Mar 18, 2010 at 9:47 am #1256631
My wife and I are regular campers, hikers and rock climbers but are very keen to get into some backpacking. We have saved the money for the equipment and picked out a lot of stuff that I'd like to run by you all for feedback.
Osprey Aether 70 or 85
Osprey Ariel 65 or 75
Osprey UL raincover UL x2
thermarest prolite small or med x2
hubba hubba hp or carbon reflex
msr hydromedary 3L x2
mountain hardware piute 20 x2
msr hyperflow microfilter
msr packtowel x2
We already have couple of dragonfly's and medium fuel bottles. (will only take one with us obviously). We also have
a pair of msr ti fork + spoons
a light my fire firesteel
2 sea to summit ponchos
a first aid kit
2x petzl tikka plus
most of our lightweight and warm clothing.
We're still unsure about pack sizing unfortunately.
Also, unsure about the tent. The hubba hubba is a lot less mesh and aluminium poles so would be warmer and stronger in winter? but also a pound heavier. (would just take fly and footprint in good weather which is 900g for carbon reflex2 and 1200g for hubba hubba hp)
Have also looked at the marmot helium instead of the MH piute but the cost difference is quite a lot for a small weight reduction.
Thanks all for your help. :)
BenenMar 18, 2010 at 9:48 am #1587865
forgot to mention that we have an msr flex 3 system that we would use (only take 1 pan, 2 cups, 2 bowls) (approx 750g)Mar 18, 2010 at 11:26 am #1587907
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
Osprey UL Raincover: Just use a Hefty Trash compactor as a pack liner. Save $80 & 2oz
Msr hydromedary 3L: If you need 6L of water you. Then purchase two 3L Platypus and save $34 and 4oz
Prolite: Look into a thermarest or zlite and save $80+ and about 1oz
Packtowel: Go to Goodwill and get two banadanas for a couple of bucks and save close to $40 and 4oz
Save more money by losing the filter and just using chlorine tab and since you have two 3L platypus' you could get the Frontier Pro filter and make your own filtration system. Cost is an additional $20 for the filter.
So far you have saved $234 (excluding filter), now go and look for better bags and a lighter stove.
Then take your gear to an outfitter and load up some packs for the right size and fit.Mar 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm #1587932
Thanks so much for your reply. Got some great ideas for me to look into. I'm pretty set on the backpacks. I know theyre a bit heavier than some others but they'll last for ever. And i've already got the stoves, wouldnt go anywhere without them! Theyre the best thing ive ever bought!
Why do they make the platypus ones so much lighter when they're both made by cascade designs?
I opted for 2x 3L ones because we live in south australia and summers can be extremely dry and busy camp grounds can often have empty rain water tanks.
Did you mean the ridgerest mattress? are they comfortable?
The pack towels i was talking about are the small ones. only about 0.6oz – 1oz. Just for drying dishes etc.
can you give any feedback on the tents or sleeping bags?
BenenMar 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm #1587937
Have you checked out Tarptent or Six Moon Designs for two-person shelters? You'll probably save weight and money.Mar 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm #1587945
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
"I'm pretty set on the backpacks. I know theyre a bit heavier than some others but they'll last for ever"
It is not all about the weight, the issue is that these packs may be too big for your needs once you have slimmed down your gear list.
"Why do they make the platypus ones so much lighter when they're both made by cascade designs?"
I don't know, but I also find these Platypus bottle to be more useful. Other cheaper and lighter options are generic water bottles from the store (Aquafiner, Smartwater, Gatorade etc).
"Did you mean the ridgerest mattress? are they comfortable?"
I mean the Therm-a-rest Ridgerest or Therm-a-rest Z-lite. I own the latter and the deluxe version of the former and find both just fine for sleeping on.
"The pack towels i was talking about are the small ones. only about 0.6oz – 1oz. Just for drying dishes etc."
The cheapest MSR packtowel I could find is around $8– that is $16 for two. You could purchase two bandana's that are multi-use items for $2 and weigh about 1/2 ounce.
Tents: For less money than either the Hubba or Flex Carbon look at Tarpent shelters.
