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#158158 - 12/01/11 08:46 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
NavemadaMan Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
So the physics test wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. The density, buoyancy, and pressure problems I had down. But the problems that pertained to rotational dynamics are what really got me. Overall though, not too bad.

Anyway, back to the main topic, Yosemite. I figure that starting with procuring my gear would be easier than figuring out the logistics right now. Too much uncertainty in the home, school, and climate sectors for me to make any specific or definitive decisions about the many things that must be planned. Plus, I still need to do quite a bit more of research on Yosemite.

In the meantime, there's plenty I need to learn about gear and I'm going to need plenty of time to practice with it. Glenn is being extremely kind and has offered to send over some of his gently used gear. But aside from that I still need help on some gear choices.

For instance, I've been looking up watches with altimeters, barometers/ multifunctional. I don't have a watch for daily use, figured if I got one it might as well have features like that, and the holidays are rolling around so I figured this might be something good to ask for. So in your opinions, what is a really tough, durable, accurate, reliable, or just best darned multifunction watch you know? OR, do you think they are just a complete and utter waste of a tool and money?

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#158159 - 12/01/11 09:14 PM Re: New Member [Re: NavemadaMan]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
Just to get you started thinking about gear (aside from the helpful list Oregon Mouse pointed out to you elsewhere in this thread).

The key pieces of gear, imo, are: sleeping bag, footwear, and pack. The footwear and pack are all about how well they fit the shape of your foot and your body, so it is hard for a bunch of strangers to tell you what is going to work best for you. You'll be wearing both the footwear and the pack for long hours so good fit is critical. Chafing, hot spots or sore hips are bad signs. Ten minutes isn't long enough to evaluate fit in a store.

Other primary considerations for a pack: it needs to be big enough to fit everything you need to carry, both food and gear, but not any bigger. In Yosemite that also includes a bear canister for your food, which is somewhat bulky. It is good advice to leave buying the pack for later and get your gear together first.

In Yosemite, you'll be at very high elevation and it can get cold at night, even in July. Very cold for a Floridian. Your bag should probably be rated at 20 degrees if it is a good-quality down bag from a high-end manufacturer like Western Mountaineering. If you can't afford a high end bag, I'd buy something rated for 15 degrees, because lower quality bags are alsways over-optimistically rated.

If you spend a ton of money on any piece of gear, make it your sleeping bag, not some nifty toy. A GPS can't keep you from freezing at night.

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#158160 - 12/01/11 09:30 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I couldn't agree more. A $20 Timex will tell you what time it is (which, as you will learn, isn't all that critical in the backcountry - "dawn," "midmorning," "about noon," etc., are close enough.)

But knowing - absolutely knowing - you'll be cozy warm your sleeping bag on a cold, cold mountain night - maybe not priceless, but certainly well worth the hefty price tags the good bags carry.

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#158161 - 12/01/11 09:31 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By aimless


If you spend a ton of money on any piece of gear, make it your sleeping bag, not some nifty toy. A GPS can't keep you from freezing at night.


+1.

Not to mention - do you know what you would use the altimeter/barometer for? Is it a function necessary to your enjoyment or your survival? If not, why are you wanting to get that item?

Lightweight backpacking means leaving things that aren't necessary - map and compass skills aren't going to leave you in the lurch since there are no batteries to fail in subfreezing temps, and no electronics to break or fail to find a satellite.

The altimeter will be of little use without the ability to read a topographic map - with skills and map, you can use the altimeter to triangulate your position with more precision than without it. Without skills you are left with... your current elevation. If it's an accurate reading. Electronics sometimes aren't accurate.
_________________________
"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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#158162 - 12/01/11 09:43 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
NavemadaMan Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
You do raise a good point. See, this is why I came to you guys for assistance in the preparation for this. You all know better, even if its things that seem painfully obvious -- like purchasing an expensive and trivial gadget like that watch instead of a sleeping bag that'll be able to keep me warm at night.

So what company makes high quality sleeping bags?

