Jul 20, 2009 at 11:10 am #1237887
I just realized I've reached the point of gear boredom, and need to spend some more money. I thought I would put my gear list up for critique and see if you can give me a few new ideas. This list is what I have to use when I start backpacking in September in the Ozarks, and it's basically a 2 night/3 day list. Of course, I will adjust sleeping bags and clothing as it cools down, and after frost I will switch to a much lighter no-net hammock. Other than needing a spinnaker tarp and a quilt to save weight, I'm struggling here…Jul 20, 2009 at 11:17 am #1515152
Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
There might be a permissions problem with the spreadsheet, it doesn't open when I click the link.Jul 20, 2009 at 11:28 am #1515154
Thanks Cameron. I figured I had did something wrong. See if it works now.Jul 20, 2009 at 11:47 am #1515155
Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Now it works, thanks.Jul 20, 2009 at 11:52 am #1515156
Before someone beats me to it, I realized my list has some leftover spring items on there. Since it will be drier, I can scratch one of the T-shirts, the water shoes, the Dri-Ducks pants, and maybe the waterproof stuff sack for the sleeping bag. That's about 14 oz. I've tried garbage bag pack liners and they bother me, so I've continued to carry the little 3.5 oz brick-like pack cover.Jul 21, 2009 at 6:59 am #1515371
I know this is a yawner, I'm not exactly breaking ground here…but do you see anything that would save weight w/o a large expense? I'm not giving up the hammock setup. I feel as if I will have to spend another grand to save the next pound.Jul 21, 2009 at 9:02 am #1515387
@akajutLocale: Central Oklahoma
Looks pretty good. You might be able to slim down the "Personal Items / Incidentals / First Aid", depending on what is in there.Jul 21, 2009 at 11:38 am #1515433
Areas for easy lightening:
Switch from Heet to Denatured Alcohol (you might gain enough additional BTUs to reduce amount – that and it burns cleaner)
Plan your trips to tank a bit more water at sources and carry less.
Repackage your Aqua Mira into smaller containers, or go with repackaged clearwater or aquamira tablets.
You're carrying a lot of water carrying options there, assess what you actually use and remove the other options.
You could save a bit off your headlamp by going with a keychain style headlamp and attach it to a headband or hat.
Your camera isn't super heavy, but it all adds up, there are definately lighter tripod options for cheap as well.
Do you need both a pot cozy AND a hand cozy on the same trip?
It's the ozarks I know so rocks can be problematic but needle stakes and tying off to bushes/rocks will shave off the weight necessity of the MSR groundhog stakes.
Replace the hip belt pockets with some sil-nylon stuff sacks that can attach to the same place.
You should be able to use the above to shave another couple pounds off your baseweight.Jul 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm #1515461
"You might be able to slim down the "Personal Items / Incidentals / First Aid", depending on what is in there."
I'm not even sure what I'll have in there, I just made up that figure to cover it. It should end up lighter. My ditty bag was the most ridiculous thing in my pack this spring, I won't admit to how much it weighed. I've got a few small containers to repackage stuff, now.
I would like to find something different, but don't want to deal with breaking expensive carbon fiber ones under my 250 lb weight.
"Switch from Heet to Denatured Alcohol (you might gain enough additional BTUs to reduce amount – that and it burns cleaner)"
I don't even know where to get denatured alcohol, I usually can get Heet at a gas station. I'll probably use a lot less fuel this season, I just got a caldera cone. I do like my coffee and I've ran out of fuel too many times from making up some, so I carry a bit extra fuel, and coffee.
"Plan your trips to tank a bit more water at sources and carry less."
I ran out of water last fall on a trail I knew well. I find that carrying an extra 2 oz bottle is easier than walking a mile or two out of the way for watering. This will be my first season using Aqua-Mira. I usually filter water and tank up on as much as I can drink at each source when the sources are scarce. I might end up going back to a filter, to be honest about it.
"Repackage your Aqua Mira into smaller containers, or go with repackaged clearwater or aquamira tablets.
Good point. I've got an assortment of containers that I haven't designated yet. Aqua-Mira is the only thing on the list that I don't have yet.
"You're carrying a lot of water carrying options there, assess what you actually use and remove the other options."
I've trimmed it down about as much as I can. I ran out of water a few times with this setup this spring. The Nalgene is for camp water. In the dry fall, you can walk 10 miles of trail here in the ozarks w/o a water source. I'm a big guy and I have to have some water.
"You could save a bit off your headlamp by going with a keychain style headlamp and attach it to a headband or hat."
Then I would have to change to a stiff brimmed hat or add the weight of a headband. :)
"Your camera isn't super heavy, but it all adds up, there are definately lighter tripod options for cheap as well."
What is a lighter option, than the Joby Gorillapod, that is actually functional? I would like to know.
"Do you need both a pot cozy AND a hand cozy on the same trip?"
