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#99661 - 07/14/08 04:22 PM New gear questions; please help!!
jsto Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 2
Loc: Pennsylvania
Ok – looking to get into backpacking and use some of the gear for hiking but hoping not to make too many mistakes with new purchases. I did some searches but could not find specific answers to my questions so figured I would post and hope some folks could give me some gear recommendations based on repeated usages.

>A little about me: Age: 28, Male, live in PA and will be doing most backpacking / camping / hiking in PA – year-round with most trips outside of the coldest winter days / nights but do plan some of these. I weigh 180 and am muscular build, 5’11’’. Duration of trips will mostly be 4-5 days with some lasting a little longer then a week – many times I will also need to carry some gear for my son as anything more then a very lightweight overnight he can not pack. Pace, when my son is not there, will be pretty fast – I can run with trail shoes pretty well and have less then a 7 min mile.

My food preference is a mix between MREs, cliff bars, hot beverages, food found along the trail, fish. I guess the lightweight stove will be used more when I take the kiddo along and in colder weather. I know this factors into the size of the bag/

Gear I think I need to buy; all with a focus on quality, lightweight, and durability:
>Backpack 5K + cubic inch w/ rain cover
>Backpacking / Hiking boots – as lite as possible but I want Gortex and I want the boots to be aggressive tread, durable, and very long wearing. I wear size wide – 13 or prefer 14. I also plan to wear these with snow shoes – if a warmer and cold weather pair are needed, could you please define. Also, for the colder weather / snow pair, are mountaineering boots the ticket? I have a pair of OR gaiters to use with.
>Outershell jacket and pants -- ? – Waterproof – early, late, winter seasons
>Synthetic Convertible pants / shorts and shirt (long sleeve too?)
>Lightweight packable raingear?
>3.5 season Tent w/ footprint?
>Packable Sleeping bag w/ pillow and mat – will be camping 4 seasons – probably 2 bags?? – recommendations???
>Synthetic under layer (already have hood and compression (under Armor cold gear and polypro underwear, good enough?)
>Waterproof and packable gear bags
>Stove and cook wear + utensils – any recommendations??
>Battery lantern and flashlights – already have that run on AA bats and very light – need headlamp – recommendation?
>Water filter pump / purification pills – recommendation??
>Trekking poles – have WM specials, are lightweight -- Leki’s worth the investment?
Anything I am forgetting?

I would like the gear to be among the best, but not necessarily the best; 8 of 10 stars or so unless the price difference is minute. I prefer backcountry as they have the lifetime guarantee, if not Campmore unless other recommendations are provided.

Any guidance anyone can provide would be AWESOME!!

Thanks!
_________________________
When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it

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#99662 - 07/14/08 04:28 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

Well it sounds like you are at least thinking about it.

Some very general reccomendations, rather than addressing each of your points.

1) a number of us post gear lists - there are some on this site that are nice. mine is
linked through my profile, click my name, start there. There are some good reccomendations.

2) You talk about 4 seasons with some winter. I find carrying winter stuff around all summer to be a big heavy pain in the butt. - that's why I essentially have a seperate kit for winter, and my
winter is pretty hardcore.

I don't use mountaineering boots even in winter. Snowpacks or insulated hiking boots with gaiters
and snowshoes. If I did winter mountaineering I might use them.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#99663 - 07/14/08 06:41 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I'd be glad to share mine; I hike in Ohio, mostly 3 season, using mainstream gear (MSR) and still keep a solo weight of 16 pounds in the summer, 20 in the colder weather. I can easily add comments on adapting it to you and your son (dual use, not solo.)

Send me a Private Mail with your email if you'd like it.

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#99664 - 07/14/08 09:56 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Check the gear lists on the home page of this website. They will give you some ideas.

I also like this site: Mark Verber's Recommended Outdoor Gear. It's subjective, but at least he says so, and gives lots of other alternatives, including low-budget ones.

Consider renting/borrowing gear before purchasing. And do plenty of research.

It's generally recommended that the backpack be purchased last--you want one that's the right size for your gear and a week's food, not too big or too small.


Edited by OregonMouse (07/14/08 09:59 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#99665 - 07/15/08 06:51 AM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Sounds like you are almost there. You forgot to mention a few important things though. How old is your son, how big is he? He will need a backpack that fits him, along with all the other gear, like a sleeping bag. The more he can carry, the better for you. But also, the less he carries, the better time he will have, and the more likely he will want to come with you again, so you have to balance that.

