Jun 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm #1290622
Hello everyone! I'm new to Backpacking Light and I would like your opinions on my gear list. I'm looking for tips on going lighter, multi use items, and things I may be missing.
A few disclaimers:
– The stove is heavy compared to an alcohol stove but I don't have to carry any fuel.
– The stakes are small and light but they hold down the tarp even in heavy wind.
– I am looking into a Zpacks food bag. Any testimonies?
– I use Dr. Bronner's as toothpaste. It doesn't bother me.
– I'm prone to blisters and moleskins don't help. Wearing camp shoes allows my feet to air out.
– The hip pack is great, especially in town!Jun 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm #1883436
Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Welcome to BPL!
This is a really good gear list. There's just not too much to change.
You could go with a Sawyer Squeeze filter instead of the Platypus Gravityworks and save several ounces — but — if you already have the GW, then switching isn't going to make or break your thru-hike and is just more money to spend.
Maybe throw in a 1 oz bug headnet. Previous AT-hikers can maybe chime in whether that's really needed or not.
Otherwise, great job!Jun 3, 2012 at 5:11 am #1883470
Chris WBPL Member
Is this for a thru or just general use?
The easiest swap I see for real savings without sacrifice would be to use repackaged AquaMira for water treatment. That would save about 8 oz. Gravity filters are great for groups or when you plan to spend a lot of time in camp, but not so good for the soloist on the move.
I've been using a Zpacks Blast food bag for the last couple of years with no issues. On the AT you mostly need to protect your food from small critters rather than bears, and those critters have a hard time chewing through the Cuben used in the Blast bag. I'd also consider lining it with an OpSack. Odor proofing your stash just adds that little bit of extra protection. FWIW, I generally only use the Blast bag for hanging when in grizzly country. Most of the time here I just use OpSacks and stash it out of site away from where I'm sleeping. Do that at your own risk of course.Jun 3, 2012 at 5:47 am #1883473
The list looks good. The hammock setup sounds really cozy. It would be helpful to know if it is for a thru-hike or not.
I think you can still drop a few oz by replacing or just nixing certain things.
I'm counting four pairs of socks. What is the use for all of them? I usually carry two pairs on the AT and switch them out as I need to.
Carrying campshoes to help prevent blisters is a great idea, but I think you can go with something more simple and light than 4oz. Something like this could save some weight there
Also, have you thought about changing from the rain pants to a rain kilt? The zpacks kilts weighs <2oz, and a similar one made from silnylon wouldn't weigh much more. The rain pants may also be working as insulation for you though.Jun 3, 2012 at 5:51 am #1883474
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Ditto the Aqua Mira. Note that the real weight you should consider for a filter isn't dry weight, but the weight after you've used it (even if you do your best to get out what water you can).
Ditto also the question about whether this is for a thru, or at least long chunk hike, to which I'd add the question of when you plan to start, maybe even which direction.
Injinji toe socks: I've carried these on thru-hikes for occasional toe blisters, but only for those situations. The catch with these is that they're not that durable, I tend to wear out the ball of the foot in a pair of Injinji's relatively quickly. Something like a fox river brand liner sock lasts quite a long time in comparison.
In terms of whether the list is complete:
How do you plan to carry the iPhone? If it's your camera, you'll want it handy. Putting it in a pack pocket, or ?? I like a neoprene case hanging on a shoulder strap, with the phone in a snack-sized ziplock on wet days.
Stuff sack pillow: you're going pretty light on clothing; will you have enough to put in a stuff sack pillow? OTOH, pillow needs for a hammock hanger are a bit different.
In the context of how lean you're going in other areas, I question the need for rain pants.
Why camp shoes? For some at least (me included), just loosen the laces a bit so they can slip on and off and your trail runners are fine camp shoes. Hardly any creek crossings of note on the AT.
Hard to talk about clothes much without knowing when you're going, but some sort of mittens or gloves perhaps, at least liner gloves. Some sort of warm hat?
Some sort of pack liner, and/or even a very light pack cover — it doesn't look like you're super tight on budget, so look at zpacks for a cuben one perhaps.
I suggest that you plan on carrying a plastic water bottle or two to augment your 2-liter platypus. On occasion this will be helpful to fill it with, and for me at least a 20 oz gatorade bottle is the only 'cup' that I carry.
There are a good few places along the AT where your water source is a fair slog downhill from a shelter. In that context, a second platypus with just a cap is worth carrying. And note that these aren't comfortable to carry uphill when full of water; consider an actual water carrier of some sort. Bringing more water to camp than I figured I needed helped me to rehydrate.
Ask your doctor if s/he will give you a prescription for, I think it's doxycyclene (in case you come down with clear Lyme symptoms). Mine did.
