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  1. #1

    Default Early August 2015 SOBO gear critique

    Hi all. Iím going to SOBO starting the first week in August and hope to finish up by December 31st. I'm finalizing my gear prep right now, and hereís what I plan on bringing with me:

    http://lighterpack.com/r/1w5ccz

    Since I didnít subtract things Iím wearing from this list, my base weight will be around 21 lbs. With 2 liters of water (4.4 lbs) and 1.5 lbs of food per day for letís say 4 days on average, Iím looking at 31.4 lbs loaded up.

    Some thoughts I had to trim this down:

    1) Swap my 20 degree bag for a Mountain Laurel Designs Spirit 28 quilt (saves 1.8 lbs, huge!)
    2) Swap the ULA Catalyst for a ZPacks Arc Blast (saves 1.6 lbs)
    3) Leave behind the extra shirt/pants for "town clothes" (saves .6 lbs)
    4) Swap out the Klymit sleeping pad for a small Z-Lite and use my pack for leg cushion (save .5 lbs)
    5) Break the AWOL guide into 4 sections & mail them ahead (saves .4 lbs)
    6) Ditch the Crocs (saves .4 lbs)
    7) Think about leaving out the the long sleeve Cap3 shirt and pants (saves about 1lb, maybe not a good idea to leave out altogether, but could have mailed to me in Virginia/more south)
    8) Ditch the battery extender -- only con is that my phone is my camera so I might miss some shots (save .75 lbs)

    If I did all 8, it brings my base weight to 14 lbs or 24.4 lbs loaded up. I'm mostly looking for thoughts on which of these cuts seem prudent given the weather people usually encounter this time of year. I'm thinking I could pair the quilt easily with my down jacket and a wool hat to stay toasty at night. I sleep fairly but not super warm. I'm less keen on swapping packs, since the Catalyst is more robust and I don't want to worry about edging too close to 30 lbs at some point and overloading the Arc Blast.

    I was also considering a heavier fleece than my Columbia (it's just your run of the mill full zip columbia fleece), but I think that this fleece + Golite jacket/pants should do me well with gloves and a wool hat for most conditions, especially when I'm hiking. I was thinking of maybe an R2 fleece but donít want to get too warm and don't think I'll need it. However, if I dropped all my LS Cap 3 stuff, maybe I could pair it with one of my short sleeved shirts instead, and the weight would be about the same / slightly lighter than my Columbia.

    Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated and welcome. Sorry for the wall of text! I want to be light but not "stupid light". I've done hours and hours of reading and researching, but I'm kind of at that point now where I'd love to have some objective opinions about what I'm no doubt missing! Happy trails.

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Regain all of your lost weight, maybe more, around Halloween when you gear up for winter. I doubt that the zpacks backpack has the capacity for winter gear unless you can afford a lot of cuben fiber products.
    How much time have you spent backpacking in the mountains in the winter?
    Good luck.

    Wayne


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  3. #3
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    There was a thread today about the zPacks ArcHaul backpack. I think that's a much more likely pack to transition to from the ULA Catalyst as they both are in the same maximum weight range. The ArcHaul is pretty new so there aren't a ton of reviews. It looks like it weighs 7 ounces more than equivalent Arc Blasts.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Regain all of your lost weight, maybe more, around Halloween when you gear up for winter. I doubt that the zpacks backpack has the capacity for winter gear unless you can afford a lot of cuben fiber products.
    How much time have you spent backpacking in the mountains in the winter?
    Good luck.

    Wayne
    Thanks Wayne -- I think the Catalyst is a solid pack and there's the advantage that I've backpacked with it several nights so it's pretty well broken in. I'd rather spend the cuben money on food if I can, at least for this first major trip in my life. I do not have much experience backpacking in the mountains in winter. I've done some short trips in Wisconsin winters (no snow on the ground but in the teens), but that's not at elevation, so the weather I'm sure is much less predictable & more extreme there. I plan to be prepared as I can but ready to stay at a hostel if required if the weather looks iffy. Not going to take any chances.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    There was a thread today about the zPacks ArcHaul backpack. I think that's a much more likely pack to transition to from the ULA Catalyst as they both are in the same maximum weight range. The ArcHaul is pretty new so there aren't a ton of reviews. It looks like it weighs 7 ounces more than equivalent Arc Blasts.
    That definitely looks like a more comparable switch, and it would shave off a pound. Also nice not to have to worry about the upper weight limit as much. I think I might look at going toward this when the Catalyst gets a bit more worn out or I plan my next big trip -- thanks for the tip!

  6. #6
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    HFM: Sounds like an adventure. I hiked the AT in 2013, a "flip flop" to avoid any hot weather. So what am I thinking about now? Yep, a winter hike, NOBO, starting @ Springer on October 1. Not committed to a thru this time, but definitely want to do some backpacking in the snow. I read somewhere that hostels can't be counted on much after Oct 1. Have you heard the same? I went super ultra light in 2013, but plan to carry plenty of warm clothing, etc, and will not be as worried about weight. What are you going to do for a stove? I went all cold food before, but want to cook this time. I read ISO-pro doesn't work well in cold, nor does alcohol apparently, so plan to carry a retro Whisperlite and white gas canisters. Let me know how the planning is going.

  7. #7
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    Ditch the crocs and the town clothes.

    Keep the battery extender (pictures are important!) and the Catalyst

    I'm a huge fan of a z-lite over other pads, just because you never have to worry about popping them.

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