Pack size?

3:20 a.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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I'm planning a hiking trip for the summer of 2012 and was wondering what size pack I need to buy.  The hike is 273 miles long and I'm expecting it to take me around 28 days.  I'm 5' 6" tall and weigh 130 lbs.  I believe my torso is in between 17" and 20".  Also if anyone has any suggestions for a quality pack under $200.  Thanks 

6:57 a.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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I am just guessing that your doing the Long Trail? Anyway your pack should be the absolute last piece of gear you buy. A pack should 1)fit all your gear, 2)be comfortable to you under full load.

My best advice is to take all of your gear to a local outfitter, and load up packs and try them on and walk around with them in the store for an hour or two.

Depending on the style of gear you have, this will largely determine what size pack you need.

Before making any recommendations we would realistically need to know what your carrying and the weight. If you have a gear list with weights feel free to post it here. For example, there are some ultralight packs that are good for loads up to 20lbs. Then there are also packs in your price range that are heavier but can handle up to 60lbs.

I would say on average most backpackers carry somewhere around a 20lbs base weight, with a full load out of 30-45lbs.  Base weight is everything except food,fuel, water. I myself use an Osprey Aether 70 and really like it, I carry around 30-35lbs typically. I usually have alot of spare room but this is good  for me because I use this pack for winter also, as well as to pack extra gear when my wife wants to come along.

From what I can tell there seems to be 3 categories for backpack prices. I see alot for 50-150, 225-300, and 400-800. I am assuming all known name brand quality packs.

There are packs inbetween, but not many. The 50-150 packs are typically 30L or smaller for the 'higher end' ultralight packs. Also in this range is many of the Kelty(up to 80L) range of packs that are a great first pack, cheaper, durable, and fully functional. My first real backpacking pack was a kelty coyote 4750 that I got on sale for less than 100$ if memory serves.

The 225-300 range gets you into the 50-80L packs typically, and you will see brands like Osprey, ULA, Gregory and a few others. These packs are more like a lexus than a corolla, a little more features and comfort for a higher price tag.

The 400+ packs are typically custom made packs from places like mystery ranch etc.

9:57 a.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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I don't know this trail but is resupply a possibility?

I think that the logistical headaches of resupply are outweighed by the benefits.  Or carry cash and resupply at a nearby grocery facility along the way.

10:24 a.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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The only thing TheRambler didn't ask was how long are you hiking between resupply? Also, I noticed that you are in Korea. Any info on the trail you can give us will help us.  

Getting your other gear first is the best bet especially if you are on a small budget. Light and small often mean expensive, so you may need a little bigger pack. Don't just buy big a pack and think that if you don't fill it up it won't make a difference. At best it will be extra weight.  Worse it won't fit as well as it should with a partial load.  I'm not a ounce or gram counter but if I get the chance to drop a pound or two I will.

If you need help with a list of basic gear you'll need, just ask. There are a lot of experienced hikers on here who are willing to help and give excellent advice.

1:26 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome to TrailSpace, Srad16!

The Rambler has offered some good thoughts and questions. I agree that some additional information is needed to give you the most accurate and helpful advice. 

You can get as detailed as you want; some things that would be helpful to know are:

  • Your experience and physical ability level
  • Location, terrain, and weather conditions for your trip
  • Current Equipment that you already have
  • Gear that you still need
  • Number of people in the group, or if you will be solo
  • Food suppl plan- will you be able to resupply one or more times?

You've come to a great place to ask for advice. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the members here, and we are glad to help you prepare for your triip. If you haven't already, I would also encourage you to look through existing threads, there is a TON of information to be found in past articles and conversations! 

3:48 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Not sure what you have as far as resupply etc but Left Lane Sports may be a great place to snag up a decent pack on the cheap. I deal with them regularly and have snagged up some pretty good deals. 

Here is a link to their present pack offerings. You do have to join(create a login/password) but its simple and the savings are outrageous at times. 

Heres that link:

http://www.leftlanesports.com/Event.aspx?l=00050056000000000000&et=lls

They change up their stock all the time. Basically like Steep and cheap. When its gone its gone.

They have boots, packs, gear, sunglasses, etc. Great site to save a few $$$'s and still get some pretty snazzy gear. 

