Almost Over the Hill Hikers
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    #117528 - 06/23/09 11:09 AM Great Forum! Need help with gear choices.
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    Hello everyone. I've done lots of reading here, and have already changed my trip plans. Also, I've changed my gear list, for example crossing out rain jacket/pants for poncho. I would LOVE to do trips at some of the weights I've heard that you guys carry. Some bio 'bout me: 62, male, divorced. Did heavy packing in my 40's, with a 6 or 7 pound REI pack, camp chair, thermarest pad, huge Rambo-style survival knife that I never used, and a huge selection of stuff that I sometimes used. Weights would be around 60 pounds. In 2004, at age 58 I took a trip with a well-known elitist group that didn't offer much advice, and it was too strenuous for me. When I got home I suffered a heart attack that I thought was a virus from drinking contaminated water, so I never went for medical help, just stayed home for 6 weeks (3 of them in bed). I haven't been the same since. To be fair, the over-exertion was just PART of the cause of my MI (myocardial infarction). I was overweight, and I had untreated hypertension and high cholesterol. AND I didn't think the trip through - I just went because there was a woman I liked going on the trip, and well, that's another story. In short, I was stupid.
    I've been cleared for any activity by my cardiologist. He said I'll discover my limits. This forum, however, in particular Pika, has helped me realize that I'm at it again, enthused and going, rather than enthused and thinking. That thinking thing is a big pain. Whatever happened to "just do it"??? I digress. And I kid a lot. Okay, so I also have a history of lower back problems. Therefore I want to have a pack that is on the light side, but comfortable and adjustable. Here's what I have got in my head so far about gear:
    Buy a backpack - Gregory Z65, and its matching rain cover, 4 lbs, 7 oz.
    Use my Sierra Designs Transition 10F, ~3 lbs. Down bag.
    Use my Golight 2 man tarp - don't have a digital scale, but I think it's between one and two pounds.
    No lights. Use the stars, moon for light, and go to bed at dark.
    Make a Heineken alcohol stove. I have an MSR Pocket Rocket, but had thought of making a 2-can wood gassifier stove and a pot windscreen, for main stove. About 6 ounces.
    Buy a titanium pot w/lid (Snow Peak Trek 900), 6 ounces and a 2-wall plastic cup for my coffee, 6 oz. Or maybe something light and wrap a sock around it for heat retention. Love my coffee. Packing light is okay if I bring coffee. And a honey bear. And instant milk. For the coffee. Non-negotiable items there. On my last trip I had instant goat's milk. It was... interesting. Oh... buy and bring an in-the-cup coffee filter.
    Buy a widemouth semi-rigid Nalgene 32 oz bottle for washing my special washcloth that I have to use every day on a certain part of my body for a medical reason. Insert washcloth, few drops of camp suds, screw cap on, shake don't stir, change water (no soap) for rinse. Rinse again. Sorry, hope it wasn't too many details. Gotta keep it clean. Otherwise it's a pain in the rear. (well, THAT let the cat out of the bag.) I want to use a bottle 'cause i don't want to carry a sink. Nuff said maybe.
    Buy a 2.5 gallon gravity water filter, the Katadyn Base Camp Filter, with a replacement filter, and carry both. ~1 lb, 9 oz. It's heavy, but there are no moving parts. I can't survive without water. I need the large amount of water for the washing business (might as well take a sponge bath, too, separate washcloth), plus to refill the hydration bladder. I do have a 3L hydration bladder. I walk daily with it in my small Gregory day pack. Don't know what it weighs. Thought I's bring my water bag, too, for extended in-camp cooking of supper.

    Buy and bring a wild foods book.
    Bring a sheet of plastic for ground cloth. Use local conditions and materials to make a soft litter for sleep. Use an extra piece of clothing, or a corner of the pack for pillow.
    I alternate sides to sleep on during the night. Left side, right side... you get the idea. Sometimes right side, left side.
    Haven't made the list of other things yet: rope and sack for PCT bear hang, tapes for repairs/wounds, stove fuel, food containers (ziplocks and hang sack). Oh, yeah, food.
    I don't need to bring a chair, table, or radio.
    I have a GPS and a good compass, but it's the eTrex basic. I haven't worked out navigation yet.
    Thought I'd bring a knots book, a flask of Bombay Sapphire, a lighter and matches in w/p cylinder.
    on my body, i'll wear clothes and my New Balance walking sneakers... An OR sunhat. I'll buy a really good pair of sunglasses, about $155. Oakley something. Bring an extra t-shirt and underpants, a 2nd pair of socks, No sticks. A heavy fleece shirt for night (3-season), and 2 long sleeve shirts for over the t-shirt. Swimsuit that can double as shorts. Light weight long pants. Haven't figured what kind of pants yet. I have jeans, and that won't work. swimsuit has mesh liner that won't allow thermal pants. maybe i'll ditch the swimsuit for shorts so i can use thermal pants and look like a dork, or maybe just mental.
    Parachute cord (3/16") for tarp ridgeline and hang sack. Real light cord for tarp stakes. Tarp stakes. Camp suds. I'll use my long sleeve shirt for towel.
    And THAT is as far as I've gotten.
    I would like to hear feedback on the list, and also on the kind of weight range you guys think I could aim for. Also, what have I missed that you would recommend?
    As for my multi-months trip, that is still in my plans, but now i'm thinking November 1st to start, and probably I'll take the AT south, then head west. I'd like to go across the country, then head north up the PCT, and come back across the country on the northern leg of the - what's it called - well it goes from Portland OR to northern Montana. I guess I'd be getting there next year. You're probably thinking - "say what???" Well, sanity isn't my strong point, but i'm retired and don't want to sit in some little rental house in front of the damn computer (don't own a tv) all the time. it's a good way to rot to death. so social security gives me a little... enough to become a nomad and be comfortable, but not enough to rent a little house and be comfortable. Finances aren't my strong suit either. "Well, what IS your strong suit?" you ask... I'm still workin on that, get back to ya soon. Being different, maybe. <heads are nodding> Humor maybe.
    But before I do the long trip, in this next four months I'll increase my walking time of daily 30-45 walks to daily one hour minimum, with a couple longer walks during the week. Probably a weekly half-day or longer walk, and then work in a couple one-week packing trips. I won't be walking long distances. For me the enjoyment of hiking/camping is just being out there. Away for *&(^(*&*^ car noises! (I hate cars, machines, the whole industrial age thing... Wish I'd been born an American instead of a conquering European... but don't get me started on murder and mayhem... just let me say that TO ME, an American is what everyone calls Indians, or I guess Native Americans. <deep breathing> Okay, I'm better now. Sorry 'bout that.) Where was I? Oh, yeah, so I'll test out what I learn here, out THERE. Oh, get this... I live 2.0 miles from the Jay Mountain Wilderness! That's in upstate NY. Are you jealous???? You should be! I have a big landowner's permission to cross a piece of his property to get to it. There's the Kelly Basin right behind my cabin!! The fellow told me he can see Lake Champlain, Canada, and Vermont from up there.
    I hope I can make my first little foray into the area for a weekend trip in a month and a half, do some tuning, then make the first week long trip after that, and a final week-long trip in early October.

