View Full Version : 2000ci (30L) enough for a thru? -- Yes!

04-03-2004, 16:14
I posted this same message in the backpackinglight yahoo group and received a resounding yes. I suspect the responses here might be otherwise...

This has come up several times over the last few months, so I though we should talk about it in more detail.

How much pack volume do you need for a lightweight 5-day trip (what you'd need to do a thru hike of the PCT or AT)? Here is what I came up with based on some the gear I use (or may use) and **very** rough estimates on each item's volume.

I tried to visualized how many Nalgene bottles worth of space a particular item would consume when coming up with item's volume in liters. The ci number is liters*61.

Seems like you'd only need 26L (1586ci). You Ultra lightweight folks ought to get this down even more (tarp or tarp/poncho, no PJs, compressible thermal layer (instead of fleece), smaller pot, "better" bag, etc.).

You could allow your bag to fill in the gaps up to 32L (2000ci) and as food is consumed. Or keep it compressed when carrying lots of water. All of these items would be in the main compartment. I assume the only other pockets on the pack are 2 external water bottle holders and are not included in the pack's listed volume. Some of these items may (always?) spend time outside your (pack wet socks, wet raincoat, wet fly, etc.) which would reduce the space needed inside further.

Did I forget anything? See an grievous mistakes on item volume?

NOTE: I know a WM MityLite probably isn't warm enough for all of a PCT, or AT, thru-hike but I own one and know the size of the provided WM stuff sack. It is a rather large bag, so I assume smaller, warmer bags would take up similar volume (ex. WM ultralight). Those with fancy bags (Arc alpinist) can probably free up a liter or so. The Shelter's volume is right from Henry's site.

item: volume in liters (ci)
bag (WM MityLite):4 (244)
pad (ProLite3-3/4):2 (122)
pot-3cups (stove, screen, spoon, bandana, lid, cozy):0.75 (45.75)
water bag empty (2L platty):0.25 (15.25)
windshirt:0.25 (15.25)
rainjacket (rainshield O2):1 (61)
hat, gloves, socks, silk sheets:1 (61)
heavy fleece (thermal layer):2 (122)
pjs (midweight base layer top/bottom):1 (61)
shelter (tarptent virga):3.5 (213.5)
firstaid (plus fire starter, whistle, duct tape):0.5 (30.5)
knife, compass, notebook, pen, headlamp, aqua mira:0.5 (30.5)
camera:0.5 (30.5)
wallet, keys, glasses:0.25 (15.25)
fuel bottle:0.5 (30.5)
food (5 days):8 (488)
2 1L water bottles (outside of main pack):0 (0)
total:26L (1586ci)

04-03-2004, 17:00
Yellowjacket - if you can do it, go for it. I see one item that I think you may have underestimated, your food. You list 5 days of food at 488 ci. One of the most common food bags is an OR #3 stuff sack. It's listed as 750 ci. Each hiker has their own food needs, some people need less than others. However, I think once your hunger kicks in, your food bag will grow much larger than you're planning.

04-03-2004, 18:27
You list 5 days of food at 488 ci. One of the most common food bags is an OR #3 stuff sack. It's listed as 750 ci.There is still 5L free so I don't think it would be in an issue. Next time I go out on a trip, I'll have to measure the volume of my food. That was more of a wild guess. I figured 1.25-1.5L per day. Assumed that would be enought space for (per day)...

3 breakfast bars
3 candy bars (or powerbars, or gorp)
couple of tortias and peanutbutter. Maybe a generic bagel and peanut butter.
Sleeve of crackers
1 very large, or 2 smaller dinners (packet of instant potatoes is small).
2oz of olive oil
Couple of cookies
(Do folks carry more than that per day?)

I'm not planning a thru anytime soon. I've noticed that many folks "think" they need a large pack for a thru-hike (big hike == big pack???) but really don't. With a large pack, some folks feel the need to fill it. By suggesting 2000ci is enough, I was hoping to give folks some "food for thought". Something to consider before they go out and buy that 4000ci pack (and fill it).

