Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness

Posted by: Heather-ak

Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 08:08 PM

Heading out shortly to the Emigrant Wilderness in Cali would like weight under 30 pounds total (not counting my boots). This is including what I'm wearing.

Am I missing anything I should have with me for this trip? Anything I can drop? I'm 2.5 pounds more than I want. Backpack is a bit heavy - but it fits (I've tried on everything that REI had at the time and the local store, only one that felt good)


weight (oz) item
65.61 backpack

Sleeping gear
60.67 sleeping bag
5.68 sleeping bag stuff sack
9.63 sleeping pad

35.98 tent
3.35 stakes - 10
2.58 tent stuff sack
10.19 tent poles

29.63 32 fluid ounces of water
3.00 water purifier (buying sawyer squeeze 32oz)

12.38 GPS
23.74 camera
1.69 headlamp
9.10 first aid kit (I can make this lighter - on my to-do list )
1.13 map
0.00 compass

1.83 tp + sanitizer
1.38 toothbrush / paste
1.02 sunblock
0.95 lotion
0.56 mosquito repellent
0.39 glasses sack
0.32 lip balm
0.28 sweat towel
0.00 baby wipes
0.00 antiperspirant

Food Stuff
45.29 bear canister + op sack
4.41 stove (buying Esbit titanium + fuel tabs)
3.84 cup
9.63 pot
0.74 spoon
9.45 2 breakfasts (trail bread other two)
2.43 bedtime snacks (cheese/chocolate)
31.89 4 dinners in packaging (I'll take out of packaging and re-weigh)
3.25 hot chocolate
1.94 sugar
0.00 trail bread
1.45 tea / coffee

Clothing not worn
1.73 baklava
16.61 blue fleece
10.41 rain jacket
6.98 river crossing sandals
5.86 heavy weight thermal bottoms
0.42 gaiters
4.80 socks, wool (sleeping)
2.47 lite gloves

1.52 sun hat
2.05 underwear 4pr (well I won't wear them all at once)
0.00 socks 2pr
2.01 bra
3.77 knee brace
13.97 rei pants
3.88 wool tank top
8.68 rei long sleeved shirt
10.41 poles(if I buy new ones frown ) (current=18.34 ounces)
total: 490.98oz aka 30.69 pounds

This is a solo trip.

(sorry about the formatting I can't get it to do tables)
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 08:46 PM

Wow! Everybody else is probably just fine with this, but you are going to make me convert from SI units to pounds ... and 3 sig figs.... laugh. Haven't done that in a while.

Seriously though, it would be easier to evaluate if things were grouped together better. Example; the tent stuff is all over the place. Tent body, poles, stakes, and stuff bag all add up to over 5 pounds. There is 2 extra pounds right there if you are willing to pay for a lighter tent(assuming there are 2 of you). My "3 man" is 3 lb 3 oz. I don't bring the stuff sack. Would be nice to have al the cooking stuff together, clothing...ect. Easier to check it out without missing something.

Really minimize the amount of toothpaste, soap, deodorant, meds, ect. Bring just enough for your 4 days. I have little containers for much of this stuff and my deodorant is a stick in a baggy; no real container.

You do have heavy weight thermal bottoms and polar fleece pants. Do you really need both of these this time of year?

You all ready know this, but make sure all your batteries are fresh.

So much of the other stuff is so much personal preference that I don't really know what to say other than have a good time.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 09:09 PM

Do you really need a stuff sack for the sleeping bag? I haven't used one in years; I just stuff it into the bottom of the pack, and let it go at that. Its never gotten wet there. Not much weight saved there, but it sounds like every ounce (gram?) counts.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 09:11 PM

Heather, a suggested organization for a gear list is on the home page of this site, (look at the 27 pound, 7 day gear list in the left-hand column).

For evaluation, organization and packing of gear, it really helps to think of your gear in terms of systems instead of individual items. Here, just as an example, are mine: Clothing worn and other items worn or carried (technically not part of pack weight), clothing carried, shelter and sleeping, pack (including stuff sacks and pack liner), kitchen/hydration, navigation, other "essentials" (which may include first aid and hygiene) and the inevitable "other." I list separately the items that vary in weight for each trip--food, water, fuel and some items I need for medical conditions.