Also, like phat said, you probably want to split your gear for winter and summer. Carrying winter stuff during the summer is unnecessary.

So, for the recommendations off your list.
--buy the pack AFTER everything else (like someone else already said).
--I recommend long sleeve shirts (more versatile, you can roll the sleeves).
--Dri-ducks/Frogg Toggs for rain wear, or a poncho.
--2 bags (one for winter and one for summer, maybe a quilt for summer)
--under armor is pretty good.
--stove and cook wear depend on your food. MRE's don't need anything, fresh fish does.
--Buy a cheap LED headlamp, unless you want the best of the best.


Campmor is probably your best bet at getting everything in one store with really good prices.

Good luck. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#99666 - 07/15/08 12:55 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3184
Loc: Portland, OR
Since it appears you plan to do most or all of your hiking in PA or vicinity, I would give a bit more weight ( <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />) to opinions from experienced hikers in the same area.

I live out west in Oregon and do all my hiking in OR and WA, so I won't comment on your choices.

Lastly, realize that, although you may get some very enthusiastic recommendations for specialized lightweight gear, the more specialized or lightweight it is, the more it needs to be embedded in a matrix of experience and knowledge for you to get the best results from it.

Once you really KNOW how to use that stuff, you will probably become as enthusiastic as your advisors. But novices need to understand this before they sink a bunch of money into gear.

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#99667 - 07/15/08 01:51 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: aimless]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I disagree. I don't think it takes more experience to use lightweight gear than heavier weight gear.

Actually, I think the whole thing about experience being useful is overemphasized.

The core backpacking activities are sleeping, walking and laying around.

Possibly trying to make it complicated results in some useless gear and uncertainty for beginners.

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#99668 - 07/15/08 04:00 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: johndavid]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Partly this depends on what you're calling "lightweight" - as oppose to "ultra light", "mega light",
"uber light", etc. etc. etc.

I tend to consider myself a "lightweight" backpacker, but not ultralight. case in point, my bag with my food in it, but no water or wallet or cell phone weighted 18.5 pounds for my trip in the rockies on the weekend. Having said that, I'm relatively sure that with 10-20 minutes of instructions, all but a crack-addled rhesus monkey could use my gear and be just fine with it. You need to know how to find 4 inch or better diameter live trees. You need to know how to tie a knot. You need to know how to light my stove, and you need to know how to read instructions on things like Cl02 water purifier. that's about it. Replace my alcohol stove with my snow peak canister stove and probably even the crack-addled rhesus monkey could do fine.

On the other hand I have gone out with very much reduced kit. I know I can go, for example, without my hammock and 8x10 silnylon tarp, and instead take just my silponcho as an 8x5 overtop of me. I can sleep on the ground, wear my bug headnet, and be a lot less comfy at night, and save myself about 2.5 pounds of hammock and big tarp. This setup I don't necessarily think someone withhout experience should try - I have to be pretty careful about site selection and tarp pitching to stay dry under an 8x5 tarp in a storm. OTOH, as I've mentioned, a crack-addled rhesus monkey can manage it in a hammock under an 8x10 <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I do think there are some "ultra" or "uber" lightweight type setups that will require more experience to deal with. having said that probably the setups many of us like me use are not beginner hostile at all, and would probably halve the weight carried over walking into your favorite
big box store with your visa card and telling the helpful clerk "I'm going backpacking - gear me!".

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#99669 - 07/15/08 05:40 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: johndavid]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3184
Loc: Portland, OR
What I said was:

the more specialized or lightweight it is, the more it needs to be embedded in a matrix of experience and knowledge for you to get the best results from it

I am not sure how that is wrong, but feel free to disagree if you must.

I notice from your profile that you've been hiking since 1966. Perhaps you have been an experienced hiker for so long that your memory of being a novice is a bit hazy. Then again, maybe that has nothing to do with it. But I do know that no one is born knowing how to backpack safely and comfortably.

As for sleeping, walking and laying around (you forgot eating), not one of those activities actually requires any equipment at all. But I wouldn't recommend a novice take that point of view as a starting point for assembling a gear list.

However, maybe what I should have said was, "if you don't feel as if you grasp the correct way to use a piece of equipment, ask someone who does know to show you how, or explain it until you do understand, or else don't buy it or bring it with you. Instead, bring something else you feel confident with."

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#99670 - 07/15/08 07:30 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: phat]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
"crack-addled rhesus monkey..."

