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    First some background so you know who I am and have some idea of what I have in mind (and consequently my specs).

    I’m 23, male, 5’4″ 125lb. Slightly on the lanky side. A bit of a gourmet (albeit with a disturbing-to-others sense of taste); I like to be comfortable but am quite capable of making do with ‘good enough’. Generally a very calm disposition. Some knowledge of martial arts (may it never prove relevant).

    I’m a UC Berkeley student, graduating this May. My current plan is that come June I will be shipping off to Japan to teach kids English. I’ll stay there 1-3 years, save up, and use the money to fund some extensive (1-?? year) worldwide travel. (I’ll be doing some work on the side during that time on some business ideas of mine that may or may not make me rich – probably not, but hey, I’m a geek and it’s part of the deal that I have to try.)

    I have never backpacked before. I have lived out of my car for 6 months using a really really really old rectangular 40F bag, a Chinese-store gas stove, and some army surplus store goods. I survived.

    That’s obviously not how I’d like to do my travels, though. I am intending on going ultralight inasmuch as possible / comfortable – i.e. critically considering all of my gear, with an eye towards choosing stuff to be multifunctional, reusable, low on “heavy items for emergencies”, and of course getting the lightest / most efficient stuff available.

    All the gear must be capable of surviving continuous months (if not years) of constant abuse. I want it to be workable for all environments outside of extreme cold or specialized gear (eg scuba, mountaineering) – I’ll rent locally for that. In the time before I Set Out ™, it’ll see more normal use in my day-to-day life as well as more traditional short camping trips.

    My aesthetic tends towards subtle earthtones, very low-profile (or no-profile) branding, and a dash of bizarre. (Sometimes subtle, sometimes not; depends on the crowd and how willing I am to sprint if needed. :-P)

    What I’d like your advice on is:
    a) for stuff I have decided on, have I made a decision that’s significantly worse than possible alternatives that I haven’t (or have insufficiently) considered? If so, what are they? I’m willing to swap stuff out if it seems really worth it.
    b) For stuff I haven’t decided on, I’d like to tune:
    – weight
    – efficiency (i.e. cross-use of items, getting more useful stuff, etc)
    – versatility (I am willing to sacrifice a few ounces to gain it)
    – pragmatics (i.e. how much of it is stuff I think I need but don’t really – please consider the POV before answering this, since I’m not gearing up for a known-climate, short[ish], local, backcountry trip)
    – quality

    So, on to the gear.

    First, the stuff I already have (or have ordered) and intend to take with me:
    Western Mountaineering UltraLite 5’6″
    Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 + footprint
    Boze MountainWorks TorsoLite
    Brunton Optimus Nova multifuel stove
    GSI Hard Anodized Extreme cookset
    2 Light My Fire sporks
    UL PackTowls – 1 S, 1 XL (also have 1 M non-UL)
    2 Orikaso plates
    2 Orikaso bowls (for sharing)
    1 pair Possum gloves

    Have decided on, but not yet ordered, an AcquaStar+ for water purification.

    So as far as I can tell, what I have left to get is an UL pack (covered in a separate thread on the Gear forum), clothes, and ‘miscellany’.

    What follows is my current list for that. Asterisks are things I’m considering; lines under them are particular models that might fill that role, sorted in order of current tentative preference (high to low). Question marks mean I’m not sure whether or not I will bring that item at all.

    * Headgear – cold weather
    Polar Buff (100-weight) – 2oz
    200-weight fleece?

    * Headgear – hot weather
    Regular Buff – 2oz
    Cotton bandanna – 1oz

    * Headgear / Umbrella – sun / rain (if anything can be found that fits [my skill circumfrence is ~24-25″])
    Tilley LT3 – 3oz
    Outdoor Research Seatlle Sombrero – 3.1oz (better for rain/cold)
    GoLite Umbrella
    MontBell Trekking Umbrella
    generic baseball cap

