Recommendations for Long Range Pack? Full List please.

1:07 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Okay, I know this has been asked before, but new equipment comes out all the time and other stuff is discontinued, so I want to get a fresh list here.

I am planning a trip along the continental divide in Colorado.  I have done this before and have my own equipment, but most of my stuff is not even sold anymore.  I am taking a friend that has nothing and needs to build his pack from scratch. I know there is newer, better and lighter stuff then I have, but I don't want to spend a thousand hours in front of my computer doing research to find it.  So I am asking those of you with experience to give me a list of tested equipment I can recommend to him.  Things like, pack, sleeping bag, tent, hiking boots, water filtration, survival gear, knives etc, etc, etc. Basically everything in you pack.  Thanks!

1:24 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Jungle!

This is a great question.  Before the thread sprawls out too far - you can help the community refine the advice they give by providing some specifics:

1. What "style" does your friend travel in - is he an ultralight hiker?

2. What season are you heading out in?

3. How long will you be out between resupply?

4. What kind of mileage are you covering daily?

I could easily recommend to you my favorite pack, but without knowing more about what you're doing, it might not be useful advice!

1:48 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Great questions.  I should have cover this.  Okay.  Will will be going in August (unless fire conditions prevent it).  It should be warm, but we will be up pretty high so I will prepare for nighttime lows below freezing.  The area where we will be traveling is new to me and and I am uncertain of the availability of trails.  There may be trail the whole way, but I doubt it.  I know there will be trails along the Continental divide, but we have about 30 miles of travel getting up to it and down from it to our pick up point.  The whole trip will an estimated 70 to 80 miles.   This will be new to my friend and I am not sure how fast we will be able to travel, so I am allowing for a week to two weeks.  I am not worried about food recommendations though, I know what to take for that.  I am looking for hard equipment recommendations. As far as weight, I would like the pack to max out around 50 pounds.  The last time I went, I took my son (19yr).  My pack weighed 65 pounds (I was carrying a full size DSLr camera, telephoto lenses and batteries) but my sons was around 45 pounds.  I did fine but my son struggled in higher altitudes.  

1:58 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Spot on Seth.

A lil more info is definitely needed in order to provide the best dialed in suggestions.

Another question I would like to add to Seth's queries is what is the cap in regards to what can be spent?

It is very easy to spend a monstrous amount of money on gear but it isn't necessary to do so in order to get the most out of one's trip. 

Next, I have a suggestion.

Start with what is going in the pack and not the pack first prior to snagging up gear. 

This will get your friend the best dialed in fit in regards to his internal capacity needs. It is a lot easier to fit the pack to the gear as opposed to fitting the gear to the pack. 

It would be a shame for your friend to get a pack that he loves only to find out that the interior volume is not enough to suit his needs in regards to the gear he is going to be carrying. 

Has he considered renting?

He is new to this so there is no guarantee that he will enjoy it. 

It would also be a shame to snag up a bunch of gear only to use it once and never again. 

...also quite costly. 

2:13 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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renting is definitely a good option. rei rents everything you'll need.

4:59 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I appreciate everyone's concern.  I think I have about $1,500 in my pack and I would say that $1,000 would be a  good start for my friends gear list.  This trip is a training trip for my friend who wants to get into long distance deep woods backpacking. He will be using his equipment for a long time so renting is out.  

I knew when I asked this question that it could get complicated as there are many opinions and options out there.  To make it easy for everyone, just plan on what you would take on an 80 mile trek along the continental divide in Colorado in August.  Figure on spending a week in the back country.   If I could get 2 or more list, it will give me a lot of equipment to choose from and I will compile a recommendation list for my friend from their.  I have done this for 20 years so I know what he needs, what I don't know is all the names, brands and models of the latest greatest equipment on the market these days.  I would like it if your list could be of only equipment that you have used and have found to be of good durable quality.  Thanks

6:02 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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This is a budget, but still good quality list. You can go higher end to get lighter, or better quality items. But i think this list is a balanced approach to quality, durability, light weight(ish), comfort, and cost. I am only listing the main items/essentials, all the little stuff yall can figure out on your own pretty easy i would think.

