Nov 9, 2007 at 7:07 am #1225767
None of my gear is heavy, but only some of it is ultralight. I want to take the next step with several key pieces of gear. Right now the base load is a little over 12lb. This needs to be comfortable down to zero. I am happy with much of my gear but need to take my pack, sleeping pad, stove, and raingear to the next level. Walking mostly in the winter I carry a lot of food weight.
-Granite Gear Vapor Trail 2lb
I like this pack a lot but it has about 2500 miles on it and is very worn. I own the 1lb GG Virga but sometimes after a resuppy my pack weighs a little over 30lb (that would be eight days of food and 2 liter water). The Virga doesn't feel very comfortable at that weight. I was considering the mariposa which has stays for support. The MLD Zip pack looks great too, but I like to carry a lot of food. I am concerned with not getting enough support with a UL pack. I embrace the simplicity and size though.
-EMS Gore Tex Paclite raingear 28oz
This stuff is ready to be replaced. My biggest concern in going to an ultralight rain shell is warmth. The paclite jacket allows me to wear only a thin base layer when temps are down to the low teens. I have been looking at the OR celestial jacket and pants which would save over 10oz and still give me gore tex. The zealot would be nice, but no ventilation! I practically live in my shell in the winter months. I looked at the golite reed but the fabric is so thin, I'm afraid. The celestial stuff looks like it would be just as warm as what I've got but lighter due to less frills.
-Prolite 3 Short 13oz
This is a weak spot in my sleep setup. I believe that much heat is lost through this pad. It is very comfortable however and I sleep on it every night even when home. I tried the BMW Torsolite, which is amazingly compact. I like to switch from side to side to stretch sore joints at night. The pad was not wide enough for me. I am considering a new prolite 3 short (with fresh loft) and supplement with a gg nightlight pad or get a prolite 4 short. Perhaps there are other better choices? I use my vapor trail pack under my feet (with the virga I stick a 1/4" close cell foam backpanel. I don't like the bulk of close cell foam pads. I am having trouble 'upgrading' because most choices will be heavier not lighter. Maybe a new prolite 3 short is the ticket?
I like how efficient the stove is. One canister can last up to two weeks. I have read the articles on canister stoves here, and am still confused. I've got to get rid of this thing, I want to say it weighed 1lb 7oz with a full canister. I own a pocket rocket, but the jetboil fits so nicely in my pack. I bought an esbit stove and was not very impressed. At the end of a long day I want my food. I made a pepsi g stove (alcohol) which works fine in warmer weather. I think I need to keep with a canister for the cooler weather though.
-Western Mountaineering Versalite Super 10f 2lb
This bag is great for me, I don't want to try a winter quilt yet. In a GG air compression stuff sack medium 3.5oz
-MLD tarp and bivy 9oz combined
This cuben fiber stuff is amazing! The bivy is very breathable.
In a GG air bag #3 with 8 ti skewer stakes and guyline 3oz
-Aqua Mira <2oz
In a cuben fiber stuff sack with scoop made of cut 1 liter platypus. Carried a filter last year, this is a great change.
-Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Packliner M 3.4oz
Worked great when new, now is old and has some holes. This looks like a light option still. Should I replace with the same?
-Cocoon Hoodie and Pants 17oz combined
I've been using the hoodie on the trail now for a month and love it. Just got the pants today and they fit great too.
-Ibex Woolies base layer
These are very light. The top has held up great but the bottoms have at least six holes. I often wear long underwear with shorts.
-Ems techwick tshirt
This is heavy and dries slow. Not to mention it is cut to fit a large person. So many tshirts, are any a better choice than the others?
-TNF flight series shorts
These are ok, a little long. I like the pockets to put food in.
-Thorlo light hiker socks
I carry three pairs. I would like to try the defeet blaze, something a little lighter.
-Montrail Hurricane Ridge GTX
The current model, not last years. Good shoes, nice ankle cuff. Last about 300-350 miles.
-Pace Balaclava ~1oz
Sold at Bicycle stores, fits great love it
-Mountain Hardwear windstopper hat
This hat is heavy! It is very warm and has two layers, pulls down to easily cover my ears. I wear it often.
OR PL 100 glove liner 1.6oz
OR Credo windstopper glove 2oz
OR Cornice overmit with liner removed
Happy with this system, works well. Cornice mits are a bit heavy, but I like the insulation.
-Petzl MYO XP Headlamp
Much brighter than the heavier MYO SB5 I used last year, and in a whole other league than the tikka. I hike at night often and this light has been great.
