Long Range Traverse – Newfoundland, Canada

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    jnd a


    This is my first post here, and I'm about ready to get crucified for my weight, but one has to start somewhere…I did, at the very least, pick up a scale, and weigh everything I'm putting in my pack. I feel that exercise was useful, but I'm not sure how ready I am to part with my comforts for the weight savings…

    So what was supposed to be a bunch of day hikes with my girlfriend changed. We broke up, so I decided to do something I've wanted to do for a long time…the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne National Park. I was going to go solo, but my buddy has just jumped on board. We're leaving Saturday morning, and outdoor stores are nowhere close, so my gear adjustments would be minor at this point, but I'm eager for feedback anyway.

    The hike is a 5 day, map and compass (no trail other than the meandering moose paths). I am very familiar with the terrain and wildlife, but I haven't spent a night out here since highschool (20 years ish) because I've been living on the "mainland". We get dropped off by a tour boat at the end of a freshwater fjord. Our hike starts with a 550 metre scramble, then we hike at that altitude for 4 days (with maybe 100 m of fluctuation). The views are said to be spectacular, the navigation tricky, the bugs horrible. The highs at altitude are maybe 15 degrees C (60 F) on average, with high winds and rain a possibility at any moment. There will be a lot of bushwhacking through what we call tuckamore (which is basically stunted growth old spruce in nasty tangles). Because of this, I've gone a bit heavy with my rainjacket and rainpants for durability.

    Some notes:
    – My primary clothes are not on the list. Solomon Geckos. Darn Tough socks and some 15 year old North Face hiking pants. Icebreaker baselayer, with a hooded fullzip extra Icebreaker baselayer. Timex watch.
    – I will be bringing a book because that's what I do when I'm not stargazing. It isn't weighed because I'm not sure what I'm bringing but it'll be a thin paperback.
    – My buddy will be meeting me in a couple of days, and I'll be sharing some of the tent weight and cook kit with him. He is bringing 1 pot and his stove as we like the ides of cooking and eating at the same time.
    – My gear is a mish mash of stuff I already had and then some supplemented new gear. I realize there are some luxuries that I'm going to get ripped for like my LED tent light, but I like to read and that's much more pleasant than headlamp reading. Talk me out of it….

    Gearlist here:


    Link .
    BPL Member


    OMG !
    Here is some general info I highly recommend you look at
    Mike Clelland(NOLS instructor and author, his books are very good),he has some great FREE VIDEOS on lightening up be sure to watch(his clothing system,the entire contents of his pack,water treatment and part 1 and 2 on the dinky stuff for ideas),this is a simple SPREAD SHEET for you to download,this is pmags Lightweight Backpacking 101 and The Frugal Backpacker – The $300 Gear Challenge .These are some other articles and videos for you to check out

    Backpacking for Cheap: Gear for the Gearless

    Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): 3-Season, 3-Day

    Lightweight Backpacking 101: An Introductory Manual for Lightening Your Load Today (1st Edition – August 2001)

    Cheap Ultralight Gear List

    Oregon Field Guide: Ultralight Hiking

    Lightweight Testimony: Lighter, Farther, Faster
    Jamie Shortt talks about his progression and shows his gear list for each stage, Lightweight Testimony: My Journey into Lightweight Backpacking
    CleverHiker Light weight Basics
    CleverHiker Trail Skills
    NICK GATEL'S 61st Birthday Trip Report with gear list and discussion
    Backcountry Fly Fishing with Tenkara: Ultralight Style and Simplicity
    Tenkara for Backpackers: State of the Market Report – Part 1

    Andrew Skurka has a very good website with trips and gear lists for you to check out, here is a talk he gave at google
    Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic
    he gives links to his gear lists ect.
    His book is worth checking out also
    The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Techniques to Hit the Trail
    You can get little repackaging containers(like the ones you see in Mike Clelland uses in his videos) many places including your local stores and pharmacy but here are some examples
    Ultralight Designs
    You could make toothpaste dots like Mike C. shows or there are Archtek Toothpaste Tablets so only bring exactly what you need in a snack size bag for any given trip instead of a whole tube and THESE are good for little thing like pills, toothpaste tablets ect. so you are not packing a whole bottle(you can also get them very cheap at most pharmacies) .

