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Going travelling / 4-season backpacking gear
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David Brophy
(davelondon) - M
Going travelling / 4-season backpacking gear on 03/26/2014 00:53:50 MDT Print View

So myself and my fantastically understanding girlfriend are about to quit our jobs and go traveling for a few years.

We're keen hikers so I want to do some 3-5 day backpacking adventures while we're away. This year we have Europe and Asia planned... Next year will start with South America, and hopefully include a month sailing to Antarctica - perhaps snowshoeing and camping on the peninsula.

Obviously we have plenty of other kit to carry around while we're travelling so I want to go as lightweight as possible with everything.

I'm pretty intent on fitting my whole life in my pack, so I've gone for larger I'd need for the backpacking trips. I want this equipment to stand up to 4-season conditions - if possible we're going to be doing some overnight stays on the ice in Antarctica, which should be relatively good weather but conditions can change pretty fast there.

I've split the gear list into a main section for backpacking in relatively good weather, and some extras for below freezing adventures.

You should be able to right-click and leave comments on the spreadsheet without logging in - feel free to do that or discuss here. I've marked things I still haven't bought yet with ***.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Going travelling / 4-season backpacking gear on 03/26/2014 08:58:15 MDT Print View

You might enjoy THIS series of articles

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Going travelling / 4-season backpacking gear on 03/26/2014 09:13:18 MDT Print View

Try and apply UL to your "other" kit as well. You'd be surprised how awful it is carrying 95L worth of stuff whilst travelling. This shouldn't be too hard. Adding a second set of nicer travel clothes, maybe a laptop/tablet, phone, chargers, passports etc, and you are done. I've travelled a lot with just one spare set of clothes. Its easier than you think. People don't see you everyday, so no one knows you are wearing the same thing or two things every day...

Going through your list quickly... (good to see the *** for what you are yet to buy, great!)

Nallo 2. Great tent, I half own a GT with my Dad. However, I think its overkill/not that neccessary. I've stealth camped in a lot of countries, and I think with two people, a mid shelter is a better idea. A good mid with a good net inner tent is quite versatile. The inner you can rig up on a bed in a room, just hook it to the ceiling (carry a screw in hook just in case), and use it as your mozzie net. Some people argue for the need for a freestanding, or mainly freestanding tent for cycle touring, but I think thats BS, you can always find somewhere or someway to pitch a non freestanding tent. If you are on a concrete surface, chances are there is a roof over your head already! With two people pitching a mid is superfast, you'll be able to do it blindfolded without talking to each other in the dark in a snowstorm after a couple of weeks.

14 is a lot of stakes, yes I realise a Nallo can take that many, but it doesnt need them. Chances are you will be able to tie off some of the guy lines to fixed objects if needed (and the guy lines dont all have to take a lot of strain). Same deal for a mid-as long as you have four good pegs for the main corners, the rest can use lighter pegs or none at all. I've found having a variety of types of pegs can be handy when travelling as terrain differs. So a couple of v-shaped pegs in there instead for softer stuff if you are on it can be handy.

Considered a double quilt? You have a good pad set up (the joined neoairs), a quilt mates well to this. My wife and I currently have a zpacks. Nunatak also do doubles.

Knife-my next "travelling" knife will definitely be a fixed blade with sheath. Folding knives are a pain long term for kitchen purposes with real food (try chopping up a few tomatoes with a folding knife...). Chopping food gets small bits of food and juice in the handle/mechanism, which is tedious to clean (I've learnt this the hard way). A simple fixed blade is a much better and stronger idea.

gas canisters can be hard to find when you want them (even in europe sometimes; different threads etc), and the jetboil, while great for hiking when you are in your home country and can easily plan meals or by freeze dried, isn't that versatile for cooking in foreign countries. Much easier to have a bigger, wider pot that you can chuck whatever is available into. And you'll want the variety long term! In europe I used a gas stove, and carried canisters for it when I got them. But I was on a bike, so didn't have to worry about transport. Every time you take a plane, you ditch the fuel (and likely the fuel bottle too). At the next locale you have to find it again. Having a light second stove can be handy. Eg a supercat type stove for alcohol in addition.

the new sawyer mini (?) sounds amazing. I wish I could have had that three years ago in Africa. Forget tablets (except maybe a few for emergencies), go with that.

Icebreaker 150s could be a bit hot and useless in much of Asia. Easy enough to buy a local shirt, but, then you are still lugging useless stuff for months. The rab 120 shirts might be better, you can always layer more.

Not sure who you are going to antarctica with, however if its a tour company there is probably a good chance that they'll supply/hire you extra warm gear that you need for it, like big down jackets etc. It would be pretty irresponsible of them to take you down there without it. So you probably don't need to worry about that stuff for now, and I definitely wouldn't carry it for years til you need it.

Best of luck, you are lucky to have someone keen to travel so much with!


David Brophy
(davelondon) - M
Wow thanks for the insights! on 03/26/2014 17:05:03 MDT Print View

Wow thanks for the insights!

