Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#169722 - 09/24/12 10:47 AM Work with what you've got, or buy new?
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
My wife & me have a dream, a hiker's dream I guess you could call it. We want to walk the Appalachian. We're not a young buck & doe pair. I'm over 50 & she's over 40. We both are out of shape, big time, but both of us have been walkers for long excursions in the past. The idea is to build up to it, sort of set out from Maine - heading South in late spring 2013. We've got a hodge podge collection of gear from past travels, past decades. I wonder if anyone has opinions as to whether it makes more sense to rebuild our kits from scratch, or cobble together what we have. Example being, I have an old, but reliable; MSR white gas stove with a 33 ounce bottle. I like the little alcohol stoves made out of a soda can too, but I know I can count on the MSR. Our tent is a cheapo, but the darn thing has proved to be pretty tough; if a little on the heavy side. See where I'm going? Any thoughts or advice is welcome. Happy trails.

Top
#169723 - 09/24/12 11:06 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
How much weight are you willing to carry? Can you trust it for the entire duration? If your gears don't meet the weight limit, upgrade. If you are skeptical for the latter, upgrade.
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

Top
#169726 - 09/24/12 11:15 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Sounds like an admirable goal. I've never thru-hiked a trail, so I'll leave it to others to give you specific planning advice.

Being a gear junkie ("Hi, I'm Glenn; it's been almost a week since my last purchase..."), you might expect me to tell you to buy all new. But I'm more inclined to tell you to use what you've got, take lots of practice hikes between now and next April, and figure it out as you go.

You'll probably end up selectively replacing gear. If you do, you'll probably want to do so for two reasons: 1) reliabiity or efficiency/convenience, and 2) lighter weight.

Reliability/efficiency/convenience is very subjective. You mention that your tent is old, but pretty tough. Have you had it out in some heavy rain recently? If not, do so - the waterproofing may have deteriorated. The size may be great for the two of you for a weekend, but will you want to live in it for 3 or 4 months? You mention that you really like your MSR stove - by all means, continue to use it; you can probably light the darn thing in your sleep. (You may want to replace those stainless steel pots with titanium, though.) Figure out what no longer works, and replace it.

Going lighter is a two-step process. The first step (which usually results in the biggest weight savings) is to eliminate stuff you have, but don't need. Continuing the kitchen example, if you're carrying two pots with a fry-pan lid, two cups, two bowls, a fork and spoon, a serving spoon, and maybe a cutting board - consider whether you need them. Changing the way you cook (instant oatmeal instead bacon and eggs, freezer-bag supper instead of simmer-stir-mix-and-boil entrees) may let you leave most of that stuff at home, bringing only one pot and a bowl and spoon for each of you (water bottles work just as well filled with tea - no cups.)

One way to check this is, after you return from a trip, unpack everything and put it in two piles: one pile for stuff you actually used (and the "ten essentials") and a second pile for stuff you took but never used. Next trip, don't take the second pile. Do this after each trip, as your technique refines and changes into thru-hiker mode.

The stuff that's in the first pile now becomes eligible for replacement with lighter gear. (This is the fun part.) You can now spend hours going "Oooh, shiny..." while the owner of the local gear shop salivates at the coming sales. When you reach this point, the folks here on the forums (some of whom have thru-hiked the AT) can make specific recommendations as you let us know which piece of gear you're considering replacing and how you'll be using it.

Admittedly, that's only a general overview, but it might give you a starting point for the process. Keep in touch, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Top
#169727 - 09/24/12 11:18 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
My wife can carry 20lb, with water and food. Me, I'm good for 35lb, again including water and food. Even so, if we can get it down from there, by gully we'd be real happy! For an example if we could get it to where she's got 10-12lb, and I had 15-20lb, that'd be excellent.

Top
#169728 - 09/24/12 11:24 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Ha! Love it, I'm a gear junkie too. That's some great advice, specifically the two pile thing. Never thought of that, as I always seem to add more, and this taking stuff away thing is a new concept for me. A good concept mind, but new.

Top
#169729 - 09/24/12 11:29 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
You could hike on the AT with what you have, but the question becomes: how important is it to you to hike the AT from the start to the finish in one hiking season (aka "thru-hiking")?

