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  1. #1
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    Default Think I made some mistakes!

    Well what can I say, Iím pretty darn new to the whole backpack camping. So far my trips have been along the lines of 2 nighters in the UP of Michigan on very budget gear (borrowed pack, Walmart tent, etc)


    I leave for RMNP in less than a month for 5 nights backcountry and I am in a pickle.

    Backpack: I purchased a mountaintop 70+10L and Iím afraid itís going to fail me. Things I enjoy about it: straps on the top for a pad and straps on the bottom for your tent. The inside seems extremely narrow for 70L pack.
    I canít spend 300 on a new pack but saw the Kelty Coyote 80 for $200...however, really no outside straps- where would one fit a large tent and sleeping pad?


    Tent: my 2p Walmart tent works fine but again, itís too heavy and the stuff sack is huge. Iím in need of something lighter without breaking the bank, perhaps $150ish? Any ideas?


    Not concerned with my GSI cookware or my platypus water filter, but very concerned with the above 2.

    Any suggestions would be fantastic!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2

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    Is the tent just for you?

  3. #3
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    For 5 days, use what you have. Learn what you like and don't like about your gear. Spend $150 now and you're likely going to make another $150 mistake.


    My first 5 day trip was with a rented Eureka Timberline tent and Low grade external frame pack loaded to well beyond 50 lbs. Mistake or learning opportunity? It just depends upon your perspective.

  4. #4
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    General thought based on experience... A 70L-80L is too much pack unless you're needing space for 10 days of supplies. So if you already have a 70L pack, don't waste your time buying yet another pack.

    If you need a tent for one person, I love my BA Copper Spur UL2. But it's a very expensive tent. But for about $120 or less, you can get a Kelty Salida 2. It's the same size as the Copper Spur except for only 1 door and 1 vestibule. The Copper Spur weights less than 3lbs while the Salida is near 5lbs... but costs so much less.

    If you need a tent for two persons, I would recommend the Kelty Gunnison 2 or Kelty Gunnison 3 at Sierra Trading Post because they are only about $120. They are both relatively heavy, but they are not so bad when you consider you're talking about 1 tent for 2 people. 2 people can confortably fit in the Gunnison 2, and the Gunnison 3 would give tons of space for 2 and all their gear.

    Skip the Platypus Filter and use the Sawyer Squeeze or Mini instead. The mini is only $20, so I usually buy a new one at the beginning of the year on principle (even though they should last for years if taken care of).

  5. #5
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    Congratulations - You are on the right path. The biggest mistake people make is to think they are not making mistakes.

    For a compact affordable tent (assuming this is for one person) you could consider the Six Moon Designs Skyscape Scout

    https://www.backcountrygear.com/skys...igns-tent.html

    Do you trek with trekking poles? If not, you would need to get two tent poles to set this up, sold separately. I used to have the slightly lighter version of this tent (Trekker) until I moved "up" to a Tarptent Notch. I like the Notch a bit better, but since you were on a tight budget, I suggest the Scout. It is a very good quality tent for not much money. Understand that one-person tents can be very tight on space inside if you are used to a 2 person tent. You have to decide where you priorities lie.

    As for the pack, you could consider a new strategy that does not involve strapping things to your pack. I was on a 4 day trip across Pictured Rocks NL (in MI's UP - is that one you did?) with a friend who had his old external frame pack from the 1970's. I had an Elemental Horizons Kalais. As a lightweight backpacker, I had very little gear to pack: Besides my sleeping gear, food bag, and clothes bag, there wasn't much to pack. The tent went in a pouch on the back of the pack. I was packed in about 2 minutes and then sat around camp for an hour while my friend strapped everything to the outside of his pack. Then it was so heavy, I had to help him put it on. Then when we took a break, he had to unstrap everything so he could get to his snack food in the pack.

    The REI Flash is on sale in your price range. I have not used it, but it is a very popular lightweight pack. It is somewhat smaller than the ones you suggested, but having a smaller pack can help you trim your gear kit. Remember the lightest and cheapest gear is the gear that is not in your pack.

    https://www.rei.com/product/893906/r...-flash-65-pack

  6. #6
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    It all depends on how much you intend to hike
    Versus how much you intend to camp

    Heavy gear is perfectly acceptable for 5 to 7 miles a day
    This would be the normal type of hiking that Scouts would do, or people that hype short distances in to places and camp for a couple of days

    When you want to hike 20 miles a day, you need less weight. A lot less.

    There's not any mistakes, as long as gear isn't poor quality that's going to fail on you. It's just gear intended for different purposes.

    Without describing your intended amounts of hiking no one can really comment on the suitability of your gear. Five nights in the backcountry doesn't tell anything. That might be two miles from a trailhead.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  7. #7
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    Buy once cry once.

    I bought a lot of gear and ended up replacing quite a lot of it over the next year or two. I went for smaller lighter less volume items. I wish I would have just sprung for the more expensive options at first.

    So yeah, $200 on a quilt, $300 on a tent, $100 on a pad, $200 on a backpack (and all the other smaller stuff) can add up quick, very quick. But if this turns out to be a life long passion then it'll be worth it.

  8. #8
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    Without seeing a complete gear list we can't say a 70L pack is too large. Based on the Walmart tent I suspect you have a lot of bulky gear. Post a complete gear list and you will likely get some very actionable ways of making this work. I would not go out and invest in a lot of shiny new gear unless you know you are going to be doing this for a while.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  9. #9
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    Get a cheep blue 9’ x 9’ blue tarp. Post Gear list
    Thom

  10. #10
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    As I keep telling my GF, one cannot have enough packs. Mine Rin from a 25 litter LL Bean technical day pack to a $550 Cuban fiber, external framed, Seek Outside Unaweep. I buy my packs on sale, when I see a good deal, or last year's models on clearance. Most of my packs I paid $100 or less. I have a couple six moon design packs, an REI Flash 45, a Deuter 45+10 I still haven't used.