    Sorry 'bout the long post. I like to write.

    Okay,there ya go. I do appreciate this forum, thanks for any input anyone might give. I've seen some great humor here, too, besides the good advice and sharing back and forth. I have had some good laughing-out-loud experiences, especially while reading a post from some guy explaining how to hang a food bag from a tree. That was a great post. Hilarious, really. I THINK it was this forum...

    Pat-trick
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    #117613 - 06/25/09 12:24 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    balzaccom Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 1731
    Loc: Napa, CA
    Buy a backpack - Gregory Z65, and its matching rain cover, 4 lbs, 7 oz. Use my Sierra Designs Transition 10F, ~3 lbs. Down bag. Use my Golight 2 man tarp - don't have a digital scale, but I think it's between one and two pounds.

    Good start! You can probably save a bit of weight with a lighter pack....but it's no big deal.


    No lights. Use the stars, moon for light, and go to bed at dark.

    We use little headlamps that weigh about 1.5 oz. Why not? And they are cheap.

    Make a Heineken alcohol stove. I have an MSR Pocket Rocket, but had thought of making a 2-can wood gassifier stove and a pot windscreen, for main stove. About 6 ounces.

    This is a lot more trouble than the pocket rocket--which is just about the perfect stove. Why change?

    Buy a titanium pot w/lid (Snow Peak Trek 900), (we use an aluminum pot...much cheaper)

    and a 2-wall plastic cup for my coffee, 6 oz.

    Just take a tupperware style cup--lighter and works just as well, and doesn't break.

    Buy a 2.5 gallon gravity water filter, the Katadyn Base Camp Filter, with a replacement filter, and carry both. ~1 lb, 9 oz.

    We use the hiking pump--quicker, lighter, and faster. And the hydration bladder is overkill. Three liters weighs abaout six pounds. Take the filter, fill one bottle. drink. refill at the next creek. We use a second, plastic bottle, for extra water at camp, but we don't carry it on the trail full of water.

    Buy and bring a wild foods book.

    uhhh--too much Bear Grylls. Not enough food value in most of that stuff to make it worth the effort to collect.

    Bring a sheet of plastic for ground cloth. Use local conditions and materials to make a soft litter for sleep. Use an extra piece of clothing, or a corner of the pack for pillow. (*

    This is what your fleece is for at night! fold it up and saw logs.

    Haven't made the list of other things yet: rope (Use lightweight cord, not heavy rope) and sack for PCT bear hang, tapes for repairs/wounds, stove fuel, food containers (ziplocks and hang sack).

    I don't need to bring a chair, table, or radio.

    No, you don't. And you don't need GPS either. But you should have a map and a compass.

    I haven't worked out navigation yet.

    Get to work on that...

    Thought I'd bring a knots book, a flask of Bombay Sapphire, a lighter and matches in w/p cylinder.

    If you are planning to spend some time on the trail, at altitude, the booze is a waste of weight...and do you really need a knots book? Just copy five pages of diagrams, if you are really fixed on learning some.

    on my body, i'll wear clothes and my New Balance walking sneakers... An OR sunhat. I'll buy a really good pair of sunglasses, about $155. Oakley something. Bring an extra t-shirt and underpants, a 2nd pair of socks, No sticks. A heavy fleece shirt for night (3-season), and 2 long sleeve shirts for over the t-shirt.

    Go with one shirt--you don't need two. I don't wear T-shirts. I have one bodyarmor shirt for sleeping in, a short sleeved hiking shirt, a long sleeve fleece, and a rain shell. Weighs a lot less than your outfit, and when I put it all on its plenty warm...

    Swimsuit that can double as shorts. Light weight long pants. Haven't figured what kind of pants yet. I have jeans, and that won't work.

