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#115178 - 04/29/09 11:09 PM New guy intro and questions
Buck06 Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/05/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Kentucky
Hi all! Been lurking here for several weeks now and figured it was time for me to finally introduce myself. I used to do quite a bit of backpacking and canoeing as a kid in the scouts as well as a few trips to the Adirondaks as a 20 something and have recently deceided that its time to hit the trail again after a long absence. Most of my gear is ancient and ill suited to any serious mileage. I am looking to try a few long weekend treks in the Smokies and have a few questions about gear. I have found a great deal of valuable information on this site but a few nagging questions persist. What is the purpose of a wind shirt and can anyone give me a good example of this piece of clothing. I am aware of layering principals and modern fabrics as a skier and former soldier in the army, but the concept of a windshirt is foreign to me. I could also use some assistance in my serch for a new lightweight shelter. I currently have a Eureka timberline that I'm sure you'll all consider too darn heavy for a serious backpacker. I am looking at inexpensive alternatives or alterations to my current setup. The idea of a tarp sounds intriguing, however, I haven't found a cheap means of dealing with the bug problem yet. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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#115179 - 04/29/09 11:18 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
First off, welcome to the forums.

A windshirt is used to block the wind from coming through your fleece jacket or as a layer over your long sleeve shirt. It is usually some what water resistant but not the equivalent of a rain jacket. It weighs a few ounces. I have a Marmot Hydrogen and throw it in with my gear if the weather warrants.

As for tents, check out the REI, Campmor, MooseJaw, Backcountrygear (use the links from this forum) and compare different models. Or, if you want light weight, watch the sale forum here and you might pick up a tarp tent relatively inexpensively. Another option would be to try a hammock. That can be done relatively inexpensively. The weight will be similar, but for me it is much more comfortable.

If you have any other specific questions, just let us know.
_________________________
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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#115181 - 04/29/09 11:22 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

1) Don't discount ancient gear. lots of old stuff (like old external frame packs) are perfectly good. A backpack doesn't
have a best before date.

2) If you really want to lighten your load up, start with a look at the "27 pound 7 day pack" and the 18 pound 3 day pack" list posted on the main site this forum is on. Some of us also post gear list that are semi lightweight.

3) Rather than worrying about how heavy your gear is at first, concentrate on what you are taking and *not* taking. look at what some of us are taking and think seriously about what you would use for the same purpose. You may find that, ok, you don't end up with an 18 pound pack for a weekender, but by carefully planning what you're gonna take you may end up without a huge heavy load either.

Once you've gotten there. you can start thinking about what you may want to change to lighten up more.

As for tarps, there's lots of ways to deal with bugs, everything from a headnet, a net-tent, or a hammock with a bugnet. You could also look into something like a tarptent from TarpTent or Six Moon Designs.


_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#115186 - 04/29/09 11:36 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dude

hi

I use mostly 10 to 20 year old gear, which I'll admit was expensive at the time, but the point is that the old gear is very serviceable.

We don't carry a lot of the things we used to - just leave it at home. After looking at the info in this site you'll learn as much as you want to knonw - its all there.

You'll want a scale fer sure to weigh each item and one to weigh your finished pack. Anyhow you need to take your old gear and assemble together a new light weight group of your minimum items and weigh them as a group and let us know how much it weighs. Then get out and camp with it and find out what you HAVE to replace. Then look at your pack, tent, etc for items that are a pound or more over what they might be and consider which item will allow you to reduce the total weight the most for the least amount per pound. Like if you have an old german military pound and a half metal WWII canteen (as an example), you could lose a pound by spending between $0 and $25 on a lighter canteen (old Coke bottle?) or bladder. Next maybe the tent, maybe you could buy one 3 pounds lighter for $200, thus a higher rate per pound, but a greater difference. You be the judge. I used to set the limit at $10 per ounce.
Jim crazy
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#115189 - 04/30/09 12:20 AM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By Buck06
can anyone give me a good example of this piece of clothing.


I use the Patagonia Houdini and I'm very happy with it. It's good for light rain and bug protection. I even sleep in it. When not needed, it rolls up to the size of a tennis ball. It's also surprisingly durable considering how thin the fabric is. I always take it with me, day hikes or overnights, winter and summer, deserts or mountains. I even use it for kayaking and bike riding. It's one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Its main drawback is the price. Ouch. But if you're not in a hurry they often go on sale. I snagged mine for half price.

