View Full Version : Packing Advice
I think I've read about every post on this forum trying to get ready for a GA > ME attempt starting in late March, I've got most of my gear, looking at around 20lbs base pack weight (no food or water in that weight)
Not the usual "how to distribute the weight question" but a few more specific details about items in an internal frame pack, specifically how to protect them from getting torn up in the very likely event that I do something really clumsy.
I'm really looking at the best ways to protect certain seemingly fragile items like an MSR stove (the fuel line seems to be just begging to get broken in a full pack) or keeping a titanium pot from getting crushed. Wrapping stuff in clothing really wont work because I'm not taking all that much. Putting the stove in the pot would be ideal but an MSR whisperlite wont fit in a 1.3 liter titanium pot.
So to keep it short, I'm sure you guys can think of alot more tips than I can think of questions to ask... Any advice ?
well for starters quit falling down :D
ok well on the stove you could make a cozy, sgt rock has how to info on his site. you most likely wont have anything else thats all that breakable.
one idea would be to try the alcohol stoves out. even the heavy trangia would cut a pound off your pack weightand fit inside your pot.
to keep the pot from getting squished pack it with something... food socks, whatever is handy.
feel free to post a gear list, we love to criticize other peoples stuff;)
get rid of the smoker (white gas burner) and do for something that is more environmentally sound, lighter, and cheaper and that is any of a vast variety of alcohol stoves....
they work and worked for me this past weekend when a canister stove failed
Steve I'm surprised to hear you say that a whisperlite won't fit inside a 1.3 liter TI pot. Mine fit inside a .9 liter TI pot just fine. I think if you look at it some more, you'll find you can fit the stove in. Bottle, of course, goes outside the pot.
I loaded my pack like this. Sleeping bag and clothes in the bottom in two different stuff sacks. Food bag next. That takes one side of the pack. Ti pot on the other side with the tent on top of it. I slide the fuel bottle between the food bag and the tent. Never had a problem.
Buy a Trangia Westwind Alcohol stove to replace that Whisperlite. I did. Then when your comfortable using that, you'll eventually turn to the darkside and make a soda-can stove.
There's really not that much you can do to trash that whisperlite. I pretty much just tossed it into a sack to keep it from getting soot all over everything. Bring a repair kit though, and the little tool they give you, just incase the jets get clogged from too many mis adjustments. I really wouldn't worry too much about the flexible braid hose. Personally I dumped the stove for Esbit tabs for the sake of weight, but stoves are certainly nice for extra hot water on cold nights.
I don't make a habit of falling but having said that ...I've taken my share of butt slides when my feet went out from underneath me up in Maine. I've come down on my pack (internal frame) pretty hard and have never noticed even the most fragile of items damaged. My packing scheme is pretty much identical to Moose's with the exception that I keep my fuel bottle on the outside in a side pouch.
Only thing I would say is that if you have a concern about a particular item just place it in the center of your pack and lay softer stuff around it.
Dump the stove for an alcohol modle. If you need extra hot water make a small cooking fire.
I wouldn't worry about damaging your titanium pot, unless of course you're planning to free-fall for more than 25 feet with a hard landing, in which case I think you'll have more important things to worry about. I do recommend that you find a way to fit your stove burner into the pot, though. I pack my pot, stove, cup and spork in a net bag which just fits into the top of my Ursack food bag (as long as I'm not carrying too much food). I need to position the bag vertically in the top half of the main compartment of my pack since it's a touch too wide to fit in horizontally. I usually put clothes along each side, with my Snakeskinned hammock wrapped over the top and fleece at the very top for easy access on breaks.
For critique and your entertainment... Understand, I'm not an ultralight hiker so I'm sure this is probabily rather heavy for several of your tastes. A simple basic first aide and repair kit I'm still thowing together and there are a few things I'm still shopping out trying to find either lighter or less bulky.
Pack: Gregory Forester
Bag: GoLite Fierce
Tent: MSR Zoid 1 (not the micro)
Pad: Ridgerest (but I'm getting real tempted to take the termarest I have in its place, I just sleep tons better on it and I think that may be worth the weight).
