Feb 22, 2006 at 8:01 pm #1217850
How’s it going guys? This is my first post, and I wanted to post my current/potential gear list to get your thoughts and opinions. I’ll be backpacking in Minnesota for 20 days this June and in Washington for 10 days this July/August. For the most part, daytime temperatures will hover around 65-75 degrees F with lows at night being no lower than 35 degrees F. Some things listed below I have already purchases, and some I have not (marked with an *). If you have any suggestions as to better replacements for either, or things that I could omit or add, please let me know. I’m not necessarily intending to ‘break the five pound barrier, but would like to carry as little weight as possible without compromising my safety (I’m not a novice, but not an expert either). One last note…..because I’m a vegan, anything made with down is out! J All listed weights are approximated, and taken from the web. Thanks guys.
Clothing worn (I am unsure of the weight of these items)
The North Face convertible pants
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight t-shirt
Patagonia Capilene briefs
*Wigwam synthetic trail running socks
*Lightweight, nylon baseball cap (any suggestions?)
Montrail Hardrock trail running shoes
Patagonia fleece zip T (insulation layer) 8.0 oz
Patagonia fleece bottoms (insulation layer) 6.5 oz
Integral Designs Sil Poncho
(rain gear, pack cover, emergency shelter, and ground sheet) 9.5 oz
*Marmot Ion wind shirt (just ordered, could be returned) 3.0 oz
*Balaclava fleece hat (unsure of good brand) 2.0 oz
*Synthetic socks X 2 (extra pair for gloves) 3.0 oz
Bandana 1.0 oz
Total weight for clothing carried 33.0 oz
*Ion stove, windscreen, and pot support 1.0 oz
Evernew .9 liter pot 4.9 oz
Orikaso collapsible bowl (for oatmeal) 1.0 oz
Spork 0.5 oz
Antigravitygear Pot Cozy (for cooking rice) 2.0 oz
1 liter platypus bottle X 2 (one for drinking, one for fuel) 1.2 oz
Lighter 1.0 oz
Total weight for cooking/eating gear 9.6 oz
*Fanatic Fringe Thompson Peak pack w/ hipbelt 10.5 oz
Ursalite bear bag 2.0 oz
Granite gear waterproof stuff sack (for dry clothes) 0.5 oz
Aloksak’s 1.0 oz
Outdoor Research Hydrolite sack (for sleeping bag) 1.6 oz
Total weight for packing gear 15.6 oz
*Ray-Way synthetic quilt (suitable for 40 degrees F) 23.0 oz
Spinnshelter tarp and stakes 12.0 oz
*Gossamer Gear Nightlight sleeping pad 7.5 oz
*Flex-air pillow 1.0 oz
Total weight for sleeping gear 43.5 oz
First aid kit, repackaged into aloksak 4.0 oz
Toilet paper 1.0 oz
Aqua Mira, repackaged into BMW bottles 1.0 oz
Finger toothbrush 0.1 oz
Ultralight towel 0.5 oz
Sunglasses (for snowfields in Washington) 1.0 oz
Sunscreen, insect repellant, and Dr. Bronners 3.0 oz
Emergency whistle 0.2 oz
Total weight for hygiene/safety gear 10.8 oz
*Photon III LED light X 2 0.5 oz
Silva Ranger CL compass 3.0 oz
Extra shoelaces 0.5 oz
Gerber knife 1.3 oz
Outdoor Research headnet 1.0 oz
Map 2.0 oz
Emergency firestarter 1.0 oz
Emergency waterproof matches 0.5 oz
Earplugs 0.5 oz
Extra contacts 1.0 oz
Total weight for miscellaneous gear 11.3 oz
Total weight for all gear, minus clothing worn, fuel, water, and food
123.8 oz =7.73 lbs
With water, fuel, and food, my pack should weigh no more than 15 lbs for a 5 days without re-supply (based on 20 oz of food per day). As of now, I’m most unsure about which pack I’d like to get, and have also been considering the Golite Jam. From what I’ve read, it seems to have better load transferring abilities, but weights almost twice as much as the Thompson Peak pack. Any suggestions? I’ve also considered the Gossamer gear Torsolight pad instead of the Nightlight, I’ve read that its just a bit too short for comfort. Additionally, because I won’t be using a bivy sack (a benefit of the Spinnshelter in combination with a synthetic bag), the extra insulation and cushioning might be welcome. Any suggestions/comments on the above in addition to the items listed below would be greatly appreciated!