    * Headgear – Mosquitos

    * Torso – breathable waterpoof/windproof shell
    Integral Designs eVent Rain Jacket – 8.8oz
    Montane 180 WP/B Shirt – 7.1oz
    Outdoor Research Zealot – 7.2oz
    Patagonia Specter Pullover – 6.5oz
    MontBell Peak – 11.2oz
    GoLite Rage – 7.4oz
    Sierra Designs Isotope – 4.4oz
    GoLite Squall – 10oz
    Marmot Precip – 14oz
    Montane Featherlite Smock – 3.2oz
    GoLite Bark – 8oz
    Montane Aero Smock – 2.9oz
    Montane Lightspeed
    REI Taku

    * Torso – softshell (i.e. “this is my jacket” – must be good in wide range of temps)
    – merino wool? fleece sweater?
    Ibex Icefall
    Patagonia Ready Mix
    GoLite Momentum
    Outdoor Research Mithril Stormshell
    Arc’teryx Sigma AR
    North Face Wlded Omega
    Columbia Atlas Mountain Pullover
    Cloudview Half Moon Jacket
    Moonstone Hyperlight Windshirt

    * Torso – insulating warmth (?)
    Patagonia Puffball Vest – 7oz
    Patagonia R2 Pullover – 14oz
    Mont Bell UltraLite Down inner jacket – 7.2 oz
    Western Mountaineering Flight Vest – 5.5oz

    * Torso – underwear / T-shirt x2
    – one light, one medium? Added = one heavy…
    Patagonia silkweight capilene crew, long sleeve – 5 oz
    Patagonia midweight capilene crew – 8oz
    Icebreaker Superfine Merino crew – 7.5
    Patagonia Mesh SportTop – 2.1oz

    * Torso – pretty-looking collared shirt (that’d also be useful normally…)
    Royal Robbins CoolMax Expedition Shirt 2.9oz

    * Legs – breathable waterproof/windproof shell – supplex? microfiber?
    GoLite Reed – 5oz
    Marmot Precip – 8oz

    * Legs – underwear x2
    Patagonia lightweight capilene – 5oz
    Patagonia midweight capilene bottoms – 7oz
    Ex Officio ?

    * Legs – underwear, shorts-sized x1
    Patagonia silkweight capilene boxers – 3oz
    Moving Comfort Microbrief – 1.3

    * Legs – all-around (other than water/wind) convertible pants/shorts (i.e. “these are my pants”)
    – pref. usable as swim trunks also
    REI Convertibles – 7oz ?

    * Hands – cold weather
    Possum gloves (see above – sufficient?)
    Mountain Hardwear Tempest SL
    100w Polarfleece 1oz
    200w 2oz

    * Hands – toughness / waterproof (?)

    * Feet – Shoes – trail runners
    – very unused to wearing sneakers…
    New Balance 804 – 28oz
    Salomon Tech Amphibians – 24.2oz
    Inov-8 Mudroc 280 – 9.9oz

    * Feet – Sandals (? – a bit redundant between the light shoes and barefoot options)
    Tevas ~4-9oz

    * Feet – Socks (3 pair)
    SmartWool Light Hiker – 2.7oz
    Tetrasocks (toesocks!)

    * Feet – Sock liners (2) (? – why not just stack up regular socks?)
    Coolmax liners – 1oz per

    * Walking sticks (?)
    – never used ’em, unlikely to miss ’em
    LifeLink Guide Ultra Light – 7.8oz
    Gossamear Gear Lightrek – 2.2oz (not adjustable, 43.5″/49″)
    MSR Overland Carbon – 8.8oz
    REI Peak UL Compact Trekking – 6.3oz
    Leki Malaku
    Stix X1 Trekking poles – 6oz