Oh, scratch that you already proposed Western Mountaineering


Edited by NavemadaMan (12/01/11 09:49 PM)

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#158163 - 12/01/11 09:47 PM Re: New Member [Re: Glenn]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
$20? Harrumph! I'll have you know my Timex watch cost me fully $35. It seems to function just as well in the wilderness as it does here in town. It even tells me the date (except it thinks every month has 31 days frown ).

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#158164 - 12/01/11 09:51 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
NavemadaMan Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Okay point taken, a simple watch does just fine grin


Edited by NavemadaMan (12/01/11 09:51 PM)

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#158165 - 12/01/11 09:56 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Kohl's, on sale, after Christmas, 5 years ago.

Actually, I no longer wear my Timex. I replaced it with a digital pocket watch that has an extra nifty function that lets me make telephone calls. smile

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#158166 - 12/01/11 10:06 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
NavemadaMan Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Wow, you weren't kidding when you said that these good bags got expensive. I see a Western Mountaineering UltraLite bag, do you know if they are good? I've seen some negative comments about the durability of the bag.

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#158171 - 12/01/11 11:06 PM Re: New Member [Re: NavemadaMan]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I love my WM Ultralite! With extra clothing (i.e. all my insulating clothing) and a warm pad (the sleeping pad is vitally important!), I've gotten down to 15*F with it. And I sleep cold! For me, the best part is the draft collar--I can snug it up around my neck and leave the hood relatively loose for ventilation (while wearing a fleece balaclava).

You do want to treat it with care, though. You want to treat any sleeping bag with care! No draping it over thorn bushes or dragging it over rocks. No letting your cat or dog sleep on it! Actually, that's true with any gear.

Feathered Friends in Seattle also makes equally high quality bags. Marmot's line of sleeping bags named for elements (such as the Helium) are also good and are more apt to be on sale.

With any sleeping bag, pay close attention to the girth measurements. (Remember that shoulder measurement is over your arms, and should also be over your thickest insulating jacket.) If the bag is too narrow, it will not only be claustrophobic but it won't be as warm because you'll compress the insulation. If it's too wide, you'll be spending a lot of your body heat warming up dead air space.

Have you tried searching the forums? There is a lot of info on sleeping bags and other gear items. The search funcftion here is a little tricky; instructions are in the "sticky" thread at the top of the General Discussion section. Pay special attention to changing the date parameters.

You can also click the items in the left hand column in this page which will take you to our TLB sponsors. You'll find lots of information about specific brands there.

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#158172 - 12/02/11 12:07 AM Re: New Member [Re: OregonMouse]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
I always thought adventure was someone half a world away risking their life while eating bad food...

Anyway, while you're gathering gear you need to consider skills building (as already mentioned).

You need to be able to (short list)
- cook food
- do basic first aid
- pitch a shelter
- navigate
- purify water
- make fire reliably

This is a great time to make friends with the guy in your school who's stayed with scouting, or to go to the scout shop and pick up the Boy Scout Handbook. Prove to yourself, before you go, that you can do all the requirements for a First Class Scout. All the directions are in the Handbook. It will only take a couple weekends for a high school senior on his way to college (including doing some hiking and setting up camp), but it will help make sure you are set up to have a good time when you go this summer, and help you manage your risks.

Hope you have fun

Steadman

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#158176 - 12/02/11 01:32 AM Re: New Member [Re: Steadman]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I would recommend Mountaineering: Freedom of the hills. A lot of it is more than would be needed, but it covers the basics quite well, in a very realistic manner. Might be hard to find in Florida....

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#158178 - 12/02/11 06:55 AM Re: New Member [Re: Steadman]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
The Boy Scout Fieldbook is pretty good, too. It has several chapters on camping and backpacking, and some general guides to various parts of the country. Most of the information is fairly current although, like any book, the gear information is somewhat behind the times.