    You want to spend the money on your big 3 since that's where most of your weight will be. Tent, or tarp, sleep system, pack you purchase last so you can make sure all your gear fits in it.

    My two person 20* quilt and two person air mattress was almost $1000, but it gets used quite often. Well worth the money.

  11. #11

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    I wouldn't call them mistakes. We've all been there. Use it, evaluate it for the type of trip you are on and then buy more gear if your current gear does not work for the type of trip you want to be on next.

    Repeat + Repeat + Repeat = Experience
    Let me go

  12. #12

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    If you wanted to keep it simple, you can grab a much smaller tent just for yourself very inexpensively. One example is a Eureka Solitaire. Brand new, you can buy them for less than $90. Total packed weight is comfortably under 3 pounds. That would save you a good bit of space and weight, and worst case you can sell it afterwards without losing a significant amount of money.

  13. #13

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    I agree with HooKooDooKu's comment below, keep the backpack, replace the tent, plenty of inexpensive options. What are you using for a sleeping pad and bag? Hugely important.

    Where are you going in RMNP for 5 days? Just curious. The place can be quite harsh weather-wise for someone with very little experience. Not meaning to scare you, but Why RMNP? Gorgeous, but crowded and heavily restricted, etc.

  14. #14
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    Default

    One other complication, a bear canister is required in the park. I didn't see on the web site if you can rent/borrow one from the park, you might have to buy one. Now the question is will it fit into your pack along with all the other bulky items you have?

    The primary weather event will be afternoon thunderstorms. Bugs aren't a big issue, so this is one area where a tarp is a good choice and you probably only need it to hide under to wait out those afternoon storms.

    If your up at 9-10,000 feet, it gets real hard to breath. If you have a heavy pack, it gets even harder.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    Without seeing a complete gear list we can't say a 70L pack is too large. Based on the Walmart tent I suspect you have a lot of bulky gear. Post a complete gear list and you will likely get some very actionable ways of making this work. I would not go out and invest in a lot of shiny new gear unless you know you are going to be doing this for a while.
    Thanks everyone for all the feedback! RMNP was a cheap camping trip overall for flights, figured we would give it a shot. My buddy has been to both RMNP and glacier national, rmnp was much cheaper and Iím no die hard camper so Iím fine with it.
    We are staying at Moraine the first night to get acclimated, then hiking anywhere between 3.5-10 miles each day which include lower granite falls, north inlet junction, pine mountain, and summer land park.


    My gear list thus far:

    Pack: mountaintop 70+10L from amazon. Seems very narrow but pockets and straps everywhere. Decent review for a low quality pack.

    Tent: Walmart Ozark Trail 2p tent. Bulky in terms of stuff sack...think of your normal Walmart tent bag. Probably 5.5-6.25 pounds. I enjoy the 2P tents-roomy

    Cookware: GSI Pinnacle Dualist. Compact and fairly lightweight - happy with this.

    Sleep pad: Amazon OutdoorsManLab self inflating with pillow. 2.2 lbs but it doesnít compress small- like the size of an NFL football 13x6.5x6.5

    Water filter: I have the Sawyer squeeze but it froze so I should purchase a new one. Didnít like the hassle of the squeeze - want he platypus 2L for ease of use



    Food will go in bear canister.

    Extras will be camp shoes, cheap trekking poles, water bottle, headband light, clothes bag, small medical kit, few toiletries, etc..





    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  16. #16

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    You will have a heavy pack. Do not let that stop you. Enjoy your trip and consider it a learning experience. If you have not used the tent in serious rain try it under a lawn sprinkler.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  17. #17
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    Forgot to add my sleeping bag is a Rovor Buhl. Just over 2 pounds and compresses decently (less than a foot Lon with 7 diameter)

    Fits in the bottom of the pack just fine.

    Think my real concern is the tent, pack, and sleeping mat but will wait for all your advice!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    For 5 days, use what you have. Learn what you like and don't like about your gear. Spend $150 now and you're likely going to make another $150 mistake.
    This says it perfectly. The best way to figure out what gear you need to replace is to spend more time with the gear you have. If the only issue is it's heavy or uncomfortable, it's not going to kill you.

    When I started doing serious backpacking 10 years ago, my pack weighed close to 50 lbs for a 5-day trip. It was uncomfortable but it worked and didn't ruin the experience for me. Over time I've replaced nearly all of it, one piece at a time. Never had to break the bank and buy a bunch of stuff at once. Now my pack is more like 30 lbs. starting out on a 5-day trip.
    It's all good in the woods.

  19. #19
    92.8% complete Berserker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tschertz View Post
    Food will go in bear canister.
    Just a piece of advice. Since you stated you don't have a lot of experience, you'll want to mess around with the canister a bit if you have access to it before you go on your trip. Packing a bear can is a bit of an art form, and there's certain food choices that make it easier to get more days of food into a canister.
    JMT - 2013

  20. #20
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berserker View Post
    Just a piece of advice. Since you stated you don't have a lot of experience, you'll want to mess around with the canister a bit if you have access to it before you go on your trip. Packing a bear can is a bit of an art form, and there's certain food choices that make it easier to get more days of food into a canister.
    Agree... when I was planning for a JMT thru hike and had decided on the Bearikade Expedition, I spent the $375 to be able to have the bear canister in hand well before the trip rather than the option of renting one for much less. Glad I did because it was the cause of me realizing my REI Flash was NOT going to handle that size canister and had to buy a larger pack.

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