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#115200 - 04/30/09 08:58 AM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Check out the gear - assess the seams, set up the tent and test the waterproofness with a hose in the backyard, weigh it, and prioritize - what you want to replace vs. what you must replace. Decide where you want to go and check out regulations in that area - there are websites for every major park, wilderness area and national forest to provide info on permits - and what kind of bear proofing is REQUIRED versus what kind you have and are willing to use. Figure out what size tent you are willing to tolerate and check out tarptent.com, hammockforums.net, six moons designs, gossamer gear, campmor, and sierra trading post.

I just got a windshirt and fleece jacket, both Marmot, at Sierra Trading Post, as well as a $99 pair of Keens, for better than half off by combining a coupon with a sale - paid a hundred bucks for the three items. I was in REI the other day and saw similar gear that added up to better than $300. The more you read and learn, the easier it is to make choices on deeply discounted stuff.

Some stuff you don't necessarily cut corners on; I initially picked up a very inexpensive tent, but later found that a hammock suited me better, so picked up a used Hennessy on ebay. Then as I traveled up the hammock learning curve, I understood my needs better and upgraded to a Warbonnet Blackbird, which is hardly ever found secondhand and never on sale, but worth every penny to me due to the features and the size of the hammock. Had I not taken every step on that path and willing to spend the time and money, I would still be thrashing around on the ground not sleeping a wink and would have given up backpacking by now. I had a similar path with backpacks. If you were wearing a pack you didn't have sized before, like I was, go get measured for pack size. You could have grown in various dimensions, you might have had the wrong pack and tolerated it, or whatever - but the pack is an important piece of gear to have fitting as well as you can manage.

Welcome aboard! laugh
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#115208 - 04/30/09 11:16 AM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
For a cheap way to deal with bugs in a tarp, us a bug net. You can buy a cheap one in any camping store.

An example
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#115215 - 04/30/09 12:33 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Jimshaw]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
An oz. for 10 bucks. Those were the good ole days. LOL
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#115236 - 04/30/09 06:34 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Buck06 Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/05/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Kentucky
Thanks for the warm welcome. I have a better understanding now of the windshirt concept. To me it seems like it would be better to have just a waterproof shell and meet both wind and water protection needs in one garment? As for using my old gear, I am assesing each piece on a case by case basis. I have already picked up a new pack. I was actually fitted for this one and it does make one heck of a difference. My sleeping bag is an old coleman peak one square bag and weighs in at over 5 lbs so that will need to be addressed. I am intrigued by the homemade quilts out there, but have no sewing skills. I would really like more of a sleep system where I could kinda layer an outter bag/quilt with my army issue poncho linner (wooby). I saw the article on the home site where a guy taped together two mylar blankets as an outter bag and that ease of assembly kinda got me thinking that I'd like to have a similar setup, only sewn and with something heavier and less noisy than mylar (also like the square shape as I'm a toss and turn guy). I am interested in trying to lighten up my existing tent by replacing the ground sheet with Tyvek or possibly forgoing the ground sheet altogether. i am constructing a Coke can alcohol stove and fabricating a homemade windscreen. I should be alright on clothing as the Army was kind enough to provide me with all kinds of polypro kit and as I have stated before I am a skiier. Thanks again for your insight and willingness to share!

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#115237 - 04/30/09 06:48 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Buck06
Thanks for the warm welcome. I have a better understanding now of the windshirt concept. To me it seems like it would be better to have just a waterproof shell and meet both wind and water protection needs in one garment?


Windshirts are very light and sometimes DWR, which means they are water repellant; rain shells are waterproof. I have a rain shell and because it is a vapor barrier, wearing it in anything warmer than 40f results in my being wet anyway because I'm hiking and sweating my buns off. So now I have a rain poncho for some hiking situations where I'm not going to be blown off the map and the breathable DWR windshirt to fight the wind.

Quote:
My sleeping bag is an old coleman peak one square bag and weighs in at over 5 lbs so that will need to be addressed. I am intrigued by the homemade quilts out there, but have no sewing skills. I would really like more of a sleep system where I could kinda layer an outter bag/quilt with my army issue poncho linner (wooby).