Cooking and Water Stuff
MSR Bottle (the medium sized one)
Evernew 1.3l Titanium
Pur Hiker Filter
Capaline lightweight base
2 pairs of Walmart shorts with the liners
2 Soccer shirts (short sleeve, very light weight shirts, I love em).
200 weight fleece jacket from REI (dont remember the name)
Cheap walmart sandles for camp shoes.
Cap of some sort (Military surplus watchcap if I can find one, used those while boating alot). Going to carry some sort of hat as well for summer use.
*Some sort of rain jacket (Marmot Precip maybe)
*Some sort of long or convertable pant, maybe the rain pants I already have, maybe convertables in place of one of the shorts.
*Looking at different socks right now, cant' decide if I want to use liners... I like liners so thats a probabily, going to take three pairs or sets.
*First Aid kit (baggie with stuff in it, also a repair kit).
Black Diamond LED Headlamp
*Some sort of water bag for camp (recommendations ?)
Small sharp pocket knife (I've got several already)
The pack as loaded above is about 20 lbs with a couple things not listed (and not going) thrown in.
Theres a few things I considered at one time like a tarp over a tent etc... I really want to take the tent, I may send it home at some point during the summer in favor of a hennessey hammock
Oh the stove WILL fit in the 1.3l pot if I bend the fuel line around but I wonder how good an idea that is. I tend to try to baby things alot of time and perhaps I dont need to worry as much as I do.
Steve's list looks a lot like mine. I didn't go over it item by item, but I carry much the same.
As far a socks go, the experts recommend a liner sock to reduce friction and thus blisters. And they recommend a good hiking sock. There are several brand names out there.
For a second water container, I took a 3 liter Nalgene canteen. It sure was handy to make the trip down for water just onece.
My knife is part of my Leatherman Micro.
I agree with footslogger..i keep my fuel bottle in an outside pocket and the same one over and over...in my other side pocket i keep my aqua shoes that I use around camp..this makes them easy to get to so that I use them during boot off breaks during the day ..along with TP and scoop another item that you will what easy quick access to...ikeep the tp in with the shoes and scoop( the scoop an old bread or bagel sack and the TP In a ziplock) I keep two ziplock of TP...divide the TP stash in half..that away if one bags gets wet the other will still be dry..(hopefully)
my sleeping bag stuff sack (which includes my ground cloth and tarp..I don't carry a tent) goes in the bottom of my pack and the then clothes( all in double plastic bag lined stuff sacks)...and then the food bag and kitchen items with my cookset and stove (which) doesn't fit in my set of pots...(I carry two pots and a cup along with the "frying pan" pot cover)
those ole smoker stoves(as they have been called here) are plenty tough...I carry a coleman apex 1 ???....a little on the heavy side but the burner is very ajustable for more than just heating h20...I cook some grains out on the trail and get a good simmer out of this stove...i like my food cooked and hot ..and the simmer feature of this stove makes it a fuel miser when you learn to adjust it...different people out on the trail just like anywhere in earth have varying needs and wants...a hot morning and after supper tea and honey...is an absolute nescessity...along with whole grain veggie noodles..with require some simmer time..i just refuse to live without...
might consider leaving the long pants or the rain pants at home or otherwise put, get some stylin rain pants you can use for long pants and cut down on gear duplication. I tried the convertables a while back and wasnt impressed. After two days on the trail I noticed that my backside was getting some excess ventilation!
sock wise I run a thin liner sock with heavy wool over them except when I am road walking.Then I need two liners plus the wool to prevent blisters.
dont sweat the fuel line being bent., wont hurt it a bit.
do what you have to to get a good nights rest even if you end up with more weight. nothing will make you crabbier then a bad nights rest and in the end a thru hike is mostly about keeping a positive attitude.
I'm a new 35lb to 15lb baseweight convert myself. Here are some simple mods that won't be too shell-shocking...
1. Convertible pants. Shorts when warm, pants when cold. I'm not quite sure if you have water or ketchup for blood, but I can stay warm in my meshlined ex-officio convertible pants all the way down to almost 0*F. When I setup camp, I need to use my sleeping bag though (in sub 35 degree weather). But this eliminates a bulky pair of fleece pants. Of course in the dead of winter where it's between -5*F and 20*F on a consistant basis, I bring a pair of lightweight duofold underwear pants. You only really need one pair too (of both the long-underwear and convertible pants). If your worried about them getting wet, my ex-officios dry in about 20 minutes. Camp-mor has them on clearance right now for about $30/pair. While your at it, bring a long-sleeve shirt rather than a shortsleeve. Just roll up the sleeves when your hot. Saves weight over two shirts.