8:05 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for all the help so far.   I'm new to long distance hiking(so far nothing more than day hikes) so there's a lot I don't know.  It is the Long Trail in Vermont that I'm planning to hike.  Right now the plan is for two of us to hike it but I going to assume the worst,  so it might be a solo hike.  Amazingly I haven't been able to find much info about the long trail online.  Other than that there are 70 lodges/campsites spread out over the trail and there are water sources at these sites.  If someone could point me in the right direction or if anyone has hiked the LT end to end and could give first hand advice.  

I would say I'm in great shape currently and I would like to travel 10+ miles/day.  I do want to gain at least 10 lbs before the hike.  I have minimal equipment right now for a trip of this length.  I'm just starting the process of attaining everything I'm  going to need.  I still need a  Pack, tent,  sleeping bag,  first aid kit.  

I plan on doing a few shorter trips before hand to train.  This is just something I really want to do.  My main concern is food/supplies.  I'm sure there must be places to resupply.  I'm just not sure where to look.

I will try to get a list together of the gear I want to buy and the weight of each item.  Thanks for all the advice so far

10:37 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Other places to look are http://www.steepandcheap.com, www.departmentofgoods.com (both backcountry.com outlet sites run by backcountry with the same level of service), http://www.theclymb.com/home (similar to leftlane sports) and www.geartrade.com (kind of like craigslist but gear oriented and it has seller ratings like ebay. Backcountry.com gets rid of its returns here.)

If you want to do the steep and cheap route you should look at www.sacalerts.com they have a list of all the past deals on the 4 steep and cheap type sites.  They also provide email and text message alerts when something you want comes up for sale. The text message alerts are not reliable but the email is very reliable.  I use gmail which will automatically forward the email to my cell phones email to text message address.  This is very reliable.

11:23 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Sort you gear to be as light as possible and then reduce it some more.  Go ahead and put that in a cardboard box, measure it and there you have it.

7:25 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I have hiked the Long Trail end to end, if you have any specific questions feel free to ask. Here are a few links that will help you. I strongly recommend you purchase the maps and the end to enders guide from the green mountain club, they will have all of the information you are looking for(distances, resupply points, water sources, etc). I recommend getting both books, the guide book is more for research before the trip and the end to ender you should carry with you on the hike.

http://www.greenmountainclub.org/

Map- https://www.greenmountainclub.org/product_detail.php?sku=2216

Guide book- https://www.greenmountainclub.org/product_detail.php?sku=2200

End to Enders guide- https://www.greenmountainclub.org/product_detail.php?sku=2225

Bundle deal for the holidays that includes the map and both guide books, you would save on shipping and save a little over all getting the bundle- https://www.greenmountainclub.org/product_detail.php?sku=holiday3

Now for the gear you still need to get. First off, do your research and dont just hop on and buy the first thing that makes you excited lol. Seriously, evaluate 4-5 similar items, look for reviews on the web and here on trailspace, ask on the forums here or other backpacking sites about experiences with specific items etc. You will undoubtedly make a 'bad' purchase at some point, but you can minimize the pain to your wallet by asking around and doing your research first.

First aid kit- For the love of God do not buy a commercially available one! I bring the following along and this covers darn near anything you would ever need. Dental floss, sewing needle, 2 gauze pads, 4 bandaids, lip balm, hand sanitizer, quick clot sponge/field dressing(i assume you are in the army and this should be easy to obtain), small roll duct tape, several doses of naproxen AND ibuprofen(they can be taken together), a dose or two of benadryl, dose or two of immodium ad, dose or two of a cold/flu/sinus med. With all of those items and a little ingenuity you can take care of any injury under the sun well enough until you can make it to a town, as well as tend to blisters and other common ailements. Do not forget to bring immodium on a long hike! If you by some chance get the runs you can easily get very dehydrated and that can lead to a bad situation in theory.

Sleeping bag- I recommend a 15F bag for the Long Trail, no matter what time of year your going. The weather easily and frequently changes and I have seen below freezing temps in the summer. I also recommend a down bag, but this is not critical it just saves on weight and saves space in the pack. (i am selling a tnf nebula 15F bag if your interested) There are many manufacturers of sleeping bags, and once again do your homework before making a purchase! Do not skimp on your bag, get a good quality one and take care of it and it will last you well over 20 years.