You can buy a quilt from Jacks r Better, Backpacking Light, or other online vendors. They also frequently appear used at hammockforums.net - just saw a great deal on a Ray WAy quilt someone made and sold used.

Quote:
I saw the article on the home site where a guy taped together two mylar blankets as an outter bag and that ease of assembly kinda got me thinking that I'd like to have a similar setup, only sewn and with something heavier and less noisy than mylar (also like the square shape as I'm a toss and turn guy).


Mylar is a vapor barrier. if you are going to be in subzero temps, this might be okay, but anything around freezing or warmer you will be swimming in your own perspiration.


Quote:
I am interested in trying to lighten up my existing tent by replacing the ground sheet with Tyvek or possibly forgoing the ground sheet altogether.


Forgo the ground sheet or use 2mm painter's cloth, which comes in a huge roll for a couple bucks. I tried Tyvek off eBay - it's pretty stiff until you use it for a while, and I found that bark chips and duff stuck to it more than to the plastic painter's cloth. Some people really like tyvek once they run it through a washing machine a bunch of times. Since I sold the tent and gave it away, I may not have given it a fair shake. These days I use a tarp and hammock.

Sounds like you are doing things with forethought - good for you!
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#115260 - 05/01/09 12:14 AM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Buck06
Thanks for the warm welcome. I have a better understanding now of the windshirt concept. To me it seems like it would be better to have just a waterproof shell and meet both wind and water protection needs in one garment?


If you don't sweat - yes it's worth it. Unfortunately I do.
in a windshirt I can be much more active without stewing
in my own juices.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#115284 - 05/01/09 11:31 AM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: lori]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By Buck06
Thanks for the warm welcome. I have a better understanding now of the windshirt concept. To me it seems like it would be better to have just a waterproof shell and meet both wind and water protection needs in one garment?


Some hikers do this. I can't. The rain shell is just not breathable enough -- I sweat too much when wearing it, unless the weather is *very* cold and windy.

The wind shirt is the perfect "just right" layer for much of my fall-winter-spring hiking. It goes over my base layer while hiking on cool or windy days, or it's my warm layer when I stop on warmer days. I have two wind shirts -- a Marmot Driclime 2-layer windshirt for winter use, and an LL Bean 3-ounce single-layer version for fall and spring.

These work well with a 4-layer clothing system: base layer, wind shirt, insulation layer, and rain shell layer. Bring the appropriate versions of each layer for the season. (Example: down jacket in winter, very light microfleece zip tee in May.) Mix and match as needed for the weather conditions.
_________________________
--Ken B

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#115308 - 05/01/09 06:07 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Buck06 Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/05/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Kentucky
Ok I now understand the reasoning for a seperate garment, thanks for all your informative replies. Looks like a windshirt and rain pants are the only items of clothing that I lack. I have a newer sleeping bag that I had purchased for my wife sometime ago. She never uses it so maybee it can work for me until I save up for a new one. It's only about 3 lbs and if I remember right is rated to 30 degrees. I think I'll try and use the old timberline for a few treks and start to budget for new shelter while I continue my research. Thanks!

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#115318 - 05/01/09 09:15 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Buck06
It's only about 3 lbs and if I remember right is rated to 30 degrees.


eek eek eek

Sorry. After surfing around forums reading on how to make everything lighter, and doing months of research that led to buying quilts that each weigh 16 oz with temp ratings of 25F, the phrase "only 3 lbs" in a conversation about sleeping bags sat up and punched me.

3 lbs is a perfectly decent weight for starters. Don't let anyone tell you differently. You will want to be sure that the 30 degree rating is accurate, however, before trusting it on an outing of any length or duration.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#115322 - 05/01/09 09:35 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
Buck06 Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/05/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Kentucky
Compared to my old coleman peak 1 bag at 5 lbs it is kinda lightweight. wink

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#115350 - 05/02/09 02:19 PM Re: New guy intro and questions [Re: Buck06]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3183
Loc: Portland, OR
Don't worry Buck06, it sounds like you have a firm grip on the process and you're on the right path to a lighter pack. Get there at the pace that seems right to you and to your wallet.

The important thing, as always, is getting out there. All the rest is just trying to arrange matters to be more enjoyable after you leave the trailhead. Details, in other words. (Which is also where the devil is said to live.)

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