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Let the schooling begin - help?
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Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Let the schooling begin - help? on 08/30/2012 17:51:39 MDT Print View

I'm rather new to this site, but already I wish I had found it earlier. I'm not new to hiking (nor do I claim to be an expert), but I'm still learning in regards to UL (and SUL?). I want to cut my weight even further and I don't mind sacrificing comfort. How should I proceed?

I don't know if you are all familiar with the website/program called "gear grams". I'll present my list that way:

I already know that I need a new sleeping bag. I'm trying to figure out the best way to turn the one listed into a quilt. I don't have a lot of money available.

I bought the Bivy two years ago and have yet to actually use it - don't worry, it doesn't sit idly in my pack. I have only taken it on one previous trip. I realized on my last trip that I didn't want to be restricted to cowboy camping or huts (all of my trips are on the AT). That is also where the poncho/tarp comes into play. This is bad, but I don't even know what type of material the poncho is. It isn't too heavy and I know it's certainly waterproof - I see it as a temporary solution. Like I've said, I've never used this system. The general idea is fairly simple:
This is the tarp with the marmot alpinist underneath (without a sleeping bag).
Please tell me what I should do differently (because this is pretty unrefined). Before adding the tarp and bivy, I didn't carry a shelter and I carried a Golite Tumalo 2.5 layer Pertex Jacket (10oz) for rain protection.

If you're wondering where my insulation layer is, I haven't listed one because this specific trip is planned for the next couple of weeks. I don't expect Harper's Ferry to be freezing in early September (although I could be wrong). For colder trips, I carry a Golite Roan Plateau (16oz 800 fill down jacket, hoodless) - that's going to limit me eventually.

About the running shoes, convince me otherwise.

I've come a long way in terms of weight. Tear my list to shreds, be brutal. I want to improve more. Thanks in advance.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Let the schooling begin - help? on 08/30/2012 18:06:36 MDT Print View

I didn't see a FA/repair kit on your list.

Take the pants or the shorts. Both seem unnecessary. Although, this time of year I prefer something full length for when it cools off. I don't take extra underwear. If I wear running shorts, I don't take underwear at all. It's a personal preference.

If you take the poncho tarp, leave the pack cover at home. I'd also take more stakes and guyline. Do a google images search for poncho tarp and look at some of the different pitches. The half pyramid and flying diamond seem more storm worthy.

Some of your gear is on the heavy side, but I think you already realize that.

Hope you get some helpful feedback from others!

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Hmm on 08/30/2012 18:10:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback. Could you give a recommendation regarding a FA kit?

Edited by remjroth on 08/30/2012 18:25:21 MDT.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Hmm on 08/30/2012 18:38:05 MDT Print View

My membership expired and I haven't renewed yet, but If I remember correctly, this is a good article:

Here is a 2 part youtube video from Mike C. Lots of helpful stuff here:

Part 2 is the FA/repair video.

I carry stuff for blisters, headaches, sore muscles, diarrhea, and allergies. I also take a few band aids and one gauze pad.

For repair I bring 2 feet of duct tape, 2 needles, dental floss (to use as thread),a mini tube of super glue, and a few safety pins.

I might have forgotten something, but the videos are a great resource.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Let the schooling begin - help? on 08/31/2012 03:17:26 MDT Print View

Great job on cutting back on weight already!

I don't see a map and compass. A pealess plastic whistle (Jam might have one already?) and something to cut with is a good idea too.

Instead of a pack cover, consider using a liner such as a trash compactor bag or large oven bag. Twist the top closed, and that protects against both rain and falling all of the way in.

Some ideas you might want to experiment with:
Sticks, rocks, logs, and trees instead of stakes
Leave stove at home and use a twig fire

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Definitely ditch the pack cover on 08/31/2012 13:32:59 MDT Print View

Indeed, a poncho and a pack cover serve about the same purpose and the poncho does a much better job at it.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
flagged on 08/31/2012 14:28:30 MDT Print View


Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Thanks on 09/03/2012 10:37:24 MDT Print View

Thanks so far for the advice.

For the time being, I'm just going to drop the shelter altogether like I have in the past. Hut-hopping on the AT suits me just fine (priority goes to the thru-hikers of course). I've managed to find a quilt from a BPL member - 18oz, ~35F rating, MYOG item. I've also added a FA/repair kit.

Edited by remjroth on 09/03/2012 10:38:36 MDT.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
The Poncho Tarp on 09/03/2012 12:33:24 MDT Print View

From the picture, that looks exactly like my Sea to Summit Poncho Tarp. If it is, it's made out of ripstop nylon, is listed by the manufacturer as weighing 13 oz, and is a good shelter but not breathable. I've switched over to using it as my primary shelter until I can buy a new one, but I've only slept under it once. In that instance, I suffered major condensation and got rather wet (mostly due to warm, still weather on an open mountaintop). Overall, its good for your purpose--it's only needed for scenarios where it is likely to rain and you absolutely cannot get to a shelter.

I'd take the poncho and leave the bivy. Golite is restocking their poncho tarps on October 18, so you might want to spend the $60 to get a 7 oz breathable alternative.

You might want to consider a Gossamer Gear Polycryo groundcloth for $10, or buying the polycryo directly from Home Depot (find instructions for what to ask for somewhere on the site, I can't remember exactly).

With the sleeping bag adjustment, that gets you below 7 lbs. That's pretty solid--I doubt you'll get much lower without investing a lot of money, which may not be worth it.

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Update on 09/03/2012 21:14:37 MDT Print View

Here's an updated list:

I've removed shelter altogether (bivy and tarp) considering AT Hut use. I added rain gear and a few items which should have been on the original list.

Considering this, base weight for the pack is 5.77 lbs - granted that is without a shelter and also considering 3.06 lbs worn.

I'm struggling to decide whether I'll go for a bivy/tarp system or for a tent. As far as I'm concerned, I'm starting at square one. My bivy and my tarp are both too heavy. I've heard that bivys generally have condensation problems, although I haven't heard a definitive answer on how to prevent that. Maybe someone has some advice as to which is lighter, a bivy/poncho-tarp system or a tent plus ten ounces (no poncho-tarp means I'll carry my rain jacket, which weighs ten ounces). I suppose it all depends on how much money I'm willing to spend. As it's been mentioned before, how much lighter I go depends on how much money I decide it's worth.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
bring a shelter on 09/05/2012 16:46:10 MDT Print View

Atleast a tarp or something just in case you dont make it to the shelters along the way in time.

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Indeed! on 09/06/2012 05:43:52 MDT Print View

You're right. I'll switch my rain jacket with the poncho tarp. That adds a net 2 or 3 oz, doubles as a pack cover, and could be a shelter if needed. Thanks.