Aug 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm #1293048
I've been wanting to take my daughter (two years old) on her first overnight backpacking trip, but I've been a little put off by the idea of carrying gear for two while carrying my daughter, who weighs 30lbs/13.5kg. Enter Backpacking Light. With the advantage of lightweight gear over "traditional" gear, I thought I could pull it off.
My "Big Three" list:
-WM Summerlite bag (unzipped, it makes a dandy quilt for two), 19oz/540g
-3/4 Length Thermarest NeoAir pad, 13oz/370g
-SMD Gatewood Cape, 11oz/310g (used with a trekking pole)
-7 ti stakes, 2oz/56g
-3'x7' Tyvek sheet, 4oz/125g
-Golite Pinnacle, 32oz/905g
Total for "Big Three:" 5 lbs, 3oz/2.3kg
Getting the weight of my Big Three down to about 5 pounds total was HUGE. My old backpack alone (empty) was 5 pounds.
So, with that, my trip report:
We started out by taking the Pacific Crest Trail (and a little short cut) from Angeles Crest Highway. The PCT parallels Angeles Crest Highway here.
We went up after work, and it was an hour's drive, so it got dark quickly. First order of business was site selection, but a not too distant second was getting dinner ready.
Very quickly thereafter, a very sleepy little hiker retired for the night.
Note the use of an ultralight, floorless shelter. Careful gear selection let me keep the weight down to about 30 lbs for two people including food, fuel, and water.
Sleepy or not, my daughter doesn't sleep late, so we were up pretty early in the morning.
Time to get breakfast started. I'm currently field testing a new Primus OmnilLite Ti which is the newest offering from Primus. On the OmniLite is a "silent" cap (like a muffler for your car but for a stove) from QuietStove.com which I'm also field testing.
In no time at all we've got a nice sausage and cheese omelette.
And after breakfast, we see we've got a happy camper. :)
For those who haven't been, Little Jimmy Trail Camp is a nice spot to camp.
One of the great things about Little Jimmy Trail Camp is the presence of nearby Little Jimmy Spring which is a highly reliable source of clear, cold water.
Well, enough time spent in camp! Let's hit the trail.
Looking to the west over our intended destination, Mt. Islip, the weather is looking good.
But a quick look to the east, changes my opinion. Looks like we might get a little wet today.
Still, the storm is a ways off, so we "stop to smell the roses."
Nearing the summit, we can see that the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders have been hard at work. Fresh trail maintenance.
Thank you, Trailbuilders!
At last, we near the summit ridge for the final push, and the weather continues to hold.
From our position high on the south flank of Mt. Islip, we get a good look at Mt. Hawkins and Hawkins Ridge.
Moving higher, we approach the very summit and encounter the remains of this old cabin. This was the fire lookout's quarters back when a fire lookout was stationed atop Mt. Islip.
Finally, we reach the summit itself. Note the foundation of the old fire lookout tower.
One look at the view and it's clear why the Forest Service chose this spot for a lookout.
Whoa! That storm is hot on our heels. Better get on down the mountain.
For our route down, we chose this, the forested north ridge of Mt. Islip.
There's no formal trail, but there are bits and pieces of a peak-bagger's trail.
From our vantage point, we look WSW at Twin Peaks and its great SSE ridge.
Note in particular Triplet Rocks. This is perhaps the single most difficult summit to attain in all of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Descending further, we enter the more flat areas proximate to Little Jimmy.
From here, we retraced our steps back to our car and made our journey home.
My thanks to BPL for making this trip possible!Aug 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1903317
What fun! Thanks for sharing Jim!Aug 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm #1903369
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
Nice report, Jim. The smile on her face says it all.
The trips I've taken with my girls are amongst the most rewarding parenting experiences I've had.Aug 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm #1903383
She's a great kid, and this has been something I've been Jonesing to do for some time. I just had to get over the "weight intimidation" of carrying gear for two and her. Fortunately, I'm a six footer (182 cm), so carrying 60+ lbs (27+ kg) is a possibility. Wouldn't want to do it every day though!!
My dad gave me a gift when I was a kid: The backcountry. I still remember streams so clear that it looked like the trout were suspended in mid air. I really wanted to pass that down to my daughter — as well as spend some quality "daddy-daughter" time with her.Aug 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm #1903391
Good to see you out and about. Our girls were 7, 7 and 9 (twins) when we started taking them backpacking. I used to have a Dana Design LoadMaster Longbed to haul all of there stuff. Great photos, great story. JonAug 17, 2012 at 10:48 am #1903527
Wow. Backpacking with three kids? I'm a lightweight. :)
I'm hoping to take her out more now that I've broken the psychological barrier of having to carry both her and a pack.
Having a BPL assisted lightening of my gear means that I can "opt in" on a few luxury items like having real food — food that my picky eater daughter will actually eat.
She loves the muffins from this ESBIT muffin baking set up. The mix:
The results (baked in an Evernew 1300ml Ti pot):
Tender, moist, and-oh-so delicious:
I need to get this up on my blog.Aug 17, 2012 at 11:48 am #1903543
Great TR Jim, 30lbs for two is a good weight. When I took my kids a few weekends ago, I was closer to 40lbs. I need to get my daughter used to the idea of a floorless shelter.Aug 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm #1903580
you ought to try her walking on her own. Topanga State park has a backpacking site that is 1 mile in, so she might be able to hike that on her own. You can take longer trails if you wish. The site has running water and a plumbed bathroom. We took our kids there on day hikes. Best regards – JonAug 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm #1904002
Good on you Jim. I've seen plenty of dads that wouldn't dream of taking a two year old car camping by themselves, let alone strapping one to their chest and backpacking!Aug 21, 2012 at 11:46 am #1904573
> Great TR Jim, 30lbs for two is a good weight. When I took my kids a few weekends ago, I was closer to 40lbs. I need to get my daughter used to the idea of a floorless shelter.
