Aug 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm #1306517
I'm starting to think about a JMT thru hike next year. This gear list is based on experience with a couple of 5-day backpacks in the Sierra (this year and last) and a lot of research on this forum (and other places) over the past year and a half. In fact, I need to offer a belated thanks to all of you who've shared your expertise and opinion on the various forums. BPL is a tremendously useful source of information!
I'm currently focused on two major questions:
1) I'm looking for a pack to replace my Golite Pinnacle. I've never used the full volume, even when carrying a bear canister. And particularly if I do make the switch to a tarp, my pack volume will decrease even more. So far I've focused on the Six Moons Designs Swift as an excellent value for the weight saved. But I'd be interested in other suggestions
2) I'm seriously considering moving from a TT Rainbow to a tarp. Still mulling it over, and will probably make an MYOG tarp from 3-6 mil plastic sheeting to do some test runs with. My strongest candidates thus far are the zpacks Hexamid, a Bearpaw Wilderness Designs flat tarp (probably 8×10, with some additional tie-outs) or a Borah Gear 9×9 (with interior tie-outs added). Not sure about a bug bivy, but would like to forgo it if (for example) a headnet is good enough.
I'd love feedback on any of these issues, or on suggestions about how I might shave ounces off other parts of my kit.
My gear list is in by BPL profile:
Thanks!Aug 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm #2015314
@aarrebeaLocale: Northern Bay Area, CA
I just finished the JMT last weekend, so here are my thoughts.
I carried a zpacks blast, about 58 L, with a 4 panel zrest as the frame. Loved it! Carried like a champ and had no issues at all. Left MTR with just under 30 lbs and 8 days of food in a BV500…no issues.
Go with the hexamid. This is what I used and it was amazing. Pitched easy with rocks, rarely had a hard time finding an area large enough to pitch it. I survived some serious hail and rain during 2 days. Not many mosquitos this year, but, if there were I would have really appreciated being able to hide out for a bit in a fully enclosed shelter. Fantastic shelter and worth every penny.
Edit: I should add that my blast is the cuben hybrid material.Aug 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm #2015368
Thanks for the comments. I had not looked at the zpacks blast so I'll take a look.
Glad to hear you liked the hexamid. I'm guessing you have the tent – is it the solo or solo plus? And what did you use for a ground cloth?
I do think highly of the zpacks products. But my concern with much of the truly ultralight gear (read cuben fiber) is the cost – or more significantly the cost per oz. that I'm saving by buying lighter equipment. Here are four options I was looking at (out of about a dozen different configurations:
The weight difference between the silnylon and the cuben options (up to 10oz.) is real. Just not sure if it's "real" enough for my wallet. I also like the flexibility that is available with the flat tarps.
Anyway – I'd like your perspective (or anyone else's) on what works for them. Or what doesn't.Aug 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm #2015386
@aarrebeaLocale: Northern Bay Area, CA
I have the solo tent with beak and purchased the bathtub floor from zpacks after a particularly windy and cold trip with a polycryo groundsheet. IMO the bathtub floor really made this shelter bombproof. Expensive…definitely, but for me it was worth it after trying many shelters.
This is the way I look at the cost. I started out thinking that the cost was too much and ended up going the route of flat tarp and bivy, then tarptent, then a used solomid and then finally bought what I was lusting after the whole time, a hexamid. All that money spent to get to what I really wanted from the beginning. IMO just skip all the inbetween and get the hexamid, you won't regret it.Aug 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm #2016493
Perhaps also consider the zpacks 8.5' x 8.5' cuben fiber tarp.Aug 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm #2017718
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
If you are already not using the volume of a Pinnacle then you have a lot of choices in packs. I have an older Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus and the new Gorilla. I like the way the Gorilla fits me. Only problem is, since I hike with my family a lot I don't get to use it much, preferring one of my daughters or wife use it for it's comfort.
My brother has a Six Moon Swift. I like the pack as it has nice pockets and it's light. The only drawback for me is the fact that a sleep pad goes Inside the pack instead of outside like my GG packs. If you never get to your pad during the day then it's not a big deal. I like to have mine available.
Take a tarp. If you go in August you really won't have to deal with bugs. If you do just take a headset. I use a Gossamer Gear Spinn Twinn which won't help you since they are out of production. If I have more than 2 then I also have a silnylon 8×10 tarp I like to have also. It weighs a bit much for solo though. I really like the Hexamids a lot . Lots of coverage and easy to use.
Enjoy your trip.Aug 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm #2017746
@jeffreytsimsLocale: So. Cal
I just made the jump from a Hexamid enclosed tent (which I used a total of 3 nights after jumping from a moment) to a Tarp and ended up taking the Tarp on my JMT thru hike this year. I am using the Yama Mountain Gear Cirraform CF tarp with polycro ground sheet. I also brought with me a Borah Gear cuben/M90 bivy to complete the sleep system depending on weather and bugs. I had one night that it poured all night with sideways winds and I am happy that I had the bivy, at about 6 oz it was not a huge penalty and John over at Borah is a great guy to work with. The other 7 nights were pretty passive and I used a variety of set ups from bivy only "cowboy" camping to tarp and quilt only.
I still have the Hexamid long, and it has still only been used a total of 3 nights, but i am hanging onto it in the event that I plan a trip that may be a bit wetter, or where there will be more time spent in the shelter(bugs) it s a great piece of equipment from a great company
As far as a pack goes I go back and forth between the HMG Windrider and the Borah Gear Stealth, with a slightly inflated Xlite pad as the support. both carry weight well.
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