    * bug repellent – time-release DEET
    * flame – lighter
    Scripto ? Bic? Zippo? El Generico?
    * first aid
    – bandages, tape, pads, alchohol swab, antibiotic ointment, moleskin, cortisone cream, tweezers, nitrile gloves
    * second aid / meds
    – painkillers, anithistamines, decongestants, snakebite kit, peptobismol
    – heavy painkillers, antiviral, antibiotic, antimalarial, dental painkiller, antidiarrheal, prescriptions
    * light – LED flashlight ~2-5oz; headstrap; 1w-3w?
    – HUUUUUUGE selection. Probably going to get major tech upgrades w/in 1.5yr; worth waiting.
    * knife / multitool – knife, pliers (?), scissors (?), Phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, file
    – Leatherman Micra?
    * compass w/ declination adjustment, mirror, & glow-in-the-dark needles
    * sunglasses (that actually fit my face well – no/minimal gaps and peripheral-vision blocking)
    * sunblock
    * whistle
    * writing stuff
    – journal, pen
    * emergency & repairs
    – sports bars, reflective ‘space’ blanket, needle, thread, duct tape, glue (= seam sealer), utility cord (Kelty Triptease?), spare lighter, spare batteries, repair kits for gear
    * stuff sacks, rubber bands, plastic bags, etc
    * sorting cubes?
    * lanyard
    * silk liner sack?

    * camera
    – … gonna take a while to find something that’ll satisfy me, between ultralight and high-quality nil-lag…
    * cellphone – w/ GPS (?)
    * music / storage?
    IPod? IRiver?
    * el cheapo watch
    * batteries, solarpanel (Solio?), or wallwort w/ multiplugs

    * frisbee?
    * cards
    * monocular – watertight (I don’t have stereo vision anyway, so why bother with binocs?)
    * star chart?
    * music maker – flute? harmonica?

    Reading material, paperwork, pragmatics
    * books
    * guides / maps, ripped
    * passports, photos, cash money, traveler’s checks, receipts, photocopies, credit cards, driver’s license, IDP, student / hostel cards, 3 personal checks, int’l vaccination card
    * locks, cable lock (pack-net lock?), TrackIT (?)
    * money belt (the kind they don’t see)
    * money belt (the kind that holds pants up)
    * paper w/ addresses, phone numbers, important numbers, etc. (encrypted?)
    * language translator (?)
    * business cards
    * small trinkets
    * photos from home
    * decoy wallet
    * door/window wedge (?)

    Personal care
    * towel (covered above)
    * travel-sized toiletry kit – razor + blades, shaving cream/oil, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, shampoo-conditioner, deodorant, soap, nail clippers, mirror
    * washing supplies – concentrated detergent, tri-braid clothesline (no clips), flat sink stopper
    * vitamins
    * water holder
    Platypus 2L Zip Hoser – 5.3oz
    * stuffsack-pillow (?)
    * chopsticks
    * toilet paper
    * earplugs
    * lip balm

    … and that’s it.

    Lots of those you’ll notice only have one or nil specific brands mentioned – that’s probably because I don’t have much idea what would fill that slot, just there’s a slot *to* fill. Doesn’t imply any attachment on my part to the few option(s) mentioned.

    * Gear to suggest?
    * Gear to drop?
    * Gear to swap out or combine?
    * Gear that fill those slots well?
    * Something I totally failed to consider?
    * Sanity check?


    BPL Member


    I can tell that you have spent a ton of time on this. Welcome to the forum, fellow gearhead! :)

    Excellent choice on tent and bag!

    As for clothing, I would advise against fleece, since your goal is to travel light. While fleece is light, it is not very compactible — which makes it harder to squeeze into a smallish, UL backpack.

    I would highly recommend insulation jacket made of either high quality down or good synthetic insulation like MontBell’s Thermawrap or various American brands made with Primaloft. These will be slightly lighter than fleece, but warmer — and most importantly, much more compactible.

    As for your shell jacket, I like my MontBell Peak Shell. It’s more breathable than almost any — except for eVENT. It has many nice features while still remaining very light and reasonably priced.

    On the travel side… You REALLY do not need a money belt or a decoy wallet! I’ve traveled to some of the poorest countries and have never had any problems. As with life, nothing is guaranteed, but a bit of preparation and common sense will go a very long way to ensuring you safe journeys. Here’s what I do:

    1. Don’t bring stuff that you can’t bear to lose — financially or sentimentally.

    2. Don’t dress conspicuously (reading your posts, this shouldn’t be a problem for you).

    3. Wear travel shirts with two pockets, one of which can be zipped closed. Wear travel pants with the usual pockets (with one or two that’s zippable), plus one more on the front of the pant’s leg. These will keep you pretty safe from pickpockets.