Bags. It really depends on your budget: Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, Montbell etc make excellent bags but they will run you close $450+ each. Campmor has a +20 degree bag for a budget price which people like. There are a lot of options for sub 3-pounds bags out there.Mar 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm #1587946
no i haven't but I will do :)
I just realised that the helium don't come in a left and right zip so we couldn't zip them together! no good. The company we are buying from wont ship western mountaineering to australia so im running out of options. Might have to go for the piute.Mar 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm #1587947
Unless you have a big trip planned, take your time in researching all the gear you can.
With lightweight backpacking, there is a lot of emphasis on technique and knowledge which accompanies the lighter gear we choose to use. If you really get into backpacking, you'll rethink your approach several times–its only natural. I've rethought how I want to take soap probably about 3-4 times! Just for soap!
A gear list is constantly evolving, so take your time and REALLY research each piece of gear.Mar 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1587949
Thanks again chris. You've being very helpful. It would be nice to fit everything into a smaller pack. Hopefully we can but I'd like to keep my options open for longer trips also. It makes it really hard when I'm ordering online and that I dont have all of my gear before I go backpack hunting.
Thanks again :)
BenenMar 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm #1587973
thanks Travis, yeah I have spent a ridiculous amount of hours slaving over the computer reading review after review of everything! There's so much to think of and its a lot of money to spend so I really want to make sure I get exactly what I want.
benenMar 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm #1588047
Doesn't make much sense to spend big $$ on a 3# tent and then get a 6# pack. As noted, you also just won't need the volume if you lighten up (or start light). Volume of 50-60L should be enough for the vast majority of trips. Lots of packs out there plenty durable for normal use that weigh 4# or less.
Tent: also consider the Copper Spur 2. $100 cheaper, 3.5#.
Stove: I have a Dragonfly, too, and have loved it. But it weighs nearly a pound, and a canister stove or my alky stove weigh about 3 ounces. In other words, about 75% lighter and just as effective for 90%+ of backpacking uses.
Sleeping bags: Piute is one of the nicest 600FP bags I've seen, and the price just came down $50 this year. They'd always been $200, last year they jumped to $300, now they're $250. If you're looking at a $369 Helium, consider the Western Mountaineering Ultralite at $385 and 1# 13oz. Or for a bag that can do pretty much anything but winter, check out their 1# 3oz Summerlite at $315.
If you're back sleepers and like hard ground, go for the Prolite. But if you're on your side at all, most people would prefer a thicker mattress. Could consider a NeoAir, although that pad won't push lower temps as well. Maybe a Prolite Plus, or a BA Insulated Air Core, or a down air mat from Kookabay.
Consider the Sawyer SP121, a 1.8oz inline or gravity-feed filter. It's also cheaper.Mar 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm #1588116
thanks for your reply :)
I'm tending towards the carbon reflex from replies i've had in another thread and I'll definitely consider an alcohol stove if my pack seems to be too heavy.
I can't get any western mountaineering stuff shipped to australia unfortunately which is why i'm opting for the piute.
So you think all that stuff + food and clothing will fit in our packs if we went for the aether 60 and ariel 55? considering there will always be two of us to split up the shared items (tent, stove etc.)
They practically weight the same as the larger packs though. I had a look at the exos in person and it seemed a bit flimsy to me.
BenenMar 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm #1588123
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
One of the great things about buying smaller packs is that they force you to think in terms of smaller — and therefore lighter — gear.
My wife and I decided to take the ultralight plunge just a little over a year ago. We bought Golite Jam 2's. Hers holds 2600 ci, mine holds 3100. We took a five day trip in the Sierras last year with no problems. The bear cannister fit inside my pack and we even strapped snowshoes onto the outside of our packs!
Since some of our gear was still heavier, I think my pack was 34 lbs when we started that trip. I was comfortable the entire time.
The ultralight bug bit us hard last year and we continued to improve our set ups. Now our baseweights are both well below 15 lbs and there's plenty of leftover room in our packs. I have no doubt that we could go out for a 7-10 day trip without an issue.
