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Doug's Sub-4 Gear List
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Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/14/2007 21:47:25 MDT Print View

Hello all,

I've been playing with SUL for a few years now and fine tuning my kit. Here's my latest SUL Sub-4 Gear List.

I'd love your feedback. The red items indicate gear ordered but not in hand yet so weights may be wrong.

A couple of things I'm proud of here: Warm sleep system (I sleep cold), got in my camera and mp3 player and am still sub-4 (I love my music in rough stretches on really long days- it's better than GU for this guy.

The shoes are heavier than my Inov-8s but I'm so happy with the comfort that I don't care!


(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/14/2007 22:40:15 MDT Print View


Nice, solid list. You've got lots of experience and it shows. As a BPL staffer, it better be a tight list! :)

BTW, any specs on the MLD poncho that's not out yet? I know you don't have it yet, but I'm guessing you ordered it already? Price?

I like a stove-less setup too, and am always on the lookout for more ideas. I'm curious about your cookless Mountain House dinners. Which items are you referring to and how do you prepare them?

One tip you probably already know about, but just in case you don't - a Photon red colored led for your backup light uses the same batteries as the Petzl e-lite, and only one of course (CR2032s). That way if you carry a spare bat, the same one could work for both lights. The white Photons use the CR2016s.

I'm down to sub-4 now too, need to post my updated list.

All the best,


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
D.J.'s gearlist on 04/15/2007 00:03:49 MDT Print View

Doug, what kind of trips do you see using this list on? Trail, pretty exclusively? Some off-trail? Do you yo-yo ( go to lower elevations at night) for your campsites? Temp. range you feel good about using your sleeping system in?

The other thing I think that is useful for other's information is one's size--- for example, I'm 6'2" and thus am wearing L size clothing and a long bag and bivy, which means more weight than say the shorter Ryan Jordan's clothing and gear sizes.

It's an impressive list. The Revelation is a great pack for sub 5# baseweights.

Is the e-lite really useful for night hiking? I hear they're pretty battery hungry. Speaking of hungary--- you eat more food than me. Last Fall on my
3 1/2 day Sierra High (er) Route Trip, I was consuming about 20 oz. a day ( also cookless).

Edited by kdesign on 04/15/2007 00:24:37 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/15/2007 00:21:38 MDT Print View

I've been studying your list for the past hour. Great list! I can't wait until Ron makes the Spectralite poncho/tarp available! I can get sub 5 using some of your ideas, but not sub 4. That last pound is very difficult for me. I found it interesting how you are clothing your legs. No wicking layer, straight to insulation when cold. Your list is particularly impressive given your height, which as I recall is similar to mine, 6'4". No eating utensil?

Edited by ericnoble on 04/15/2007 00:34:05 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: D.J.'s gearlist on 04/15/2007 00:27:07 MDT Print View

Hey Jhaura- right on with the battery comment- I actually hadn't realized that. Thanks!

Kevin- I'm 6'2" and wear size L on most things. Size 11 shoes. So this is a big sub-4. :-)

I've used a similar kit for trail hiking and also above the tree off-trail routes in the Cascades. Even done some bushwacking but that is NOT recommended with a Cuben pack. I don't have a specific trip planned yet- this list started as I planned 3 50 miles days back to back on the Oregon PCT. But I've taken it on trips in a variety of settings now- really, I usually gravitate to off trail, above treeline stuff.

I've never used the Cocoon bag and I'm a cold sleeper but with the Cocoon clothing and bag and the bivy, I think I'm good to about 30. But that remains to be seen- it's just a good guess. I'm sure I'll be comfortable in the upper 30s for sure.

When going out of the protection of forest, the bivy is certainly key. But I typically camp near a small gathering of trees so I have some protection. I never drop to lower elevations to camp- I love waking in the sub alpine too much.

Regarding the e-lite, I'm not sure about long night battery consumption. I've got many hours into mine and it seems to be fine but I've done no real tests. If I try to pull some wacky long day, I'm going to need spares for sure. But keep in mind that I have a Photon Freedom around my neck at all times as a backup.

Thanks for the comments guys!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/15/2007 00:32:56 MDT Print View

Thanks Eric! Yeah, my weight for the Spectralite P/T is a good guess from Ron. Can't wait to have that thing in hand!

