Aug 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm #1262072
After ~15 years without camping (much less backpacking), this year I did some car camping. On a day-hike on the CT during one such trip, I bumped into Gary who was thru-hiking. After chatting with him for a while I had the bug. I had to get away from the car and do some backpacking.
Being a "researcher" I quickly found BPL and have become an ardent reader. I'll subscribe next month (a LOT of my gear list was bought this month…).
Here's what I've come up with sofar:
One of the things I've learned from reading these forums is that going light has a lot to do with knowledge and experience. Given my severe rustiness I went comfortable on a few things – notably pack and shelter.
The pack was purchased at a GoLite warehouse sale. I also purchased an original Jam 2 (the old 1#5oz version) for experimentation with a UL option but I just can't make myself comfortable with the Jam2 without any frame (still new with the tags on if anyone wants to make a reasonable offer). I'm considering the GG Gorilla as it will nearly halve the pack weight. Until then, I'm not unhappy.
I love the Copper Spur UL1 but know that I could easily shave at least a pound. I don't know that I'm ready to go tarp or single-wall yet though. I'm 6'1" and so many of the options don't seem well suited to guys over 6' from what I've read.Aug 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm #1636175
I have a GG Gorilla and only have good things to say about it. Depending on how broad your shoulders are (mine are fairly broad) you might find the shoulder straps to wide and rubbing on your neck.
The biggest plus to me with the Gorilla is the removable frame. That allowed me to experiment with frameless backpacking, knowing I could just go back to 'framed' if it didn't work out.
Going frameless is hard with NeoAir as your pad your, as you really need something to act as a 'virtual' frame. That's why I'm trying to train myself to sleep on a torso-length Ridgerest again.
As for your list, you should only be bringing one pack liner and ditching any other dry sacks. You don't need a compression sack for your Caribou. The just stuff it in the liner.
Are you carrying a change of clothes? If you are, that'd be something you could drop as well, especially on overnights.
Make a simple lid for your ti pot out of windscreen foil. I made one for my 475ml Trappers mug that weights .05oz. Or be gentle and use household aluminum foil.
What do you use the REI towel for? I used to carry a towel but realized I never used it. A bandana would weigh 25% as much and serve the same purpose.
Somebody more knowledgeable than I could probably help you lighten your hydration/filter system. Are you using the Sawyer as a gravity filter then? If you drank inline directly from your bladder, couldn't you ditch the 'dirty' bag? I use a Frontier Pro because I want carbon filtering, and I drink directly from my 'dirty' bag (after treating with bleach, as you have to with the FP). If you plan on doing a lot of backpacking with infrequent water sources, the 3L is a good size, I guess, but if not, a 1L bottle weighs about 1/3 and should be sufficient with proper planning.
A really good list though.Aug 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm #1636192
Thanks for the thoughts. I've yet to see anything negative about the Gorilla but it's hard to justify buying yet another pack right yet. I'm going to keep working on stuff that goes inside first. We'll see what happens when I get out for a 3-4 nighter.
I love the NeoAir sofar so I don't think I'll be changing that soon.
If anything I'll probably ditch the liner and keep the sacks. The caribou sack is not so much for compression (I could probably put 3 of them in this sack) as it is the perfect size to make it conform to the bottom of the pack. I'll experiment.
I carry a pair of shorts and a super light weight shirt and an extra pair of socks. Haven't used them yet so I'll probably dump soon. Or put socks in the shoulder straps once I move on the Gorilla :)
The foil pot lid sounds like an easy MYOG option. I'll experiment. Sofar all my experimenting has just been with catfood cans and a hole punch. That's been really fun!
The REI towel came in very handy when I got caught trying to put up the tent in the rain…. a bandana probably would have worked as well although the tub got pretty wet. This towel had it bone dry in no time.
I'm contemplating training for a CT thru next year where 5L of water carry would be helpful on a couple segments. Once I'm comfortable with how that all works I may switch to inline filtering from "dirty bag" for trips with plentiful water.Aug 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm #1636207
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
All in all – a good list! Really nice for a first go-round.
