Mar 7, 2010 at 9:20 pm #1256186
@jdthomasLocale: SE Michigan
My friend and I are going to be doing the Colorado Trail and then heading into Montana next year. I am starting out new to backpacking for the most part and I am looking for 3 season Light/ultralight gear. I myself will be using this gear for some time to come because I plan to spend a few years backpacking around the U.S. What is the best gear as far as quality / price. All I have so far is the Bivy I just bought. Beyond that I am reading forums and looking for advise from UL backpackers. As far as I can tell the Jam2 seems like a favorite pack along with a GG Nightlight pad. I am open to all suggestions including clothing, etc. Thanks for your time and I look forward to your advise.
Bought so far:
MLD Superlight Custom BivyMar 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm #1583417
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
There is no such thing as a complete gear list. There are complete gear lists that work for specific individuals. Gear must be integrated into a useful system that meets the living requirements for each hiker. And there are as many gear lists, as there are individuals hiking.
I would start out my reading two books:
"Trail Life" by Ray Jardine
"Lightweight Backpacking and Camping" by Ryan Jordan
These two gentlemen are considered 'experts' in the field and well respected. They have many things in common, and many differences. For example, Ryan often uses a small tarp and a bivy, while Jardine uses a large tarp and never a bivy.
Next thing I would do is join BPL as a member and read almost all the gear articles.
Then start researching past posts and current posts to get the perspective of the BPL membership. What works well for me, would not even be considered by others. The goal is to be as light, efficient, and safe as possible.
And the debates of equipment goes on daily. Even accomplished backpackers make changes based of feedback of the community.Mar 8, 2010 at 11:24 am #1583581
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
I'll add LIGHTEN UP! by Don Ladagan as a good introdutary book.
also – here's a link to my gear list. I worked hard to make it as tidy as I could. It might help.Mar 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm #1583620
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I agree, Don's book was helpful and entertaining. I still re-read it every so often. Ryan's book is excellent and more in depth. In some ways it is a very technical book, though, so as of 2010 some of the details are out of date- but still probably the best single source available. If you really want to know the details, Ryan's book is the best bet by far. As an example, the book discusses some theory behind different means of heat loss (covering convection, conduction, radiation, etc.) and how to combat them.
It's hard to post you a complete list of recommended gear, since everyone's tastes differ. Are you a bag guy or quilt guy? Hydration system or water bottles? Do you want asolo shelter, or two-person? Etc. What we probably could do is produce a generic 3-season list, like:
tent poles, if needed
sleeping bag or quilt
bivy, if using a tarp
Then you could research everything on your own, and decide what you like. Then post here with more specific questions and I'm sure everyone will be very helpful- they always are.
I have a Jam2, though it is an older one without the hipbelt pockets. Thus I permanently added an MLD pocket to it. It's a good pack, but there are certainly lighter ones out there in the same size range that are still plenty durable (I'm not talking about cuben packs), so I'm sure we could give you TONS of good ideas for packs. Many people here criticize GoLite for getting more and more mainstream, and thus adding weight to their packs. Their packs are probably more "light" than "ultralight" nowadays. So, if you want a real UL pack we can probably recommend better ones.
But buy a pack last. Get the other stuff first, then buy the pack, so that you know the pack is big enough to hold it all. (This is the advice that is ALWAYS given to beginners, yet I know of no one who has actually done it this way. Packs just scream out to be bought first!)
I also have two different GG NightLights, though I generally use a Down-to-Earth pad with my JRB Sniveller, nowadays. The GG pads are good generic closed cell pads. I think they are a little more tacky/sticky than some others I've used, though, so it can be frustrating to get them packed correctly inside of a pack, if that is what you plan to do. But they are good no-frills closed cell pads.
Are you buying a complete set of new camping gear? I'm sure we all have ideas about what we "would have done differently" if we were buying everything new.Mar 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm #1583648
Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
If you click on a persons profile (might be a member only function) most people have posted some sort of gear list for different situations. I think you will find a similarity in most set ups and will be able to make a good choice from there.Mar 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm #1583653
Greg MihalikBPL Member
The next piece of gear to buy is a scale that is good to +/- 0.1 ounces.
