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  1. #21

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    Leaving Damascus after Trail Days significantly reduces the clothing you need to carry and you don't need much of a sleeping bag. But don't skimp on the shelter. The AT really requires something which fully encloses you. A tarp on the AT really requires some kind of bug bivy and by the time you add one of those, you might as well go for a real tent and be done with it. And if you plan to skip shelters as much as possible, I'd get a more comfortable pad. Getting a comfortable nights sleep is more important then shaving a few ounces off your back.

    If you can hit a 10-12 pound total base weight, your doing good. I can never seem to get quite that low except for summer overnighters with known good weather.
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameisChickenJoe View Post
    I'm not asking for critique or advice, I just want to find the absolute lightest base gear setup possible, and this is the rig I've come up with so far.


    Exodus 58 liter 1lb - $215.00 or murmur 36 hyperlight - 8.5oz

    UGQ outdoor bandit quilt 14 oz - $360.00 or Enigma custom 40 degree 950 down for $305.00 or Enigma 50 degree

    Zpack Hexamid pocket tarp - 3.4 oz - $200.00

    Gossamer Gear thin light foam pad 3 oz

    Total base gear weight: 1.13 lbs

    Can you help me bring this down to a pound? Less than a pound, even?
    I'm not critiquing your gear choices, but base weight includes everything you are carrying except food, water and fuel.You're only listing a few items quilt, shelter and pad, so your real base weight is higher than listed.

    you could ditch the 3oz pad and sleep on your pack
    with SUL gear I don't see any reason for the 58 liter pack, go with the Murmur

  3. #23
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quik View Post
    I'm not critiquing your gear choices, but base weight includes everything you are carrying except food, water and fuel.You're only listing a few items quilt, shelter and pad, so your real base weight is higher than listed.
    Yup, just noticed, he did say "base", didn't he... I "heard" it as The Big 3 (tent, sleep system and pack), which indeed is what he is talking about.

    And OP, don't get turned off by those quoting "10-12 is doing well". That's pretty old-school these days, with due respect, for summertime on the AT (which you clearly said is what you're talking about). If you get your Big 3 under 3 pounds, you can get 7-8 pounds base pretty easily, maybe less.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameisChickenJoe View Post
    Thanks. This was actually some pretty helpful stuff.

    And to everyone saying 50 degrees is too low, I'm not starting in April, I'm starting on May 18, 2019 in Damascus during trail days, where I left off, so it should be plenty warm enough.
    But how far are you going? If going all the way to NH & ME, you will probably want to switch out that 50* quilt (along with more clothing which I realize is not addressed here, but hate to see you freezing even if it is "Summer").
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
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  5. #25

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    Another thing to consider about the pack. Most UL packs have full body contact which results in a very sweaty back. This is really annoying in the heat of the summer, especially if it results in a rash. That's one advantage of an Ospray pack - better back ventulaion.
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  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Yup, just noticed, he did say "base", didn't he... I "heard" it as The Big 3 (tent, sleep system and pack), which indeed is what he is talking about.

    And OP, don't get turned off by those quoting "10-12 is doing well". That's pretty old-school these days, with due respect, for summertime on the AT (which you clearly said is what you're talking about). If you get your Big 3 under 3 pounds, you can get 7-8 pounds base pretty easily, maybe less.
    Totally concur, keeping in mind that this kit is completely 'dialed' in every respect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Another thing to consider about the pack. Most UL packs have full body contact which results in a very sweaty back. This is really annoying in the heat of the summer, especially if it results in a rash. That's one advantage of an Ospray pack - better back ventulaion.
    Indeed, and also why I mentioned the Arc Blast. For my preferred 'borderline SUL' kit I like the Zero, but when the weather is hot and muggy I'll pick the Arc every time just for the ventilation, even if I don't need the volume.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quik View Post
    I'm not critiquing your gear choices, but base weight includes everything you are carrying except food, water and fuel.You're only listing a few items quilt, shelter and pad, so your real base weight is higher than listed.

