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Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
TENT, SLEEPING BAG AND STOVE SUGGESTIONS. on 04/13/2014 13:03:46 MDT Print View

Hi again everyone!!

I'm really sorry I'm having to ask these questions once again, but I am still totally trapped in confusion...I'm trying to read as much as possible, but I feel I'd trust your opinions a lot more.
I have, at least, narrowed my suggestions' needs down to 3:

.Amongst the lightest weight, most compact, BEST 4 Seasons Backpacking Tents, which one is the cheapest or most affordable, please?
.Amongst the lightest weight, most compact, BEST 4 Seasons Backpacking Sleeping Bags (for a 6.1ft tall female), which one is the cheapest or most affordable, please?
.Considering there is going to be fuel availability of all sorts in Central and South America, which one is the lightest weight, most compact, BEST 4 seasons Backpacking Stove + Pan, please?

Do you think the following list is over extensive? Is REI the best online store for gear? : http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacking-checklist.html

Thanks loads!
A very unexperienced Alex.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: TENT, SLEEPING BAG AND STOVE SUGGESTIONS. on 04/13/2014 13:30:33 MDT Print View

As I recall from your previous thread, the big question was (and still is) what you mean by four season.

Four-season tent usually means something that can handle high winds and snow-loading. Will you need this?

Four-season sleeping bag (as pointed out previously) doesn't exist. Winter bag means comfortable in temps well below freezing--this will likely be too warm for summer conditions. 20* bag is often good compromise for conditions not too hot or humid in summer (e.g. summer in western US mountains), not much below freezing in fall/spring/early winter.

Canister stoves that run with the canister upright have problems in temps significantly below freezing. What that cut-off temp is is a matter of technique/debate. From what I understand, a remote canister stove running an inverted canister will handle true four-season conditions. I suppose a true four-season pot would need to be large enough to melt snow for drinking water.

Are you really going to operate in very cold, very snowy conditions with a strong likelihood of winter storms, esp. given that you describe yourself as "very inexperienced"?

The REI Ten Essentials list is standard and solid. Their "Beyond the Ten Essentials" list has some items I consider unnecessary and a few I consider worthless. Most people buy from REI for their guarantee and easy return policy--they aren't the least expensive option and won't carry the lightest gear.

edit: clarity.

Edited by DavidDrake on 04/13/2014 13:41:54 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Search - the secret to all forum wisdom on 04/13/2014 13:30:34 MDT Print View

Use it and report back. If nothing else it will help focus your questions.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Tent, sleeping bag, and stove recommendations for cheap 4 season conditions on 04/13/2014 13:37:25 MDT Print View

Re: best/cheapest. What kind of total budget are we discussing here for acquiring every single piece essential kit?

Read "The Complete Walker" to see how it all works together.

Have you been backpacking at all yet?

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Tent, sleeping bag, and stove recommendations for cheap 4 season conditions on 04/13/2014 13:50:20 MDT Print View

... and where are you going specifically? Central America is mostly tropical but are you planning higher elevations to the Andes, .. the Patagonia region? Is this backpacking (both backcountry and hosteling) or will their be some mountaineering involved? For "just" backpacking the tropics but also a bunch of snow, I'd check out Tarptent.com with one of their models with a crossing snow pole .. relatively cheap and light. For actual mountaineering (ropes, harness, etc..), you'd likely need to share a mountaineering tent with someone experienced in all the "funness" that entails. Just moving my backpack around a bus was a pain, so you want to keep everything fairly compact as well as a backpacker, ... so practice before you go. Any mountaineering, find a group.

Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
Tent, sleeping bag, stove CLARITY. on 04/13/2014 14:28:52 MDT Print View

"As I recall from your previous thread, the big question was (and still is) what you mean by four season."

BY FOUR SEASONS I MEAN THIS: http://www.wunderground.com/global/Region/SA/Temperature.html
http://www.wunderground.com/global/Region/CA/Temperature.html

"Four-seasons tent usually means something that can handle high winds and snow-loading. Will you need this?"

I ASSUME I WILL ON THE ANDES/IN PATAGONIA.

"Four-season sleeping bag (as pointed out previously) doesn't exist. Winter bag means comfortable in temps well below freezing--this will likely be too warm for summer conditions. 20* bag is often good compromise for conditions not too hot or humid in summer (e.g. summer in western US mountains), not much below freezing in fall/spring/early winter."

WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER TO GO WITH A WARMER BAG THOUGH AND USE ONLY A SLEEPING BAG LINER + WARM CLOTHES IN SUMMER/SPRING?

Are you really going to operate in very cold, very snowy conditions with a strong likelihood of winter storms, esp. given that you describe yourself as "very inexperienced"?