    Get zip-off hiking pants that dry fast. They are also your shorts. And your swim trunks.

    swimsuit has mesh liner that won't allow thermal pants. maybe i'll ditch the swimsuit for shorts so i can use thermal pants and look like a dork, or maybe just mental.

    Parachute cord (3/16") for tarp ridgeline and hang sack. Real light cord for tarp stakes. Tarp stakes. Camp suds. I'll use my long sleeve shirt for towel.

    Take a little towel--it doesn't weigh much, and your shirt is gonna get dirty.

    And THAT is as far as I've gotten.
    I would like to hear feedback on the list, and also on the kind of weight range you guys think I could aim for. Also, what have I missed that you would recommend?

    I've saved you about ten pounds between the 3 liters of water, the Bombay Saffire, the books, and a few other things...

    What else should be on the list? Some basic first aid stuff like band-aids and antiseptic cream, ibuprophen, bug juice, plastic trowel and TP, small fishing knife, space blanket, whistle,sewing kit to fix what breaks.

    And with food, the two of us add up to about 55 pounds for a week on the trail--I carry 33, she carries 22.


    Edited by balzaccom (06/25/09 12:30 AM)
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    balzaccom

    check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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    #117630 - 06/25/09 12:07 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: balzaccom]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    "Good start! You can probably save a bit of weight with a lighter pack....but it's no big deal."
    What would you recommend? My first choice was the Baltoro 70, 'cause of the hype on its suspension system, it sounded wonderful, but then I went for the more streamlined and lighter Z65. However, now I'm considering even less weight to carry, and I have no idea what is a good pack for that. Before coming to this forum, I had thought 50 pounds would be light for me, but you guys are carrying WAY less than that. Sort of what you two are doing. I think the Z65 is good for 40 pounds, while the Baltoro70 was good for 50.

    "We use little headlamps that weigh about 1.5 oz. Why not? And they are cheap."
    Is that with batteries? That's not much weight,is it. I have used headlamps in the past. I really like them. Are they on the Lightweight Zone?

    "This is a lot more trouble than the pocket rocket--which is just about the perfect stove. Why change?"
    I like the idea of the gassifier, 'cause it burns twigs and wood debris, and I won't have to carry fuel for long cooking times. Cooking 45 minutes a night will require significant fuel, I imagine, which is what I would want to do, using whole grains and legumes. I'll probably break down the legumes a little before cooking, with a couple rocks, so I can cook them together with the rice. Part of my pleasure in the wild is cooking. And I like fires, too. So a little cooking canfire instead of campfire would be cool, I think. Plus, there's no fuel weight. That pocket rocket IS quite a stove, but I don't like how big and bulky the fuel cannister is. PLUS, I want to remove myself from fossil fuels and embrace wood. Have you ever used a gassifier? The only one I've seen commercially is the Bushbuddy. I made a few here at the house, and one of them worked okay. I haven't figured how to add fuel to it and keep it gassifying. It usually converts itself to a regular (smoky) fire when I add sticks. Maybe I'm using the wrong size/type of wood, and my wood here may be a bit on the wet side as well.

    "...(we use an aluminum pot...much cheaper)"
    I can do that.

    "Just take a tupperware style cup--lighter and works just as well, and doesn't break."
    Yeah, I know... a coffee cup that weighs more than 2 stoves... what was I thinking?? haha Yeah anything that holds hot liquid will work. I'll just wrap a (clean) sock around it, to keep it hot.

    "We use the hiking pump--quicker, lighter, and faster."
    It's quicker AND faster??? Are you talkin the Katadyn Pro Hiker? I read some reports that it broke down. But it would save a LOT of weight if I did that. Do you take a spare cartridge for backup?

    "Not enough food value in most of that stuff to make it worth the effort to collect."
    Ah. For me, it's about variety, getting fresh greens, adding flavor, being creative, playing with fire... I would hope I could find wild garlic, onions, basil, mushrooms, etc, out there, at least occasionally. Throw them in the pot first, fry with a little water, then toss in the grain/legume mix and boil til ready.

    "'Bring a sheet of plastic for ground cloth. Use local conditions and materials to make a soft litter for sleep. Use an extra piece of clothing, or a corner of the pack for pillow.'
    This is what your fleece is for at night! fold it up and saw logs.'"
    Darn. I was hoping you would recommend that I take a pad of some lightweight variety that would add a significant comfort factor without much weight. Maybe you still can!

    "...and do you really need a knots book? Just copy five pages of diagrams..."
    THAT is a good idea.

    "Go with one shirt--you don't need two. I don't wear T-shirts. I have one bodyarmor shirt for sleeping in, a short sleeved hiking shirt, a long sleeve fleece, and a rain shell. Weighs a lot less than your outfit, and when I put it all on its plenty warm..."
    How in the world do you keep from smelling bad? You must wash every evening. I could do that, I guess. It's better than carrying a lot of unnecessary stuff, I guess. A bodyarmor shirt costs like $150. I'll probably stick with my old Doors shirt - soft and light. And free.

    "Get zip-off hiking pants that dry fast. They are also your shorts. And your swim trunks."
    I think I had a pair of these once. They were nylon, I think, had zippers protected by a flap. They were ugly, but had cool pockets. Do you just use the site sponsor to order this stuff on line? Do you wear some kind of pants for sleeping? I thought my lightweight thermal pants would be good for that.