2. I suck up the extra-weight and lug a therm-a-rest. I have a tentative base-weight of 14 pounds, and almost a fourth of this is my 3.5lb LE Camp Rest. A comfortable nights sleep is worth any amount of weight.
3. You'll probably be shocked to kow that the PUR Hiker only filters large media, cysts, and bacteria. It offers zero protection against virus'. Therefore you need a chemical treatment such as Aquamira. But aquamira kills cysts and bacteria too, so why have a filter? Well the prefilter and pump mechanism is nice. So I stripped my pump down to just the mechanism itself and the prefilter. Then bring a 2oz pack of aquamira. If your thinkning of switching to the first need purifier (the only purifier that filters virus'), don't. Thats what I used, and it clogged up on me . It's also heavier than a tap water treatment plant. My setup & pic is in the photo album here.
4. Strip down that first aid kit. Who the hell needs 25 bandaids, and epsom salts. Your not a field medic landing on omaha beach. My additions not normally in first aid kits were a tube (not bottle) of anbesol (solves all mouth pains), and alkaseltzer cold, which cures just about any ailment short of diarreah and bone cancer.
5. If you truely believe gore-tex works in the wild as it's claimed to, by all means use it. I think it sucks. I have a $240 pac-lite jacket that sits rolled up in the corner of my room. I'm using a walmart poncho now, and will soon be wearing a sil-nylon shell that extens down and over my ass, eliminating the need for rain-pants as well (rememeber how the ex-officios dry in 20 minutes).
These simple mods will take a couple pounds off your setup.
I'm willing to bet cash-money that your whisperlite won't make it far and you'll switch to alcohol. At the moment I hike 20 mile trips at the longest, and have swapped to alcohol. If your worried about durability, get a Trangia Westwind alcohol stove, you can almost play backcountry baseball with it and not hurt it. Less volatile fuel, no moving parts/parts kits, self-priming, and weighs about about a third of a whisperlite setup. Simmers like an electric stove too.
Good suggestions and you've already done a good job of preparation. Here are my thoughts.
I've tried the ridgerest and the thermal-rest. I always take the thermal-rest for the comfort it provides.
I've used the Whisperlite and it is a good stove, almost indestructible, but the setup each time bothered me after a while. On my last section hike I used the MSR pocket Rocket and I liked it so much better. Since then I have, as Raginghampster put it, turned to the dark side and have a soda can / alcohol stove.
I love the marmot precip jacket and pants and use the pants as my long pants. Both very durable.
Most will tell you to wear liner socks and I have for most of my hikes. A dealer told me the Smartwool socks work well without liner socks. I have tried them on two 12 mile trips without any problems. Still pack the duct tape though, just in case.
The Swiss Army classic at about 1 ounce worked well for me.
YMMV with all of these suggestions. The best suggestion would be to try any idea you are given at home before you head out on the AT. Good luck.
Thanks for the advice everyone, it was very helpful to me having never planned anything like this.
At times it gets a little intimidating spreading everything out on the bed and thinking to myself, "ok this is all I'm taking to get me though up to 6 months of backpacking". Reading the posts on this thread and a number of others provided a great deal of reassurance that I was on the right track.
I am taking the thermarest, its too much of a comfort difference for me to pass up. I've packed and repacked a number of times and finally have a system that seems to work for me and lets me get at stuff easily.
Anyway, I'm glad I found this site and just recently came to understand that it was resurrected, so I'd like to offer my apprecation to the people who brought it back from the dead as well.
My last section hike I cut back from 3 to 2 pairs of SmartWools, but added a 4th pair of lightweight Fox River liners. I figured that the liners have a chance of drying out overnight but the SmartWools never do. So, I wring out the SmartWools after wearing, hang them up overnight (or put in the bottom of my bag if they're not too wet) and carry them outside my pack the next day. I change my liners at least once a day since my feet sweat, big time. As long as the SmartWools aren't sopping wet, putting on a relatively dry pair of liners was almost as good as slipping on a freshly dried pair of SmartWools.