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Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear!
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Scott Parker

Locale: SoCal
Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/09/2012 09:27:42 MDT Print View

This is my first post, and just have not done much UL in probably over 10 years believe it or not! (Work, school, career, etc. took priority, as did other hobbies and interests like climbing, CrossFit, Jiu-Jitsu, etc., so it's not like I've been a slouch!) I got into UL hiking after reading Ray Jardine's book back in the day, and ended up doing half the Colorado Trail with a base pack weight of less than 10lbs with awesome results. Below are some picks of the gear I currently have. Looking to get back into it, and next week may test it out on a quick out and back overnight hike on a trail in Joshua Tree, possibly Boy Scout Trail.

The pack is actually the first ultralight pack made by GoLite and it is over 10 years old. I know by today's standards it may be a little heavier, but it is in almost mint condition, and weighs 14.92 oz. I know there is stuff I could cut off it, but I have in the past used almost every feature on it, especially the outside mesh pockets including the large one (great for tossing your tarp into instead of packing it in the stuff sack every day.

There is also a Z-rest that I cut down so that it covers me from my shoulder to my hips, and also doubles as the packs frame sheet. It weighs 7.27oz.

Tyvek groundsheet is 4.09oz.

The cook set is your average pepsi can stove, pieces of flashing held together with paper clips that act as a windscreen and pot support in one, and a pot grabber and carrying bag (the black mesh bag in the pic folded up. The set all together with the bag weighs 8.85 oz, 8.22oz. with the bag.

Headlamp is a Petzl Tikka: 2.47oz.

Shelter is an Integral Designs Sil Shelter. It weighs 16oz with just the shelter and stuff sack, but with the guy lines/cord I have attached to it it comes in at 19.26oz. I know thats a lot of cord, but it makes the sheller so much easier to pitch, and allows it to be very versatile and used in different configurations.

I also have an old set of Leki Traverse trekking poles with a spring suspension system in them that are probably heavy by modern standards, but in decent shape.

Water purification in the picture is Aqua Mira. Do they still make this stuff? It worked awesome for me for years (yes, these bottles are expired!) and filtered through a bandana and treated with Aqua Mira with no issues ever, but know there is something lighter and better now.

Also threw in my essentials bag, but it's not really stocked well at this time.

I DO NOT currently have a lightweight sleeping bag. In the past I used a quilt that I made myself, or a The North Face cat's Meow bag. I currently have a North Face -5 down bag, but it's too heavy and overkill for UL packing. Would be nice to find a decent sleeping bag that isn't going to crush the bank that is less than albs, rated at 32 degrees.

Also looking for some really nice, lightweight convertible pants that fit tall people. I am 6;2, 185lbs., and lean. Also looking for recommendations for a lightweight base layer, preferably wool, both long sleeve and t-shirt (not a fan of polypro!) I am also guessing I can save some weight with lighter stuff sacks. Cuben fiber stuff sacks perhaps?

All suggestions and recommendations are welcomes, encouraged and appreciated! Thanks in advance!




Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/09/2012 09:35:40 MDT Print View

Doesn't look like you're missing much to me. The GoLite you have probably weighs less than the current GoLites. Lots of good cottage quilt makers, check out Englightened.

Greg Wright
(Gregw) - F
Not much help needed on 04/16/2012 00:57:34 MDT Print View

Get rid of the tyvek and go with a thinner ground sheet. Gossamer gear is a good place to start. Smaller tarp will cut that weight in half. Ditch the pot grabber and use your shirt or a bandana. Use some tin foil as your windscreen. They still make aqua Mira. I always just use bleach. Super cheap and easier to get. Lots of bag choices out there. You could probably round the corners on your z rest.
Just my .02.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/16/2012 04:08:47 MDT Print View

It all looks good to me - brings back memories a bit too. Natsukashi, as the Japanese say.

You could cut some weight but I suspect that in most cases it would be incremental only since the basics you've got sorted. Your groundsheet and Sil Shelter weigh 23 oz - you could find a lighter tarp and ground sheet, maybe something in Cuben, or for about the same weight as your current set-up, move to something like an SMD Lunar Solo which is more shelter than your current set-up with floor and netting.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: "Old school on 04/16/2012 14:27:52 MDT Print View

You are doing pretty well. I suggest Gossamer Gear also. Good information there too. I don't think, unless you are fishing to make this a SUL gear list that you can do much better. Try Z Packs also. He has some great stuff.

I use soccer shorts as underwear/shorts and Exofficio Amphi Pants instead of zip offs. I hate the zipper on zip offs. To me, it is one more failure point.

Looks great!

(jlhilliker) - F
Also on 04/30/2012 13:25:10 MDT Print View

Do you really need the nylon suture?

Also, if you carry suture, does that mean you carry a needle driver and forceps as well?

