Jul 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm #1237738
I'm a lifelong car camper, day hiker and canoer. I recently decided that I wanted to leave the car behind and get into backpacking and, for a lot of reasons, that I should go light. However, since I'm new to this, I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I went through a ton of gear that I've accumulated, and purchased one key item based on a lot of reading on this site and others: a GoLite Jam2.
I'll be doing 2 to 4 day trips in the Angeles Crest Forest in Southern California, and Parts of New York and New Jersey, all this summer. [Edit: multiple trips of 2-4 days each, not 2-4 trips of one day's duration.] For the East Coast part of the trip, I could plan on having another 2 lbs of rain gear.
So here's my gear list for my first backpacking trip ever, with a base pack weight under 14 lbs. I know I could lose 5 pounds with bag and pad alone, but I've spent all I'm going to spend for these trips. Please let me know if I forgot the rope stretcher or something important.
Thanks in advance for all your help and all the help I've gotten from this site already.Jul 14, 2009 at 8:26 am #1513770
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Pardon, if you have covered this, but I just get a google home page when I try to get your list.
Remember that your footwear can add weight. Consider low cut "trail runners" to replace boots. You can also use them around home as well as in the mountains.Jul 14, 2009 at 9:03 am #1513778
Thanks for letting me know, Frank.
Here's the new link, and I've edited it in the OP.Jul 14, 2009 at 9:22 am #1513781
Jersey in July/August is typically hot and humid. You can ditch the hoody, hat, gloves, and extra 2 lbs. of rain gear if you come that time of year. Night time lows usually don't drop below 60f and you won't need more than one of your shelter ponchos if it rains.Jul 14, 2009 at 9:52 am #1513786
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Seems like it's all there. It's impressive that you're jumping right from car camping to lightweight backpacking, and doing it so economically.
Have you tried your shelter setup yet, either on a car-camping trip or backyard? I'm interested in going to a tarp shelter, at least for some trips, and am curious about the first experience of others who have made the switch. Since I don't see trekking poles on your list, I assume you're stretching a ridgeline between trees?
I did a fast and cheap gear mod for my daughter's sleeping pad–$12 blue foam pad from Wal-Mart, the kind with a shallow egg crate pattern on one side, cut to the same outline as my small Thermarest Prolite, then weighted with books to fold flat. Weighs 7 oz. and she found it very comfortable. Pretty cheap way to cut another 2# from your base weight.Jul 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm #1513814
My insights. Make sure you can fit all this stuff into the JAM 2. Keep in mind that this is a light weight forum.
= = = = = = = = = = = =
Solstice 20/40 Sleeping Bag / 50.56 – This is too much.
Slumberjack Pad / 44.40 – You are joking right? Aim for 10 oz max.
Go Lite Jam 2 – 26.00 – GOOD!
– – – – – – -NOTE: You probably won't be able to fit the traditional (heavy) sleeping bag and pad into the JAM2, it's designed for lightweight camping – – – – – – – –
First Aid Kit /Emergency 4.30 – Too much, you could trim this down.
Toothpaste / Hygiene 2.00 – Too much. You can use a tiny travel size and only take enough for a short trip.
TP / Hygiene / 0.01 – how did you get this number? The baggie weights a lot more than that…
Scrubby / Mess 0.10 (you'll be fine without a scrubby)
Trash bags (2) 3.40 – Two trash bags? For what? One is fine. Use ONE compactor bag.
2 ponchos / Shelter 18.50 – What? Two ponchos? For a shelter? Have you set this up before?
Space Blanket 1.00 (nix)
Sashline 5.00 – get some lighter string. Thin little string from the hardware store is plenty strong, and MUCH lighter
Swiss Army Knife 3.70 (too much. Use a single edge razor at 0.1 oz)
Knife Tools 1.70 – another knife? One is plenty.
Flashlight and batteries 5.00 – Uggg! You are joking right? Too much.
Bandannas (2) 0.90 – one bandana is plenty.Jul 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm #1513863
Great points all. Thanks, guys.
@ Brad: Thanks for the tips.
@ Dan: Thanks for the encouragement. I've invested in a few expensive hobbies in the past only to abandon them after a year, thus the financial caution. No trekking poles, though I am starting to consider them. I've done the poncho setup between two trees many times. I got the idea from one of Tom Stienstra's books a while back. I've done it with rocks holding the corners, but also usually had the tent in the car, so out on my own, I thought I'd bring stakes.
