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Matt Pincham
10-02-2003, 08:53
Hello All,

Couple of questions I'm afraid. Hope you lovely people can help.

Was just wondering what weight to aim for a 2-person tent. I got a McKinley Duolite the other week which weighed 1.7 Kg (3.8 pounds) It was very light but also not very spacious with my girlfriend and myself inside. I did quite like it but the next morning after camping one night, some yobs decided to throw a large rock through the side of the tent which put it pretty much out of commission. Bought another McKinley called the Moonlite which is very spacious...unfortunately weighs in at 3.4 Kg (7.5 pounds)! This feels WAY too heavy for something I'm gonna haul around for 5-6 months! My girlfriend and I could split the tent weight between packs but I'm too much of a gentleman to do that :-)
Does anyone have a suggestion of a weight to aim for. Don't really want to spend more than 200 (approx $300)

Also how much should a 3-season sleeping bag weigh. I've purchased one but it seems to be really large. Is this normal? It's synthetic (I can't afford Down) and weighs in at approx 1.8 Kg (4 Pounds) It's not the weight that bothers me so much, just the size seems real bulky. I expect it's bigger than your average sleeping bag because it's warm down to -9c but it's still got me worries as it would take up a lot of pack room.

Also where do you leave packs at night? Outside...or in the tent?
Should I get a small lightweight tent and leave the packs outside or is it generally the norm to keep your packs in the tent (or the vestibule area at least)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Matt

chris
10-02-2003, 09:33
I'd take the money you'd spend on a tent and buy a good down sleeping bag. Afterall, you'll be in it every night. The tent you may end up not using much. You can't get any better than the Western Mountaineering Ultralight, but it does cost $325. My long weighs in at 1 lb 13 oz and is a 20 F bag. I used a WM Highlight this summer and like it alot. It is a 40 F bag weighing 19 oz (long), packs down to nothing, and costs $220. In a cheaper vein, Marmot makes a Never Winter 30 F bag that costs about $200 and weighs about half of what the synthetic weighs. If you have your heart set on carrying a big, heavy, synthetic, you can look one of the Mountain Hardware dimension bags. You should be able to get one of them for around $160, weighing in at about 2.75 lbs. Even cheaper, look into a Kelty Lightyear, which costs $100, is rated at 40 (reviews make it seem like a 60 F bag, though), and is supposed to weigh about a pound (though reviews indicate it weighs a lot more).

For tents, you are looking at atleast 5 lbs, unless you spend the cash and get a Bibler or ID or Stephenson or Hilleberg. Something like Sierra Designs Clipflashlite or the MSR Zoid would do fine. Cheap and about as light as you'll get without spending the cash.

Better to get a tarp ($25-90) or a tarp tent ($150 and up), sell the big tent and sleeping bag you have now, and buy a good, light sleeping bag.

sdoownek
10-02-2003, 09:50
Ya know, I was going to make a list of tents, but there are A LOT out there that fits your needs.

There are also a lot of bags out there as well. Moonstone minima is like $130 and is 2-12. It's a 20* bag that's really pretty compressible.

More importantly than all of that, however, is your chivalry. You need to dump it---it won't last on the trail. I'll let one of the women reply to this, but I'll plant the seed. If she's going with you, she needs to pull her weight, literally.

Companion
10-02-2003, 11:34
it depends...i cant speak for others, but *I* cannot carry as much as my husband does. i am 5'4..he is 6'2...he carries the entire tent and the camelbak..i carry the water filter and the entire 'kitchen'..(i do carry *some* water and he does carry his munchies)the difference in weight is probably never more than four to five pounds between us...there is a very good reason we dont 'split' everything(like the tent) evenly...my CG is pitiful when I carry the tent or even just the poles..i need to lay down my stuff 'sideways'....he can carry himself well with the poles and tent standing up..he uses the tent to divide his backpack space vertically...

also, he insists on carrying *all* the water(camelbak, 2 bottles, 2 bottles gatorade) for the weekend trips..we'd probably be even re weight if he doesnt insist on being the camel(i am planning on the thru' hike..so i figured i might as well build resistance by using running water and the filter)...but yea, he does carry more weight than i do....i am more comfortable carrying about 4-5 lbs less than he does...but he is ok with his weight....

sdoownek
10-02-2003, 11:47
Maybe my "read" on his post was incorrect. I just had the mental image of him toting a 40lb load, and her taking 10.
If I was a little strong, I apologize.

smokymtnsteve
10-02-2003, 13:17
I have a 19 year old son who goes hiking with me...I'm 5'7" and he is almost 6 foot..and strong as a mule....he can press 200lbs...when we hike together I take a smaller load...evens us ou t a little...