Shelter/tent- There are literarly hundreds of options in this department, it really depends on your style. There is typically a shelter every 5-10 miles on the LT also. But you still need to carry a shelter with you just in case. Do you know if you would want to go tent, tarp, hammock, tarptent, bivy yet?

Pack-buy your pack last as already mentioned.

Hope this all helps some, and welcome to Trailspace!

EDIT: there is a forum for the Long Trail on www.whiteblaze.net, its about 3/4 of the way down the forum page with the other long distance trail forums.

 

 

 

 

7:35 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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On a seperate but related note. I just stumbled across this thread over at backpackinglight.com, you may find some of these tips useful. But, please bear in mind BPL is an ultralight backpacking site and keep that in mind if you see anything that looks 'off the wall' haha.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=56034

12:16 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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What month/months are you planning on going?  There is a huge difference between July and September and you must plan accordingly.

Rambler said:

Sleeping bag- I recommend a 15F bag for the Long Trail, no matter what time of year your going. The weather easily and frequently changes and I have seen below freezing temps in the summer.

That thought is a little overstated.  The record low on top of Mt Mansfield in the summer is 25 degrees.  That is extremely uncommon.  I've spent several summers on the long trail with a bag liner and quilt or even just a fleece throw.  The average low temp is around 45 degrees and that's on the summit of Mansfield.  The average low on a whole is around 55 to 60 degrees in summertime.  Should you actually see the record low, you may be a bit uncomfortable with a light set up, but not in any danger.  A 15 degree bag would be uncomfortably hot most nights and unnecessary weight.  Also humidity and rain are a guarantee in Vermont and I recommend synthetic for the summertime.  

I suggest hiking the Long Trail in the fall, at which point a 15 degree bag would be practical.  Fewer bugs, cooler days and brisk evenings.  Add the changing foliage and your in for a very good time.  

For shelter I have switched to a hammock for the long trail in the summer.  You can use it literally anywhere.  They are cool and bug proof.   I use a hennessey, and have converted several friends in the last few years.  If you can find one to borrow I suggest trying one out. 

I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

2:51 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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TheRambler said:

....

First aid kit- For the love of God do not buy a commercially available one! I bring the following along and this covers darn near anything you would ever need. Dental floss, sewing needle, 2 gauze pads, 4 bandaids, lip balm, hand sanitizer, quick clot sponge/field dressing(i assume you are in the army and this should be easy to obtain), small roll duct tape, several doses of naproxen AND ibuprofen(they can be taken together), a dose or two of benadryl, dose or two of immodium ad, dose or two of a cold/flu/sinus med. With all of those items and a little ingenuity you can take care of any injury under the sun well enough until you can make it to a town, as well as tend to blisters and other common ailements. Do not forget to bring immodium on a long hike! If you by some chance get the runs you can easily get very dehydrated and that can lead to a bad situation in theory.....

 That's a bit of an overly broad generalization. There are several sources of prepared first aid kits from sources put together by experienced outdoor people for experienced outdoor people, which have exactly what is needed, in sizes from dayhikes to full-on expeditions. You do have to add any prescription meds that you need. If you have taken a Wilderness First Aid course from WMI or similar training groups, you will have seen these. There are two commercial companies I have seen that have small kits that have exactly what Rambler listed minus the naproxin plus acetaminophen, plus in a waterproof pouch.

It is true that many prepared first aid kits contain extra stuff that you can easily improvise in the field (way too many include a SAM splint, while you can improvise a splint from a closed-cell foam sleeping pad that you carry anyway).

Quick clot is available in most drug stores these days - you don't need to be in the military.

Naproxin and ibuprofen are NSAIDS, so be sure you and your companions are not allergic to NSAIDS (which includes aspirin). Acetaminophen will work for most pain for those who do have NSAID allergy (including my spouse, who ended up in the ICU for a week one time). Also be sure you read the labels on Benadryl and Immodium (these are trademarked drugs, but you can get generic versions of both). There are limitations on the usage and some side effects you should be aware of.

3:03 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Srad16 said:

...I would say I'm in great shape currently and I would like to travel 10+ miles/day.  ...

