Packlist for trail crew work

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    Gregory Petliski


    I have to weigh the clothing, but I figure it will add between 8-10 pounds, including rain gear. Boots add about 4 lbs. Not your traditional spartan setup (I use a pillow) but is there anything I could be cutting out and replacing with double use gear? Since this is just my personal gear, once I add food and water and tools it could get quite heavy, so any weight saved here would be awesome.

    EMS Trail 70 – 75oz
    ZPacks XS day pack – 2.8oz
    20-L ultra sil dry sack (sleeping bag, jacket) – 1.7oz
    8-L ultra sil dry sack (clothes) – 1.1oz
    ZPacks blast food bag 12-L – 1.2oz
    Cuben tarp 5.5' x 8.5' (3.2 oz)
    1.25mm spectra guylines (.25 oz)
    1.5mm spectra ridgeline (.88 oz)
    MSR groundhog stakes (six/4.2 oz)
    1.75mm Dyneema cord (bear bag line) – 1oz
    Borah Gear M50 bivy – 6 oz
    Theramrest Z-Lite – 14oz
    Lafuma 40 deg./ Quest 45+ deg. ~ 20oz
    Cocoon Silk Liner – 4.7oz
    Leki Makalu poles – 17oz
    Leatherman c33 (in pocket) – 2.4oz
    Spyderco Bug (around neck) – 0.4oz
    Suunto Compass – 1.4oz
    1-L snapple (x2) – 4oz
    MSR 6-L (bathing, cooking, drinking) – 5.7oz (replace w/ Dromedary 10-L, 10z?)
    GSI Lexan bowl – 2.2oz
    Squishy cup – 1.6oz
    LMF spork – 0.2oz
    MSR M food towel – 0.8oz
    MSR M body towel – 0.8oz
    Exped Air Pillow w/ cover – ~7oz
    Home Ec Kit (TP, sewing kit, duct tape, mini bic lighter, wp matches) – ~6oz
    First Aid Kit – 4oz
    Princeton Tec Fuel – 3oz
    Princeton Tec flashlight – ~1oz
    Thermometer – 0.25oz
    Adrenaline Watch – 1oz
    Camp flip flops – 6 oz

    The above is about 13 lbs. Not too bad for trail crew, although theres no stove or water filter listed, splitting that up amongst the four crew members will add a pound or so I suppose. Its the clothing more than the gear that adds the weight (carhartt type pants, ECWCS rain pants, not to mention the heavy leather boots are items I would not normally hike with).

    drowning in spam


    Locale: SoCal

    Trail work I've done worked out of a base camp, so there's no need to carry most of the gear most of the time. You seem to have realized that already, thus the day pack. Good thinking.

    Write your name on your spork. I tried using disposable and lexan spoons, and they frequently ended up in the trash. You might want to do that with all your dishes.

    I wouldn't bother with ECWCS rain pants. Instead I'd use tyvek pants. They only weigh a couple ounces and cost a couple bucks. I tried working one rainy windy day in a Dri Ducks poncho and it faired well, so I'm sure tyvek pants would do well enough, especially if you had a stash of spares somewhere.

    Don't forget ear plugs, eye protection, leather gloves and your hard hat. I'd also get an extra large bandana for wiping away sweat and protecting your neck and ears from the sun.

    If your trips are always more than a few days long, then I'd seriously consider a much larger shelter. I really enjoyed having a VERY large shelter to retire to at the end of the day. Chances are that you don't have to carry it far, and you might even have pack support carrying your gear on some hitches.

    If you insist on sticking with the tarp, then you might want to replace the trekking poles with tent pole sections. I always have tools in my hands, so trekking poles are never used. The tent poles will save you weight too, and wrapping duct tape around the tops of the poles will serve multiple purposes: duct tape and hold up your guy lines.

    Jace Mullen


    Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.

    Where will you be working, with whom and for how long?

    Also, is it bad that I read your last name as "Pulaski" at first?

    Gregory Petliski


    Maybe Greg "Pulaski" Petliski should be in my bio? I am doing a 5 month internship with the SCA Adirondack program. To say I'm excited is like saying the woods have trees. I'm not sure there will be pack support; none was mentioned in the description I was sent, in fact I was told in the interview to be prepared to carry supplies for up to 10 days at times.