Matt Pincham
10-02-2003, 14:34
Wasn't intending to carry her entire kit!!! We'll even it out...think I was just trying to look macho :p

So anyway back to the questions.

What's a good website for reviews? I need one that (hopefully) comprehensively covers tents, backpacks , boots and much more...let me guess...one doesn't exist???

With regards to tents, is the Mountain Hardwear Waypoint any good? It's pretty huge and only uses 1 pole. Weighs hardly anything! Costs 200 ($300 approx) which mean I can get it for about $200...pretty useful discount!

When talking about cost, I'm lucky cos my girlfriend works in a major UK hiking store and can get 30% off everything.

Thanks for the replies.

sdoownek
10-02-2003, 14:59
Originally posted by Matt Pincham

What's a good website for reviews? I need one that (hopefully) comprehensively covers tents, backpacks , boots and much more...let me guess...one doesn't exist???


Say, like, um, this?

http://www.backpackgeartest.org



With regards to tents, is the Mountain Hardwear Waypoint any good? It's pretty huge and only uses 1 pole.
Weighs hardly anything! Costs 200 ($300 approx) which mean I can get it for about $200...pretty useful discount!


eh....I'm sure it's a great tent. It's heavy though. My "tent" is 25 oz, and has just about the same floor space.

http://www.tarptent.com

Peaks
10-02-2003, 16:50
Tents There are always compromizes to be made between weight, cost, and floor size. If you look around Trail Daze, you will see many Sierra Designs Clip Flashlights. They weight in at 3 lb 15 oz, 32 sq ft of floor area, and list for $169. If you want some more room, but not weight, then consider a tarp tent. But, no matter what you decide, you should try it own before you buy.

Sleeping Bags: A 20 degree synthetic mummy bag weights 3 pounds or less.

Companion
10-02-2003, 16:58
waypoint(solo) is 2lbs.2oz.. :D and $189.00 and single wall...

but i am NOT buying it without knowing what the catch is..:-?

nightshade
10-02-2003, 18:03
Has anyone on here used the tarptent? If so, which model and how did it stand up?

lobstergrrrl
10-02-2003, 22:47
I have a Sierra Designs Ultralight CD that weighs about 2 pounds. Works well for me and the dog.

smokymtnsteve
10-02-2003, 23:07
I have a sierra designs flash max, 2 lbs..an older model single wall...great in cold weather..the colder the better..even snow.. but it's damp in slighty warmer humid weather...

i just carry a sil nylon tarp.....and a cheap poncho for a for a gound cover....

lobstergrrrl
10-02-2003, 23:20
What is sil nylon? Where can I find some?

smokymtnsteve
10-02-2003, 23:31
bought my sil nylon tarp at Mtn X-ings in Neals Gap ..Ga..
you can gettem cheaper at gaylans but I like to buy stuff at trail outfitters fo they can be there when you need'em...REI and gaylans don't have any shops that I know of near the trail...

support your AT trail businesses...and they will be there for you!

chris
10-03-2003, 10:36
sil nylon = silicon impregnated nylon. Very light, fairly durable, water proof material used in in ultralight gear like tarps and a few packs. Very unbreathable, so you also see it in some ground cloths, VBLs, and some ponchos.

Peaks
10-03-2003, 17:21
Originally posted by chris
sil nylon = silicon impregnated nylon. Very light, fairly durable, water proof material used in in ultralight gear like tarps and a few packs. Very unbreathable, so you also see it in some ground cloths, VBLs, and some ponchos.

It's not as puncture resistant and abrasion resistant as heavier nylon fabric. Therefore, you probably will not see many packs made with sil nylon.

chris
10-03-2003, 17:51
There are a few. Brawny's pack at dancinglight, the new G5 is made out of something similar, I believe. Maybe not silnylon, but something like it. But, yes, Peaks is right. There are not too many sil nylon packs out there because of durability issues.

bearbag hanger
10-06-2003, 10:52
sleeping bag - synthetic, 20 degree slightly less than 3 pounds. Lots of them available. Down weighs a lot less, but it when it gets wet, it's useless.

