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New to backpacking, how does all of my gear stack up?
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Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
New to backpacking, how does all of my gear stack up? on 06/13/2012 01:11:42 MDT Print View

Hey everyone, my name is Jeremy, I'm 26 years old, and I'm new to the world of backpacking. I've been hiking and camping, but never backpacking. It's always been something that I wanted to do, and decided to take the plunge this year.

I've purchased a bunch of gear and wanted to provide a list to see what you all thought, as well as to get suggestions on other items that I should purchase.

Gear List:
Deuter Act Lite 65+10 pack
Suisse Sport +30F bag
REI Light-Core 1.5 pad
Nalgene 1L bottle
Camelbak 1.5L hydration pack
Ozark Trail Scout Jr. Dome tent with plain blue tarp
Merrell Moab Mid Gore Tex boots
Snow Peak Giga Power stove with Piezo, plus two canisters of fuel
GSI Soloist cookset with Coughlan knife/spoon/fork
Katadyn Hiker water purifier
Black Diamond Storm headlamp
Surefire C2-Centurion flash light
Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops knife with partial serrated blade
Light my Fire Swedish Firesteel Army model
Homemade fire starter bundle (hemp dipped in paraffin wax and Vaseline)
Homemade first aid kit based on multiple sites for DIY kits
Marmot PreCip jacket
REI pants with zip off legs
Alpinestars hoodie for warmth
Older Garmin hiking gps

I eventually want to purchase the following items:
Platypus 3L hydration bladder (to be dedicated to the Deuter pack)
Black Diamond trekking poles (not sure which model yet)
A better tent
Decent compass

My current pack weighs in at 18.4 lbs according to my bathroom scale (weighed myself without pack 3 times to ensure accuracy, then put on pack and weighed self with pack 3 times), which feels quite light thanks to the excellent suspension system that the Deuter pack offers.

Any suggestions on gear? Am I doing well so far? I plan on making my maiden voyage this weekend with two of my friends.

Edited by fast240z on 06/17/2012 22:40:43 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: New to backpacking, how does all of my gear stack up? on 06/13/2012 09:25:23 MDT Print View

You might want to read these

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=31018&skip_to_post=262364#262364

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00234.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lw_testimony_shortt_journey.html

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lw_testimony_fun_goes_up.html

http://andrewskurka.com/product/ultimate-hikers-gear-guide/

http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpackin-Tips-Inexpensive-Lightweight/dp/0762763841/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314629714&sr=1-1

http://andrewskurka.com/2012/why-waterproof-shoes-will-not-keep-your-feet-dry/

http://andrewskurka.com/

And watch these

http://ultralightbackpackintips.blogspot.com/search/label/video%20tutorials

Edited by annapurna on 06/13/2012 09:36:49 MDT.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: New to backpacking, how does all of my gear stack up? on 06/13/2012 10:27:54 MDT Print View

Looks like you covered all the bases.

At a glance, my suggestions:
-Ditch the camelbak pack, just stick the bladder in your Deuter for hiking.
-You only need one canister of fuel unless you're doing all the cooking for 3 or more people. I can make a 4 oz canister last 20 or more meals if you're just boiling water.
-get an aluminum bubble-wrap windshield sunshade at the auto parts store and make a cozy for what ever you eat out of, pot or ziplock. It reduces fuel needs by 'coast cooking' and you won't burn yourself either.
-Ditch the surefire. your headlamp is plenty of light for around camp.
-I'd swap the knife for a swiss army esquire (scissors) but if big knives are your thing, I know how people get without them. I hike with a buddy who carries THREE. I personally cut dozens of moleskin, tape and string pieces with scissors and rarely even open the knife blade.
-Ditch the blue poly tarp. It's bulky and heavy. good site selection and prep eliminates the need for a ground cloth. If you need a clean place to stand in front of your tent, take a trash bag and lay it down. If you feel you MUST have a groundcloth, get painter drop plastic and cut it down, or google shrink-wrap window insulation. It's much more durable than it looks.
Swap the cotton hoodie for fleece, or if you can swing it, a synthetic puffy. Many reasons for this. better warmth to weight ratio, and nicer to sleep in if need-be.
Get a topo map to supplement the GPS. Trust me.

For your future list:
You can get some really decent trekking poles at K-Mart, WalMart, Big 5, Sports Authority, Dicks, or Costco for under $30 a pair. No need to spend a Benjamin on Name Brand. I personally have a pair from Costco that cost $28 and are still rock solid despite me beating the p!$s out of them for the last 6 months climbing 14'ers.
A decent compass is $10-15 at any Big 5 or similar. Brunton makes a good one.

