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Cold 3-Season Vermont Long Trail geargrams list
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Andrew Weldon
Cold 3-Season Vermont Long Trail geargrams list on 08/20/2012 21:13:43 MDT Print View
I'm planning to do the Long Trail in October. I'm gearing for days in the 40-55 range and trying to expect nights in the 20's, though supposedly they should be more in the 30's with freak nights much colder.

My goals are sub 9lb baseweight. Some of this gear isn't yet in my hands (Pack, bag, tarp, bivy, though much of it is already ordered), and the goal at this point is to fit it all into the intended MLD Burn pack with room for 5days of food and 3-4L of water. I plan on adding in shoulder strap loops for two water bottles ULA style. I'm not opposed to carrying things on the outside when I need extra room for food.

Everything I have listed that I don't own is using what I believe should be a fairly accurate weight. I don't know the weight of the baselayer bottoms, hence the question marks.
Things missing: Guylines for the tarp and some other misc things that I'm sure I'm overlooking (waterproof bags for camera, phone, etc. pouch system for things I need quickly, etc. I'm waiting to nail that down until I get most of the gear). I also have yet to cut down my maps and guidebook, so I don't know the weight on that yet either. I need a basic repair kit (I was considering a small bit of Tenacious Tape and little else)

I'm figuring consumables for 5 days of food (6.25 lbs?), 8oz fuel and 3L of water (6.6lbs, capacity for 4L), which should be a rough worst-case scenario. That brings the current packweight with my normal clothes worn to 21.7 lbs, which sounds pretty heavy for a MLD Burn, but that decreases nicely as the days go by. I should be carrying 3-4 days of food at a time in general.

I'm open to any suggestions. I was using an Osprey Aether 70, TT Scarp, insanely heavy Big Agnes Air Core and other hilariously heavy gear less than 3 weeks ago, so this is all very, very new to me.
I'm considering ditching the air pad and trying out a torso length Nightlight + Thinlight or something similar. I've never tried sleeping on foam before though, and I don't know how sustainable that would be over a 1 month thru-hike. Definitely interested in opinions on this as well. Not entirely sure that the two pads would be enough in my expected lows on the LT.

Edited by hypnolobster on 08/20/2012 22:40:38 MDT.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Guidebook? on 08/20/2012 23:02:59 MDT Print View

Hey Andrew,
You've got most of my feedback already in the other thread, so I won't repeat myself--just responding to your list and your post.

In terms of the guidebook, I assume you're talking about the End-to-Ender's guide? It's a matter of preference, but I only carried about a dozen pages cut out of that book, which complemented the map nicely and did all I needed. Saves some solid ounces.

If you're bringing the buff otherwise (which I'd recommend), its a good prefilter. If you're bringing it solely for prefiltering, then there are lighter solutions. I cut a circle out of a recycled bottle cap and made a conical prefilter out of a wire mesh reusable coffee filter, which is now less than 1 oz and screws on to the top of my gatorade bottle--I imagine you could do the same with an Aquafina cap and be even lighter.

You probably won't need sunglasses--the Long Trail is in the woods for at least 270/273 miles. Your choice though, as they're your eyes.

Everywhere else though, your list is tight. There are a few things that I might leave at home, but nothing worth bothering about.

The important thing is to go hiking in advance and get a feel for the new gear! You don't want to find yourself suddenly in the woods of a cold October VT with gear that you're not entirely comfortable with.

Andrew Weldon
Re: Guidebook? on 08/20/2012 23:51:42 MDT Print View

Yep, my very preliminary plan is to bring a dozen or so pages from the End to Enders guide and the LT Map as well (cut as well, but that will probably only save a little bit). I'm going to consolidate extra info on a couple handwritten pages.
I was considering cutting out the division maps from the regular guidebook as well. The elevation profiles seem like they'd be somewhat handy. All in all I'm assuming this should only be 4-5oz of map/guide, perhaps a bit more. I have a GPS I like as well, but I already feel like I have far too many electronics and while I love having a GPS, it just seems like too much. I haven't nailed down my number of resupplies yet, but I suppose I don't have to carry the full trails worth of maps and info with me at all times and just pick up the next section with my resupply.

