Looking for a virtual mentor/new friend

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Viewing 11 posts - 26 through 36 (of 36 total)
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  • #3733354
    BPL Member


    Dirtbag works, thats how i post!!  I will recommend MLD, ZPacks or Gossamer Gear for a pack. I will also recommend frameless pack.. as I will DEFINITELY recommend keeping you pack weight around the 20 Lb mark.. give or take a few with water and food added. You can do it!! Just dont take unnecessary crap with you!! I see it all the time.. if you take ONLY what you really need, you will have less clutter and less things to keep track of, less things to look for, less things to lose, less things to unpack and less things to pack! I honestly believe Gossamer Gear has the BEST motto.. “Take Less Do More”.

    I would also recommend a quilt.. my choices would be from Enlightened Equipment,  Hammock Gear  or Mountain Laurel Designs.

    I have a collection of tents.. been through so many different ones over the years.. i finally settled on a fleet that I love, work for me when needed and I will keep using. For free standing I use and recommend.  1p Nemo Hornet. 2P Nemo Firefly.  3 P Nemo Dagger.

    Trekking pole support I use/recommended. . 1P, Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. 1P, Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape with Serenity Innernet.  2P, Six Moon Designs Haven with Haven Net Tent.

    Tarps I use/recommend.. Borah Gear solo silpoly  and Borah Gear 7×9.

    Yes.. it is a lot. I use them in different situations.. keep in mind I also go kayaking and white water kaying.. so I have different need different times. I also have family of 5.. so again, depends who comes out with me and who needs what tent. I also occasionally bring a friend or 2 out with me, so I supply all their gear as they usually have nothing at all.  So take it all with a grain of salt but many years of using different tents and sleep systems,  those are my keepers and what I decided have worked best for me.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    Hmmm, I would NOT necessarily recommend a frameless pack. I like/need to carry the weight of a pack on my hips, not my shoulders. Partly this is because it transfers weight to your leg muscles, which are the most powerful muscles in our bodies by far. I’ve found that frameless packs tend to not transfer weight well to the hips. Also, I prefer to structure of at least a lightly framed pack.

    So you see, already people have very different ideas about the best way to proceed! You need to know your body well. For example, if I have wet feet, I’ll get blisters. Others here will advocate for wading through streams with their shoes on, and don’t have any issues. etc, etc,

    BPL Member


    Exactly my point! I can hike and climb all day in wet shoes.. no bother for my feet.. hence i wear mesh trail runners..

    Untill cold ice/snow.. then i switch to my boots!

    lisa r
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western OR

    Hi Eleanor, I’m 44, grew up on the east coast and really cut my teeth as a beginning day hiker in VA in grad school (I’m an experienced backpacker now in OR after several stops along the way). I’m 4’10” so you tower over me! Backpacks for me are tough. Not just length but also the width of straps (I’m short and also narrow). I started backpacking with a Gregory Deva70, which was very comfy but alone weighed close to 6lbs.

    A few years ago I started overhaul my gear to lighten my load (considered it an investment in a long hiking career with an aging body). I tried a handful of different ultralight packs. Gregory didn’t have anything light enough. Deuter is overall too tall. Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Gossamer Gear have shoulder straps that are much too wide (their spacing and the strap itself). I considered others too (including kids’ packs) but eventually settled on a ULA Ohm 2. It’s probably a hair too long for me, but I’ve used it for two seasons  and I’ve been pretty happy. If you’re on the AT this won’t matter much to you, but I hike in some places that require a bear can and can even manage to fit a tall BV500 can inside the Ohm along with the rest of my gear for a week. Ohm is one of the lightest you can get with ULA; many people also like the next size up (in volume – the Circuit I think?) which will still be pretty light and roomier than the Ohm if that’s a concern. Not only are the size and fit options ULA offers much more inclusive of the spectrum of sizes humans come in than many companies, but even the lightest ones seem much sturdier than other ultralight packs out there. I’ve really put mine through the ringer with a lot of off-trail travel and it barely shows any wear.

