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Josh Greninger
(travis.bickle) - F
'12 JMT gear reflections on 11/21/2012 23:08:32 MST Print View

My gear:
Clothing -
Patagonia Houdini
Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket
Montane Minimus Rain Jacket
Ibex Indie Hoodie
MHW Wicked Lite T-shirt
Railriders Eco-Mesh pants
Moen Arm sleeves
Tilley wide brim hat
Mosquito net
Inov8 Roclite 315
Injinji coolmax toe socks
Gossamer Gear LT4s
Gossamer Gear '12 Gorilla
Zpacks 30 degree/30% overfill bag long


I'm planning to do the JMT again in 2013 with my girlfriend. I'm thinking about the things that I want to change, items I wish I'd had, things I didn't use that I thought I would, pieces of gear that were really a godsend, and so forth. I figured I'd list my thoughts here to get more suggestions.

My baseweight was around 7-8 lbs with a BV450. At an average of 18-20 mi/day, I had little trouble physically. The hike seemed easier for me than it did for everyone else on the trail. For this reason, I'm planning to add a few lbs. to my baseweight for comfort.

"COMPLAINTS":

* SLEEPING
- Zpacks 30 degree bag with 30% overfill
I slept a little cold at night when not in a tent with this bag. My feet were freezing, so much so that it woke me up several times. I had to use sleeping pills to prevent restless nights. I'm planning to use some PossumDown socks or GooseFeet this next year, and having my gf do the same. The cut of the Zpacks bag was very restrictive for me [I'm 6'0 175lbs]. I'm planning to get a more roomy 30deg/30%overfill bag - I'll be sleeping closer to my girlfriend in a shelter, so I don't think it'll be an issue with the added body heat. I slept in a FlyCreek UL2 ("1.5" person tent) with my hiking partner during a few rainy nights and I was much warmer.

- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir
It's just too loud. I'm searching for a comparable pad that is silent. I also didn't like the way my elbows hung off the side when laying on my back. Currently looking at Klymit pads. I also used a GG closed-cell pad that worked well. I used a short length NeoAir, which wasn't adequate at first - but I learned to live with it, so I think I'll still get something short.

* No pillow
I was trying to use my "extra" clothes in my cuben drybag as a pillow, but because I slept so cold I was usually wearing everything but my rain jacket which didn't make for a great pillow. I also didn't like crinkly cuben next to my face. I brought an Ibex Indie hoody but didn't use it for more than 5 minutes while hiking in the early morning before it'd get too warm. I'm going to leave the Indie at home and bring an R1 hoody. Fleece has a lot of loft to it and I think it'll make a great pillow inside of silnylon stuff sack. I'll use it when I stop for breaks, when I am trying to warm up after a swim, in camp at night around the fire when I don't want to put my fragile Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket at risk. I'm also considering bringing a WM Flash Vest instead of the Down Jacket, although it's only 3 oz weight savings.

* Small shelter
UL2 is really a "1.5" shelter, so I can't really fault it for not having adequate space for 2 grown heterosexual men. I think I could get away with a similarly sized shelter with my 5'3 110lb girlfriend. However, entering and exiting during rainy weather would still be a hassle. I'm considering a MLD Trailstar with a 2-person Oookworks net-tent. These are huge and the combined weight would be 37oz (ouch) - weight is nearly prohibitive, but it looks like a bomber palace. Biggest drawback is the trekking pole right smack dab in the middle. Also considering a bearpaw net-tent with a Zpacks cuben tarp, which would likely be around 20oz.

* Lack of variety in foods, jerkey a no-go
I must've packed nearly 2 lbs of jerkey and didn't eat more than a few bites. I didn't crave it at all, in fact it repulsed me. It was grass fed beef, organic, etc.(read: very expensive) - I ended up trading it all for things like Payday bars. The only bars I packed were FiberOne and Snickers, and I definitely won't be doing that again! I was sick of them by day 4. New rule: no more than 2 of each type of bar. My hiking partner had hot chocolate and tea, much to my envy. '13, I'm bringing hot beverage mixes for every day!
I should note that I brought a PackIt Gourmet dinner and breakfast smoothie for each day. This was one of the best decisions I made. I will do this again, for sure.
More brownies, peanut butter/almond butter, hickory farms style cheese/sausage/crackers, just more variation. Delicious foods go a long way for morale on a rainy day when you're exhausted, cold and soaking wet.