The buff is going to be a general neck scarf, occasional headwear, but primarily a filter. I'm thinking of trying out one of the merino wool buffs (or one of the other tube scarf wool brands) as well, since my neck always does seem a bit cold.
Sunglasses are a fairly permanent fixture on my head in normal life, but I wear very cheap ones and I may discard them after a bit. I'll just have to find out on that one.

I've got a 4 day trip in allegheny national forest planned in mid-september. Hopefully I get everything in by then and I can have all the intended gear to make sure I'm happy with the system.

I still have this nagging feeling that I'm about a pound heavier than I should be, and I'm still missing a bit from the gear list.
The electronics are certainly hurting at nearly a pound. I'd like to nix the phone but that's not really an option (worrying family). Camera is essentially top of the line for a compact and it'll be wonderful with the fall colors.
The shelter system is a little heavy, but it was also inexpensive and the only real option to go lighter is cuben fiber and that's just not in the budget.
Cook system, hydration and packing system all seem very light. I suppose I could go with esbit but I absolutely can't stand the smell, and that's not worth ~1-2oz for me.

I'm mostly curious about the sleep system and if a nightlight+thinlight would be unwise in possibly low temps, or if I should carry my full regular length NeoAir.

I really want to drop the deodorant and soap, but I intend on hitching a couple times and I don't want to make anybody pass out.

Clothing seems heavy, but it's (hopefully) sufficient for quite low temps while moving, and I figure it'd be wise to concentrate on packweight first and worry about lightening up the worn clothing a little later.

Edited by hypnolobster on 08/20/2012 23:53:18 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Guidebook? on 08/21/2012 07:08:18 MDT Print View

I would make copies of the few towns you might stop in and a copy of the shelter description list. I found most of that book to be useless.

skip soap and deodorant.. VT is very used to hikers and folks know what to expect when they pick someone up. There are not many places for washing up anyway.

i'd bring the bottom half of a water bottle for a dipping cup, or use your SP600 for a cup to dip water instead of using your buff to filter. if your neck is going to be cold then you'll want that dry. maybe bring a square of cheesecloth or something to put over your bottles for filling?

the only 5 day stretch we had nobo was from LT Inn to jonesville/Richmond

if you have time a pair of Dirty girl gaiters to keep stuff out of your shoes is a great thing. i didn't think i'd need them and i ordered them before i even finished haha at least I have them now for future trips.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/21/2012 11:29:52 MDT Print View

Easy weight savings on the electronics area. Nix the camera and get a better phone with a 8mp+ resolution like an iPhone 4s.

You might even be able to use the GPS with the phone so you could ditch the maps and GPS too.

Theres your pound you were talking about. Oh yeah, and use the 4s's light and save 2.3oz more by nixing the headlamp and another 1.5oz by nixing the watch.

BTW: is this a solo trip? that could change things if it isnt.

One last thing, your clothing and clothing worn is very heavy and looks redundant.

Edited by M.L on 08/21/2012 11:40:49 MDT.

Andrew Weldon
Re: . on 08/21/2012 15:08:45 MDT Print View

Jake D, good point about the soap/deodorant. I don't personally need them, that was purely a consideration for others. Good to know.

@Michael Larson
Unfortunately, a new phone isn't an option (price and image quality). I know the camera is nice on the iPhone compared to inexpensive compacts, but the RX100 is an incredibly good camera, and certainly the best way to remember the trip/share it with others. I have considered finding a very lightweight Verizon phone to bring instead. I do really wish the camera was lighter. A lighter flashlight and watch would probably be wise.

It is indeed a solo trip.

Please do elaborate on the clothing issue. It seems somewhat sensible to me, but I don't have much experience with cold weather backpacking for any length of time, and definitely not with ultralight. I really don't know where to begin for big weight savings in that category.