 Considering the beauty of the Long Trail, are you sure you want to push 10+ miles a day? Take a good camera and a big memory card (or two or three). If you are really enjoying the trail, as opposed to just making distance for the sake of making distance, you will be shooting lots of pictures. There are plenty of resupply places along the way, so you really wouldn't need to carry more than a couple days food. At worst, you might have a mile side trip.

It can get cold, windy, and wet in summer, though not often, as witness (on Mansfield):


NewEngHiPnt2010_21A.jpg

3:28 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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MoZee said:

 The record low on top of Mt Mansfield in the summer is 25 degrees.  That is extremely uncommon....The average low temp is around 45 degrees and that's on the summit of Mansfield.  

 A little scenario for consideration: You've been hiking all day and you're tired and a bit chilly since rain and fog moved in a bit ago. A miss-step on a slick rock causes you to fall hard, with your ankle sprained and maybe broken.  Suddenly it is getting dark, the temp has dropped quickly into the somewhere around 35 or 40F, and its still raining with dense fog driven by a stiff wind. 

A  thin summer bag or fleece throw might keep your temp up enough as your motabalisma crashes and your body has a parasympathetic response to your accident.  Or another hiker might find your body the next day. 

The circumstances above are not crazy "what ifs" but quite common. 

Certainly, to each their own; take the risks you are willing to. For me, I think the couple extra ounces to carry a 15 or 20F are an incredibly small premium to pay to be prepared for an injury in adverse weather.  

3:56 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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gonzan said:

MoZee said:

 The record low on top of Mt Mansfield in the summer is 25 degrees.  That is extremely uncommon....The average low temp is around 45 degrees and that's on the summit of Mansfield.  

 A little scenario for consideration: You've been hiking all day and you're tired and a bit chilly since rain and fog moved in a bit ago. A miss-step on a slick rock causes you to fall hard, with your ankle sprained and maybe broken.  Suddenly it is getting dark, the temp has dropped quickly into the somewhere around 35 or 40F, and its still raining with dense fog driven by a stiff wind. 

A  thin summer bag or fleece throw might keep your temp up enough as your motabalisma crashes and your body has a parasympathetic response to your accident.  Or another hiker might find your body the next day. 

The circumstances above are not crazy "what ifs" but quite common. 

Certainly, to each their own; take the risks you are willing to. For me, I think the couple extra ounces to carry a 15 or 20F are an incredibly small premium to pay to be prepared for an injury in adverse weather.  

 I agree 100 %.

So, how dose that then work "Or another hiker might find your body the next day."..............is it then finders keepers?........................ 

3:57 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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The posts advising you should buy the pack last is correct, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't start testing now.

regarding pack size - I'd like to point out that your body is different and packs wear differently on people.  I will swear by my Arc Teryx Bora 95, but its a heavy pack and I value comfort over weight... I love my Jansport D-3 external frame pack to death (and have seen people hike the AT with them) but you may not like externals.   One of my "professional" backpacking friends actually uses an Outdoor Products pack - got it for $50, and refuses to buy an Osprey/Gregory/etc.  And then I have friends who will use only Marmot/North Face/Kelty products. Its all your personal preference.  Most bags will hold up well, and come with warranties.

So start trying on different packs, weigh them down, see if you can rent packs for a weekend trip and try them out - the worst thing that can happen to you is be 10 miles into this massive hike and realize your pack sucks (or breaks).  There are some things that 1 hour in a store won't reveal.

4:48 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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My point about the first aid kit wasn't so much that you will end up with alot of needless junk, but the cost of putting together one yourself is waayyy cheaper than buying a fancy kit in a waterproof pouch.

I keep my first aid kit, hygiene kit, and repair kit in small ziplock bags, and then all 3 of them in a larger ziplock. Just as waterproof, and my kit cost me maybe $5 all together. Compare that to the easily $20+ if you were to buy one(i think the cheapest and simplest kit at REI for example is 12$ and they range all the way to close to $200). When your first starting out and having to buy all new gear every penny you can save adds up.

Renting packs to try them is an option, however, this isn't very cost effective when trying to save up to buy gear. It is better IMO to do research, read reviews find packs that meet your needs on paper, and then go to an outfitter and try them on fully loaded with all your gear. If it seems ok after walking around in the store with it for awhile then buy it, check with your outfitter but many have excellent return policies so if you end up not liking it after a trip then you can return it. REI and EMS have an excellent return policy, it is effectively no questions asked. Obviously you would want to take a few short weekend trips etc before such a long trip to dial in all your gear to make sure it will all work for you as intended on your LT hike.