-Performance of the Marmot Ion wind shirt (little to be found in the forums)
-Suggestions on a good fleece Balaclava
-Whether the Patagonia fleece bottoms are necessary (for sleeping)
Although I think its my best option, does anyone know of any other synthetic bags/ quilts that would outperform the Ray-way quilts?
DaveFeb 22, 2006 at 9:52 pm #1351098
Regarding the balaclava, I would recommend one of the many flavors by Outdoor Research. IMO they offer a more comfortable fit than the one size fit all manufacturers.
You might want to consider a dedicated ground cloth instead of your pancho. It has been known to rain in Washington and the thought of having to put on a muddy pancho in the morning doesn’t appeal to me.
If it were me I’d ditch both of the fleece and use a BMW Cocoon or Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover for the insulation layer. It saves a few ounces and your more exposed legs can tolerate more cold than the rest of your body before you become uncomfortable.
RobertFeb 23, 2006 at 6:35 am #1351111
Thanks for your help Robert. The balaclava’s look nice, and I hadn’t thought about morning mud with the poncho/groundsheet. I think you’re right though….perhaps I better look into a groundsheet of some sort. Anyone have any experience with the Spinnaker groundsheets available from Gossamer Gear?
One last thing Robert: Although my covertible pants are ‘water resistant’, I was thinking it might be unwise to risk getting them wet during the day, and having no bottom insulation layer to keep my legs warm at night?
Dave:)Feb 23, 2006 at 8:34 am #1351115
> Anyone have any experience with the Spinnaker groundsheets available from Gossamer Gear?
No, but consider the Polycryo gound sheets from the same source. These are really waterproof, not just water-resistant, and the Polycryo is lighter. They also hold up. I found a very sharp stick poking into my butt when I sat down on the Polycryo sheet, and was able to break the stick off through the sheet. There was no damage to the sheet.Feb 23, 2006 at 10:07 am #1351127
Ahhh, yeah, thanks Doug. I guess I just assumed that a ground sheet made of spinnaker fabric was going to be the lightest. I imagine that Polycryo isnt as noisy either.
Any other opinions out there?
Do I need an insulating layer for my legs at night?
Golite Jam vs Fantatic Fringe packs? (Alpine or Thompson Peak)
Nightlight or Torsolight pad?Feb 23, 2006 at 12:43 pm #1351146
>Although my covertible pants are ‘water resistant’, I was thinking it might be unwise to risk getting them wet during the day, and having no bottom insulation layer to keep my legs warm at night?
> Do I need an insulating layer for my legs at night? […] Nightlight or Torsolight pad?
If my pant legs are going to get soaked, I usually zip them off and hike in the shorts. (Wet pant legs are cold and miserable anyway, and I found they stick to my knees and pull my pants down.) If it’s too cold in camp, just go to bed. You probably don’t need the fleece pants for sleeping, since the Ray-Way quilt should be warm enough. (I really like my Ray-Way quilt. Be sure to get the Deluxe version; the DraftStoppers are great.) However, you might want to trade off some of that saved weight for a GossamerGear ThinLight 1/8″ full-length pad (2.5 oz) to insulate your legs from the ground. Either the BMW TorsoLite or the GG NightLight torso are fine for torso insulation and padding. I have both, and prefer the TorsoLite because it is a bit cushier for my creaky bones. But the NightLight is both warm and sufficient, especially coupled with a ThinLight. I’d make the choice based on how much/little you like sleeping on hard ground. The last three nights I spent on the ground in Washington (September) were with a Polycryo ground sheet, 1/8″ ThinLight and a torso-length Z-Rest (which is inferior to and heavier than the NightLight) under my Ray-Way quilt (which was too hot because mine has the Extra Layer 3D).
>Robert wrote: If it were me I’d ditch both of the fleece and use a BMW Cocoon or Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover for the insulation layer.
I agree. Either of these items are much more insulating than fleece, and when you need it you’re going to want all you can get. The Micropuff is cheaper (especially at $89) and the Cocoon is a bit short in the body according to some comments I’ve read here, but both are good products. (I have a Micropuff shirt and Cocoon pants.)Feb 23, 2006 at 1:26 pm #1351149
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
I want to start by echoing the comments of Douglas about the convertible pants. It takes just a few seconds to take them off when it gets wet. You are often adding a rain layer on your upper body at the same time and you are moving so leg warmth is not a big deal.
