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Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Midwest Gear List - Spring / Summer 2012 on 01/15/2013 07:43:35 MST Print View

I'm pretty new to hiking, did a few weeklong trips last year and am planning on the same this year but with a lighter pack as much as possible. I'm down to about 14 lb pack weight, with 4 lb worn and 12 lb consumables including water. I'd like to get the total down a few more pounds if possible.

My hiking style isn't that UL - I usually go with friends who show up with a variety of gear and pack weights.

I'll be hiking in the Midwest from May to September.

The tent and sleeping pad will stay. I'm open to pack and sleeping bag suggestions, but I am on a tight budget and this site is already leaking away all my liquid income ...

Here's the GearGrams list, go at it please!

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=11047

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Midwest Gear List - Spring / Summer 2012 on 01/15/2013 08:47:33 MST Print View

A couple observations:
(1) You will want a warmer bag for shoulder season, 30F at the least, and warmer if your hikes will be in the upper Midwest where you can encounter nights below freezing up to Memorial Day and beyond.

(2) The Quest is a very large pack, even for a weeklong trip. I would focus on replacing that and your bag before trying to shave weight from your first aid or toiletries kit.

(3) If you don't plan to be bushwhacking, I would ditch the non-breathable rain jacket and get a set of FroggToggs (or the lighter version, whose name escapes me atm). There's been a drought lately (as I'm sure you know), but IMO you will appreciate a breathable jacket for summer rainstorms and rainpants for cold spring or fall rain.

(4) I personally would add a large OPSack as a food bag liner and pick wet wipes over campsuds.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Bag, Pack on 01/15/2013 09:43:30 MST Print View

I do have a NF Cat's Meow rated to 20F, but its synthetic and probably on the heavier side. I should weigh that I guess but it's really volume I'd be concerned about if I go with a smaller pack. The May hike will be in southern Missouri on the MO-Ozark Trail though, and I probably won't decide on my bag until the week before for weather reasons. Historically it's been warm enough, but if I did the Superior Trail again like last year a warmer bag is a must.

Any suggestions on a pack? I'm 6'1", medium to long torso, and I won't go frameless. I need some sort of internal frame. Any idea on a more appropriate volume? I don't need as much space, but when I had a synthetic bag and bulkier they did consume a lot of room.

James Bing
(James.Bing)

Locale: Florida
Pack suggestion on 01/16/2013 09:34:20 MST Print View

Nice gear list, I'm just kind of really getting into it. I always liked the outdoors but mostly day hikes.

I just got a Gregory Savant 38, it's enough space for me for multiple nights. I'm not sure how much volume your gear really takes but they do make a 48L and 58L variants. The larger ones have a front loading opening zipper as well as the typical backpacking top loading. The bag, for me at least, is great for multiple types of trips, whether I go abroad to visit other countries or if I want to go out into the bush.

Try one on if you can, my local REI had a few. The large is probably your size, for me (and I am the pinnacle of the average male) it fits perfectly.


Also, just an FYI if you're looking into a new bag - EMS has some that are on sale for half off

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Packs on 01/16/2013 10:00:16 MST Print View

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, both the EMS and Gregory packs are on the heavier side, though the pricing on the EMS' is appetizing. I'd be sacrificing volume without dropping weight or gaining a significant advantage in terms of frame support. Any other ideas?

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 01/16/2013 10:58:08 MST Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 06/17/2013 19:45:16 MDT.

James Bing
(James.Bing)

Locale: Florida
Other ideas on 01/16/2013 12:17:13 MST Print View

Ah okay, I got the MH phantom for half off and its a 45* bag, which for my purposes, it will fit perfectly. Granted, where I am winter camping is like lows of 60* at night normally.

Also if you want a super light bag, the Hornet 46L by Osprey may tickle your fancy. It's about 24oz. Of course, I would recommend you try it on first. But hey, just an idea!

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
updates on 01/16/2013 17:26:43 MST Print View

Rog, thanks for the bag suggestions. I will definitely look into those but they're kind of out of my price range right now.

Does the Golite Jam have stays or a frame? If not how does it compensate? Anyone use one before?

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
REI Flash on 01/19/2013 15:05:59 MST Print View

How about the REI Flash 50 or 65? These both have removable stays / framesheets. Less than 3 lb with everything and around 2lb without the framesheet. Anyone have any experience with these? Good prices right now at REI.

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: REI Flash (and Osprey Hornet) on 01/19/2013 17:47:41 MST Print View

Happy to share my experiences with both the Flash and the Hornet. Both are excellent packs overall, but not without some shortcomings.

