Jul 15, 2012 at 10:58 am #1292013
Hello all, my long anticipated backpacking trip to 1000 Islands Lake is kicking off a week from Monday (on July 23rd). The weather prediction for Mammoth Lakes (closest town) is lows around 47-49* and highs around 82*. The record lows for that week are 47*. Granted that info is based on the town, which is roughly 8,000 elevation and I'll be camping at 10,000. No rain is forcast, but always a possibility. This has been my dream backpacking trip for more than 2 years now, I can't believe it's actually happening. It will be a 4 day/ 3 night trip. My Beligan Malinois hiking buddy will be my only partner.
OK, so here's the list. Unfortunately I don't know weights on most of the items, but once I throw it all in the pack I'll weigh it together. I know that it won't fit the "ultralight" category, but I'm hoping to at least make it into the "light" category. Haha. My pack weight on my last backpacking trip was 48 lbs. I've made considerable improvement since then. Feedback is welcome, particularly if there are items I've left out:
-McHale LBP40 pack (with expedition, top pouch, and bayonet stays removed. I'm going with the "daypack mode" if I can make it all fit)
-Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent
-Kifaru "Doobie" synthetic quilt
-Therm-A-Rest RidgeRest sleeping pad (cut to knee length)
-Pillow (I have to have one. I sleep like crap without it. The only one I currently have is a Wiggy's synthetic pillow. Extremely comfy but not super light. I can't sleep on a pillow that doesn't breath)
-Bear Vault 500 (I have a BV450 which is smaller and slightly lighter, but foor for 4 days for me and the pooch won't quite fit. This way I can cram in my extras such as toiletries and cooking gear)
-Sawyer Squeeze water filter
-Esbit stove (I have the Esbit titanium folding stove on order, and if it gets here in time I'll be taking it. If not, the standard aluminum one. My entire cooking will consist of boiling water. I figure for a summer trip the Esbit will work best)
-Snowpeak titanium mug and spork. Aluminum foil for heat shield and lid
-butane lighter, magnezium block/ flint as back-up
-food freze dried Mountain House type meals for me, dry kibble (2 cups per day) for Vixen
-maps of the area, compass
-small first aid kit, toiletries, and minor medications
-pocket knife, sunblock, chapstick, etc.
-Clothing: "boonie hat", Arctyerx "bravo" jacket, pants, spare set of socks/ underwear, long sleeve shirt
-Footwear: debating on my Danner boots or my Merril trail running shoes. I've never hiked in trail runners before and I live in boots (all day, every day at work and at home). I know Danners are heavy, but I'm debating taking the Merrils.
– Canon Rebel T3 DSLR
-Tripod? I have a very nice carbon fiber tripod, but it weights enough that I'm debating not taking it. If I don't I'd likely get one of those Gorillapods…
-Barnes and Noble "Nook with glowlight"
I didn't list any raingear and that wasn't by accident. I know rain is always a possibility. It is not forecast for the week I'll be there, and I'll have a tent to sleep in at night, so I'd only be wet while hiking. I have a Hilleberg "bivanorak" that weighs 1 pound, that I could bring as raingear, but that's a pound I could do without if I decide to risk the slight chance of hiking in the rain.
Any input or sugestions would be appreciated. As I said, the things I'm still really on the fence about are boots vs. trail runners, tripod, etc.Jul 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm #1894909
My feet would melt or burst into flame out there in July in boots. Can your dog get away with only two cups per day? My 63 pounder eats twice that much and looks for more.
Pad for the dog?Jul 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm #1894910
I've backpacked a lot with my dogs over the years and I always DOUBLE their normal food intake when on the trail. Just my $0.02 but I don't think two cups is doing to be enough for your dog. Good luck on your trip!Jul 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm #1894916
Ken and Brian, She's a very energetic 60lbs and eats 2 cups per day normally. My 78 pound male eats double that. I've taken her on a number of backpacking trips so far, and always brought her normal daily ration (I also share a little of my food at each meal because I'm a pushover). That said, our mileage will be a little above what it normally is on this trip, I may bring 3 cups per day for her. Thanks for the suggestion.
