Beginners Gear List
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Cameron Habib
(camhabib) - F
Beginners Gear List on 04/22/2014 21:27:21 MDT Print View

I have a feeling I'm probably going to take a bit of criticism for some of my choices, but having started collecting backpacking equipment only a few months ago, and trying to make decisions having limited experience, I am trying my best. List is for 1-3 night trips in New England from early spring to late fall (no specific designation in mind). In any case, compiled a list, with weights. Keep in mind some of these are approximations (haven't had time to weigh a single battery) but I estimated on the high side. Any items I may be missing, or things I could make a better choice on, please feel free to chime in:

http://lighterpack.com/r/bngq12

A few notes on some choices:

- MSR Reactor: I debated between stoves for a considerable amount of time, going between the Snow Peak Litemax + pot + windscreen and the MSR Reactor 1.0L. I felt the ease of use and reliability of the Reactor (i.e. in wet / windy / cold conditions) was worth the extra weight. I know a lot of people here use alcohol stoves, and with good reasons, but I get hangry fairly easily (always hungry - trying to gain weight for ages) and food was just one of those things I didn't want to fiddle with.

- Alpha SV: I do a fair amount of rock climbing, for which this jacket was purchased. Until I sell another body part to get one of the lighter jacket, this will have to do, in a manor of speaking.

- Leatherman New Wave: Weighs a ton, but I feel like it's one of those things if I don't have, I'll regret it. Other options? Just bringing a single blade good enough?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Ideas on 04/22/2014 22:21:48 MDT Print View

Not a bad list really, some items are a tad heavy but if you can't/won't spend tons of money you could have lots of fun with exactly what you have. Couple thoughts you can take or leave, remember you don't HAVE to have a super light pack to have lots of fun.

Edit - I'm listing my thoughts on your specific gear items so its easier to follow.

Tent - BA Copper Spur UL1
We could argue specifics but this isn't a bad choice if you want a real tent (and in the NE with bugs and heavy rain you might).

Sleeping Bag - Feathered Friends Hummingbird
You could save a few oz by switching but I don't see the point, not a bad choice.

Pad - Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite
Never used one but my friends like them. You won't get significantly lighter without getting shorter or using foam. If you like it keep it.

Bag Liner
I'd leave at home except on cold trips

Pillow
I put my rain gear in a stuff sack and use that. But its only 3oz so if it helps you sleep better go for it.

Water Treatment
You shouldn't need AquaMira and a Sawyer Filter. I'm also pretty sure the Squeeze is lighter then that. At any rate I'd just take one. I'd also consider leaving the water bladder at home and just drinking from two Platypuses. You probably won't need to carry more then 2 liters at any given time

Knife
The Leatherman Wave is a nice tool, I have one. But I never take it backpacking. There isn't much need for screwdrivers and pliers in the woods. I just take a sturdy pocket knife.

GPS
I personally don't bother with these but I could see how some would like them. On some trips it would be simpler then trying to find a map (or carrying three maps that add up to 8oz)

Pack
Looks heavy but comfort is as important as weight. If you like it I'd keep it for now. On the other hand if you haven't bought it yet (or if its still returnable) it IS the heaviest single item. There a number of lighter packs out there that would save weight.


A 19 pound gear list might seem a bit heavy but for a 2-3 trip its not bad. If you carry 2 liter of water and 4.5 pounds of foot your total pack weight would be around 28.5 pounds. That is lighter that 90% of the people on the trail so you're not doing bad. By trimming that fat (GPS, Leatherman, etc) you could drop a pound or so. A lighter pack could save 3 pounds which would put you in the 14-15 pound range.

Edited by Cameron on 04/22/2014 22:29:08 MDT.

Mike Gunderloy
(ffmike) - M
Re: Beginners Gear List on 04/23/2014 05:02:42 MDT Print View

"Leatherman New Wave: Weighs a ton, but I feel like it's one of those things if I don't have, I'll regret it. Other options? Just bringing a single blade good enough?"

When we take the Girl Scouts camping, we allow them each to bring one "comfort item" (usually turns out to be a stuffed animal). I long ago recognized that well-made pointy things were my own comfort item; for EDC I have both a Wave and another knife on my belt all the time. If you don't mind investing, I find a Leatherman Skeletool is a good compromise for me between having a comforting lump of pointy tools and having a teeny blade only.

And I do find myself using both the blade and the pliers when I'm out backpacking. Haven't so much needed the screwdrivers in the woods though.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Beginners Gear List - Nalgene on 04/23/2014 07:05:10 MDT Print View

Cameron,
You listed: Nalgene 32oz Bottle for 3.2 oz

For reference, an empty Gatorade 64 oz bottle is 3 oz, so you get more capacity potential for the same weight.