I've used the Flash 65 a lot (and the 50 a little), not the latest version, but the last one before it. I prefer it without the framesheet, which didn't feel all that good on my back, and which didn't seem necessary even up to ~ 30 lbs or a bit more. Shoulder straps are nicely padded, hip belt functions well, and even without the framesheet, if you put a light foam sleeping pad against the back and pack things nicely, it has decent structure. Things get a little "squishy" as the load shrinks, but by then, it's lighter. The Flash 50's very similar, but not that much lighter. Sure, with a load that's a little smaller, it packs nicer than the 65, but I'm not sure it's worth having two packs for the minor difference and may not keep it.

I've had good experiences with Osprey before, and the Hornet 46 seemed like it'd be a near-perfect pack for 25-30 lb loads, with the Delrin rods giving it enough structure to carry that load a little more comfortably than the frameless packs. In practice, it didn't really achieve that, at least for me. The shoulder straps were fine and the frame gave the pack a nice structure, but things broke down when it got to the hip belt. The belt itself seemed adequate, but I couldn't get any appreciable weight transfer to it, in part because of the belt's low rigidity throughout, but especially because there didn't seem to be any functional connection between the hip belt and the rest of the pack. When positioned normally such that weight might be transferred to my hips, the pack tended to sag until it was pulling from below the hipbelt. Unsurprisingly, this was not super-comfortable, but it also had the unanticipated effect of causing an apparent increase in my torso length with increasing load (relative to the pack's nominal length). I've noticed more than a few comments about torso length and fit for the Hornet, and wonder if this might have happened to others, too. I'd advise trying it on with a load similar to your maximum load to be sure that you won't have the same problems. If anyone has a solution to this problem, I'd love to hear it, because I was otherwise very pleased with the pack.

Best,

Bill S.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Midwest Gear List - Spring / Summer 2012 on 01/24/2013 08:23:08 MST Print View

That's a huge pot for one person. Why not go with a Super Cat stove and beer can pot for essentially no cost? Though I guess you cook in the pot since you list a scrub pad.

Do you really eat that much food (1.8 lbs/day * 4 days)?

> Does the Golite Jam have stays or a frame? If not how does it compensate? Anyone use one before?

You can definitely go lighter than the Quest. I have the older Pinnacle model and the newer Jam models (50 & 70). It does not have stays and uses a stiff foam backpad for the frame. It works OK until you start getting over 25 pounds. It can still work with higher loads if you modify it slightly. I know David Chenault wrote a post of the new Jam 50 when they came out and I wrote a post comparing it with the 2009 Pinnacle. If your waist is smaller than 33", I don't think the Jam will work for you unless they've changed it since last year. You can't cinch the belt down far enough like you could on the Pinnacle. That was my biggest gripe though there are others, but you can't beat it for the cheap price, especially if you can find a discount. Hint: they used to offer 20% discounts if you wrote a review of one of their products (you must be logged in first!). The code was sent to your email within minutes and good for a month. So if you decide to get the Jam (or other Golite stuff), review your Quest and hopefully they still have that offer.

Unfortunately, Golite is out of stock of their 1-season quilt, which would be a decent replacement for your Kelty.

Use the water bladder in place of your air pillow. Speaking of water, do you really need to carry 2L where you're going?

Nix the deodorant

Nix the wound pack

Nix the handsaw (or are you doing trail maintenance?)

You're not carrying it, but I'd nix the pump filter for a Sawyer squeeze or similar. Get some larger bladders that you can setup a gravity system since you seem to be going with a group mostly.

The lighter knife would be good. I only use scissors personally.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Suggestions on 01/24/2013 12:19:09 MST Print View

Thanks for all the replies!

Good call on the GoLite quilt. I think they're restocking in February with new gear (they keep throwing out tantalizing hints about "the lightest ever freestanding tent"), so I'd probably wait until then. Their prices are always reasonable, even close to "retail."

Also good call on the water. It's plentiful so 2L is probably too much. Still stuck on the "just in case" which I need to get away from.

Other suggestions are good as well.

Any ideas on a pot though? I'll be with 3 or 4 other hikers, and I'll be doing all the water boiling. I'm using a stove similar to a PocketRocket. We're planning on boiling for both breakfast and dinner, but won't be cooking, just heating the water. Is it better to carry a larger pot and heat water 1x, or a smaller one and heat it multiple times?

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: group water pot on 01/24/2013 12:36:52 MST Print View

For a canister stove, it's more efficient for sure to boil one large pot. The Imusa is a good inexpensive choice, but may not be enough for 4 people or even 3 if drinks are also involved so you may have 2 smaller boils anyway. I have one for when I take my boys with me. I even left the handle on and use its lid. ~gasp~ A large canister, my Windpro w/ windscreen and firestarting stuff all fit inside it nicely.