My comments below:
GoLite Pursuit (M) (trimmed from 48 oz) 43.8
What? You have the blessed old JAM2? And you wanna take a 43 ounce porker?
Shelter Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 Tent 15.4
Fly Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 Fly 13.5
Poles Stock 14.1
that's 43 ounces for a tent. Wow, that's a lot, get a fly for under 10 ounces, and save 33 ounces. I'm 6 foot one (and Glen Van Peski is a few inches taller than me!) and I'll NEVER use a tent in the summer. C'mon, get a tarp!!!
Poles Bag Stock 0.5
Tent Bag Stock 0.8
Compression DrySac GG AirVent Drybloc (M) 1.9
Pot Lid REI TiWare – stock 1.3
Use a piece of foil as a lid, under 0.1 oz
Cup/Bowl Bowl from GSI Pinnacle Dualist (oatmeal and coffee) 1.5 —- You could easily eat out of the pot.
Stove Supercat 0.2
Wind Screen Aluminum Foil MYOG 0.3
Towel Scotch Brite Kitchen & General Purpose Wipe (1/2) 0.1
Nix, no need for it.
Water Clean Platypus Hoser (3L) 3.8
Water Dirty Bag Platypus Big Zip (2L) (-zip + hose attachment & Triptease) 3.9
WOW, 5 liters of water capacity?That's way overkill. Where in Colorado are you? Get a one liter soda bottle and that should be all you need. I only take a liter capasity in Wyoming, No "need" for the hose on the water bottle.
two ounces is too much for a weekend
TP in a bag .2 z per 24 hours 0.2
Baby-wipes in a bag (3) 1.5 per day 0.6
Easily NIX the TP and Baby-wipes. You have soap, so no need.
Emergency Tinder 0.4
Clothes Bag Outdoor Research Ultimate Dry Sack (M)
Nix, you have your 2.3 oz trash compactor bag already, no t=other waterproofing is needed.
what is the caribiner for? Easily nixed.
Leatherman Squirt PS4 2
Easily nixed. Take a 0.1 oz single edge razor blade.
Trail Guide The Colorado Trail photocopies in bag 0.6 Why a trail guide if you have a map?
Pack-it-out bag Coffee bean bag 0.5
What is this?
Towel REI Multi Towel LITE (M) 2
Guyline 50 ft Triptease 1.3
What is this for?
Light 1 Micro Photon Light (blue) – great ambient light in tent 0.4
Why two headlamps for a weekend?
Light 2 Petzl e-Lite 1Aug 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm #1636214
Mike, thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed advice. I always enjoy your posts. You make many good points. Some of which I will even take :)
Sofar I've been out on 3 weekend trips. Each weekend I whittle weight. As I mentioned, pack and shelter are the low-hanging fruit now. Maybe I'll keep experimenting with the Jam2, but I think the couple ounces spent for the stays in the Gorilla will pay off in comfort.
I just don't know that I'm ready for tarping it yet. I'll probably try a tarp/net combination. More than 10oz but less than 43. Or perhaps a single-wall light tent. I'm open to suggestions along those lines.Aug 10, 2010 at 4:11 am #1636263
@wrongturnLocale: The Soda
Look at the Gossamer Gear The One tent. I've used one before and I like it well enough. It is a good compromise between tarping and tenting.Aug 10, 2010 at 5:29 am #1636268
@carlbeckerLocale: Northern Virginia
Tarptents make the Sublite in two versions. One at 20oz and a silnylon at 24oz. Bug netted and bathtub floor. They meet my needs perfectly. Take a look at Osprey exos or Aarn packs if you need any sort of frame. I prefer the Aarn for comfort and will be listing my Osprey exos 34 here soon.Aug 10, 2010 at 6:31 am #1636277
"The One" and Sublite are on the list. Because of the amont I've recently spent just getting where I am (I haven't added it up and I don't intend to…) I'm going to put the Copper Spur to good use for a while.