Good luck and enjoy the trip! Don't get too hung up on gear. go have fun.

Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
Thanks! on 06/13/2012 15:08:14 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback and links! I live in Sacramento, CA, and plan to backpack around this area for a while. Anyone who has been to California knows that we have a diverse climate, cold and rainy on the coast, scorching hot in the valley, and often snow at higher elevation.

I plan on using a scale to weigh the individual weight of each of my items to get a comprehensive idea of how much weight I'm really carrying.

Good suggestion on the puffy jacket. I'll look around next paycheck and see what I can find.

I don't think I'm ready for ultralight or superultralight anytime soon, but I'd like to eventually get to that point if money and skill permits.

Charles P
(mediauras)

Locale: Terra
Re: New to backpacking, how does all of my gear stack up? on 06/13/2012 17:09:36 MDT Print View

Somebody just posted this link on another thread, and I think its great. And could be helpful to you. Its a way to get started without spending a lot of money. Mostly, at first, you just need to get a basic kit and get out there. Once you start backpacking you can understand your needs and refine as you see fit. (Like a puffy jacket is really nice, but at first, given the expense, maybe just take fleece. Its cheap, durable, warm and will be fine for beginning trips. Thermal +fleece + rain jacket is a pretty good night-time setup when the sun sets.)

Have fun!

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php?190-Cheap-Gear-%96-How-to-Dirt-Bag-and-Deal-Shop-Like-a-Professional

Edited by mediauras on 06/13/2012 17:10:37 MDT.

Nathan Hays
(oroambulant)

Locale: San Francisco
Great start on 06/13/2012 19:37:17 MDT Print View

Ditch the Nalgene. Use a plastic juice bottle instead. I paid 1.59 for a nice 64 oz bottle of cranapple, saving 5 oz, and used the difference to buy some vodka for cocktails to celebrate.

For a bladder, I like the Nathan zip tops. Lighter than the Platys by ~1.5 oz IIRC.

The Katadyn works well, but a Sawyer filter is a half-pound lighter.
Fill the bladder with dirty water and have it pass through the filter to your nipple or juice bottle. You can roll-squeeze the bladder and it will filter 32oz real fast.

Your tent is 3+ pounds, but at $25, it is hard to tackle right away. Sleeping arrangements are probably the most personal of the choices. Prices go through the roof for UL gear. Tarps make for excellent first MYOG projects and with cheaper materials you can stay under $75 and under 1 LB.

Good luck!

Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
Maiden voyage on 06/17/2012 20:17:26 MDT Print View

I took my maiden voyage with two of my friends this weekend. We went up to Silver Lake and hiked over to Granite Lake for the night. Beautiful views. I had the lightest pack by far.

We hiked to Hidden Lake the next day, but we were disappointed by the poor water quality and mosquito infestation, so we hiked back to Granite Lake and sat up camp in the same spot as the night before. Six miles in total, 1 on Friday, 4 on Saturday, and 1 on Sunday.

Pack final weight was about 25 lbs not including water. I removed my tarp, extra clothes, extra flashlight, and brought a .357 mag with hip holster and 12 rounds. Probably won't bring the gun next time, but it was nice to know it was there.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Maiden voyage on 06/17/2012 20:40:18 MDT Print View

Glad to hear you had a good time. Hopefully you were able to identify some tweaks to your list, so next time is even more enjoyable.

It's amazing how much more fun it is when you're not a pack mule, right?

Don't get hung up on what weighs what, just make smart choices and enjoy the trips.

Out of curiosity, the 25#'s included food but not water? If so, that's pretty dang respectable for a first try.

Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
Re: Re: Maiden voyage on 06/17/2012 20:52:55 MDT Print View

The 25 lbs did not include food. One of the guys who went didn't bring anything for dinner, so we bought the food and he carried the food in a bear canister. Food wasn't too heavy though, was two mountain house dinners (lasagna and beef stroganoff, 4 servings a piece), freeze dried green beans, clif builders bars, instant oatmeal, jerky, dried cranberries, pistachios, some Pringles. Everything bulky was repackaged.

We ate like kings!

Edited by fast240z on 06/17/2012 20:53:27 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
My Opinions on 06/17/2012 22:06:41 MDT Print View

Here's my quick opinions on your gearlist....not try to be harsh, just quick.