@ Mike: The first thing on my list to replace is the sleeping bag. I'm a hot sleeper, so I've been leaning towards quilts.
I'm torn about the pad. My back is all messed up- one of the motives for going lightweight- so I'm afraid of a ridge-rest or blue pad as not being enough (anything else would be more expensive), but I agree it's heavy. I'm SURE it won't fit in the Jam, I had planned on strapping it to the axe loops.
The TP is in the first aid kit, thus its weight. The first aid kit was as-is, I'm sure I can go through it and shave it down.
I'll scratch the second bag. I guess it was just a C Y A.
The two-poncho setup as a shelter is VERY ghetto, I admit, but it works, and I've used it in the past. You snap the tarps together and roll the seam around the line that you tie between two trees. Stake out the corners and done. An ultralight tent is 3rd down on the list. (after new bag and pad). By the way, the ponchos probably weigh less. I realized that 18.5 figure was for a contrail tent I was looking at. Probably more like 12 oz, I will weigh them when I buy them and update the list.
Great catch on the rope. I actually have mason's line lying around, which I'm sure will be less than half the weight. Duh on the knife, thank you, and the flashlight was a flashlight I had lying around the house. I have a much lighter headlamp at work that I'll bring. Thanks for helping me notice the forest in between all these trees.Jul 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm #1513865
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
You know what's less "Ghetto" and lighter than Two ponchos?
The GoLite is great (and affordable).Jul 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm #1513869
The weight of a solo tarp is okay. One poncho as tarp is pretty small. So using two is a good idea. That said, the Tarp is a small investment.
And – you can NIX any rain gear with a poncho.
The issues with the pad are very real. It's important to be comfortable. A 3/4 length lightweight pad is a good investment. The therma-rest pro lite 3 is excellent.Jul 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm #1513954
OK, edits have been made to the gear list, have the baseweight down to 11.16 lbs. Not bad considering I've never actually done this :-D
@ Nate: I tried that once, man. Not enough coverage for this bean pole.
@ Mike: Thanks for the good steer. I made most of the changes you mentioned, and I got a full size ridge rest for $20 on sale. Even if I don't love it, I often have guest campers, so it's not bad to have another around. You're right, three pounds for a sleeping pad is nuts. That takes me down to just over 11 pounds spending about $150, including water treatment. I feel good about the weight and the price. (Though I have to admit, I see a WM High Lite in my future…)
Thanks again to all.Jul 15, 2009 at 8:39 am #1514006
You should label sleeping bag and pad as SLEEPING and NOT shelter.
First Aid Kit – 4.30 – Too much for a short trip, you can easily get this lower.
Toothpaste – 2.00 – get this down to 1 oz
TP – Hygiene -0.01 – Nix the TP
Notebook and pen – Incidental 3.00 – Get this down to 2 oz
Salt, Pepper – 1.50 – Really, for a short trip? Too much.
Scrubby – 0.10 – NIX completely. You'll be fine without.
Open Country 12 oz pot – 5.20 – Hmmmm, thats a lot for a small pot.
Trash bags – 1.70 (the COMPACTOR bag weighs 2.1 oz, and is superior to a simple trash bag.
Go Lite Jam 2 – 26.00 – Can you fit everything inside? That sleeping bag is gunna be porky.
Solstice 20/40 Sleeping Bag – 50.56 (Wow, that's still a LOT for summer)
Ridge Rest Full Length Pad – 14.00 (Now, cut it in half, and it's down to 7 oz)
2 ponchos Shelter – 13.00
Space Blanket 1.00 – NIX completely. You'll be fine without.
Stakes Shelter 7.60 – Thats a lot. How many? What kind?
Swiss Army Knife – 3.70 – What? You had two knives before, and you are choosing the HEAVY one? No way. Take the smaller knife. This is an esential thing about lightweight camping, simply take the lightest item available. (or, take nothing, getting the weight to zero, like the space blanket and scrubby)
Flashlight and batteries – 3.10 – Uggg. There are a million lightweight headlamps. This is TOO heavy.
Bandannas (2) -0.90 – Still two? Only one is needed.
Hoody 20.50 – Wow, that's WAY too much.