You can shave an ounce by swapping the Nalgene32 with a smaller 32 oz Gatorade bottle.


side note:
I like to bring fingerless gloves, and trekking poles. that's another topic though.

Edited by RogerDodger on 04/23/2014 07:10:27 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Beginners Gear List on 04/23/2014 08:23:45 MDT Print View

Might help you :
Mike Clelland(NOLs instructor and author),he has some great free videos on lightening up be sure to watch(his clothing system,the entire contents of his pack,water treatment and part 1 and 2 on the dinky stuff for ideas),this is an article he wrote The fastest way to backpack weight loss ,this is pmags Lightweight Backpacking 101 and The Frugal Backpacker – The $300 Gear Challenge .These are some other articles and videos for you to check out

Backpacking for Cheap: Gear for the Gearless

Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): 3-Season, 3-Day

Lightweight Backpacking 101: An Introductory Manual for Lightening Your Load Today (1st Edition - August 2001)

Cheap Ultralight Gear List

Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic

Oregon Field Guide: Ultralight Hiking

Lightweight Testimony: Lighter, Farther, Faster
Jamie Shortt talks about his progression and shows his gear list for each stage, Lightweight Testimony: My Journey into Lightweight Backpacking

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Beginners Gear List on 04/23/2014 14:03:07 MDT Print View

Hi Cameron,
The videos Link links to are excellent--once you see how light, simple, and effective Mike Clelland's setup is, you may realize how easy it is to hike with a load about half the weight of your list. And with zero sacrifice of comfort, safety or convenience (arguably, increased levels of all three).

Luke is right that 19# base isn't too bad *if* your food and water weight is kept low (i.e., 2-3 night trips). And certainly, don't wait to start hiking until you get a lighter load. But assuming a reasonably well-designed pack, 15# total for the same trip will be noticeably more comfortable that 30#. You'll hike farther, see more, find more solitude, and be more intensely aware of your surroundings, rather than the weigh on your back.

Some of the things that stand out to me:

4 liters water capacity--really? Are you hiking in dry conditions? Where water is plentiful, a lot of us carry no more than 1 liter between sources (or, with experience, even less).

A half-pound hydration pack *in addition* to your uber-heavy main pack?

A half-pound FAK is too much.

Ditch the tent footprint.

Pack covers basically don't work--presumably that's why you're also carrying dry bags. And a pack cover that weighs almost half a pound is even worse. Line your pack with a 2.2 oz trash compactor bag, or just take the dry bag(s).

A half-pound of multitool is "pack your fears." Many, many lighter options that have everything you need. A LM Squirt, for instance, is 1.9 oz.

Separate worn clothing from packed clothing. Worn clothes aren't part of BW.

Unless you spend a lot of time hiking in the rain or bushwhacking, a DryDucks/FroggToggs Jacket will work just fine. Weighs less than 6 oz, costs less than $20 for the whole suit (pants included).

You need a non-electronic compass and paper map as backup for the GPS. Besides, for on-trail hiking, GPS (esp. almost 10 oz worth) isn't necessary--more toy than tool.

edit: typos

Edited by DavidDrake on 04/23/2014 14:05:07 MDT.

Cameron Habib
(camhabib) - F
Thanks on 04/23/2014 15:43:41 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for your comments. Just some thoughts so far on the feedback I've gotten:

Bag Liner - I was told to use one to prevent dirtying the bag and having to wash it more frequently, leading to a decreased lifetime. How much does a liner really stop the transfer of contaminants (aka oil, smell, etc) to a bag?

Knife - I have a lightweight Benchmade Griptilian I can bring instead. After reading your comments, I realize I probably won't need a pair of pliers on the go, can probably do without. Weight is 3.2 ounces, and can be carried in a pocket.

GPS - It's sad, but I need it. I have probably one of the worst senses of direction you'll ever come across (think getting lost in a parking lot), and I know with a map and compass (which I plan to get specific for my area either way), I'll spend more time looking at them then enjoying the hike.

Pack - Yes, it's heavy, but it's also one of the more comfortable ones I could find. For reference, I'm 130lbs and 5'10", so while 30lbs may not seem like a lot for many of you more.... built guys, I know from experience (photography gear) it's a lot for me to carry on a frameless / less supportive UL bag. I'll probably keep this one for now until I magically gain some mass or cut my haul in half.

Nalgene Bottle - I was planning on carrying 2L of water all in the bladder, unless water is scarce. I wanted an extra bottle for flavored drinks, use around camp, etc, which was the reason for that. I was planning to carry it empty most of the way, but can cut it as well.