Your classifications may vary, but I've found that it really helps to group together all items that are used for the same function.

Admittedly, it's almost impossible to format a gear list on a forum! I once spent hours and hours converting a spreadsheet to text and then trying to edit it on a forum (not this one). It still came out almost impossible to read! I was so discouraged that I never tried it again. I really should investigate google docs!

Unless your gear list is for the non-US folks among us, ounces would probably be a better choice for weight units for most of us to evaluate.

This is a gentle hint for a little reformatting of your list? It would really help if you really want us to dig in and tear it apart!

One principle is to take only the amount of clothing needed to keep you warm and dry in the worst expected conditions when worn all at the same time. The only exception is at least one pair of spare socks. Duplicate clothing items that aren't needed are one of the biggest sources of excess weight. Just be sure those "expected conditions" are lower than the average low temperature--I go for 5*F above the record low.

I don't take deodorant; the smell attracts bugs and bears. Everyone else on the trail smells the same; why should i be different? I leave the deodorant in the car at the trailhead with some wipes to freshen up for the trip home.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 09:12 PM

Skcreidc gave you some good input. For me, you've got two many bottoms and too many tops!

Of course it depends on what time of year, but we don't take a puffy jacket to this area in the summer. If it really does get cold we layer on our tank top, long-sleeved shirt, fleece, and rain jacket. But I don't think we've ever done that in the summer.

Pants are a pair of convertible hiking pants, and a pair of PJ pants to sleep in (keeps the bag clean).

And deodorant? Really?

Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 09:24 PM

Hey! Something else...some of this weight should be loaded on your partner...or am I missing something?

And balzacomm, sometimes a man likes to feel "fresh" when I'm sharing the tent with my wife. Oop...tmi again
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 11:47 PM

I'm NOT OCD (obsessive compulsive), no matter what my husband and co-workers and family say! grin... well maybe a tiny bit.

I only camp out of state once a year and I wasn't exactly sure what it would be in the Sierras, and I hate being cold!

I've removed the puffy coat and the pants for significant weight savings.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 11:48 PM

I haven't had any luck not using a compression sack in my pack - it just poofs up too much. This is the bag that came with it and I'm going to see if I have a lighter one stashed away.

Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/21/13 11:50 PM

Yeah the list was in weight order, from highest to lowest. I've reformatted and am re-posting here in a second (with ounce weights as well).

The deodorant is actually anti-antiperspirant - and it is a mental thing - I sweat more than anyone else I know and I can't not wear it - strange hangup, I know blush
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 10:21 AM

I would not take a bear cannister unless it is required. I do not think they are required in Emigrant Wilderness. Your route is in timber and you should be able to find a good branch for hanging the food.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 10:26 AM

There are a few recent trip reports of that area that are posted on High Sierra Topix forum. Still around freezing at night.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 11:32 AM

Bears cans are not required in Emigrant...but we still use one. Otherwise, we spend too much time looking around for a tree that meets all the requirements...and then slinging the line.

And we are a little tired of seeing old bear bags hanging in trees at various campsites.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 12:52 PM

I do not have any experience hanging. Someone might lend me an ur-sack, but I haven't decided if I'll take him up on that (the bear sacks aren't rodent proof and the rodent proof sacks aren't bear proof.)

Taking out some of the cold weather gear lightened the load quite a bit and I might have lighted as much as I can without buying a new tent.

WD how is your trip planning going - are you doing any big summer trips this year?
Posted by: lori

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 01:32 PM

The emigrant is next door to yosemite.... I would not trust an ursack. I would rent a bearikade.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 03:55 PM

Oops, this is supposed to be for Heather!

Thanks for the reformat; it's far easier to work through.

Looking at your overall weight, subtracting out the items worn or carried, gives you a total pack weight of 27 lbs. Of course there are a few items with no weight yet, but I presume none will be heavy. That is really not too bad, although a lot more than I'd want for 4 days!