-GG Air Bag #6 1oz
For food, which averages of 100 calories per ounce. I need a lot of calories however and and am a little over two pounds per day.
-Roll of toilet paper and stick of bodyglide
Stored together in ziploc freezer bag. I like single ply.
-3liter platypus water bag 1.5oz
Gathering water in the evening. With pop top cap
-1liter Aquafina bottle
My energy drink goes here
-1liter platypus bag with hose
To drink while walking
All of this in a cuben fiber stuff sack
-BPL long handled ti spoon
-2x creative zen mp3 players w/ lithium battery
-2x bic lighter
-3x extra AA and 2x extra AAA
-small nail clippers
-3×5 Aloksak with:
super glue, band aid, steri strip, gauze, hot bond (thermarest repair), photon led light, safety pin, gerber puny, ibuprofen, and benadryl
Thank for reading, I'm sure I will get some great suggestions.Nov 9, 2007 at 10:03 am #1408512
Ross BleakneyBPL Member
I would definitely get new rain gear. Personally, I would recommend a propore jacket (O2, Drop Stoppers, etc.). They are fragile, but cheap. You will probably need to replace it after a while, but you'll probably still pay less over 10 years than you would with a gore-tex jacket (which also wears out). Plus, when it fails and where it fails is obvious (you have a rip). With gore-tex, it could fail on you when it is raining really hard and it would fail all over. A little duct tape does a good job for repairing propore jackets. As far as warmth of the jacket is concerned, I think you'll be fine with the Cocoon. A rain jacket over the Cocoon (which itself is somewhat water resistant) and you'll be fine under most conditions. If not, then it is probably really, really cold and it is time to move to a big puffy down jacket (or a sweater underneath, although that is heavier).
I would also supplement your inflatable pad with the GG thinlight. I carry a GG nightlight and my wife carries an inflatable but we both supplement with a thinlight (her for warmth and me for comfort). It rolls up fairly thinly and doesn't add much bulk.
For a stove, I would go with a nice alcohol stove system. I have a ThermoJet (http://tinyurl.com/btvvl) which I like very much. It heats up really fast in windy or calm conditions. It is similar to the jetboil, in that it is an integrated system which is geared towards fast boil times while maintaining efficiency. The Caldera cone has a similar design and has received great reviews. If I was buying now, I think I would go for a cone.Nov 9, 2007 at 10:41 am #1408516
.Nov 9, 2007 at 10:58 am #1408520
Steven EvansBPL Member
12 lbs base for 0F temps is doing pretty darn good.
As for pack, I have the Alpine Vapour for winter which is just a tougher version of the Vapour Trail with some axe loops. I like it and it carries well. Why not buy another GG?
I scrap the raingear all together at those temps – relying on my softshell (Patty Ready Mix – 14oz) to keep me dry. Lots of members use a windshirt over their insulation. I imagine you could do the same with your cocoon underneath for warmth.
I have no experience with a jetboil, but my winter stove is a MSR Windpro w/ inverted canister (7oz I think), which might save you weight, but I don't know how efficient your Jetboil is down low. Melting snow can eat up your fuel so maybe with a more fuel efficient stove it is worth the extra weight.
Hope your not looking to swap out that bag – same as mine and killer warmth.
Your sleep pad IMO is as minimal as I would go for those temps. I'd be adding to it (as you stated) rather then taking away.
Nice gear list.Nov 9, 2007 at 11:35 am #1408523
Thank you for all the great advice already.
-To operate comfortably at these temperatures I can realistically only save a few more pounds without radically changing my setup. I like to carry 6-9 days food, so my pack needs to support 30lb (plus water!). Is a one pound pack that will carry well a pipe dream? The vapor trail is nice but I wish it were a little simpler (therefore lighter).
-Two suggestions for alcohol stove? Is there really a design that will work well below freezing? I boil 2cups water (dinner) once per day and if below 20 at night 1cup hot chocolate. Sometimes in the morning I need hot water to assist with the thawing of my shoes, and also to keep the drinking water from freezing while hiking.
-I have not been using the cocoon as part of my hiking clothing. It would need to be very cold out to wear that during the day. I wear it for stops and at night. Currently the goretex I have is old and worn but will keep me plenty warm while hiking. In single digit temps and windy all I need is my light base layer, tshirt, and jacket for torso. With of course all the other accessories (balaclava, hat, etc). Can these ultralight rain jackets match that warmth? I don't have a problem buying a more expensive jacket if it is worth it. Epic is very intriguing but no pit zips?? Does that really work for strenuous hiking. This winter I am hiking on the AT, so weather can be all over the place. My gear needs to handle a 35F raining day followed by a 12F night. The rain gear must handle rain, wind, and snow all very well. Also a decent hood would be nice.