If your ambition is to thru-hike the AT in 2013, then you should probably overhaul your equipment at least in part, if not completely, because one factor in a successful thru-hike is reducing your pack weight, which then reduces the physical stress on your body every step of the way. You must get the 'physical work' piece of the equation under the threshhold of what your body can take without breaking down. Getting in good shape so your body can do more work is even more important.

If your goal would be met by walking hundreds of miles of the AT, seeing many beautiful sights, meeting other long distance hikers and sharing thoughts and stories, but not necessarily hiking every step from Maine to Georgia, then you can afford to be a bit looser in your preparations.

But, either way, the first step would be just getting out and hiking, using what you have, learning about your capabilities and getting more proficient. The gear won't hike the trail for you, so it isn't nearly as important as being physically and mentally prepared for months of walking. You can always make adjustments to your gear on an ad hoc basis.

Good luck! Long hikes are exciting to plan and rewarding to walk.

Top
#169731 - 09/24/12 11:37 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: aimless]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2109
Loc: Napa, CA
I agree that you should start more or less with what you have. Take a few hikes now, so that you can see what works for you, and what may not meet your expectations.

And you can also be sure that at least some of this gear will wear out over the course of a full AT. Might be better to replace from the start, rather than coddling it for as long as possible. The hike should be about the hike, not about keeping your head above water with your gear.
_________________________
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/

Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963

Top
#169742 - 09/24/12 12:54 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
verber Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 269
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
When you said your wife can carry 20lb and you 35lb, is that what your current gear + food and water for the longest stretch you will go without resupply weights?

If that's what your current kits weights, then most likely you could do some tweaks and be pretty happy. If you are over this currently, and/or have the spare cash, I would encourage a first principals rework. I found that carrying less than 25lbs made a significant difference in the energy I had through out the day and the number of miles I could cover went up from when I was carrying 30lbs, and was more than 3x when I carrying the 50-60lb I did when I was younger and stupider.

I would recommend checking out the resources on this site. I have a bunch of notes on backpacking gear you might find useful as you rework your kit.

If you are thinking about doing the AT, you might want to start looking at some of the AT / thru-hike communities like WhiteBlaze, Thru-Hikers, Trail Journals, etc. I have a few links to these sites on my backpacking resources page

--Mark

Top
#169750 - 09/24/12 07:27 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
i'm not a thru hiker either. It is a different mindset and different activity than backpacking, but with the Same gear.

It's funny to me that a stove with valves, jets, etc would be considered more reliable than a cup to pour fuel in then light. Jets clog, stove malfunctions, etc but a can stove remains the Same ol can with uncloggable holes....
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169759 - 09/25/12 04:43 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
If you are out of shape at the start, northbound might be a better option. The 100 mile wilderness comes up pretty quickly going southbound.


Top
#169762 - 09/25/12 09:15 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: aimless]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hey Aimless. Yes, getting into shape is the priority. We've got a solid 8 months and even better than the time, we've got a good plan.

Top
#169763 - 09/25/12 09:19 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: verber]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Wow Verber, you've got a lot written down, and the stuff I've read so far is like an encyclopedia!
Thanks man.

Top
#169764 - 09/25/12 09:44 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hi Lori. Personal preference is funny, isn't it?

Top
#169765 - 09/25/12 09:49 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Gershon]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hey Gerson.
My wife wanted to go Northbound for this reason and we end up closer to home when we're done. I like the idea of ending up in Georgia on account of my brother-in-law would pick us up. When ever we get together we usually have a couple of drinks and get new tattoos.

Top
#169766 - 09/25/12 10:05 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Bunny
Hi Lori. Personal preference is funny, isn't it?


Not at all! It's hilarious. I'm thinking here of the guy with the keyboard who lugged it in and was happily playing, aka annoying other people camped around the hot spring... Or the guys with guitars I saw going .000002 miles per hour up switchbacks at Mineral King (high elevation, lots of UP).

Until I have to boil water for the dude with the piezo that stops working who didn't bring a lighter, or the dude with the white gas stove that worked for 30 years until our trip. Happens all the time. I seem to have new folks on every trip who learn the same thing.

Simple is simple - all stoves have their quirks. The fewer moving parts it has, the more I like it. I've learned to take extra fuel on our overnight trips. Just mentioning this since I know that it sucks to hike out to fix things...