* Shoes
Injinji socks were amazing. I got 1 small blister, and that's it. I slapped some duct tape on it and wasn't bothered by it the rest of the trip. A lot of people on the trail tried all sorts of products to cover blisters, but duct tape seemed to be the only thing that actually stayed in place. The breathability of the Roclite 315 combined with the Injinjis kept my feet dry and therefore blister-free. I had to be careful where I stepped, though. I stubbed my toe and even thought it might be bleeding a few times, but it was okay. There were mile+ long sections of the trail covered with jagged rocks, which was kind of a nightmare in the thin-soled 315s. I might wear the same shoes again next year, but with some thicker insoles to save me from the jagged rocks. I had to be VERY careful about foot placement, which detracted from my enjoyment a bit. But overall (on 97% of the trail), I think the shoe and sock combination was amazing.

* Sun protection
I thought I was all set with sun sleeves, pants and a tilley, but alas, there was no amount of sunscreen that would protect the tops of my hands. Using the trekking poles all the time, the top of my thumb was in a constant state of burning after the 2nd day or so. I'll definitely bringing some lightweight white sun gloves.

My favorite piece of gear on the trip was probably the LT4s. :)

Edited by travis.bickle on 11/22/2012 10:55:58 MST.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker) - M

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: '12 JMT gear reflections on 11/21/2012 23:42:28 MST Print View

Thanks for the jerky, it was awesome, I was glad to get rid of some Payday bars. I like the idea of more variety and hot drinks every night, especially at the end on a cold night on top of Whitney. I wish I had packed food I liked more than trying to take as many calories per ounce as possible. Thanks again for your encouragement on the long final day. I am planning on doing the JMT again in 2014 with my wife and kids.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"'12 JMT gear reflections" on 11/22/2012 01:55:59 MST Print View

Are you soliciting input in your comments?

If so I like the Granite Gear stuff sack that is fleece on one side - makes an excellent pillow.

Also, Patagonia has a nice pair of sun gloves.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Klymit on 11/22/2012 07:20:44 MST Print View

I love my klymit static v, non insulated. I've taken it down to 35 (i'm a warm sleeper). Although, I think you can take it lower if you use some thin reflective foam stuff that they sell for car windshields like at daiso. Site says 18 oz, but most people say it comes near 16 oz, so 18 must be for repair kit and stuff sack. They're really well made and extremely comfortable. If you want, you can try mine out if you pay for shipping both ways. Can probably fit it in a small priority flat rate box.

Also, they should be really easy to shorten... Just deflate and run an iron over where you plan to cut then cut. Klymit released a video on how to do it, course it voids warranty though.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 11/22/2012 07:23:29 MST.

Joe S
(ThreeRidges)
Klymit on 11/22/2012 07:56:36 MST Print View

I think the guy who runs Klymit said they have a heat seal machine for R&D and that if someone asked, they would take a pad down to whatever length you wanted. May want to check that out.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Klymit on 11/22/2012 10:19:00 MST Print View

Yeah, I think they do that for you if you order directly from their site.

Josh Greninger
(travis.bickle) - F
Re: on 11/22/2012 10:54:03 MST Print View

@Justice:
Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I didn't have to carry the monstrous 5D and yet, I was able to reap the benefits. I definitely showed them to my friends/family as a visual aid for describing the trip. I'm still interested in the Wonderland Trail btw! I have to check on permits for next summer.


@David Lutz:
I suppose I'd be writing this into a Word Document if I didn't want everyone's input ;)
I was planning to get the Patagonia sun gloves, but I'd think with all the rubbing against trekking poles that they'd be destroyed after 2 weeks of use.
I'll check into the fuzzy stuff sack! Sounds like a great idea. My pre-JMT self would scoff at such a "comfort item" ;)

I think adding 2-3lbs to my pack will be barely noticeable, while giving me A LOT more of that "warm and fuzzy" feeling. Hiking under dark clouds, with a storm bearing down on me, knowing that I have a spacious fortress for a tent would be a welcome peace of mind. I also forgot to bring a rain pack cover. Doh!