    As far as not having to carry the gear very far, most hitches will have a 5-15 mile walk in. If my base weight is 20lbs, food another 10lbs for a 5 day hitch (the average length), water for the hike at 4 lbs, and then the tools, thats a hell of a lot of weight. Saving some ounces on the tarp at the expense of a nice roomy shelter is fine. I prefer out under the stars when its not raining anyway. But that thinking is why I am willing to bring a pillow and maybe even a second foam pad (but one with one inch squares cut out, I am experimenting with that idea).

    Lefty, great idea about the name on the sport. In fact, I'll probably write my name on everything just to avoid confusion. As for gloves, I read that pigskin is tougher than cowhide and dries soft after being wet. Figure I'll start with a pair for each month of work, could always get more later. Eye protection is provided, if ear protection is not I have tons of earplugs from my days as a concert photographer.

    The trekking poles are not so much for pitching the tarp (usually A frame it between trees) but for the first day's hike in. If I am to be hand carrying tools on that first day then I could ditch the poles altogether.

    Jace Mullen


    Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.

    Nice, I did an SCA highschool program and have heard good things about the internship things.

    I might bring my own eye gear just because in my experience, you will not be getting brand spanking new gear, it is usually pretty beat up. Not much to invest (like $5) and will improve your experience with rock work and the like a bunch.

    drowning in spam


    Locale: SoCal

    I did a bunch of trail work with the SCA last year. While you might walk in as far as 15 miles, your camp will certainly be much closer. Most of the trail projects we did either involved car camping or had pack support. We never walked more than 7 miles from base camp. With pack support carrying mostly our tools and food, I believe our longest walk to camp was 13 miles. You'll need pack support or a shorter walk if you're going to carry the amount of tools it takes to get the job done.

    Here are the gloves I use for trail work:

    I also reviewed those gloves on Amazon. When doing rock work, gloves wear out quickly. I'm not sure that more expensive gloves will pay off.

    You don't really have to ditch the poles. Just leave them in the trailer. Because you will have that trailer, you don't have to restrict yourself to that tarp the entire time. In fact, you might really want something greater than a tarp when you're camping in the front country during your breaks, if only for privacy. Also, the SCA will almost certainly loan you a Sierra Designs tent, so there's your front country shelter.

    If you haven't gone through training yet, make sure you find out about the blender guy. Was Sterling there? He was hoping to thru hike the PCT this year and enjoy all the work he's put into it over the last few years.

    Gregory Petliski


    I can't see there being pack support. Not many trails in the Adirondacks are suitable for pack animals. Beyond that, nothing in the materials I've gotten or the information I got from the interview made it sound like there would be. I was told to be prepared to hike with a ten day food supply for the longer hitches. Of course, there very may well be pack support, but I'm going about my training and planning as though there wont be.

    Gregory Petliski


    Lefty, as far as gloves go, I think I'll grab a 5-pack of the gloves you posted for really abrasive work and a pair or two of the softer (yet claims to still be tougher?) pigskin leather gloves for swinging axes and whatnot when comfort is more appreciated. They also make a pigskin glove that is waterproof and insulated, which I think would be very nice to have for September and October.

    FWIW, these are the pigskin gloves. Claims to be twice as abrasive resistant as cowhide and dries softer when wet, but it is over twice the price per pair as the cowhide. The insulated?waterproof ones are $10 more.

    Julie R
    BPL Member


    I worked on trail crews for years – loved it! Here are a few ideas for losing some weight, may or may not be worthwhile:

    Instead of a day pack, we'd empty our hiking pack (not much in it anyway) and use it for the work day. could put extra stuff in the bivy? although 3 oz isn't much savings. or if your lid is detachable and large enough, you could use that.

    For backcountry I wore a lighter pair of khaki type pants. a little sturdier than nylon hiking pants (which some people would wear), but not as heavy as carharts, and held up pretty well.

    I never used a pillow – just clothing I had. Usually so tired after a day of work, it didn't matter. but check out – they sell an inflatable pillow that weighs 0.56 oz.

    For gloves, I always used basic leather gloves that fit my hands comfortably, seemed like as long as they were leather, they all lasted about the same amount. I never used insulated/waterproof, but as long as I was working it wasn't a problem, even in snow. just be sure to keep the gloves in your back pockets or stick them in armpits during breaks to keep them warm!

    And finally, shameless plug – if you get through the 5 months wanting more trail and leadership experience, check out Northwest Youth Corps (if you want to work with teens) – best times of my life.

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