Pack: Kelty Coyote 80 $199

Sleeping bag: Kelty Cosmic Down, depending on the rating you buy $150-200

Sleeping pad: Neoair Trekker $139

Tent: Kelty Salida 2 Tent $159

Stove: Coleman Peak 1/Max canister stove $12

Pot: Walmart 1L grease pot $3

Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot $29

Then you need a map, compass, basic first aid kit(make yourself and don't buy a premade kit), basic repair kit (sewing needle, dental floss, duct tape, few small zipties, and some cordage)

You don't need a fancy stove or pot to start off with, concentrate on pack, bag, pad, and tent. You can't do any better than the Neoair for a pad IMO, and its only a little more expensive than other inflatable pads.

The kelty pack, bag, and tent IMO are very good quality budget items. I used all of those products for some period of time before upgrading. If you wanted a better slightly more expensive option then these would be good choices:

Pack: Osprey Aether 70 $279

Bag: Hammockgear 20F Burrow topquilt $229 (I personally prefer quilts, they are much more comfortable to me than sleeing bags, oh and cheaper. This is about as high of a quality as you can go. A comparable quality sleeping bag would be $350+  easy)

Tent: TarpTent Double Rainbow $275

*** Pack: Pack choice is very personal and is not one fits all. Your friend really needs to go to an outfitter and try on a bunch of them with weight in them. Ideally he would buy all of the equipment, take it all to an outfitter and load up a bunch of packs with all of his gear and try them on. A pack I or anyone else recommends may not be right for them, and an expensive pack doesnt neccesarily mean a better or more comfortable pack

Most of these items are available at most any retailer. You can go lighter and better quality on most of them, but IMO this is a good middle of the road for someone just getting started. IF your friend doesnt intend to keep with backpacking then I also recommend renting instead of buying.

As you can see you can easly spend your $1,000 budget without even trying too hard. It all adds up quickly, and the last thing you want to do is buy something and regret the purchase down the road. Do your own research into gear that fits your personal preferences before making big purchases. If your friend definitely knows they are going to stick with backpacking than i highly recommend buying the best gear you can afford after doing your research. This will avoid buying gear twice. Good quality items will give you many years or a lifetime of use in some cases if treated properly.

Most of these items can be found at major outfitters such as REI and EMS on sale several times throughout the year and or combined with their 20% off coupons. For example when I bought my Kelty Coyote i got it on sale and a 20% off and it was like $100. Can't beat that for a starter pack.

10:53 p.m. on June 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks.  Snagged one of those Kelty Coyote 80s for $89 of Amazon with free shipping.  Whoohoo!  It is a small to medium frame.  I thought it would work good for my 11 yr old son.  He is 5 foot five inches (huge kid).  The larger sizes were $149 and up.  Must be a sale on this smaller size.  It does not come with a rain cover like my Alps Cascade 5200, but I can buy one for it.

9:17 a.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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What about water filtration? 

9:29 a.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I swear by my MSR Miniworks. Fully field serviceable w/o tools and works like a champ. I use it year round including winter(there is a trick to that though.) It has never let me down.

Some say it is heavy. 

Sawyers are pretty popular. 

12:15 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I bought a miniworks for my Dad to use his missionary trip back to the Pokot people of Kenya.  He found it to be too much work for the amount of water it produced and resorted to using the iodine tablets and carbon filtered water bottle I sent as a back up.   Not saying that it's not good, but a lot of the reviews here on trailspace state that it is difficult to pump and the water volume produced is small.  This may just be a problem with all mini filters of this type; I don't know because I have not tried them all.  Can anyone else shed some light on this?

12:17 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Bill S wrote an amazingly comprehensive article on water purification: http://www.trailspace.com/articles/backcountry-water-treatment-part-2-keeping-your-water-supply-safe.html

It's a great starting point to make informed decisions about what kind of chemicals, filters or UV gadgets are right for you!

