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Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing
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Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/05/2012 15:02:43 MDT Print View

So I'm adding a few things to my JMT list this year, and there are a few things I'm adding or thinking of adding, but not entirely sure if they're dopey or not. I was hoping someone wouldn't mind putting in their 2 cents as my sounding board.

Sleeping shirt (4oz). Hiking Shirt. Last year these were the same, and I went at a pace that dictated I don't do much laundry. I hated that. Vowed to bring a sleep shirt. Now I'm here again, with a slower pace, debating bringing a separate shirt for sleeping still. ATM I have a golite synthetic shirt, and a railriders thicker shirt that seems a bit stiff. My plan was to hike in the railriders, but man it doesn't seem like a nice thing to sleep in.

iPod Nano (2oz w/headphones). I took it last year and felt kind of zoned out some days listening to music. I didn't hear as many nature sounds, and all that. I vowed to not take it, but then again I feel like it helped me get up and over hills/passes. Here I am debating it again.

Camp shoes (5.30z). Last year I didn't bring any, but instead brought bread bags to slip on before getting in my shoes. It was kind of clammy, kind of whatever. This year I was thinking of some Zems, but at 5.3'ish ounces, they're a lot to add. On the other hand I'm spending more time around camp this year and they might be an "ahhh that's nice" item.

Food Snuggie for freezer bag cooking (1 oz?). Last year I brought one and thought I might just use my balaclava or jacket as a cozy. Would a thin wool balaclava be as good for keeping in the warmth here? I don't want to use my down jacket for fear of a spill.

E-vent Mitts (1.5oz). I walked in some light rain last year, put these on after a few minutes, and kept clammy until I took them off. I think I'd have preferred not even wearing any. I was thinking bringing these might be extraneous, especially given my umbrella this year.

Sun Gloves (.73oz). I used these last year but boy do they get dirty fast, and feel unhygenic. They also left a sweet fingerless glove tan. I was sure I was just going to bring more sunscreen, but now I'm debating them again. I use trekking poles so boy do my hands get a lot of sun.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/05/2012 15:28:22 MDT Print View

My own personal opinion:
Shirt- yes. Clean clothes to sleep in is so nice.
IPod - no. Just my opinion.
Camp shoes- I don't bring them, but I can see where a change is nice.
Food cozy- yes. I save a lot of fuel by boiling water and letting the heat 'coast' to finish making dinner.
Mitts- no. Wet hands aren't really a problem in the rain, the insulation is marginal in cold and they are clumsy.
Gloves. No- get more sunscreen.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Don't feel bad about the little things on 06/05/2012 19:21:51 MDT Print View

after all, they add up. That's the point here.

Shirt - Iffy. I can come down on either side of the fence. If you hike in the railriders, you'd have the sleep shirt as a possible extra layer. I find that a running shirt underneath a button-up to be an excellent 40-50F combo. So 4 oz for a good night's sleep and back up? Seems like a "why not.

Ipod - No, simply for the reasons you said. Plus, this is a slower paced trip, so do you need the help to get up and over the passes?

Camp shoes - No, never. Never, ever bring camp shoes. Want to let your feet relax after a hike? Go barefoot. If one is really worried about dirty feet, slip the shoes on for the occasional shuffle around camp. Unlaced, of course. Camp shoes seem about as un-UL as I can possibly imagine. There, I've said it.

Food cozy - Yes. In bear country, I don't want to use clothing to insulate food. A good food cozy is lightweight enough that the fuel savings pay for it, especially on a week+ hike.

Rain Mitts - Nah. Pockets. Stow the trekking poles if it's really coming down.

Sun gloves - Also no, never. Nevermind the question of sun exposure and sunscreen, as you implied, tan lines on hands are idiotic. There, I've said that too. Make sure your dropper of sunscreen is full if you're concerned about sun. Maybe include a spare in your resupply.


Edit to add that I really only replied to say that you shouldn't worry about worrying about the little things. I want to stress that. The details don't make a trip, but they make it a great trip that you enjoy, rather than a great trip you can talk about later. I'm guessing all the things you listed add up to a pound or so; that's a 10% increase if you have a 10 lbs base weight.

Edited by j.j.81 on 06/05/2012 19:24:52 MDT.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing" on 06/05/2012 19:49:31 MDT Print View

Sun gloves: absolutely. You're going to inadvertently wash off any sunscreen that you may apply; plus, you're going to get lazy/distracted and say what the hell.