-I did not realize how big of an effect the pad had on a sleeping system until I read several threads in this forum. It seems that a prolite 4 short would be warmer and more compact than a prolite 3 short and thinlight pad, while only being two ounces heavies. What is the attraction to using several different pads together?
-I Forgot to mention I also carry a canon sd400 camera and komperdell c3 trekking poles (happy with both for now)Nov 9, 2007 at 11:37 am #1408525
Hmm… looks pretty good to me. I would stick with the vapor trail based on what you said.
If it's not too cold to use your jetboil… then I would switch to something like a snowpeak gs100 stove and an appropriate cookpot and carry a bit of extra fuel. jetboil is not that much more efficient to make up for it's extra weight. If it too cold for the jetboil then I would recommend powermax stoves though it won't save you weight.
drop the prolite. If you are mostly going in the winter and are comfort oriented, get a down air mattress. It will be something like 3x the warmth/weight of the prolite.
If I had cocoon pants + jacket I would be using a 1lb down quilt rather than the versalite. Since I don't have cocoon pants, I do use a versalite on 0F trips. I have been toasty warm in the versalite to 0F wearing just my base, primaloft booties, and a hat… I run warm so your experience might be different.
On the clothing front… if you are always in sub freezing conditions I would think about dropping the hardshell completely and switching to a softshell system. For me, a pair of dryskin or pile/shell pants without an additional base would be good enough. On top I would got with a light weight powerdry base and a something like the rab vapour trail smock or jacket.Nov 9, 2007 at 11:54 am #1408529
Steven EvansBPL Member
"What is the attraction to using several different pads together?"
While I can't give you any technical terminology on the 2 layer sleep system, I can tell you that for some reason, that little sub 2 oz. thinlight can really block the cold coming through to your body. I think it's 9 bucks or something – well worth it.
I use mine under my pad and legs (under my pack) in the winter. A welcome addition to my foam family.Nov 9, 2007 at 1:45 pm #1408544
You need to distinguish between hiking in the rain and hiking below freezing. In many ways dry snow conditions are easier than wet rain near freezing.
Get rid of the GoreTex. It is way too heavy. An interesting combination which I use is a light silnylon poncho in case it rains and a good breathable water-repellent hoody windshirt – I made mine out of EPIC.
For the rest of the clothing … infinite are the arguments of the mages.
Oh yes – forget about the Jetboil too. The efficiency is never enough to justify the high weight, and it DIES in the cold.
> -Two suggestions for alcohol stove? Is there really a design that will work well below freezing?
Nope. Not really. Inverted canister is the message. Lighter by far than WG.
CheersNov 9, 2007 at 2:31 pm #1408550
-So for raingear I could do something like a ID Event jacket @ 9oz and the golite pants either the reed 6oz or shadow 8oz. I would have bought the event jacket long ago except the no pit zips are different. Is it really that breathable? What is the problem with goretex? It looks like companies are making light gear with it. The or zealot jacket and celestial pants would be under a pound.
-Am I incorrect in thinking that I will need to wear more clothing with a more breathable jacket?
-As far as sleeping warm with my versalite, I love it! Going for a week plus between town stops racks up quite a calorie deficit however. For me during a long distance hike my current setup is probably comfortable down to around 0F and I'm sure I could ride out a night below that. I've already brought the bag and cocoon hoodie down to 18F very comfortably. Cooler temperatures will be coming.
-Getting back on the trail Monday. I love gear, but hiking is even better!Nov 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm #1408551
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
As light as the WP/B rain gear is getting these days, there is no real need for a separate windshirt and windpant for most treks.
Something to consider.Nov 9, 2007 at 3:02 pm #1408556
> As light as the WP/B rain gear is getting these days,
> there is no real need for a separate windshirt and
> windpant for most treks.
Depends. The problem with most WP/B is that the B (breathable) isn't adaquate. Most materials including Gore-Tex require water vapor to turn to liquid form before it goes to the outside. In colder conditions the moisture freezes before it can get to the outside of the jacket blocking the pours and leaving frost inside the jacket.