Deuter Act Lite 65+10 pack
Kinda big. I think their air back systems are overkill too, but some people love it.
Suisse Sport +30F bag
Seems like a good buy for the price if the weight isn't a total lie
REI Light-Core 1.5 pad
Good
Nalgene 1L bottle
Too heavy. Use disposable water bottle to save nearly 0.5 lbs
Camelbak 1.5L hydration pack
I don't like these...some do. Pain to fill IMO.
Ozark Trail Scout Jr. Dome tent with plain blue tarp
Okay but sounds heavy.
Merrell Moab Mid Gore Tex boots
Boots? No. Gore-Tex? No.
Snow Peak Giga Power stove with Piezo, plus two canisters of fuel
One canister
GSI Soloist cookset with Coughlan knife/spoon/fork
Does 'cookset' mean more than one pot? Bring one + a spoon.
Katadyn Hiker water purifier
A bit heavy and hassle to use, but okay if you don't like chemcials. I'd use Cl02.
Black Diamond Storm headlamp
Surefire C2-Centurion flash light

Bring one.
Smith and Wesson Special Ops knife with partial serrated blade
Too heavy. Unneeded.
Light my Fire Swedish Firesteel Army model
Homemade fire starter bundle (hemp dipped in paraffin wax and Vaseline)
Homemade first aid kit based on multiple sites for DIY kits
Marmot PreCip jacket

Good
Alpinestars hoodie for warmth
Cotton? Sounds heavy and under performing.
Older Garmin hiking gps
Fun but prob not needed.

I eventually want to purchase the following items:
A better tent

Six Moon Designs Skyscape - whichever model fits your budget.

Edited by dandydan on 06/17/2012 23:41:12 MDT.

Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
Re: My Opinions on 06/17/2012 22:40:04 MDT Print View

Thanks for your feedback! I did a bit of weight shedding before my trip, which I failed to mention above.

I removed -
Surefire light
Alpinestars hoodie
Garmin gps

I substituted -
just the Black Diamond headlamp
light thermal top to wear under Marmot jacket
Suunto compass

I also realized that I posted the wrong model knife, I actually have a S&W Extreme Ops knife, which is a folding knife and weighs 3.9oz.

I don't quite understand what you mean by the comments about my footwear. What did you mean exactly?
Here's a link for the Merrell's I have -

http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/16674M/33906/Mens/Moab-Mid-GORE-TEX-Wide-Width

Thanks again for all of the feedback!

Edited by fast240z on 06/17/2012 22:43:01 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Gear list on 06/17/2012 23:39:55 MDT Print View

Sorry I just fixed my earlier post there....I didn't realize I messed up the bold tags and made it all bold.

Regarding the footwear, boots aren't that popular in lightweight hiking. Traditional hikers commonly cite 'ankle support' as the reason why it's reckless to head into the woods with anything less that boots, but the majority of lightweight hikers are out there in some sort of a shoe - usually a trail runner. Weight saved on your feet makes a big difference (ie. 'a pound saved on the feet is worth 5 on the back') and using boots will slow you down and wear you out more. With a light load, boots are not needed unless you suffer from ankle problems. IMO, a better strategy is to hike in shoes and your ankles will grow stronger over time instead of getting weaker from non-use.

Gore-tex is also not that popular in these circles. For one, your feet tend to get damp in waterproof/breathable shoes because you feet generate more moisture than the shoe can breathe. Non-waterproof shoes are going to keep your feet drier and more comfortable when the weather is nice. When the weather isn't nice, gore-tex can be nice at first but water has an uncanny way of always finding it's way in. You might get a soaker or it might just slowly run down your pants over the course of the days hike or wick it's way down your socks. If none of those, your feet will still get damp/somewhat wet because your shoes don't do any breathing at all when it's wet out because the outer fabrics are soaked and the ambient humidity is 100% so there's no potential for the fabric to breath.

There are some shoulder season conditions where waterproof footwear may be a good option, but for most hikes you're better off with a breathable shoe that keeps your feet dry when it's nice out and when it's wet at least the water can drain out and the shoe will return to being dry much sooner. Gore-tex footwear is tough to dry out. You need hours around the campfire and half the time they wind up burnt.