It is of course what you want that counts. I note however that the white gas die-hards in my immediate acquaintance now use (without exception) a 3 oz stove instead of a 3 lb Whisperlite. Some things can be that simple. Sort of like how the bivy users I've hiked with now have nice light and roomy UL tents. Things have a way of evolving.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169771 - 09/25/12 11:14 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By Bunny
Hi Lori. Personal preference is funny, isn't it?


Not at all! It's hilarious. I'm thinking here of the guy with the keyboard who lugged it in and was happily playing, aka annoying other people camped around the hot spring... Or the guys with guitars I saw going .000002 miles per hour up switchbacks at Mineral King (high elevation, lots of UP).

Until I have to boil water for the dude with the piezo that stops working who didn't bring a lighter, or the dude with the white gas stove that worked for 30 years until our trip. Happens all the time. I seem to have new folks on every trip who learn the same thing.

Simple is simple - all stoves have their quirks. The fewer moving parts it has, the more I like it. I've learned to take extra fuel on our overnight trips. Just mentioning this since I know that it sucks to hike out to fix things...

It is of course what you want that counts. I note however that the white gas die-hards in my immediate acquaintance now use (without exception) a 3 oz stove instead of a 3 lb Whisperlite. Some things can be that simple. Sort of like how the bivy users I've hiked with now have nice light and roomy UL tents. Things have a way of evolving.


How many Pocket Rocket have you seen stop working?
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

Top
#169779 - 09/25/12 01:38 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Bunny
Hi Lori. Personal preference is funny, isn't it?


Well, I have to say that I'm with Lori here. If you haven't actually used a alcohol can stove, like a "Super Cat" or "Penny" stove, then you don't a have a good point of reference to evaluate it, but you probably should look closer at those options.

I have an exponent extreme stove that I love. It was considered lightweight, high tech, and very reliable when I bought it, and it still is all of those things, but a Super Cat stove is way lighter (more than 300 times lighter!) and it is more reliable because, like Lori said, it's so darn simple, so that is what I carry now.

Carrying less is a preference too, as is carrying more. It was tough for me to stop carrying things I have and like. It took me several years to give up my cool stuff in exchange for a lighter pack weight. I had to wean myself off of it. I did this by facing the hard fact that I either didn't ever use it, or I really didn't need it.

I seldom used binoculars, never used my multi-tool, didn't need a big heavy water bottle, a big knife, or two weeks of food and fuel for a three night trip, or three pairs of pants and shirts. But I lugged that stuff around for a lot of miles.

So, like Glenn said, you can do a lot more with what you've got before you buy new stuff. You can leave stuff at home for starters :D, and be a lot more selective about what you do bring.

If I were you I might look for a good, lighter 2-person backpacking tent, and you can surely find something used that will save some bucks and work great for you, but I'd go scrounge the local thrift stores for stuff too. You can find down jackets, wool sweaters, and fleece clothing there for huge savings over new. Someone here said they just scored a really nice down sleeping bag for $6 a couple weeks ago at a thrift shop.

And I'd get some time in the field with all the gear I'd bring for a hike like you're planning. Start doing some 1-3 night trips so you can get comfortable with your gear and knock the rust of your skills to use it.

With the help of members here (especially Glenn) I was able to get my pack down to about 26lbs for a 2-3 nighter this past season. It took a lot of fiddling, fine tuning, learning new ways, and some real gnashing of teeth to restrain myself from bringing stuff I didn't need, but wow, was it ever sweet to not be crushed under the load I was carrying.

Keep us up to date on your progress, and we'll all be wanting trip reports no matter where you go, so keep that in mind too!

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#169785 - 09/25/12 03:37 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Guitars and keyboards, that's an awesome story! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I love hearing about stuff like this because I never run into it.
How much extra fuel do you bring?

Top
#169786 - 09/25/12 04:12 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: billstephenson]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hello Bill Stephenson. I'm going to make a soda can stove and give it a try. Lori has convinced me with the keyboard and guitars on the mountain thing that I should give it a chance. I guess that's sort of a simile?
We've been checking out the thrift stores and I watch the used sales.
Ha, just reading what you wrote was like looking into my kit! The binos have to go, and I'm dumping the Bowie and leatherman. That's nearly 4lb right there.
I told my wife I was only going to bring the clothing that I could wear all at once, but she's not too hip on that idea. Lots of tweaks and you're right, going out and practicing is the key to success. Thanks for the tips, and I'm honored to keep you posted.