    4. Spread your wealth around. I put 2-3 days’ worth of cash plus debit card and 1 credit card in my wallet, which NEVER goes in my back pocket, but in one of my pant’s hidden, zippable pocket. Next, I put a few more days’ worth of extra cash plus 1 backup credit card plus travel docs (passport, tickets, etc.) in my pants’ front leg pocket. These NEVER go inside my backpack.

    Finally, place another small stash of emergency cash (US$) plus a second backup credit card somewhere deep inside the backpack. The objective is to make it so that if you should get pickpocketed or mugged or your pack gets stolen (hopefully all three won’t happen simultaneously), then it’s a bummer — but NOT a show stopper — and you can continue traveling.

    With the above, just make it a habit of being aware of your surroundings, but no need to get all worked up. Statistically, when you leave any major American metropolis and head abroad, you are actually much, much safer from crime!

    BPL Member


    Oh, and you don’t need a language translator or any such gadgets. It’s absolutely amazing the sheer variety of needless gadgets one finds in travel magazines and travel stores!

    I’ve traveled solo to many places where English is spoken by only a small handful of people, and I almost always take public transportation and eat at small, local eateries. No problema. Obviously, not knowing the language, you can’t discuss philosophy, religion or politics with the locals, but it’s still amazing how much you can communicate with body language and pointing at a map in your guidebook!



    Translators: If I happen to bring a PDA (e.g. it serves well to combine some of my other electronics wants), then that’ll be a good place to have ’em. I might consider bringing one of the light uber-multi-language ones if not.

    FWIW, my own language skills are not bad. Aside from English of course, there’s Russian, French, Spanish, and ASL that I can converse in, Japanese about halfway, and Arabic and Mandarin that I’ve forgotten the vast majority of but probably retain at about tourist-book level. :-/ If those were all fluent – and if I added, oh, Hindi and German – I’d have most of the world covered.

    They aren’t and I’m not going to, but I figure that it’s still a decent chance I’ll find *some* language in common with *someone* within earshot…



    Gearhead… sorta. I just like to do my homework on things I’m to buy. It helps to narrow the field to a small number of things I can then choose between.

    Lightness is one thing I’m worried about. At present, that stack of clothing would come to over 5lb (maybe 6.5 even). :-/

    Fleece: any suggestions for something to relace it? (I presume ‘fleece’ is synonymous with ‘soft shell’?)

    Money belt: Frankly, I’d feel better with one. If someone steals my pack, I can let that go a lot more easily knowing that I have copies of my insurance and my passport on me anyway (and given the number of expensive items I’ll be carrying [and that “can’t afford to loose” clause], I’ll have insurance). That would also affect sentimentality; the only things I’m likely to have on me worth anyone to someone else would be data. And data comes in mighty small packages these days (think CF card).

    Am considering using one of the armpit-style ones instead of a traditional waist-type.

    Shirts/pants: I hate having stuff in my back pocket anyway. I might line my pants-pockets openings with velcro – a bit of a pain to pickpocket. :-)

    Dressing conspicously: *laugh* You’d probably be surprised to see me walking around like I normally do around here, in a cloak or kilt or sarong or 3-piece suit or full Samurai outfit. :-P (Yes, I actually do. Normally. Sense of humor.)

    But I’d probably be toning that down rather a bit (i.e. earthtone trail gear & local fashions as acquirable) and resorting to the more traditional psychological bizarreness. :-) Eris must still be appeased, after all.

    I am, fortunately, familiar with the “secrete some US cash & passport photocopy in several places” trick. I’ve read quite a few world-backpacker guides by now (homework, like I said). Of course, if you can think of anything they might not have covered, do tell. :-)

    (This “I have way more theoretical knowledge than experience” thing is very much on par for me, FWIW.)

    J R


    Here my travel list.

    I pack the lightest item I can find, that I will still trust the durability of in case it get loaded on a yak, dropped into a river, or thrown off the back of a bus.