I personally would take the puffy jacket instead of the fleece, depending on which is lighter. For warmth they're probably the same; it's just that you don't need both. And cut the first aid a bit. On the toilet articles, are you taking only the amount of lotions, sunscreen, bug repellent, etc. that you need for the trip in tiny containers? There's no point in carrying a big container even if it's half empty--it will still have enough contents for a dozen or more trips.

Here are some things that stand out as a LOT heavier than what I use are (rounding off to pounds). Admittedly, I don't live in Alaska, but I do backpack in places like the northern Rockies at high altitude.

Pack: Yours 4 lb.; mine 2
Sleeping bag: yours almost 4 lb., mine (20*) 1 1/2. What kind of bag do you have? If it's one for Alaskan winters, you should consider something a little lighter for summer use. Not a summer bag, but what here in the lower 48 is a 3-season bag.
Tent: Yours, 3 1/4 lbs., my 2-person tent is 2, my older one-person is 1 3/4. (I'm ignoring my pricey $$$ 1 lb. cubenfiber tent)
Your pad, though, is 3 oz. lighter than mine!

I understand that you don't want to get new gear at this point, and that you live in Alaska, so these comparisons are for future reference, not this trip. I won't comment further except that there are lighter versions available that will hold up to nasty weather. In the future, if you will be doing a number of solo trips, you might consider a solo tent. Also for the future, a tent that uses your trekking poles for support will save the weight of your current poles.

What I would like to address are those stuff sacks: A couple of dry bags, one for your sleeping bag and one for your insulating clothing: mine (Sea to Summit UltraSil) weigh 1.8 oz. for the 20L (for your sleeping bag) and 1.1 oz. for the 8L (for your insulating clothing). (My sleeping bag goes into a 13L dry bag, but we'll ignore that for this trip.) A silnylon stuff sack for your tent would weigh about 1.2 oz. These or something similar might be worth the purchase in weight savings.

I notice the lack of either a waterproof pack liner or the above mentioned dry bags. IMHO, you need one or the other. If you're going soon, you may encounter higher stream flows. Having slipped and fallen during a ford myself blush, I strongly urge you to make sure your critical insulation will stay dry even if your pack is totally immersed for 2-3 minutes. Stuff sacks are not waterproof (even if the fabric is waterproof, the closure isn't.) Dry bags are also a bit easier for compacting the sleeping bag. If you prefer a pack liner, a package of 2-mil trash compactor bags (make sure they are unscented!) will last you for years. Since you have to compress the sleeping bag anyway, I'd suggest the dry bag route.

Clothing: 2 sets of undies (one worn) should be sufficient. You can rinse them (well away from water sources, please) at the same time you rinse out your hiking socks. Mine are Ex-Officio, highly breathable, dry in half an hour from my body heat if i put them on wet, well worth the cost because I've been wearing mine for everyday for almost 5 years now.

I personally would grit my teeth and take the bear canister. I've been to Yosemite only once, but I got a good look at what their bears can do. Except during hunting season, bears don't really care about park boundaries! At least it makes a great seat in camp!

Speaking of bears, I hope you're taking a balaclava and not baklava! The bears would love the latter!!! laugh
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 04:10 PM

As you've figured out, a new tent and sleeping bag will more than do the job of getting you to the weight you want. Just takes $$$$.

You have trees on your property? Practice at home. But you might just want to play it safe and bring the canister. That would get rid of another 2 lbs though.

Water proofing just in case for stream crossings is something to think about. Make sure that no matter what, you have dry stuff to get into after a drenching.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 05:41 PM

I sleep REALLY cold - so my 0 degree bag is okay at frost temps for me (which is why I have thermal bottoms to sleep in.) I also learned that part of my hip pain is caused by being too cold when I'm sleeping (I had this happen this winter at home on a new mattress - husband moved the fan and it was going right through my blanket and I had the same exact hip pain that I have while camping.)

Brand new pack (well used twice) - the lighter packs just didn't fit me, I really wanted them to, but it came down to fit mad

The tent, well I want a Light-heart Duo... but I haven't gotten it past the other half yet. Next year though!

I have several sizes of dry bags and will check them out tonight. I haven't been able to find the unscented compactor bags locally.

And while I don't want to give out my exact dates, due to security reasons, this trip is fairly soon.

