to? (ha ha :D) What is the lowest temperature you anticipate?

Steven makes great points about testing things on a short trip and pack comfort. Once you try the Jam fully loaded, if you're not comfortable with it, it's better to carry the heavier pack which is comfortable.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: =) on 03/26/2012 11:53:41 MDT Print View

I'll think you'll be happy you ditched the Razor--fleece isn't a good material for a sleeping bag, IMO--far too heavy for the insulation value.

In fact, any double-layered sleep system where both layers are only used for sleeping will be inefficient, because you have twice as much (non-insulating) fabric as you need. This isn't trivial, especially with warmer temp bags or quilts, where the ratio of fabric to insulation is already high. For example, the shell fabric on my GoLite 1+ season quilt accounts for more than half the weight of the whole quilt (granted, there are similar quilts with the same amount of down and significantly lighter fabrics).

If you want to go with a double-layered system, consider carrying down or synthetic insulated jacket and pants, and wearing those to sleep in on cold nights (inside your quilt). This is a very common tactic around here. That way, your second layer is multi-use, and can also be used for camp. This may allow you to replace insulating jacket and pants you were already carrying for more weight savings--for example, I have a Montbell Down Inner jacket (6.5 oz) that replaced a fleece weighing twice as much, and is warmer. It is also much more compact, which means a smaller pack volume needed. The caveat is fleece is far cheaper, breaths better if you wear it while hiking, and manages getting wet much better than either down or synthetic puffy layers.

The location and length of your planned thru is also huge (but then, you know that). I can make a 35F-40F quilt work for me in NW mountains in the summer and three seasons at lower elevations (also in the West), but that's supplementing with a down jacket, being careful with site selection, and willing to deal with a cold night or two. And I sleep warm.

As I mentioned up-thread, you've been carrying a very heavy bag for the warmth on your previous hikes, so there's no reason your weight should go up when you prepare for colder temps. Just think of all your gear as working in systems, not as single pieces (for example, a tent stake is a much better substitute for trowel than a bottle cap--and you're carrying them anyway).

Good luck.

Tristin A
(ttripl3) - F
. on 03/27/2012 01:08:17 MDT Print View

All great advice, thanks again guys. I watched the videos you posted, Anna, and recieved some very helpful tips. Thanks! =)

Thanks for the tips Steven! My only problem with getting out there and testing the gear is I'm in the South so I don't have the opportunity to test any gear that isn't summer gear. I can tote it around to test my bag (and I will as soon as I receive it) but as far as knowing how my layers and sleeping system works I'll just have to wait until the actual trip. That's why I'm asking around to see how my list looks. So I know if anything looks particularly abnormal. (Like my whole double sleeping bag idea. Now I know! =P) As far as the pack goes, I realize I'm just going to have to keep shopping around. I don't like the idea of a frame less pack but I thought I'd give this one a go and return it if I don't like it. On topic though, does anyone know of any brands that make freakishly tiny hip belts? Anyone have a skinny tall daughter that a pack has worked for? lol. My MAIN problems with packs are the hip belts. They don't get small enough to offer any support. I have a Gregory Jade 40 in a small and the hip belt is an extra small and it is still too big, and it's a womens pack. So if anyone knows a brand that the hip belts run smaller than normal, please let me know.

Andy, lol, yes prepping not necessarily for winter but.. any season that isn't summer. Hahaha =) Thanks for the tip on the inner liner. And I will check out MontBells stretch bags as well. I've learned from ya'll that having two bags isn't really the smartest but I would feel comfortable finding a synthetic layer to keep between my dog and I. I've only used synthetic bags before b/c of him and I'm worried about my new down quilt. (Though I could cover the part he lays next to with my rain gear.)

David, thanks for the tips. The down jacket and pants idea are a great tip that I will probably use! I like the idea of the multi-use items. Also the tent stakes. Forgive me for being such a noob. I'm new to backpacking light... and seasons... =P My pack weight has gone up though due to the fact that I don't typically carry any layers besides a rain jacket. In the winter I might carry a light fleece. -.- I have been carrying a heavy sleeping bag but I usually don't need a mat. Also I've always gone on group hiking trips, and I plan to do this long hike alone. So I will be carrying the tent and the water filter and some items I usually don't have to. (I've been spoiled.)

But I'm looking forward to getting everything together and being self sufficient so my overnight trips aren't reliant on other peoples schedules. The initial weight of it all just freaked me out. =P

I realize it would be easier for ya'll to help if I had a specific trip I were posting for. The vagueness is due to the fact that I haven't picked my trip yet. Either going on the AT Aug-Dec or the CT Aug-Sept. So I'm just trying to get a gear list that will work for either of these, generally, or typical list that will work in more seasons than the 1 (summer) I'm used to. Thanks to ya'll for the help. I'll be working on my gear list and taking it out next weekend. I'll let ya'll know what trip I pick down the road and maybe things will be more in order. Ya'll have been very helpful! =D


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: . on 03/27/2012 03:28:02 MDT Print View

Tristan should go get fitted for a pack at a local store, JUST to see what they recommend. Also, you can call Golite and discuss your issue with them. They are a great company in my opinion. I'm not sure what you mean by the hipbelt issue. Have the belts been too wide or not tighten down enough due to your small size? I gather you think they are too wide.