My daughter's young enough that she doesn't really know the difference between shelter types. I started taking her on hikes before she was one year old. I figure that if she grows up with it, it won't feel strange to her. My wife didn't grow up with this stuff, and she just can't get past the idea of certain things (like not having a flush toilet!).
One draw back to a floorless shelter is that the creepy crawlies can come in and out at will. Something bit me in two places on my forehead on that trip. That really sucked, but at least they didn't bite my daughter.
Aug 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #1904799
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Ouch, looks like a centipede bite maybe.Aug 22, 2012 at 7:21 am #1904882
Ah. A centipede bite. I hadn't thought of that. I figured it must be a spider or something.
It's a week and a half later now, and it still hurts like heck, but the swelling around my left eye is thankfully 95% gone.
And so as to not end on a down note, a picture of my (unbitten) daughter playing at our lunch stop this past weekend.
Aug 22, 2012 at 9:55 am #1904920
Ouch! Yeah, that's exactly what the wife is afraid of as well when it comes to a floorless shelter. I hope that heals soon.Aug 22, 2012 at 10:59 am #1904942
that's exactly what the wife is afraid of as well when it comes to a floorless shelter
Yeah, well, don't show her that photo!
Pretty weird. Been sleeping in the wild for 50 years. Never had anything like that happen before.Aug 22, 2012 at 11:46 am #1904956
> you ought to try her walking on her own. Topanga State park has a backpacking site that is 1 mile in, so she might be able to hike that on her own. You can take longer trails if you wish. The site has running water and a plumbed bathroom. We took our kids there on day hikes. Best regards
Do you know the name of that camp site and that trail? I looked on the Topanga State Park website, but there's very little information.
My daughter is actually a good little walker.
But when she's done, she's done, so I have to be prepared to carry her.
On a Friday after work, when I hike into a site, I usually carry her 100% just for speed. I'm racing against the clock in hopes of being able to set up before nightfall, which I strongly prefer.
The following day, I let her walk more, but walking with my daughter means that we stop to investigate a lot of important sticks and leaves and such. :)
Aug 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm #1904971
…Aug 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm #1904989
Follow this link to the camp description:
It is 1 mile in from Trippet Ranch (right at the entrance).Aug 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm #1905113
> Has the severity of the insect bite influenced your choices for future changes in shelter/gear or bed time preparation rituals? Glad your daughter was safe from the insect bite.
I'm most thankful that my daughter wasn't bitten; thank God. I don't plan any changes, yet. I've been sleeping on the ground since the 1960's, and this is the first time anything like this has happened. Boy, though, if a pattern starts up, I'm for sure getting a bug net or something. THIS SUCKS. Mostly just annoying and distracting, but it was really painful for a few days, and I couldn't open my left eye fully.
> separate topic: last weekend I hit Caramba for the first time, and your photo album on that area was a big part of my research. Much thanks
Oh, excellent. Glad it was useful. Caramba is the best kept secret of the San Jacinto Mountains and a definite favorite of mine.
HJAug 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm #1905127
> Follow this link to the camp description:
It is 1 mile in from Trippet Ranch (right at the entrance).
Excellent! Good link. Thanks, Jon.
HJAug 27, 2012 at 10:13 am #1906436Aug 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm #1908051
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
"A bit of a down side is that Topanga State Park has resident mountain lions"
A down side, sounds great to me. They tend to avoid people and must be amazing to see in the wild.
As far as the bugs, I also use the Gatewood Cape and a Summerlite bag as a quilt, but I also carry the 7oz SMD Serenity Net Tent.
I hike in a much buggier area than where you hike so I think it is a must for me. Besides, it negates the need of a ground cloth and is very easy to hang under the Gatewood.Aug 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1908053
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
Oh, and I forgot to mention, great post.Aug 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm #1908066
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
Great to see you & your daughter having so much fun out there…it brought a big smile to my face, and made me think about trips with my kids. I can imagine her passing along the gift to the next generation, and thinking about you.
With my three kids, I realized that it was best to hike a short distance (hard to tel lwhat that is) to someplace interesting, then let them explore for hours. Easier for you to find awesome places than for me here in PA.
TomSep 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm #1909889
Steven McAllister wrote: > As far as the bugs, I also use the Gatewood Cape and a Summerlite bag as a quilt, but I also carry the 7oz SMD Serenity Net Tent.
I might have to check into it. Are you pretty happy with your Serenity Net Tent? Do you feel cramped at all inside?Sep 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm #1909911
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I use a Serenity Net tent under my Trailstar (good fit, not quite perfect though with a rectangle under a 5-sided 'mid). I have plenty of room, especially with the newer version with raised corners which raises the angled ceiling panels a few inches. It is much better than a cramped bivy in milder weather IF you have to spend any time in a shelter, like getting to camp hours earlier than bedtime. And its light enough that it can be carried but not used if not needed.
It is what it is, though; a UL solo inner, and really too tight for two, even a child (maybe especially with a child. They have that nasty habit of turning sideways and pressing their feet into your back).
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