I like to wear a top and bottom layer when I sleep. It is not for warmth however, though they do add a little. REI sells a great top (4.1 oz, size large) and bottom (4.4 oz, size large) made from silk that I wear to keep body oils and grim from the trail off of my quilt or bag. When it is colder I switch to Smartwool. They are easily washed, dry fast, easily replaced, and save wear and tear on my expensive gear. I like them so much I sleep in them every night, at home and on the trail.
I know this is off topic but I was just curious. As a vegan, why is down a problem? Would silk or wool be a problem?Feb 23, 2006 at 2:00 pm #1351151
Doug, you read my mind. Shortly after posting about the potential for wet legs, I remembered that I had convertible pants, and a poncho that is long enough to cover my knees. I think youre right….hiking in shorts and zipping my pants up again at night should work fine.
In regards to the Nightlight, I’ve considered using a 1/8″ Thinlight in combination with the torso length version, but have also thought about ordering the 3/4 length and cutting it down myself (I’ve heard from others that the torso length pad is just a few inches short of comfort….). Either way, I think I’ll consider the 1/8″ insulation pad as well…
I’ve also put in an order for a Micropuff pullover, so I’ll check that out when it arrives. Thanks for the reccomendation guys.Feb 23, 2006 at 2:11 pm #1351152
Eric – I appreciate your reccomendation, but yeah….silk is a problem and I do my best to stay away from wool as well (I’ve got 3 pairs of smartwools just sitting in my closet now…). Unlike vegetarians, vegans typically try to stay away from animal products of all kinds. As with everything else though, theres a point at which you have to draw the line….and in the modern world its nearly impossible to completely adopt a vegan lifestyle – afterall, even most metals and plastics contain a small percentage of animal by-products, and I surely can’t do without at least a bicycle!. But, when I have an relatively reasonable alternative, I take it. Most relevant to this discussion is leather for boots, wool for socks and insulating layers, silk for base layers, and down for sleeping bags. Although the added warmth and weight savings are indeed significant in the case of a down sleeping bag, my conscience just wouldnt allow me to sleep well knowing that another animal died or was abused at the cost of my comfort.Feb 23, 2006 at 2:27 pm #1351153
Well I must say I have mixed emotions about the SHT getting mentioned on an international forum. All youse guys out there, be advised that on good days, the SHT is a third rate trail at best. That’s my story and I’m stickin too it;-)
I wouldn’t bother with fleece in the SHT in June. I wouldn’t bother with any insulated clothing … but I have a good furnace. If you’re from a warm weather place maybe you’d want very light weight long underwear tops and bottoms. Not that cold weather is unheard of in June but it’s unusual.
I have a higher than average insect tolerance but I’d plan on more bug dope that you seem to have. June is peak season.
Lastly, be sure to remember to keep notes on trail condition, campsite condition, water sources etc and drop them off at the Trail Assn office (right on Hwy 61 in Two Harbors)
Oh, and ditto on the polycryo ground sheet. Hard to believe how tough it is even when you see it with your own eyes and it’s not a slippery as silnylon
Twenty days …. you planning on doing the whole trail?Feb 23, 2006 at 2:53 pm #1351155
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. It is a real challenge trying to lessen our negative impacts when we are so dependent on others for manufacturing. My advice still stands. Just substitute a man made fiber for the natural ones I suggested.Feb 23, 2006 at 3:37 pm #1351158
I’d like to hear more about your opinion on the SHT. The trip hasn’t been finalized yet, so….do you think you could tell me a bit more about why you’re not particularly fond of the trail? My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or, you can post here if you’d like. Also, the polycryo ground sheet is a definite, after thinking about it a bit more. I really don’t want to pack up or wear a wet and muddy poncho.Feb 24, 2006 at 6:53 am #1351219
Any other opinions out there, especially on the Golite Jam vs the Thompson Peak Pack. For thru-hiking, which is my primary interest, I was leaning a bit towards the Jam, and it seems to me that an 8 pound base load would feel lighter (more comfortable) in a 20 oz pack capable of hauling 25-30 lbs (Jam) as compared to a 10 oz pack capable of carrying 12-15 lbs (Thompson Peak).
Would anyone agree with my rationale?
DaveFeb 24, 2006 at 10:49 am #1351233
do you think you could tell me a bit more about why you’re not particularly fond of the trail?
Sigh …. yet another failed attempt to kid around in text … when will I learn.
SHT is a great trail, well conceived, well executed and well cared for by a few professionals and a lot of volunteers coordinated by a great trail association.