All the suggestions are super. I know that I'll break through 13# on the next trip by just trimming a bit more. <10# will easily be achieved through pack & shelter changes when my wallet and I are ready.Aug 10, 2010 at 7:44 am #1636291
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
"I just don't know that I'm ready for tarping it yet."
I find this shows up as a pattern on this forum. Not just Eric, but plenty of other folks will say the same thing about camping without a tent. I don't understand the nervousness. Please, i would love to hear some thing that will calrify this curious attitude.
I have taught tarp camping for 16 years, and nobody has ever complained. It is less expensive, fast, simple and MUCH lighter than a tent. Tent's are nice when there are a LOT of bugs, or on an alaskan glacier. But in pretty much every other situation, a tarp is just fine.
Mostly, I will use my tarp as a pillow, because sleeping under the stars is always the best option if it's not raining.
===Aug 10, 2010 at 8:58 am #1636329
@dpnollLocale: Maroon Bells
I bought a double bivy and tarp for my wife and myself two years ago. We live in Mn and BUGS are a factor. Well, after one night she said "NEVERMORE" so we went back to a tarptent.
I use a tarp all the time in the BWCAW just not for sleeping under. We will be leaving for the Wind River range next and using a Six Moon Designs Haven which at least I can use as a tarp in the fall on the SHT.Aug 10, 2010 at 9:19 am #1636339
Mike – I think you touched on it – bugs. The other potential issue is not having a bathtub groundsheet in really bad rains….
Of course, if you have suggestions of how to overcome these fears, of course we would like to know….; )Aug 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm #1636449
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
My main reason for a preferring single-wall tent as opposed to a tarp is my beloved dog. First, in bug season (extra bad in the Cascades this year!) he needs a bug-free space just as I do, and I haven't yet found the combination of tarp, groundsheet or bivy and bug net, all big enough for me plus 80-lb. dog, that isn't at least as heavy as, or not heavier than, my Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic. Second, my dog was crate-trained so regards my tent as his (note the pronoun!) crate so promptly curls up and sleeps through the night. If we were under a tarp, I'd have to tie him up. Since he wakes up every couple of hours and then turns around several times before lying back down (I call him my Robert Benchley dog), I strongly suspect that I'd have to spend half the night untangling him!
I do plan to try out a tarp this fall after the bugs are gone, to see how the dog adapts to it. But we'll continue to use the tent during bug season.Aug 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1636487
With the arrival of cuben fibre shelters such as the Hexamid, the weight difference between a tarp and bivy and an enclosed shelter is practically nil. So go out with what keeps you comfortable, just get out.Aug 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm #1636630
>>I have taught tarp camping for 16 years, and nobody has ever complained.<<
I think this statement has a lot of imbedded information, Mike. The things that help backpackers gain comfort with tarping are experience and education. As I gain more experience on the trail I will undoubtedly want to experiment with tarps for all the reasons that you have illustrated – most notably the idea of "communing with the environment, not walling yourself away." In fact, on my first night out in over 15 years, I only pitched the inner tent and left the fly off because it was so beautiful out. It may not seem like much but for someone as green as me it felt like I was on the edge. Subsequent trips have been rainy during the evening/night so I was happy to have an easily pitched shelter in which to find comfort.
During that time in which I am gaining general backpacking experience I will educate myself on the skills of tarping so that when I do experiment it is not from a position of ignorance. Perhaps I'll even find myself in one of your classes.