I like the idea of a mid shelter, but I don't like the idea of having a pole in the middle between me and my girlfriend! To be honest the idea of snuggling up together in a toasty warm double sleeping bag is one of the big draws...

Sleeping bag
The Spoonbill is pretty quilt-like - with no insulation on the bottom... Don't you get draughts coming up the gaps between the pads with nothing on the bottom? I imagine the pertex on the bottom of the Spoonbill would block most of that...

Good call - I'll swap that out.

She's in charge of cooking equipment and food. I'm gently encouraging her to do a bit more research, and I've passed on your advice :)

The Sawyer Mini looks awesome - definitely on my kit list straight away.

Antarctica kit
Yes the Antarctica ket might be supplied by the tour company. I'll have to check this. For sure I don't really want to be dragging more than we need around the world.

Edited by davelondon on 03/26/2014 18:36:37 MDT.

BJ Clark
(bj.clark) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Wow thanks for the insights! on 03/26/2014 20:50:31 MDT Print View

If you like the idea of a mid but still want to be next to each other:
MLD Supermid
Bearpaw Luna 4 or 5

Any of these would be lighter than the Nallo.
For the same weight a Golite SL5

Lots of room in any of these and plenty on one side of the pole to sleep.

David Brophy
(davelondon) - M
Ooh on 03/26/2014 23:08:46 MDT Print View

Wow, a Supermid with an Innernet looks interesting... Just about enough room to squeeze both of us in one side. And so light in the Cuban version.

But we've got these non-adjustable Black Diamond Ultra Distance hiking poles... Can't seem to find a good way to attach them together... Any ideas?

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Ooh on 03/27/2014 00:16:14 MDT Print View

One option is just a piece of cord. A couple of slip knots and pass thru loops and the whole thing is self tightening. A bit tricky getting the right length the first time is all.

Easier in pictures. Click on them for full size images.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosPhotobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosPhotobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And yes the poles are new. Got them on clearance this winter :)

Edit: A word of caution about using the method on the following post. As you're aware already, the BD Ultra's have a pretty weak strap attachment to the poles, so using the straps as a support might not be very secure.

Edited by Glenn64 on 03/27/2014 19:24:14 MDT.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Re: Re: Ooh on 03/27/2014 05:25:06 MDT Print View

+1 on lashing the poles together - a method that is simple, dependable, cheap and very light

Here's another illustration of the method (photo from Ron Bell):

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Wow thanks for the insights! on 03/27/2014 08:44:57 MDT Print View

Since your trip will take many months, I strongly advise you not to worry about clothes you'll need 6 months from now. I've done a fair amount of world traveling for work and found that most of the time, whatever I brought with me was exactly what I did NOT need in that particular location, especially when my destination was altered once I was out and about. advice??

Take what you need for the next 3-6 months. That's it. It will wear out, it will break, it will get used up, you'll change plans. The whole point of an adventure like this is to be flexible and be able to do whatever you want whenever you want. So go in short chunks, and supply yourself (mostly) as you go. As mentioned previously, don't lug Antarctica gear through Vietnam.

(By the way, your tour operator will NOT supply you with anything except food and transportation to Antarctica. I had several friends go and they all gave me this advice: in Ushuaia, wait until the day before the departures and take remaining spots...super discounted!! But no, they'll not even so much as give you a fleece jacket unless you buy it!)

Obviously take care of actual backpacking gear before you go, but clothes and insulation and whatnot, there's no real reason to buy the whole trip's worth right now and start schlepping it all over the world.

Just my 2cents.

David Brophy
(davelondon) - M
How about the HMG UltaMid 4? on 03/27/2014 16:59:24 MDT Print View

What do you reckon on the HMG UltaMid 4 vs the cuban MLD Supermid?

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
pole deflection on 04/02/2014 23:47:40 MDT Print View

@Glenn S

So, that is the first time I've seen that kind of cord rig for connecting two trekking poles. It took a little while to figure out the lengths, and which way to setup the slip knots, etc. this correct? I first create a slip knot, then pass the whole rope through the loop of the slip knot. I then create a second slip knot and then pass the original slip knot through the loop of the second slip knot. Right?

Anyway...tightened up nicely once I made the slip knots the correct passing a bight in from the side towards the direction of your "opposing" slip knot...otherwise it loosens under pressure. Kind of hard to explain...

But....I'm still having an issue with pole deflection...which I call when the two poles no longer are directly parallel. I've had this issue with other rigging options...and usually the best is tightly wound bicycle tubing...that keeps the poles nice and parallel.

Are you doing something different with the cord to minimize the deflection?

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: pole deflection on 04/03/2014 08:43:44 MDT Print View

Well, the "deflection" is practically eliminated by the design of the knots if fully engaged. The tighter the opposing tension is put on the poles, the tighter each of the tips will draw up against the other pole. Unless you only have like, 6 inches between tips, then nothing will work real good. I only need to extend mine about a foot or so with my Duomid, so there's a long length of cord used. Anything up to a couple feet should be quite stable. I even tried a few more extreme lengths to see if I could get deflection, and if I flex the rig to the side, both poles bend together in unison, as if they're one. These aluminum z-poles flex quite a bit I see...

