Jan 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm #1283957
Recently moved from the UK to the USA (central PA) and loving the opportunities I have for backpacking. Now I'm looking to lighten my gear and I'm open to suggestions; I mainly backpack with my girlfriend so there's a lot of shared gear.
Critique/suggest away (I'd like to do this on the cheap, but I'm not adverse to spendng some $$, especially as we're planning an AT thru hike for 2013).
Gregory Z55 (medium); looking at SMD Starlite and ULA Circuit.
Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo (standard foor, tyvek groundsheet, standard stakes)
REI Halo 25* bag (for warmer weather I have a Mountain Hardware Lamina 45* bag; looking at Katabatic Gear Alsek
Sea to Summit Reactor Liner
Therm-a-rest Trail Lite; looking at NeoAir, but not too sure how it would work with the Starlite. Anybody have any experience with this?
Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewider
Evernew 1.3L Ti Pot
8 fl oz fuel bottle
8oz mug (from GSI Dualist)
2x 1L Playpus
Weight for pack (minus food, water and fuel) is around 16lb.
Vasque Breeze; I have wide, Fred Flinstone feet so it's really hard to find footwear that fits well!
REI Polartech (baselayer)
Mountain Hardware Microgrid fleece
REI Revelcloud vest
Mountain Hardware Matterhorn pants
REI eVent rain jacket
2x Smartwool socks/liners
Berghaus Windblocker gloves
Black Diamond Gizmo LED headlight
Black Diamond Trail Shock treking poles
Thanks so much!Jan 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm #1823011
Seth BrewerBPL Member
Glad to hear you've caught the UL bug! Just did an A.T thru-hike myself this year so congrats on your prep for 2013 – You'll love it! There are many more experienced people here that can chime in their advice (I contribute a large portion of the success that I had on the trail to the proper advice and preparation that BPL helped me get before I started my thru) Lots of options out there, but here is what I would do if I where you:
1) ULA Circuit (used an MLD Exodus and Burn on my thru. I own this bag, t will carry weight well and is light but good.
2) Trash Compactor Bag
1) REI Halo 25* (switch to MH UL 45* for summer) Ditch the STS Liner – I don't think they work very well. Adds 1 LB
2) Z-lite CCF Pad OR bring a Neoair Xlite w/ a 1/8" Gossamer Gear or similar CCF Pad underneath to protect it. Used a Neoair for 1,800 miles till it got a slow leak, and being to lazy to fix it with the repair kit I was already carrying, sent it hope and slept on a GG Torsolite Pad (3 oz.) with a 1 oz. foam hip doughnut. Neoair was more comfortable.
1) Lunar Duo is popular and should be great for you both. Ditch tyvek gs and use GG Polycro, get Titanium needle stakes
2) GG Polycro Groundsheet (2 oz.) mine lasted me the entire 2,200 miles without a single tear.
3) Vargo, or Mountain Fitter, or similar Titanium Hook Stakes. Light and super strong.
1) Stick with the Ti-Tri Sidewinder. Haven't used it myself but hear very good things about it. Should be fine with that.
2) Evernew Pot
3) 8 oz. Soda Bottle for Fuel
4) McDonalds 8 oz. Coffee Mug (don't bring the Titanium mug…I wouldn't at least)
5) Titanium Spork (won't break like the annoying Light My Fire plastic ones…and won't break while eating Ice Cream :-D )
1) Aqua Mira is probably the most popular option. I used a Steripen for myself and loved it. Not sure if that would be economical for two people.
2) I'd bring 2 1L Gatorade water bottles. Free after you get a nice beverage out of them. And easily replaced. I found that collapsable containers started to leak on me after a week or two and stopped using them.
1) I brought a Gizmo on my trip and it worked fine. Just not the brightest for night hiking. I kind of wish I had a red light feature on mine sometimes.
2) Bring a Photon Micro as emergency backup.
1) I carried Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork and they still work even after over 3,000 miles of trails. Keep the BD's.
Socks: I had NOT A SINGLE BLISTER IN 2,200 MILES WITH INJINJI TOE SOCKS. Just saying its worth trying one pair and seeing what you think.
1) I have wide big feet and used Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 Trail Runners ($125 / pair) and used 3 1/2 pairs on the whole trail with Superfeet or SOLE Dean Karnazes Signature Insoles in them and they worked awesome. Just a thought.
1) for winter I'd keep the REI stuff, but buy some DriDucks ($15 for a pair at "The Sports Authority" online) for summer as they will actually breath WAY better and be lighter than your REI stuff. I didn't even carry pants, just the jacket for summer.