As for a sleeping pad for her, I have the cut off feet section of my RidgeRest I could bring for her, or, I could take the back padding off the McHale and have her use that.
Ken, true about the heat of boots during the summer. Honestly, they are more comfortable than my trail runners, but you are correct that they are hotter, as well as much heavier. I may have to give shoes a go for the first time on a backpacking trip.Jul 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm #1894919
I know my pooch wants a pad. Because whenever I get off mine he gets on.
If you are going to give trail runners a try I would suggest wearing them a lot more before the hike to help condition yourself.Jul 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm #1894929
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Get a dog pack and let her help haul the dog food and pad. My Aussie does double back flips when I get his pack out– he knows he's going. He knows his treats are in there as well, making him REALLY happy to see the pack. He can haul his poo out too. After the first day's meals for both of you, there will be room in the bear can for what she is hauling.
Rain gear. Get a DriDucks set and take the jacket at least. I keep my set in the the car emergency kit and it is always handy for summer day hike CYA gear. If you get a thunderstorm, you will be glad. I like a poncho myself— they have so many uses and make the perfect day hiker's CYA shelter and rain gear.
+1 on test driving those shoes. If you feet are used to the support of boots, you want to find out how they feel at home, not xxx miles up a trail. IMHO, there's a lot of difference between hiking *shoes* and trail runners. My poor old feet prefer the stiffer soles of the hiking shoes. You can still get a lot lighter and cooler than "real" boots without suffering.
Your gear list looks good to me— good light stuff and you must understand the McHale's weight. Watch the quantities and packaging on toiletries and such.Jul 19, 2012 at 10:54 am #1895984
@eileensdLocale: The Sierra or the SF Bay Area
On one hand: Your trip is relatively short. If you've already broken in your trail runners a bit, it might be the just the trip to test them. I mean, even if they cause some trouble and you decide "never again!" you'll only have another day or two ahead of you. To me, it sounds like it could be a great test drive opportunity. Who knows, maybe a longer trip is in your future and it would be good to know how well trail runners work for you over this type of terrain + pack.
On the other hand: If it 'ain't broke, don't fix it! If your feet know and love boots, and you've hiked in them (with the socks you plan to bring) successfully, then maybe just stick with what works. Also, the added weight seems somewhat insignificant given you'll only have 4 days of food (plus the doggie's) and most of your gear seems pretty light.
I have spent a lot of time in the Sierra high country. I would ABSOLUTELY NOT go on your trip without a rain jacket. It does not matter what the forecast for Mammoth is – the weather can be different just a few miles away and 2,000' higher. You will be alone and I think that makes it EXTRA important that you bring some sort of rain protection.
If something were to happen to you (or your dog) and you ended up stuck somewhere, the weather could change. This is a strong statement – but I think it would be absolutely irresponsible and stupid to do this trip without something that will keep you dry if you ended up with a broken leg, stuck amongst a bunch of boulders waiting for help or came down with something that made it impossible to get out in the time you've allotted.
Yes, this is worst case… but it's a rain jacket. It doesn't weigh much and it can keep you dry (if you can't put up your tent) and that could make all the difference. I once ended up administering CPR for 2 hours in Humphrey's Basin – during which time there was rain, wind, and hail. The forecast had predicted clear skies.
Have a wonderful, safe trip!! Beautiful country!Jul 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm #1896084
Thanks for the additional input Dale and Eileen.
Eileen, the problem is I don't have any light raingear. I have a garage full of goretex jackets and parkas, but they are all the military kind for extreme cold weather. So even though they are only shells, they are heavy and bulky. In fact, my Hilleberg bivanorak would weigh less and take up less room in a pack and it is 1 pound. I'm really trying not to buy anything more before the trip, so I may have to settle on the bivanorak.
There is a 30% chance of thundershowers during three of the days I'll be up there. My thought process was that even if I get drenched during the day, the forcast is for 80-82*f highs, so even wet I wouldn't be cold (especially moving), and for rain at night I'll be in the tent.