I'm taking tiny containers of my toiletry items, though I may have filled said containers - will double check that! I also think re-packaging my food will help (I have a mix of freeze-dried and my own home made stuff.)

I appreciate all the help!
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 10:18 PM

If you want to PM me, we have cabin right outside of Emigrant, and know the area VERY well...
Posted by: topshot

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/22/13 10:24 PM

Other than your backpack, I'd definitely invest in a newer bag. If you need a supposedly 0 bag to be comfy at 32, there's something wrong with the 0 bag.

Not sure how much time you'd have to stop, but shouldn't have a problem finding unscented compactor bags in CA. I use Hefty brand. They don't say unscented on the box but they aren't.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 12:52 AM

A sleeping bag rated at 0* (for men and warm sleepers) should be good for 10* for women and those who sleep cold. What kind of bag do you have? I suspect the rating is way off!

As mentioned, I use the dry bags rather than a pack liner. However, I've been told to look for brand name (not supermarket brand) trash compactor bags (like Hefty) at hardware stores, such as Ace rather than at supermarkets.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 10:36 AM

If you are freezing in a 0-degree bag at 32-degrees, your bag may be wearing out or inefficient or your sleeping pad may be insufficient (getting cold from bottom). Also, any gap in the hood will let in cold air. I have a 2-oz detachable down park hood that I take when I anticipate cold conditions. That with a balaclava really solves the cold air from the top problem. I sleep really cold too, and have a 10-degree down bag and I have to have the hood totally tightened when temperatures get near freezing. My problem is getting the bag warmed up in the first place. Once the bag is warmed, it is really good to well below freezing. I take a short brisk hike before going to bed, hop inside with under-layer only so my body heat gets distributed into the bag and THEN put on my insulating layers if needed.

I personally would trust an Ursack in Emigrant, however, I would hang it high enough so rodents cannot get into it. Avoid camping in well-used campsites and pay attention to bear signs, and camp away from trails (about quarter mile). But I do agree that the bear can is quite handy and easier to use. And if taking the bear can makes you worry less and sleep better than the 2 pounds is worth it.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 10:43 AM

My summer trips have been delayed a bit but still hope to get out soon. Several family crisis have resulted in most of my time lately spent with a 93-year-old (in and out of hospital) or 2-5 year old grandchildren! Plans for the Sierra unless forest fires close the wilderness, then I would go to the Wind Rivers (they have a fair snowpack this year).
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 01:01 PM

W_D, sorry to hear about the family crises! Been there, done that! Family is precious and has to come first!

I am also kept close to home by my dog's situation and by frantic sewing (which I'm not good at!) of Civil War-era clothing for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. I hope to make up for that later in the summer.

I haven't kept track of the Wind Rivers snowpack because (for a change) I don't plan to go this year (after having my plans thwarted two years in a row). As with you, local conditions could change my mind!

Heather, I didn't think about the sleeping pad--my bad, since a few years ago I suffered through two cold nights from that cause. Both nights were below the rating for my sleeping bag, but I wore all the clothing I had insde. I was nice and warm on top while my underside was shivering! A good warm pad (at least R5) is worth its weight in gold for us cold sleepers!

I actually think you'll be fine with your current gear, as long as you add waterproofing (dry bags for insulation or pack liners). For each trip, it's a good idea to evaluate afterwards--what you didn't use, what you really didn't need and, of course, what you didn't bring and should have....
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 01:24 PM

It is the same bag I used in Yosemite with you a couple of years ago and it worked out temperature wise perfect - "North Face Snowshoe Sleeping Bag: 0 Degree Climashield Prism" - I've been really careful about storing it too. It is possible that they over-rated it though. I will try your brisk walk idea and adding the layers after warming up the bag (I'll briskly walk while eating my fatty bedtime snack and drinking some water to make sure I'm fully hydrated - should have all my bases covered!)

I'm not freezing at frost temps - I'm just about perfect at that temp, it is just if it gets any colder. At frost temps I do have the draft guard firmly in place and the hood up tightly. One idea someone brought up at work, is I usually hike until I'm exhausted or it is dark (and here in Alaska that means until I'm exhausted) and that the exhaustion could be contributing to my coldness.

