May 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm #1274622
Hi all! I’m new to the forums so I hope I’m posting this in the right place. I consider myself a lightweight backpacker, if not ultra-light. I do my best to take the lightest gear that will keep me comfortable and safe. I grew up in NJ hiking in the highlands there and upstate NY (Harriman). For the last few years I’ve lived in NC and done my hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve used the same 3 season gear list very successfully. I felt like I had it dialed. Now, I’m moving to Idaho and planning my first multi-day trip in the Salmon River Mountains for September. I’m wondering if my current gear list, which worked so well in those regions will be appropriate here. This will be my first Western mountain trip. Anyone with experience hiking in this area: would you mind scanning through my gear list and giving me your opinions? Will this be a good three season packing list in Idaho? Will I be warm in the Salmon River Mountains in mid September? Also, is September the best time to experience an autumn hike in this area? I apologize for such a lengthy post, and thank you in advance for any input.
Shelter: I have two different 2 man shelter systems that I like. Will either of them work?
1- Sil-nylon tarp 10×12. I fold one end under to make a floor for ½ the shelter, and pitch the other end in a high open A.
2- Clark Jungle Hammock and REI Minimalist Bivy. I set these up bunk bed style so that both are covered by the hammock’s rain fly. Will there be useable trees available in the Salmon Rivers?
Clothing and Sleeping: I use a layering system. In the very coldest conditions I will wear everything I carry.
1- 2 Patagonia Capilene 2 L/S tees. One for wear during the day and a dry one for sleeping.
2- 1 REI Convertible Pants. For wear during the day.
3- 1 Patagonia Capilene 3 pants. For sleeping or occasional use under convertible pants on cold days.
4- 1 Patagonia R-1 full zip jacket.
5- 1 fleece neck tube. I use this as a hat, neck warmer, face warmer, balaclava when combined with my rain hat (listed below), and as a pot cozy.
6- 1 pair light weight fleece glove liners. Will these be warm enough in September?
7- 1 pair store brand waterproof breathable light weight rain pants
8- 1 Gore-tex jacket. A friend lost my old jacket and I’m searching for a bargain for a new one. Suggestions?
9- 2 pair thorlo synthetic hiking socks. Regular weight. Will it be cold enough in September that one might wear winter socks?
10- 1 Seattle Sombrero. Will it rain in September?
11- Feathered Friends Event Winter Wren 25. This sleeping bag can be worn as a vest, and I use it that way over all of my other clothes if I’m still cold around camp or a long rest. It does add some warmth, but I have to say it does not function well as a vest for me. It is too loose with drafty arm holes. For 3 seasons in NJ, Harriman NY, and the Smokies, but will I also need a true puffy jacket in Idaho?
12- Timberland Cadion GTX boots. I love these boots. I would generally only wear a heavier boot if I expected a lot of snow.
13- ¾ length closed cell foam sleeping pad
Backpack and Other: The rest of my gear.
1- Osprey Atmos 50.
2- 1 Sea-to-Summit Sil-nylon pack cover.
3- Home-made UL first aid and survival kit. Anything specific I’ll need to add?
4- 1 fixed blade knife.
5- 1 head lamp.
6- 1 pair crocs. I only strap these to my pack when I know I’ll need them for river crossings. Am I likely to need them here?
7- 1 MSR water filter.
8- 50 ft. light nylon cord for bear bagging. Is bear bagging the method of choice? Will I need a bear canister?
9- A few trash bags.
10- MSR pocket rocket and titanium kettle. I’ve heard that canister stoves like the pocket rocket can fail at high altitudes. I have no experience in these mountains, but I’m assuming they’re not THAT high. Will my cooking set-up be OK out west?
*** I hike back east in black bear country without giving it much thought, but grizzlies have me a bit more nervous. Do I need to carry pepper spray? Something else?
***Is there anything I might need to add for the new locale? Anything I should do without?May 30, 2011 at 10:30 am #1742772
Most importantly, I'm wondering if my clothing will be enough to keep me warm and dry in this new area.Jun 1, 2011 at 10:54 am #1743600
Yes, you should be warm enough with what you've listed (assuming normal weather); layers, gloves and all. Your pocket rocket stove will work exceedingly well and you'll have water boiled in no time. Your choice to carry bear spay is a personal one. If anything you will either be surprised by how warm or how cold it can be in the Rockies in September, it can do it all then.
Is your gore-tex jacket going to be a rain jacket? If it is cold and wet wouldn't your layers under a more lightweight poncho or something work well and save weight?Jun 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm #1743647
David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Full disclosure: the areas of Idaho I usually hike are north of where you're talking about–most of what I know about the Salmon River Mountains area is from driving through and car camping in the more accessible places. And it's been years since I've done any hiking back east where you're from, and then not too much.
I'd plan on at least one short shakedown trip, so you can see the conditions, rather than just hearing about them. I think you'll find Idaho mountains and forests very different from what you're used to. A *lot* drier. Bigger temperature variations from changing weather and day vs. night. Tree species and density very different. Elevations are low by Colorado Rockies standards, but timber line is also lower.
Re: bears. There's been some talk about grizzly reintroduction (fiercely opposed by the average rural Idahoan), but there doesn't appear to have been grizzlies in that part of Idaho since the 1930s or 1940s. Have you heard differently, from reliable sources? There's plenty of black bears in Idaho, but much less habituated to people (and more shy) that Nat'l Park bears back east. I'd bear bag and take the usual precautions not to surprise a bear, but wouldn't mess with bear canisters, pepper spray or bear bells. Just my opinion of course.
I think September is a fantastic time in western mountains. It's been a weird weather year (big snowpack, wet spring, slow to warm up), but generally you should have pleasantly warm days, cool nights, and low precipitation. Pack cover isn't much good, compared to a pack liner (which is just one of the trash bags you already carry). I'd also nix the rain pants, replace Seattle Sombrero with light sun hat for days and beanie for nights. A light rainshell should be plenty. I wear wool socks everyday, year round. If you replace your GTX boots with something lighter and more breathable, wool socks should be very comfy–not too cold, not too hot.Jun 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm #1743651
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
+2 on the pre-trip "shakedown cruise" to test your gear!
At high altitudes in September you can expect snow if it storms. It is usually just a few inches and melts off soon, but in rare years may be more and may stick a day or two. You can also expect frosty nights.Jun 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm #1743775
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Too much clothing IMO. Drop one of the capilene shirts if not one 2 and the 3. get rid of the R1 fleece and get a UL down jacket, or something like an arcteryx atom LT or monthbell thermawrap BC.
I live in a cold environment, northern Alberta Rockies. May long we had 4-6 feet of snow over bogs and semi frozen river crossings. temperature around 20-25 degrees nights down to 15, snow, sleet and high winds
This was my list for clothing and sleeping.
Icebreaker GT 200 L/S top(worn)
Icebreaker 150 boxers(worn)
Patagonia traverse pants(worn)
Rebel fusion pro socks(lightweight version)(worn)
MT101 shoes(not waterproof)(worn)
Atom LT hoody
icebreaker 150 liner gloves
ultra 20 quilt
vapr bivy bag
I didn't have my quilt done up in the back or my bivy zipped up, and I was always sweaty when hiking in my shell, it was almost always open. If your moving its very easy to stay warm.
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