2:31 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Great article.  Looks like the best option for backpackers would be a mini filter with a pre-filter and a UV pen.

2:59 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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there's also the katadyn hiker. I've had mine for 12 years, still works good. for stoves I like either the msr windpro or the snowpeak gigapower 100. I have both, and they both work good.

3:37 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I am not familiar with the available water sources on the CDT

 

but FWIW, I favor the Sawyer Squeeze over the miniworks or steri pen these days. I own and have experience with all three.  There have been some good reviews on the Sawyer Squeeze posted on this site.

 

good luck

3:42 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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+1 for the sawyer squeeze, it's my new go to water filter. It has some inherent flaws just like any filter. Learn it's flaws and limitations and understand them and anything can serve you well.

5:06 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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What about the Platypus Gravity Works?  No work required really.. and great for larger parties.  Great list by theRambler by the way... for $1000 bucks.. you can get really high quality top notch lightweight gear.  Six moon designs has ultralight (15oz) 56L packs starting at 110 bucks.  Enlightened equipment has quilts that are about a pound at around 200.  The golite imogene is a two person double wall tent at roughly 2 and a half pounds for 250.  Find a sleeping pad on discount.. and you can have an UL big 3 for around 600+ dollars.  Also.. look for deals on the internet, whether it be steepandcheap.com or others.  I found a reg size neo air trekker a few months back through campsaver.com for 60 bucks.  Good luck with it all!

5:08 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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P.S.  on the topic of stoves.. there are these cheap ones coming outta china that are about 4 ounces and cost 10 bucks.  you can find them on amazon.  reviews are easily found by googling "chinese ultralight canister stove review."  I don't think any stove is gonna beat that price point... unless you're making a beer can alcohol stove.

6:03 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Trailjester said:

there's also the katadyn hiker. I've had mine for 12 years, still works good. for stoves I like either the msr windpro or the snowpeak gigapower 100. I have both, and they both work good.

 

What is the advantage of the WindPro over the PocketRocket? 

6:49 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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After doing a lot of research on the the water filters recommended here,  I think the First Needs XL looks pretty darn good as long as it lives up to it's claim to remove bacteria, cyst and viruses. I have not been able to find a single bad review of it anywhere.  My second choice would be the Sawyer Squeeze (only because it does not claim to remove viruses). 

In the past I have just purified my water with bleach, iodine or boiling, but on my last trip I tried out the Katadyn Mini.  What a mistake.  I had to drink all the water it produced just to keep from overheating due to all the hard pumping required.  Water production started going down after the first liter even though I was pumping from crystal clear mountain streams and cleaning did nothing to improve this.  Good thing I brought some iodine as a back up or I would have thirst to death.  I have looked at both the MSR Miniworks and the Katadyn Vario, but both of them appear to use the same system as the Katadyn Mini and a lot of the reviews talk about the same issues I had with the Mini.

7:18 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Waterborne Viruses in the USA are a non issue. Poor hygiene is more likely to make you sick. Unless your planning a lot of trips to third world countries or places like mexico then you don't really have a need to worry about viruses.

11:16 p.m. on June 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Colorado is just step one of training because it is closest. Step two will be in the tropical jungles of Central or South America (that is really my area of expertise).  

3:03 p.m. on June 27, 2013 (EDT)
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Jungle - that's great! I think a lot of the advice given will translate, but the rockies and the tropical jungles are obviously very, very different environments.  In most of the US, I'm comfortable with 6 drops of chlorine bleach per liter of clear water.  In S. America, I'd be much more comfortable with the purifier combo you mentioned!

3:11 p.m. on June 27, 2013 (EDT)
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the pocket rocket can't handle big pots. since you are a twosome, or maybe more before this thing's over, I thought you would want that ability. it also lets you invert the canister, something that's impossible with the pocket rocket.

September 21, 2014
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