I have upgraded since that trip on my sleeping pad - I now have a shorty Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress. I have noticed the hip pain has been reduced since I've gotten the new sleeping pad.

I'm wishy-washy on the URSack only because I hate to borrow equipment - as of this moment I'm thinking I'll take it to save the weight.

Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 02:00 PM

Aha, I think we may have an answer to your sleeping bag issue! Synthetic insulation deteriorates in a few years because it loses a little loft every time it's compressed. I'll bet that's what's happening with yours! Generally the average life of a synthetic sleeping bag is about 5-6 years. You might want to start saving up for a high quality down bag. Yes, down bags cost a lot, but, properly cared for, they last far longer! Cost per year of life for high quality down is the same or less as for synthetic. Down is a lot lighter and compresses more without hurting it as long as you are careful to fluff it up for storage.

It does help to exercise vigorously just before retiring to get your metabolism going. That way you generate enough body heat to warm up the sleeping bag quickly when you get inside.

The incident I described about shivering through the night was on a regular NeoAir--I returned it to REI right after that trip. Unless yours is one of those new All Season ones, that also at least partly explains your being cold! My current pad is an R5 rated insulated pad from the late, lamented KookaBay (no longer available). If it gives out, I'll probably look at the Exped UL7 Downmat. I won't even consider a pad with an R rating of less than 5 any more! Sometimes comfort is more important than weight!

Be sure to check the directions on the Ursack website about pulling the closure really tight (it takes some work!) and putting a knot there. That will keep the rodents out. And practice the figure 8 knot to tie it around the tree.

I hope you have a really good time on your trip!
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 02:23 PM

Which model NeoAir? There are NeoAirs, and then there are NeoAirs. The regular models are intended for summer use, and have minimal insulation.

In a nutshell:

X-Lite: lowest weights, R3.2
X-Therm: heavier than X-Lite, R5.7
All Season: slightly heavier than X-Therm, R4.9
Trekker: Heaviest of all, R2

The shape is also something to consider. The two X-series are severely tapered and rounded at the shoulder. I found it hard to use them without an arm or leg hanging off somewhere (not what you want when it's cold.) The All-Season and Trekker are rectangular, and I never had anything hanging off.

Since my days with the NeoAir, I've switched to the Q-Core series from Big Agnes. I never liked the BA Air Core or Insulated Air Core pads, but after nearly a year with the Q-Cores, I have to say I really like them. They're in the same weight and R-ratings ranges as the NeoAir All-Season, and I find them a bit more comfortable. They have a slightly raised edge that is very effective at keeping everything on the pad.

If I needed a higher R-rating than the Q-Core, the Exped Downmat 7 would be my choice. I borrowed one once in really cold weather with snow on the ground; it's a tad heavy, but well worth lugging around for the extra warmth.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 03:06 PM

Thank you for the offer, but my schedule is... flexible (well, other than my flight out!) How is the cabin coming along? I remember you posted when you bought it.

This is one of the few times in the year I'm completely alone. No worrying that I'm hiking too slow (I'm really out of shape this year!) or too fast - and if I want to take an hour to photograph something or stop and take a picture of every single flower I come across - I can, without feeling guilty. There is a sort of freedom that comes with hiking alone. I'm really looking forward to it!
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/23/13 03:18 PM

Based on color X-lite (yellow) - but mine is squared off, not mummy shaped, so I'm not sure just looking at the pics from memory. Looking at camp-mor

It has a 2.5 r-value. So yeah pretty low (I don't use this in the winter - I have a Wiggy's mat + my 1980's therm-a-rests.) It might be that I went with the lightest mat I could find, but it isn't the right one for me <sigh> - which is what I ran into with the backpacks (but at least I didn't buy the backpacks smile )
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/27/13 01:08 AM

Originally Posted By Heather-ak
Thank you for the offer, but my schedule is... flexible (well, other than my flight out!) How is the cabin coming along? I remember you posted when you bought it.