The tan lines are just proof of why you need the sun gloves. "Oh, look, I'm tan above and below my swimsuit; I guess I don't have to worry about sun exposure"...???It's the sun that's causing the tan lines.

If you use poles, then the back of your hands especially are continuously exposed to the sun. At .73 0z, I think that sun gloves are worth their weight. Also, I find that they help to ward off mosquito bites. Wash and rinse once a day or more if you wish. You can wear them wet no problem. Spritz 'em with deet; better than having that chemical on your skin. And just take them off when you eat.

Edited by book on 06/05/2012 21:41:19 MDT.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
dopey or not... on 06/05/2012 23:30:08 MDT Print View

Who cares? Seriously, even if you took all of these items it would add less then a pound (which you really won't notice especially since you're going slower/doing less miles per day) but might make the trip a little more enjoyable. However, this is what I would do:

1. Separate sleeping shirt might not be necessary if you're doing less miles per day and willing to wash your clothes more.

2. Ipod Nano...I brought one last summer and listening to music was nice when I got into camp but I think its a bad idea to listen while you're hiking. I like being aware of my surroundings and enjoying nature without a filter.

3. Camp shoes...I went barefoot around camp and continue to do so but I think some sandals would be pretty freaking awesome. I would probably take this item over any of the others just cause I love sandals haha.

4. I've got a food snuggie you can use if you want it. I use something different now but I think it's a good addition. I wouldn't use my clothes mainly because I don't want to smell like my food when sleeping.

5. Mitts and sun gloves...I wouldn't take but not because of the weight. I hate clammy hands and my hands don't really get sunburned. Just me though.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/06/2012 12:23:24 MDT Print View

1. Shirt. If you've regretted it in the past, bring it this time.

2. Ipod. Leave it home. My personal opinion, but I'll often bring an instrument which weighs much more.

3. Camp shoes. Leave them home. Every time I bring extra shoes I beat myself up for the stupidity.

4. Food snuggie. I've used my fleece balaclava, extra socks and whatever else and these items work great.

5. Mitts. With an umbrella you probably won't need the mits.

6. Sun gloves. I'm blond hair/blue eyed and have never used sun gloves. I wear a man's shirt so that the sleeves are long (women's clothing has notoriously short sleeves). I leave the cuffs unbuttoned. The sleeves then drape over enough of my hands to help. I've even thought about sewing extra length into the sleeves (cut off some sleeves from another shirt and sew them on) to make even longer sleeves but have never tried it. Sun gloves seem like they'd feel uncomfortably hot.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/06/2012 14:47:30 MDT Print View

1. Sleeping shirt
Personal decision here. The few folks who I have hiked with me can attest that I sleep in my hiking clothes. Even in the heat where the back of my Rail Riders Eco-mesh shirt gets stiff from the salty deposits due to perspiration, I sleep in my hiking shirt. If water is available it doesn't take much to wash/rinse it and they dry quickly. No spare water it is not a big deal to me.

2. iPod Nano
This causes flame wars. I never take one for the reason you stated. I don't see how it really helps one on difficult terrain. Again a personal issue.

3. Camp shoes
Never, ever. However I view conditioning my feet as important as getting the rest of my body in shape. I go barefooted a lot and can walk barefooted on asphalt or cement when the ambient temperature is over 100F. Also I think it prevents blisters.

4. Food Snuggie for freezer bag cooking (1 oz?).
Never used on until recently. I had to buy a Mikey cozy because the kid has ambition. Think I am going to keep taking it. Aside from being more efficient, I find it makes it a lot easier to eat out of the bag; provides structure to the freezer bag... I use an extra long lexan spoon.

5. E-vent Mitts
I only use these when I expect extended periods of hiking in snow/sleet conditions.

6. Sun Gloves
Depends on your complexion. Even in the desert, my hat is clipped to my pack most of the time, but a sun burn is rare for me. My skin has a tan most of the year, since I live in a desert and usually don't even wear a shirt around town unless it is required to gain entrance to a building.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/06/2012 15:17:48 MDT Print View

I say bring it if you want to. It's your hike, but for me my answers would be.

