Nov 2, 2007 at 11:11 pm #1225680
I finally got around to making my gearlist presentable. A pdf copy under my profile. Please keep in mind before you shred it apart, my UL objectives are:
1) to get my wife and kid to share my passion so I am willing to accommodate their requests as long as they walk with me
2) attempt the 160km Tour Mont Blanc (TMB) next summer. I will be mixing 3 or 4 nights in the refuges with 6 nights of camping out, and maybe a zero day in the middle.
I am not interested in breaking any SUL/UL "how low can you go" records. I just want to keep a nice 2km/hr pace, walk 8-9 hours a day for 10 days, stop to take photos, eat 2-hour lunches at alpine towns at noon, enjoy cooking dinners for family while enjoying alpine sunsets, sleep-out when the weather is nice, sleep-in refuges after a hard day, and have a pack weight that is not going to break my back.
I have already some plans to tweak the list with new orders from BPL and GG (on route) but before I spend too much more money on gear, your feedback is appreciated.
CHAMONIX TRIP OCT2007 OVERNIGHT GEARLIST
SHAKE-DOWN RUN FOR TOUR DU MONT-BLANC
13.03 BASEWT (lb)
7.48 CONSUMABLES (probably 75%)
44.9 TT Rainshadow2 (trail wt) (carrying for 3 hikers)
24.7 Salomon ski pack 2000ci
17.5 Sleeping Bag – RAB Top Bag 0degC
16.6 Thermarest prolite 4 pad (carrying for daughter)
7.4 Thermarest z-lite pad modified torso (7 panels)
0.9 U/L beanie (Moonshadow)
112.0 pack-shelter-sleep Total
6.0 MEC wind pants
3.8 Deuter First Aid Kit
1.3 Smartwool glove liners
1.0 (inside ditty bag) – BD 2-led ion headlamp
1.9 (inside ditty bag) – Leatherman Squirt S4 + lanyard
0.4 (inside ditty bag) – Suunto small compass plus thermometer
0.4 ditty bag for 5 essentials
14.7 worn/carried Total
9.1 Kalenji Novadry 2nd Layer Synthetic midwt (Red)
8.3 MEC vest Northern Lights
6.7 Smartwool bottoms baselayer
6.4 MEC base layer grey
1.3 Fleece stuffbag (for clothes, 2nd duty as pillow)
1.2 Smartwool socks (spare Adrenaline Mini Crew U/Light)
33.1 other clothing Total
2.8 Petzl Tikka 3-LED headlight
27.9 Nikon D40 DSLR 18-55mm (luxury)
30.7 miscellaneous Total
7.1 Source 2L hydration pack with drinking tube
6.0 stove#1 – snowpeak 500ml ti pot+lid(63g)+supercat+priming pan+shield
1.3 orikaso folding cup (I like my coffee w/o taste of soup)
1.1 orikaso folding bowl 1
1.1 4oz nalgene fuel bottle EMPTY with 1m duct tape wrapped around it
1.0 flexi flask 32oz/1L
0.4 spork1 (light my fire)
18.0 kitchen Total
208.4 BASEWT Total
23.0 Shoes – New Balance 426 with orthopedic inserts
10.7 Capri Pants
9.0 Icebreaker Merino Base Layer Skin200 Zip
7.2 garmin gps60c (with 2 xAA batteries)
3.5 Tilley Airflow LTM6 (size 59cm)
3.2 Mountain Hard Wear Windshirt
1.7 Smartwool socks (Adrenaline Mini Crew Light)
1.2 Sunglasses (22g) + Microfibre Pouch (13g) – Sundog Brand
59.5 WORN Total
48.0 food 24oz/day (680g/day) 2 days
32.1 water 1L
32.1 milk 1L (for daughter's cereal+oats)
3.5 wet-ones/toilet paper in ziplock
3.2 Alcohol in 4oz nalgene bottle (4 burns)
0.9 water treatment aquamira bpl 0.35 oz dropper bottles FULL
119.8 CONSUMABLES Total
Plans for changes:
– swap the Salomon with GG Mariposa (2 on order at USD75 each for wifey and me)
– lose the RAB and make 2lb dual quilt (wife to carry)
– swap Z-lite with GG Thinlight + Nightlight
– add down balaclava
– lose 2nd layer, spare MEC baselayer, MEC vest for a Cocoon. **BUT if I do the swap, I will be leaving small margin for error and contingency.
– replace fleece stuffbag with BPL pillow
**Note: I posted a thread "Wife still too cold". At one point in the night, I ended up with a cheapo 10degC sleeping bag wearing the 2 baselayers, 2nd layer, and windshirt, I could sleep but just barely. I gave my "insurance layer" MEC Northern Light vest to wife.
– a small point-n-shoot camera will not do. In fact I compromised on this trip by not carrying the 18-200mm VR lens (extra 400g). Missed a couple of great shots needing the 200mm zoom. I recently bought the non-DSLR Canon Ixus 860IS as a lighter option but it will not do. Sharing with you my pix from the overnighter.
or click here
– swap Source 2L with Platypus 2L reluctantly. Even though the Source is 2x heavier, it has better flow, never leaked. Platy leaked first I tried on a dayhike. I was not careful wit the cap and it came lose. The Source is a top load, full width, secure system, and almost idiot proof for klutz like me.
