Sep 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm #1239720
Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
The URL is to my PDF gear list on my profile. It is still too heavy. We were OK but with all the ups and downs a lighter kit would have been nice. Still learning.
I have a pretty good kit, not the fanciest or the very lightest items, but close. But the totals still come nowhere near as low as others report. Partly I am carrying gear for others, but even disregarding that, I still could use some suggestions for winnowing.
Here are the additional notes copied from the foot of the PDF gear list, for the sake of discussion:
We carried more food weight than we needed. Partly this was because of inexperience with longer trails, and worry that we’d be hungrier than we were. Some of the food was wet food, and therefore heavier. Examples include foil packs of tuna and chicken, olive oil, fresh cheese, flour tortillas, pita bread, Java Juice, and a cup of wine.
There are some items that, in hindsight, were clearly not necessary, such as the Solio and the binoculars.
One item I would add is a proper food hanging bag that would hold all the food and cooking items. We used my pack for the bear hangs, and it got wet hanging in the mist overnight, which made it heavier during the days. Plus it was a pain to get up and down from the hangs.
Although we were hiking as a pair, I carried all of the shared equipment, including the tarp, water filter, first aid kit, and all the cooking kit stuff and fuel. Robert carried his own clothes and personal items, his own “tools & toys” (camera, poles, knife, eating utensils, that kind of stuff), his sleeping stuff, and outerwear. He felt he needed some of his extra clothing and larger sizes of items like sunscreen, and he was worried that he would not be able to complete a long hike, so I took on more of the gear to give him a chance to work up to it. His pack (Osprey Atmos 65 L, ’09 model) weighed less than mine when filled, but not a lot less. He did take a whole lot of snacks, and had probably a couple of pounds of trail mix and snack bars left over, that he gave to another hiker on the last day.
We had about 4 oz. of fuel alcohol left over, but with a burn ban in place I didn’t want to risk running out, since a cook fire would not have been a legal option.
It seems like hiking as a pair would be more efficient, weight-wise, but it doesn’t seem to work that way very well for me. Partly this is because when I have someone with me I bring extras for a margin of safety so I can take care of my companion(s).
We came prepared for colder weather than we got. I could probably have gotten by without the gloves, and maybe even with the Kilo Flash sleeping bag instead of the Halo, but you don’t know for sure in the mountains, and it could have gone the other way.
I got away with protecting my sleeping bag with only the pack liner, but it was risky. With more rain, a breached pack liner (only plastic after all), or a serious river dunking, I might have had a soaked down bag, not a good idea. So I am thinking I should add some kind of dry sack for it, at least for wet climates.
This was for the 6 days from Frying Pan Creek to Mowich Lake, clockwise. The first 4 days from Mowich Lake to Frying Pan Creek were done in a larger group (7 of us) with some different gear. For example, we cooked with a MSR Dragonfly and a couple of larger Open Country aluminum pots, had a larger first aid kit, and an even greater excess of food, because the kids (grown up 20-something kids) were sure they were all going to starve and, worse, suffer caffeine withdrawal.Oct 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm #1534138
@whydriveLocale: East Tennessee
the sleeping bag is too heavy. Even though they are expensive, western mountaineering makes fantastic bags at half the weight of what you are using right nowOct 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm #1534149
Really? WM makes an 18oz sleeping bag that is rated to 25 degrees?Oct 8, 2009 at 8:53 am #1534253
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
They dont make a 25* bag at 18oz, but they do have a 32* bag at 19oz(Summerlite) and a 20* bag at 26oz(Ultralite), I have both. As good of bags as WM makes, and I am certainly not saying they aren't better than REI, but the new REI bags are EN rated so give them credit for that. They are probably a good value bag.
On to other things….
First on a trip that long, you might be better off with a a different stove. Alcohol stoves are great for short trips, but because the fuel is very heavy lose their weight advantage as trips get longer, I mean you did carry 30 fluid ounces, that is a LOT of fuel. Also while I am on the cookware topic, you are carrying two stoves, two cookpots, and mugs? Perhaps it was worth it, but that is a lot of unnecessary weight for tea, if you ask me.
I would lose the binoculars
I know you are in a place where you are going to take lots of pics, and you don't want a dead camera, so I don't blame you for taking it, but I would lose the solar charger.