Purell, or the equivalent. Often no water around to wash with Dr. Bronners when you need it.
How do you keep things dry that you don't put in the hammock; hang underneath? A thin black plastic yard waste bag might be handy.
Sewing needle plus dental floss.
I find one of those really light pack towels worth the weight, or at least a cut-down square from one — if for nothing else then to dry out your tarp in the morning before putting it away.
As light as you're going, and as close together as resupply points are on the AT, consider ditching the stove and eating cold. Food items aren't necessarily that much heavier going stoveless, and you likely won't need a lot of food per day when starting out at least.
An impressive list; if you think to do so, please follow up sometime and post the base weight that you actually end up using, and how well all of this works for you.Jun 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm #1883578
Nathan LareBPL Member
I have had really good luck with Hydropel to prevent blisters. I usually put it on my feet in the morning before I start hiking.Jun 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm #1883621
Thank you everyone for the ideas. This list is for a full thru-hike in 2013. I did half of the AT in 2011 from GA to PA with about a 35 lb pack. Almost all of the old items have been replaced with the gear on this list. All of these items have been field tested at least a couple of times.
-The water filter was measured when wet. The weight also includes my main source for hydration. I really enjoy having a tube and bite valve. The filter and connection hoses weigh 3.2oz, bladder with bite valve 4oz, and zip top "dirty" bag weighs 3oz. I like the ability to fill the bladder without opening the pack by using the disconnects. If I went with chemical drops I would only save about 3-4 oz and I really detest the chemical taste (I tried it last year). If I had it to do over again I would go with Sawyer but as you can tell this filter is new.
– I carry The iPhone in a DIY Tyvek pouch that attaches to the shoulder strap of my pack. (weight is included in the phone section) My mom is modeling the empty pouch:
– I will be looking into lighter camp shoes.
– I put the down jacket in the stuff sack pillow, it fits perfectly.
– The down jacket also has a hood but I will consider taking my Montbell fleece beenie.
– Any glove/mitten recommendations?
– The pack is rain proof since it is made out of cuben fiber. I have tested this, contents stay dry. No need for pack cover/liner.
– The rain pants will be used for extra warmth, rain, wind, and trail overgrowth.
– The doxycyclene is a great idea!
– My FAK contains some alcohol wipes. I took Purell last year and never used it.
– Needle and floss are on the list under dental care and FAK.
– I went "cold" last year after Damascus, VA and I just ended up carrying heavier food, like cheese, Cliff bars, and more Snickers. I think I had more energy when I used the stove. I'm also a "slow" hiker and don't resupply as often as most because it takes me an extra day or 2 to get into a town.
– The 4 pairs of socks are part of my blister prevention. It is crucial that I don't wear wet socks. Two pairs of toe sock liners (switch every other day), one pair of smartwool socks (everyday) and the boot socks are just for sleeping. The foot box of my quilt is "snaps" so socks are needed if it's chilly. The gold bond does wonders for my feet too. Since I've switched to trail runners and toe socks I haven't had a blister. (knock on wood)
– Does anyone know the "actual weight" of the Zpacks food bag. I've found that weight varies from what the manufacturers say.
– I left out the weight of the guide book. I will be scanning the 2013 edition of the AWOL Guide and loading the images to my phone as a backup. I will be carrying the book in 4-5 sections. The total book weight is 8oz so I am expected to carry a little under 2oz.
– Good catch on the pack towel! I made this about a week ago. It's 8"x8" Shamwow and I put a button hole on the top corner for hanging from the pack. It weighs 0.5oz. Could I cut it smaller, or is this a good size?
Thanks again for all the recommendations! Keep 'em coming!Jun 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm #1883658
@nickoliLocale: Teh Front Range
Living in Colorado I have pretty easy access to this stuff, but I'd suggest you check out Bonnie's Balm Healing Salve.
It's pretty much the only ointment/lip balm/moisturizer/burn treatment I carry. I no longer peal AT ALL if I apply it for one or two days after a sunburn, it heals all of my wounds ridiculously fast, it stopped my cracked knuckles from bleeding during the snowboard season, and prevents blisters on my (and Andrew Skurka's) feet. Seriously, great stuff!Jun 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm #1883944
I have the Zpacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag which weighs in at 1.38oz (39g) which is a few more grams than listed but when things are made by hand I would expect a little variation from the listed weight. I have used it a couple times so far using it to hold my food and as a bear bag and it has worked great.Jun 8, 2012 at 8:30 am #1885222
I've heard nothing but good things about the Zpacks Blast, roll top, food bag. I ordered mine yesterday!