Unless they've recently revised it completely, stay away from the Backpacking Merit Badge handbook, though. The last version I saw acknowledged that internal frame packs could be had with a little effort, but didn't really think they'd catch on for backpacking. (OK, that's a bit exaggerated, but not a lot.)

I'll toss a copy of Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker IV into the package I send you - it's a huge book, but if you're into all that phsyics stuff, it should be a piece of cake for you!

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#158192 - 12/02/11 02:32 PM Re: New Member [Re: NavemadaMan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Glenn you are awesome. (Glenn's our resident angel and you're not alone in benefitting from his generosity.)

But I don't think you need to spend $400 bucks on a sleeping bag for this trip. I agree, that this is where you want to step up and do better than a $20 Wal-Mart Coleman bag, but top of the line stuff isn't the only way to go. It is the lightest and best way to go, but there are lot's of people that have done Yosemite without $400 down bags. Probably more than not.

I use a Coleman eXponent 32 backpacking bag, with a Coleman fleece bag liner, wear good long undies (top and bottoms), a wool sweater, fleece pajama pants, fleece hat and gloves. I use a bubble foil pad on top of my sleeping pad, and a SOL emergency blanket over my bag, and I am warm and cozy down to 20. All of this together cost less than $150 brand new, and it weighs considerably more than a Western Mountaineering UltraLite bag wink

The take away should be that you have options, but you need to attain the same end result no matter what you choose. You must be warm at least to 20.

Topo map skills will be essential. You haven't mentioned how well you know how to use a map and compass, and South Florida doesn't offer much topography to practice on, but you do need to have or hone those skills for this trip.

You should download all the topos for Yosemite (they're free at http://libremap.org), and start studying them. Get to know them as best as you can and cross reference them with photos so you can better associate what is on the map with what you see.

Follow the major valleys, note the peaks and gaps, and the mouths of creeks and cuts coming down from the ridges into the bottoms, and try and familiarize yourself with the terrain you'll encounter. Try to learn what peaks you will see from wherever you are, and how they will come into view as you travel. It's reassuring to find the features you expect while hiking along the way, and it's the only certain way to know where you are.

You need to be able to visualize the shape of mountains as displayed on the topo map and recognize them when you're looking at them for real, and from all angles. If you can do that, triangulating your position on a map is easy as pie in the mountains.

I use topo maps to help me with planning my route. I look at them and visualize the area, and find places that I want to explore. For me, that's usually the valleys and creeks and cuts. Others here prefer the peaks and ridges, or both.

I guess what I am searching for on a map is the perfect place to spend a night or two. A flat spot where two creeks come together, or a waterfall nearby. You can find where they are likely to be on a topo map if you visualize what they display and it's a wonderful way to escape for a bit and relax and dream. Out there you have mountain lakes that are just stunningly beautiful to plan a night at.

For all I know, you've been doing this for years, but if not, get those maps and get lost in them. Shoot, you've got Google Earth to help you visualize the area. When I was your age all we had was..... (ah well, I'll spare you wink )
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#158194 - 12/02/11 02:48 PM Re: New Member [Re: billstephenson]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
I don't think you need to spend $400 bucks on a sleeping bag for this trip.

True enough. My main point was to contrast that a high-end bag would have an accurate temp rating, but if he buys a mid-range bag he should take the rating with a grain of salt and shoot for a lower degrees rating to make up for that. Also, that, given a choice of dropping a lot of money on a GPS/electronic gadget or a sleeping bag, the sleeping bag would be the right investment.

Some less-expensive, but still good, bags to consider would include (in somewhat descending order) Montbell, Marmot, REI, or Kelty at the lower end. Basically, if the bag will keep you warm and has reasonable workmanship, the main variable will be that the less you pay, the heavier and bulkier it will be. As Oregon Mouse pointed out, girth is an important consideration, too.

I generally carry an REI Sub-Kilo rated to 20 degrees that would more accurately be called 25 degrees. It has a narrow girth, but I have narrow shoulders, so it works well enough for me. It cost me in the neighborhood of $130, on sale at the REI-Outlet. It still shows up there from time to time.