@Andy:
So the Klymit Static V isn't noisy when you move around? I will likely try to order a 3/4 length from their site soon.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Not noisy at all on 11/22/2012 11:03:57 MST Print View

Nope, not noisy at all, also no insulated though. They do sell an insulated version now (r value about 5), coming in at 25 oz, but i'm sure they can make a 3/4 size for you and bring that weight down. The v shape chambers are really comfortable, just inflate, then release a little air to allow you to sink in a bit.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
R1 a decent pillow on 11/22/2012 11:21:35 MST Print View

Your base weight was seven or eight pounds INCLUDING the Bearvault?

Impressive.

Anyway, I'm a side sleeper and I long ago decided that I NEED a pillow, too. If you don't get a decent night of rest then it's pretty impossible to truly enjoy yourself- for the same reason I usually carry just a hair more bag than I probably need to so that I know I won't shiver the night away. Since you mentioned it I'd add that recently I carried an R1 hoody on a few hikes and I found it to make a pretty decent pillow stuffed into its own hood, without even needing a stuff sack. The fleece clings to itself well enough to keep it from unrolling.

I tuck my shoes under my pad at the head end to add a bit more height, then put the rolled R1 on top.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Zpacks Bag on 11/22/2012 12:03:42 MST Print View

Travis


A few questions for you:

- Is your ZPacks bag the regular (56") or wide (62")?
- Was the cold feet only an issue when you weren't sleeping in a tent? Just sleeping out on the ground?
- Were your feet right up against the bottom of the bag when tucked in, being 6'0" in a 6'2" bag?
- What are you guessing the temps were outside when you had this issue?

I'm a cold feet sleeper too, so I'm wondering if this is going to be an issue for me also with a ZPacks bag. I'm 5'9" and would be getting the 20*F (30% overfill) 6'2" regular width bag done up with two zippers to be able to go full blown quilt-mode.

TIA!

KJ

Edited by f8less on 11/22/2012 12:06:18 MST.

Josh Greninger
(travis.bickle) - F
Re: on 11/22/2012 12:23:32 MST Print View

@Ken:

I was using a 3/4 length sleeping pad, so my feet were hanging off it. My feet were cold nearly every night - temps were 25-35 deg at night I think (jkokbaker might be able to confirm>). It was the regular width sleeping bag, not the wide. I would imagine that if I had a long/wide/20 deg/30% overfill Zpacks bag it would have been perfect. I still would need some PossumDown or GooseFeet for my feet though, I think - unless I had a full-length pad. I used the backpad from my Gorilla under my feet, but it just wasn't enough.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: '12 JMT gear reflections on 11/22/2012 12:24:10 MST Print View

Great info!

Check out unpadded bike gloves for use with your trekking poles. They give good sunburn protection as well as grip and many have a sweat wipe pad too. Fingerless ones work fine as your fingertips are curled in. Padded ones are too thick.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
3 season bag solution on 11/22/2012 12:28:39 MST Print View

I have a Western Mountaineering Megalite bag that I had WM overfill for around $40. including return postage. It was OK at 30 F. but is now good to (as tested) 24 F. with just light polyester long johns and a pair of ThorLo Hiker socks and a light balaclava.

A Megalite has enough extra torso room to overfill without making it restrictive. I can still wear my Thermolite insulated jacket and pants in it and have no restriction or compressing of top side down. With the Thermolite combo I can sleep comfortably to 10 F. - maybe colder but that was my lowest so far. Even my Eddie Bauer down jacket (avatar photo) is fine inside my overfilled Megalite.

BTW, I'd ditch the wind shirt and just use the Minimus rain jacket for dual duty.

Edited by Danepacker on 11/22/2012 12:32:47 MST.

Josh Greninger
(travis.bickle) - F
Re: on 11/22/2012 12:44:10 MST Print View

@Dale: I hadn't thought of biking gloves, but I can see how they'd need similar sun protection. And you're right, my fingers were curled in and didn't get burnt.

@Eric: I've been considering dropping the windshirt. I wore the Houdini a total of about 3 times during the trip. I ended up sweating in it if I hiked with it on for more than 10 minutes. It was nice to have one dreary, cold day, while hiking relatively slow, but I probably would've been fine without it. The Minimus is nice though - love it!