Re: wicking. Good point. My smartwools weight just a tad less than my Cocoon pants so I figured the trade off was worth it. The pants will mostly be sleeping or at camp with the Montbell UL Wind pants underneath acting as a partial vapor barrier. I find that I rarely hike in long johns anyway. While added a base layer would definitely be warmer, i'll save this for colder temps.

I'll tell you brother, that last pound was definitely crazy. I made it a goal and then became an anal-retentive scale-obsessed weenie. But on the trail, that pack feels like zero- it's pretty cool. It started as an exercize for a specific long-distance trip but has become my MO. It's taken me about 3 years of whittling to put all of the pieces together. And obviously I'm still waiting for a few of them!


Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/15/2007 00:53:18 MDT Print View

The more I think about it the more I like the idea of the insulated pants. In order to put on my wool bottoms I have to take my pants off. It's a lot easier to put insulated pants on over what you are already wearing. I had never considered insulated pants for summer use in the Rockies, but now I will.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/15/2007 01:38:36 MDT Print View

Hi Doug

Interesting. A few items puzzled me though:

Mountain Laurel Desings??? 2 places

Tent Stakes titanium skewer stakes Titanium Goat 6" carbon fiber tent stakes (5)
Ti wires or CF tubes?

sleeping bag down top bag, 32º Cocoon UL 60 Quilt
But the Cocoon is Polarguard Delta, not down?

1 L Platypus with sport cap, lg disposable
The Platy is disposable? PET bottles are, I know.

How long does the garbage bag last in pracyice before a hole is stretched or torn somewhere? (I use them for river crossings, but don't trust them much.)


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/15/2007 07:45:37 MDT Print View

No true sun hat (nobodies gonna wear silnylon in 70-80 F weather) and no sunscreen other than for lips. You're gonna make a dermatologist happy some day....kidding around.

Other less snide comments ; )...
1. One typo: Pentax Option
2. I've not used insulation on my legs for three season hiking, but more and more seem to list them in their three season lists. Maybe they are the colder sleepers?
3. Consider a few rei torch matches for a second fire starting method.

A question...
Have the glad bags worked well for you as pack liners?

Edited by jshann on 04/15/2007 07:55:23 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Lip Balm as a general sunscreen on 04/15/2007 09:32:03 MDT Print View

You can use the Oralab Lip Balm on other parts of your body, besides your lips----I do.

Johnny Gish
(jtgish) - F

Locale: Coppell, Texas
Re: Lip Balm as a general sunscreen on 04/15/2007 23:07:00 MDT Print View

how do the oral-b finger brushes work? do you repackage them or just hold on to the empty wrappers?

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/16/2007 00:18:10 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger and John for the edits- fixed and reposted. Here is my new SUL Sub-4 Gearlist.

I also made a few other tweaks- added matches (thanks John), added some spare flashlight batteries, got rid of spare MP3 battery (who wants to listen to the thing for 34 hours anyway!), and changed some stuff sacks around (nothing big).

Roger- I actually carry 2 bottles- 1 for water and 1 for Perpetuem (an endurance sports drink/food). It's my main food when I'm really going for it. If my trip is shorter, I usually eat more normal foods.

Garbage bags last many trips- they are oversized for the pack so no stretch and they are mainly for my non-compressed insulation items. Of course, I have a poncho over the top if it's raining- redundancy with rain is key in Washington. No big river crossings that require swims but if I fall on the crossing, it's time to improvise! :-)

John- This is really my spring/fall setup when days are typically overcast here. I use that Oralabs on my forehead, cheeks, nose, and ears. Arms if exposed. I find that I don't like hats when it's hot and I'd probably switch to regular sunblock in these conditions.

Here's my sleep system plan: with an 11oz quilt, I'm exposed in colder conditions. With the Cocoon outfit (pants, jacket, balaclava) I have a second layer of insulation for sleeping that I can also wear around camp or when resting in cold conditions. It might be overkill- I'm not sure. But I often sleep cold so I'm erring on that side. And you'll notice that I have no leg base layer- the Cocoon pants and my running shorts are it!

On my first SUL trip, I used a Nunatak Ghost, no bivy, a Smartwool bottoms, a Cocoon jacket, and thin hat. Too cold for me in 40deg. So I added a bivy and a RayWay hat that I made. Worked much better. This switch to a lighter quilt and all synthetics is experimental for me...but it makes sense when rain is our norm. We'll see how it goes!