– swap alcohol fuel with MSR pocket rocket + cannister. The alcohol system did not work for multiple burns and simmer & having to cook for 3. Wife runs on caffeine. Kid runs on hot chocolate and milk. Fine for solo or duo.
– milk. tried the powder milk variation and kid hates it. powder does not work with cereal either. the plan is to buy fresh milk when we pass a town during lunch during the actual TMB hike. Carrying it for hot chocolate (nites) and cereal (mornings) only 4 hours/8km should be no problem. Only way I can get my daughter to walk with me. That and carrying her Prolite4.
ThanksNov 2, 2007 at 11:24 pm #1407632
I will also replace the Garmin 60C GPS with the smaller 2oz Garmin Foretrek (if I can find it under all my "junk-and-spare" gear pile.Nov 3, 2007 at 2:08 am #1407639
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> 1) to get my wife and kid to share my passion so I am willing to accommodate their requests as long as they walk with me
An excellent idea. Go for it.
> 3.8 Deuter First Aid Kit
Hum … Excess imho. You will NEVER be far from help. I think we used 3 band-Aids on the entire TMB + GR5. 12 Band-Aids and some 1" micro-pore tape should be enough. Oh well, add a new (in foil packet) scalpel blade if you want.
> 27.9 Nikon D40 DSLR 18-55mm (luxury)
Don't really agree that it is entirely a luxury. Personally, I think you could go lighter, but if photography is your thing …
> supercat+priming pan+shield
Not easy to buy alcohol, but you should be able to in Chamonix and Courmeyer. Heavy fuel tho'. (We used gas.)
> 0.4 spork1 (light my fire)
Yuk. Take a decent Lexan spoon each (10 grams), and take one decent sharp metal bread&butter knife too. Buy lots of French Bread! You will love it.
>7.2 garmin gps60c (with 2 xAA batteries)
Whatever for? The track is very obvious, and there will be people walking along all the time. Take the FFRP TMB Guide book and a light cheap compass.
> 32.1 milk 1L (for daughter's cereal+oats)
We bought French Demi-Creme powdered milk (blue carton) for breakfast cereal, and neither of us could taste the difference. Your call.
> 7.1 Source 2L hydration pack with drinking tube
Get rid of it: far too heavy!
Get some 1.25 L FIZZY mineral water bottles (PET) – even if you have to buy them in a Chamonix supermarket and drink them! The bottles are extremely robust and far, far lighter. It's all we used for 3 months.
> Clothing – no comment as I don't know the items well enough. You could have hot sun, or rain and some snow. But there are plenty of Refuges.
Cheers, and enjoyNov 3, 2007 at 8:04 am #1407649
Don't carry only Platys for your water. I've had two leak as well. Carry some water in empty soda bottles (soda, because PET bottles from pressurized beverages are stronger).Nov 3, 2007 at 8:14 am #1407652
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
A nice gearlist for the TMB. I did the TMB this summer in August and I would say that most of what you have is just right. I agree with Roger on some of the items he mentions.
– You definitely don't need a GPS for the TMB. The signs are generally so well posted that you could for the most part do the entire trail without a map, though I wouldn't recommend that. The trail is also so wide that it is just about impossible to miss, even in the dark when ultramarathoners run the whole thing.
– As Roger indicated there is so much wonderful bread and cheese along the way that it would be a shame to miss them. I first had a Classic Swiss Army knife but it was so small and so useless at cutting bread that I bought a folding stainless steel #7 Opinel knife (don't buy the more common cheaper version! It will rust within a day) so that I could sit in the hills eating bread, salami, and cheese every day at lunch.
– People in France, Italy, and Switzerland love drinking cocoa. You can find it in most of the towns that you pass through, at just about any cafe and all the refugios. Try the wonderful Nutella cocoa at Refugio Elena in Italy! As to milk, I, too, prefer fresh milk especially the GREAT milk in the Alps! I bought a small bottle of fresh milk for the evenings and mornings at local grocery stores all along the way (you will always see one somewhere), but used a little powdered milk for my drinks during the day.
– The only piece of your gear that I'm somewhat concerned about is your quilt. I just got the Cocoon Pro 90 and it is DEFINITELY not adequate for the TMB. There were some nights along the trail when the temperature really dropped and it snowed a little higer up (never in the campsites I stayed at, though it could have at Refugio Elena when I camped there… usually something they won't let you do, but the refuge was full, so they made an exception for a few of us… it was FREEZING that night!) I was really glad I had my MontBell #3 along with a MontBell Alpine Down Jacket. And that was with a double walled tent… warmer than the TarpTents.
