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8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques?
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(ardavis324) - F

Locale: High Sierra
8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/03/2013 08:50:54 MST Print View

The List.

Any opinions, ideas, critiques are welcome.


This list shows solo weights, but has a column that indicates shared weights, as well as total base weight on 2 person trip.

Typically camping at/above 10k feet in high sierra.

Occasional thunderstorms, but typically avoid heading out if bad weather in forecast.
Night temps close to 32 F, daytime temps widely vary.

This is basically a July/August gear list, with optional items at bottom that could be added for colder weather.

I put the trip length as a default of 4 days, however 5-6 days is more likely.

Hiking 12-18 miles a day, with a couple hours around camp at end of day. Sometimes with campfire depending on trip.

No bear containers necessary.

There is a "notes" column which indicates things I am pondering. Most of those ideas could eliminate several ounces from this list.

I am not exactly looking to reduce weight a whole lot more, however I am always seeking functionality, simplicity, no fuss, better overall efficiency.

Edited by ardavis324 on 12/03/2013 08:55:27 MST.

scree ride
Everclear on 12/03/2013 09:09:07 MST Print View

Throw in some wild rose hips, juniper berries, leave the whiskey at home.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/03/2013 09:59:36 MST Print View

Looks great to me, it's not that different from what I bring. It looks well thought out. For July/August I would leave the R1 hoody at home. Or maybe switch it out for a warm hat, which I didn't see on your list. I carried an R1 hoody for years and it was always too warm as an active layer, and it's not an efficient way to add warmth at night. In the summer I just go with a windshirt + down puffy + rainjacket. Sometimes I even leave the puffy at home depending on the forecast. On the JMT last August I was warm enough with a warm hat + windshirt + rain jacket even in 3 days of continuous thunderstorms and hail. I add back in a Capilene 4 hoody for the shoulder season which is a much more appropriate fabric weight for the Sierra IMHO.

Personally I always bring long underwear, both to keep my sleeping bag clean and as an extra layer to hike in for the first few hours of the day if it's really cold. The Arcteryx Phase SL ones I have are 3.4 oz, so you could save some weight there, but it's probably not worth replacing the Patagonia ones you have.

Check out the Granite Gear Air Zippsacks for a nice food storage bag (though they are not cuben.)

(ardavis324) - F

Locale: High Sierra
Re: Re: 8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/03/2013 11:26:13 MST Print View

I've had trips where I just brought windshirt/down jacket/rain jacket and was just fine. The thing is, I usually only wear the down jacket for a little while after dark, and sometimes for a few minutes in the morning before I began hiking. At night I use it as a pillow. It got me badly do I really need this?

I would likely wear the R1 from early evening, as well as throughout the whole night (balaclava hoodie very nice with quilt), and during the morning hours. Paired with the windshirt, it is a pretty nice system. Its just kinda heavy for how much insulation it provides.

I guess what it comes down to is that I don't really need both, however I need to choose which one is truly more valuable. I lean towards keeping the down jacket, leaving R1 home.

I thought about bringing the long underwear (which are very nice at night and protect quilt fabric), and then just wearing running shorts to hike in, instead of pants. Keeping the long underwear on in the morning. I have always worn pants, and usually do xcountry travel that makes me glad I have them...but Im so much more comfortable in shorts.

(ardavis324) - F

Locale: High Sierra
lighter trekking poles? on 12/03/2013 12:54:12 MST Print View

My trekking poles are monsters. What can be found that are significantly lighter and at a good price? (GG LT4 too expensive)

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: 8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/03/2013 13:36:41 MST Print View

With 5-6 days of food, I recommend keeping the stay in your Gorilla. It doesn't weigh much, and it does a lot for ya.

James DeGraaf
(jdegraaf) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Re: Re: 8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/03/2013 19:41:21 MST Print View

I second keeping the stay in your Gorilla pack. It is phenomenally better off for me and my Kailas pack with the stay in, as opposed to without.

Also, I would second what Andrew said about your midlayer choice. Leave it at home and if you feel compelled to keep the weight you're at, bring a hat. That was the item missing from my list's as well for the summer in the Sierra Nevada Mtns this summer. Actually, I prefer my Smart Wool balaclava but you get the point. Otherwise, I think your list looks pretty good. No other critiques from me.