    "I've saved you about ten pounds between the 3 liters of water, the Bombay Saffire, the books, and a few other things..."
    So that leaves me at how many pounds?
    I'm too embarassed to tell you what I brought for clothing on a labor day trip to the Weminuche Wilderness 5 years ago. 3 different pairs of pants, for one thing. What was I thinking? Oh, that's right, I wasn't thinking...

    "What else should be on the list? Some basic first aid stuff like band-aids and antiseptic cream, ibuprophen, bug juice, plastic trowel and TP, small fishing knife, space blanket, whistle,sewing kit to fix what breaks."

    "And with food, the two of us add up to about 55 pounds for a week on the trail--I carry 33, she carries 22."
    55 pounds, that sounds about right. For me! haha. Kidding. If I could keep it to 30, I would be deliriously pleased, and amazed. I've never packed with less than 60, I think. Of course, the pack itself was usually right at 7, and I always carried stupid and redundant articles, rather than articles that could do more than one thing.
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    #117666 - 06/26/09 01:26 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6401
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    Patrick, have you studied the articles on the home page ("TLB Home") of this website, in the left-hand column? Reading those will let you see what most of us are using as criteria for gear. I was able to reduce my total pack weight for a week's trip from 50 lbs. (which I can no longer carry) to 25 lbs., mostly using these helpful articles. I wouldn't be able to backpack at 73 if I hadn't done this. The "27-lb., 7-day gear list" was the one that helped me the most. Please read these articles and research on this forum (be sure to check the archives, too, especially the 2005-2008 section) before investing in overly heavy and bulky gear.

    I suggest that you also do a little more research before settling on a backpacking lifestyle. One you might want to check into is the "Leave No Trace" website (google it) which describes preferred practices for leaving a minimal impact on the backcountry landscape in which you're traveling. Another thing you need to watch for is rules of the agency responsible for the area in which you are backpacking. Just as an example, In the western US, fires are prohibited close to and above timberline and forbidden everywhere during the drier parts of the summer. Fire bans often include wood-burning stoves as well. That's why most of us use alcohol, isobutane or gasoline-powered stoves. There are a few stoves that adapt to use either wood or alcohol, and that might be the way to go. For winter the gasoline stove is preferred (neither alcohol nor isobutane work well below freezing, and wood may be buried under snow), but these are pretty heavy for year-around use.

    "Living off the land" is generally not very feasible. Hunting is severely regulated and limited to short seasons. Both hunting and fishing require a license, very expensive if you're not a resident of the state you're in. Foraging for food is a full-time occupation--you can forage or you can hike--no time for both. At least out here in the western US, especially in the drier areas, edible plants are rather limited and some are rare enough that they should be left to grow. My own experience has been that if I count on fish to replace my food supply, I never catch any! Of course most of us "graze" along the trail during berry season--I know I do! The problem of finding sufficient calories has been addressed in other posts.

    While I seem to be throwing a wet blanket on most of your plans, my intention is not to discourage you but to steer you in the direction of less weight (less stress on you) and less stress on the landscape, while still doing the multi-month trips you envision.

    I can go out for a week, safely and comfortably, with a 25-lb. pack, 2400 cubic inches plus outside pockets. My pack itself (Six Moon Designs Comet) weighs 27 oz. (recent versions have gotten heavier--about 30 oz.). This is three-season, of course; for winter I'd need a slightly bigger pack and a bit more weight. However, "three-season" for me includes summer in the Rockies, where it can snow any time during the summer and almost every clear night is below freezing. Some of the gear needed to get pack weight that low is rather pricey, and as a woman (and overweight) I need less food than you do. Still, 30-35 lbs. for 7 days would be a reasonable goal for you without a horrendous expenditure. It does require a lot of research, though.

    In addition to the articles mentioned above, this forum and its archives, here are a couple of other sites I've found helpful:
    Mark Verber's recommended outdoor gear--note that he lists inexpensive options for each category.
    Backpackgeartest.org--gear reviews

    Following the sponsor links in the left-hand column here will give you some ideas, too.


    Edited by OregonMouse (06/26/09 02:04 PM)
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #117667 - 06/26/09 01:33 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: OregonMouse]
    thecook Offline


    Registered: 10/03/08
    Posts: 541
    Loc: Minnesota
    Hey OregonMouse, I want to still be backpacking at 73. Your comments are always insightful, and your trip reports are great reads. Keep up the posts! Would you be willing to share your packing list for a three season week in the mountains? I can go for 3-4 days under 25 but can't get a week in at that weight. Of course, carrying most of the food for my kid might account for that blush
    _________________________
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    #117670 - 06/26/09 02:21 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: thecook]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6401
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    I'm still working on the latest revision of my list, but will post it eventually, probably in the fall. I've done a lot of tweaking the past year and need to field-test the tweaks under Rocky Mountain (or similar) conditions. I need to find a place to post the list, too. It's an Excel spreadsheet, but I can convert it to .pdf. Does anyone have any ideas? I know I can post it on Backpacking Light, but I would rather not deal with some of the ultra-light, no-TP fanatics on that site. (It's a good site to visit for ideas and techniques, but it's too full of under-5-lb.-base-weight advocates--no way am I going there.) I don't have a website and have no plans to start one.

    I can get away with a pound of food per day (nearly all home dehydrated), but 1.5 lbs. per day is a far better guide for most people, especially men.

    The weights I've mentioned definitely do NOT include sherpa-ing for my grandkids! I can still stay at 25 lbs., but I'm limited to a 2-night stay. Fortunately, the two older are big enough to carry their gear and a little of the shared gear, and when the youngest is old enough (next year) his mommy or daddy is going to have to come along--no way can I keep track of 3 kids at once.