You should be able to shave an ounce or two from that first aid kit.
4 boxes of matches and a sparker is a bit overkill.
You could replace the filter with Aquamira.
I would get rid of the camp shoes as well.
Sounds like you had a great trip, I hear it is a beautiful trail, I need to get out there and hike it someday.Oct 8, 2009 at 1:07 pm #1534345
David NeumannBPL Member
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
I was also able to hike the Wonderland Trail this summer July 27-August 1 (solo). My base weight was just slightly over 7 lbs. and my total weight carried was 17 lbs. with no resupplies. I hit very warm weather and only zipped up my sleeping bag once (at Mystic Lake). While that weather was unusually warm for the Wonderland, I don't think it is necessary to carry a 25 degree bag in August, particularly when you can also wear your other available clothes to extend the temperature range of the bag. Think double use.
There is often a tendency to carry too much to provide a measure of safety, but the real safety comes from knowledge and experience. When I thru-hiked the JMT in 2005, I packed more food than necessary and ended up leaving plenty in the hiker barrel at MTR during a resupply and still had leftover at Whitney Portal.
On the Wonderland, I brought a regular stuff sack for a food bag and think I would get one with a larger handle to make it easier to put on the bear poles. I had not experienced this type of hang before. I brought a BD OneShot thinking I would experience lots of rain but I only had one major storm. The tent was too warm and I would take a tarp and netting next time and save a little weight. I used Esbit tablets and a Gram Cracker as my stove(1 a day) which enabled me to boil water each night for dinner and tea.
The most important thing is to hike your own hike. The fact you are analyzing your gear list and gaining experience with lightweight travel will make your next pack lighter and/or more efficient. There are so many variables to consider. My personal preference is a a light pack so I can put in lots of trail miles without getting tired. The trade-off comes in camp. But being warm and dry, well fed and hydrated and able to enjoy the surroundings are a must.
Any way you hike it, the Wonderland trail is an awesome experience.Oct 9, 2009 at 9:26 pm #1534940
Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Another good excuse to get out more–we need to practice!
I appreciate all the suggestions. You are right the Solio and the binoculars were superfluous. And we still had the Amigo Pro from the earlier part of the trip when there were seven of us and it made more sense to carry it. I would have taken Klearwater instead, for the latter 6 days, but can no longer get any. Probably ought to just stick to chemical treatments when not with a group, though.
The Halo 25 sleeping bag was definitely warmer than needed, but that is a consequence, once again, of overdoing it from limited experience. Sometimes in the mountains it gets really cold, even in August, but apparently not so much at Rainier at that season. I have a Kilo Flash 35 that is 20 oz., and a Sub Kilo 20 at 31 oz, either of which would have worked. (The Halo 25 actually feels a little warmer than the Sub Kilo 20–but they changed the rating system.) I have all this REI gear because I work there part time and get all this stuff *very* cheaply.
Taking the 2 alcohol stove/pot kits was an experiment, and it probably wasn't worth it to bring both of them. One more thing learned. My first choice is the bushbuddy, but it was not legal on the Wonderland (no fuel-gathering, not even twigs). This does point up one drawback of the otherwise excellent Caldera Cone concept, however. If you want two different pots–one for water for hot drinks, one for cooking actual food–then you need two cone sets. With the BB or other regular stove, you can switch the pots on and off the one stove as needed.
At least, on the other side of things, we didn't load ourselves up with a tent, or bivies or bug tents for under the tarp, or thick sleeping pads. Tarp, short Ridgerests, and polycro worked just fine.
I still haven't decided about the umbrella. I really liked walking with it, all nice and airy. And it kept the rain off my glasses! But it *is* heavier than a light poncho or hooded rain jacket.
Also remember I had nearly all the shared gear for 2 people. 2 people sharing gear should average less than solo, but not if one of those people has to carry all the shared stuff. That's the price I pay to get to go on these kinds of hikes. On these forums you hear that a lot more from husbands, who have to carry extra-comfy (heavy) this or that to get their wives to come along. But sometimes it's the other way around. And I have this wonderful husband who worries a lot, but it's really, really fun to have him along, so I go out of my way to make it easier for him.
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