    1 Button Front Shirt (quick dry)
    2 Wicking t-shirts
    1 pair Zip Off Pants (quick dry)
    1 Synthetic sweater
    1 Rain Jacket (epic softshell)
    3 pair Synthetic or Wool socks
    3 Synthetic boxer brief
    1 Synthetic or Wool Long Underwear set
    1 Sarong (multiple uses)
    1 Sun Hat
    1 Knit Cap
    light shoes (I like cheap Feiyue’s)
    flip flops (cheapies from target right now, “Croc’s Athens” as soon as they come out)

    LED flashlight
    “travel kitchen” (spork, metal cup)
    Compass/whistle zipper pull
    Sleepsack or synthetic sleeping bag (montbell fits the bill for me)
    Poncho (that can be used as a shelter)
    Small plexiglass mirror
    Flat sink stopper
    Travel clothesline

    Toothbrush (fingertip)
    Toothpaste (travel size)
    Travel razor and shaving oil
    Small squeeze bottle of Dr Bronnors
    Deodorant (travel size)
    Small Purell bottle
    Small aspirin bottle
    Insect repellent bottle
    Plastic water bottle (1ltr)

    Personal documents

    Buy a knife ASAP. Even a small paring knife or something.

    Even with a 3lbs Eagle Creek Explorer Trek pack, and using light but not rediculously light gear, a summer weight pack can be less than 12lbs easily.

    Simple earth toned clothes are good, but keep away from looking TOO earth toned. No one wants to be confused for a mercenary or CIA agent (which can and does happen, Columbia used to turn people away at the border if they had green backpacks, and many places in Africa REALLY dont like people looking military AT ALL)

    As for Eris, she will have her fun plenty without you sacrificing your butt in the name of psychological bizarrness. Berzerkly California is a far cry from Khatmandu, Goa, La Paz, or Bogota. Its a far cry from most places in the US for that matter.

    Stay safe.

    John S.
    BPL Member


    Fleece is not synonymous with soft shell. Fleece is for insulation and a soft shell is sort of a wind resistant/water resistant/abrasion resistant shirt or jacket.

    BPL Member



    You are quite the linguist!

    J R


    “the only things I’m likely to have on me worth anyone to someone else would be data”

    Depends on where you go…

    If you only plan on going to Europe or Japan, you might be right. But everywhere else youll be a “rich American” and everything you own, down to your bubblegum machine watch, will be assumed to be “the best” and be worth alot of money.



    “”the only things I’m likely to have on me worth anyone to someone else would be data””

    Wow, was I that incoherent? Let me restate that.

    The only things I’m likely to have on me, that have sentimental value to me and monetary value to someone else, would be data. So a CF chip, some small amount of cash, and passport copy can stay hidden on my person while they steal everything else, and while it’d be a major inconvenience I’d still be able to get by okay.



    > Fleece is not synonymous with soft shell. Fleece is for insulation and a soft shell is sort of a wind resistant/water resistant/abrasion resistant shirt or jacket.

    So then fleece is competing with eg down insulation jackets?



    > You are quite the linguist!

    *laugh* If I knew ’em all fluently, then I would be. As it is, not really.

    (And on a side note, while I do linguistics also – mainly conlangs rather than actual formal linguistics which mostly bore me – the term is ‘panglot’. :-P)



    Joe: Could you give your specific recommendations for each of those items? (Brand/model, reasons for that over the nearest contender if it has near contenders)

    Sweater: That is instead of the other insulating options (eg down)?

    Also – I happen to have a thinish cashmere sweater; how would that compare to other ones?

    I forgot the sarong. But I think that’ll be something I’d rather get locally – and for that matter, I’d rather wear them where it’s plausible locally than, say, in Mexico. (Where I’d more likely get branded a maricon and that could cause problems… not in keeing with the ‘attempt to blend in’ bit.)

    > Simple earth toned clothes are good, but keep away from looking TOO earth toned. No one wants to be confused for a mercenary or CIA agent (which can and does happen, Columbia used to turn people away at the border if they had green backpacks, and many places in Africa REALLY dont like people looking military AT ALL)

    Yeah, that one’s noted. No camo, minimal military-olive. Definitely would like not to be pegged as anything even vaguely military. But resumably CIA (or mercs even) don’t actually dress that way?