Clothing worn is intended to be simply pants, tshirt and a very thin breathable hoodie that's quite comfortable in ~40-60 f temps while mobile. Rain gear over top the normal clothing worn should be a fairly comfortable package while mobile in wind and rain. The hoodie makes the rain gear much more comfortable.
The clothing carried is a good synthetic jacket, gloves, hat and mid/lightweight baselayer bottom for sleeping or particularly cold weather.

I really don't know where to look to begin lightening the clothing. The shoes are heavy, but I have incredibly wide feet and those are one of the few shoes I can find that fit comfortably. I'd love to find a replacement.
I suppose the hoodie can be replaced with just a longsleeved baselayer, which could save 3-4oz.
Arc'teryx jacket could be replaced with the un-hooded pullover to save 5oz
The REI Safari pants are fairly heavy but I've had them for years and they're quite durable. Not sure what to look for in replacing those.

I'm absolutely open to suggestions on a better way to do a cold 3 season clothing system. Like I've said, I'm very new to this.

Edit: the BD trekking poles are added into the "worn" calculation as well, which is pretty significant, so the 5 lbs worn isn't just clothing. I'd like them to be lighter, but it's again a budget thing and I really like the BD lock system, and I rely heavily on poles. LT4's are probably in my future.

Edited by hypnolobster on 08/21/2012 15:12:50 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/21/2012 21:50:44 MDT Print View

I wish you luck on your next trip, I am not the best person to give cold weather advice on clothing though, I hope someone else can chime in. I guess the sun hoody (9oz) looks redundant but this depends on you and your comfort. You might be able to get by with a long sleeved baselayer instead when needed. The LT hoody is awesome though I have one and like it a lot.

When you seperate your clothing and your pack weight you are suprisingly doing well. Your shelter and sleep system are very light.

Pack 7.65 but clothing 4.7.

One thing I might bring is a polycro ground sheet or something just so your bivy has something clean and dry to lay on.

Edited by M.L on 08/21/2012 21:54:40 MDT.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Re: Re: Guidebook? on 08/21/2012 22:58:18 MDT Print View

I definitely understand that an iphone is too major an expense to add at this point, so consider cheaper ways of saving electronic weight: many phones will scan pages onto them, for starters. I'd keep the map separate if I were you. Also, you definitely don't need to take elevation profiles from the guidebook because they're included on the GMC Long Trail map. The other alternative is that if you brought the phone only for "security" reasons and made only 1 call each week, you can lose the charger and save 2 oz.

In terms of the pads, you ought to be fine with the nitelite and thinlight combination, although I'd suggest taking a look at Lawson's CCF pads in place of the thinlite:
They might not be ready in time, though, so be careful. By the way, what's the thickness on your thinlight?

With the (very wise) decision to go extra-warm on the sleeping bag, you needn't worry quite so much about the pad--find a lightweight affordable option that meets your comfort level and provides at least a moderate level of insulation.

From the looks of it, you know more about clothing than I. The suggestions you're making sound excellent. It's easy to avoid getting cold hanging around the afternoons by simply continuing a few miles extra to the next shelter.

Unless you've got something to worry about, I'd highly recommend forgetting what time it is and leaving the 1 oz watch at home.

If I were in your position and feeling zealous about weight reduction, I would do the following:
1 Leave at home: the buff, the backup matches, the bivy, toilet paper, towel, knife, shades, stake sack, watch, phone charger, spare socks (maybe), and spare camera battery.
2. Switch to iodine tablets in a ziploc for water treatment, saving 2.5 oz
3. Go from 8 stakes to 5, from 4 bottles to 2
4. Leave the Zpacks food bag, use a light trash bag (not a contractor bag)

That would be going rather hardcore although the adjustments are doable. It would also trim just over 20 ounces, without losing much in the important areas, ie warmth and safety. Also, apart from the fact that iodine is more expensive than Aquamira, they are totally free.