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squeezebox
03-10-2014, 14:59
This is in response to the UL mistakes thread. I wanted to explore the newbie heavy hiker arena, as different from the experienced UL folks. If I had an extra $1,000 I could have reduced my tent and bag wts, by lbs. Gearing up from 0 is already an expensive project, let alone trying to do UL. I don't know if a 20* bag is going to be comfortable at 20*. So I errored on the side of safety and comfort. Much worse to get wet and cold vs, carrying a too heavy down jacket, etc. Better to carry a backup to my canister stove than run out of fuel. I got a folding bucket 3 oz.( -) so I don't have to drag the filter and bags to the water source, I'll carry the 9L of water back to camp. filter there, bath, wash clothes. all of those 0.5 to 3 oz things add up. But there's no way I'm going without TP or some way of washing up. I guess little by little I'll find out what I can do without and what I really want to have even if it's a bit more wt. Safety 1st.
My winter pack wt. about 30 - 32 lbs.
late spring - 5lbs less.
hot summer - another 2 lbs less

Tipi Walter
03-10-2014, 15:59
I think we discussed something along the lines of your thread here---

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?89891-Heavy-Thinking-with-Tipi-Walter

88BlueGT
03-10-2014, 17:55
I have "redone" my bag completely about 3 times (with the exception of my sleeping bag) and I have always found that it's far less about leaving things behind but finding multiple purposes for certain pieces of gear. Also, another way that I drastically cut down pack weight was using a simple method. I would take my full pack out for a few weekends and whatever I did not use in that time (unless part of FAK or something similar)... leave it behind.

takethisbread
03-10-2014, 18:40
I think for a newbie, buy cheap gear, used or from target ect. outfit yourself for a couple hundred and then outfit more definatively as they get more experience and find their preferences


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88BlueGT
03-10-2014, 21:30
I think for a newbie, buy cheap gear, used or from target ect. outfit yourself for a couple hundred and then outfit more definatively as they get more experience and find their preferences


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Agreed. + check out the homemade/diy section :p

BillyGr
03-10-2014, 21:40
Another way to think of it - the less expensive, lower quality gear available now is likely still better, and probably still lighter, than what existed for the early thru-hikers.
So, if they could make it with what they had, you could also.

q-tip
03-11-2014, 11:30
It took me 5 years to get my gear right. Lot's of trial and many errors, even a trip down U/L lane. I found the process losts of fun,and at the time I was making big bucks, so the mistake costs were ok. Today, still suffering with a chronic illness and hiking on hold, but I have not really seen anything that I feel would add much value or save much weight. My goals for equipment were always SAFE, DRY & WARM. I've got that peace of mind for any weather conditions and feel very fortunate that WB has been there through the process.....

squeezebox
03-12-2014, 10:32
As you said SAFE, DRY & WARM , and since I'm inexperienced that means I'll start with more stuff than I probably NEED. and slowly send stuff home with increased knowledge. Like my Sawyer gravity feed filter set up at 10 oz, could be replaced with a squeeze and save 7 oz. but the gravity feed is many,many times faster, and I'ld miss the gravity feed shower. The 2.8 oz bucket many fewer trips to the water source and baths. There are a lot of trade offs with hiking heavy or hiking UL.

Old Hiker
03-12-2014, 10:50
Lots of trial and error, but WB helped me a lot and still is helping.

Marmot trestle 20* (good) vs. Marmot Cloudbreak 20* (bad).
EMS Under 20* bag - better.
ALPS Zephyr tent (good - 3.5+ #) vs. LightHeart Gear SoLong 6 (2 # - better but more condensation).
JanSport Alaska Tall (7 # - good at the time) vs. JanSport Klamath (better - 3.5 #)
Kelty 0* bag - GREAT if cold - not so great in 2012 when temps were 10-15* higher than normal.

I'm dialing in my gear again, slowly but surely. I'm also not going to try UL - I'm too used to comfort.

Ox97GaMe
03-12-2014, 19:04
I think for a newbie, buy cheap gear, used or from target ect. outfit yourself for a couple hundred and then outfit more definatively as they get more experience and find their preferences


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I actually recommend a similar approach for newbies. There is no point spending 1500-2000 on gear only to find out it doesn't meet your needs, or that you aren't going to become an avid backpacker. I don't recommend Target, Wal-Mart, or the Coleman store, as this tends to be more for 'car camping' instead of 'hike camping'. I do find some really good deals on semi-lightweight gear at our local thrift stores. Most newbies are starting off with weekend type trips and don't need to be concerned with keeping the base pack weight (less food/water) below 15 pounds.

Other
03-18-2014, 05:21
Don't spend too much time defining what type of hiker you are based upon what a scale tells you. practice your skills, observe what gear you need vs. what you may want, and make you own independent decisions about how gear enhances your experience.

Another Kevin
03-18-2014, 09:54
squeezebox - If you can carry it and have fun, it's the right weight FOR YOU.

I still carry that nylon bucket, same as you, because I like to have a bath.

My alcohol stove doesn't need a backup. As long as I have alky, I can improvise some sort of container to burn it. If I don't have alky, there's still the possibility of a campfire, or just of going stoveless to a trailhead. I'm virtually never more than a day's walk from some road or other, I can always bail out to a town and regroup.