Good point. I can probably skip the pot cozy in the fall, but in the winter it keeps my coffee hot long enough to actually enjoy it. I can sip coffee on a cold morning for a while, while I let the meal cook separately. The freezer bag cozy saves a lot of fuel weight, I've learned.
"It's the ozarks I know so rocks can be problematic but needle stakes and tying off to bushes/rocks will shave off the weight necessity of the MSR groundhog stakes."
You can't always depend on rocks and bushes. I've had lighter stakes, but they were lousy. I think most in the hammocking community seem to prefer MSR Groundhogs to keep our high strung tarps from blowing away. I drilled holes in a few of the stakes, but hey collected dirt and it didn't really save weight. I can get by with only 6 stakes though.
"Replace the hip belt pockets with some sil-nylon stuff sacks that can attach to the same place."
Thought about it, but I do like my Granite Gear pockets and realize the flimsy stuff sacks would get on my nerves.
I'm not stubbornly resistant to change, just looking for ideas and telling you what I've learned from my experiences, intolerance for tacky-ugly things, and comfort threshold. I think I'm getting closer to my limits, other than shelling out the big bucks for a new pack, quilt, and tarp, besides those things would only amount to about 20 oz in weight savings perhaps.Jul 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm #1515476
I'm originally from south central Missouri, so I understand about the water issues. That said, pre-trip planning can make a huge difference in water needs. Go beyond looking at a map, spotting a small stream and calling it good. Instead, call ranger stations and check websites that list water flow levels.
I think that your next big hurdle to overcome isn't financial investment, but instead learning to make some of your own gear. There are tons of cheap options for a lot of the things such as trekking poles and such.
Don't discount carbon fiber until you've actually tried it from well respected design. The gossamer gear poles I received have more than proved themselves. As a note, I weight 220, so it's not like I'm easy on them.
Denatured alcohol is available at REI but more readily in the paint section of nearly all hardware stores.
If you have a strong preference for tanking up, I'd suggest looking into UV options. While a bit unproven, the Muv from aquastar is light AND cheap. From experience they have good customer service, but I've never used that model, only their older model.
Water carrying options: A large (3L) platty doesn't weigh much more than a small platty and will still be lighter than your nalgene canteen. For longer stretches, you can always just fill it up more and use it to refill your gatoraid bottles as needed.
Regarding headbands for LED lights – I use a thin rubber band that doesn't register on my scale as less than 0.1 oz. I clip my Photon Rex's clip to the rubber band and slide the rubber band on my head, keeping the light under the band so that the button faces outward. It works supprisingly well in all conditions. The rex can be charged in the field using any of your spare aaa, aa or any other standard battery.
To lighten your camera, carry lithium batteries. For tripods, use the forum search on here as there are 3oz fullsized tripod designs and mini tripods that are less than an ounce.
No, you can't count on rocks and bushes being where other people want to camp, but the advantage of hammock hanging is that you get to have a lot more options where YOU setup. I used my hennesay hyperlight a lot in Missouri and Akansas and rarely used any stakes at all. I carried one MSR groundhog and one needle stake, the groundhog doubled as a poo trowel.
I'm unfamiliar with that hammock's stake needs, but you can sometimes use a Y of cord to join two tie outs together and use half as many stakes.
Use weed eater line to stiffen up the brim of your sil-nylon bags to hold them open.Jul 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm #1515486
Thanks for the tips, Joe. I'm sure by the time I actually go out, I'll make a change or two, depending on the cost/weight benefit of the goal.
"call ranger stations and check websites that list water flow levels."
Trying to ask rangers about hiking things here is a dead end street, they are understaffed also. There are not that many USGS water gauges, and the ones that there are are usually on larger streams. I check them regularly for canoeing purposes. I'm usually pretty good at guessing, but I count on the creeks being dry, if that makes sense.
"The gossamer gear poles I received have more than proved themselves."
Good point, I may have to give some a try, when I spot a good deal. I think with a little common sense I could avoid snapping them. It's not like I'm going on major expeditions here.
"Denatured alcohol is available at REI but more readily in the paint section of nearly all hardware stores."
I'll find some and try it out.
"I'd suggest looking into UV options."
I'm not too crazy about UV systems. They also aren't really much lighter than my 6 oz Timberline.
"Water carrying options: A large (3L) platty"
Actually, it's on the list, I plan on getting a 2L 1.3 oz. Platy bladder one of these days, probably just to jack an order up over $50 for free shipping.
"I clip my Photon Rex's clip to the rubber band"
Good tip. I sure did like the $5. 1.3 oz Energizer one I found at Wally World though. Might have to shell out for one of these.
"To lighten your camera, carry lithium batteries. For tripods, use the forum search on here as there are 3oz fullsized tripod designs and mini tripods that are less than an ounce."
How much do lithium batteries weigh vs. regular rechargeables? I think my rechargebles are 1 oz each and have been used many times. Can you provide a link to one of the mini-tripods that is usable and weighs less than my 1.5 oz Joby? I don't want a bottle lid one, I want something I can hang on trees, put on slanted rocks, etc…
"I carried one MSR groundhog and one needle stake,"
My tarp has six tie outs, and it will catch wind. The stock Hennessy diamond tarps don't catch much wind.