    Eris – *laugh* I’m sure that just being in any of those places (let alone various others) will be enough for her. Just good to retain a bit of perspective and laugh *with*. ;-)

    J R


    “Could you give your specific recommendations for each of those items? (Brand/model, reasons for that over the nearest contender if it has near contenders)”

    I could, but it probably wouldnt do you much good. Alot of the “travel clothes” are all pretty much the same, except for certain details that will vary in acceptability from person to person. I dont cry myself to sleep worrying about saving a gram here or there… so for the button front shirt, I like Cabelas “guidewear” long sleeve shirt. For the zip-off pants, I like Ex-Officios “amphi” pants, because they are the only pants that when zipped off, dont have an inseam like it was cut for a 1970s NBA player. My sweater is a 80% acrylic 20%polyester number from “Xtreme Gear”. Yes I wear it instead of say a down or fleece jacket. I provides decent insulation, especially when layered with the other stuff Ive got, and since its a travel garment, it still is presentable in places where looking like a trail yeti wont go over well. It can even replace a suit jacket for the more formal occasions some travellers encounter.

    I pack a sarong, rather than buy it there (though if its a place with nice sarongs, buying a spare is no drama at all), because its so multi purpose. It doesnt need to be worn like a classic sarong. It can wrap around your head for sun/wind protection. It can be used as a towel. It can be used as a scarf in winter. It makes a very nice blanket or pillow on the plane as well (sure, you COULD use the bacteria laden stuff they offer for free, but why?). It can make a great beach blanket. It can be used as a pillow for sleeping at night. Its light enough it can be drapped over your head for mozzie protection. For women travellers, a sarong is even more useful as so many clothing items can be fashioned out them. Skirts to dresses to bathing suits.

    Military/CIA/Merc/ETC… Remember, its not whats fact or fiction that matters. The only thing that matters is what the cops (or worse in some cases, the locals) think. If someone at the border thinks you look like someone who might be there to foment discontent, you might as well be one, and it wont matter that the only reason they think that is because youve got a kelly green jansport daypack. Your bad people. If the locals get the idea that your bad people, your REALLY in trouble.

    Qapla conlanger!



    Sarong: *chuckle* almost convincing. Goes down a bit though considering that I’ll have the Buffs for headgear, a paktowl for towelage, and though I have nil compunction about wearing it as a skirt, I’d rather not do so where that’s an Issue… so it becomes somewhat redundant. (Albeit a pretty light redundancy.)

    Military look: Anything to avoid other than the milspec gear and camo? (Definitely agree that I want to avoid looking like ‘bad people’ – or for that matter ‘rich people’ but conveniently enough the actually good stuff is also less shiny-look-at-me.)

    Qapla’ indeed! Funny to find a fellow conlanger here (and a Discordian-aware one to boot). :-P

    (On a total tangent: would you like to buy a Conlang flag? [] I’m currently rounding up people interested in getting one, so as to make a bulk order. Price is ~20-40 depending on # of people buying in, +8.50 shipping anywhere. If yes, just email me w/ name & your max price.)

    J R


    “Sarong: *chuckle* almost convincing. Goes down a bit though considering that I’ll have the Buffs for headgear, a paktowl for towelage, and though I have nil compunction about wearing it as a skirt, I’d rather not do so where that’s an Issue… so it becomes somewhat redundant. (Albeit a pretty light redundancy.)”

    Wasnt trying to convince you. Its just a very versatile peice of gear that *I* carry because it fits *MY* needs. YMMV.

    “Military look: Anything to avoid other than the milspec gear and camo?”

    Not really. Its kind of hit and miss. Dont wear shirts with epaulletes, canteens, camo, or olive green.

    I was in Russia a few years back. I wasnt quite as travel savvy and was actually there for some training with a MVD special forces group… so I travelled with my OD duffle bag, wore by combat boots, and a green anorak on the way there. When I came back, I was wearing my wool OD greed “wooly pully” sweater, black BDU pants, converse sneakers, and an OD green backpack.
    I got searched at EVERY airport.