Edited by jlhilliker on 04/30/2012 17:11:01 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/30/2012 14:00:04 MDT Print View

Great set up. Leav it and get a good bag at 32F/0C and you should be set.

The head lamp can probably be exchanged for an e-light, save an ounce...with a spare set of batteries just increase the time.

The stakes can probably be exchanged for a set of ti shepherds hooks. Pot looks a little heavy along with the lid and wind screen. But that will only save a couple ounces.

Mostly, a cuben tarp, ground cloth will save you some, not sure if it is worth the dollars to you. You mentioned other interests.

The little dropper bottles for AM drops will save an ounce, maybe 1.5.

Personally, I'd leave your outfit. Just add the bag/quilt. You know it works for you.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Pack? on 04/30/2012 14:58:25 MDT Print View

I know Ray Jardin dislikes hipbelts (not to mention internal frame packs) but I disaggree. I never felt like carrying more that 10-12 pounds on my shoulders was comfortable. I'd swap the pack out for something with a hipbelt. Gossamer Gear, Mountain Laurel, and ULA are places to look.

If you want a cheap quilt I'd get one made by Tim Marshell with 7.5 oz insulation. That should be plenty warm and weight about 1.5 pounds.

Other than that nothing comes to mind that you HAVE to replace. If you want a new shelter there are more lightweight tents out there and rain gear has gotten lighter.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/30/2012 19:44:12 MDT Print View

Your are set to go already. Start planning some trips.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/30/2012 19:58:04 MDT Print View

You have a system that works. No need to spend money on a Ti pot and cuben stuff sacks. Save stuff sack weight by using fewer. A Ti pot won't save enough weight to justify the cost.

32 degree bag -- has the Marmot Hydrogen long on sale for $276.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/30/2012 20:34:54 MDT Print View

I agree with the others. Just go have fun.

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Enlightened on 05/07/2012 23:14:31 MDT Print View

Here is another vote for a custom quilt from Tim. Bought mine a while ago now but they were $300 each and 32F rated despite their 13 oz weight. That was without even going with cuben!

Michael Pinkus

Locale: Western Canada
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 05/23/2012 00:12:59 MDT Print View

I'd love to take that pack off of your hands!

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/01/2012 18:34:17 MDT Print View

Stoic Somnus 30 degree bag weighs less than the Marmot, and is cheaper. Id go for a quilt if you dont like the center zip.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Bag on 08/22/2012 12:54:47 MDT Print View

FWIW, I have found the Mountain Hardware Phantom 45 to be fine for me at 32F and have been comfy in it at 18F in a bivy with a layer of warm clothes and two pairs of socks and could probably have gone a bit colder before having to add more layers or using a vapor barrier. Great bag and only about a pound.

The actual ratings are:
EN Rating: T-Limit32 F / 0C
EN Rating: T-Comfort41 F / 5C

I find the Phantom 45 warmer than some other bags that are listed as 32F bags.

Michael Bachman
(rivrfox) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
agreed.. on 11/26/2012 22:15:28 MST Print View

I would get a polycro ground pad from Gossamer Gear and go enjoy the wilds. Get a few shakedowns to see what you might want to change or add. Think about what you might want to get additionally for different weather/seasons.

edit: I guess you could always get a thinlight from GG as well and consider other sleeping pads. I would also check out the enlightened quilts and maybe the MLD spirit? quilts. Don't remember the weights offhand. Katabatic is more expensive..

Love the simplicity of the old pack. :)

Edited by rivrfox on 11/26/2012 22:18:42 MST.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Stealth quilt on 11/27/2012 12:22:06 MST Print View

You may want to take a look at the JRB Sierra Stealth quilt...Wearable as a scerape, cuts down other weight in the pack... 40-45*, 15 oz, very reasonable cost starting at $209.95... May be best value combo.

Remember I'm biased.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 11/27/2012 12:58:30 MST Print View

I'd keep what you have and concentrate on a new sleeping bag (or quilt, if you prefer). Save your pennies and $$$ for something with at least 850 fill down and less than 2 lbs. Properly cared for, a high quality down bag will last several times the life of a synthetic bag. When "amortized" over its useful life, the cost per year of high quality down is no higher and may even be cheaper than synthetic. I have never regretted the $$$ I spent for my Western Mountaineering Ultralite 6 years ago.

You might want to try your current sleeping bag unzipped and used as a quilt if you are thinking of switching to a quilt but are not sure. Personally, I want my sleeping bag snuggled closely around me with the draft collar pulled up tight on cold nights so that I stay warm with no cold drafts down my back no matter how much I toss and turn. Yes, I use a quilt on my bed at home, but this morning I woke up shivering with the house at 55*F and the bedding, at some point during the night, tossed completely off my upper body. I don't want that happening when it's 28* outside! But that's me! The sleeping bag vs. quilt thing is most definitely a "Your Mileage May Vary" situation!