    Edited by OregonMouse (06/26/09 02:25 PM)
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #117678 - 06/26/09 05:37 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    Jimshaw Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/22/03
    Posts: 3938
    Loc: Bend, Oregon
    Pat
    I think I want some of what you're smoking wink

    YMMV
    Jim


    Edited by Jimshaw (06/26/09 05:38 PM)
    _________________________
    These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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    #117756 - 06/28/09 11:36 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: OregonMouse]
    Tango61 Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/27/05
    Posts: 931
    Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
    OM,
    You can try saving your list in text file format and it might look okay. Sometimes you have to play with the spacing to get it just right.

    Someone here might have a pdf accessory to convert Excel to pdf.

    I have one to take from pdf to Word but not the other way around.

    I'd be happy to work on it for you if you want to send me a PM. I've got a lot of experience with Excel. I learned how to format for graph paper last week and now I do all my quick drawings in Excel.

    Tango
    _________________________
    If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.

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    #117766 - 06/29/09 10:25 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Tango61]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6401
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    Tango, no problems converting the format; it's where to "publish" it.

    Thecook and Tango, I've started a separate thread in Light Gear Talk, since we've managed to hijack this one.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Sorry, Patrick!


    Edited by OregonMouse (06/29/09 10:43 AM)
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #117773 - 06/29/09 12:48 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    BrianLe Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/26/07
    Posts: 1146
    Loc: Washington State, King County
    I suggest (my preference at least) that you focus on one thing at a time, limit posts to one topic --- I almost just skipped this one, too many issues combined.

    Then first search for existing threads on the topic. A gearlist is a great thing to post IMO after you're farther along in your planning.

    Okay, so as not to just be a curmudgeon here, some comments related to discussion about stoves. You said:
    "Make a Heineken alcohol stove. I have an MSR Pocket Rocket, but had thought of making a 2-can wood gassifier stove and a pot windscreen, for main stove. About 6 ounces."

    OregonMouse opined that the pocket rocket is a perfect stove, no reason to switch.

    My take --- and IMO an example of the additional depth/breadth of discussion possible if threads are more focused --- is that an alcohol stove is a great choice, the perfect choice for some people, very much depending on what it is you want to optimize.

    Different people have different experiences in making alcohol stoves. I tried a pepsi-can stove some years ago, actually tried making a few of these, and all "sort of" worked, not very inspiring, so I bought a commercial stove for $30 and have been happy with it. It weighs 1.6 oz (the stove by itself, no windscreen, etc).

    Just last week after seeing a reference I tried making the cat food can stove that Andrew Skurka demonstrates, here.
    This was easy to do, about 1/2 hour work tops, and heated water very nicely. And weighs 1/8th what my existing stove weighs.

    The big downside with cannister stoves is the granularity problem, i.e., you're about to go on a trip and you look round and see seven partially full cannisters, but you really want to start your trip with a full cannister so you buy a new one, leaving an eighth partial cannister on your shelf at the end. Or you carry multiple partials and eat the weight of those metal cannisters. Or you're not sure a full cannister will be enough so you can only add a second cannister. With alcohol, you just put the amount you think you need, maybe a little spare, in a plastic soda pop bottle and that's it. I just cook dinner, and don't boil water, just get it hot, so one ounce of fuel per day is enough for me.

    Alcohol isn't as efficient a fuel, and you don't want to get it on your hands on a regular basis (denatured alcohol), and it takes longer to cook your meal. These are trade-offs I'm happy to make for a lighter system without the metal cannisters to deal with.

    Each approach has specific up- and down-sides, it's about understanding them and making the best decision for you.
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    #117774 - 06/29/09 01:46 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: BrianLe]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    Great post and advice how to use the forum, and about stoves. thanks.
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    #117791 - 06/29/09 04:31 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Jimshaw]
    sabre11004 Offline
    member

    Registered: 05/05/07
    Posts: 513
    Loc: Tennessee
    Jimshaw, I think that you have had your fill of what he is smoking. Let it lie for a while LOL !!!!!!! crazy
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    #117799 - 06/29/09 05:49 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: BrianLe]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6401
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    Brian, it wasn't I who was advocating the Pocket Rocket. I really don't like the things. I actually suggested a stove that would take either wood or alcohol, since Patrick wants to use a wood stove when he can. And you are so right about the multiplying half-full canisters!
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    #117829 - 06/30/09 05:23 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: sabre11004]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    OK i'm gonna shut up now.

    Jim bro, it's a different kinda peace pipe.
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    #117832 - 06/30/09 09:11 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: OregonMouse]
    BrianLe Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/26/07
    Posts: 1146
    Loc: Washington State, King County
    My bad, sorry! Hard to summarize previous relevant bits of a thread, it was balzaccom that reckoned the Pocket Rocket is the perfect stove with no reason to switch.

    And indeed, given that he already owns the Pocket Rocket, I at least wouldn't prioritize that very high on the list of things to think about. Despite my personal preference for an alcohol stove there are good reasons that so many people use the cannisters.