You sure must have some interesting hiking companions. No wonder Mrs. Phat makes you take a PLB. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

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#99671 - 07/15/08 07:50 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: Glenn]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Yeah it's possible I'm a bit jaded. I envy people the excitment of starting out.

But backpacking entails a set of activities that aren't complex. Are you cold? Put on a jacket. Is it raining? Wear a raincoat. Remember your mittens. Don't sleep in a puddle.

One thing I've always deeply enjoyed about backpacking is its remarkable simplicity.

People (not you) who present this as... gosh I dunno.......something complicated or difficult or dangerous........sometimes have some agenda that is more about their own personal self-esteem or lack thereof.......rather than simple helpfulness......

Walking sleeping and lazing about are best accomplished with shoes, and other bits of equipment. Lots of backpack cookery is barely a step up from boiling water.

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#99672 - 07/15/08 08:51 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
jsto Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 2
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks everyone for the advice, guidance and insight!! Very helpful!! A student of SERE, so I am no stranger to survival skills and land navigation - hope to use this foundation to build off of (thinking comfort of course! lol). I look forward to picking up (not so much picking out) some new goodies to make my experiences in the outdoors all that more diverse and enjoyable. I will be sure to share what I finally decide upon.

I think the next adventure will be ice climbing this winter and some rock climbing next summer -- good thing there is a local pro shop as I think I remember only enough to be dangerous.

Thanks again everyone!!
Jeremy
_________________________
When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it

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#99673 - 07/16/08 12:09 AM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Your "next adventures" are TOTALLY different subjects. Good luck in your backpacking purchases. Buy awaaaaaaay

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#99674 - 07/17/08 07:51 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: jsto]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Quote:
Ok – looking to get into backpacking and use some of the gear for hiking but hoping not to make too many mistakes with new purchases. I did some searches but could not find specific answers to my questions so figured I would post and hope some folks could give me some gear recommendations based on repeated usages.



Jeremy,

You sound like you are in good shape, enthusiastic, and experienced in the outdoors. So you should be able to handle just about any gear; weight isn't going to be a huge concern right now. And when you start hiking with a young child, you end up being a serious pack mule for gear. I remember carrying 65+ pounds when we started backpacking with our then 4-year old daughter. Part of that was owning heavy gear, and part was "OMG we are taking a four year old into a wilderness area!"

Your list of gear is comprehensive. You are leaning toward heavier traditional gear -- heavy hiking boots, a very large pack, 3.5 season tent, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but this forum is populated by hikers who (mostly) value light weight, so just be aware that that's the direction we tend to lean in most of the time.

My advice would be to keep the winter gear separate. You may want a heavy winter tent for winter use, but you'll likely be unhappy carrying it in July. Same with sleeping bags -- you'll want two, one for April - September, and one for October - March, or thereabouts. Same with heavy boots. You are a trail runner -- wear your trail running shoes in summer, at least. You'd be surprised how much support they will give you, and you already know the comfort level. Buy the winter snowshoeing boots when you are ready to go snowshoeing.

You asked for some specific recommendations, so here goes:

Headlamp: any light LED headlamp that takes three AAA batteries. I happen to like the Petzl Zipka.
Trekking Poles: the WallyMart specials are fine.
Filter: The Pur Hiker is simple and works well, and it's what I use for family hikes. For solo hikes, I use Aqua Mira.
Stove: Plenty of choices here. Don't spend a lot of money -- a simple stove and an aluminum pot will do for now. Save the Titanium and the superlight stoves for later. (Realize that I have a bunch of titanium and superlight stoves in my gear closet.)

Clothing is a whole separate subject. It could be a book. Again, your winter clothing is mostly different. You can probably start three-season hiking right now with stuff already in your closet. Synthetic shorts or zipoffs, a synthetic t-shirt, wool or synthetic socks, a fleece pullover, a rain shell and maybe rain pants would be a good start. When you take your son, don't skimp on his clothing. My experience trying to "cheap out" with kids clothing and especially rain gear was not good.

Great advice to check the various packing lists on this site. Good luck and happy trails.
_________________________
--Ken B

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#99675 - 07/17/08 10:00 PM Re: New gear questions; please help!! [Re: phat]
MountainMinstrel Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 107
Just one more thing. As a newbe (in my third year) I would have saved myself a lot of pain and expense if I would have always considered weight when making purchases. Also, if possible start out with what you have, and as you gain experience replace items with lighter weight ones as you figure out what works for you. It really is about what works for you, not what works for me. The main thin is to get out there and learn. Just err on the side of safety.
_________________________
Just an old newbe

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