Justin McCabe

Locale: Southern California
Re on 11/29/2012 23:24:10 MST Print View

Gear is a really personal thing, so while we could spout off the latest and greatest pieces of gear and fabric, I think the better question would be, "does your current setup work for you?"

If it does, don't change it! If you aren't sure, plan a few overnighters and your experiences will tell you what you do/don't need (sore back? Maybe a new pad. Water treatment taking too long? maybe a premixed dropper bottle in your pocket, etc.)

You could spend a grand on the lightest and greatest gear, only to be miserable because it doesn't suit your personally likings. (I failed all my trip objectives miserably the first 2 times and had to refine my fitness and gear and, like everyone on here, am still constantly doing so)

Ok, my speech is over. gear advice?

For your "Big 4", you can easily knock off a 1.5 lbs by getting a quality down bag or quilt. I second the endorsement for Tim from Enlightened's quilts, just got mine in the mail. The is one quality bag for a killer price! Taking it to Gorgonio this weekend!



James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 11/30/2012 05:02:36 MST Print View

I agree with Mary's comment. Leave your gear and get a good down bag (or quilt.)
A $50 bag from wally-world will weigh more than a down one. About 2:1 is what I figure, roughly. a 2lb down bag will weigh about 4lb in syntetic. High Quality synthetics cost a lot more.

Syn will NOT last more than 1-2 seasons at it's rated temp. 'Corse a lot depends on how often you get out, how long you are out when you go, and, how you pack and store it.
Based on 30 nights per year:
A syn bag will last about 2 years at about ~$40. This gives you about $20 per year.
A down bag will last 25 years at $400. This gives you about $16 per year.
Base cost is very similar, but down holds a significant edge. Mary is correct.

The only real advantage to carrying Syn is in wet rainy weather. Neither syn or down perform well wet, but down will clump up to next to nothing in fill. Syn will maintain itself. Down is better in every other department.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/16/2013 19:35:49 MDT Print View

Very similar setup here that I have been updating.

1. invest in a new sleeping bag or quilt with a temperature raiting optimized to the kind of trips you do.
2. Upgrade the sil shelter to a cuben tarp. Or if you like the Silshelter you might consider an MLD trailstar in Cuben. I think it's a superior design but only 4 oz weight saving at a very steep price.
3. Upgrade the stakes.
4 if you like the petlz, you can upgrade to newer lighter zipka with more lumens.or as suggested change to lighter light altogether.
5. CF poles .

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
New: Convertable Pants on 04/24/2013 17:13:32 MDT Print View

Hi Scott!

I'd ditch the convertible pants idea, as the lightest will weigh about 12 oz. Instead, go with lightweight running shorts with built-in mesh briefs & 8" inseam. Mine, from Brooks, weigh less than 4 oz. Pair the shorts with 2.7 oz wind pants from Montbell and you'll have the lightest possible arrangement short of going totally commando.

Happy Trails!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Old school ultralight hiker me update my gear! on 04/24/2013 22:35:46 MDT Print View

"I'd love to take that pack off of your hands!"

My own Golite Breeze is hanging neatly in my closet - some day it will be worth a fortune - LOL. Well, a fortune in memories, maybe. I don't use it much anymore, but it has more sentimental value that almost any other piece of gear for me.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
great kit on 05/03/2013 12:31:47 MDT Print View

As many have said, I'd save your money and use it to take time off and get out in the woods! Your gear looks very dialed in.

Two nifty newish things you might want to try:

1. I think the Sawyer Squeeze water filter is a vast improvement over Aquamira. Weighs only 3 oz and it's a hollow-fiber filter that will give you way more bang-for-buck in the long haul, relative to both charcoal/ceramic filters and drops. Plus, you'll get to taste all that sweet mountain water for what it is--no chlorine flavor!

2. MSR is making Carbon-Core tent stakes; they are lighter than most titanium shepherds hook stakes, and they provide way better hold, too. They are pricy though. Sets of 4 are $30 at REI.

Andrew Zajac

Locale: South West
light lights - pun intended on 05/03/2013 13:44:03 MDT Print View

You could replace the head light. I have been happy with my little fenix LD01. It is 1.04 oz, sturdy, takes a AAA, and is functionally waterproof. I even prefer hiking with it compared to my head lamp.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Light lights on 05/03/2013 17:31:32 MDT Print View

I find I am happy with a eGear Pico light. At 0.2 ounces and under $10 it is a good light. I find that I use lights very little so it lasts me months without a new battery.

Tom Roberts
Do what works for you on 05/11/2013 14:09:20 MDT Print View

I agree with the earlier post that gear is personal. Anyone can rattle of a list of the newest gear but you need to find what works for you. My advice for you (especially if you have been out of hiking for awhile) is to simply start hiking again. The questions you are asking will start to answer themselves.