Mar 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm #1270445
I'll be semi-through hiking the AT this summer. I'll be leaving April-20th, and hiking until i have to start medical school on August 1st.
So essentially, i need most of the through hiking type gear. i will be hiking with a buddy who has already bought all of the group gear and it is all relatively lightweight.
After taking inventory, i've determined that i have two pieces of gear that are in good condition, but I can only really afford to replace one of them.
2004 or so Gregory Palisade (M) in very good condition, but it weighs 7 lb. 1 oz.
Slumberjack Ultimate 20F Long sleeping bag that weighs 3 lbs. 3 oz
While i am by no means a superlightweight backpacker, I would like to lighten the load as much as possible. These are the two items where i saw the greatest amount of weight that I could knock off. Basically best bang for my buck
So, i'm already assuming most of you guys would suggest replacing the pack, which I am fondly attached too and really like, but its huge, heavy, and sweaty on my back. I need a pack that has a frame of some kind. My buddy has the Osprey Aether 60 (3900 ci for a large, but i am a medium size). I would like a pack about this size as well. I like his pack, but think it can find a lighter option.
So for packs i'd like suggestions, Lightweight, yet solid with 45 lb carrying ability, around the 55L to 65L size.
I've looked at: ($250 is the max price i can afford, and thats pushing it)
Osprey Aether 60 (4 lbs, 15 oz) (my favorite, but seems to heavy, compared to the others)
Osprey Atmos 65 (3 lbs 6 oz)
Sierra Designs Revival 65 (3 lbs 14 oz) (probably my favorite in this weight class, need to see it in person though)
Gregory Z55 56L (3lb 15 oz) or Z65 (4lb 3 oz) (I've heard the new gregory's aren't made as well as the old ones though)
Black Diamond Infinity 60 (3 lb 13 oz)
Sleeping bag would be replaced second to my pack since the weight loss is not as great. Aiming for $200 or less.
Sierra Designs nitro 30 long (1 lb 13 oz) (top choice so far)
I have a sierra designs -20F bag and its great, absolutely useless for this trip, but i love the quality and would like to get a lightweight bag as well. But i know little about what is out there, so feel free to help
Any suggestions you all have would be amazing.Mar 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm #1708189
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I think you will get unanimous agreement that the Gregory pack gets cut out. You will end up with something that weighs about 2 pounds. I guess you want something with 45 pound ability, but you intend to carry less than that. I guess that you have something planned for shelter and so forth.
–B.G.–Mar 13, 2011 at 12:17 am #1708196
@dan_quixoteLocale: below the mountains (AK)
Golite has stuff that could meet both your categories. For example, their pinnacle pack weighs 2 pounds and is advertised as having a load-bearing capacity of 40 lbs. with the coupon code BSF10, you can get it (or anything full-priced at their website) for 40% off until April. that's $105 for a pack.
If their quilts come back in stock, one of their ultralite 3-season quilts (1 pound, 11 ounces in long) could meet your needs very well too. I think they're rated by folks with lots of math knowledge (Richard Nisely) at just under 30 degrees, rather than the advertised 20, though. That weight savings, as stated, isn't as much as the that of the bag, but the volume change from switching to a down quilt from a synthetic mummy bag might be a heck of a boon for you, and maybe even allow for a smaller volume pack.
Options to think about! =)
DanielMar 13, 2011 at 12:29 am #1708199
@mechbLocale: Washington DC
Sorry for the unsolicited advertisement here, but I have an old style (2008) Gregory Z55 pack (Large torso) that weighs 3lb 6oz with everything on it. You can detach the lid pocket and could probably trim a few straps to get it down to 3lb or under (I haven't made any modifications so far). It's in great condition, so if you're interested I'd be able to sell it to you for cheap, so if you're interested PM me or I can post my email.
That said, I think most people will recommend that you purchase all of your other gear (e.g. clothing, cooking gear, shelter, other "stuff") and get a good idea what kind of weight and volume capabilities you need. You might look in to something like the ULA Catalyst or especially the Circuit. You could also try Granite Gear, their packs are supposed to be quite comfortable, although I don't own one myself. They have two on clearance that should work great–the Nimbus Latitude and the Nimbus Meridian. Here's the URL: http://www.granitegearstore.com/CategoryGrid4.aspx?CategoryId=27
Also, I bought a Sierra Designs Nitro 30 in size Long as well for the PCT this summer. It's quite nice (it's actually manufactured by Montbell, as it says on the inside tag). I may opt for something warmer since I can be a major pansy when I sleep, but otherwise it's a good choice if you don't have that problem.Mar 13, 2011 at 8:18 am #1708239
@sschloss1Locale: New England
I'd also suggest getting rid of the pack and getting a ULA Circuit or Catalyst (depending on the volume of your gear–the Catalyst is larger), for a savings of 4-5 lbs. ULA packs have a lightweight "frame" and are great for hikers transitioning between traditional and UL gear.Mar 13, 2011 at 8:28 am #1708241
Thats a tough one for sure. What does your other gear look like? Do you have a spreadsheet with base weights and all the things you will take with you? That is very dependent on which pack you could use. You could remove all the extras (brain, straps) from the palisade to drop some weight, but its still going to be beastly at over 5 lbs. The Golite Quest could be made pretty light the same way and its MSRP is $175. The coupon could make it a killer deal for a sub 3 lb pack. Don't forget Granite Gear either. They make some wonderfully comfortable frame packs.
