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Starting to hone in on my gear list!
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Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Starting to hone in on my gear list! on 05/16/2014 20:55:50 MDT Print View

So my ultimate goal is a 19 day completion of the colorado trail in july, but I like to backpack solo in the desert of utah and anywhere I feel like in the colorado rocky mountains. I really like simplicity even if it costs a couple ounces so I am going to try the bivy sack route again, but this time with eVent fabric instead of gortex. I have used one previously for 5 nights with no issues with room or rain impacts only with breathability.

Big question is whether to go out and get a 30 degree synthetic quilt due to bivy condensation (but i am in colorado...). I could use this to layer my 20 deg for winter which would be nice

All weights are approximated from memory

And all insight is appreciated

Modified go lite jam 50 -17.1 oz (webbing hip belt, with some other mods)
Pack liner-1.0 oz

Driducks rain jacket 5.5oz
Montbell dynamo pants-2.6 oz
Modified MH nitrous hooded with dridown (10.4oz)
Montbell visor(don't know weight)
Vibram KSO trek -13 oz
3 pair running ninji socks~2oz total (worried about them wearing out)
Running shorts w/liner (3.5oz)
OR echo L/S w/zip (4.1 oz)

Torsolength ridgerest (4.2oz)
Rab andes bivy-20 oz
EE rev 20 deg 750 w/stuffsack-24 oz (potentially spirit or prodigy quilt)

2.8 liter water capacity (.8 liters intermediate pee bottle haha) 2 smarwaterbottles 1 gatorade
Life straw water filter 2.8 oz

Miscellaneous 22oz approx (all in ziploc)
-ACR beacon
-matches/fire starter
-ductape(for rainjacket)
oh and my buff! 1.2oz

i might be forgetting something haha

Edited by AlexHerron on 05/16/2014 21:01:05 MDT.

Kate Moody

Locale: Acadia
Newb response on 05/16/2014 21:06:51 MDT Print View

I am still new to this, and I am looking at your list mainly for ideas, but two things did strike me. One, matches/fire starter when a mini bic weighs about as much and is less finicky (I am still trying to quit smoking, but yeah I know the pros/cons of small fire starting objects, especially since I must smoke outside). Also, the life straw I have never heard much good of. I presume you have much more experience than I do, but from what I have seen, a sawyer mini (or using chemicals) would work better and be more versatile and be about the same weight. Correct me if I am wrong, just have not heard good things about the life straw.

Edited by KitKatKate on 05/16/2014 21:07:24 MDT.

Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Bic and lifestraw on 05/16/2014 21:16:26 MDT Print View

The sawyer min requires a syringe to back flush while you can use your own "biological" syringe on the life straw. (blow it out yourself) Someone can correct me if I am wrong here but this gives the weight savings and simplicity to the life straw. I do have to hold the water bottle kind of funny in order to suck the water out with the straw but its no biggie.

And aqua mira is ok but not preferable to me. (I am too lazy to pre filter). I will switch to this if the filter is not working for me.

In my personal opinion the matches are more reliable than a bic lighter. Back when I was carrying a stove for the winter season there were a couple occasions when my bic failed me despite my best efforts to resurrect its functionality. YMMV, but now I trust my matches a whole lot more. Perhaps my bic technique is poor haha. Since this is emergency only I don't mind finicky, only that it works.

Fellow newb to forum as well over here so no worries. A lot of this stuff is a personal thing where YMMV seems to get thrown around a lot.

Edited by AlexHerron on 05/16/2014 21:26:24 MDT.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Bic and lifestraw on 05/16/2014 21:32:32 MDT Print View

General consensus for the Sawyer mini backflushing, is to use the flip cap off the 700ml SmartWater bottle. Since you're already carrying bottles with those types of threads, it might be a consideration, as well as a weight savings over the straw.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Not Bad, some ideas on 05/16/2014 21:32:32 MDT Print View

Not a bad list, here are a few thoughts

You will likely need more water capacity in the dry sections of the CT, you could just have a pair of cheap 1 liter bottles in your resupply at Twin Lakes or Princeton Hot Springs.

I appreciate the simplicity of the bivy but you might like having a roof over your head on a long hike. A synthetic bag would have the advantage of simplicity. You would not have to worry about drying it out as much if it got a bit damp.

Are you wearing the KSO Treks or using them for camp shoes? If you think you can hike in them more power to you but I would not just into hiking in such light shoes without conditioning your feet first. If you want to go minimal but haven't trained your feet try the Altra Lone Peaks.

