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John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Foothills Trail Gear Report on 10/14/2012 11:27:25 MDT Print View

Just came in from a week on the FHT and wanted to summarize how some of my gear worked for me while it was fresh on my mind. A TR will follow once I've downloaded pics.

Pack: ZimmerBuilt custom "Big Orange."The Big Orange

I contacted Chris several months before my hike to build a custom pack specifically for this journey, and he delivered above my expectations. Capacity is roughly 3500cc, which came in handy early on when I was carrying a week's worth of food. The front mesh pocket carried my tortillas, cathole trowel, garbage bag etc. The velcro pocket above it kept my Houdini and LS merino top handy. The large mesh side pockets held 2 water bottles each, or one bottle and misc. items (maps, guidebooks, etc.). The hipbelt pockets carried my camera, headlamp, water treatment tabs and snacks. The dual side compression straps allowed me to compress my load effectively toward the end when most of the food had been eaten and pack volume was halved. XPAC construction was close to waterproof, perfect for the moist conditions we were in most of the time. At departure, the pack weighed 34 lbs. and carried it splendidly, aided by the hoop stay and load lifters. All in all, this was as close to pack perfection as I could have hoped. Chris is DA MAN!

Shelter: Hexamid Solo-Plus

I had Joe install all of the guy lines in advance, but otherwise this was a stock model with the beak, and it was perfect. Set up in less than 2 minutes, room inside for plenty of gear, great ventilation in challenging humid conditions (only light condensation on 2 of the 6 nights), and enough length for my 6'2" body. Didn't encounter heavy rain or wind. But for just under a pound including ground sheet, this was just the ticket. My partner was in a bivy, and wasn't sure how it would hold up to a heavy rain, and it was nice knowing that in a pinch he could've squeezed into my shelter.

Quilt: Hammock Gear 40 Degree Burrow (long, wide, with 2 oz. overfill). Loved it. On the two nights where it got down to 38-40 degrees, I was comfy in 150 wt. Icebreaker merino. When it was 50, I was a bit warm just in my clothes. The humid conditions required us to dry our quilts in the sun when we could, but they held their loft pretty well anyway. Another 1 lb. wonder, and it took up very little space in the pack. Ability to snap and cinch the footbox came in handy.

Shoes: Inov8 Roclite 295. These had about 100 track-walking miles on them, and miraculously I kept them dry the entire time. Great ankle support, reliable grip on slippery rocks and in mud (basically the entire trail!), and combined with Smartwool socks- no blisters. Love these shoes.

Bear bag: Ursack. Bear sign was everywhere, and even though the FHT bears aren't a problem, we took no chances. Thwarted mice and raccoons. Held 5 1/2 days worth of food. Easy to "hang."

Cooking: SnowPeak Gigapower stove and 700 ml pot, Coleman blended fuel. The stove and pot were perfect for freezer bag cooking. I used an AntiGravity Gear pot cozy which doubled as my bowl (held the bag) and a titanium long spoon. Food was Packit Gourmet and Hawk Vittles meals repacked into 1 qt freezer bags. Both rock. Cannot beat PG's Shepherd's Cottage Pie, Texas State Fair Chili and Big Easy Gumbo. Their margarita mixes are pretty awesome too.

Storage: Various HMG cuben stuff sacks organized my spare clothing, snacks and quilt. Added a layer of water protection at minimal weight. Partner lusted for them.

Pad: NeoAir XL. First time used. I have never slept so well. Didn't have issues with the crinkly noise reported by others. Only drawback is the 30 puffs to inflate it, but it was well worth it. Also, it packs down very small.

Trekking Poles: GG LT4. I have used these for 3 years and continue to love them. I can't imagine getting through this trail without them.

Clothing: RailRiders Jammin Shorts and EcoMesh shirt. I thought these might be pushing it in the lower morning temps but they were fine. Extremely durable, easy to wash and dry in camp, cool when it's warm and humid. Also carried my Houdini for warmth in camp, Icebreaker 150 LS merino top and bottom for sleep and colder temps, an extra pair of socks (put into service when my partner roasted his in the fire on Day 2), and an extra pair of merino boxer briefs. This was the least amount of clothing I'd ever carried, but it all got used as part of a system and worked perfectly. Thanks to BPL members for the knowledge in this regard.

Luxury Items: New Olympus TG camera, flask with 1800 Reserve tequila. Not sure which I enjoyed more :)

Edited by mammoman on 10/14/2012 11:30:15 MDT.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
foothills trail on 10/15/2012 06:20:54 MDT Print View

John,
That is a really nice pack. Especially once gun season comes in this weekend.
My friend and I are doing the foothills trail and a couple of the spur trails starting Nov. 4th for a week. Which direction did you travel? Did you shuttle?
Thanks for any info

Edited by cadyak on 10/15/2012 06:22:37 MDT.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
FHT on 10/15/2012 21:11:33 MDT Print View

Brent-

Sent you a PM.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Nice report on 10/16/2012 21:57:22 MDT Print View

The Big Orange is pretty snazzy. I really like Chris' work and appreciate your comments on your other gear choices. Sounds like you had fun.

Edited by WarrenGreer on 10/16/2012 21:59:27 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Olympus TG 1 camera on 10/16/2012 23:42:27 MDT Print View

John,

Congrats on the camera. I love mine and am willing to tote its few extra ounces for all the great features, esp. the waterproof-to-forty-feet feature.

BTW, that pack is "beautious".