    You’re getting good advice on the other stuff so I won’t add more right now, but do feel free to reach out to me personally if you’d like to pick my brain about gear, getting started backpacking, etc. I think there’s a way to contact me directly through here – if you do that just comment here and let me know I should go looking for that message. Happy planning!


    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Actually come to think of it the ZPacks Women’s Arc Air Scout 50L would probably be best for you Eleanor. The description says “Designed specifically for women and hikers with shorter torsos. A smaller frame size creates a good fit for most hikers with a torso height shorter than 17”. Weighs 19.4 oz and has a carbon fiber frame with hipbelt.

    Matthew / BPL


    I like the advice in the last two posts.

    My experience with ULA has been positive, particularly in relation to their fitting process. I have sent photos of the pack to them and received helpful advice about how to wear it. On one of my packs they ended up having me return it and they made me a small pack with a large shoulder straps (I’m short but thick-chested). Or maybe it was medium with large straps? My point is they are focused on fit.

    That said, I don’t care for their shoulder straps. I find them to be stiff and have hard edges. I’ve been spoiled by Mountain Laurel and Zimmerbuilt shoulder straps.

    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern Indiana

    And if a quilt seems more attractive than a sleeping bag, Enlightened Equipment has an X Short option with their Revelation quilts, however, the Short size might be best for someone 5′ tall.

    James Marco
    BPL Member


    Locale: Finger Lakes

    You are going to have to decide which is more important: time or money. You can make a lot of stuff at significant savings, bit spend a lot of time doing it. Quilts, stoves, tarps, packs, even tents can all be made. This will carry on right through to camping. You can make stakes, for example, no need to carry them. For two weeks? I am not sure you will be happy with high priced gear. Nor with the time spent on making it. Balance the two.
    Next decision is how much can you carry for 8-10 hours per day? I personally limit myself to <30 pounds. More and I am slogging, beat and tired at every camp and simply don’t care to even make supper sometimes. Less than 30 pounds is good enough for a two week through hike with no resupply worries. I would recommend keeping your pack weight <30lb.
    When are you going? Spring/Fall is much different than Summer or Winter. Your best bet is to decide on a time frame late spring or early fall.
    OK. For recommendations, Hyperlight Mountain Gear Southwest or Junction. Both are really durable, iff you like to backpack. They will hold up. If you are looking for a mid range pack at low cost, go with Gossamer Gear’s G4-20. Either packs weigh less than 2 pounds. The G4 has a spot to fit a folded sleeping pad as a frame support (dual-purpose,) but it is warm while hiking in hot weather. For a tent, the Big Agnes Scout Platinum 2-person, you also need trekking poles/staffs. You might also need a smallish tarp, like for a single person. Both pack fairly small and easy since they dual-purpose with your hiking staff. Again, you can easily make a tarp and a net tent. On the BA or any purchased tent, change out the stock stakes to ti shepherds hooks. Use small 1.75mm bright line as guy lines or stiff 1.3mm Reflective Zpacks line, get rid of the plastic tensioners, just use looped connectors to the stakes.
    Shoes are very individual. I use a pair of Timberland Chukkas for myself. Never found a more protective, durable shoe at that weight…I have well over 4000mi on the current pair I have.
    Bear line should be 100′ of 2mm line from Lawson Equipment (you can use a 25′ length as cloths line and 3-12′ lengths as utility cord or extensions to the bear line.)You also need a ditty bag to use as a rock sack, to throw up in a good tree, and to hold stuff as you hike (dual-purpose) for batteries, small light, meds, dome duct tape, salt&pepper shakers, line, water treatment UV light, etc. You will need a cheap dehydrator to make some food rather than buy it….way too much salt in purchased stuff unless you are hiking in summer and generally way less expensive. Jerky, fruits, cooked veggies, cooked meats, etc. It will save a LOT of dollars. It’s worth it for two weeks alone. Sea to Summit 13L dry bag make a good food food bag. They can get real beat up in a pack, not worth getting DCF.
    I can recommend a Neoair XLite (womans model), and a Enlightened Equipment 20F quilt. If you have a CCF pad this is about 5oz lighter in summer, but also about 10F colder spring and fall.
    Stoves/cook gear are fussy. If you have a couple beer cans, you can make a small alcohol side burner stove with some heavy duty aluminum foil will work. A Stanco grease pot works well as a pot. You can boil enough water for two people and it is light enough to carry even when solo. Both the stove and grease pot can be considered UL. For two weeks, you will need a 1 liter or quart bottle of ethyl alcohol. Plastic is fine. A small Ti spoon will work when coupled with your pocket knife. You can make a fork (if you ever need one) out of a small forked branch. Again, a small pocket knife can be used for preparing food and eating it as well as general utility, dual-purpose. If you go with canisters, I use about 220gm per person for two weeks. Both are very light/UL. Spare cloths? None. Bring a set of long johns for use as tights at camp at at night. Bring a good down jacket for both, also. Rinse out your cloths whenever you can. You will spend about 14-16 hours at camp, be prepared for it.
    Hiking staffs can be any old stick you pick up. Or they can cost about $250/pair. Or you can make a set out of some 10’/12’/16′ eyeless crappie rods. I take the butt section, add a small bolt to the bottom as a tip and a piece of strap to the top…4oz.