"Use weed eater line to stiffen up the brim of your sil-nylon bags to hold them open."
That's a good tip there! I still refuse to use stuff sacks for hipbelt pockets. Besides, my hipbelt already weighs a hefty 10 oz w/o the pockets…one of the shortcomings of the Vapor Trail.
What part of Missouri did you come from?Jul 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm #1515500
I grew up outside Mountain Grove, but then lived in Springfield while in college. I moved to the Boulder area two years ago.
I was pretty hessitant about UV at first too, but being able to stoop down, dip some water and treat it while walking was a major advantage. It isn't a great option due to the batteries during winter, but it's an excellent summer hiking and canoing tool. No hoses and no stopping necessary.
Tripod Example: Tripod Examples
Or, for self portraits where you'd normally want to hang from a tree limb or whatever:
The Stick Pic 10.8grams
AA batteries: Alkaline 0.8oz, NMHD Rechargable 1.0 oz, Lithium 0.5ozJul 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm #1516071
You might try a poncho to replace both your rain gear and your pack cover. If you get a large poncho, like the Gatewood poncho, it could also serve as a tarp, especially on the weekends when they're not predicting rain.
You might look at a 2-L Platypus, instead of carrying all those 1-L bottles. If you won't need 2 liters, simply put 1 liter in it.
You can find denatured alcohol in the paint department of any WalMart.
It's hard to get your weight down a lot due to all of the hammock gear, so that's something to consider.
I hike the Arkansas Ozarks and Ouachitas every year and until winter sets in, I can usually keep my base weight in the 5 lb range.
JimAug 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm #1518141
I'm not too interested in a poncho tarp for hammocking, nor am I going to give up on hammocking just to save weight. I also like hard plastic bottles so that I can grab them while I'm hiking w/o the fiddle factor.
I've already made a few more changes:
replaced Energizer LED with Photon Freedom LED = 1 oz savings
replaced rechargeables with Lithium batteries = 1 oz savings
replaced Nalgene Cantene with Platypus 2 L = 1 oz savings
repackaged Aquamira in small containers = 1 oz savings
replaced hammock suspension = 3 oz savings
replaced 2 MSR Groundhogs with MSR Needles = .7 oz savings
changed to better ditty bag = .2 oz gain
That's nearly 1/2 pound for less than $50!
I'm trying to figure out a different pack cover. Does anyone make cuben fiber or spinnakers ones besides Z-Packs?
Now, if only I could afford to replace my heavy bag with 6 oz lighter Nunatak quilt and get save another 4 oz with a spinnaker tarp. That would be at least $35 an ounce to do the replacement.Aug 8, 2009 at 8:45 am #1519522
Have you considered using a compactor trash bag as a liner bag for your pack? This would save you some weight and keep all of your items dry.
JimSep 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm #1530467
I've worked on my gear list some more. Any new suggestions?
replaced Warbonnet synthetic underquilt with Te-Wa down UQ = roughly same weight but much warmer, larger, and smaller packing
replaced Western Mtn. Mitylite with Jacks R Better High Sierra Sniveller = 2 oz and 15F warmer rating
replaced cheap acrylic beanie with Smartwool beanie = 1 oz
replaced cheap fleece gloves with OR PL gloves = 2 ozSep 25, 2009 at 6:52 am #1530503
Adam RothermichBPL Member
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
You could save another couple of ounces by switching the hipbelt pockets out with a pair from Gossamer Gear or Zpacks. And a trash compactor bag, while I don't have a weight in front of me, is surely lighter than 3.5 oz. That's all I used for my very rainy hike in Colorado last year and my quilt never got wet. You could also lose the waterproof stuff sack and save yourself another 1.5 oz. You could probably toss a few things out of the first aid kit. Mine, which includes my gear repair kit, is 2.8 oz.
I see you've stolen my kitchen set up, down to the inverted county fair cup to hold it all together :D. No suggestions there, as it is perfect. You know, that mesh sack that came with the mug is lighter than the XS stuff sack you have listed. That's what I use to keep my AM, Dr. Bronners, bug repellent, and other small item together. A hipbelt pocket works equally well.
You could save weight by switching over to Ti stakes, but the groundhog style are much easier to use in the rocky "soil" in the Ozarks. You could also ditch one or the other of the Platypus bags, but if that's what you like keep it.
All of this is really just nit-picking. You've got a sub-12 lbs baseweight with a hammock and UQ/TQ. That's pretty respectable in my book.
AdamOct 10, 2009 at 7:52 am #1535021
Any framed pack suggestions that would cut a few ounces and still be able to hold my hammocking gear? The shoulder straps on my regular size Vapor Trail just seem to small these days. Considering Osprey Exos, ULA Circuit-Ohm, Six Moon Designs Starlite-Traveler, Gossamer Gear Gorilla…
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