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#158197 - 12/02/11 03:12 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I'm sorry aimless, I wasn't intending at all to diminish your point, and I apologize if I seemed to be.

I agree whole heartedly that he should avoid spending anything on unessential gadgets and devote as much as possible of his resources to a good bag.

I've spent $400 bucks on GPSs over the past 10 or 12 years, the first one is dead as a doornail, and I've got several cheap sleeping bags twice as old that l don't often use. I'm sure I'd have been better off spending all that money on a good bag first. I didn't know that back then blush
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#158202 - 12/02/11 04:36 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
If you go with a lower-end bag, you may want to allow a tiny bit more girth (i.e., don't get a bag that fits snugly.) This will allow you to extend the temperature range of the bag by wearing fleece or down garments inside it. Don't get a loose bag; just allow enough extra room for the thickness of a layer of insulating clothing. This gives you a safety margin for any optimism that the manufacturer may build into its rating.

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#158234 - 12/03/11 03:15 PM Re: New Member [Re: NavemadaMan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Hopefully, others will chime in, but depending on your budget this Coleman might be a good option for a first bag.

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"You want to go where?"



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#158235 - 12/03/11 03:45 PM Re: New Member [Re: billstephenson]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
I'm not sure if that Coleman bag has enough insulation for a cold night at 9,000 ft in the Sierras. Sure, it has the number 20 in the model's name, but the specs don't show a temp rating or inches of loft. The pic makes it look rather low loft to my eyeball.

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#158236 - 12/03/11 04:15 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I agree - she says, having abandoned the hope of finding cheap bags that work in the Sierra long ago.

Those cheap Coleman and similar bags just don't cut it when it gets cold... I had a 30F rated cheap bag, I got cold at 45, got rid of the bag.
_________________________
"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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#158237 - 12/03/11 04:17 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Here's what they give for specs:

Down sleeping bag
comfortable down to 20 F
Fill: Grey goose down, fill power 600, 80/20
Fill weight: 23 ounces
Pack weight: 2 pounds, 14 ounces

The fill power and fill weight don't mean a lot to me. I have no experience to base it on.

But here's what I was wondering, while it may not be good down to 20, with those specs can one assume it might be good to 25, or 30, and if so, do you think it might be a good deal at that $89.99 price tag?

I think the "exponent" gear I've got from Coleman has been pretty good for the price I paid.
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#158238 - 12/03/11 04:20 PM Re: New Member [Re: lori]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I had a 30F rated cheap bag, I got cold at 45, got rid of the bag.


Was it a down bag?

I have a 32 Coleman exponant synthetic bag that's not near up to the rating, but it's a pretty decent 40 bag and I only paid about $40 for it.

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#158239 - 12/03/11 04:25 PM Re: New Member [Re: aimless]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Another thing we have to consider is that while this trip is to the big western mountains, he lives in So FL.

I'd have to think he might be doing more nights there for the next few years than out west at 9000 ft. Of course, I have no idea where he might go to college.
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#158240 - 12/03/11 04:26 PM Re: New Member [Re: billstephenson]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Nope, not down. Also not the bag I needed for what I wanted to do. Since it was a mummy it was of no use for other purposes, either, so it went to a kayaker who wanted a synthetic for summer stuff.
_________________________
"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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#158242 - 12/03/11 05:01 PM Re: New Member [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I don't know if I posted in this thread or another one (BTW, the search function works fine here if you follow the directions in the "sticky" thread at the top of the "General Discussion" section) about the Kelty Cosmic Down 20* sleeping bag. Review. It can be found for under $100 if you shop around. Unlike most inexpensive bags, it is EN13537 rated, so the temp rating (for men/warm sleepers) is fairly accurate. It is, of course, lower quality down and therefore heavier than the high quality down bags we've mentioned here, and it won't last as long. However, it's lighter and will last longer (if properly cared for) than a comparably priced synthetic bag.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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