PROBABLY NOT. BUT MAY BE I'LL ACQUIRE SOME EXPERIENCE ON THE ROAD, BY THE TIME I'LL GET TO ARGENTINA. :)

"The REI Ten Essentials list is standard and solid. Their "Beyond the Ten Essentials" list has some items I consider unnecessary and a few I consider worthless. Most people buy from REI for their guarantee and easy return policy--they aren't the least expensive option and won't carry the lightest gear."

WHICH WEBSITE WOULD HAVE THE LIGHTEST + CHEAPEST + BEST GEAR?


"What kind of total budget are we discussing here for acquiring every single piece essential kit?"

I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW MUCH I SHOULD SPEND! :)

"Have you been backpacking at all yet?"

JUST THE KIND OF HOSTEL TO HOSTEL BACKPACKING TRIP.


"... and where are you going specifically? Central America is mostly tropical but are you planning higher elevations to the Andes, .. the Patagonia region? Is this backpacking (both backcountry and hosteling) or will their be some mountaineering involved? For "just" backpacking the tropics but also a bunch of snow, I'd check out Tarptent.com with one of their models with a crossing snow pole .. relatively cheap and light. For actual mountaineering (ropes, harness, etc..), you'd likely need to share a mountaineering tent with someone experienced in all the "funness" that entails. Just moving my backpack around a bus was a pain, so you want to keep everything fairly compact as well as a backpacker, ... so practice before you go. Any mountaineering, find a group"

NO MOUNTANEERING BUT POSSIBLY ANDES + PATAGONIA. I DON'T THINK I'D WANT A TARPTENT. A SHAME THE WEB DOESN'T RENT EXPERIENCED MOUNTANEERING BOYFRIENDS FOR TRAVELLING USE ONLY. :-P

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Tent, sleeping bag, stove CLARITY. on 04/13/2014 16:51:44 MDT Print View

Oh my Alexandra...the problem with your question is that it isn't really a question........there is no such thing as the BEST CHEAPEST and LIGHTEST that works across all latitudes, all altitudes and all seasons.

Full on winter mountaineering tents can weigh 10 pounds...a zero degree sleeping bag, even one that will cost you $700, is still going to be hefty and large...are you really going to carry all that through the tropics??? No, you are not.

You say you don't even know what things should cost...well, you can spend $100 on a tarp, or $900 on a fully decked out Hilleberg. And all places in between.

We cannot answer your question because there is no answer....especially because you don't have any outdoor experience.

If you want middle of the road recommendations...here's what I suggest:

Go to REI and buy a single person Half Dome tent.
Buy a 15 degree 800 fp down sleeping bag (marmot plasma?)
Then purchase an inverted canister stove from REI. Get a GSI halulite soloist set.

These will be cheap (except for the bag. That'll set you back), will get you through most of what you will encounter...but not extremes. Honestly, with your limited backpacking experience you shouldn't be putting yourself into any of those extreme situations anyway. On your travels you will have the opportunity to pick up stuff and replace stuff as your needs change. Especially in Patagonia, for example...there are plenty of places that rent all the gear you'll need.

Good luck

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Tent, sleeping bag, stove CLARITY. on 04/13/2014 17:13:49 MDT Print View

Jennifer for the win! Very reasonable answer.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
TENT, SLEEPING BAG AND STOVE SUGGESTIONS. on 04/13/2014 18:04:56 MDT Print View

Mountaineering stuff is heavy, bulky and expensive.
Not the sort of gear that you would want to use or carry when not mountaineering.
Great to have say a 0 f bag but it's going to be twice as heavy and bulky as a 20f one .
The same for mountaineering tents, they are built for survival not comfort.
Below the 2kg mark they are going to be small and mostly without a vestibule.
When in buggy , warm or rainy areas you will wish you had a tent with some air flow and rain protection at the same time , without having your potentially wet gear inside the inner/tent floor with you.
Now if you get a larger more comfortable shelter , well it will be at camp not on your back.
Larger tent/sleeping bag = larger/stronger pack= heavier pack.
I would suggest gear for less extreme situations , something along the Jennifer's suggestions, and if you do indeed end up wanting to do the harder stuff get gear for that then.
BTW, just before writing this I received an E Mail from a guy that has had 60 nights in Patagonia using his TT Notch. He spotted other TT shelters there too, but having some experience with tents does help here.

Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
NARROWED DOWN CHOICES... on 04/13/2014 18:49:57 MDT Print View

Ok, so what do you guys think of these and which ones would you go for?

http://www.rei.com/product/830341/msr-whisperlite-international-backpacking-stove

http://www.rei.com/c/sleeping-bags?ir=category%3Asleeping-bags-and-accessories&sort=min-price&r=category%3Acamping-and-hiking%7Csleeping-bags-and-accessories%7Csleeping-bags%3Brange-temperature-ra%3A1+to+14%3Bfits-up-to%3A6+ft.+1+in.+to+6+ft.+6+in.%3Bfv0%3ADown%3Bfeatures%3AWater-resistant+down&rx=true

http://www.rei.com/c/sleeping-bags?ir=category%3Asleeping-bags-and-accessories&sort=min-price&r=category%3Acamping-and-hiking%7Csleeping-bags-and-accessories%7Csleeping-bags%3Bfits-up-to%3A6+ft.+1+in.+to+6+ft.+6+in.%3Brange-temperature-ra%3A15+to+29%3Bfv0%3ADown%3Btab.sku-range-weight%3A1.50+to+4.99&rx=true

DO I HAVE TO GET A WATER-RESISTANT DOWN BAG?

http://www.rei.com/c/backpacking-tents?ir=category%3Atents&sort=min-price&r=category%3Acamping-and-hiking%7Ctents%7Cbackpacking-tents%3Btab.sku-range-weight%3A1.50+to+4.99%3Bbest-use%3AMountaineering%7CBackpacking%3Bfv8%3A1-person%3Bfeatures%3AUltralight&rx=true

IS 1 PERSON TENT ENOUGH OR DO I NEED A 2 PEOPLE ONE?

Edited by AlexBambifluff on 04/13/2014 19:05:19 MDT.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: NARROWED DOWN CHOICES... on 04/13/2014 19:23:45 MDT Print View

Hi Alexandra,
There's quite a climate difference between the jungles of Columbia and the summit of Aconcagua. As others have mentioned, difficult to give you a one bag/one shelter answer as it doesn't exist.

Kelty Cosmic Down is an affordable option which you can get at 20* and 0*. Both are available on Amazon for well under $200. We own the 20* for the kids and I think it's a great value. If this is the way you want to go, make sure you get the Cosmic "Down" and not just the plain ol' Cosmic which is synthetic insulation and twice as heavy. Either of these will be nice in the in-between regions but not in the extremes of the jungle or some of the +10K' areas in the Andes imo.

For the jungles, I'd stay away from down and buy the cheapest/lightest 40* synthetic sleeping you can find from Walmart. Some nights, you sleep with it unzipped and mostly out of it.

Depending how high you go, you may be looking at a expedition quality sleeping bag and I don't have a cheap option I can suggest. Montbell makes a great sleeping bag and is clearing out some of their older line in their outlet store.

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=1005&p_id=2321136&fo_flg=1

Getting a bag with a DWR finish on the shell is a good idea (Montbell and other quality bags have this). I have no experience with hydrophobic down so can't speak to that.

I've never owned a Tarp Tent but take a look at their Moment DW and Notch. The Moment has an optional cross pole which helps support this shelter under a snow load. There's also an optional solid inner so you could use one in an alpine region and the regular one in the jungle. When I was stationed in Panama, I was in the jungle 1-3 nights per week. I slept on the ground and under the poncho the whole time. Never had issues with low crawling vampire bats but definitely need to check your gear in the morning for scorpions. I realize that's not for most people but a 8x11 tarp and a bug bivy (or mesh inner of the Moment) is more than sufficient for the jungle.

http://www.tarptent.com/momentdw.html

Again, you've offered a wide range of conditions so difficult to answer. Sounds like a great adventure and I wish you well.

Edit to add: Regarding 2 person vs 1. I'd try to find a shelter that you can sit up in for sure. If you don't get a two person, at least get a shelter that has a large vestibule for your gear.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/13/2014 19:25:18 MDT.

Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
REI 3 CHOICES: on 04/13/2014 21:02:40 MDT Print View

REI seems to have only 1 option for ultralight sleeping bags rated at 15 degrees F and that's the Marmot Plasma 15; for women, though, the bag is EN rated at 29 degrees F.

Where else can I find ultralight 15F sleeping bags, a part from REI, please?

For tents, the lightest weight, amongst REI backpacking 1 person tents, is this: http://www.rei.com/product/865392/big-agnes-fly-creek-ul1-tent

What do you guys think?

For stoves, the only one they suggest for international travels, is this: http://www.rei.com/product/830341/msr-whisperlite-international-backpacking-stove...

you guys approve?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: REI 3 CHOICES: on 04/13/2014 21:10:37 MDT Print View

I've used Whisperlite for years. It's good. I haven't used it recently because I'm tired of singing my eyebrows and it's sort of heavy, but if you want it for international then it would be good.