Top
#169789 - 09/25/12 05:12 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By Bunny
Guitars and keyboards, that's an awesome story! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I love hearing about stuff like this because I never run into it.
How much extra fuel do you bring?


Instead of carrying extra fuel, I'm carry a solid fuel stove as backup. Look under the Light Gear section thread entitled "Solid Fuel Stove" or something like that. Lol


Edited by ETSU Pride (09/25/12 05:13 PM)
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

Top
#169790 - 09/25/12 05:18 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I use a monocular instead of binoculars--less than half the weight! However, for longer trips I use the zoom lens on my camera, which is close to the same power (6x; the monocular is 7x). I discovered that when I forgot to bring the monocular on a birding expedition! blush Anyway, Bunny, this gives you two possible substitutes for the heavier binoculars.

Have you discovered the articles on the home page of this site, left hand column? The 7-day list shown gives you some possible guidelines for gear weight. I used that one for a model when I started lightening up my gear 7 years ago. I've now gotten three pounds lighter than the total on the list, but the last two pounds may not have been worth the considerable $$$ involved. There are lots of excellent articles there about lightening up and gear selection. I agree that Mark Verber's site is downright encyclopedic; it's another source I always recommend.

Once you've tweaked your list, I suggest you post it here--with weights--so we can make recommendations for specific items, see what's missing, etc.


Edited by OregonMouse (09/25/12 05:30 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#169792 - 09/25/12 05:50 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
If you find that you don't have any interest in (or luck making) a can stove, but like the idea of alcohol stoves, look at the Trangia alcohol stoves. They're a bit heavy, but the Mini Trangia includes a pot, fry pan/lid, and pot lifter for 12 ounces total (REI has sells it; check their website.)

To go a little lighter, take a look at the Evernew offerings, made from titanium (you'll have to Google these; I'm not sure who carries them.) I'm not sure how well they work; I've not seen them in action or read any reviews of them.

A middle ground might be the various offerings from Clikstand (www.clikstand.com), which include some great windscreens. I have used a Trangia burner with a Clikstand base/windscreen, and both Evernew .9L and 1.3L pan. I can't remember the total weight for the combo; I want to say it's less than a pound, and the 1.3L pan would be all two people, cooking simply, would need. I was very impressed with the performance.

If I were to choose an alcohol stove setup, it might very well be one of the Clikstand products (maybe with an Evernew burner.) In the end, I chose the MicroRocket/Titan Kettle because...well, just because I liked it. It was a subjective, not objective, decision, probably based on a general preference for MSR gear.

I won't try to convince you an alcohol stove is a bad choice; it's not. (I don't think my original post indicated there was anything wrong with them; my only original point was that, if you really, really like your current stove, then use it for now and switch later.) If you've now determined that the kitchen is a good target for lightening up, then I'd definitely urge you to investigate some form of alcohol stove, whether homemade or manufactured.

Good luck!

Top
#169793 - 09/25/12 09:18 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By ETSU Pride

How many Pocket Rocket have you seen stop working?


Not many people have them anymore, that I've noticed. Several who started with them have moved on to either alcohol stoves or the Soto, or the Giga from Snow Peak.

I had one that I promptly kicked to the curb. It failed to boil water and had rotten fuel economy.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169794 - 09/25/12 09:25 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Bunny
Guitars and keyboards, that's an awesome story! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I love hearing about stuff like this because I never run into it.
How much extra fuel do you bring?


I only carry extra fuel when I am going with a group that includes backpacking newbies.

Last weekend I took a backpacking class out for a quick overnight and carried a large pot, remote canister stove, and two canisters for the group.

Otherwise, I estimate an ounce per meal of alcohol, and usually have a couple ounces left over. So for two days I take four ounces.

Alcohol stove makers:

Mini Bull Designs
Zelph
Traildesigns.com
Trangia
White Box
Featherfire
Warbonnet Outdoors

The 12-10 stove plus a Caldera Cone is an awesome combo - boils two cups of water on less than an ounce of fuel.