Light sleeping bags are tough to get on the cheap. Based on my experience with an old Slumberjack 30* Super Guide that was in the same line as yours, I wouldn't trust it to within 10* of its rating even though I sleep warm. Check the sales sites (REI Outlet, Backcountry, The Clymb, etc.) and the BPL gear swap religiously for a week or so. If you find a suitable bag with solid reviews, grab it up. You don't want to skimp on quality when you hike for months at a time. You can also have a closet cleaning on the BPL Gear Swap to help finance your new purchases. Best of luck!Mar 13, 2011 at 8:30 am #1708242
"their pinnacle pack weighs 2 pounds and is advertised as having a load-bearing capacity of 40 lbs. "
No offence, but this is marketing bunk. 40lbs in a frameless pack is nowhere near comfortable. 25 is. But then at that weight, why use a 2.25lb frameless pack. Go to ULA and get a CDT at 20.Mar 13, 2011 at 8:59 am #1708254
If indeed this is a factor (one that can't be mentally overcome), you might take a look at the Osprey Exos 58. Size medium is 2.5 lbs (manufacturer's listed weight) and 3,500 cubic inches. It has breathable mesh and dead space between your back and the pack supposedly improves ventilation. Someone somewhere called it a cleverly designed external frame pack.Mar 13, 2011 at 9:00 am #1708255
@steveLocale: Eastern Washington
I'd also agree with the ULA Circuit. Great pack, great company to work with.Mar 13, 2011 at 9:00 am #1708256
East coast is super humid. Isn't sweating inevitable?Mar 13, 2011 at 9:04 am #1708260
I'd recommend a ULA Catalyst as well, its within your price range, and you might be able to score a lightly used pack, from here,off of Gear Swap. You'll have the ability to get a smaller hip-belt for the pack too, "if" needed as you loose weight from the hike. If you can get your gear weight and volume down, I actually prefer the Circuit over the Catalyst.
Look at the Jacks R Better Hudson River Quilt, on sale now. Its a little over your price range though, but will save you a bit of weight and be very versatile for your sleep system.Mar 13, 2011 at 9:16 am #1708263
Look at the Granite gear Ozone (if you can find one), or the new GG Blaze 60. Basicly the same pack but the Blaze is a few ounces lighter and updated.
Very adjustable and will certainly cary 45 pounds if nessessary.
Granite Gear Blaze 60Mar 13, 2011 at 9:19 am #1708264
another vote for Osprey Exos 58. Awesome full featured pack at 2.5lbs.Mar 13, 2011 at 9:38 am #1708272
I will add another vote for the ULA. Not to eliminate the other options, but I can tell you that I went through the following before settling on the ULA Circuit —
Camp Trails circa 1995, typical early gen internal frame and only weighed surprisingly 4.9 lbs.
Osprey Aether 60 (2009 I think) – picked up on SAC and was impressed with the quality – 3.96 lbs.
Golite LiteSpeed (picked up from a BPL member) – 2.9 lbs.
ULA Circuit – 2.5 lbs.
I am a medium as well although I did end up with a small hipbelt on a medium frame for the ULA and it fits fine. The largest change is giving up all of the backpack 'compartments' but once you slim down your gear and compartmentalize everything that is an easy thing to accept. The ULA is the most thought out pack IMHO out of the ones I have tried. Everything is just where it should be. What I didn't like about the Aether was the top pocket was useless and barely fit over the stays so it flopped around a lot when the pack wasn't cinched down. Also, the stretch material on the outer pockets was too stiff to utilize properly. Finally, no belt pockets (which I have come to find out that I must have). I tried to improvise the belt pocket issue by adding a Granite Gear one which fit fine, but it just wasn't the same as integrated ones. The LiteSpeed is just slightly too small for my gear and I didn't adopt the panel-loader style very well. Lots of stuff ended up hanging on the outside of the pack.
My 2 cents. Good luck in your quest and your trek.Mar 13, 2011 at 9:42 am #1708274
I think i'm going to Davids advice, and finish up with purchasing all of my gear, so that i can know what my final weight will be. ( I just need to purchase rain paints, long underwear, and new socks.) Once i get that done i'll probably come back to you guys for advice based on my pack weight. I need to figure out how I am dividing the gear up with my buddy as well. (tent/stove/steripen/etc) Once i get that done, i'll come back.