Tent footprint - How unnecessary is this? I don't want to tear up the floor, especially during any wet / cold conditions, but I also could use the savings in weight and cost. How durable are most modern day tent materials? Also, how much lighter are upgraded stakes to the one Big Agnes supplies?

Thanks again, look forward to any additional comments.

Edited by camhabib on 04/23/2014 15:45:46 MDT.

J Mag
(GoProGator) - F
A few things from a recent college grad on 04/23/2014 21:39:09 MDT Print View

Just giving you some ideas since it sounds like you don't want to spend too much until you get more into the sport.

Try to snag an rei flash 45 off of rei outlet if you want a lighter pack (when you decide to make the move). I like my size large a lot and got it down to 2 lbs with just trimming the excess straps. It was ~$65. It will easily carry 25 lbs as long as the volume is enough for you (if anything it is way too much for me).

I'm guessing the arc-teryx stuff is your rain gear? On some trips I still use the $5 vinyl poncho I got from REI and that serves as rain gear, pack cover, and a sit shelter for lunch for only 7 oz.

I understand the need to want to carry a decent knife, but these days I only carry a little vickie knife at under 1 oz and ~$7. If I am going somewhere I can make a campfire (very rare) I will bring my mora q craftline at 3 oz and ~$10.

And don't feel rushed into making backpacking purchases until you know it is something you really want to get into. It becomes a slippery slope fast here in the UL world.

And UL gear doesn't have to be expensive. Hell, the new cost of the jacket you have on that gear list would pay for every piece of gear and clothing I bring on my trips!

Edit: For a water bottle you could just bring a 1L smartwater bottle at ~1.3 oz. Pick up one of the 700ml bottles as well if you want the nice flip cap top. All I carry is two of the 700ml ones and a 1L bag for filtering dirty water (or carrying some if I need to).

Edited by GoProGator on 04/23/2014 21:53:04 MDT.

Cameron Habib
(camhabib) - F
Gear Feedback on 05/17/2014 00:36:18 MDT Print View

Just got back from my first multi-night trip with my new gear and thought I'd post some thoughts on it for beginners who may be in the same boat as I am with making selections.

My trip was a 2 night stay in the White Mountains. First day was clear with temperatures around 75F. That night was rainy, with a low of around 32F. The following day was rainy, with a high of around 60F, with that night again around 35F and clear. The following day was around 65F.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3: I have both the UL1 and UL3 version of this tent and brought the UL3 since I was going with another person. First let me say, setting up this tent was extremely easy. I wound up leaving the rain fly off (forecast didn't call for rain) but awoke at 2am to a downpour and had to set it up in a hurry. Went on in second and couldn't have been more hassle free. I suggest putting a few pieces of tape to help mark which is the long vs short orientation, as the 2014 model apparently lacks these, but other than that, loved the tent. It was huge for 2 people though, even with both our bags in with us, but better too much than too little space. The UL1 seems much better sized for just one person + some gear. The footprint wasn't necessary but it was appreciated, as the ground wasn't completely clear, and I didn't want to eat a hole through the floor. May or may not continue to use the footprint, depending on how much wear it receives (made from same material as floor).

Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 20: Loved this bag. It's light, fit me perfectly, and most importantly, was beyond warm. It's rated to 20F and I have no doubt that it could probably go bellow that. It was 32F out and I had the bag unzipped most of the way.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite: Extremely comfortable. Took a bit to blow it up, but I didn't really notice much of the noise that other people have spoken about.

Cocoon Silk Bag Liner: I'm fairly "meh" about this one. On one hand, it was a bit nice to have since I had a fire going earlier in the day and didn't want the smell to transfer to the bag, but on the other hand, it was a bit of a hassle to get in and out of both the liner and bag, and half the time, I couldn't really tell if I liner was up all the way or bunched down a bit (which would defeat its purpose). I think I'll only be including this in cooler weather or in situations where I may be especially prone to sweat / odor buildup.

Exped Air Pillow: One of the things that let me down the most. I did not find this pillow comfortable at all. Fully inflated, it was a bit too thick and stiff for my liking. Deflated, it was fairly bouncy and had this "rolling" effect. I've since ordered a down pillow case from GooseFeet and hope that will help with the comfort a bit. I should say that I'm used to a massively plush Tempur-Pedic pillow (aka spoiled) and the lack of comfort was more due to my preference than the design.

Source WXP Hydration Pack: As far as hydration packs go, this is without a doubt the best one out there in my opinion. Build bullet proof, highly configurable, don't need to remove it to refill, and doesn't impart any taste what so ever. That said, I could see going without a hydration pack in the future and simply doing with a couple of 32oz bottles. For now, it's nice to have, more of a convenience thing.