I added up your list (not counting worn clothes) and it looks like your pack weight is going to be around 7.5-8 pounds. Not bad at all for a through hike. If you can pace yourself to do long days south of Marshall Pass you can get through the dry area more quickly and carry less food.

I have not heard much about the life straw but I've heard lots of good things about the Sawyer Squeeze. I'll be trying one this summer. For the really dry sections you might want to bring the bottom of a water bottle cut off. You can use that to scoop water out of puddles if its really shallow.

Edit +1 on lighters failing. I usually carry one lighter and a small fire steel. Bring some good premade fire starter like petroleum soaked cotton balls in a small water tight container. You probably won't need them but if you need them you'll REALLY need them.

Edited by Cameron on 05/16/2014 21:36:45 MDT.

Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Re: Re: Bic and lifestraw on 05/16/2014 21:42:33 MDT Print View

Sawyer trick: I will definitely look into this trick because ultimately that would be the best option for me!

We will see where the bivy takes me into this season on some longer treks,

for the Vibrams I am currently conditioning myself. (right now i am nursing insanely sore legs after a 16 mile trail run ouchie a little too much of a step up haha).

I am leaning more and more towards that large spirit quilt but I would have to order it now because they are a commodity here on BPL!

And for the fire starer an esbit tablet in its packaging inside of my ziploc bag INSIDE of my pack liner should be safe and sound as well as be enough to get something going.

Those altra shoes look pretty nice for 9 oz! If I give up on training my feet I will definitely check these puppies out!

Edited by AlexHerron on 05/16/2014 21:47:32 MDT.

Kate Moody

Locale: Acadia
More newbness on 05/16/2014 22:03:26 MDT Print View

My comments about the life straw were due to complaints about how often it clogged (narrow filter element). So I discounted it as I could see myself having to use precious fluid often to back flush it ( also have to answer to the cocacola corporation. Meh bad movie ref).
Also, using an esbit as a fire starter, someone came up with an awesome way to set one up to take a spark. (esbit usually needs a lighter/match flame held to it, or you have to make esbit shavings for it to ignite with a spark). I'll find the video tomorrow, but basically he took half a cotton ball mixed with petroleum jelly and smooshed that on to an esbit tab. He then wrapped it in foil and plastic. That was his "packaged" fire starter. If his video is to be believed, it took a spark very well (from just flint/steel) and then caught the esbit). Neat idea, no idea if it is practical for emergency use tho.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re More Newbieness on 05/16/2014 22:06:51 MDT Print View

I haven't tried ebsit but I can tell you cotton balls work very well as fire starter. Basically a lit cotton ball creates much bigger and hotter flame then a lighter or match. This is very nice if you can't get perfect fire starting wood for whatever reason.

Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Life straw cotton ball esbit on 05/16/2014 22:06:58 MDT Print View

Indeed the life straw sometimes takes a little heave ho to back flush it out but its beetn okay. Might be switching to sawyer after all though after the above trick is learned.

That sounds like it would take only a spark! At the end of the day as long as you can reliably create a fire with minimal weight your doing good.

Doug Green

Locale: North Carolina Piedmont
cotton ball/esbit on 05/21/2014 07:02:32 MDT Print View

If you are trying to start an esbit tab to use to cook with I suppose the cotton ball trick might be ok, but if you just want to start a fire then the esbit part is not necessary IMO. A petroleum jelly soaked cotton ball lights easily with a spark and burns long enough to get wet kindling going. Try it out yourself, its cheap and a fun project. Other alternatives include Wetfire and TinderQuick. If you are carrying them to start a fire every night then the cotton balls are a great, cheap solution. If, however, you are like me and are only carrying this for emergencies then I HIGHLY recommend at least one Wetfire (available at Walmart). Petroleum soaked cotton balls (and most sorts of quick tinder) will not start if they get wet. I know that you can keep the cotton balls dry normally but the most critical situation I can think of is if both me and my pack get soaked in the cold and I need to start a fire quick. In a life threatening situation I want the reliability to start with a striker when wet. I consider having one wetfire as part of my "safety" kit. Here is a link to a video demonstratng both wet and dry performance of all three.

Edited by dougpgreen on 05/21/2014 07:04:24 MDT.

Alex Herron
(AlexHerron) - F

Locale: Front Range
Esbit vs Wetfire on 05/22/2014 09:31:01 MDT Print View

I think I will most likely switch to a wet fire and striker system. I saw some videos of wp matches not working in soaked conditions. And esbits don't start reliably with a spark...

Thanks for the tip!