Kevin- I don't EVEN want to know what else you're cleaning with those brush ups!!! But seriously, I use them for night/morning and then add them to trash- I don't repackage. They don't do the job of a toothbrush but do give a clean feeling. Good enough for me when only considering a few days.

Thanks for the feedback fellas!

Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Doug's Sub-4 Gear List on 04/16/2007 08:36:07 MDT Print View

Question on the Perpetuem...

I've been experimenting with a few powder-like replacements for normal food and hadn't heard of this one.

Can you give a run down of how you use it on a normal trail day? i.e. amount per ingestion and times...

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Brush Ups? on 04/16/2007 10:33:18 MDT Print View

Doug, what did I ever say about Brush Ups???

I do find that the lip balm works well for SUL nude sunbathing. :-)-
I have to work on my Seasonal deathly pallor.

Edited by kdesign on 04/16/2007 10:35:17 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Brush Ups? on 04/16/2007 12:18:48 MDT Print View

Hey Kevin- I misread yours- I thought you said you could use Brush Ups on another part of your body...sorry about that! Yes- you can use the lib balm wherever you want!

Sorry about that-

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
food- Hammer Perpetuem on 04/16/2007 12:45:28 MDT Print View

Hi Wade,,10047&AMI=10082

It's designed as a total food replacement and it works very well for that. I've used it on several hikes now although I usually supplement with a bigger dinner and some other bars, etc. during the day.

You can make it into a gu-like substance or have it very watery. I make it into a milkshake consistency in a bottle seperate from my water- they call it a "multi-hour bottle"- I set mine up for 2-3 hour stretches. I use about 1.5 scoops per hour for fast hiking levels of output (2 scoops recommended for my weight for running) and I find this keeps me satiated and energized.

In my food bag, I have it arranged into ziplocks and marked with the hours. At 108 calories per ounce, it's also a reasonable caloric density without being too fat-heavy.

Good stuff- highly recommended. My only bad experience was using it on Rainier. Try mixing a powder in high winds. Stupid!


François Lederer
(franzi68) - F
Nice SUL list... on 04/16/2007 14:23:44 MDT Print View

Really nice and inspiring list...

Was just wondering about the Cocoon UL 60 Quilt: obviously, you already own one - and maybe tried it already, so my questions would be:
- how small does it pack?
- how cold would you expect to use the 60 version? The 90? The 180?

As usually advertised on TV: don't try this at home...

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Nice SUL list... on 04/16/2007 17:28:24 MDT Print View

Hi Doug, Nice list indeed. I see you have an X6 on your list. I recently purchased an X6 from I love learning how to use all the functions. I have yet to use it on a hike. How do you like it?

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
baselayer on 04/16/2007 18:21:10 MDT Print View

One way you've shaved weight is by only carrying a very thin golite baselayer. Would you expect to encounter classic cold, wet and windy condtions (< 40F) while wearing this ensemble? If so, would you wear the cocoon top while hiking? Without the insulated top, you would lose a lot of heat over the course of a 15 hour day, though maybe your metabolism can support that? I'm not sure whether the cocoon top would be sufficiently breathable for strenuous aerobic activity, and if it got wet you'd be cold overnight.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Doug's Sub 4 SUL Gear List on 04/16/2007 21:23:38 MDT Print View

HI François- No- I don't have it yet. Items in red are on-order or expected by mid-summer. That would include a couple of items from BMW and Mountain Laurel Designs. Actual weights might vary as well. So sorry, I don't have any info on the quilt...but it's ordered!

Hi Paul- thank you! I absolutely love my X6. It's gone for a couple of years now on the same battery and has been very reliable. I find the altimeter very close (just calibrate when you can- changing weather can affect it) and the compass is quite usable. A great product.

Hey Chris- These are good points. I've definitely traded a base layer for more serious insulation and that does put a gap in my clothing for use when working hard. I have a windshirt and pants and I find that knocking the wind keeps me much warmer. But when it gets really cool- especially when hiking at night, I'll have to rely on that Cocoon pullover. I have hiked in it but never for long periods...I might have a hard time finding that middle ground. I'm set for breaks but less so when it's too cold for my shirt/windshirt and too warm for the Cocoon.

Here's another problem- too hot and I go shirtless...except for pretty minimal sunblock.

I may move things around- add more sunblock and carry a lightweight vest or second base layer. I'll have to think about it. What would you recommend- any ideas?

I am so glad I posted this list- it's getting better and better! Thanks everyone!