George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
30 percent overfill? on 11/22/2012 12:47:38 MST Print View

@Travis and Kenneth. Z-packs advertises their bags as being already 30 percent overfill. Are you guys talking about 30 percent on top of that? Also, Travis was your upperbody cold also, even with the down jacket?

janos mathiesen
(janosm) - F

Locale: phinney ridge
Sleeping pad on 11/22/2012 13:20:16 MST Print View

I, like you, have made some gear choices that give me more comfort on long-ish trips that, inevitably, add some weight. The best choice my 44 year old body has ever made is buying the new(ish) rei stratus sleeping pad. Even though I am 6'3 and 220 I still bought the regular size and just slept in twelve degree weather in the north cascades in great comfort. The pad has larger tubes on the outside running the length of the pad that kind of tucks you in and prevents rolling off in middle of night (like my old neo air). It is also quite and less slippery than nep air. It runs $79 I believe so cheap! It does, however, run about a pound and a half. My two cents.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker) - M

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: on 11/22/2012 14:33:20 MST Print View

It did get below freezing several nights, I was good with my Enlightened Equipment 30 degree quilt with overfill. I had the X-Lite full length pad.

Edited by jkokbaker on 11/22/2012 14:33:58 MST.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: '12 JMT gear reflections on 11/22/2012 14:51:50 MST Print View

Thanks for typing this up! Yeah hot drinks help a lot. Also try powdered hummus, which isn't the MOST practical thing, but is awesome. Weird jerky didn't do it for you. One thing I absolutely love is tortillas and nutella, LOVE. Worst case it trades very well or makes a great gift. Also food: hawkvittles are a godsend man, try them out. It's a bit unclear how many calories it has though. Also bring grated parmesean to beef up meals, it's awesome. Similar vein is olive oil, extra light is best as it carries the least flavor (which is what the light keyword means, same calories).

Did you have any high stress (like catching a fall, or getting them stuck and still moving forward) moments with your LT4s? Curious about that.

Sun gloves are awesome, but get very dirty very quickly and in general gross me out. I forget who makes them, but there are sun "cups" things that I'm debating doing next.

Kind of pricey but the exped UL pillow may help. I've NEVER been satisfied with stuff sack pillows, but I use the exped pillow (non UL) and won't turn back.

I use an exped UL7 long wide. It's heavy, no mystery there, but the sleep it lends itself is worth the weight for me. I sleep on it. period. I've tried so many pads I can't sleep on to try to shave weight, they haven't been worth the trade off.

The first year I did the JMT I went crazy light too, emphasis on crazy, like 10lb with a big bear can, this year I went with 12 and was much happier.

Your ease on the trail probably has to do with general conditioning. The first year I did it I trained like mad and it was easy pulling 17 miles a day average (28 one day, eeish), this year I averaged like 12 or some such and it was harder, but I didn't train for it, period. hah

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn) - M

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: '12 JMT gear reflections on 11/22/2012 16:56:11 MST Print View

If you are switching your sleeping bag I would recommend a Katabatic Gear quilt. Fantastic and I think they are rated conservatively. You can also get with 850 water resistant down.

Goosefeet are amazing

How about ear plugs instead of changing sleeping pad

I have the MLD TS and it is great in many ways. However the entry and exit can be a little more challenging (well at least for us older guys) depending on how you setup.

Food. I'm always tweaking:
- Drinking some of my calories during the day helps me a lot. Something about bars, nuts, etc all day. Also easy to drink as I hike
- Salami is great for lunch. Don't need a lot, but just the salt and protein offer a good boost
- Hot drinks. I hear you. Favorite for me
- Protein drink (I like Syntha 6 vanilla ice cream) at camp while setting up and making dinner. Good for recovery and calories. Sounds like you smoothie accomplishes the same
- For a cold breakfast I' thinking about trying a mix of granola and a couple scoops of protein. Just add some water and eat like cereal
- Fritoes and Pringles add salt and calories during the day

I have found that you gotta pack food that you will eat.

Brad

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: 30 percent overfill? on 11/22/2012 18:12:45 MST Print View

I think both Travis and I are referring to the already included 30% overfill.

HTH

KJ