– I agonized about whether to take my small Nikon 5400 or the Nikon D70s DSLR (bigger and heavier than the D40). I decided on the D70s and the Nikkor VR 18-200 and am really glad I did. If you are serious about photography there just aren't any digicams yet that can compete with the control, picture quality, and battery life of a DSLR. With the number of photos I take in a day (I came back with 850 images) the battery in my 5400 would have died after two hours. I also really appreciated the wide angle and telephoto abilities of the 18-200 VR lens. WIth the Mont Blanc massif often across the valley along which you are walking it was nice to be able to capture as much of the range in one picture as possible, but also to be able to zoom in and get the more distant details. I brought two 2 gigabyte CF cards, but only needed one.
– For clothing I used zip-off trousers, a wool base T-shirt, a windbreaker, and a wide-brim nyln hat for most of the walk, rarely needing more than that, except in the rain and two really cold days. I originally went with Schoeller tights, but felt so conspicuous and ridiculous in the towns (one woman at a youth hostel exclaimed, "Ou-la-la!" when she saw me) that I switched to zip-off pants along the way. If you go with a light quilt, be very sure your clothing system can complement the sleeping system for the cold days.
The TMB was one of the most wonderful walks I've ever done. I met so many wonderful people and saw so many awe-inspiring sights that I will always hold this trip in my memories. I hope you and your family find the same thing together. (By the way, one great place for a zero day is Champex. It's a tranquil place where you can forget about walking for a while)Nov 3, 2007 at 8:40 am #1407655
7.1 Source 2L hydration pack with drinking tube
I don't have the fewest/lightest water containers, but for off off-trail use in Colorado I carry 3 oz of containers with a capacity of 4L:
1 x 2+ Liter Platypus (1.3 oz)
1 x 1 liter Big K water bottle (1 oz)
1 x .5 liter Arrowhead water bottle w pull top (.6 oz)
Platypus functions as a large container for camp and a pillow at night.
Big K mineral water bottle is used to treat water on the trail and sometimes in camp. I carry this and the Platy in case the Platy springs a leak not easy to patch.
Arrowhead mineral water bottle with pull top is attached to shoulder strap on trail for easy drinking. Great to grab at night if I need a drink. Pull top creates a good stream if I need to clean a cut /scrape.Nov 3, 2007 at 8:46 am #1407657
I brought two 2 gigabyte CF cards, but only needed one.
I always carry two memory cards in case one fails in the field. Just too light not to carry a backup.Nov 3, 2007 at 11:39 am #1407682
All advice duly noted. Firstly, thanks for the encouragement with the family.
>> 3.8 Deuter First Aid Kit
>Hum … Excess imho. You will NEVER be far from help. I think we used 3 band-Aids on the entire TMB + GR5. 12 Band-Aids and some 1" micro-pore tape should be enough. Oh well, add a new (in foil packet) scalpel blade if you want.
My kid is asthmatic so I do have to include a few medication to get her to the nearest town. On the last trip she performed exceptionally well.
>>7.2 garmin gps60c (with 2 xAA batteries)
>Whatever for? The track is very obvious, and there will be people walking along all the time. Take the FFRP TMB Guide book and a light cheap compass.
OK, I will lose the GPS.
I am working on that dual quilt. I may PM you for some more details of your quilt.
Cheers.Nov 3, 2007 at 12:31 pm #1407690
Gracias for the feedback.
1) Knife. I bought a dozen #6 SS Opinel to give away to friends. I will keep one for the trip. Only weighs 28g. They are great and cheap small knives.
2) Milk & Cocoa. Tell me about it. The kids and I O.D. on the stuff the whole week we were in Chamonix. Definitely a must "drink" before turning in at night.
3) Camera. The D40 + 18-200mmVR has to come on the hike. I made a special one-handed strap so that I can hang the D40 on my shoulder strap. I will get another 2GB card as backup.
4) Sleep System. Currently my biggest problem. At that altitude, it does not take much for the condition to drop below freezing. Good to know another owner thinks the BPL PRO-90 will not make the grade.Nov 3, 2007 at 1:01 pm #1407693
>Don't carry only Platys for your water. I've had two leak as well. Carry some water in empty soda bottles (soda, because PET bottles from pressurized beverages are stronger).
I always thought the Platys were indestructible. So much so that I ordered one each for each member of the family (total=6).
One keep-warm tip is to use a hydration container as a hot water bottle. I don't think normal soda bottles will do. I tested some 12 oz nalgene look-alikes from Extreme Technique store in Chamonix with boiling water inside a sleeping bag. Did not leak. Works great. Weighs 2.5oz each.
Any better suggestions?Nov 3, 2007 at 2:05 pm #1407697
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> 4) Sleep System. Currently my biggest problem. At that altitude, it does not take much for the condition to drop below freezing. Good to know another owner thinks the BPL PRO-90 will not make the grade.
Well … Have a look at my Gear list for France and you will see that we were using very light SBs there.Nov 3, 2007 at 2:21 pm #1407700
Shahrin, I just bought my Platy this year and haven't had a problem. I even inflate it and use as a pillow.
But I have read a number of posts where people have had problems with them. I think Brett has experienced problems with a couple of Platy around the top.
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