    Lots more…just ask.

    Paul Leavitt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    Lots of great ideas have already been presented here. I will try not to repeat references.

    I have taken many people on there 1st backpacking trip over the years.  I usually loan out or recommend tents , pads, and point folks in the direction of quilts.  Most women i know use a 20degree F quilt , thermarest xlite womens pad.   I will make a concreate recomendation: Tarptent notch silnylon (you can find these used), above mentioned pad, and hammockgear custom 20 degree quilt.   with those you could hike the whole AT.  The gear weight is only half the problem.  Try and get that weight down to a minimum.  The food weight , water , and stove fuel is the other half of the weight in the pack.

    Boston University Outing Club leads hiking and backpacking trips.   Use them as a local resource and use loaner gear to learn what your need.  Alan Dickson is an experienced backpacker and his website has great ideas for gear and how to use it.  It has lots of very specific recommendations and would serve you well as a resource.  pay attention to the little stuff as it adds up.  Make a gearlist on and when you think you are ready for feedback post it on this forum for a review.   This is a how to dehydrate your own backpacking meals or just buy things online and pack very light food.  His book Recipes for Adventure is my go to guide for backpacking meals that taste great.     You should be able to pack 1.5 lb per day of food and be a very happy camper. I use freezer bag cooking primarily and all the recipes in above reference work for that.  Heat water, Pour in freezer bag in an insulated pouch and in 10-20minutes you are eating.  No big cleanup chores.  And tried and true meals.

    Feel free to reach out with any questions you have.   I live in Minnesota and usually backpack on Superior hiking trail, boundary waters canoe area, Montana beartooths , or this year I did 6 trail days in Glacier NP.   I’m 65 years young and still going for adventures.

    All the best

    Paul Leavitt



    Robert Spencer
    BPL Member


    Locale: Sierras of CA and deserts of Utah


    After all the research and gear ordering you might need some comic relief. If you enjoy reading pick up a copy of “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. Worth a read especially if you are heading to the AT.


    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    The standard advice is to buy other gear before buying an ultralight pack, so you have an idea what volume is needed.    Some of the more “edgy” UL hikers have packs so small they get mistaken for day hikers .. and being able to pack overnight gear in a well made daypack is an accomplishment in of itself (usually for “stealth” purposes – maybe not advertising one is going on an overnight if near “civilization”).

    That said, realize food and water requires their own volume in your pack while gear can remain the same for a certain season/geography.  Car-campers don’t need to worry about this, but getting into the smaller volume packs, hikers do.  There’s also strapping a stuff sack to the outside of a pack (all securely) if volume is needed.   I’d advise puffy insulation if going this route as it’s weight is relatively low (won’t unbalance your gait).

    Some packs can be compressed easily into small volumes than others, or the lid easily can be stowed away, so those are other options.

Viewing 11 posts - 26 through 36 (of 36 total)
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