I always like having a little extra bag than needed for the time of year. Yes you could probably get by most of the time with a summer bag, in summer on the LT. However weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and i will always bring something that would get me by at 15-20F lower than the temps i expect to encounter. So if its normal lows in the 40s and 50s then an unexpected cold front could easily drop that to close to or below freezing, and problems compound themselves as already mentioned in the wind and rain. Being new to backpacking the last thing i would want would be for the OP to end up cold, tired, wet, and miserable miles from a bailout point. Besides, a good quality 3 season bag will open up options for most of the year instead of buying just a summer bag/quilt. I would not take a bag on the long trail that is rated higher than 32F, 15-20F would be my recommendation, YMMV and HYOH and all that jaz.(your mileage may vary, hike your own hike)

8:01 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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My plan is to start the hike around June 18th.  I would love to hike closer to fall but this is my only window.  

8:14 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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FYI That is still in the heart of mud season typically. And yes, mud season can be a challenge and down right miserable at times.

8:44 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Right now I'm looking at a bivy tent with a +30 sleeping bag.  Here are the product names:

 Aqua-Quest 100% Waterproof & Breathable Ultra Light Multi Season One Man Tent 'Single Pole Bivy' - Aqua-Quest

Suisse Sport Adult Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compactable Sleeping Bag (Assorted Colors) - Suisse Sport

If anyone has any advice or reviews of theses brands please let me know.  I haven't made up my mind on anything yet.  The sleeping bag temp seems on the borderline  but I sleep better in a cool climate and could always sleep with base layers on if it gets really cold.  It seems like there are plenty of shelters on the long trail so I'm not sure how often the tent will get used.  The Hennessy Hammock system looks like a good idea,  but is there room for your pack in the hammock?( just thinking about rain/animals/theft).  

TheRambler:  Since you have hiked the Long Trail do you think you write down an essentials list for me.  Given my body weight I don't really want to exceed 35lbs.  Did you build your own campfires or pack a camp stove? As far as cookware I have a fork/spoon/knife that clip together and a 16oz stainless cup.  What types of food did you carry with you.  Ideally I'd like to resupply every 4 or 5 days.   The LT books and map are in the mail.   

I'm really glad I found this site.  There is tons of knowledge here from all the members.  I can't thank everyone  enough for the support. 

o

9:32 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I lived just north of Rt 4 on Rt 100 in Vermont and for years in summer, to save money, I'd spend entire summers (May to Sept) homeless hiking the Green Mountains and fishing.  Ahh, the good ole days.  Wish I could do that again actually.  I have compiled 600+ nights in the Greens not counting fall and winter.

You guys talk like he's hiking the LT naked without shells or layers.Combine a 35 to 40 degree bag with layers and shells and you'll be warm well below freezing. A 15 degree bag on the LT is going to be miserably hot in June and July and that's just a fact.  

Something on the line of this would be very nice for a summer on the LT.    http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/sleep-systems/insulation/alpine-down-blanket/product

But if I were on a budget I'd get a 30 to 40 synthetic bag.

Being pessimistic is a good thing when planning a backpacking trip, but extreme overkill can ruin it quick.

9:35 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I want to take a slightly different tack. Your most important gear is between your ears. Take the next couple of months and read read read. I recommend "The Complete Walker" by Colin Fletcher for starters. Any version; it's the how-to more then the what-to that is important. Fletcher's great at teaching how to think. Gear suggestions are secondary, so even an old version is still good. You can get caught up on the latest gear easily once you know why you want what you're looking for. "The Backpacker's Handbook" by ... mmm ... Chris somebody is newer and also good. And someone just recommended a book on the beginners forum ... All you ever need to know or something along those lines ... which I haven't read but sounds quite good. These differing perspectives will help prepare you to make good choices, in more ways than gear selection.

That being said, don't overlook the Jansport Carson. Camper sells it for around $100. I myself still like external frames, although I have had and liked several internal frames.

Get all your gear first and then pick a pack? Okay. Maybe so. Or, plan on a slightly smaller pack than you think you will need, because it is amazing how gear will multiply if you have the space to put it in.