1. No
2. No
3. Maybe for that long of a trip
4. No, I don't freezer bag cook
5. Maybe, if your hands get cold easily
6. Always, if you care about your skin

No skin type is immune from cancer.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Bring.... on 06/06/2012 17:50:05 MDT Print View

JMO- there is no right or wrong answer to these questions....

Shirt- yes. Clean sleeping shirt means cleaner bag or quilt, plus nice for backup if unexpectedly cold during the day.
IPod - no. I hike to get away from things like the IPod. Plenty of music in nature IMO.
Camp shoes- No.....unless on a rare occasion I bring Zems for lots of water crossings.
Food cozy- absolutely. For all the reasons mentioned above. The point about not using clothes for this purpose in bear country "bears" repeating.
Mitts- no. Unless it's cold and sleety/nasty.
Gloves. Nyet. Bring more sunscreen. I find sungloves to be a sweaty hassle.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/07/2012 23:31:36 MDT Print View

Sleeping shirt - big yes. so nice at the nd of the day, and while the hiking shirt is drying. Plus it is one more layer that you can wear in the "man its cold I'm wearing everything I have" mode.

Ipod - nice for in camp but I myself wouldn't use while walking.

Camp shoes - I would skip unless you can also use them for stream crossings.

Food cozy - I never have, but a couple spills that got Beef stroganoff on my hat have got me thinking a cozy is a good idea - especially wen I do not want food smells in my tent/sleeping bag.

Mitts - skip 'em.

Sun gloves - I bet you'd use almost that weight of sunscreen on the JMT, especially using poles. Are your pole grips as comfortable either way? I've has some poles tha I had to wear gloves with unless I was using them for only very short periods of time, and others that are fine with bare hands.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
On cozies on 06/17/2012 08:05:34 MDT Print View

Obviously I am biased as I make and sell FBC cozies so you can take my 2 cents here as tainted ;-)

If in bear country a seperate cozy for your food is a good idea. A well designed cozy will pack down small and weigh nearly nothing. My cozies weigh less than 1 1/2 ounces and roll/scrunch down, which is why when I designed mine they were made with fabric rather than bulky Reflectix bubble wrap. You can easily stash your cozy in a bear bag, Ursack, canister, etc and know you won't be bringing food scents into your shelter...on your head - which is what happens when one uses their hat multi purpose ;-)

That and did I mention cozies can carry items such as candy bars during the day to insulate them from the heat? ;-)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: On cozies on 06/17/2012 08:23:04 MDT Print View

"That and did I mention cozies can carry items such as candy bars during the day to insulate them from the heat? ;-)"

I usually carry a pound of carrots, bell pepper, orange, or whatever. Keep them in the cozy during the day to keep them cool.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: On cozies on 06/17/2012 08:25:28 MDT Print View

They are great during the Winter for keeping gas cans and food from freezing.


Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
fretting on 06/17/2012 09:41:05 MDT Print View

Bring what you are comfortable with, consider these your luxury items, nothing to fret over. FWIW here is my take on them:

Sounds as if you are not sure about how well you like the railriders shirt as you describe it as thicker and stiff. Maybe try to find a shirt you like better for hiking. Then figure out if you need a sleep shirt in addition. It is nice to have, and you can get something really light such as silk.

Listening to the Ipod Nano made you feel cut off from the sounds of nature last time, leave it at home this year.

Last year your feet were soaking wet after hiking through streams all day long. You couldn't wait to take off you wet hiking shoes and slip into something else. The bread bags were adequate but not comfortable. This year will be DRY, really dry. So you won't need the camp shoes.

Food snuggie sounds like a good idea as this is bear country. Personally I just eat out of my pot though.

E-Vent mitts you can leave at home in my opinion. If it rains your hands get wet. If it rains for a long time, put up your shelter and relax for the afternoon.

Sun gloves are just one piece in a larger ensemble that consists of sunglasses, big floppy hat, long sleeve shirt and long pants. That way your body is protected without sunscreen. If the sun gloves getting dirty bothers you, replace them with bike gloves.
If however you hike in shorts and a t-shirt, you'll need plenty of sunscreen, so the sun gloves would just be silly.