I have a White Box, two of the Mini Bull stoves, a Featherfire, and a Caldera setup among my dozen stoves set by. The "bad" thing about alcohol stoves is that you can buy a dozen for about the same price as a single MSR stove, and carry three of them and still not end up with more than three ounces of stove. And still simmer AND boil for the trouble. I clocked the Featherfire stove at 45 minutes and counting on a simmer while steam baking muffins. Used about an ounce and a half to first boil and then bake.

zenstoves.net has more info on all kinds of stoves. Solid fuel is actually the lightest of the options available.

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

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169795 - 09/25/12 09:29 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
To share a different experience, I've used a Pocket Rocket ever since they came out, and have no complaints or bad experience. (It did fail to boil once, but in all fairness, it was on a push-the-gear-limits January trip, and zero degrees. smile ) A friend of mine has had equal success. In case locale and type of user might affect the results, I would point out that we are both strictly recreational, weekend hikers, who hike in the Eastern US forests, and use it to boil about 12 ounces of water for freezer bag meals, and maybe make a pot of coffee or tea.

I've also tried the Snow Peak Giga, but found I liked the Pocket Rocket better - as with many of my other gear decisions, it was more subjective than objective, as I never had any problems with the Giga, either.

Top
#169798 - 09/25/12 10:26 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
To share a different experience, I've used a Pocket Rocket ever since they came out, and have no complaints or bad experience. (It did fail to boil once, but in all fairness, it was on a push-the-gear-limits January trip, and zero degrees. smile ) A friend of mine has had equal success. In case locale and type of user might affect the results, I would point out that we are both strictly recreational, weekend hikers, who hike in the Eastern US forests, and use it to boil about 12 ounces of water for freezer bag meals, and maybe make a pot of coffee or tea.

I've also tried the Snow Peak Giga, but found I liked the Pocket Rocket better - as with many of my other gear decisions, it was more subjective than objective, as I never had any problems with the Giga, either.


And of course, I replaced the deficient PR with a Giga, which has been a much more efficient and stable stove for three years of loaning, burning, and SARing - the prongs haven't bent or loosened, it hasn't been as tippy, the pot sits straight on those four prongs instead of being off kilter on two straight and one loose and slightly-warped thin little supports, and I have yet to bother taking the Giga in its original hard plastic case anywhere - in fact, I don't know where the case is. The PR would scratch the inside of any pot I put it in - if I could find a pot in my collection that it fit into. If I didn't put it in the heavy plastic case (that doubled its weight) I'd tear or scratch something in the pack. It put holes in the small microfiber sack I tried to use. As a solo hiker I kept wanting to take small two cup pots, narrower ones, that the PR just would not nest into if I also wanted to put the canister in. The Giga, on the other hand, fits into anything I want including the GSI Minimalist I use for SAR - with the pot, folding spoon, and silicon grip plus a mini bic lighter. And it doesn't have sharp edges, so doesn't do any damage.

Yep, it all depends on what you do and how you want to use it.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169799 - 09/25/12 10:43 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
About the fit-in-the-pot thing: I always wrapped the PR in the small microfiber cloth I used for drying the pot (and other things) to avoid scratching. Despite MSRs website picture, I could never get the canister and stove in at the same time.

And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good. Stove and canister both fit into the Titan Kettle just fine. Only used it once, so far, so can't really comment on performance yet; it didn't seem any different in fair-weather use. The pot supports do seem better, though.

Depending on the pot, I can see how 4 supports instead of 3 would help. How do you like the Minimalist?

Top
#169803 - 09/25/12 11:56 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts


And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good. Stove and canister both fit into the Titan Kettle just fine. Only used it once, so far, so can't really comment on performance yet; it didn't seem any different in fair-weather use. The pot supports do seem better, though.

Depending on the pot, I can see how 4 supports instead of 3 would help. How do you like the Minimalist?


The Minimalist is pretty nice, though heavier than I wanted it to be - but durability is what I needed for SAR. (I am starting to duplicate basic items so the SAR pack can stay packed all the time. Continually switching gear around leads to leaving stuff behind.)

The handle on my beloved forty dollar titanium pot from REI is bent out of the sleeve and unsafe to pick up boiling water with - and of course, all they have now is nonstick. Leading to a recent purchase of a smaller Evernew uncoated pot for the leisure backpacking trips...