    Tim Skidmore


    Locale: Canadian Atlantic coast

    Do you need a headlamp and a tent light?

    A 2l pot is twice the size you need for two people, but if you're going to take it I'd at least ditch the frying pan, you can fry almost as easy in a pot that large.

    2l of water is also twice as much as you'll need on the Long Travers, as long as your buddy is taking his (which he should). Fresh water is everywhere, just half fill your bladder.

    Bear bells always made my grandfather laugh hysterically, but to each their own. Don't skimp on bug protection, they're much more aggressive than the bears.

    You'll have to pass an orienteering test by the rangers before you get on the boat. They won't let you off without the ticket. It's pretty basic, they just don't want to have to go find you.

    Have fun, it's beautiful.

    jnd a


    Thanks for the feedback! I was working out here and I was able to get the install done early, so I have lots of time today to read up on that material and see what kind of shavings I can (am willing to :)) make. . Thanks for linking me to all those resources.

    For the water, that was the plan.. half full at a time. I just don't have a smaller bladder and didn't feel the need to shell our for one. I do consume more water than average, but like you say, there are ponds everywhere. I grew up in the area and can't wait to get some new views of the terrain!

    For the tent light, we're both avid readers and I just felt it made for a more pleasant reading experience with the light.. I may eliminate it. I guess ditching the headlamp for the light is a decent option too that I didn't think of until now.

    Fry pan. . Good call. I'll test my omelette skills in the pot.

    The bear bell was an impulse buy and I kinda find it funny too. Bears don't even bother me. They're black here and every one I've ever encountered has been much more afraid of me.. my only thought about the bell was that I night let it jingle when we're in tight forest where the potential is there to surprise. I don't want to startle the bugger and have him react poorly. It cost $1. Maybe I'll shed it..

    The orienteering test should be fine. I actually stopped by and saw a copy on the way down the coast Tuesday, and it's quite basic. How to take a bearing, declination questions, etc..

    My outdoor experience is fairly extensive, although miniscule by these forum's standards.
    Multiday (3+) hikes are a new animal for me, but I plan on making them the regular as I slowly retire from competitive rugby and my weekends free up. Not sure I'll ever have the motivation to be super ultra astronaut light but I would like to move in that direction as the body demands and the budget allows.

    Thx again

    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Gear list critique:

    GSI backpacker cook kit, 2L pot
    Do you need a pot this big? No need to double up with your buddy.

    Baltoro, 75L
    Big and heavy, but replace it last, after you have lightened the rest of your kit.

    Camelbak 2L Bladder
    Platypus is lighter, recycled drinking water bottles are light and cheap

    Standard Two Bottle ClO2 Dropper Bottles
    You could reduce this using small bottles with enough capacity for your trip. Minor stuff at this point, but good general technique: take only what you need for the trip.

    Outdoor Research bug hat (should have gone for the cheapie)
    Better than none. Leave the stuff sack behind

    GSI backpacker cook kit, cup/bowl/coozy/sip lid
    Look for lighter alternatives. A plastic mug and bowl will do. I use a 450ml Ti mug and a Snowpeak ti bowl, IF I need them. My light setup is just the mug. A zip lock bowl, yogurt tub, margarine tub, etc will work for a light bowl for your oatmeal, noodles, etc.

    Stripped crocs, camp shoes
    Leave 'em

    GSI backpacker kit, frypan
    Leave it

    Campsoap, 120 mL
    Way too much soap. Decant to a smaller bottle

    Silva Compass, Floating
    Light, but can you truly navigate with it? Check out classic base plate compasses.

