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New Guy . . .be gentle :)
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David Walls
(tbird911) - F
New Guy . . .be gentle :) on 05/06/2013 09:25:20 MDT Print View

Hi All,

I've always liked the idea of hiking and camping, but never been at that fitness level. In the last few months, I've been walking about 6-10 miles a day and I'd like to transition that into lightweight backpacking.

I will be hiking mostly in the Appalachian mountains around Knoxville, TN. I'm fortunate to live about 30 minutes from the multiple state parks.

I have:

* Gossamer Gear Gorilla (L) w/ compactor bag liner
* EE Revelation 20 Degree Quilt (On order from Tim)
* Caldera Fission Tri-Ti Stove (either esbit, wood or alcohol)
* Neo Air Inflatable pad & SoLite pad
* Tarp Tent Notch w/ Tyvek ground cloth
* New Balance Leadville 100's or Merrell Moab Ventilator (mids)
* Outsack UL (keep small critters out of my food) and hanging system
* Sawyer Squeeze Filter
* Frogg Toggs - UL rain jacket
* Carbon Trekking poles (Gotta love the Costco)

Couple of questions?

1.) Any of you Gorilla owners give me some input packing/loading the gorilla (how do you do it?)

2.) The Revelation quilt is down and a 20 degree quilt. What is the best size stuff/drysack for it? I guess the question is my hikes will typically be three or four days and then back home, but on the trail, what is the suggested way to pack/compress the quilt without damaging it?

3.) On the AT, do you guys hang your food, sleep with it or ???

Thanks in advance.


Edited by tbird911 on 05/06/2013 10:15:08 MDT.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Stuffsack - 4L on 05/06/2013 09:46:20 MDT Print View

I used a 4L stuff sack (SeatoSummit Nano Sylnylon with waterproof roll top closure)for my EE Rev 20F. Size wise it is perfect but not impressed with the durability of these bags. I have several and the durability is very low. Even a quilt zipper impacting a rock upon the bag being dropped with compromise the material. But, yes the size is perfect for it.


Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: New Guy . . .be gentle :) on 05/06/2013 09:48:25 MDT Print View

WOW wish my first gear list looked like yours!!

Any who im a gorilla owner(just trained mine to talk with sign language). To answer your question it depends on the weather and which gear I chose to bring which also depends on weather.

I usually stuff any down items in first(assuming its not really cold and I will be in need of my little puffy). Then I go by weight so heavier(compact) stuff goes next which is uaualy clothes, food(if not using my cannister)sleeping pad. Snacks in one of the side pockets, water bottle in the other. Shelter either goes in the back pouch or in the main bag depending on how many knick knacks I bring Ipad, fishing pole, photography gear ect. DSLR goes on hip attached to a thinkpad photography hip belt ran through where the gorrila hip belt goes for easy constant access. If I bring a bear can its attached to the top.

2. I prefer no to use a stuff sack with my quilt, its just easier to stick it in the bottom of the bag. And it is doubtful that you will damage the down by compressing it unless using some kind of compression sack. and having it with out a stuff sack saves weight and likely compresses it less. obvioulsy there ore other things that can happen like spilling food sunscreen or basically anything that could dirty your bag. so just be aware of that and youll be fine.

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
Thanks for the good info guys . . .. on 05/06/2013 10:13:48 MDT Print View


The gear list is coming along. I'm a IT manager by trade, so I research everything and try to get the best that I can afford at the time. Fortunately, I have been able to sell heavier stuff and use the funds to purchase the lighter stuff, so I have been a pretty nice list without coming out of pocket . . . much . . .


Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
general ultralight packing methods on 05/06/2013 10:37:17 MDT Print View

Dave -- Your gear kit looks like a pretty standard ultralight setup. There's not really anything unique to the Gorilla or your other stuff that affects way you'd pack.

Your question regarding stuff sack for quilt is actually more closely related to overall packing of the pack, since "standard" ultralight way to pack a quilt is just loosely pushed down at the bottom of your pack in a waterproof pack liner, which will also contain other items you pack that you need to protect from water.

Mike Clelland has a really good series of videos on youtube about packing ultralight, start out with the one about "entire pack contents":
Mike Clelland Youtube videos on packing ultralight

One tip for you that could be slightly different is regarding your Tarptent Notch. I (and many others) like to stick my Tarptent upright outside the pack in one of the side pockets that are often used for water bottles. Notch stuffsack is long and narrow but you should have straps to secure top of it against the pack, with bottom part resting in side pocket. Works well to have tent on outside of pack, but depending on your water carrying needs and preferences this may not work for you.

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
Re: general ultralight packing methods on 05/06/2013 10:50:35 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info on videos, I'll check them out. I'm with you on the tent outside the Gorilla. In fact, it fits in the large mesh pocket in the middle of the back and it may actually ride better in the side pocket as you suggested. I'll give it a look!

Thanks again,


Karple T

Locale: Mid-Alantic
Frogg Toggs on 05/06/2013 11:13:08 MDT Print View

Dump the Frog Jacket.

I just spent 4 days on a loop at Clingmans Dome and day three & four were non-stop heavy rain.

The jacket wetted out after the first 4-5 hours on day three and day four I was soaked and cold in mid 30's getting back to the top of the dome.

No way to dry out in camp with too much rain and moister in the air.

Left my eVent Jacket in the car to save a few ounces (Never again)

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
Rain Gear on 05/06/2013 11:31:13 MDT Print View

What type of event jacket to you have/like? I'd love to have some input from the pros on what works best or what their favorite is.

My current situation makes it interesting, because I am a big guy, but hiking to get the weight off. Its kind of frustrating to walk into the stores around here that sell hiking/camping stuff and find that they don't seem to have any big guy sizes. I typically wear 2x or 3x depending on the cut. Most of the hiking gear I've tried runs smaller than normal clothes . . .so beggars cant be choosers.

With my walking, I'm taking the weight off. Not super fast (I shoot for about 6-8 pounds a month) , but not slow enough to drop a lot of coin on apparel that will be too loose in a couple of months.

I think since I still want to lose about 50 lbs, I'll try to choose my days (hikes) carefully and if it starts coming down too hard for too long, head to the tent, the car or the house. Hopefully at the rate I'm going, it will only take a couple more months to get to a place where I have some more options.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Some good choices on 05/06/2013 11:41:13 MDT Print View

Man, for just starting out you went for some high end stuff. But like any tools, I believe you should buy the best you can afford.

I have two of those same EE 20 degree quilts, perhaps the best backpacking investment I've ever made.

I also have a couple sets of those Costco carbon fiber trekking poles. Cant beat em for the price, but just be careful as the adjustment mechanisms on mine keep breaking, and Im not that hard on them. I wrote the only negative review of them on Amazon if you want to check it out, but I will probably be editing it to a better score. I have been keeping length adjustments to a minimum and this last set has been holding up pretty well. The carbide tips are not "replaceable", so when my last ones wore out, I cut the old tips off (careful not to damage the poles) and replaced them with some Black Diamond ones that are easy to replace.

Regarding rain gear, Im not sure if the Frogg Toggs you have is the same material as my Dri Ducks UL II set, but they saved my JMT hike last year during 4 consecutive days of heavy thunderstorms. Not a drop got through and they held up under my pack. I'm still using the same set.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 05/06/2013 12:09:47 MDT.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: Rain Gear on 05/06/2013 11:51:52 MDT Print View

Pros and cons of different jackets is a whole nother thread(several infact and a couple review comparisons)

If i was losing weight like you i would stick with the frog toggs and plan my trip accordingly. light rain should be fine. And acutally it was not my expierens that my frog toggs wet out in that amount of time but there are to many factors to weigh in why his wet out and mine did not.

I use my arctyrex alpha sv wich is a little over kill for back packing it gore tex proshell..

There are a ton of reviews on here about rain gear breathablity water proofness and everything in between. but if your going to be 50 pounds lighter next year(or even 20 in a couple months) none of it will matter unless your going with a poncho.

You have good stuff. Just usewhat you have the clothing a jackets get real expensive especially if your going to have to buy it all again in a year.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Rain Gear - Try The Packa on 05/06/2013 12:00:16 MDT Print View


I'm a big guy too - 6 feet tall and around 275. I have a Packa in eVent that I just love. It's cut very generously and has huge pit zips. It's not the lightest thing out there - mine weighs 17 ounces - but it works well with the advantage of keeping your pack as dry as the rest of you.

I think it's okay for your rain gear to be a little too big - it just means it breathes better.

Karple T

Locale: Mid-Alantic
Rain Gear on 05/06/2013 12:11:12 MDT Print View

I would suggest going with a poncho. No worries about losing size or weight.

The three guys that were with me did much better with Ponchos.
I will be using my zpacks poncho through the summer and the eVent Jacket for colder shoulder trips.

Anyone commenting on wetting out in Appalachia should be knowledgeable of the effect of the humidity year round. (That's where he says he will be hiking mostly)

Edit to agree with Davids suggestion : )

Edited by ctracyverizon on 05/06/2013 13:13:00 MDT.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Re: Rain Gear on 05/06/2013 12:30:11 MDT Print View

"Anyone commenting on wetting out in Appalachia should be knowledgeable of the effect of the humidity year round."

I dont think anyone commented on wetting out in Appalachia?

Some people just had different expierences than you with frog toggs thats all.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Good UL gear list on 05/06/2013 13:02:59 MDT Print View


I like your gear list. It's the first one I've seen that I would carry myself so ya done good on your first attempt, very good.

TT NOTCH-> Very similar to the new TT Moment DW (I have a Moment single wall)

Caldera Cone Tri Ti-> Love it. (I have a CC Sidewinder W. Inferno woodburner option)

NEO-AIR -> it's a good choice for comfort

A few ecommendations:
1. Cabela's Polartec Power Dry polyester long johns - grid cut inner is very warm for the light weight. (top for summer, both for spring & fall to extend sleeping bag range and for cold mornings in camp.

2. MSR Groundhog stakes (they hold VERY well)

3. Synthetic filled puffy jacket for spring & fall

4. light poly or merino wool balaclava for sleeping on cool nights, etc.

5. P.S. As "Karple T" said, try an eVent or GTX Pro Shell rain parka. A bit more weight but FAR more durable and absolutely waterproof and very breathable. My REI Kimtah eVent parka on a 20% off sale was a geat bargain. Get one size larger to fit over your puffy properly.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/06/2013 13:30:01 MDT.

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
thanks for the replies on 05/06/2013 18:48:37 MDT Print View


Thanks for all the great info . . . !

Yep, I like the idea of the poncho and you've given me some good suggestions to look at. I actually do have the Dry Ducks Ultra Light Jacked/pants combo. I'm really liking the poncho suggestion though.

I plan on starting with some short 2-3 day runs and then seeing where it goes from there. :)

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: thanks for the replies on 05/06/2013 19:19:18 MDT Print View


Glad to see another person on here from Knoxville. It really is a great place to live for those interested in the outdoors. I do 3-4 section hikes on the AT each year. I do hang my food on those trips 100% of the time, mostly due to mice. Those shelter mice are ferocious! (I don't use an Outsack)..A good idea to hang in order to keep them away from bears also.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 05/06/2013 19:22:04 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Great gear list!! on 05/06/2013 21:24:18 MDT Print View

As others have said...what a great first list! It cost me a ton of money and way too many mistakes to get a list like that :)

Ditch the tyvek ground sheet. Weighs a ton, and even Henry Shires recommends no ground cloth. If you just HAVE to have one then try for a polycro one that's much lighter.

I have the gorilla and I really, really like it. I just cloud pack my EE quilt in the exped schnozzle so that it fills up the whole bottom of the pack, then keep my sleeping clothes, down pillow cover and booties (if I take them) in there too. Then I cinch it all up to be water tight, then pack my stove kit (everything fits in the pot) and tent on top of that, then my food at the very top. For most of my trips that pretty much covers it...

Any rain gear goes on the outside, same with my windshirt. I've started just folding my exped mat and leaving it up against the back of the pack, but the jury is still out on that - so I won't recommend that yet. It's hard to keep it there while I stuff the quilt in the pack. I'm still playing with that.

Have a blast...and welcome to the world of hiking! You'll love it...what a great way to lose weight

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
New Guy . . .be gentle :) on 05/07/2013 06:05:05 MDT Print View

My favorite rain gear is an ID rain cape(large=5oz).
I combine it with my polycryo groundcloth worn as a rain skirt in really wet cold weather.

Capes and rainskirts don't have to be made of breathable material because they are breathable by design.

The ID cape can be worn in such a way that it covers your pack and has bungees to keep it from blowing around in the wind.

I have tried many breathable rain jackets and find them heavy, unreliable and one use items.
Many like full length ponchos, but I find they blow around and get in the way on scrambles and such.

Don't expect to be dry in extended rain in any raingear. Dress accordingly. Wear clothing that is hydrophobic and warm wet wet.

I also wear a windshirt underneath to help keep me drier and reduce some of the draft that you get under a cape. I have even worn windpants under my getup in freezing, blowing rain.

As you know, the mountains near Knoxville get a lot of rain.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Bear hangs on 05/07/2013 08:14:52 MDT Print View

I have always hung my food high enough for bears, but its the little critters that tend to get your food. And they can often reach a bear hang. The Smokies have bear cables, but I will warn you that mice can climb them.

Most AT thru-hikers do not generally hang their food from bears in most locations. You will usually see food bags hanging inside the shelter about pinata-height for a bear. But at least you can hear if the mice go after your food.

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
Thanks agqin . . .all. on 05/07/2013 09:16:09 MDT Print View

All of your contributions are greatly appreciated. Thanks for the great info and kind words!