The MicroRocket looks like a big improvement - but of course, I don't really need to buy another stove. crazy (Or so I tell myself. We'll see...) One of my friends, a former Whisperlite devotee, got one for summer use - he really likes it. The pot supports look more durable and it folds a lot smaller.

One of the things I liked about the Giga is the windshield. Though it is another heavier-than-necessary item, I use the stainless steel original as a template to make light versions out of heavy foil.

I think my original intent was to point out that while making do with what the OP already has is perfectly acceptable and probably preferable while getting the initial planning and shakedown trips (hopefully there will be short trips to try out the gear and see what really does the job and what falls short?) under way, it would also be a mistake to assume that there aren't replacement items that are both light(er) and perfectly workable as well as economical. I brought up stoves as a perfect example. It's entirely possible to spend two bucks (on a can of Fancy Feast and an oven liner pan, from a dollar store) and have a stove that boils water in less than five minutes. And it weighs less than even the lightest of canister stoves. My cat can stove barely registers on a gram scale.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169808 - 09/26/12 12:15 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good.


lol

So, how's that new addition on the "Gear Rooms" wing of your house coming along?


Edited by billstephenson (09/26/12 12:15 AM)
Edit Reason: typos...
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#169815 - 09/26/12 07:27 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I think stoves was a great place to start. I've found that most people make the biggest savings in 3 places: Pack (can't do anything about that until other gear questions are settled), Tent (especially if you can go from 2-person to solo size), and kitchen. A change in cooking style can facilitate a change in stove (from Whisperlite to Fancy Feast can), which will also drive simplification of cooking utensils. (The change from stainless steel to titanium is a dollars-and-sense issue - and that's not a typo on "sense.")

Top
#169816 - 09/26/12 07:28 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: billstephenson]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
It got derailed; my bride thought she needed a sewing room worse than I needed a gear room, and since she watches HGTV more than I do, the basement got a makeover. smile

Top
#169818 - 09/26/12 09:43 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
It got derailed; my bride thought she needed a sewing room worse than I needed a gear room, and since she watches HGTV more than I do, the basement got a makeover. smile


I gave up.

I have a gear living room, dining room and upstairs bedroom. lame
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169822 - 09/26/12 10:30 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2109
Loc: Napa, CA
Glenn--I'll add our voices to the defenders of the Pocket Rocket. We've got about 100 trail days and 750 miles on ours, and it has never given us any problems. We did buy a cute little plastic set of tripod legs for the fuel canister, and that makes it much more stable.

And we get more than a week of backpacking out of each fuel canister, cooking for two of us, breakfast and dinner....
_________________________
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/

Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963

Top
#169837 - 09/26/12 05:56 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
To share a different experience, I've used a Pocket Rocket ever since they came out, and have no complaints or bad experience. (It did fail to boil once, but in all fairness, it was on a push-the-gear-limits January trip, and zero degrees. smile ) A friend of mine has had equal success. In case locale and type of user might affect the results, I would point out that we are both strictly recreational, weekend hikers, who hike in the Eastern US forests, and use it to boil about 12 ounces of water for freezer bag meals, and maybe make a pot of coffee or tea.

I've also tried the Snow Peak Giga, but found I liked the Pocket Rocket better - as with many of my other gear decisions, it was more subjective than objective, as I never had any problems with the Giga, either.


And of course, I replaced the deficient PR with a Giga, which has been a much more efficient and stable stove for three years of loaning, burning, and SARing - the prongs haven't bent or loosened, it hasn't been as tippy, the pot sits straight on those four prongs instead of being off kilter on two straight and one loose and slightly-warped thin little supports, and I have yet to bother taking the Giga in its original hard plastic case anywhere - in fact, I don't know where the case is. The PR would scratch the inside of any pot I put it in - if I could find a pot in my collection that it fit into. If I didn't put it in the heavy plastic case (that doubled its weight) I'd tear or scratch something in the pack. It put holes in the small microfiber sack I tried to use. As a solo hiker I kept wanting to take small two cup pots, narrower ones, that the PR just would not nest into if I also wanted to put the canister in. The Giga, on the other hand, fits into anything I want including the GSI Minimalist I use for SAR - with the pot, folding spoon, and silicon grip plus a mini bic lighter. And it doesn't have sharp edges, so doesn't do any damage.