    And ditto, the wood stoves look pretty attractive to me, I assume you're thinking along the line of the Bushbuddy Ultra, or even more appealing to me is the sound of the upcoming Bushcooker Lt I. One thing that gives me pause there is local regulating authorities. While true that one is almost never checked, I'd like to see various official bodies make rulings on whether a small wood/twig burning stove is allowed in places and at times when "fires" are not allowed !
    The other thing is the need to be able to build a (very) small fire when it's hard to find any dry wood of any sort. On the ease-of-use hierarchy, that IMO puts the wood burning stoves lower than alcohol, which in turn is lower than cannister.
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    #117954 - 07/02/09 11:25 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    lori Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/22/08
    Posts: 2801
    Hi again, Pat Trick,

    I just ran across this - I think I should have found this post before the other one, it would have better informed me on how to respond. Such is the craziness of reading a forum a few posts every few days.

    I restarted hiking after a long hiatus and had to make a lot of changes myself. I also went as light as I could go but with a consideration to comfort. For example, I think that it is much safer for me if I am able to get a good night's sleep, and knowing that the weather where i go (Sierra Nevada) can change at the drop of a hat, plus my claustrophobia, plus my creaky knees, plus my demonstrated inability to sleep more than half an hour at a shot on a thermarest... I knew sleeping on the ground under a tarp was not what I wanted. I knew after spending a night in a dome tent in the rain that it was not where I wanted to be. I embarked on a mission and after much research picked up a hammock and a nice large tarp. I no longer had to climb up off the ground, sleep in a confining space, find a spot that not only looked flat but was flat.... People criticize my choice but I'm not the one who can't sleep at night. I'm looking forward to 8-9 hours per night over the weekend while I'm packing in Yosemite.

    Which is not to say I think you need a camping hammock, but to point out that light is not always the single criterion we need to use. My two quilts, hammock and tarp plus stakes weighs out to about five pounds. I could knock this down a bit by dropping a quilt, getting a bivy, and taking a foam pad, but that isn't going to happen. I'd rather enjoy the hike the next day without being sore. The hammock is one of the major items in my gear that helps me enjoy my outings, along with the trekking poles that prop up the edge of my tarp and lever me up and down the steep trails in my neck of the woods.

    Alcohol stoves are just cool. No canisters, and you can make one yourself. Or make one that simmers and one that boils. Or buy one. I like the supercat, the white box and a wick stove I picked up at Mini Bull Designs. I typically get going faster than my canister stove carrying hiking buddies when it's freezing, even though the stove itself is slower to boil. They're putting MSR canisters in their pits and pockets to get the stove to light because their stoves are more sensitive to the cold, and I'm drinking coffee. I have a pocket rocket, but have not used it in six months. It's horrible in a wind and it just hasn't been worth it to get a windscreen that works for it without enclosing the canister.

    I get the ten dollar sunglasses from go fast and light (online). I have lost one pair, broken two more, and am on my fourth - the Ray Bans stay at home. If I were spending a lot of time at very high elevation or on snow, I'd get glacier glasses. I've already had cataract surgery....

    I think you will find that a series of overnight, short trips will be useful in shaking down the gear list and regaining your footing in hiking, particularly if you are going alone. I use my stoves at home first - very useful to try that backcountry pizza recipe in a small pan over the stove where you have a freezer full of chow in case you burn the crust to a hockey puck. If I had had a backyard, I would have been sleeping outside in my hammock and quilts rather than car camping.

    I've printed examples of knots from the internet. Lighter and smaller than a book or even the plastic cards I found at REI. AFter I failed to retain knot tying beyond a simple larks head and taut line hitch, I rigged my tarp with figure 9s. We'll see how that goes. My filter is 8 oz - the ULA Amigo Pro gravity filter. Uses a Hiker Pro cartridge and that's handy as for trips where a gravity filter isn't so useful I have a Hiker Pro pump filter. I believe the Amigo Pro is still $45, which is less than half the price of the platypus.

    My favorite pillow is my fleece pullover, rolled up and tucked against the back of my neck with the sleeves tied under my chin. I've tried inflatable pillows and stuff sacks - too noisy, and silnylon is too slick.

    For a pack I take either a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone (3 lbs, max weight carried 30 lbs, max weight pack will carry 40 lbs) or a Mariposa Plus which is lighter but not as bear canister friendly. Both have done well for me.

    And that is the extent of what I can think of to offer as examples of what and why I include... and btw, a bucket is a great thing to take. Mine folds up to about the size of a deck of cards, and I can loop the handle over the handle of a trekking pole and bail water from further out in a deeper part of a lake, to avoid bailing sediments into my gravity filter. I have used it also to carry large amounts of water to put a campfire dead out before leaving camp - much easier than packing a potful of water 10 times.

    Going to go pack my bear can now and get an early bedtime, to rise and go hike in the Yosemite wilderness. smile
    _________________________
    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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    #125206 - 12/14/09 05:56 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    madyarddog Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 12/14/09
    Posts: 5
    Loc: Indiana
    well Pat-trick it all sounds nice but,the way I make my outings more enjoyable is to know that all my gear is home made,I use my down time(winter months)to research and make my own gear.It makes my outings more enjoyable and my gear is just as good and in some cases better than what you can buy.I"m also a survival nut and a tinkerer and hate wastining money on stuff that I can"t do myself Happy trails to You.....MYD

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    #125228 - 12/15/09 12:02 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: madyarddog]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6401
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    I don't know if Pat is still around (I hope so!) but we've given him lots of ideas, at least.