This is going to be a very dry year, the trail report photos already look like August and we're only midway into June. So think about your water strategy. Expect all of the small creeks to be dry and even some of the named ones on your maps will be down to a muddy trickle. Instead you'll be filling water from the lakes. Bring a couple of extra Platys so that you have a water capacity of a gallon. That way you can dry camp and not need to continue on to the next lake where everybody else will be camped out.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Trail Report links please on 06/17/2012 12:26:30 MDT Print View

Katy, would you throw up a link to some of those trail reports please? I'd love to see them.


Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
Dry year - trail reports on 06/17/2012 12:55:51 MDT Print View

Trying to remember where they are.

This one is not exactly a trail report but some Yosemite pictures from a trip taken on Memorial Day by chick-on. Very little snow as far as the eye can see.

This trail report is from last weekend, June 9-10. Eastern Sierra starting from Sabrina Lake and going to above 11,000 feet. Barely any snow.

Here is a continuing thread of conditions reports from the beginning of the season until now.
This quote from the thread stands out " The water level is the lowest I've ever seen in 20 years of backpacking here. "

Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne in Yosemite June 5-9. Shows a dusting of snow that had fallen the previous day and beautiful waterfalls, but nowhere near the water levels we are used to seeing in early June.

You might also check out the PCTers trail journals as the front of the pack should be in the Sierra and heading north along the JMT right now.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Feedback, lightening load, fretting over nothing on 06/17/2012 13:33:07 MDT Print View

Here's what I' do. YMMV of course--only you can decide! Do note that where I backpack (Pacific NW and Rockies) probably gets colder than the Sierra, though.

Sleep shirt--I always take a lightweight or (probably better for you) silkweight base layer top and bottoms. I sleep in them and also wear them in camp mornings and evenings under my other clothes when it's cold--for me it's a lightweight insulation layer. If it got to the test (no more clothing than I'd wear all at once in the worst weather I could expect for the trip), the base layer would certainly be included.

iPod--for me, no way! I have plenty of marching tunes in my head if I need the motivation!

Camp shoes--mine are Goose Feet down booties plus the overboots, 4 oz. My feet were always cold until I got these! In hot weather, I wear Sprint Aquatics shoes (1.7 oz.). My main concern is not comfort but LNT--crawling in and out of my tent in my trail runners really tears up the ground outside my tent door.

I take one of Sarah's cozies; a few years ago she found some extra lightweight material and I bought four of those (extras for taking out my grandkids). Or you can make one out of reflectix. I don't want to use any of my wearing apparel around food; I seem to spill something every trip! Sarah, I never thought about using them for chocolate bars; thank you!

Sun gloves--Take a look at these, which cover the backs of your hands, aren't nearly as hot as gloves and let you use your camera without taking them off:
While I bought mine, I'm sure they could be made at home far more cheaply. I'm allergic to most sunscreens so have to keep covered up.

EVENT mitts--I do take mine but it can get cold up here in the NW when it rains, and even colder in the Rockies where it can snow at any time. I wouldn't ever want to wear them without glove liners underneath and I wouldn't bother in warm rain. Admittedly I have never used mine in the summer, although I certainly would have if I hadn't had to abort a Wind Rivers trip two years ago. It snowed a foot where I would have been if my dog hadn't gotten sick. If the worst comes to the worst, you could use a pair of socks with plastic bags over them. If you're out in shoulder season, of course, you'll more likely want your EVENT mitts and nice warm liners. The more I think about it, I'll probably leave mine home in our Cascades summers.

One of the great things about being lightweight is that you can take a few small luxuries for the "price" of no more than the weight of the food you eat the first day!

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/17/2012 13:45:43 MDT.

Jeffrey Windsor
(jeffreywindsor) - F
Multitaskers on 06/19/2012 08:35:25 MDT Print View

I'll skip the areas I have no insight and jump in where I might add something:

iPod: My last trip I did take a nano (and headphones), but didn't end up listening to music. I did shoot some video, however, which was nice. Since I didn't bring any other camera, it was a nice, ultralight way to accomplish the show-my-wife-what-she-is-missing-so-she-will-consider-coming-with-me-next-time task. As a unitasker, the nano is a personal decision. As a multitasker, it becomes a much easier one for me. Of course, if your nano doesn't have the video camera, it's just a unitasker.

Cozy: I, like others, would use the cozy just to be bear-smart. It countradicts the multitasker mindset above, but I've had uncomfortably close encounters with bears on the JMT and would not ever risk using my hat as a cozy. Then again, I'm pretty tasty.