Our Jams weigh less than 1.5 lbs apiece. Go with smaller packs, you won't regret it!Mar 18, 2010 at 9:07 pm #1588125
also, we both tend to sleep on our sides a lot so I might look into the extra weight but comfort of the prolite plus. Thanks for the tip :)Mar 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm #1588126
.Mar 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm #1588127
It's very tempting but its also scary! I'd be devestated to discover that we spent all that money on packs and then they were too small to keep us comfortable! As i said before, the larger ones are only 100 grams more and the compressions traps can keep the pack tight for much smaller loads. Not sure whether to play it safe and just get something bigger. But i dont want to regret that either! haha.Mar 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm #1588128
thanks anna! i'll check it out!Mar 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm #1588131
Wow that looks great anna! I think i might go for the ultralight! Its so freaking light!
This forum has incredibly helpful. Thanks all so much for your quick and useful replies!
One quick question. Do the ultralight bags zip together if you get a left and a right?Mar 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm #1588140
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Hi Benen, you've certainly picked out some nice gear. It's what the mainstream thinks of as lightweight gear. There is however, a whole world of small gear makers offering significant weight savings AND no loss of durability or functionality. In fact in many cases their products are MORE functional and exhibit very high levels of craftsmanship. Here are a few:
Packs: ULA has several packs that would suit your needs. Quite comparable to the Aether 70 is the ULA Catalyst, a pack that Chris Townsend considers the best of the "lightweight load-haulers." Nice pack, built with Dyneema Grid so it's super-durable, twin aluminum stays, an awesome hipbelt, and features useful to trail hikers. It's much bigger than ULA's specs would have you believe. Price is pretty reasonable at US$250, weighs 47oz.
Tents: Henry Shire's Tarptent line is highly regarded on this site, and for good reason. There really is noone who builds the range of light tents that Henry does. For two man tents, you can have a really light single wall tent with the Double Rainbow at 40 oz., or a really tough, light double wall tent with the Scarp 2 at 54 oz. The Scarp 2 would also allow the option of setting up the fly only. Tarptents are spacious, well ventilated, handle winds well, and are light compared to almost anything else. They're also priced fairly; the Double Rainbow is US$265, the Scarp 2 is US$325.
Sleeping Bags: This is where you'll spend some money. You will also have these for a long time if you buy something nice, so it's worth spending a little more. Have you checked out Montbell bags? Highly regarded and priced a little cheaper than Marmot, the UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 is rated at 15F, filled with 20 oz. of 800 fillpower down, total weight is 32 oz. Price is US$329.
Stoves: You can make an alcohol stove from leftover food or drink cans, so it's basically free. You can make a really light cookpot out of a Foster's can with a side-cutting can opener. A light canister stove can be bought for less than US$40. The alcohol setup will save you a pound, the canister stove 8-12 oz. This is for a weekend trip. The weight savings with a canister stove on a long trip is even more dramatic.
Check out the reader reviews for even more examples of really light gear.Mar 18, 2010 at 11:00 pm #1588176
@nicktruaxLocale: SW Montana
Yup, Western Mountaineering bags will zip together w/opposing zips. My vote goes for WM, definitely worth the extra few bucks for a high quality product. My lady and I use 2 summerlites, often zipped together FWIW.
+1 to a bandana in lieu of the pack towel. Pack towels are marketing hype for the most part and not as versatile.
+1 to finding a lighter stove. Many options for lower cost and much lower weight.
Dromedaries may be overkill, YMMV
Packliner/stuffsacks instead of packcover. Another marketing ploy IMO
The filter can be replaced w/ CL dioxide or w/a steripen at a significant weight savings.
MSR flex – drop one bowl and eat from the pot if you are set on this system
I also say +1 to the prior recommendation of going w/ a lighter pack, specifically after purchasing and refining most or all of your other gear – esp the big 2 (of 3). This will save you headaches, cost and unused volume/suspension in the long run. Good luck on sorting it all!Mar 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm #1588932
well i'll definitely go with the wm ultralight bags since they have free shipping from hermits hut.
I've already got the flex3 and love it. With one handle, one pan 2 bowls and 2 mugs it weighs only 20oz so im happy with that :) I'm not sure if im ready to start going to the extreme of using empty tins etc.