UL isn't always more expensive. But it usually needs better skills. Someone just starting out who tries to use a 5x8 foot tarp or a SMD Lunar Solo will just end up with wet gear.

I run similar pack weights to you, but I never discuss the weight of a pack for deep winter. Once I get to carrying snowshoes, ice axe, and crampons, my traction gear outweighs my summer Big Four. Of course, different people have different conceptions of 'winter.' (I do the occasional peakbagging expedition in the Northeast, so my definition runs considerably more to severe weather than someone backpacking the AT in the South.)

You always need to carry the Ten Essentials, and comply with Deuteronomy 23:13. And I don't know a hiker who doesn't bring some toy or other along just because he wants to.

Stay safe, have fun, and reduce pack weight IF it contributes to the first two goals.

TurboPants
03-18-2014, 10:24
It didn't used to be all about the $$$ but as the dollar loses value our income gets squeezed. I read A LOT on this forum and others about reviews before buying anything. Diligent research is what saves money at the end of the day. I recently made my first purchase from steepandcheap and got about 30% off some clothing. Sierratradingpost has saved me at least $500 in the last 2 years. My bag was cheaper than most, a GoLite 20* down that weighs under 3# for $150. I don't make the big bucks but for shelter you really can't skimp. I just waited for sales. I snagged a brand new Copper Spur UL1 for $240 the other day, which is $120 off retail. I read comments on here all the time about "wait for sales", and when I finally started listening and not buying the second I get the impulse, it has saved me hundreds!

I intended on doing a thru hike in 2012, which got pushed back to 2013, which is now pushed off till next year lol. I don't want to get forced off due to running out of money. What has worked for my gear planning is using geargrams to make a gear list that I can swap items in and out of to see what my weight changes are. I also created an Excel spreadsheet to track cost/oz ratios, and to remind me how much money I needed to spend for the items I still didn't have. Ounces add up to pounds, but they fewer ounces the more dollar bills you need! Everyone is going to have a different opinion on topics like this. Because everyone has different toleration levels out on the trail. I'm still looking for the holiday inn express out in the woods. :D

HooKooDooKu
03-18-2014, 10:33
Another way to think of it - the less expensive, lower quality gear available now is likely still better, and probably still lighter, than what existed for the early thru-hikers.

"Lower Quaility Gear" might not be the best way to put it, but here is some definite truth to the statement:

I bought my 1st tent about 15 years ago. It was a Kelty Vortex 2-man tent that costs about $180-200. The tent weighted about 8#.
Today, the Kelty Gunnison 2-man tent is the modern replacement that cost about $200 and weights about 6#.

But here's where I sort of dispute the notion of "Lower Quality Gear":
You can spend $200 and get a 6lbs Kelty tent with plenty of room for 2.
You can spend $400 and get a 3lbs Big Agnes test that's a little tight for 2.
Both products are "high quality"... and the Kelty very well might outlast the Big Agnes tent because of the heavier weight material. So you're not sacrificing quality... but you're saving money by carrying heavier weight gear.

Similar thing happens with sleeping bags:
It's not too difficult to find a high quality 20 sleeping bag for about $150. But that sleeping bag is likely to weight 3 to 4lbs.
By contrast, you can find a high quality 20 down sleeping bag for about $400 that's only going to weight about 2lbs.

In other cases, it's all about buying the right kind of equipment to begin with. Case in point is water filters. You can about $100 on an MSR Hyperflow... or you can spend $25 on a Sawyer Mini. The hyperflow is going to be about 1/2lb. The Sawyer Mini uses the same basic technology and weighs about 1/4lb. Both are high quality products that do similar things. The hyperflow gives you the advantage of a pump, the Sawyer is much less weight.

Then there are stoves. You can build an alcohol stove for almost nothing. You'll have one of the lightest weight stoves possible. But it's more difficult to use compared to the convenience of a canister stove (pocket rocket, Maxlite) that costs a little more and weights a little more. That's where you have to decide on weight v. convenience.

Starchild
03-18-2014, 11:11
I do like the idea of buy cheap till you know what you really want then go for the best of that for what you want (don't settle). Too many hikers by expensive only to find out they really wanted something else, or settled for something then bought what they really wanted - that cost a lot more in the end.

Next is go on group backpacks and see what people are using. You may see gear that you didn't even know existed - usually ultra light weight stuff.


"Lower Quaility Gear" might not be the best way to put it, but here is some definite truth to the statement:

I bought my 1st tent about 15 years ago. It was a Kelty Vortex 2-man tent that costs about $180-200. The tent weighted about 8#.
Today, the Kelty Gunnison 2-man tent is the modern replacement that cost about $200 and weights about 6#.

When I say low end, I mean low end, instead of the $200-$400 range for a tent, I'm talking about the $20-$50 range, maybe push $100. Something like the WalMart Scout Jr for IIRC $19.99, big enough for one person plus (sleeping diagonally). It's enough to get you by, and actually pretty darn lightweight and I've heard some people have thru hiked with that tent.