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/04/2013 19:35:03 MST Print View

I have a Zpacks Arc Blast pack, 18oz., worked great this summer for my week long trip. At 60 now, I only need one outer clothing layer, a Montbell liner? jacket at 8 oz.? for the warmer part of the summer. Your kitchen is lighter than what I use and I use a silk liner in my WM bag, but I picked up a EE Enigma quilt at 17 oz. for next summer. With food and one qt. of water, I'm at around the mid 20's or lower for a week and tablets for water purification. Add weight for a bear can. Keep in mind you may have to switch out a alcohol/Esbit stove setup later in your hike for a canister or gas stove due to high fire danger, or go for cold dinners. Please take care of my Sierra, I live here.
PS: I do not bring any thermal underwear in the summer. My raincoat (anorak) is 4 oz.

Edited by hikerduane on 12/04/2013 19:36:40 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: 8# base weight high sierra gear list. critiques? on 12/04/2013 19:51:41 MST Print View

I use a down jacket + sleeping bag instead of an extra warm sleeping bag because it keeps me both warmer and cooler. If it's too cold I put on my down jacket. if it's too warm I take it off. It's worth that extra weight to me.

(ardavis324) - F

Locale: High Sierra
Re: Re: stay on 12/05/2013 20:48:32 MST Print View

I'll definitely keep the stay in on the first trip. I am going to be using foam sleeping pads which will help keep things rigid if I eventually go without the stay. Perhaps on a shorter trip i'll try it out.

I edited the list to remove the r1 and just keep the down jacket. I have a balaclava that is perfect for sleeping in and works as a warm hat.

(JRinGeorgia) - F
poles on 12/06/2013 07:54:46 MST Print View

"My trekking poles are monsters. What can be found that are significantly lighter and at a good price? (GG LT4 too expensive)"

Don't know if this fits the bill for you, but I've been happy with a pair from a brand called Yukon Charlie's, carbon fiber sold at (to members) for $49.99. Weight is 14 oz for the pair with straps.

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
imodium on 12/07/2013 22:59:28 MST Print View

I bring imodium on every trip.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: imodium on 12/08/2013 09:16:36 MST Print View

Be careful about taking Imodium if you have diarrhea. Take it ONLY if you don't have the ability to actually stop and poop (ie on a bus). Your body is trying to rid itself of the bugs, and Imodium is an intestinal paralytic, which means you are holding onto the bad bugs and not getting rid of them. Your best bet is to let your body get rid of what it's trying to get rid of.....Imodium should not be your first line of treatment if you have diarrhea...drinking more fluids and staying well hydrated...and pooping a lot.

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
interesting response on 12/08/2013 11:10:54 MST Print View

Thanks. I'll be careful going forward.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: imodium on 12/08/2013 14:39:45 MST Print View

I was on a long backpack trip once where a guy had to be evacuated. The doctor in town said that the guy was in a vicious loop -- low potassium was causing his diarrhea, diarrhea voids potassium, and it is hard to have enough potassium in a backpacking diet.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Potassium on 12/08/2013 18:31:19 MST Print View

Dried banana chips. Lightweight and full of potassium. And dates and raisins.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Potassium on 12/08/2013 18:50:28 MST Print View

Just Gatorade.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: imodium on 12/08/2013 20:33:39 MST Print View

"and it is hard to have enough potassium in a backpacking diet."

Mortons Lite Salt contains ~350 mg of K per 1/4 tsp(3 gram) measure.

Nuts also contain a lot of K, rough average 150 mg/oz

Dehydrated bean soups are another good source.

Lots of others, but these are a good place to start, IMO.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Potassium on 12/08/2013 20:38:28 MST Print View

All good suggestions.

What I meant to say is that the doctor said it is hard to have enough dietary potassium to break the diarrhea cycle once it gets going. He gave the guy some big purple potassium horse-pills.

Ever since then I have been more conscious of including enough potassium in the backpack diet to forestall the problem.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Potassium on 12/08/2013 20:46:12 MST Print View

Like so many other good threads, this one turned to $hit.