Thanks for all the ideas, the ULA packs look pretty sweet, as well as the pinnacle. I will also probably purchase a new bag, to save space in my pack. I hadn't thought of that as being the big reason to get one coming from my massive gregory.Mar 13, 2011 at 10:15 am #1708288
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Your kit is a system and needs to work as a unit. You really need to know your total gear weight and volume before getting a pack. You don't want to be hiking every day with your pack at the outer limits of comfort either. Your total gear weight is only going to vary a few pounds as you cycle your food stores and a little fuel.
Sell off everything you don't need and get good lightweight gear. What goes on your back is going to be bedroom, closet and kitchen for three months. It will be easier and less expensive to tweak your gear now than in the middle of the hike. You will appreciate every ounce after a few roller-coaster treks from valley to peak.Mar 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #1708317
I'd agree with Granite Gear packs as well, the old Nimbus Ozone or their new Blaze 60, just make sure that the hip-belt is removable or interchangeable. I prefer the side pockets on the ULA packs though, easier to access your water bottles while on the go. The only issue with ULA, is going through the fitting process, until you get the correct size you need, which is doable before you depart. Order two different size packs at the same time, load and wear them around the house, then send back the pack that's too small or doesn't fit as well.Mar 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1708336
East coast is super humid. Isn't sweating inevitable?
couldn't agree more. Especially with 45 lbs on your back. Would love to see the rest of the list.Mar 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm #1708370
I hiked from Maine to DC in the mid-90s and I don't think I ever carried more than 25lbs. That was back when my backpack alone was 5lbs.
I own a ULA Catalyst and if I were going on another long trip it is what I'd take. With modern gear you should easily be able to keep your load <20lbs, especially since you are going in the middle of summer.
And here is a great value bag that will cut some weight.Mar 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm #1708447
Thanks for the advice on the campmor bag, i'm going to have to consider that seriously, the price is very nice on that.
Heres what I currently own, Most of it is from when I was active in scouts 7 years ago.
Group Gear will be carried between myself and a friend. I listed most of i
Jetboil Flash Java kit (14 oz)
Therm-a-rest prolite plus (1 lb)
Gregory Palisade (7lb 1 oz), Hood weighs 6 oz.
Gregory Pack cover (6 oz)
Slumberjack Ultimate 20F long (3 lbs 3oz)
Mountain Hardwear Tent, weight is with groundcloth, poles, and stakes it is (4 lb, 12 oz )
Camelback Bladder 3L (6 oz)
Steripen Journey LCD (4.5 oz)
Handkerchief (steripen prefilter)
Gatorade Bottle for filtering
Crocs (13 oz)
Marmot Precip (12 oz)
Smartwool Cuffed Beanie (lightweight, not sure though)
Boots are Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex XCR (1 lb 15 oz)
2 pair Basspro Redhead merino hiking socks
Baseball Cap (might get one with vents)
Ray-ban Rx sunglasses (in case)
Rx glasses (worn)
Snow Peak titanium spork
Trowl (1 oz)
100% deet bug spray (not sure if we will start with this or mail it ahead)
Adventure Medical Kits, Light and Fast + Blister kit (Hard for a medical student to leave home without it)
1/2 tooth brush, small tube toothpaste(shared)
HTC EVO 4G+USB Charger, serve as camera, and phone for when i'm in town
Doug Ritter Benchmade Mini-Griptillian (friend has swiss army with can opener)
25 ft of paracord for bear bag.
trashbag for sleeping bag, and a few ziplocks
Patagonia Synchilla Marsupial Fleece (13 oz)
SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger unit (his fiancee is paranoid, I won't be carrying this no matter what)
Goal 0 Nomad Solar Charger (I think this is dumb, I won't be carrying this either)
small piece of cotton to clean glasses
Toilet paper, (w/ role removed, its coming, no matter what)
7 to 10 iodine pills in first aid kit, in case steripen fails
Tiny bottle of camp soap
tiny bottle of sunscreen
Things I need still before i can start replacing gear: ADVICE IS APPRECIATED :)
I might buy my own jetboil cup, we haven't decided yet. (if not, i will buy a lightweight bowel, or use a frisbee)
Walmart running shorts (Do i need 2?)
Walmart running shirt (Do i need 2?)
2 pair redhead coolmax sock liners ($5 each)
Lightweight trekking poles $45 to $70(max)
long underwear (top)
long underwear (bottom)
Rain pants ($60 for marmot precip) vs ($80 for REI Ultralight rain pants)
2 pair of cheap wicking underwear
Bic mini Lighter
7 to 10 iodine pills in first aid kit, in case steripen fails
Smaller pair of gaiters (not sure if i need this or not)
Items that i want to replace, in order of most needed imo.