1) Exofficio is pretty good stuff. I hiked in running shirts and running shorts the whole trail, expect for NJ and then I hiked in my Rail Riders Eco-Mesh LS Top and Pants.
Tired and should be in bed by now. Try putting all your items into a word document and use GearGrams (found online, just google it, make your gear list, and then link it to your BPL posting so people can see weights of what your considering).
BUY A CHEAP SCALE AT WALMART. that will go grams / oz. etc. Mine goes up to 5 lbs and I think I paid $12. It will be the most import thing you purchase for your hike.Jan 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm #1823028
Hey good luck preparing for the 2013 AT hike. + Welcome to the US.
Packing: I have both a SMD Swift and a Golite Jam. I like the jam much more because it is just so comfortable. Sure it weighs more (26oz with straps trimmed and bladder pocket removed) but comfort is IMO more important. The pocket layout is better, too, in my opinion. The Starlite might be more comfortable, but consider looking into a jam. Also, the jam doesn't need a separate pad for support so you can use an inflatable. You can also use the padding included to supplement your normal sleeping pad. (unless you want to replace the one in it) (no experience w/ ULA so no comment there)
Sleeping: You should be fine with the Lunar Duo (I use a tarp/bivy but their are advantages to both, and anyway your girlfriend might not enjoy the tarping style). I own a Katabatic Gear Palisade and all I can say is that it is the nicest piece of gear that I own. Extremely warm (probably 20º, with clothes maybe lower if you sleep hot) and only 17-18 oz. I can recommend anything from them although it is a bit pricey. I dont think that you need the S2S liner but each to his own.
Shoes: Look into trail runners or running shoes. It is less hard to find extranios sizes of running shoes compared to hiking boots. You can research the differences, but it is another personal choice. I use NB minimus shoes w/o socks but thats fine for me. I am pretty minimal on footwear.
Clothes:Look at wrightsock running socks. They are great (0 blisters and very comfortable for the weight of a pair of sock liners). Look at a DriDucks rain jacket, they cost <20$ for the whole suit and weight 11oz for both. They are not very durable so you have to be careful, though.
-ConnerJan 11, 2012 at 4:56 am #1823081
Kevin BabioneBPL Member
You haven't maintained an email address so I can't send you a PM, but welcome to the States. I live near Lancaster, PA and have some of the gear you have on your list if you'd like to see it (depending on where in "Central PA" you are). Specifically:
– SMD Starlight Pack
– SMD Lunar Duo
– SMD Swift (in case you'd like to see that too)
Since those are big purchases I know it's nice to at least see them before you buy.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or would like to try to get together. I also have a list of good weekend loop hikes in PA that you can do to test your gear and dial it in.Jan 11, 2012 at 6:00 am #1823103
Thanks for the replies guys, the advice is greatly appreciated. I'm orignially from England and gear choices are somewhat different than in the US (mainly dictated by weather and terrain). It's great to have new opportunites to learn though.
That being said, more choices and more decision! I'll definitely look in to the GoLite Jam, especially as it's on sale right now for $69!
I did create a GearGrams account and I'll post the URL to that when I get all my gear entered.
Again thanks for the replies.Jan 11, 2012 at 7:29 am #1823125
Look at Saucony ProGrid Exodus trail runners, they work well for my wide feet. The Salomon's mentioned above also fit me well, I just didn't care for the lacing system.Jan 12, 2012 at 6:06 am #1823693
12.61lb, not too shabby, especially as some of the gear is group gear and that will be carried by my girlfriend!
I'm having an awfully hard time deciding on which shoes to get. I tried on a pair of Merrell Moab last night (30oz for the pair) and they felt really comfortable and I'm torn if I want to go lighter and get trail running shoes (the NB 810 or similar, as I love my 806ATs).
I live in a pretty small town so I'd probably have to order shoes online. I really need to try shoes on first as, I mentioned, I have really wide feet and it's hard getting a comfortable shoe.
I did, as recommended buy some Injini socks and oh my gosh, if they're not super comfortable, thanks for the heads up!
Still unsure if I should keep my Gregory (it's perfectly serviceable and fits really well) or get a new pack and save a pound or so.Jan 12, 2012 at 8:32 am #1823747
Greg FBPL Member
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I would buy everything else first and then decide on the pack. For me the biggest benefit of a new pack is reducing bulk not reducing weight.
I think there is a big psycological advantage of having a physically smaller pack. So if you Gregory pack is bulky and you have lots of room then it would be definately worth it to go smaller. If it holds you gear nicely and is comfortable then I might wait a while before replacing it.
Depending on how far you go down the UL road you might need to replace you pack several times as you reduce the volume of you other gear.
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