I'm still looking for lighter camp shoes. I called both Invisible shoes and Bedrock Sandals yesterday. For my size, the soles alone weighed more than 5 oz for both companies. There are some threads about lightweight camp shoes but none mention the Teva Mush flip flops I'm currently using. Any suggestions would be appreciated, especially if they are good for river crossing.Jun 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm #1885381
Bruce ThibeaultBPL Member
@brucetboLocale: New England
Ive been meaning to make something similar to these but havent found the time.
Another member did something similar with a shoe lace and a blue foam pad from WalMart, weighed about an ounce if I remember correctly.Jun 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm #1885385
I know it's said in every thread about this, but I really don't think camp shoes are necessary if you're hiking in trainers. Just loosen the laces, turn them into slip-ons. It will feel great anyway. I used to be in the "I can't wait to change my shoes" state of mind, but then I got comfortable shoes. Granted my feet still swell and want to breathe, but removing my socks and loosening the shoes feels like a whole new pair anyway.
However if you ARE going to take camp shoes, I think it is absolutely silly to use these scarcely useable "shoe lace + insole" shoes… they will get absolutely disgusting and trashed, barely protect your feet, be impossible to walk in for any long distance, useless in the water, and just be another grimey thing you have to shove into your pack, rather than keep on your feet or outside your shelter.Jun 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm #1885386
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
But if your shoes are soaking wet and you don't want to get your sleeping socks wet…Jun 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm #1885387
Chris WBPL Member
But if your shoes are soaking wet and you don't want to get your sleeping socks wet…
1) sleeping sock goes on
2) a bread bag, goretex, or VBL sock goes on over that
3) the shoes go back on
Sleeping socks stay dry. :-)Jun 9, 2012 at 4:57 am #1885464
Seth BrewerBPL Member
I used Teva Mush on my A.T thru last year (Heard about the "horse attack girl" through the grapevine) and they worked just fine. I did all the river crossings in my Salomon XA Pro mesh trail runners and only used the teva's for walking around camp. More comfortable and durable than the 3oz. hack jobs with foam and laces that I've seen IMHO. I think you should just stick with what you have.Jun 9, 2012 at 9:28 am #1885492
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Again, no significant crossings on the AT, or at least not for me NOBO in 2010, and assuming you take the canoe ride across the Kennebec. I really would not think in terms of river crossings in picking out footwear for the AT. Other trails, it's different; my trail partner almost died on a "creek" crossing starting the CDT in Montana just about a year ago. Still, you just get your shoes wet and then walk them dry.
For wet shoes in camp, ditto the bread bag solution. In colder weather, dry wool socks inside bread bags inside wet shoes certainly can still be cold, but good enough for minimal in-camp stuff. In warmer weather, no worries.
If it's a matter of feet feeling tired at the end of the day, consider starting the trip with two different types of inserts. Perhaps a more supportive insert (think orthodic or off-the-shelf orthodic like superfeet or the like), and then a more cushiony, gel-like insert. Put the latter in part way along the way during the day perhaps, or at least for in-camp.
I predict that if you do this, after the first month or so you'll be happy with just one insert all the time, but before your feet get strong/tough, a second and different type of insole can help the "tired feet" syndrome.
It's always possible that you'll be happy carrying alternate footwear, but in the context of your overall gear list, it strikes me as something you won't end up wanting. Easy to mail home along the way, however. Still, starting out I personally would invest that weight hit in an alternate insole rather than even a very light set of separate camp shoes.Jun 13, 2012 at 12:18 am #1886449
@jeffrunsLocale: PDX metro
I am not familiar with your particular gravity filter but I don't see why you can't use it like a Sawyer.
My platypus drinking bag does not have a way to hang from a tree limb… yet. I've been looking into adding a string. It works great though and it's fast.Jun 13, 2012 at 1:23 am #1886454
i love these. they hold ZERO water and they're super cozy even with socks on the colder nights. my size 13 way 7.8 for the pair.Jun 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm #1886921
Thank you everyone for your ideas. I'm going to do some experimenting with the shoes. I may try a few weeks without the camp shoes and send them home if I feel comfortable.
My Gravityworks system is set up the same as your Sawyer, I just have the hose disconnected and in "drink mode."
Here is the pony video if anyone is interested… It gets better towards the end :)Jun 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm #1888738
I absolutely love that phone holster.
I entirely advocate the free and cheap usage of tyvek envelopes for DIY pouches/sacks.
feeling inspired to go make hip pouches now, thanks!Jun 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm #1890679
This comes up every few months. This post has a reference to some of the more comprehensive posts on the topic. I am wondering if the Vivos are a good idea.Jun 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm #1890963
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Bottom insulation is key. It should hanging below the outside of your hammock. All seasons. Crocs are fine camp shoes and for walking through streams. Keep track of your battery life to avoid carrying extras.
check out whiteblaze.net and trailplace.com
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