I'm still not sure how to interoperate your clothes. How much? What is worn while hiking.You should weigh each item and give a better description. Why are the T-shirts in a baggie???Jul 15, 2009 at 10:42 am #1514038
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
I love how passionate Mike gets with these gear lists!!!Jul 15, 2009 at 11:21 am #1514048
Nope, I'm from New York City. Just stating my opinions.Jul 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm #1514072
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
But in my mind I imagine you jumping up and down and wagging your finger when you type stuff like, "TOO HEAVY and you DON'T NEED that…"
Just saying… :-)Jul 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm #1514109
I am wagging my finger.
I am NOT jumping up and down.Jul 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm #1514217
Have you been talking to my Dad? You sound just like him…
List has been updated and changes are highlited in RED. New base weight: 10.85 lbs.
>First Aid Kit – 4.30 – Too much for a short trip, you can >easily get this lower.
OK, the bag itself weighed a ton, so it became a baggie. I will pore over what's in it soon, but I'm going to guess at 2.5oz, keeping in mind I have to travel with a lot of aspirin and advil.
>TP – Hygiene -0.01 – Nix the TP
I'm going to bring it and plan on not using it. I read your treatise on the scrape and rinse method :-)
>Notebook and pen – Incidental 3.00 – Get this down to 2 oz
That was a guess, shouldn't be a problem.
>Salt, Pepper – 1.50 – Really, for a short trip? Too much.
No way. Food is my only vice.
>Open Country 12 oz pot – 5.20 – Hmmmm, thats a lot for a small pot.
You know what, I can lose the handle and the handle-bearings easily. I can't do it right now, but I bet it will shave 2 oz.
>Trash bags – 1.70 (the COMPACTOR bag weighs 2.1 oz, and is superior to a simple trash bag.
I will look for them. I believe you.
>Go Lite Jam 2 – 26.00 – Can you fit everything inside? That sleeping bag is gunna be porky.
I'm confident. Worst case scenario, I double-bag the sleeping bag and hang it outside.
>Space Blanket 1.00 – NIX completely. You'll be fine without.
I gotta tell you I'm hesitant to do without a ground cloth, especially if I trim down the sleeping pad. Thoughts on this?
>Stakes Shelter 7.60 – Thats a lot. How many? What kind?
Four. They are some basic aluminum spikes that were the lightest ones in my kit.
>Swiss Army Knife – 3.70 – What? You had two knives before, and you are choosing the HEAVY one? No way. Take the smaller knife. This is an esential thing about lightweight camping, simply take the lightest item available. (or, take nothing, getting the weight to zero, like the space blanket and scrubby)
I guess I was looking for more functionality with the swiss army knife, but I don't have anything with me to fix…
>Flashlight and batteries – 3.10 – Uggg. There are a million lightweight headlamps. This is TOO heavy.
I feel you on this, but I own it. I'm really done with spending for this trip.
>Hoody 20.50 – Wow, that's WAY too much.
I know it's crazy, since I own a MILLION fleeces, but somehow they all got packed when I moved, and I won't see them until September. This is the lightest thing I've got that's actually warm.
As for clothes, the baggie note was when there was an extra tee-shirt (for dry clothes), it's gone. I tried to detail the clothes more, what I wear is in the second column (worn weight).
I like when you jump up and down, it makes my trip easier :-)
Thanks!Jul 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm #1514846
John L CollinsParticipant
@wvcubdadLocale: Not too far off the Tuscarora Trail
I just switched from a ThermaRest UL full length pad to a Big Agnes AirCore 72" mummy pad and had some really great nights on it. Best I've had in a long time. I really enjoyed the 2.5" of comfort under my bulk.
At the same time I bought my son a 48" rectangle BA AirCore and he will not give that up at all! Little does he realize that when I've made my full metamorphis from overloaded surplus toting grunt/Scout leader to lightweight stud he's going to be missing a pad! 8^)
Stick with what works best for your back and lighten up in other areas.
JohnJul 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm #1514969
Are you sure you'll be able to sleep okay on a Ridgerest? A thin hard pad like this isn't for everyone. You might want to try it at home first. When I bring my Ridgerest I normally have a terrible sleep the first night and then after that I can sleep on it because I'm so tired. Something like the NeoAir is about the same weight but a lot thicker.