2 person tent. 4 to 5 pounds, less if you use some sort of tarp tent sort of thing. But be careful here. Tarp, ground cloth and some sort of bug net and you could easily be above the 4 or 5 pounds for a 2 person tent that fits both of you. The really light 2 person tents you see are; one - expensive, two single wall tents (very wet almost all the time).

Equality in the backpack weights. You have to work out your own system that works for the two of you. My last girl friend insisted on carrying the same amount of weight I carried. The problem is half way up the first hill, she couldn't go any further and guess what got transferred to my pack? I supose it comes down to would you rather carry more weight or not have her along?

Rain Man
10-06-2003, 11:31
Originally posted by bearbag hanger
sleeping bag - ... Down weighs a lot less, but it when it gets wet, it's useless.

I have ALWAYS heard about down being useless when wet. All my life.

But I have also read since joining Whiteblaze a month ago that no one has ever had their down bag get wet on the AT. (or so it seems)

So, should a novice run from down as if it is certain to get wet? Or should we see from others' experience that (with reasonable precautions) down never actually gets wet?

Just another dumb question from ...

Rain Man

chris
10-06-2003, 11:45
On the PCT I got a lot of condensation on my bag from sleeping out at night. It never really wetted out the bag, though, and I would just dry it at a lunchtime rest. I only had a few short showers. On the AT, you get a lot more rain. On my Springer->Damascus hike in May of 02, I had about 8 days of rain or precip out of a total of 28. Keep your bag in a stuff sack lined with a trash bag and you should be okay. If you have several days of rain in a row, you might start losing loft from accumulated moisture.

If you do something daft, like falling in a river or sleeping in snow bank, you should be okay. Go with down.

smokymtnsteve
10-06-2003, 12:01
I gotta couple of down bags...(i have way to much hiking equipment) I don't use down unless it's gonna be REAL COLD ...like the teens or below...

I use what I call Fleece Cacoon...i have an inexpensive fleece bag and then I get into it with long underwear and fleece pants, jackets, vest, gloves , hat ..etc....this way I can adjust myself to the current conditions....being damp doesn't effect fleece much.....

and the fleece is easy to care for and clean along the trail..dries easy and quick .......burn it , rip it ..no biggie...

gravityman
10-06-2003, 14:17
As long as you have a decent shell on your down bag you don't have to worry about it. The small amount of condensation that gets on it from sleeping in a tent or outside should shake off a shell with a decent DWR like what westernmountaineering bags have.

So what is the real problem? If your bag ends up totally soaked, like you slip and fall into a stream carring it in your arms and then push it down into the stream for a couple of minutes to get it really soaked (try washing a down bag. Unless you stuff it in a stuff sack and pull it out under water it is REALLY tough to get it truely wet). The same thing would happen with a synthetic. Try sleeping in a synthetic bag that is wet. You will be very unhappy, and it won't keep you any warmer! Your body heat will go to evaporating the water (think sweating - this cools your body) and you will die of hypothermia, synthetic or not.

I verture to say the "synthetic bags perform better wet" is an urban myth created by the sellers and manufactures of said bags. It's a poor extrapolation of the "don't wear cotton" theory. Since cotton actually wicks water (hydrophyllic), then, no you don't want to wear that. But since down is wrapped in a hydrophobic shell, it's not a fair analogy (I don't know if down is hydrophobic or hydrophyllic, but I'd better hydrophobic. Otherwise you would see all kinds of geese dead from hypothermia. Heck, they SIT in water. Of course their down in also encased in a hydrophobic shell - their outter feathers).

Gravity Man

chris
10-06-2003, 14:26
I've been condensed on while sleeping out hard enough to deloft the bag completely. That is, the sleeping bag stopped to function because of all the condensation. It got through the shell when I would roll around and wetted out the down. Granted, it was my Highlight, which doesn't have much loft to start with. Of all places, it was in Oklahoma. I've never had condensaton problems like this in the south.