    you could ditch the 3oz pad and sleep on your pack
    with SUL gear I don't see any reason for the 58 liter pack, go with the Murmur
    Good clarification on "Base" weight for UL/SUL. Not that a target number is the ultimate goal — nor pursuing the "absolute lightest" for each piece of kit — but it helps that everyone is on the same page for these discussions. One can have the very lightest pack/shelter/sleep systems and yet very easily blow the weight budget with clothing, electronics, cook kit and various knick-knacks.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  8. #28
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Another thing to consider about the pack. Most UL packs have full body contact which results in a very sweaty back. This is really annoying in the heat of the summer, especially if it results in a rash. That's one advantage of an Ospray pack - better back ventulaion.
    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Indeed, and also why I mentioned the Arc Blast. For my preferred 'borderline SUL' kit I like the Zero, but when the weather is hot and muggy I'll pick the Arc every time just for the ventilation, even if I don't need the volume.
    Yup, love those ventilated backs! Not SUL, but at well less than 2 lbs, those Arc series packs are sooooo sweet and comfy and supportive, I venture to say that an Arc Blast with 20 total pounds (including food & water) is as comfortable as a frameless, sweaty-back pack with only 15 pounds total.

    But, I still do get the "absolutely as light as possible thing", I occasionally hike that way (I have an old zpacks zero 8 ounce pack).

  9. #29

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    But, I still do get the "absolutely as light as possible thing", I occasionally hike that way (I have an old zpacks zero 8 ounce pack).


    I also like to do that occasionally. I had a pocket tarp and used it a fair bit. Just needed a teensy bit more coverage on that open side in case the wind changed direction, so I went eventually with the .51 solplex tarp. My Zero is made with the DCF/poly hybrid, w/water bottle pockets and front panel mesh, web hip belt, shoulder and waist pockets, and weighs exactly 12 oz. The original Zero weighed 4 oz and was essentially a DCF stuff sack with shoulder straps!

    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  10. #30

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    Okay so, I made a mistake on base weight. I'm still not down on all the lingo and someone corrected me on Reddit, and told me that what I was referring to was not base weight, but the big three.

    Also, I am going to Maine and understand it'll get colder as summer fades. However, I'm looking to switch out for new gear every 500 to 600 miles, because that's about when it starts getting crumbly. So as it gets colder, I'll purchase accordingly and adjust to weather and terrain.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameisChickenJoe View Post
    Okay so, I made a mistake on base weight. I'm still not down on all the lingo and someone corrected me on Reddit, and told me that what I was referring to was not base weight, but the big three.

    Also, I am going to Maine and understand it'll get colder as summer fades. However, I'm looking to switch out for new gear every 500 to 600 miles, because that's about when it starts getting crumbly. So as it gets colder, I'll purchase accordingly and adjust to weather and terrain.
    No worries, amigo.

    Nobody comes into it knowing everything, and we all learn and evolve with various hits and misses as we try different strategies.

    There's also a high degree of personal subjectivity to it. In the winter, for instance, I use down parka and pants to supplement my quilt, so I can use a 20 deg quilt down to 0 deg and even a bit lower. Some people consider this moronic, and even dangerous, and would never consider it. So be it... it works for me.

    I think you will find, however, that unless you're super hard on stuff, gear will last a lot longer than 500-600 miles, except for shoes/socks, of course.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameisChickenJoe View Post
    I'm not asking for critique or advice, I just want to find the absolute lightest base gear setup possible, and this is the rig I've come up with so far.


    Exodus 58 liter 1lb - $215.00 or murmur 36 hyperlight - 8.5oz

    UGQ outdoor bandit quilt 14 oz - $360.00 or Enigma custom 40 degree 950 down for $305.00 or Enigma 50 degree

    Zpack Hexamid pocket tarp - 3.4 oz - $200.00

    Gossamer Gear thin light foam pad 3 oz

    Total base gear weight: 1.13 lbs

    Can you help me bring this down to a pound? Less than a pound, even?
    FWIW-According to the Gossamer Gear newsletter they are about to reintroduce their Whisper backpack. I believe it weighed in around 4 oz.