On the double sleeping bag issue, I have always done that for trips with temps hitting about 20 degrees F or lower. I have combined the RAB top bag (15 oz) with a WM linelite (14 oz) and combined the RAB with a Golite Ultralite 20 (19 oz). Both of those would work down into teens for me. In colder temps I would be taking even more. At some point it may be worth it to buy a dedicated winter bag. You have to experiment.

Also, review some of the gearlists at

Edited by jshann on 03/27/2012 03:30:23 MDT.

Tristin A
(ttripl3) - F
. on 03/27/2012 16:11:36 MDT Print View

They don't tighten enough to offer any support. I should be able to clip them then pull the strings tighter so the hip belt helps hold some of the weight. But the fabric extends too long for me. (Meaning it wraps all the way around my body, and then some.) The hip belts are useless for me until I can find a brand that makes smaller ones. Or figure out a way to modify it myself.

I have the Gregory, and I just ordered a GoLite bag. If the GoLite doesn't fit right I'll send it back. Unfortunately though there is no where nearby for me to go try on bags. The closest decent store is a few hour drive away and the closest good store that would be helpful is about eight. I think with gas prices the way they are, I'll keep ordering packs online and trying them myself. =P

Thanks for the gear list. I'll check it out!

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
warning: you're getting into real winter :) on 03/28/2012 08:57:51 MDT Print View


I don't know much about the CT and area, but on the AT for those months, I think you'll need a bag capable of keeping you warm down to at least 20F, and 0F is a slight possibility at elevation. (I'm assuming you're southbound. Of course, if you're hiking northbound on the AT, you'd have to be prepared for very serious winter conditions. :) I was in the Smokies once in late October when there were snow flurries and temps in the 20s during the day up high. The average low in Gatlinburg (elevation only 1586 ft) is 34 in Nov and 28 in Dec. Record lows are 2 in Nov and -12 in Dec. Smokies and north, you could encounter heavy snow as early as mid-late Oct. Hopefully others will provide feedback on AT trail conditions, but you might want to post that as a separate thread to get more input.

You'll also probably want some warmer clothing for the colder months, like a down jacket, gloves, warmer hat, and thicker wool socks. I'd definitely get a separate winter bag.

Edited by AndyF on 03/28/2012 09:02:14 MDT.

Justin Brennan
(jgbrennan) - MLife

Locale: Here and there.
Hipbelts on 03/28/2012 11:40:36 MDT Print View


If you haven't yet, check out ULA ( packs. Most of their packs you can order based on your torso length, and waist size, so you should be able to dial it in. The hip belts are removable, so if the one you order is too big/small, send it back for a different size. At your base weight, I'd say check out the Circuit, and the Ohm 2.0.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
What can you spend? on 03/28/2012 16:06:32 MDT Print View

Some good advise so far, especially regarding your sleep system.

I had an idea though, why don't you tell us how much you are willing to spend to get your weight down? That way we can look at your list and tell you what purchase(s) will cut the most weight within your budget.
Personally I think the pack isn't the best way to spend your money...

P.S. pick up a medium sized dog pack from REI. Pretty cheap. Fill it with water bottles and start walking your dog with it. He'll get used to it, then he can carry his own food, water, and bowls. There's no reason he shouldn't, unless he's too old or something.

Harris Goldstein
(hmgolds) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Dog Items on 04/01/2012 14:25:11 MDT Print View

I tried an 8 lb pack on my 54lb, 7yo Aussie (who probably should be 50lb) and she did not seem to have any problems on short hikes. I've read that up to 20% of the dogs weight is acceptable. But haven't yet done multi day trips (that's this summer).

You're probably looking at 2-2.5 cups of food per day, and carry at least 1 ltr of water for the dog between water sources, so consider the volume as well as the weight. The dog pack might be necessary for that alone.

I would add a set of dog booties (something like this: At least 2 (as first aid) if your dog's feet are fully conditioned for the trail; 6 if not. There are also rubber soled booties if you're real concerned about wear and tear on his/her pads.

I didn't see a leash on your list.

Finally, I would consider a pad for the dog to sleep on if wet/muddy. Or just to reinforce where he/she is supposed to sleep. Could be as simple as a square of nylon material.

Edited by hmgolds on 04/01/2012 15:10:14 MDT.

Daine Scott
(daine.scott) - F
Re: Please pick apart my list! =) on 05/02/2012 06:24:32 MDT Print View

Make sure that you have the proper medical supplies in case anything happens to you on one of your trips!