Sawyer Squeeze Filter: Not much to say. Great filter, easy to use. I'll be ditching the 32oz bag in favor of two 64oz. Only 10g more and makes it much easier to gather water at the end of the day, especially considering it's difficult to fully fill the bags.

Snow Peak Titanium Spork: Loved the design, hated the length. Couldn't reach in any bags, stir pots, etc. Found that Snow Peak makes an extension that also has a removable spatula attached to the end. Going to try this out and see how stable it is.

MSR Reactor 1.0L: Yes, compared to most alcohol stoves it weighs a ton. But when I woke up and tried to make a cup of coffee in the howling wind and pouring rain, it was well worth every ounce of extra weight. Started right up, boiled water in what seemed like an instant, and packed up just as quick. Loved it, really made the basic essentials of food that much simpler. Obviously not a good choice for something like a through hike, but for 1-4 night trips, where 2 canisters would suffice, absolute home run.

Snow Peak 700 / Nalgene HDPE: Wound up bringing both and was glad I did. Snow Peak was perfect to enjoy some sports drink in the evening and coffee in the morning. Nalgene served as a great measuring cup / water dispenser. I could have potentially saved an ounce bringing a gatorade bottle and pre-marking volumes on it, but my friend was actually a bit chilly so I filled the Naglene with some hot water and she used it as a heater. Will likely bring both again, especially since they nestle in one another. Left the Snow Peak lid at home since it was comparatively very heavy (made from steel I think) and I had no use for it.

SteriPen Ultra: Didn't use it. Already had a backup (Aquamira tabs), so this was truly redundant. Will leave at home.

Light My Fire Army Flint: Useless for me. Second night, everything was soaked through, so this was basically of no help, especially considering I had both matches and a lighter and could have easily gone without a fire all together.

Wetfire: These little blocks came in very useful the second night to help get a fire started with very wet wood. Put one in the center, lit right up, and got things going. Weigh relatively little and worked great. Will be throwing one or two in again.

Benchmade Presidio Mini: Wound up not using this even once. The Leatherman may have come in a bit useful, just for its wood saw, but I could have easily done without either. Going forward, I may get a much smaller blade just in case of emergency.

Garmin 64S GPS: So amazingly happy I brought this. Wound up having to improvise our hike a little due to a trail outage, and this came in useful. Was great to be able to mark the bear bag, scan around, and just have a no hassle way of navigating. Could have certainly done the same with a map and compass, but it just allowed me to focus much more on the hike, and much less on "book-keeping."

Arcteryx Alpha SV: I know a lot of people frown upon such a heavy jacket, but I love this piece. It kept me bone dry despite the downpour, and as always, held up to everything I threw at it (which included a couple dozen hard scrapes against rocks and trees). Can't speak highly enough about it. People who say "you're bound to get wet if it's raining" never tried this jacket. I've climbed in weather that most people wouldn't leave the house, and wearing this, I made through the day without a single drop on me. The Cerium LT I brought with me performed great as well, though it was only needed for a couple hours in the morning (very glad I had it for those few hours though).

Utility Cord (50'): Going to be finding a lighter option for this, and probably less than 50' in length. Likewise for the carabiner (just one of my climbing ones I grabbed). I'm sure I could have easily made do with a much lighter setup for hanging a bear bag.

Arcteryx Altra 65: From everything I read, this bag was touted as the most comfortable one of it's kind, and I have no doubt about that. Barely noticed it, despite my load. I tried some UL bags following people's suggestions in this forum, and though they may have been a few pounds lighter, they felt words heavier to me due to the lack of support and load transfer. Will be keeping this bag for a while. and would recommend anyone in the same shoes as I to find the most comfortable bag, since perceived weight is far more important than actual weight when we're talking 1% body weight.

Arcteryx Pack Cover: Will not be including this going forward. Everything that was water sensitive was already in a waterproof stuff sack, and everything else had no issue getting wet. Only upside would maybe be the fact that if you bring your bag in the tent with you, it would potentially be a bit less wet, but having not used the cover myself (just didn't want to bother with it), I can't say for sure.

Finally, a few things I'll be including for next time that I didn't this time:

Small square of painters plastic: would be nice to have something to sit on while preparing food or sitting around the fire. Something maybe 2x2ft, lightweight, and disposable if it gets ripped up. Likely going to go to Home Depot and just buy a large roll of painters plastic and use that.

GooseFeet Down Pillow Case: As mentioned above, to help with the Exped UL pillow.

Snow Peak Extension / Spatula: As mentioned above, adds length when needed, and spatula can be removed to save weight if you don't need it.

Sponge: Will be bringing a very small square of sponge (1x1in) to help with cleanup. Made the Packit Gourmet pasta which left the pot rather dirty. Used my hands, but sponge would have been much easier. Weighs virtually nothing while dry too.