Yep, it all depends on what you do and how you want to use it.


Out of this entire post, the most amazing thing I noticed is how you could feel the weight of the Pocket Rocket's plastic case versus without.

Edit: My apology to the original poster for being somewhat responsible for derailing this thread. grin


Edited by ETSU Pride (09/26/12 05:57 PM)
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

Top
#169847 - 09/26/12 08:15 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hey no sweat here. I'm grateful for "all" opinions, thoughts, antidotes, asides, salacious quips, should'as, could'as, would'as, and I certainly find the information very helpful to get us to our goal.
I've assembled an aluminum can stove, as per my favorite how to meme; YouTube, and it burns alcohol - more or less as I'm told they do. Can't beat it for cost, at 5 cent deposit here I'm into this for a dime plus my time. They do weigh next to nothing. I'm of the opinion right now, after having assembled this one, that there's no point in the thing even having jet holes. Seems to me you may as well pour an ounce or two of alcohol into an open can cut in half and light it up. Then again I'm not a jet propulsion engineer and perhaps there's an efficiency that is realized with the jets, granting longer burn times for less fuel, or even greater British thermal units dispersed over wider nucleation points. Truth be told I'm just an older fellow who wants to go for a long walk with my wife, and I want hot chow twice a day, and a coffee, blackly bitter, much like my thoughts when my feet hurt so good after clocking twenty miles down the trail!

Top
#169849 - 09/26/12 09:09 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By ETSU Pride


Out of this entire post, the most amazing thing I noticed is how you could feel the weight of the Pocket Rocket's plastic case versus without.

Edit: My apology to the original poster for being somewhat responsible for derailing this thread. grin


Ounces add up to pounds. You start with the big five, reducing the weight by pounds. And then you whittle away at the ounces until more pounds are gone....

And, I begrudge the lousy un-packable nature of the useless weight of the plastic container. Where do you put it in the pack? On top of all the other irritating things about the stove, it was just another thing to annoy me that I would not otherwise need to pack that thing. Single use items are another thing I try to reduce.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#169850 - 09/26/12 09:34 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I agree, Lori, that little red case is a giant waste of plastic. If they hadn't put that sprue hole in the bottom, it might have been usable as a cup or even a measuring cup. (My one complaint about the Titan Kettle is that it doesn't have measuring marks.) As it is, it's not usable for anything. I don't know where mine is, either. I always just wrap the stove in a small towel and store it inside the kettle, with the fuel cylinder on top of the kettle (an MSR cylinder fits nicely into the grooves in the lid), and the titan spoon goes, bowl down, inside the kettle with the handle sticking out the spout. The whole neat package goes in a small stuff sack. Not that I'm obsessive, or anything. smile

The MicroRocket case is better: no sprue hole. But it's still not worth carrying; too small for a decent cup, and my Nalgene bottle has measuring marks.

Top
#169852 - 09/26/12 10:17 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2019
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Well, we can all see how this is shaping up: Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke! smile

If you like the cat stove, you'll probably fall in love with the hardcore ultralight gear: Tarptents, quilts, frameless packs, chemical purification instead of filters, etc. It's not a bad path to go down, either. Some manufacturers to check out include TarpTent, Gossamer Gear, and Six Moon Designs - I've used some of their gear and found it well made and functional, although I returned it or gave it away. The Tarptent Rainbow was a neat single wall tent, but I ended up choosing a Carbon Reflex tent (mostly subjective reasons; the Gossamer Gear pack (one of the GVP originals) was way too big for me to ever come close to filling, and the SMD pack had a torso that was just too short for me.

I've gotten down to an 18 pound load for a summer weekend, using mainstream gear and ruthlessly winnowing out the unnecessary items (my back contends that the chair kit is no longer a luxury.) If, in a few years, I need to drop a few more pounds, I'll head straight to Six Moon Designs for a starting point. I'm sure the true ultralighters on the forum can lead you to other gear sources.

All kidding aside, if you're trying to reach the weights you listed in the earlier posts, you'll need to head toward the true ultralight gear, and share gear wherever possible.

Enjoy the ride!