Jeremy Rauscher
(fast240z) - F
Re: Gear list on 06/18/2012 22:28:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for breaking it down, I finally understand! I'm definitely a novice to all of this. I bought the Merrell's per the advice of a few people at Bass Pro Shops, and have been happy with them so far. I'll definitely have to check out lightweight trail running shoes later on.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
pretty decent gear on 06/22/2012 09:48:22 MDT Print View

Looks like you have servicable gear that will be more than adequate for backpacking, and really that setup could be satisfactory for 20 years of use.

But if you want to lighten the load, you might think of:

ditch the nalgene and camalback, and use cheap pastic bottles of the bottled water/pop/gatoraid type

I'd look at tarptent.com for a tent that weighs less then 2 lbs.

Keen hiking shoes or boots

Alcohol stove and small pot (I'm a Caldera Cone fan)

plastic spoon, ditch the coughlan set

your Katadyn filter is a workhorse, and sturdy and durable. Aqua Mira is lighter, but your filter works fine.

I put a post on my blog about gear for new hikers, and its at

http://backpackingtechnology.com/backpacking/gear-shopping-advice-for-folks-adults-new-to-backpacking/

or just http://backpackingtechnology.com

as you have already seen, the Surefire is not needed.

Check out a small lockback knife, a swiss army classic, or a Mora knife is very practical at 2 oz

Ditch the hoodie. I have a down coat for warmth, and its lighter than a fleece pullover.

For a lot of trips you could leave the GPS at home.

For the areas I hike, a fleece hat is appreciated at night, plus light fleece gloves, and a baseball type hat. For longer trips I take a waterproof stuff sac to wash clothes in.

A Neoair is very light while providing a good thickness for a pad, but it is pricey.

I use a long sleeve nylon shirt, and one or 2 nylon t shirts.

Edited by rshaver on 06/22/2012 09:52:40 MDT.

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 02/12/2013 10:06:44 MST Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/11/2013 23:41:55 MDT.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Footwear on 02/12/2013 10:34:52 MST Print View

Hi Jeremy,

One thing I would recommend if you have never done this before. Go to a serious running shoe store or hiking/mountaineering shop. Not a big box like Bass Pro, REI etc. You will pay more in a specialty shop than big boxes, but the person helping you will probably have much more extensive knowledge and experience both in fitting footwear properly and in the performance aspects of the shoes they carry. The one giant essential to backpacking, no matter the locale or season, is properly fitted shoes/boots and good socks.

On that note, I didn't see mention of socks on your list; good socks aren't cheap, but they're worth the money IMO.

Andrew Zajac
(AZajac)

Locale: South West
water filter, stove, etc. on 02/12/2013 10:37:22 MST Print View

I would suggest replacing the water filter with the sawyer squeeze. You'll end up saving around 8oz probably as well as save some time. With the squeeze you won't have to stop and filter your water all at once, but can just squeeze it through the filter as you need it making your hiking more efficient. At $50 it isn't too expensive either.

You could also make the cat food can alcohol stove if you are just boiling water. Directions can be found on andrew skurka's website or with just a quick youtube search. Mine weighs in under 0.5oz and cost around $1 to make if you already have a hole punch.

As for the firearm, I'm guessing you carry a revolver because you said its .357 magnum. I am no expert on guns and would personally just go without, but you could consider something smaller like a kel tec pf9. 12.7 oz unloaded according to their website.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Return everything. on 02/12/2013 12:56:17 MST Print View

Honestly if you want my advice then do yourself a favor and return just about everything and do more research before you buy.

You will save money, time, and weight by buying the right gear the first time around.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Gear list on 02/12/2013 13:48:39 MST Print View

"a few people at Bass Pro Shops"

Good Grief! This explains a few things.

People at Bass Pro probably know a few things about fishing, but they are not known for ultralightweight backpacking gear.

--B.G.--

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Return Everything on 02/12/2013 13:55:07 MST Print View

Hi Jeremy,

Nothing wrong with using inexpensive gear when you're starting out. You've done one short backpacking trip, so you really don't have alot of experience with gear and techniques. As you take more frequent and more challenging trips, you will start to develop a "feel" for your hiking style; this increased awareness of your needs and wants as regards gear will allow you to critically assess potential purchases for their applicability to your particular performance criteria. Right now, since you don't know alot, you might just be flushing money down the drain by purchasing expensive gear that may or may not work for you.

If, on your first trip, you were warm, dry, and well-fed, then you're on the right track. Get out there and have fun with what you've got! It's not a competition, and gear isn't that important anyway. It's all about skill and experience, and having fun! 25 years from now you might not even remember the gear you're using now, but I guarantee you'll remember the places you go and things you see!