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  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameisChickenJoe View Post
    Okay so, I made a mistake on base weight. I'm still not down on all the lingo and someone corrected me on Reddit, and told me that what I was referring to was not base weight, but the big three.
    Also, I am going to Maine and understand it'll get colder as summer fades. However, I'm looking to switch out for new gear every 500 to 600 miles, because that's about when it starts getting crumbly. So as it gets colder, I'll purchase accordingly and adjust to weather and terrain.
    It's like LD hiking is an endurance sport, instead of a wilderness experience.

  14. #34
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    So, I'm a weight weenie and completely appreciate the joy of carrying very little. My last 4 day trip was in Oct of last year (nursing injuries since January this year) and my total pack weight, with a spare set of shoes, was 11.5 lbs including food and 750 ml of water.

    That being said, my 20 year old son is about 5 days away from the Canadian border and finishing the PCT. He's averaging about 30-35 miles a day and doesn't give a rat's a$$ about one or two extra lbs if it adds a little comfort. He was focused on light weight 800 miles ago when he was experimenting with maximum mileage. Now he's added some comfort as the weather moves in. He's young, strong, and capable, so why reduce the joy/comfort of the trip for a pound that you hardly feel. That pound slows me down. That pound adds to my poor old aching body's pain at the end of the day. That pound doesn't slow down my son, but adds significantly to his joy as he hangs out in reasonable comfort in bad weather.

    I think that seeing how light you can go and still survive and maybe even enjoy yourself is important. But, after you're done experimenting with your lower limits, most of us back off and put the overall joy of the trip higher than the lightest possible load.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    It's like LD hiking is an endurance sport, instead of a wilderness experience.
    Yep, that's very true for the heavy hikers, the one's that eschew the lightweight philosophy. So true indeed. Want a wilderness experience where you're not weighed down by a heavy pack and thinking about the damn thing or throwing it on the ground every time you pause? Lighten up!

  16. #36
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    Again, quite a bit of volume difference between a 58 L Exodus and 36L Murmur. If my mental math is accurate two packs are being compared with the Murmur being about 38% less volume. That has ramifications both potentially positive and negative. IMO the Murmur is for an advanced ULer on a thru of AT magnitude. That includes UL aspects beyond gear like consumable wts and bulk logistics. Too often ULers new to UL ignore this very significant category.

    As far as doing a AT LASH or AT thru during summer yes the trampoline back is welcoming. It doesn't have to be an Osprey pack though. One thing to consider IF able to use the Murmur is that you'll be carrying a low wt and bulk with the Murmur having decreased dimensions that translates to less pack on the back which translates to less sweaty back discomfort. I find the same thing occurring when I use the smaller MLD Burn verse ULA CDT both frameless packs. Personally, I don't like the egg crate foam backrest/sit pad that is sometimes(often?) used with the Murmur on my back in hot humid weather.

    Moulder is right in that we all need to be on the same page putting our own approaches aside to try to assist the OP. To that extent I wish Chicken Joe the best in eventually figuring out what works for him.

    I will say the Pocket Tarp with a WR bivy was not enough heavy rain or long duration drizzle coverage for this 6'4" person w a SUL kit on the AT or in Redwoods NP or in the Pacific Northwest(Olympic Peninsula, PNWT LASH). For me it was a stupid light mistake prioritizing a wt saving SUL agenda ignoring the conditions and my personal situation. Day after day of being wet from sleeping wet was no fun.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I will say the Pocket Tarp with a WR bivy was not enough heavy rain or long duration drizzle coverage for this 6'4" person w a SUL kit on the AT or in Redwoods NP or in the Pacific Northwest(Olympic Peninsula, PNWT LASH). For me it was a stupid light mistake prioritizing a wt saving SUL agenda ignoring the conditions and my personal situation. Day after day of being wet from sleeping wet was no fun.
    thinking on the AT, it would be practical for me, as I use shelters - so the tarp is a backup allowing a lighter bivy