Direct venting materials like eVENT most likely would work, but I don't have any experience because I am using softshells in those conditions these days.Nov 9, 2007 at 3:17 pm #1408558
Could someone explain the difference in a hardshell and softshell jacket?Nov 9, 2007 at 4:12 pm #1408561
Someone may be able to explain it better this, but I found this description on a web site. It's from a soft shell maker, so it's slanted towards soft shells:
""Soft shell" technology is a new category in outdoor performance clothing. Soft shell garments provide comfortable, breathable protection that can take you from sunshine to showers to snow flurries and back. "Hard shell" garments are produced with fabrics that have been coated or laminated and are typically seam sealed. Hard shell garments are considered to be waterproof and can perform during a hurricane, monsoon or torrential downpour but poor breathability & comfort make it less than an ideal choice under more typical outdoor conditions."
So generally, a soft shell combines insulation and water resistance. Most of these are heavier and less versatile than a combination of one (or more) insulation layers and a water "proof" hard shell. That said, there are plenty of times when some soft shells would be great.Nov 9, 2007 at 4:41 pm #1408566
> I would have bought the event jacket long ago except the no pit zips are different.
NONE of my gear has pit zips. They are extra weight, and sources of leaks.
> Is it really that breathable?
eVent? Nope, not really.
> What is the problem with goretex?
Weight – such laminates are always heavier.
Price: it's $$$$ for the yuppie market these days.
Breathability: despite their marketing claims, it is still poor.
"Guaranteed to keep you dry": this gets up everyone's left nostril because you still get wet inside GoreTex. Either sweat across your back, or rain up the arms and down the front, or both.
> The or zealot jacket
Not a bad jacket mind you, but the waterproof zip is hard to work in the cold.
> Am I incorrect in thinking that I will need to wear more clothing with a more breathable jacket?
Impossible to answer with precisely specifying the weather conditions. Below freezing? Not really, imho. Howling wind and sleet and a non-waterproof fabric? Maybe :-)
Also look at the GoLite Whims overpants. Not waterproof, but very, very effective, even in the rain. And they breathe!
CheersNov 10, 2007 at 10:10 am #1408602
Everyone has their own definition of "soft shell" which makes the marketplace quite confusing. My definition of soft shell is any single layer garment which is designed be worn in a wide range of conditions putting an emphasis on breathability over absolute protection from external conditions.
For more info check out the soft shell section of my recommended clothing page.Nov 10, 2007 at 10:33 am #1408603
Roger BBPL Member
You stated that
> Is it really that breathable?
eVent? Nope, not really.
Whilst I am not necessarily a convert to eVent, I am more impressed with it than with Goretex (which I ditched a long time ago, yes I had Paddy Pallin stuff too).
Why did you say "> Is it really that breathable?
eVent? Nope, not really."
RogerNov 10, 2007 at 10:33 am #1408604
nail clippers – use a rock to file them.
prolite, hemming is a sign to get rid of it, but options for air mats lighter than that are few: the Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber-Lite and Uber-Mtn are the only ones I know of. Self-inflaters don't have loft per se, the foam is mostly there to self-inflate. Closed cell foam pad on bottom, air mat on top is the standard snow-camping setup. ThinLight (1/4" and 3/8") and NightLight pads from GossamerGear are popular. Evazote foam filled with Nitrogen bubbles, supposedly they are cushy, but doubt they are really compressible. One way to not have them on the outside of your pack is unroll them inside your pack.
Ditch the repair kit – How many times have you used it?
Packliner – switch to trash compactor bag. Lichter put it at 1 oz. $0.50 perhaps.
Batteries – switch out for new before you leave, no extras.
Band aid – for superficial wounds. These do not usually require treatment. Use tape + gauze or something.
TP + Bodyglide – don't need.
Stove – consider the Brunton/Optimus Crux.
Windstopper hat – I am getting away from my windstopper stuff. It didnt dry well overnight. It does look good on you, but try taking just the balaclava?
Heh, just read some of the other posts. I guess a foam pad or the prolite could double as a rain kilt in prolonged downpour. Go Scottish!Nov 10, 2007 at 11:26 am #1408605
The part I don't get is why you are so willing to give up on a pack you like a lot that weighs only 2 lbs. If it is worn out isn't the best thing to get another?Nov 10, 2007 at 12:24 pm #1408610
Roleigh MartinBPL Member
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
The Vapor Trail has the best belt for a lightweight pack, what's nice about the belt is that it easily swaps with the belt for the Six Moon Design Starlight pack. You can also buy the belt separately, which is how I got my belt. The SMD pack is lighter and sturdier as with its 2 aluminum stays, it gives the pack a more rigid frame so that the shoulder straps do not ride as hard on the shoulders (the load lifters work better).