    Now I try to buy things in browns, tans, and grays… they dont look military at all, and actually blend FAR better than green ever dreamed of.

    total tangent – that is a COOL flag! Ive made a few basic conlangs, have studied Slovio (mostly for linguistic mechanics rather than to actually learn it, though it seems like a very functional language), and am learning Indonesian right now as well. Id like to blend indonesian with the slavic/esperanto coolness of slovio…. totally weird but fun.

    Ill think about the flag thing and get back to you.

    BPL Member


    The flag.

    Depending on its size (or maybe there are decals too?) — you can use them to cover up loud and garish brand names that are appearing more and more frequently and prominently on our gear (e.g. THE NORTH FACE)…



    The flags I’m ordering are 3’x5′ knitted poly, single side / 1ply screenprint, grommeted.

    I could make small things – eg patches or pins – but those too are kinda expensive when not done in bulk, and require larger bulk to bring down to good price (on the order of hundreds rather than dozens).

    J R


    Missed this question

    “Also – I happen to have a thinish cashmere sweater; how would that compare to other ones?”

    Cashmere is a great material.
    If the color and cut works for you, it can be “dressed up” while still being the sort of thing you dont mind getting a little messed up, then it should work.

    The weight of the fabric depends on the temperature your likely to encounter, but cashmere is a great fiber. Light and durable.



    A few decisions:

    * Pack: Mountainsmith Ghost – 2800 cuin, 2lb 2oz

    * Head – cold weather: Polar Buff (100-weight) – 2oz
    * Head – hot weather: Regular Buff – 2oz
    * Head – Mosquito net: Outdoor Research Deluxe Spring Ring Headnet – 2.2oz
    * Torso – breathable waterpoof/windproof shell: Integral Designs eVent Rain Jacket – 8.8oz 64cuin
    * Torso – insulation: Patagonia R2 Jacket 13oz
    – not as light as down, but feels better, looks good, and not as wet-sensitive
    * Torso – light base layer: SW Zip S/S
    * Torso – heavy base layer: MW Zip L/S
    * Legs – light base layer: LW long
    * Legs – heavy base layer: MW long
    * Legs – light short base layer: SW boxers

    Not sure what would be the best base layers though. SmartWool? Capilene? Brand? Maybe some sort of mix? Geh. Would be nice to see a full side-by-side comparison that includes a warmth rating (not just within subtypes of subtypes…)

    For that matter, the windshells seem almost interchangeable – all the same (ish) weight of ~3-4oz, pretty well-reviewed, etc.

    Hat – would be nice to have a single hat that works well for rain and sun. Neck protection can be covered by the Buff, as can insulation (by the polar buff)… hmm. Actually, would I need a sunhat given the Buff? A light rainhat would still be nice.

    Pants are another point that seem to be interchangeable. For light rain pants, I’ve not seen any reviews yet that don’t also complain about the lack of durability. :-/ For convertibles, I don’t see much difference between the brands.

    Suggestions on any of that?

    BPL Member


    Base layer — I would stick to quick-drying synthetics. Wool has many great qualities, but quick drying isn’t one of them.



    That’s funny, ’cause I’ve seen other places that claim it’s the opposite (ie that wool wicks/dries better than synthetic)…

    J R


    Very fine grades of wool (like smartwools merino fibers) do wick better. However, unlike a synthetic like polyester which is completly hydrophobic and absorb no moisture and are occasionally clammy, wool fibers are hydrophillic and absorb moisture, but anything up to 30% absorption and it still FEELS dry… and up to a point, moist warm air feels warmer than dry air of the same temperature.

    Its 6 of one, half dozen of the other…

    Im just waiting for someone to get their act together and provide an effective merino/polyester blend (that doesnt cost an arm and a leg)

    BPL Member


    Synthetics will dry faster than wool (sometimes much faster depending on the type and thickness of the wool apparel).

    Smartwools are very comfy, but may be too warm for temperate climates and up. Also, if your criterion is “wash at night and ready by morning”, then wool may be suboptimal for you.



    How about LW/SW capilene and MW wool then? Extra warmth would be just fine for the MW…

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