Thanks again to everyone for their perspective.Aug 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm #1637984
I have to agree pretty good start :)
I've had good luck going frameless (GL Ion) w/ my neoair- it's folded in half lengthways then in thirds- I leave the valve open and a little air gets in. This has made for a very (very) comfortable "frame" for the Ion- I suspect it will work as well in all frameless packs
change of clothing- for a weekend (even 3-4 days) a pair of extra socks is all bring
consider re-packaging all your items like sunscreen, bug dope, soap, tooth powder, etc- these all add up
I agree that 5 liters is simply too much, I'd have to disagree w/ Mike that 1 liter is sufficient (possibly on some trips, but not all)- I'd suggest something around 2 liters
I'd also disagree on the emergency tinder- you might be able to go lighter than 0.4 oz, but I definitely want some good tinder- it's not always possible to find good natural tinder
ditto on the tp- hat's off to those that don't use it, but I'm not one of those :)
I used a filter for several years, but the last three I've gone exclusively to chlorine tabs (micropur)- five days of water purification for 1/2 oz- tough to beat and the stuff is very effective
I say keep the squirt (or look into a SA Classic)
give the light pack a go, for a weekend you shouldn't have any problemAug 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm #1640387
@thedanarchistLocale: Hampton Roads, VA
I go frameless with a NeoAir, too. It's easy to fold to almost exactly the size of the back panel of my Granite Gear Virga. In fact, it works better, in some ways, than a closed-cell pad Z-Rest or self-inflating mattress. The 25-inch width of my large NeoAir exactly matches the 25-inch length of my long Virga. I used to always have a little collapse zone between the tops of the shoulder straps and the load-lifter attachments. Like Mike Moore, I sometimes leave a puff of air in the pad.Sep 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm #1646186
I would take Mike's advice on tarping. At least I would give it a try and experimenting with a tarp is very inexpensive.
I slept under a tarp for the first time this last spring when I ran out of tents for a Webelos camp out. I put two boys in my last tent and grabbed an inexpensive blue 8×10 tarp. It rained most of that weekend, but I stayed dry and I really enjoyed all the fresh air under the tarp.
My next experience with a tarp was camping with my older son's Boy Scout troop and we got hit by a chain of violent Texas thunderstorms which literally included tornadoes to the North. I pitched the same blue tarp tight to the ground and I did get a bit of spray under the tarp. I had a bigger problem was wind blown dirt and sand. At one point in the night I had to get up to sort our a number of refuges as one of the Scout's tents collapsed under the wind load. This experience was pivotal because I learned that a tarp will work even in rather extreme conditions and I am no longer apprehensive about tarping and weather.
I now have an MLD tarp and bug bivy and I will never go back to sleeping in a tent. It is not simply that the tarp offers a substantial weight saving, rather it is that I love sleeping in the open with the fresh air and views and tents are so very stuffy. I will never go back to a tent.
For me, the tarp was transformational and now I am looking hard at other light weight alternatives and techniques. I purchased an MLD frameless backpack after examining more traditional equipment and I have a down quilt on order from Nunatak although my wife might file for divorce if she ever finds out just how much money I sent to Tom Halpin. I will be bold, determine my limits, and then back off a bit rather then squander precious years trying to incrementally reduce my base weight.
RichardSep 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm #1646308
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Before you start buying a lot of gear, just get out with your gear and get used to it, and find out what you like and dislike. Then ask more questions here. Also keep in mind that most of what people post here are their opinions, and what works for them. There is no Holy Grail of UL backpacking.
As far as tents/tarps go…
I have never understood the fascination or need for tents (of course there are special circumstances where a tent might be the best choice). I mostly use a tarp. But most of the time it stays in my pack and I sleep under the stars. The reason is that when I started in the 1960's there was no such thing as a lightweight backpacking tent, or if there was I never knew it. In those days most people I ran into in the wilderness used tarps in bad weather, and went without in good weather. Regarding insects… I have spent many summers hiking in the Sierras and did not even know there was an insect problem until I joined BPL!!Sep 20, 2010 at 2:29 am #1647139
A friend of mine found some sort of tarp at one of the Academys in Austin. I'm not sure what it's made out of (he's new to all this) but he assured me it wasn't canvas and it wasn't the cheap blue wal-mart kind either. If I had to wager a guess I'd say that it's probably some sort of Kelty Noah rip off.
Anyway, a flat tarp is a cheap investment and if you like it then even better! If you don't then it becomes a dining fly or something. Or you sell it on BPL if you went ahead and got a nice one. You should definitely try it though because there's almost nothing better than watching it rain while tucked under a well pitched tarp.
So man up and come out of the closet! No more of the tarp-curious stuff….
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