I hiked with the SMD Starlight for 9 days last year, with food and water, it was maxed at 35 pounds. My pack base weight is 17 pounds of gear.Nov 10, 2007 at 12:45 pm #1408614
Hi Roger (Brown)
> Whilst I am not necessarily a convert to eVent, I am more impressed with it than with Goretex (which I ditched a long time ago, yes I had Paddy Pallin stuff too).
> Why did you say "> Is it really that breathable? > eVent? Nope, not really."
Well, for the simple reason that NONE of the laminates are all that breathable. I do not dispute that some are more breathable than others.
Sure, I can be comfortable in any of them while strolling around the city, but I can get a sweaty back in the rain when climbing a hill with any of them. NONE of them are a miracle breathable solution – which is why people are forever asking which one might work better.
CheersNov 10, 2007 at 6:54 pm #1408626
I agree with Paul's list over most things, but not all.
> nail clippers – use a rock to file them
Ah – yeah? We found them valuable over 3 months in France. But for trips under 2 weeks, I would not bother at all. I just trim all nails (finger AND toes) before leaving home.
> TP + Bodyglide – don't need.
I have very strong disagreement regarding the TP. The Bodyglide I have never used. But the TP goes with me!
> Stove – consider the Brunton/Optimus Crux.
Optimus Crux: the two companies have recently separated.
But it's an upright stove and these are really suitable only for mild conditions, preferably above freezing.
Yes, a skilled user can get an upright to function below freezing, but that takes experience. Let's not make his life too difficult at the start.Nov 11, 2007 at 12:02 am #1408639
Clippers – Rocks work great here for filing, nice granite. Easier if you wait till your nails are drying (=hardening) a tad after boots-off. It could be tough to find a rough rock some places, covered with snow etc. Rivers often have exposed rocks, if they are too smooth break one. Or there's biting..
TP – yeah I can see in your pic – not alot of nice wipies in that environment. I have used sticks, rocks, and snow before. You Know you're alive!
Stove – what's your recommendation Roger?Nov 11, 2007 at 1:06 am #1408640
> Stove – what's your recommendation Roger?
Wise man does not recommend, only states personal preference…
For three seasons I take a small upright canister stove such as the Snow Peak GST100 or the Vargo Jet-Ti. These two are good stoves imho, very light but robust, controllable down to a very gentle simmer but also powerful (3 kW!).
Many other uprights have poor design – for instance the pot supports on the MSR Pocket Rocket bend very easily, and others are similar. Other small uprights emit too much CO for my liking because the pot is too close to the burner.
For winter use, especially in the snow, I use an inverted canister stove. Currently I take a Coleman Xtreme, but the Coleman Fyrestorm is a very viable alternative. I have tried the MSR Whisperlite with an inverted canister: it worked but the valve got gummed up, and I don't know why. If cooking for three people I would also look at the Primus EtaPower system – a bit heavy, but very usable.
I only use alcohol or WG when field testing a stove … :-)
CheersNov 12, 2007 at 5:24 am #1408731
Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions. I will be leaving to get back on the trail in two hours! I did swap out my vapor trail for the virga which I will try out for the next couple weeks. With six days of food it feels alright at about 25 pounds. Using two sheets of closed cell foam (3/8") for backpanel. I will get the 1/8" pad when I get back and try using that unrolled and inside. During the month of Dec (must work so no hike) I will get raingear and a new stove. I will have Jan and Feb off to do some more walking.
-Right now for raingear I am leaning towards the ID eVent jacket and golite pants (reed maybe)
-Stoves are baffling, there are so many choices. I have not yet looked into all the options presented in this discussion.
I am hoping with these changes my base load will be below 10lb. Also hopefully this virga pack is comfortable for the next few hundred miles.
Thanks Again to everyone who contributedFeb 19, 2008 at 1:55 am #1421100
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
I own the ID eVent Thru-Hiker jacket, and would recommend it over the standard ID eVent Rain Jacket. I believe the thickness of the fabric will help to hold in some of the heat you are looking for. A Propore jacket can be more breathable due to the thinness of the fabric and the less trim fit, but I think for your situation you want a more sturdy fabric. I've tried both 2-layer bivies and ID eVent bivies, and the 3-layer ones feel warmer. Something about being able to deflect the wind better IMO.
That said, expect to get damp in an uphill climb. Otherwise I never overheat in flat terrain or downhill. Of of the big advantages to eVent is its ability to expel the accumulated moisture once you've stopped. You may get clammy on the uphill, but 20 minutes after stopping you will have dried out considerably. Not as easy with gore-tex or less/non breathable garments.
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