1. Backpack (i will reuse gregory pack cover to save money)
2. Sleeping Bag
3. Precip is 4 years old, but doesn't leak yet. I'm taking 1 week off the trail in late May to graduate from college, so i'll buy a new one then if i need it. I also plan on swapping for fresh socks at this point.
I just found out that I would be able to do this on Friday, so i'll that i've spent on gear is $14 for the smartwool beanie and $20 for a fish scale to weigh things.
Thanks for all your input guys!Mar 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm #1708576
You will find out the first 2-3 weeks what you REALLY need. I wouldn't buy a lot of equipment because you will inevitably figure out what works once you are out there for some time. Whatever you THOUGHT you needed will change….count on it.
If you have the money I see nothing wrong with the pack & sleeping bag replacements. The Campmor unit is popular among Thru-hikers on a budget. I've not used one (I have a more expensive Marmot that is 27oz). You really don't need anything all that warm the time of year you are going. I took a 30deg. bag and I started in Maine last week of Aug.
I own a Greggory and it was what I took on my AT hike but my ULA is less than half the weight of the Greggory and more comfortable than the Greggory. I've had it for almost eight years now and it has proven just as reliable also. Everyone has their own bias and I have mine but the ULA is a well-proven thru-hiker pack, is 48oz total and just fits in your budget. You cut five pounds with roughly $360 and that is a hell of a weight loss. It is half my current base weight for week long hikes.
Oh… leave the pack cover at home. Use an extra garbage bag if you really feel the need to cover your pack but with enough rain it leaks down your back and gets the pack wet even with a pack cover. That saves you another 6oz.Mar 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm #1708602
@skyzoLocale: Borah Gear
If you find a good price on that SD Nitro 30, grab it! I bought mine last year and absolutely love it. Very true to its rating, and I would imagine with the right clothing you could take it even lower. Last fall I had a night in it in the low 30's with just some boxers on and I was toasty. BPL has a good review of it somewhere too. Mine is the long version, and it weighs about 28oz with stuff sack.Mar 14, 2011 at 7:23 am #1708660
Looking at your kit, it seems pretty solid. If you categorize your items, you will find almost all your weight comes from the big 3- pack, tent, sleeping bag. Seeing as the tent is split 2 ways, 2.3 lbs is reasonable for shelter. I don't know what a griptillian is, but any mini pocket knife will do if hes got a leatherman.
Concerning clothes- the classic layer system works like a charm for when you are hiking.
Tops- 1 SS synthetic, 1 LS synthetic (light or mid weight), 1 insulation (synchilla), 1 rain coat. Keep your old rain coat until its unserviceable then buy a new one. As long as its waterproof, its fine. You will probably be soaked a lot no matter which coat you wear. A cheap replacement could be the Driducks (7 oz, $15) if you are nice to it.
Bottoms- 0-2 prs underwear depending on preferences, 1 pr light long johns, 1 pr rain pants. Rain pants can get replaced by wind pants and a trash bag skirt if its cheaper and saves weight.
Camp Shoes and socks- thong sandals could be lighter than crocs. Darn Tough socks have a lifetime warranty and dont need liners. I have over 400 miles on each of my pairs plus nearly every day for the last year of casual wear and they just wont die. I hope they do soon so I can get some fresh ones for the PCT.
Cooking- dont get another jetboil cup. way too heavy. Something like the kmart grease pot, MSR metal bowl, snow peak Ti bowl, or the pot from the snowpeak personal cooker will do fine for half the weight or less and cheaper (all under $15). If you wont need to cook in your bowl, a ziploc plastic bowl would be fine.
If you want a gear list spreadsheet for organizing and classifying weights, you can find them online or PM me for mine. It seems that with a few small tweaks and changing out the pack and sleeping bag, you could be well within UL territory. If you don't include the weight of the gregory, you could be close to frameless pack range.Mar 14, 2011 at 7:40 am #1708671
if you are going to go the Campmor bag route, you could also check out the Kelty Cosmic Down 20. 3 ounces more for $30 less. just an idea, but you the nitro would be sweet.Mar 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm #1708771
I see you are using a long and the EMS bags are a superior quality product. Check out this:
That is a good bag and in the weight/temp range will be competitive with most any choice. It is a superior product compared to the Campmor for only a slight delta in cost. As I said though…. either will be bordering on too warm for the season you are going but I use 3-season bags like this year-round. They are just more flexible because you can always ventilate and you don't pay much of a weight penalty for the extra safety.
Cooking gear is a personal choice. If you like the Jet-Boil nothing wrong with it.
I concur with the recommendation for the Dry Ducks. I use them and they are perfectly sufficient for on-trail backpacking in rainy weather. They are $20 shipped and the lightest weight option you will find.
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