Top
#170455 - 10/12/12 03:29 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Doc Ears Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 1
Hey guys... this is probably WAY to late in the game. but i figured i would offer some replacement ideas due to the fact that being a corpsman and noting the age that you wish to attempt this awesome yet still doable feat you are aiming for. weight is a significant factor for you guys, the Appalachian trail is long and grams lead to ounces and ounces lead to Lbs. im sure people have said it but the easiest way to reduce weight is through the big three: tent: backpack, and bag. if you can reduce your bag weight that base weight allows for more creature comfort.. the ULA bag is decent yet i believe frame less. if you dont mind not sleeping together, hammocks can be a viable situation and at a pound a peice very light weight, if not and price isn't an option, what gore-tex was a decade ago now enter "Cuban fiber" 11 oz tarp can cover both of you reasonably well and you can still sleep on the ground, use your pads as support in your ULA bags and have plenty of space with food, a trangia or mini bull designs stove. there are a ton of options that can cater to your needs, and as some other posters have already noted, you dont need to do a complete overhaul just mix and match what you need. check out shugemery on you tube and gargoyle products... im not trying to sales pitch but gear availability can help a lot along the way. if you already completed it, please send pics i still hope for the day i can get a few months to do that trail myself. plus im big into the cottage products of the good ole USA
Rah

Top
#170465 - 10/12/12 05:58 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Doc Ears]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
ULA backpacks have a frame and don't require a pad for support.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#170466 - 10/12/12 06:00 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Doc Ears]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Actually, all the ULA packs except the CDT do have frames of one sort or another. The Ohm is sort of in between--it has a removable hoop that is sort of a frame.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#170507 - 10/13/12 02:15 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I just noticed this thread, and apologize in advance insofar as I haven't read every reply --- thus I might be highly redundant coming in late to reply just to the original post but ...

whiteblaze.net is the clear, one-source place to learn about hiking the AT.

Why are you going south? I suggest that you start north, and definitely do stop about, what, 30 miles in an Neel's Gap and get the "gear shakedown". Yes, they sell gear there, but I watched them go at the shakedown process (by employees that have thru-hiked the AT themselves), and it's not a scam to sell you lots of gear.

Going SOBO (SOuthBOund) is just tougher, I think. You start out climbing Katahdin, and even after I'd hiked 2000 miles or so to get there, that wasn't all *that* easy of a climb. And then relatively early on you're into things like the Mahoosic Notch and most importantly the Whites --- those mountains will kick your butt if you're not in shape, and in fact they'll do some of that anyway.

I'm not saying that you can't do it SOBO, but I think your odds of success go up a bit if you walk northwards from Springer.

Alcohol stove vs. MSR white gas: take the Alcohol stove. Definitely. Make one yourself from a catfood can, it's not hard and for that hike it's way better than a crazy heavy stove.

Old cheapo tent: depends on what you have, and what your budget is. Also depends on what time of year you're going (and in what direction). I personally slept mostly in shelters but I started early so there was little competition. In that context, a really light tent that I carried but rarely actually used was a good choice.

Look through the old $300 challenge article for ideas on how to get decent gear on the cheap:
http://www.pmags.com/300-gear-challenge

Look carefully through whiteblaze.net for the various articles, not just the forum entries, and you'll get lots of ideas on "what to do next" to prepare.

I'd also strongly suggest a shake-down hike of at least 50 miles after you've got your gear mostly together.

So long as your overall health is good I wouldn't worry about age; I was over 50 when I thru-hiked, and I've hiked with guys well into their 60's that kick my butt on the trail.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Tent Question
by Bill Kennedy
10/07/21 03:30 AM
Tarp camping
by balzaccom
10/06/21 09:56 AM
Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp?
by rionada
02/24/13 02:35 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Introduction/ searching for other backpackers
by mountaindog
10/21/21 02:43 PM
Working a trail crew
by balzaccom
10/10/21 08:32 PM
Waterproof boots
by Tom7654
09/28/21 09:56 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
I Made Bamboo Trekking Poles
by 4evrplan
01/17/18 12:36 PM
Featured Photos
Spiderco Chaparral Pocketknife
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 39 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
DrMag, mjhgfd, Emmie, Sand Hollow, rdo
13075 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
Backpacking.net
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum