Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
How many packs and shelters is too many?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:38:02 MDT Print View

I want to buy more shelters.

I want to buy more packs. I really like my Gorilla, and the circuit carries very, very well with that nasty bear can. I'm really intrigued by the Ohm 2.0 and I'd like to buy it. I don't need it at all...I have two very nice packs.

I really like the moment DW I bought for my dad and now I'd like to buy a tarptent for myself. I don't need one...I have a duomid on order.

Why?? In my quest for UL simplicity I find that I am draining my bank account on lots of stuff. Super cool stuff...but stuff nonetheless.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:43:32 MDT Print View

It's because you've been hanging around here instead of getting out more.

Seen it a hundred times here

I'm the same.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:46:54 MDT Print View

Just say no to gear lust. Before it turns to gear glutton. :-)

I won't buy a piece of gear anymore without selling something first.

My wife, dog, and I are usually out together. Occasionally I'm out with a friend or my dog and a friend. My wife and I each have a larger capacity pack (her's is a purple blaze Ohm 2.0, mine is an HMG Porter 3400) and small day/multipurpose pack. We have a GoLite Shang 3 (with inner) and an HMG 8x10 flat tarp for shelter. Each have a summer bag/quilt good to around freezing and a 0 degree bag. We each have a RidgeRest and NeoAir Xtherm. I've gone back to a simple cat can alchy stove for when I'm alone and just ordered a Kovea Spider for when we're together or with a group. I sold my JetBoil Sol Ti when I ordered the Spider. The only redundant (somewhat) gear I have left is water treatment (aqua mira - drops and tablets, gravity filter, Sawyer squeeze...), even though I find myself treating less and less.

Having less is liberating. True - I don't have the gear for an overnight with perfect weather so I can go SUL, but I found no difference in comfort between 5 and 10 lb base weights. But then I also don't have to worry about picking from a variety of items based on a variety of factors (weight being only one) found on a spreadsheet. I can just throw my stuff in my pack and go. Until my recent trip guiding/teaching with Andrew Skurka, I hadn't even made a gear list in a year or more.

Edited by simplespirit on 05/29/2013 07:00:43 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:47:53 MDT Print View

"Just say no to gear lust. Before it turns to gear glutton. :-)"

Man, don't let Ben hear you say that.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:55:41 MDT Print View

"Man, don't let Ben hear you say that."

Yeah, it's blasphemy on here. I guess that makes me a "gear heretic".

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 06:58:13 MDT Print View

Help is available

Gear Swap

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 07:14:31 MDT Print View

Hi Jen,

I have three packs and I think I could whittle that down to two .

On the tent front I have a one and three person winter tents and one 3 season tent and a 2 person tarp, all see use through the year but probaly could get it down to 3.

So only really see an extra pack and tent on my books.

Edited by stephenm on 05/29/2013 07:24:14 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: too many packs on 05/29/2013 07:22:35 MDT Print View

If you have more than 1 pack for every 15 days of hiking annually (day hikes included), you have too many.

If you have more than 1 shelter for every 15 nights in the BC (annually), you have too many.

Assign appropriate handicaps for kids and SOs who come along at least 1/4 of the time.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 08:44:56 MDT Print View

2 packs and 1 shelter per purpose (activity type).
this is the ideal number.

so if you go out there for 3 different reasons, you are allowed 6 packs.

activity types include :
1. running
2. day hiking
3. weekending
4. week long
5. thru hike
6. rock climbing
7. alpine climbing
8. snow mountainieering
9. there are others ...

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 09:06:09 MDT Print View

>> If you have more than 1 pack for every 15 days of hiking annually (day hikes included), you have too many. <<

Wow, Dave C, that's an incredibly precise and absurd formula!

+1 Art, activity dictates my gear purchases and that goes for more than just packs and shelters.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 09:29:28 MDT Print View

I find backpacking and the gear necessary for backpacking to be relatively inexpensive in comparison to other activities that I could, restore old cars, etc.

Based on that argument, you can never have too many packs and shelters.

The end.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 09:30:04 MDT Print View

We have a duty to support the UL backpacking cottage industry! Buy one more! ;)

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 09:57:40 MDT Print View

I've trimmed the fat over the last year or two and have downsized to one single backpack and shelter (Duomid) for backpacking/bikepacking/adventuring/etc.....

It's not always ideal, but I make it work for now. Save for an attempt on Denali or something on that level which I have no intention of doing, there haven't been any limitations to my current situation and I in no way feel limited by my shelter and pack. I'm confident in what I own.

Owning a single 15F bag has proven to be a small mistake, however. I used my WM bag last weekend with lows in the upper 40s and was roasting, even opened up and barely draped over me. Ill be adding back an inexpensive warm weather quilt into the fold sometime soon.

The current SUL series refresher makes me laugh a little. In the quest to "do more with less" many here may find themselves doing less with more things that weigh less.....or something along those lines.

It's a slippery slope.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Too many on 05/29/2013 10:30:47 MDT Print View

Recycle on the Gear Swap Forum. I shed a bunch of gear on the GSF this last winter and . . . bought more. It felt good to give my neglected gear a good home and help reduce the cost of my new purchases.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 10:36:37 MDT Print View

Backpacking is by far more affordable, even with gear lust, than most other hobbies as FamilyGuy mentions. My gf was into cars and probably has $100K sunk into her collection of various rally and sports autos. I on the other hand have sunk maybe $2k into backpacking and climbing gear (much on deep discount/used) and have enough gear to bring a friend or three on trips even if they have no gear.

Still the point remains, the more you hike the less gear you have because the geekery starts to inhibit your hiking. Should I take X stove or Y? then you have to weigh pros and cons. When you hike enough you know "Y is better, for my style" and just grab it and go.

For backpacking I've basically limited my gear choices to a winter setup, a general 3 season kit I can take anywhere, and slowly assembling a SUL/XUL kit that will be for on the spur 24-48 hour style adventures to recharge the batteries. Any extra gear is relegated to loaners for significant others or friends, but limited to 3 full kits at a maximum. Climbing/mountaineering/canyoneering gets a similar setup except loaners is kept to a minimum (one max).

I do go over board on clothing though since I find I spend more time in my clothes than I do playing with gear. I also tend to wear my backpacking clothes when I climb or in the city because it fits and looks better than other clothes. Still, I try to limit things to "if I could only have one item for..." type thinking.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 10:50:56 MDT Print View

It's the same game as taking too much stuff on a trip: "whatifitis". And there are those times when a real bargain comes up, but still fueled by the what-if factor.

I'm down to three packs and one is for sale. I'm down to three shelters including my car camping/2 person tent.

But the little things stick to me: water bottles, pocket knives, headlamps and flashlights, etc.

And then there are the clothing layer options. OMG! Cap1, Cap2, Cap3, R1, Power Stretch, 100w and 200w fleece, hoodies and oh yes, vests. And then there is 60g and 100g insulation and I do (horrors) actually own a down jacket--- but it is one of the JCP bargain basement goodies. But wait, the rain gear, the hats, the gloves, and never forget the SOCKS. Did I mention shoes? Button down shirts? Convertible pants and shorts? Soft shell bottoms? Helllllp meeeeee!


Hiking books?

To wanna talk radios, photo gear, and oh yes binoculars?

The packs and shelters are easy :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 10:55:57 MDT Print View

Forgot the sleeping pads..... Sheesh!

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 11:08:13 MDT Print View

"My gf was into cars and probably has $100K sunk into her collection of various rally and sports autos."

That Sir, is a lady you would want to make your wife!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bee beep umm bee beep, yeah on 05/29/2013 12:18:14 MDT Print View

"My gf was into cars and probably has $100K sunk into her collection of various rally and sports autos."

Baby you can drive my car,
Yes I'm gonna be a star
And Baby I loooooove you!
Bee beep umm bee beep, yeah

Cars can pale hiking gear in a heartbeat. Just the insurance on that stable would cover all my gear and then some.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 05/29/2013 12:22:56 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/07/2015 15:16:14 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
use on 05/29/2013 12:30:07 MDT Print View

use what you already have ... spend the money on going out

gear is USELESS unless you use it, and use it hard

dont buy anything else unless you NEED it ... or it wears out ... an go wear it out

its that simple ;)

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: use on 05/29/2013 13:34:50 MDT Print View

Not like I'm trying to make myself feel better, but I really do use my stuff quite a bit. From march until November I go on weekend jaunts 2-3 times a month, then take 1-2 big 10-day to 2-week trips a year. This year I'm doing the JMT, ideally the PCT next. So it's not like I don't use it...

I just feel bad that I want to try out these other things. I have been pretty good lately about selling off (or giving away) my older stuff...for example, my hexamid is going away now that the cuben duomid is on it's way.

In my house right now I have a hexamid. No other tent. It is actually already sold.
I have the gorilla and the circuit. One is big and heavy, one is small and light (for me, anyway).
I have a canister stove and 2 alcohol stoves (only because I haven't given the 12-10 away just yet since I bought the modified starlyte).
I have a single water filtration system and a few different sized water bags that go with it (sawyer squeeze with sawyer bottles and some evernew)
I have three cookpots now - 2 short/wide (one big, one small) and 1 tall/skinny to go with my canister
2 quilts. One summer, one shoulder
1 pad
One set of heavy trekking poles, but I just ordered some carbon ones from REI.

So I'm not awful least I don't think I am.

Am I??

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: use on 05/29/2013 13:50:58 MDT Print View

Thats not a lot of kit at all Jen.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: how many... on 05/29/2013 14:45:18 MDT Print View

You need no more than 6 shelters and 5 packs, and you need to try about 25 shelters and 15 packs until you find the ones you need.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: use on 05/29/2013 14:56:00 MDT Print View

Fftt! 'Tis nothing, not even warm. One pad is almost... sinful.

If you are using it, it meets the test. There MUST be something that I have that you need ;)

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 16:54:45 MDT Print View

So you're all saying I *need* a few more shelters, packs, pads, quilts, pots and stoves?


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: How many packs and shelters is too many? on 05/29/2013 18:39:22 MDT Print View

ignore em all ;)

what CANT you do with your current gear ...once you answer that question youll decide whether you NEED new stuff ... or do you just WANT it ...

or do you want to spend the money and time (virtual gear listing) on BPL rather than just going out and do it ...

go out today, wear your gear and go for a walk/hike

thats all there is to it folks =P

not enough on 05/29/2013 20:21:06 MDT Print View

You definitely need at least one frameless pack, and one sub-10oz cuben frameless SUL pack, some tarps and bivys, and a full set of heavy full on winter equipment with a Hilleburg tent.

Give it time, you will get there. Dont be impatient.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
have less, be more on 05/30/2013 02:37:27 MDT Print View

There's definitely benefits to specialized gear for each sport or trip type, but there's also a lot of satisfaction in using a simple, dialed in kit. Putting together an effective gear/clothing system can be a continual process of trial and error, but I've found that when I'm constantly trying out new gear (which I've done my share of) its harder to get to the sort of flow state that I'm looking for in the outdoors.

As someone prone to futzing around and losing track of things, streamlining my gear has made my outdoors experience simpler and more enjoyable. The more familiar I am with my systems, the more they just disappear into what I'm doing. I like to get out the door fast without thinking too much about which combinations of gear that I'll bring for that specific trip.

Its a good feeling to throw on a pack that feels comfortable and to know that it will still feel comfortable after another 20 miles. Likewise, its nice to have a shelter that you can throw up quickly in a storm and know that you'll stay dry and cozy overnight. Developing a relationship with your stuff--using it for various purposes, conditions and environments, is the best way to gain this sort of confidence in it.

No need to feel guilty if you end up buying an extra pack, but it might be worth putting the gorilla (a totally worthy pack) through its paces to figure out what you like and don't like in a pack of that size. Likewise with the duo--that looks to be a very versatile shelter. With wise site selection, that could be your 4 season-wonder-shelter. Or, better yet, buy a TT, a free standing mountaineering tent, three tarps of varying sizes, and sell the duo to me on the cheap :) Realistically, once you've tinkered around and found stuff that works well for you, two packs and two shelters should well cover the spectrum of 4 season backpacking.

Thats just my take on some of the benefits to a minimalist approach on a personal level (setting aside for now the very likely possibility that not buying all that extra stuff is probably better for the long term health of our species and the planet.) Sorry had to go there.

Edited by sgiachetti on 05/30/2013 03:11:22 MDT.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Dialed In on 05/30/2013 08:04:18 MDT Print View

I'm finally pretty happy with my pack and shelter options.

I've got a WPB bivy for light and fast overnight or weekend adventures when decent weather is expected or I'm planning on sleeping in a shelter.

I've got a 3P tent for trips with my wife and dogs

And I've got a 1P tent for everything else.

As for packs, I've got a 5L and a 12L running pack. I use the smallest one that fits my water/food/clothing needs.

I've got a MLD super burn for overnighters and other short warmer weather trips.

I've got a 50ish L McHale for anything more - or something requiring a bear canister.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Up to 5 shelters on 07/11/2013 16:41:59 MDT Print View

Just bought my 5th shelter today and thought of this thread.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: use on 07/11/2013 22:32:13 MDT Print View


I think you are fine atm, even by the silly formula. However, when you start feeling guilty and unfaithful to your old gear when you are "out on a date" with your new gear then you will know you are cracking!

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
extra gear on 07/11/2013 23:15:03 MDT Print View

I have a gear problem and I'm aware of it. My problem is nobody wants to buy my old gear because it's old and heavy. I guess. Part of my rationalization is I only use my high end backpacking gear when backpacking. I "save" it for when I really need it. Case in point: I'm packing up tonight to take my young kids camping for the weekend and the WM, BA fly creekS, snow peak etc stuff is all staying home for the heavier stuff relegated to car camping. I literally have 8 tents and all with a set purpose. Fly creek ul1 is my go to, the ul3 I hope to use one day when my kids come along etc. (oh! I just received a pm, maybe my lynx pass will sell!) The marmot thor 3p is too heavy for this crowd, etc...I know I have a problem, maybe there's help for me!!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: extra gear on 07/11/2013 23:29:31 MDT Print View

If you are looking for an intervention from the folks here you are SOL!

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
How many?? on 07/11/2013 23:43:22 MDT Print View

Horribly I must admit that the answer seems to be N + 1 = perfection and N is the number of packs or shelters that I have at any given time.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
How many packs and shelters is too many? on 07/11/2013 23:53:42 MDT Print View

here we go again...
For packs I think most can stay within four or five.
In the last few years I have only used three, but I have more just in case.
Now, as for shelters , there is a minimum amount but I can't see why we should have an upper limit.
The minimum is of course six :four season shelters and one each for the in-between seasons (end of spring and the usualy wetter mid Autumn).
But of course because I prefer solo shelters and sometime I need doubles, it isn't all that easy to limit oneself to six or ten.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Ideal on 07/12/2013 05:32:21 MDT Print View

I'm more in Dave's camp but I would do the math a bit different.
Packs - 1 for normal use. I additional if doing heavy winter trips, climbing, pack rafting or hike in an area where canisters are needed.

Shelters - 1 shelter plus an additional if doing serious winter camping.

Additions - I you outfit to do trips with others such as kids. Add pack and possibly a different shelter for that case.

Everything else IMHO is excessive. I'm sure there are other scenario that could fall outside of these cases like trips with huge water carries or ten days worth of food. But even those could easily fall into he same category as a winter, heavy hauler.

If I count my pieces, I have 2 packs, one I use and my old Jam that my kids will use when they go out with me. I could also use that pack if I run out of space on a winter trip, which is unlikely. Shelters, not as good. I just completed making a new shelter plus I have a Cuben BPL Stealth Nano which I need to sell and a TT Squall which I saved for trip that I do with my kids.

From what I see on here there are three reasons for gear hoarding.
1) you still have older generation gear as you walk down the UL road.
2) you are afflicted with shiny toy syndrome. (Agree with Eric's take on this.)
3) you have fallen into the gram weenie trap of over optimizing for every possible scenario.... If the temperature is above 60 degrees then I can save .57 oz. by using a SuperOptanium 59.3 degree bag instead of my CubenCarbonTitanium 55 degree bag.