    Lighter, USB lighter, storm matches
    Leave the USB lighter. Consider a small firesteel

    Large Orange Gear Tie to wrap tent/fly

    Marmot Limelight 3 tent and accessories
    The tent is heavy– car camping stuff for me. I would want a good storm proof and bug proof tent out there, but this is too much. It's probably too late for this trip, but start looking and budgeting for a good light tent or tarp.

    Compression Bag used for food
    Why a compression bag? This thing is heavy.

    Camping towel, medium size

    Random fishing kit for trout country
    Get this to a minimum.

    First aid kit
    My 4.5oz first aid kit is considered heavy by UL standards and is chock full of stuff. This one is way too heavy.

    Standard 410 mL butane canister
    Butane stove, cheap, works great
    The stove is massive. You can get good stoves that are a couple ounces. Take smaller cans and split them with your buddy. Hopefully his stove/pot setup is lighter— and you don't need two cook kits. One cook pot and your own spork, mug and bowl.

    Toilet paper
    That's a lot of TP. Natural sources? Got a trowel or tent stake you can dig with?

    LED Lamp, Black Diamond
    I like two lights: one headlamp and one flashlight, both use a single AA battery and are small and light and can rely on one spare AA battery. Considering the rest of your load, I would take just one headlamp.

    Pocket knife with locking blade, saw
    I do like a knife. This one is a little heavy for my liking. A Victorinox Little Vickie (paring knife with sheath)or a Mora would be better for cleaning fish. Fish guts in that Rescue knife would be messy. Do leave the case behind.

    1 underwear, thin shorts, 2 prs socks, warm hat, extra baselayer, long underwear pants, thin gloves
    Clothing should be a very coordinated system and that's a whole other conversation. Keep the spares to a minimum. It's okay to get dirty and smelly– rite of passage :)

    Clips for the Tyvek tarp
    What tarp? You have a big tent anyway. Use heat-shrink window film (polycryo) for your ground cloth if you need one. If using Tyvek, you don't need to stake it down. It will have 2 guys, a 7 pound tent and your gear on top!

    GSI backpacker kit, welded wash basin/pot holder
    Do you mean the cook pot or is this another basin? leave it.

    6 Spices for a little extra flavor on the dry food
    Super heavy. A few small zip lock bags would be fine.

    Be safe, have fun!

    kristen buckland


    Locale: Colorado

    Pretty much what Dale said. If I was going to spend most of the trip off trail bushwacking, I'd want the lightest load possible.

    A few more things:

    3.4oz for toothpaste & brush? too heavy. Make toothpaste dots ala Mike Clelland

    Sleeping Bag – no need for the OR compression bag, just shove it in the bottom of your pack.

    5.4oz for spices? break them down into tiny ziploc baggies
    Use recycled gatorade bottles instead of the camelback. If you want a hose try the Smartube

    2.5oz NUNN tablets – ditch the plastic tube and put them in a ziploc
    .4oz pot cleaner sponge – ditch and use your finger/spoon
    4.4oz strainer – ??? what is this for? just use a lid
    2.5oz wash bowl – not needed

    You only need one pair of underwear for the whole trip, Extra base layer? no!

    1.5oz knife tool case – ditch!

    13oz first aid – way too heavy! check out Mike Clelland's youtube video on this. My first aid kit is 6 pills asprin, immodium, duct tape, and tiny bottle sanitizer.

    1.3oz bear bell – not needed and really annoying to listen to all trip. just talk outloud if you feel a bear around.

    Do you have a pack liner for when it rains?

    Sounds like an awesome trip! enjoy.

    Ben Pearre
    BPL Member


    You’re insane.

    You’ll need at least 5–8x more chocolate.

    Katherine .
    BPL Member


    Locale: pdx


    Link .
    BPL Member


    I think it’s a little late to be giving him advice when he posted this and took the trip 3 years ago

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