I'll definitely be looking into the possibility of a lighter stove at some stage. Like i said i already have 2 dragonfly's and love them but i'm always open to ideas. Especially since the dragonfly's are comparatively heavy.
I'll leave as is for now and see how we go.
I can see what you mean with the bandana but i dont really want to be drying or washing dishes with something sweaty and dusty haha. So i'll need at least something else. I thought they would be a very light option?
I'm definitely open to looking into some other tents if they are of good quality. I want something that will last and if i can have that and save some weight then i'm all for it.
I'd check out those ULA packs too but I'm making my purchase from moosejaw and they do not stock them. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again :)
BenenMar 21, 2010 at 4:38 am #1588964
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
If you really want a microfiber towel, look for auto mechanic shop towels on ebay. You can buy like ten of them for $5, then rip them into a smaller size appropriate for backpacking. They're the same thing as the "backpacking" towels you see other places sell for $20.
I take a piece about the size of a sheet of paper and if I remember correctly, it doesn't weigh much more than an ounce. It is a bit more absorbent than a bandanna, so it's not a bad thing to have. That said, I can't think of many times where my bandanna wouldn't have done the trick. As a result, I may stop bringing it.
For stoves and cookware, you have some MUCH lighter options out there. My entire cook kit — stove, lighter, windscreen, mug, stuff sack, spork — weighs 4.5 ounces. When my wife comes, we simply bring one extra light plastic cup to drink out of.
My stove is a homemade penny alcohol stove, and it works GREAT. No, it won't give me quite as fast a boil time as a dragonfly, but it's much lighter, never breaks down, uses cheaper fuel, and is silent when it's cooking, making it easier to enjoy the sounds of nature.
Dinner is our only hot meal, and we cook using freezer bags. Basically, you take a one gallon freezer bag and fill it with a dehydrated food (cous cous works great). You dump a cup of boiling water in, wait five minutes, and eat straight out of the bag! No dishes to clean, and no heavy plates or bowls. It's awesome. My Snowpeak mug holds and boils just over two cups of water, so it's perfect for making our dinner at night and our coffee in the morning.
Anyway, you'll come to a lot of these things as you go. We used a Whisperlite for five trips last year before I decided to make the alcohol stove. We'll never go back, though. The weight, ease of use and silence are wonderful.Mar 21, 2010 at 4:40 am #1588965
@nicklagosLocale: South Australia
i too am new to UL, from South Australia (not sure which part of oz you are from) and slowly changing over gear.
sleeping bags – good choice on the WM from hermits hut – took my summerlite to tasi in october and it did really well
check out tarptent – i bought a "moment" recently and am really impressed – i am taking it to the gammon ranges in two weeks on a 7 day hike and will let you know how it goes – great service and price also -BTW i change from a MSR hubba
stoves – there is an amazing series of articles assessing stoves of all kinds – i have found it really well done and useful so its worth checking out – i too have a dragon fly but tend to use a pocket rocket at this stage
pack – i use a golite quest or jam 2 (depends on the days and the amount of water to carry) have had to carry 6-7 litres b4) – i am happy with it and it is cheap at the moment on prolite gear
ps if you are interested in seeing the tarptent let me knowMar 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm #1589226
I'm from SA too, near modbury. I think i'm going to go for the carbon reflex. I know it's expensive but i guess im just comfortable using a brand i know and trust.
As for stoves, i have an 88gram canister stove that we might end up taking instead and save an entire pound!
For packs, i've had a little bit of a look at the exos 58 by osprey weighing about 1kg instead of 2.2kg. The weight loading is closer to 15kg but so far our winter pack weight is 11.5kg or 25.5 pounds for me and 9kg or 20 pounds for my wife. This is including 2L of water each for winter and 3 each for summer but not food.
We could save weight going with the canister stove and if its not too cold, just take the neo-airs by themselves and not with the z-lite underneath.
Also, my only knife at the moment is a leatherman wave which is half a pound, so I can easily save weight there.
Addressing just these would save us over 5 pounds between us.
I hope the exos is durable enough to last a long time and big enough to fit everything in it. Otherwise we will probably go for the heavier ones that I had already chosen.Mar 21, 2010 at 9:15 pm #1589227
Please have a look at my proposed gear list under my profile :)
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