But you have a good point about being prepared for worst case scenarios. Normally I'm overprepared, which is what led to my prior 48 lb pack weight. Haha. I guess I need to find a happy medium.Jul 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #1896099
You could spend 20 bucks on driducks ultralight raingear.. its like 10 oz for a set.Jul 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm #1896128
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 on Jason's suggestion. In some areas of the Sierras a 30% chance of rain means you could get really wet and cold as in wind, snow, hail. A lot of stores have DriDucks or an equivalent.Jul 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm #1896132
Thanks for the suggestion. I only have 1 day (Saturday) to get anything I need for the trip, so unless I can find a store with them in stock, and local, I'll ahve to make due without. I have an REI a few blocks from my house, but according to their website the don't carry DriDucks. I'll call Outdoor World and see if they do.Jul 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm #1896136
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
A dollar store rain poncho will do the trick in keeping your head and torso dry and it weighs about a ounce. Obviously not great for hiking in but you can ride out a storm in one. I always carry poncho even when I have my rain jacket.Jul 20, 2012 at 6:52 am #1896171
"I always carry a poncho even when I have my rain jacket."
I stopped taking a rain jacket (Torrentshell) and now just take my DriDucks poncho. Unlike many other places where you can continue to hike in the rain, I always hunker down in the Sierra. The reason of course is lightning – if I hear any thunder, I head down to a low point and take cover.
I used to think I could keep moving, which is why I had more comfortable rain gear. After sitting out some storms under my tarp, I realized all I really need is a poncho. (For daytime storms; of course the tarp goes up @ night.) Now, if a storm develops, I put on my poncho, pull out my Ridgerest & sit/squat on it under the shortest grove.
As for the Ridgerest, I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on the advantages of a CCF pad in these kinds of conditions.Jul 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm #1896252
The time-honored emergency rain gear is the lowly 30-gallon garbage bag. You punch holes in it for head and arms, and you are ready to hunker down. Since it doesn't breathe, you may not want to be moving and sweating inside it.
But then you would want another one for the dog.
–B.G.–Jul 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm #1896329
My local Sports Authority appears to eb the only one in the entire chain that does not carry DriDucks. lol I've worked too hard to get my pack wiehgt down to want to bump it back up an entire pound with the bivanorak. I think I'm going to follow you suggestion Bob, and carry a garbage bag. ;-)Jul 21, 2012 at 1:39 am #1896389
The problem is that if you hunker down for a rainstorm, and you are wearing the garbage bag, you need to keep moving.
Otherwise, some other hiker will come by, see the garbage bag, and you will find yourself trying to crawl out of some dumpster at the trailhead.
–B.G.–Jul 21, 2012 at 9:38 am #1896437
I think walmart has Dri Ducks.Jul 21, 2012 at 11:53 am #1896465
Thanks Andy. Unfortunately my local Walmart and Target don't seem to carry them. I did, however, find a Sports Authority store with them in stock about 1/2 an hour away from me. Maybe I'll take a drive there this afternoon (trip is coming up tomorrow). :)Jul 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm #1896518
Well, the store had one more set of Dri Ducks ultralight, and in my size, so I'm set that way.
I weighed my pack after filling it in preparation for the trip. Total weight (including food for me and Vixen for 5 days) is 30 pounds (almost exactly). That is not exactly what I'd call light, but I did shave 18 pounds off the weight from my last backpacking trip. I was hoping for a little more but I guess I should be glad for what I have saved. I even made a few sacrifices (ditched the pillow for example, and the footprint for the tent).
I think a big part of what bumps my weight up is the bear vault (mandatory where I'm going), and my DSLR and tripod. My pack is considerably lighter and more comfortable without the camera and tripod, but one of my two primary reasons for going is to take some great (hopefully) pictures. In the end I guess that's the price I pay (in weight).Jul 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm #1896523
Doug, I find that I can never really use a serious tripod out there. For one thing, I would have to pack up an expensive one to protect it. Then it takes too long to set it up and pack it away. I do carry a tripod, but it is a 17-ounce job that brings the camera up to low chest level. But that is all I need for a sunset scenery shot or for a self portrait.
I don't carry my serious tripod since that would add 50% to my load.
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