This is one of the few times in the year I'm completely alone. No worrying that I'm hiking too slow (I'm really out of shape this year!) or too fast - and if I want to take an hour to photograph something or stop and take a picture of every single flower I come across - I can, without feeling guilty. There is a sort of freedom that comes with hiking alone. I'm really looking forward to it!

Cabin is in great shape now--we've been working on it for a year. And we were just up hiking there--snow was gone at 7,800 feet, except for very steep north faces.

But the stream crossings are wild right now. I think they are calling both Piute and Cherry Creeks "uncrossable" right now.

Posted by: Robotmoose

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/27/13 08:49 AM

I definitely agree that bear canisters are a more practical go-to for this area than the bear bags. My reasons for this decision is experience from one time up there, we hung our bags, and another time we used the bear canisters.
Despite their weight, the canisters were the more convenient of the two because we didn't have to scout out hanging trees, or stumble out just before bed and after brushing our teeth to re-hang the bags, not to mention a few younger Scouts kept needing to get back into the bags long after we put them up (I recognize this won't be a problem you'd encounter on this trip)
When I backpack, I prefer to strike camp as quickly as possible, just walking out to the cans and stuffing them into our packs was a lot simpler than bringing the whole rig down.
Finally, they make a comfortable stool. Throw a fleece on top, and they're actually kind of nice.

Additionally, a small backup water supply kind of pays for itself. A few times in the sierras, once we got above the treeline water was a lot more scarce that we anticipated. If your map says you'll be pretty high up on a given leg of the day's hike, it might be worthwhile to stock up an extra liter or so of water on the off chance.

As a consideration, I'd like to advocate those heavy-duty contractor bags as pack liners in place of the compactor bags. They might weigh a gram or two more than most of the thinner bags, but that robustness is an asset worth considering.
I've long used one as a pack liner, paired with a reusable Zip-tie from an auto parts store. I like them because they're rugged and big, which makes them aptly suited to standard-issue backpacker multitasking, here are some of my favorite uses:

- An emergency poncho that can cover you and your pack without the pitfalls of typical rain ponchos (the open sides and gaping hole in the top)
- Weatherproofing for your bear bag that can shrug off poky branches or less-than-gentle falls to the ground.
- They can use used as a tourniquet, or to build a rugged splint with some sticks and duct tape.
- Wrapping for your gear while fording creeks and streams
- a "Gear bivy" for those times your pack has to live outside in the tent vestibule, or as extra waterproofing for taco camping.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/28/13 10:59 AM

The bear cannister vs hanging choice is a good example of the typical trade-offs you have to consider when trying to go lighter. I totally agree bear cannisters are handy. You "pay" for the weight savings when hanging- cost is about 15 minutes to properly hang (and sometimes up to 30 minutes to find a campsite that will work)and the annoyance when once hung, you forgot to put something inside! The "cost" of the bear can is the extra weight. An additional "cost" of the bear can, for me, is the bulk. I actually have to use a heavier (bigger) pack when I take the bear can. Because I am small, and my packs are small, I have to put the bear can in vertically inside the pack. this takes up nearly all the room and makes balancing the pack weight very difficult. It also makes the pack "stiff" and uncomfortable unless the pack has a good rigid curve to the side next to your back (cannot carry the bear can in a frameless pack). If your pack is men's large, you can put the can in horizontally - a much better method. So not only does the can add the weight of the can, I also have extra weight of the pack, and the extra "feel" of heaviness due to not being able to get the weight close enough to my center of gravity. This is why I use my Ursack whenever it is legal. True, it is not 100% bear-proof, but it packs so much better and weighs 8 oz. There is always a trad-off. Each of us will choose what we are willing to gain or loose.

You can save ounces also by choosing lighter and sacraficing sturdiness. The heavier plastic bag for a liner will last longer, so is more cost effective. I, however, rather take the lighter plastic bag and just buy a new one for each trip.
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/29/13 07:11 PM

yeah,I opted to borrow the Ursack, for weight reasons. I'll see how it goes. I ended up heavier than I wanted - couldn't find a couple of items in their ultra lite versions. Looks like some hot weather is heading that a way too frown
Posted by: lori

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/29/13 08:04 PM

Good luck - I sleep more soundly with a canister. An Ursack would leave me awake all night on the jump, waiting for that first tearing sound... all the stories from rangers who had to use bolt cutters to take the properly-tied ropes off the tree after the bear is done tearing open the bag from the bottom destroyed any chance I had of owning one for Sierra use.