Go light. Then lighter. The extra cost is worth it. As an old-timer who resisted the ultralight thing, and then wished I hadn't, I know whereof I speak. Just don't compromise safety or durability. There are always tradeoffs. You can't always have light, safe, AND durable, but you'll come closer if you try.

What fun! Keep us posted, please.

10:53 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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TheRambler said:

several doses of naproxen AND ibuprofen(they can be taken together),

Both of those are NSAIDs. THEY SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN TOGETHER unless your doc says it's OK. You CAN take acetaminophen and another NSAID together.  It's very useful when a child has a fever.  You give them a dose of one and about 30 minutes before it wears off you give a dose of the other. I'm sure it would work with adults. 

1:27 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Hey Srad,  I see what you have in mind for shelter and bedding.  I wonder how good the airflow is in that bivy.  Its going to be something to take into consideration.  You definitely want something very well ventilated.  You could experience a 40 degree swing in night time temps.  Most nights will be 65-70 and humid and you could also see 35 and rain.  That's why I suggest combining a liner with whatever bag you go with so you can adapt for a good nights sleep.  Heres something you might be interested in,   http://www.geartrade.com/item/204523
 and  possibly warmer than the one you have listed on amazon, as lesser brands are more likely to exaggerate the abilities of their products and underestimate weight and size.

You asked about fitting your pack inside the hennesey.

The Hennessy Hammock system looks like a good idea,  but is there room for your pack in the hammock?( just thinking about rain/animals/theft).

 There's only room in the hammock for you, your sleeping gear, and a few trinkets like a headlamp, book, and water bottle.  Under the fly of the hammock is where you store gear.  You can fit your pack in there if you aren't sleeping in it.   If you don't like keeping things on the ground I hang my pack like a food bag or on the tree.  I hang my food and cook-set a good ways away from camp to prevent pests.  Most of the shelters along the way have resident mice and chipmunks that will raid your foodbag in a heartbeat if you dont hang it.  

If you dont have everything you need before you get here there are very good shops that specialize in LT gear that will get you outfitted.  EMS gives 20% off to students.  So if your still in college bring your ID for a good deal.  

5:08 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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If your intereseted in the HENNESSY HAMMOCK EXPEDITION A-SYM , I found one on Craigslist while looking for packs this morning.  $75.00 

 

HENNESSY HAMMOCK EXPEDITION A-SYM - $75 (DENVER)

HENNESSY HAMMOCK USED ON ONE BACKPACKING TRIP
HENNESSY HAMMOCK EXPEDITION A-SYM.  IT'S A HAMMOCK, A TENT, AND A CHAIR ALL IN ONE!! NEW PRICE IS $135.00

 

http://denver.craigslist.org/spo/2701249271.html

7:04 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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@ocalacomputerguy- Good point, i ,meant to put aspirin and naproxen, but ibuprofen falls in the same boat as well. Yes they are all NSAIDS, however they work slightly differently from each other and can be taken together SHORT TERM without any ill effect in a normal healthy person. The point here is that if your hurt in the backcountry you probably dont have some morphine in your pack, but two nsaids can greatly reduce pain and swelling. Obviously you would not want to use them for a bleeding injury. Not saying to OD on them, but if taken appropiately you can take them together for a couple days at a time. Consult your doctor if you have concerns. The reason I bring aspirin, is because it is the only pain med that is OTC that can also be given to dogs(about 5mg per pound).

@Srad16 I strongly recommend you bring a stove. It doesnt have to be fancy, but you need one. You can make your own homemade alcohol stove for less than 2-3$ typically if not cheaper than that. Yes you can make campfires most places, but it is not very smart to go completely stoveless, though it is piossible if you really want to and plan accordingly. If the weather was always perfect campfire cooking is easy, but after a long day of hiking and its pouring rain your not gonna be wanting to spend the kinds time and prep it takes to make a fire.

I really would hate to see you buy a bunch of 'crap' gear and then end up having to just replace it in short order down the road. I would  not recommend buying that sleeping bag. The bivy is questionable as well.

Where do you put your packl when using a hammock? I put my pack under my hammock or put it on one of the trees i am hanging from. Or otherwise somewhere under my tarp. The real question is where would you put your pack in a bivy! Most bivies are lacking in extra space.