I understand you don't want to spend more cash, but something like the Kelvin Summer Pad from MEC (Mec.ca) is only $40 and if you can return the ridgerest you'll hardly be out cash. The Kelvin Summer pad is 19oz instead of 14oz, but it's also over 3" thick and delivers an amazing sleep.Jul 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm #1514998
I'm not entirely sure about the ridgerest, and I couldn't fit the slumberjack into my luggage, so I need to buy something, like it or not. I never actually pulled the trigger on buying the ridge rest, so that's no concern. Based on this thread, I have these options to check out:
Mec Kelvin Summer Pad
T-A-R Neo Air
Big Agnes Aircore
What's available at the local sporting goods stores will limit me more than anything. I'll let you know what I can find tomorrow.Jul 19, 2009 at 9:08 pm #1515065
1. Mec Kelvin Summer Pad
2. T-A-R Neo Air
3. Prolite 3
4. Big Agnes Aircore
and – I would add:
5. The TorsoLite from BPL
6. The MontBel Ultra lite torso sized
7. Therm-a-rest PRO-LITE XS (8 oz!)Jul 20, 2009 at 11:07 am #1515149
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
One needs to recognize the degree of taper on that BMW Torsolite. 17" at the head down to 12" at the waist. For us big kids(6'5"), that's not worth carrying for 1" of foam. At least thermarest prolite xs has no taper head to waist and still comes in at 8oz.
I just got down w/ a multiday run in Colorado w/ my new Prolite Plus S(48") The 1.5" is great coming from an old school full length Thermarest circa 1991. I will complain that as a side sleeper my ankle bones were a little achy on the hard ground. I may add some thinlite to the foot area for extra padding. OR I might go w/ an xs combined w/ some 3/8" thinlite to make up the extra thickness I need as a sidesleeper.
I've resigned myself to carrying a pound of sleeping pad give or take an ounce or two over counting ounces and waking up grumpy.
Before I pulled the trigger on the Prolite PLus, I tried the Thermarest Trail, their bare bones $30 1" inflateable. At 15oz. you won't find a better deal on an inflatable at this weight. Comfortwise, you might do better. Back sleepers will be fine, the foam is solid w/o any die cuts and makes for some nice support w/ a few puffs of bonus air. Side sleepers will likely bottom out like I did and wake up every hour to roll over and try another position. You college kids and teenagers that want to get into UL backpacking would be able to secure a Campmor Down Mummy and a Thermarest Trail for around $150. Combine this w/ a nice light pack and you're still looking at sub 5lbs for the big 3.Jul 20, 2009 at 5:23 pm #1515269
Well, due to a combination of cost and availability, I went with the Big Agnes Iron Mountain, a previous generation of the AirCore, but square and lacking insulation.
I was hesitant to get an air mattress, due to fear of field puncture and a lack of desire to inflate it every night, but it was on super markdown (half off) and I was impressed with its comfort lying on the floor of REI this morning, so I went with it.
With the included stuff sack and repair kit it weighs 18.5 oz, but in a bread bag it will weigh more than an ounce less.
If I were to invest in something better today, I really only had one choice, the Prolite Plus, and I didn't want to spend that much without doing more research. I feel like this is a good stop-gap until I can make a more informed decision.
I'm going car-camping tomorrow, but it will give me a chance to fiddle with the pack and my can stove, so by the time I get back next week I should be good to roll.
Thanks again for all the great insights.Jul 21, 2009 at 2:33 am #1515352
That mattress sounds like a good call to me. Now you just need to play with the level of inflation to find the optimum comfort point for you.Jul 21, 2009 at 6:57 am #1515368
"That mattress sounds like a good call to me. Now you just need to play with the level of inflation to find the optimum comfort point for you."
I would inflate it to the max, unless that might make it pop.Jul 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm #1516696
I got to sleep 2 nights on the iron mountain. I'm not entirely sure why you'd name a sleeping product after metal, but anyhow… It was comfortable per se, and although it was not my idea of fun to add the chore of blowing up the air mattress to setting up camp, it blew up quickly and the closure mechanism works as designed.
It was as comfortable as any simple air mattress, meaning not very, but it kept the chill off and was better than a ridgerest or something like it.
My big complaint with it is that it's too narrow. It barely makes the width of my shoulders, so it doesn't support my arms. In cold weather I bundle up and cross my arms when I sleep, but it's pretty warm where I currently am at night, so it's been tough, since it's painful to sleep with your arms 3 inches below your spine.
I'm a little under the weather and with work starting up again soon, I may not be able to camp again until the fall, so I may just return it, but it has been educational.
Thanks again for all the input.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.