That, and the backpacking store owner who refused to sell it to me after I told him where I was going....
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/29/13 09:10 PM

I do not worry at night. I stick in my ear plugs, and sleep. If a bear gets my food, so be it. I have never had a Ursack failure. I have never had a hanging bag failure. I even put out a half full tuna can in Yosemite, above Little Yosemite Valley, and no bear even touched it. Years ago I stuck breakfast food inside a dirty sock. A bear chewed up my toothpaste but left the sock alone. And if it does happen, I have done two 4-day 50-mile survival walk-outs and know I can walk out without food. If I am on a longer trip, where I can really fill the bear can, I usually take the bear can. But for a 2-3 day trip, unless absolutely required, I take the Ursack. I have found the best way to avoid bears is to avoid established campsites along trails.
Posted by: lori

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/29/13 09:32 PM

A guy hung a trash sack over his tent, six feet off the ground, in the campsite next door - nothing touched it. But a mere 500 feet away the bear dragged away an empty pack and tore it up.

I don't play the odds regardless of where I camp... but I'm like that in most respects simply because I have too many onlookers who (whether I like it or not) tend to look at me as an example, simply because I organize a lot of trips for others. So any thing I do multiplies, and the more you spin a roulette wheel, the more likely the odds play out... I'm like that on internet forums too. Not really interested in encouraging anyone to increase risks that do exist.

ETA: Here is White 90.

His picture is posted at Lake Eleanor, just inside the park boundary and south of Emigrant Wilderness.

He may be the bear that ended one of my group members' first backpacking trip, and likely his backpacking career, since he dragged away his entire pack and ripped up everything searching for food. The gentleman stopped on the first day out to take a pee break, put down his pack, stepped away from it for a moment, and turned back to see the backside of the bear as it raced away from him carrying his loaded backpack into the forest.

Every random encounter tells me consistency and vigilance is important....
Posted by: BarryP

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 05/30/13 01:45 PM

Sorry, I havenít read everyoneís post so I apologize if I duplicate. And Iím sorry if I hit a sentimental item.
1. Camera. There are small, light (5oz) digital cameras (23.74 Ė 5 = 18.74)
2. GPS (5oz). Use small GPS with good map (12.38 Ė 5 = 7.38)
3. Cup. Go with plastic (0.5oz). (3.84-0.5 = 3.34)
4. Pot. Get the Kmart grease kettle. Itís nice (9.63 Ė 3.5 = 6.13)
5. First Aid. Yep. Cut in half (9.1 / 2 = 4.55)
6. I admire your stove and fuel choice. Itís hard to get lighter than a 0.4oz stove. And the fuel is easy to carry.
Total saved = 40.14oz = 2.5lbs
Hopefully your pad has a decent R value.

Good luck on the trip!
-The Rockies were made for Tevas
Posted by: Heather-ak

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 06/05/13 07:47 PM

I'm back - will do a trip report after I go through my pics.

I used everything in my kit - and was VERY glad for my warm sleeping bag. Used the Ursack - saw no bear sign or bears. Desk Ranger didn't seem the least bit concerned about bears when I asked, though she warned me more about rattlesnakes and scorpions and tarantulas... Only saw two snakes, neither rattlers and two deer.

(Ended up out to Deer lake and down to wood lake - and btw wood lake to the first major river crossing (think it is buck) is not really passable - I made it, but need to send the search and rescue an "I'm an idiot" donation (they did NOT have to rescue me - but I prob. should have turned around))
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 06/06/13 11:48 PM

Sounds like a good story.

Want to tell it?
Posted by: dcm579

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 06/09/13 11:52 PM

Looking forward to the story, will be doing this trip 2nd week of Sept. weather permitting
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: Trip contents for Emigrant Wilderness - 06/10/13 06:00 PM

Good to hear of your successful trip, complete with unexpected challenges (the best kind). Might be headed that way in another week, so will be watching for your report!