After that you need to set up a spreadsheet.
Real numbers. Real obvious. Then you can compare and learn.Mar 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm #1583757
Jamie ShorttBPL Member
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
Joshua, Here is a link to my gear list page. I will echo the recommendation for "Lighten Up" as a starting reference. About half way down the page is a link to a spreadsheet that includes 3 different lists (LW, UL, SUL) for traditional 3 season hiking.
JamieMar 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm #1583782
@jdthomasLocale: SE Michigan
Thanks so much for all the advise. I am going to buy those books and keep looking on these forums for advice, etc. As far as the setup, I plan on using a quilt/ bivy/ tarp. I will be using water bottles, most likely platypus. I am going to take your advise and buy my backpack last and first thing tomarrow I will buy a digital scaleMar 17, 2010 at 8:47 am #1587470
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Wups, sorry. I haven't checked this in a while.
If you want to go quilts, I can't say enough good things about JRB. I have their Rocky Mountain Sniveller. They aren't the lightest quilts out there, but they are solid. Also, they're cut square rather than mummy-style, so the footboxes can seem a bit big. But the square shape and non-permanent footbox also makes them a bit more multi-use, especially since you can wear them as an insulated poncho, too. I got the omnitape modification on mine and use it with JRB's Down-to-Earth sleeping pad. I think this makes everything a bit more roomy, which is important to me as I move around a lot when I sleep and tend to sleep on my side. It also eliminates drafts. But it adds a couple of ounces.
I've also got a BPL/BMW Cocoon UL 180 synthetic quilt, but I've barely used it. (I am guilty of erring on the side of warmth, and my current hiking digs can surprise you with the weather, even in summer. Thus the RM Sniveller.) The UL 180 is what it is- a very minimalist quilt for those who live the BPL party line, and layer insulating clothing when they sleep. Wicked light, though. I'm happy with it- understanding its limitations. I keep it around for when I get in a lunatic-fringe mood.
You can easily spend $500 on a cutting-edge Nunatak quilt if you try. enLIGHTened makes some lunatic-fringe quilts out of cuben fiber.
But since you mentioned wanting a good quality/price tradeoff, I'll stand by JRB. (At least if you're interested in down rather than synthetic.)
The only "tarp" that I have any great experience with is the SMD Gatewood Cape, which is also my raingear, but it is only for when I'm in my lunatic-fringe kinda mood. (Otherwise I have a TT Moment and GoLite raingear.) It's a great product for what it is, but it is what it is- a compromise. I do think that it makes a far superior solo shelter than most poncho-tarps marketed by others. (I combine mine with MLD's rain gaiters.) And it has a pocket, and a full-length zipper down the front of it, both of which most other poncho-tarps lack. A single trekking pole works as a tent pole, but it does require a minimum of six stakes, and pitches sort of like a pyramid tent.
I have an Oware silnylon bivy which I do like, due to it's no-frills simplicity. But if you're going to be a dedicated tarp camper you may want something a bit less minimalist. I have no experience with any other bivies, as this is my first and only.
I sort of conform to BPL groupthink regarding water bottles. I just re-use old PET soda/juice/gatorade bottles. (They are very light, especially compared to hard-sided Nalgene bottles, etc., and quite acceptably durable.) The exception is that I use a Sawyer 4-way water filter, and use the scoop-and-run bottle that they make for it. (Walmart markets a slightly bigger filter/bottle setup, if you're interested in Sawyer. I take every opportunity to pimp for them.) The standard Sawyer bottle is semi-soft-sided and reasonably light, but the Walmart bottle looks like it may be more equivalent to a Nalgene.Mar 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm #1589669
I'm in the same boat, and found Brett's ultralight list to be very helpful (although I don't have any real experience to compare it to just yet)
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