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#115936 - 05/13/09 09:37 AM Smokies trip/gear?/advice
left_on_lauraG Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/07/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Hello! I'm 28 -- not quite over the hill yet -- but my father and I are going out on a 3-day, 2-night trip in the next couple of weeks, and I'm hoping you guys might have some advice about how I might lighten his load. We're going to Mount Sterling in the Smokies. I figured I'd carry our tent and the bulk of our food and cooking equipment (we won't need much for a two-nighter, I don't think) and let him have his sleeping bag/pad and whatever additional gear we need (bear cord, etc.) Is this a good plan or would a different set up be better in your more experienced opinions? He is 64 and in really good shape, but has occasional back problems.

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#115967 - 05/13/09 03:30 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
First let me say good on you for including your father. What weather conditions are you expecting? If it's warm enough for summer weight gear that would cut the weight some but don't scrimp on his sleeping pad. Us old guys need a soft bed. "Occasional back problems" seem go hand in hand with being over 50. Trekking poles help me a lot on that account. Also a pack that moves most of the weight to the hip belt is a big help. Keep an eye on him during the hike. Male ego being what it is he may not tell you if he's burring out.

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#115992 - 05/13/09 09:03 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: Eric]
left_on_lauraG Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/07/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Definitely summer gear -- I'm hoping for high 60s and sunny. Maybe a little cooler at night, but nothing that a good sleeping bag won't handle. He has an exercise mat that he was planning to use as his sleeping pad -- will that be okay or should I talk him into (or just bring) something different? What works for you?

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#115998 - 05/13/09 10:56 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
I'm a side sleeper with bony hips. I can't sleep on less than a 1.5 inch pad. I was using a Thermarest Prolite but have just upgraded(?) to a Neo Air that's a little bit of heaven. You should have him try the pad he is thinking of using on a hard surface. Test it for more than just a few minutes.

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#116004 - 05/13/09 11:34 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: Eric]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

I take my dad out (68) and he's fine with a thick air mattress, in his case a BA insulated aircore, for what you're talking about the thermarest neo-air might be a good choice too..

In terms of load, well, I have him kitted out so it's really not
very heavy anyway, The biggest thing was a modern *well fitting* pack. I got him into a gregory Z 55 and for him that worked great.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#116025 - 05/14/09 08:35 AM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: phat]
left_on_lauraG Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/07/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
He just recently got fitted for a new pack -- I can't remember the full name, but I know it is an Osprey and weighs less than 3 lbs. Might have to look into an air mattress -- sounds like one of those will keep him relatively comfortable. Thanks!

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#116040 - 05/14/09 01:24 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
Note that the air mat Phat is talking about is insulated. Uninsulated air mattresses make for a cold bed.

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#116043 - 05/14/09 02:16 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“He has an exercise mat that he was planning to use as his sleeping pad”

Exercise mats range from 3 to 8 times heavier than backpacking closed cell foam pads. They need to since they take much more abuse. Exercise mats are NOT worth backpacking with. There are much more comfortable lightweight options.

Hopefully your dad would have time to try out the various backpack pads before heading out.

-Barry

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#116051 - 05/14/09 06:50 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By left_on_lauraG
Definitely summer gear -- I'm hoping for high 60s and sunny. Maybe a little cooler at night, but nothing that a good sleeping bag won't handle.


Just remember that Mount Sterling is over 5000 feet. It can easily drop a bit below 50 even in August at night. During a rainy day, it might be surprising how cool it can get. I've heard in a few places that the high ridge of the Smokies has a climate very comparable to lowland Vermont, so be ready.

You DON't need winter gear certainly, I always carry a 100 weight fleece pullover and light wool cap for evenings. You may not need it, but it's worth the extra 10-12 ounces to avoid having to burrow into your bag once the sun drops behind a ridge.
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#116103 - 05/15/09 05:09 PM Re: Smokies trip/gear?/advice [Re: left_on_lauraG]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By left_on_lauraG
Definitely summer gear -- I'm hoping for high 60s and sunny. Maybe a little cooler at night, but nothing that a good sleeping bag won't handle. He has an exercise mat that he was planning to use as his sleeping pad -- will that be okay or should I talk him into (or just bring) something different? What works for you?


I see we live in the same town. I have a self-inflating pad you could borrow, if you like. It's not really thick -- only an inch -- but it'll be much more comfortable and packable than an exercise mat. You could PM me through this forum.
_________________________
--Ken B

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