04-03-2004, 21:48
YellowJacket ...like Moose said, your apetite will grow and so will your food load per day. By the time I was around the mid way point my average daily food load consisted of the following (give or take)

2 - 3 Quaker Breakfast Bars
20 0z of Tang (I carried a container with the powder)
5 - 6 of the prepackaged peanut butter or cheese cracker packets.
1 Liter of Gatorade (I carried the powder)
6 super sized Snickers (3 for the morning and 3 for the afternoon)
Copius handfulls of Honey Roasted Peanuts (I carried several of the 3 - 4 oz celophane tubes)
1 large Lipton Meal or 2 packets of Ramen noodles (to which I added either tuna, chicken or stovetop stuffing mix)
Something sweet for dessert (generally the mini-Snickers or Hershey's Nuggets)

Oh by the way ...I often woke up hungry at night and broke into my food bag so I tended to carry a few extra snacks.

My food bag for 4 days of hiking typically weighed around 9 - 10 lbs.


04-04-2004, 09:59
What do people snack on that don't like candy or chocolate?

Back on topic, still seems like 2000ci is more than enough space, which was my original point. Weight wasn't really a factor in this discussion. Otherwise I wouldn't have listed the heavy Prolite3.

04-04-2004, 15:51
I think 2000 ci is a little on the small side for a long distance hike. You might be able to get away with a packbag of that size, but you are going to need some other storage space depending on where and when you are hiking. For example, go for a hike in SoCal. To deal with the lack of water, you would need to haul 2 gallons at times. 2 gallons is roughly 8 liters (actually less).

I was carrying a fairly small load this last summer. The ULA Zenith had a total capacity of 3900 ci: 2700 ci pack bag, 600 ci extension collar, 600 ci external super pocket. On a 3 day resuppy run (100 miles), I generally had the packbag full, with the collar not-deployed, and the superpocket fairly well full. On a 5 day run, the collar would be about half deployed. When I hauled 10 days of supplies into the Sierra, the collar wouldn't close and the superpocket was completely jammed full.

The smallest pack that I would use for something like the AT or PCT would be in the 3000 ci range (total storage), but that is because I know my gear and my food requirements from dumb habit, rather than from a measurement perspective. People with smaller could get away with less, those with larger gear would need something bigger.

04-04-2004, 18:04
What do people snack on that don't like candy or chocolate?.

don't like candy or chocolate?

are you nuts?

most people...that i've hiked with that,...."dont like candy" are yogi-ing one of my SNICKERS by the end of the 2nd or 3rd day!

but, you can always eat gorp...or some variation.

04-04-2004, 21:31
don't like candy or chocolate?
are you nuts?I really don't like candy or chocolate. It makes your mouth feel all gritty. Yuck! I always throw out the M&Ms from my grop and just eat the rasins and peanuts. I usually end up eating power bars (Luna and/or Harvest), which probably contain just as much ****ty food-stuff as a candy bar, but at least they don't "feel" sugary in your mouth.

04-04-2004, 21:50
The smallest pack that I would use for something like the AT or PCT would be in the 3000 ci range (total storage)I guess I could see the need on the PCT in a couple of places, though many didn't require both water and long supplies usually one or the other. Though you haven't posted the Washington section of your journal yet.:D

On the AT, however, the longest supply strech is only 5-6 days, and unless it is a "dry year", you don't need to carry more than 2-4L max.
but that is because I know my gear and my food requirements from dumb habit, rather than from a measurement perspective.Point taken. It is just that all too often folks ask "what pack should I buy?" and I read they end up with a 4000ci pack. I know when I had a pack that size (have since sold it), I tended to fill it.

Looking GoLite's pack list (they are one of the few vendors that actually provide detailed volume specs so I'll use them as an example), it seems like the...

Jam -- 2100ci (main) + 200ci (pockets) + 450ci (collar) = 2750ci
Dawn -- 2200ci + 300ci = 2500ci
Continuum -- 1750ci + 300ci + 400ci = 2450ci
Vision (AT only) -- 1550ci + 300ci = 1850ci
would all be good canidates for the AT. I would have thought you might have seen a few Dawn's on the PCT (ultralight breading ground trail and a "popular" ultralight pack among the UL fanatics).