Synthetic bags should retain a good deal of their insulative value even if heavily wetted out. The figure I hear quoted is usually around 50% of normal. This doesn't mean sleeping in a wet one will be fun.

smokymtnsteve
10-06-2003, 14:45
have you ever ready Michael Frooms book"Stangers in High Places" the story of the GSM..the first line in the book is...

IT WAS RAINING IN THE SMOKIES

sometimes in the smokies humidity will be 100% for days on end ...esp in the spring when weather is changing....it's damp everywhere ..in your house ..in your airstream trailer with the heater going.....everywhere,everything is damp....

chris
10-06-2003, 15:12
There is a resident scientist on the forum who can explain the phenomenon of condensation better than I. I don't have condensation problems in the south, where the relative humidity may be higher than in the west, but the temperature drop at night is much less. That isn't to say that I don't get condensed on in the Smokys. I had a rather damp bag after spending the night sleeping in the field by Derrick Knob shelter. But, nothing like the wetting out I've had in places out west.

Peaks
10-06-2003, 16:58
Originally posted by Rain Man
I have ALWAYS heard about down being useless when wet. All my life.

But I have also read since joining Whiteblaze a month ago that no one has ever had their down bag get wet on the AT. (or so it seems)

So, should a novice run from down as if it is certain to get wet? Or should we see from others' experience that (with reasonable precautions) down never actually gets wet?

Just another dumb question from ...

Rain Man

I used a synthetic bag, and it did get wet on a couple of occasions. Not soaking wet, but wetter than I would have preferred. First, at times it got wet from condensation if it was up against the side of my tent. Second, it got soaked during a rainy night when I was set up in a low place. Third, it got wet one time when I was trying to dry it out, and got caught in a sudden shower. Shelter may leak. Tents can leak. So, despite everything that you try, stuff happens, and bags do get wet.

smokymtnsteve
10-06-2003, 17:29
dew point , man, the dew point!

I still like my fleece sack and cacoon...I slept out at derricks knob my last trip in a slight misty drizzle...no tarp or cover ..and my body heat was enough to keep the dampness out of the fleece...
but i'm real hot blooded ...my blood is like syrup...my triglycerides are over 1000...so I never get cold. Olive oil drink yourself a big slug of olive oil with dinner and you can stay warm all night...

but when the humidity is way up ....even the inside of the shelter can be wet...

back in feb 2000...during a period of bad weather...I stayed at tray mtn ... ( a place I almost froze to death back in the early 70's...-10F) it was right at frezzing and the wind was blowing clouds and mist(not rain) into the shelter...everything was damp....i had a blue kazoo down mummy and It was getting pretty flat. we were at the dew point man, the dew point.

Downunda
10-21-2003, 19:26
I can recommend the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight as a good, low cost, lightweight tent for a cosy couple. Not a lot of extra room inside but you don't need that for a thru hike as you are either sleeping or hiking, you don't spend much time just hanging about in the tent. Some of the siltarp/tents are also good but can be expensive.

Nightwalker
11-21-2003, 13:10
I have a Sierra Designs Ultralight CD that weighs about 2 pounds. Works well for me and the dog.

I was looking at a Sierra Designs, but I happened to find a Wenzel Star Lite at Oshmans for only 35 USD! After replacing the "stock" steel pegs with Wal-Mart aluminum ones, it only weighs 45 ounces. It has a floor, netting at both ends, room for my gear and me (I would call it a two-man hikers pup-tent for thin people) and pyramid fiberglass poles at the entrance end, so you don't have to navigate around a pole at the door.
It does have condensation issues in cold weather, but if you pitch it first the next evening, the condensation dries out very fast (leave doors tied back until beddie-bye time). It's a great, light tent for the money, and even comes with a compression bag. :)

Frank, the happy old hiker

woolfie and GG
07-25-2004, 16:29
really strange to read someone with exactly the same questions, I'm over here in deepest darkest Hampshire. Looking to finialise final gear list for our 2005 hike, we are off to New York early september for a retail marathon. We find it hard to compare UK gear reviews, to American reviews/advice posted on this sites.
How did you get on with 2 man tent selection, we are loking at Hiileberg nallo2/2gt.
what cooking pots/stove for two man hike?

Darrell & olive :) :)