  18. #38
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    I have hiked many thousands of miles with essentially the same 8lb base weight gear. There are areas I personally would not compromise on comfort. They include:
    1) An air mat. A good night sleep is too important.
    2) a storm proof shelter. I use an 8 oz. cuben mid that can withstand quite a punch. It is about as small as I could possible make it and going smaller and more cramped or sacrificing weather proof to me is stupid light.
    3) A 20 deg quilt. I’m not into swapping gear, I can use that quilt from summer weather down below zero. Could I shave a few ounces off the 20oz weight. Sure.
    4) Like Dogwood I also carry an MLD Burn. But I have also made modifications that allows me to hike at least half a day without taking my pack off.
    Consider this. I lost more weight on the first 700 miles of my thruhike than my base weight. I found gear weight to much less an issue than food weight but I also was doing 150 mile food carries, something that is not needed on the AT. Also, when I stepped onto the PCT, my pack weight was 24 lbs, 8 lbs gear, 8 lbs. water and 8 lbs food. Both water management techniques as well as good resupply techniques have advantages far greater than squeezing that last ounce out your gear. Even after almost ten years with this gear set I have had zero desire to drop it further. In fact during breaks or stopping on trail I rarely even take my pack off, I just don’t feel the weight at my current base weight. Taking another pound off would not increase my enjoyment one bit. Good luck.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  19. #39

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    I will say the Pocket Tarp with a WR bivy was not enough heavy rain or long duration drizzle coverage for this 6'4" person w a SUL kit on the AT or in Redwoods NP or in the Pacific Northwest(Olympic Peninsula, PNWT LASH). For me it was a stupid light mistake prioritizing a wt saving SUL agenda ignoring the conditions and my personal situation. Day after day of being wet from sleeping wet was no fun.


    Kinda funny because it echoes my last experience with the Pocket Tarp. Was in CT hiking with 1azarus and we got some rain overnight. A little corner of my CCF sit pad, which I used for a foot pad at night, was sticking out from the edge of the tarp, collecting water which then ran straight to the foot of my quilt. Fortunately it didn't rain buckets and it wasn't a complete disaster, and we had some spare time and wonderful weather the following afternoon for a 'drying party.'
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    thinking on the AT, it would be practical for me, as I use shelters - so the tarp is a backup allowing a lighter bivy
    That's one often viable approach...

    Consistent AT/LT shelters, refugios, CG's, established CS's, hiker hostels, hotels, motels, guidebooks, uber amounts of often non essential disseminated trail data, etc are a luxury, a crutch - or a problem - depending on one's pt of view, that aren't always available. I try not to rely on them out of habit. It removes some of the adventure, the creativity, the self sufficiency. I try not to always rely on even a named trail out of habit OR asking to be recognized for completing a hike. An essential aspect of backpacking - for me - is becoming more independent, self sufficient, less encumbered by gear, and to joyfully with confidence but with a humbleness and deep respect embrace the unfamiliar. Backpacking is about losing the ego and walking in reverence. That includes not getting into UL pissing contests or forcing my approaches on others. That is also part of UL philosophy for me and to many other ULers. That's part of going minimalist. Perhaps, that's also what Chicken Joe is seeking, NOT the most UL/SUL kit for the sole sake of the lightest wt kit? HOWEVER, to do this one has to consider the conditions of their hike and their abilities or lack there of.

    I like what Malto said. It mimics what I've been saying for a long time. It is most often resupply strategies and consumable wts and bulk that are the critical highest wt category and volume for LD hikes, no one category of gear. It makes little sense to squeeze 4-6 ozs out of gear - often at a high financial price - especially when some of these folks are on tight $ budgets- when one is carrying unnecessary water and food stand bulk.

    I'd like for the OP to hear Wolf who hikes/thru-hiked largely as military trained survivalist. His ability to hike with such a minimalist kit hinged around his abilities/skill set. Lightest LD kit I've ever seen. I'd like for him to share what he had to do, what he knew he could do, what he could endure.

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