Check the thread:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=89935&skip_to_post=765838#765838

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Front Range CO
Re: Re: REI 3 CHOICES: on 04/13/2014 21:34:42 MDT Print View

I say don't get the Marmot Plasma 15. I'm sure it's a high quality piece of kit, but if you are considering spending $550 on a sleeping bag, I'd get one from Western Mountaineering. You can get a 20 degree UltraLite Bag from them for $470. Guaranteed to be the highest quality available, period.

That said, personally I say unless you actually ARE mountaineering, spending that much on a bag is absurd, particularly if money is an issue in the first place. Get a 10 degree quilt for half the cost from Enlightened Equipment or the like. If you are getting an enclosed tent anyway, drafts won't be an issue and there shouldn't be any excuses to not go quilt.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: REI 3 CHOICES: on 04/13/2014 21:44:17 MDT Print View

The Western Mountaineering Versalite is rated 10F--Backcountry.com carries them. I own WM's 20F rated Ultralite and it's an excellent bag--WM's reputation for quality is as good as it gets. Feathered Friends (also very respected) makes several 10F models. Both companies have their own websites, and make bags for much colder conditions as well.

If gas canisters are widely available where you're going, there are lighter, more user-friendly options than the Whisperlite.

Edited by DavidDrake on 04/13/2014 21:45:57 MDT.

Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
2 sleeping bags on 04/13/2014 21:47:33 MDT Print View

I guess this for women would be rated at 15-20F, right: http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=products&page=Sleeping%20Bags&cat=ExtremeLite%20Series&ContentId=20

I also found this one: http://featheredfriends.com/egret-ul-womens-down-sleeping-bag.html

???

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Front Range CO
Re: 2 sleeping bags on 04/13/2014 21:57:20 MDT Print View

Honestly you will get similar quality with any of these high end bags. If the money isnt an issue then i say just pull the trigger on whatever one you seem to like best. If you could try some of this stuff out first that would of course be better...

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: 2 sleeping bags on 04/13/2014 22:24:32 MDT Print View

I was thinking of the Lark UL 10, but again, I'm not personally familiar with Feather Friends bags. The Egret doesn't look like it comes long enough for you.

Bag temps are only rough guidelines--even with honestly rated bags, it takes a bit of experience to know how comfortable you will be at a given temp. Metabolism, body fat, what you eat before going to sleep, etc, all play a role. Plus, all bags need a good insulated pad to reach rated temps. (You haven't asked about a pad yet.) You can wear some of your clothing (like a down jacket) to push a bag lower than its rated temp, but this has limits.

Think about your sleeping habits at home: do you pile on the blankets, or like to have a window open even in the dead of winter?

Alessandra Bisi
(AlexBambifluff) - M

Locale: Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico
Sleeping beauty on 04/14/2014 09:16:40 MDT Print View

I usually suffer the cold a lot more than the average person. For a pad I have the Klamath X-Lite. Unfortunately I have already bought it a while ago and I don't think I'll buy a second one. What pad would you guys suggest anyway?

Is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Tent ok for a tent? Is it worth me looking at other websites as well for tents or does REI suffice?

Edited by AlexBambifluff on 04/14/2014 09:24:39 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Sleeping beauty on 04/14/2014 09:33:30 MDT Print View

I would not go with the fly creek for you. You don't have much experience camping and there may be some times when you will need a creative pitch (it is NOT a free-standing tent). I'd look at their half-dome, quarter-dome, or the new Dash. But again - if you want any kind of "mountaineering" to be done, a super light shelter isn't going to cut it.

That's why I suggested those REI tents - they are great for what you want to use them for. Sturdy enough but not overkill, and you can beat them up (unlike the fly creek). If you had more experience I'd say go with the Fly Creek. Since you don't - then go with the REI brand.

I do like the Tarptent Moment, too tho - I bought that tent for my dad and it's great. I would NOT get the notch, as, again, you don't know how to do creative pitching.


Stove:
The international is a great international stove - but again, you have no experience and I find white gas stoves to be difficult to learn how to use. Get an inverted CANISTER stove. NOT a white gas one. There are plenty of canisters all through central and south america.

Bag:
Don't worry about waterproof down - don't spend the money. I also wouldn't do a quilt, either, because they are no good for sleeping in hostels (no bottom - need a sheet, etc).
I like the suggestion for a Kelty Cosmic down - and I think you will be fine with a 15 degree. I'm a cold sleeper as well and this, combined with warm clothes, has been enough for me in all but extreme conditions. and again - you have no business camping in extreme conditions right now.

As your trip goes on and you get more and more comfortable camping, then you may change your needs and you can easily obtain what you need in many of the local shops. As I mentioned, patagonia, for example, has so many gear shops you'll be fine.