    Pat, if you're still with us, we'd love some trip reports!
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #125317 - 12/16/09 12:26 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2752
    Loc: California
    Lori,

    You are so right about the sunglasses! My $200 photo gray bifocals are now lying on the ground in the upper Little Sandy drainage in the Wind Rivers. I usually take cheap sunglasses and add my reading glasses for night reading. This time I thought the bifocals would be simplier. But, I have never perfected boulder hopping in bifocals, so I had to take them off and this time forgot to button my pocket. Must have leaned over and they fell out. Never found them. So now it is back to $10 sunglasses and cheap reading glasses off the dime store rack. I have glacier goggles, but they are generally too dark when off snow. I cannot see in shadows. Cheap glasses are actually quite light so taking two pair is not much. If you really depend on glasses to see (my far vision is fine) then by all means take a spare pair!

    Pat Trick - there are two ways to lighten up - less items or lighter items. Start with a list of TRUE essentials and lighten these as much as you can given your budget. (GPS is not a true essential, nor is a towel, nor is toilet paper). Then add the "not essential but time savers". I allow myself one pound of these. If your pack weight is now reasonable, then you may want to add one or two "nice to have" or "comfort" items (again, I limit myself to one pound). My "nice to have" is usually a camera or small book. My "comfort" item is usually a down vest - not needed but does motivate me to get up and going earlier on those cold mornings.

    Food is probably the one thing that most beginners get wrong - too much or too little. Aim for calories per day, not poundage. A minimum of 2,000 works for most people. Few people need or can even eat more than 3,000 per day (unless you are doing a long through-hike). As I got older I found that my food tastes and caloric needs changed from what I had taken in my younger days. I can cut down a lot now. I can maintain my weight for long hauls on 2,400 calories per day. For shorter trips (week or less) I can get by on 2,000 calories per day. When I was 20 I ate 3,000 calories per day!

    Water is another really heavy item. Most people carry too much water. You do not have to carry a lot of water to drink a lot of water if you are hiking in areas with water sources. All you need is a way to make gunky water safe to drink. I use iodine or chlorine tabs and honestly do not treat most of my water.

    I see no need for any Nalgene bottles. If you need a wide mouth bottle for washing, then look around your grocery store and you will find something with a wide lid. If you are just using the bottle as a pot and not carrying water, a plastic peanut butter bottle is fine - a totally water tight lid is not needed. Those large plastic jars that licoriche candy comes in are also good.

    And watch out for little items. Ounces do count! Nail clipper - little light, but add up 20 of these little items and it is a lot! An appropriate first aid kit should not be more than about half a pound if that.

    And no "extras". Be a meticulous camper and do not loose things. Like I said previously, if you are blind as a bat without glasses, then yes, take spare glasses. That is a safety essential. One light hiking shirt is enough. Get one that dries in less than an hour and rinse it out at the end of each day.

    Just conciously lighten up, get out a lot and experiment and soon you will have a gear list that is perfect for you. Have Fun!

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    #131352 - 03/27/10 01:30 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: lori]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    I've come back and re-read what you wrote. Is a hammock really comfortable? Isn't it like sleeping in a barrel? I sleep on my side, with a leg over something, and hugging something. I can't imagine...

    I may try an alcohol stove. I saw one that i like. it makes sense, as i'll bring alcohol to start the wood stove i'm building, to clean bear bites, etc... I don't like the idea of the Pocket Rocket because I don't like the idea of fossil fuels.

    I've always thought hiking poles looked stupid and WERE stupid. But I'm starting to think maybe I could use the help on hills, and for sure for my tarp.

    I once went on a hike with some elitist hikers whose leaders openly held me in contempt for wearing running shoes and having a tarp instead of a tent. On one day of the trip it rained all day, hard, and we stayed in our camp. The leaders stayed inside their little tents all day, and the rest of us stayed in my tarp which I had set up as a rain shelter with an open view of a beautiful valley and mountain range in front of us. We watched the weather rolling across all day as we snacked, ate, read to each other, and generally fooled around all day. It was great fun. The leaders were isolated in their tents all day, and of course they wouldn't come over to socialize with the rest of the group, because of the tarp. Everyone thought that was funny. And the leaders hated me even more after that.

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    #131353 - 03/27/10 01:35 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: OregonMouse]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    OM, I haven't done any trips yet! Shame on me, I know, 'cause there's a wilderness area 2 miles from my door. But this year my goal is to make it to Jay Mountain, and camp up there a day or two. Maybe do multiple trips up there. There's quite a big area to explore.
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    #131414 - 03/29/10 12:26 AM Can you really be comfortable in a hammock? [Re: Pat-trick]
    Tango61 Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/27/05
    Posts: 931
    Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
    Quote:
    is a hammock really comfortable? Isn't it like sleeping in a barrel? I sleep on my side, with a leg over something, and hugging something.


    For me, yes it is. At home, I sleep in my bed (a SleepNumber bed) on my side, with a pillow under my head and holding another.

    In my hammock, I can sleep on my side but most of the time I find myself sleeping on my back, stretched diagonally across the hammock (a much flatter position). Sometimes I lie parallel to the ridgeline and cross my legs (Indian style) or cross my legs at my feet. When sleeping this way, my back and shoulders do not hurt. If I try this on the ground (using a thick pad), either my lower back hurts (very bad) or my shoulders begin to hurt and I only get 2-3 hours of sleep in 20 minute increments.

    If you can borrow a hammock, I would recommend trying it out before passing judgment. Or you can make one for a small investment. I purchased my first hammock from Ebay for about $15 US plus $7 shipping. I still have it and it gets used every month.