Where it MAY be better to use a smaller pot is in winter when you're losing a lot of heat because of larger surface area. Close-fitting windscreen is crucial then to help contain the heat. The downside being if you need to melt snow for water, then you're back to a big pot again. :P

If you're only boiling and not cooking, what is the scrubpad for?

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Good question on 01/24/2013 12:49:09 MST Print View

Another thing I can cut I suppose. Had an issue once where I overcooked noodles and they adhered to the pot but simply improving my cooking skills or watching it more closely would solve that.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: scrubpad on 01/24/2013 13:41:44 MST Print View

If you do cook in the pot sometimes you can keep it (or use sandy dirt), but you only need just a small piece.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Cheapish Options... on 01/24/2013 22:10:57 MST Print View

A couple cheapish options:

Pack: Lowe Alpine Zepton 50 at STP...Can be had for ~$90 with the right coupon code. 2#-5 oz. Frame/adjustable/decent features/dyneema.

Bag: Wenger 800 fill 30 deg at STP...can be had for ~$105 with the right code. Under 2#

I own the Wenger and the slightly smaller LA Nanon 35:40 and like them both reasonably well.

I would also consider putting a WTB up for a used Marmot Pinnacle or Helium...$150-180...LOVE my '06 Pinnacle.

The new REI Flash 45 looks like it will be a solid pack.

The Osprey Hornet 46 can be had for ~$110 on the web...straps and belt are pretty minimal though.

Tons of water on the OT...I use a Steripen along with a diesel filter and a Nalgene canteen and 2L Source bladder.

I like canister stoves...I usually use a 700ml Stoic Ti pot...but...I just picked up a Olicamp Xcelerator (nee Fire Maple FMS-117T) and 1L XTS pot (jetboil style) for $54 for when the family comes along.

The re-usable coffee cups (gas stations, starbucks, etc.) with lid are a good alternative. I like my Toaks 375ml Ti mug just fine, as well.

Baby wipes cleans pots pretty well...add a little sand for grit if necessary...rinse.

Consider one of the DIY Tyvek jackets cut-down from coveralls for lightweight rain gear...or...grab some DriDucks.

-Mark in St. Louis

Edited by buldogge on 01/24/2013 22:18:47 MST.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Code on 01/25/2013 03:08:37 MST Print View

Thanks for all the tips, Mark. Any help on finding those codes you mentioned? The Wenger bag looks like it's $210 to me. Would be a pretty good deal at $105 though.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Code on 01/25/2013 03:08:37 MST Print View

Thanks for all the tips, Mark. Any help on finding those codes you mentioned? The Wenger bag looks like it's $210 to me. Would be a pretty good deal at $105 though.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: STP Codes on 01/25/2013 06:19:54 MST Print View

You sign up for the Sierra Trading Post email list and you'll get codes in your email several times a week. They vary on what they can be applied toward, % off, shipping discounts, etc. Just have to wait for a good one and hope what you want is still available.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
STP Codes... on 01/25/2013 07:50:58 MST Print View

What Michael said. There was a 35% off up until midnight last night. There will be another sometime in the next 2 weeks. Looks like only the long Averstal bags are left.

There are Zeptons left, as well....note that only the Ochre color is size reg...the other two colors are size XL (don't know your height torso length, of course).

There is a code today for 40%...but...it only works on certain items and does not seem to include the above pack or bag...it does include the Wenger Visp (45deg) bag for $100.77 though...not as good a deal.

-Mark

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Keep it local on 03/04/2013 13:40:30 MST Print View

For bags how about the Enlightened Equipement quilts?

- They are affordable(not cheap): $200, for a 30F 6' regular width, 20.5 oz.
- A quilt is is nicer than a mummy bag in summer here in the midwest. Many nights don't cool off, like it does in the mountains, you now you are stuck at 55F trying to stay comfy zipped up in a 30 mummy bag, ick!
-They are made right here in the midwest, not in China.

http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/product/revelationx-30/

For light frame packs, look at the usual suspects:
Granite Gear
Hyperlight mountaingear
Gossamer Gear
and a few others i can't think of right now.

For rain gear try the O2 Rainshield, with 3M Propore. (Similar to Dryducks). It's cheap, very light and VERY breathable, more so than many more expensive jackets. it's not durable, but for on trail hiking(most common here in the midwest) and occasional use(it's not that rainy) they are perfect.