Anyway, be sure the tag on your slip knot is on the outside, so that the lead running to the other tip is the knot-tightener end of the cord. The slip knots go over the tips, so as the poles oppose, the knots pull themselves tighter. So before putting them on though, pass the cord through the slips, making another loop, as shown in the pics above. The opposite pole goes through this loop, and again, as the ends push against each other this loop gets tighter and tighter, holding the poles together with increasing force, while the slip knot tightens around the tip at the same time. I find I have to kind of "help" the knots tighten a little at first, especially the slips, just because there's a lot going on to just pop it open all at once.

It helps a little to face the nocks of the baskets into the opposing pole. They won't click in, like when you fold them up, because of the pole diameter difference, but they allow the poles to snug closer together. I could see some issues on poles with really big snow baskets or something maybe, but not with regular summer poles, especially the small baskets on the BD Ultra's. This cord rig works better on my BD z poles than my adjustable Lekis.

Not sure what else to say. I get no deflection at all and don't need to wrap anything around the poles, since the tips are held tightly against the other pole, the cord itself is what's wrapped around it, at each end. I guess to summarize, each end gets two loops that self-tighten under pressure. The first is a slip loop that tightens around the tip, the second is a slip-ish like loop (I'm sure it has a real name, knot gurus and eagle scouts help me out here!) that wraps the two poles together at the ends.

I would add that yes, you'll get pole deflection if they're not under load, since the load is what's holding them together. Remove the load, and they just fall apart, which is good. Don't want to wrestle with a rats nest of knots in the morning.
Also, I would suggest using a cordage that doesn't have any stretch in it, so that it will really lock in tight.

Edited by Glenn64 on 04/04/2014 14:17:55 MDT.

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
Deflection issues continued on 04/04/2014 22:08:05 MDT Print View

Yeah...I'm still getting some "play" with being able to move the poles off parallel to each other. Pushing directly downward definitely feels sturdy enough, but If I push on a pole tip I can make it "slide" a bit around the other pole so it doesn't line up perfectly parallel anymore.

Basically...I think that your baskets are really helping you. They look like stiff baskets, and you have a major plus in that the baskets have a cut out so they can "nestle" into the other pole.

So, my poles are black diamond alpine carbon corks. I prefer that I remove the gaskets (I don't go through mud often) and so the soft gaskets don't get crushed if I lash the pole together. So, that leaves a tiny hard plastic groove that gets pushed against the opposing pole. That means that there is very little contact between each pole....its just two circles connecting at a very small point. Because of this, pretty much no matter how tight you get the cord (within realistic bounds), if you have two hard circles pushing against each other you can slightly "turn" one circle around the other to make up for any minute amount of slack in your cord loop. Hence, deflection.

I have tried cordage (in various wrapping/lashing techniques), HMG pole connector straps, bike tube strips, cords plus Velcro. I can still get the poles to deflect in various degrees of off parallel.

I have had better luck with bike tube strips, and....your method of tying loops. I'm probably just being overly critical with this...but I think many BPLers are perfectionists at heart (continually modifying, buying/selling gear, trying new things) so this is just my current OCD project. I just want the poles to stay perfectly parallel!

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Deflection issues continued on 04/04/2014 22:17:15 MDT Print View

Well, I suppose yes, the poles will tend to "roll" around each other, giving slight deflection that way. I think that's what you're referring to? Just thinking out loud here, what about this...

You have 2 sets of poles right? What if you took a third pole and grouped it between the 2 loops that hold the poles together, so that it acts as a "stiffener"? It wouldn't be supporting any weight or anything, but would alleviate some of the "pole roll" you're referring to... If I'm understanding it properly. It would form a tri-pole configuration, and might help quite a bit if my mental imagery is working tonight.

I'm at work now, so this is more of a mental exercise for me at the moment.

Dan Goggins
(hjuan99) - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
Re:Deflection on 04/04/2014 23:37:15 MDT Print View

Yes....the pole roll is exactly what I'm referring to with deflection. Depending on how tight the loops or bike tubes you are able to get around the two trekking poles, the less roll is possible. Basically, you can roll the bottom tip a little bit to the left, and the top tip a little bit to the right and get nonparallel poles.

You can always reset it by manually moving the poles back, but I usually notice the deflection when I setup a mid (the poles are straight when I initially crank up the pole to erect the mid), but when I start cranking down the guyouts (which you do one corner at a time of course), it starts bending the trekking poles in different directions and it usually gets a bit loose and deflection happens. Of course, I can fix it manually later, but if you are in windy conditions during the night your once parallel poles might not be so parallel.

I only worry about this b/c if your poles are not perfectly parallel, you are introducing lateral forces onto the poles, like if you were leaning on your poles with your body weight. The poles are much stronger if you have the pole upright and only introduce direct downward force.

That is an idea about a 3rd pole....but if I'm hiking solo, you would have to find a stick. I'm not positive it would work, but I'll try it out in the morning.