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    #131417 - 03/29/10 12:58 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    lori Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/22/08
    Posts: 2801
    Originally Posted By Pat-trick
    I've come back and re-read what you wrote. Is a hammock really comfortable? Isn't it like sleeping in a barrel? I sleep on my side, with a leg over something, and hugging something. I can't imagine...



    There are a whole lot of people who think hammocks are very comfortable indeed, and wouldn't go without them.

    I sleep on my side, on my back (only in the hammock), on my side and back (only in the hammock), sometimes with my knee bent, sometimes with both knees bent... I only know this if something happens to wake me up at night and I can catch myself in whatever strange position I've rolled into. I've found (like others have said) that a hammock lets you sleep in positions you previously found intolerable. No pressure points. In bed I'm always on my side, no variation.

    I did mention I'm claustrophobic - if it were like a barrel I wouldn't have one. Whenever the weather is good I leave the tarp pulled back so I can look at the sky. When it rains I have more space than in a solo tent to change clothes, cook, and hang gear. A trash bag I use as a pack liner makes a nice place to stand in sock feet while arranging gear and getting ready for bed, and on a recent trip I was the only one not drying my sleeping bag (quilt, actually) in the sun the morning after 18 hours of rain. So I do find the hammock quite comfortable.

    You might have a look at hammockforums.net if you are interested in finding out about all the different kinds of hammock and the ways people use them.
    _________________________
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    #131452 - 03/29/10 12:48 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: lori]
    Pat-trick Offline
    member

    Registered: 06/22/09
    Posts: 175
    Loc: Portland, OR
    When I said barrel, I meant the hammock looks like a cross-section of a barrel - curved as opposed to flat. I looked at the pictures on hammockforum.net, and it didn't help me understand what it might be like to sleep in one. I will have to do as Tango61 suggested, and try one out. I do like that there is less impact on the ground, and there is a separation between the bugs and the hiker. I'll look into it, 'cause I don't have a sleeping pad, and maybe a hammock would suit me better.

    Question: I noticed all the hammocks in the pictures were hung with a droop in them. Why aren't they pulled tight, to minimize this droop? It seems like that would be flatter and thus more comfortable. Is there an instruction page that explains how to use one? Thanks.
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    #131455 - 03/29/10 01:52 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    lori Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/22/08
    Posts: 2801
    The sag is what allows you to lie flat in comfort. If you strung it like a trampoline it would force you to conform to the hammock, just like the ground forces you to conform to it, and it would be no fun at all. An air mattress or water bed will conform to your body and be comfortable, in similar fashion.

    Hammocks look different from the inside.



    That's a hammock without the pad - here is the hammock with the underquilt, minus occupant. It does look like a tube. Just not when you are inside it and spreading it out around you.

    _________________________
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    #131477 - 03/29/10 08:30 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    Tango61 Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/27/05
    Posts: 931
    Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
    Hello Pat-trick, on HF.net there is a google map of where everyone is located (those that volunteer the info) so you might check on there and see if there are any others close to you.

    If so, I'm sure they would be happy to show off their rigs or perhaps even set up a demo.

    Tango61
    _________________________
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    #131760 - 04/08/10 11:31 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    Kent W Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/15/09
    Posts: 607
    Loc: IL.
    Sounds well thought. Get out and go and you will find what you do not need. Just a sugestion Nalgenes are awsome but a bit heavy. I took a plastic gallon milk jug and cut the top off made it about five inches high . This is very lightweight and goes inbottom of pack ontop of sleeping bag. This makes a awsome sink for sponge baths. Lighter than the nalgene wring out washcloth and dry or put in ziplock bag to hit the trail.
    I also have several alcohol stoves. Anytrip over three days and I would take my little 2.1 oz colman and two fuel canisters. It is just more efficent. Hope this helps. Sounds like you have already discovered what works for you.

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    #133227 - 05/05/10 02:11 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: Pat-trick]
    PeterR Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 05/04/10
    Posts: 2
    Loc: Australia
    Hi Everyone, My first post on here. From Australia and locked into walking the JMT this summer. End of July into August. Really looking forward to walking America's great trail.
    A little background: 65 years, like lots of you guys been walking them thar hills since I was a boy. Now graduating into the 'lighter' weight category after years of luggin' all sorts of bizarre ex-Army stuff etc. up hill and down dale.
    I've invested in a Henry Squires Tarptent [ the Squall ], bought an 800gram bag, a titanium stove, carbon fibre sticks, moved over to Merino clothing, and otherwise tried to squelch my 'gear freak' inclination to buy the latest gee-whizz gadgets. Hard to do but my feet will thank me.
    Great to have a forum for us pre-Boomers and Boomers.
    Eventually I hope to write a piece on tackling the JMT from an overseas perspective. The logistics, believe me, are horrendous...
    Best, PeterR

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    #133244 - 05/05/10 01:50 PM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: PeterR]
    aimless Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/05/03
    Posts: 2861
    Loc: Portland, OR
    Welcome. I can believe the logistics are pretty complicated, but I have a feeling that unless you are expecting perfection in all aspects of your hike, you'll come away more than glad you did it.

    Also, with all the snow in the Sierras this year, it may be buggy later than usual. Come prepared and if the bugs are few, be happy and relieved.

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    #133282 - 05/06/10 05:04 AM Re: Great Forum! Need help with gear choices. [Re: aimless]
    PeterR Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 05/04/10
    Posts: 2
    Loc: Australia
    Thanks Aimless, I agree the best way is not to get bent out of shape when things don't go exactly to plan.

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