If the locations fit your itinerary I can highly recommend the campsites at the Splitrock River, Bear Lake, Friedenberg Creek and South Carlson Pond. Enjoy your trip!Feb 24, 2006 at 12:36 pm #1351245
A noble attempt nontheless. Thanks for the reccomendation Jim, and the SHT is going to stay on my itinerary. Being that its going to be my ‘let the trail whip your butt into shape’ trip this summer, and in carrying no more than a 12-15 total lbs at any given time, how long do you imagine it would take to hike the entire trail?Feb 24, 2006 at 3:24 pm #1351264
How long to thru hike? How fast are you?
IIRC, someone did it in 5 days and change last year … that’s five forty mile days.
It’s certainly not a mountain trail. To start with, there’s no shoratge of oxygen in the air. It’s approx 1200ft diff from lowest point to highest and there are few if any continuous climbs >500 ft.
However, the grades are frequently steep and their route finder has never met a hill he didn’t like.
It seems that no matter how I pack and whom I’m with we always average 2MPH. But there’s no shortage of daylight in June so there’s plenty time for 20 mile days if that’s your thing.
Approx 205 miles total, unless you want to do the new part of the trail in Duluth (approx 20 more miles not connected to the rest)Feb 25, 2006 at 5:33 pm #1351315
Great. Maybe I’ll plan on a 15 day thru-hike, although I am a bit worried about the mosquitoes you mentioned in your previous post….I had some bad experiences last year in the Adirondacks!
Also, what do you think about the guidebook and maps offered by the SHTA. Neccessary, useful, or just nice for casual reading?
Thanks a lot Jim,
DaveFeb 26, 2006 at 6:57 am #1351333
I’ve hiked the entire trail over the last several years but I still find the guidebook very useful:
* reasonably accurate campsite info
* tidbits of local history
* some description of what to expect on each section
* good descriptions for finding trailheads (not that many are hard to find)
The pocket maps are useful and more convenient than fishing the book out of your pack when on trail but are not a total replacement for the trail guide.
The McKenzie maps offer much more detail but sometimes suffer from errors. I think they’ve resolved the big issues that had during 2005 but I’d be careful about where I bought them. The trail assn store never stocked/sold the bad ones so they are a safe source.
Regarding skeeters … ya pays your money and ya takes your chances.Feb 26, 2006 at 10:54 am #1351347
Thanks Jim. I was thinking about ordering the guidebook anyway, just for a bit of pre-trip planning. I’ll just stick to the book, and forget about the maps for now.
Maybe I’ll see ya out there, and thanks again for all of your help.
Dave:)Feb 27, 2006 at 1:43 am #1351404
Have a good trip. If you end up there later in July and run into a buch of scouts you might meet me. I’ll also try to get to Duluth in early June for the trail assn’s National Trails Day activities.Feb 27, 2006 at 5:12 am #1351408
Do you have any details about the 5 +change hike of the SHT? I’d like to read about that experience, since I’m planning a SHT thru-hike this year and while I may not be that fast, I’m planning a fairly quick trip and would like to read about others experiences on a similar schedule.
-adamFeb 27, 2006 at 6:31 am #1351411
Adam, when do you plan to go?
Dave:)Feb 27, 2006 at 6:43 am #1351413
I’m planning a September thru-hike. No specific dates yet.
-adamFeb 27, 2006 at 7:05 am #1351414
Ahhh, sounds nice. From looking through some pictures, fall may definitely be the nicest time for a scenic thru-hike.
Hey Jim, when are fall colors usually in full form there in northern Minnesota?
Dave:)Feb 27, 2006 at 8:57 am #1351420
Adam: IIRC it was an article in the Ridgeline (trail assn newsletter). The assn might be able to get you a copy … especially if you become a member;-) … and if you are planning a thru hike and have not bought maps and trail guide you’ll get some of the dues back in trail store discounts. From what I remember, the 5-6 day trail run was one guy whose spouse met him at many (all??) of the trail heads with consumables and first aid.
Dave: Fall color can vary by as much as a week from year to year and Lake Superior skews the seasons compared to the same latitudes elsewhere in MN but the rule of thumb for weekend “leaf peepers” (a term I picked up in New England a few years ago) is that color is best the last weekend of Sep in the maple belt (a couple miles inland) and the first weekend of Oct near the lake. The birches were spectacular on Oct 8, 2004. Best color will be earlier on the east end vs the west end (farther north)
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