For your big 5, which is tent(shelter), pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad,a nd camp stove/kitchen I recommend you buy at least the tent, pack, and sleeping bag from a reputable manufacturer from a place that has an excellent return policy. This way if you make a mistake and you don't like it you can return it and get your money back, or if it fails on you you wont be out any money either. Cheap, durable, light pick two, you cant have all haha. An option for a bivy on a budget is the ECWCS goretex bivy from any surplus store or ebay for usually around 20-30$. I would say consider some of these shelter options instead: (considering somewhat cheaper shelter options in this list)

Marmot Limelight 2, REI Half Dome 2, Big Anges Seehouse, TNF Tadpole 23, Mountain Hardware Drifter or similar. All of these are around 200 or less.

Sleeping bags: Marmot Angel Fire, Kelty Cosmic Down, TNF Cat's Meow, REI bags, Sierra Designs ridge runner, Big Anges Hog Park, Mountain Hardwear extralamina. Alot of those bags have different ratings, so find the rating you want as that will effect price, but those are a bunch of budget but quality items. Remember down will be lighter and pack smaller typically than synthetic.

I would avoid buying your gear off amazon unless you know without a doubt that it is what you want, and you don't care if you will be able to return it or not. Not saying to buy every single item from REI, but there is a difference in a $40 sleeping bag and a $140 sleeping bag. You don't want your most important gear to fail on you. Just because a sleeping bag says its rated to 30F or to X, doesnt mean it is, that is why i say to buy from a reputable manufacturer.

You can keep an eye on steapandcheap.com, departmentofgoods.com, and backcountry.com (yes i know they are all the same company)and other similar sites for excellent gear bargains.

LT Gear and Resupplying:

Resupplying is easy done every 4-5 days. Once you recieve your guide books you will be able to see this. You will need to learn how to cook on 'gas station food', this is alot of using ramen, knorrs pasta or rice packs, mac and cheese etc. You will not always be at a large grocery store.

Your essentials in a nutshell that you need to bring are. Tent(shelter), pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, pot, spoon, first aid/hygiene kit, repair/survival kit, insulating clothes, camp clothes, hardshell jacket, water filter or purification tablets/drops, water bottles, food/bear bag. maps, compass. I probably missed something but that's the quick and dirty version.

Some other budget gear (in order for gear to be cheaper it always has a con, most cases it is a little heavier than other options)

Stove-Coleman micro/peak 1 stove- this is a canister stove sold at walmart, can use any standard fuel canister that any opther canister stove uses. Or make your own alcohol stove.

Cook Pot- 5$ alluminum grease pot from walmart or kmart(about as light as you can get outside of Ti)

Sleeping pad- lots of options here that are more pricey, but a $10 blue ccf pad from walmart is a very viable option, though not an comfy as a fancy inflatable thermarest pad.

Insulating clothes- With a little knowledge of what your looking for you can find great items at 2nd hand stores such as goodwill, savers, or salvation army. Most items are 1-10$.

Hard shell- same deal as the insulating clothes. also consider some clothing and shells from places like cabelas/basspro.

Water filter- the new sawyer squeeze filter looks promising and its only $50 compared to other filters out there.

9:47 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I would strongly suggest a better sleeping bag than the suisse sport brand. I own a Ledge Featherlite, which is not the highest quality, but is by far the best bag for under $50. 

The Featherlite 20F is $39+shipping on Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Featherlite-20-Compact-Sleeping-Ledge/dp/B001TP6SRY/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1321626641&sr=1-1

and $25+shipping from the manufacturer (display liquidation)

http://www.ledgestore.com/FeatherLite-20-Ledge-Ultra-Light-Sleeping-Bag-DEMO-2624-DEMO.htm

I don't know anything about the Aqua Quest bivy, but I would consider a larger shelter. Being stuck in a bivy for hours on end in a heavy rain gets quite claustrophobic and very tiresome. On top of that, the one you are looking at really isn't that light at 39oz. One option, which is a bit more expensive, but is a lot lighter, much larger, and proven, is the Solomid by Mountain Laurel Designs:

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/index.php?cPath=47

Or to keep it cheap, while getting a lot more comfort and room, and only carrying a few more ounces, there is the Eureka Spitfire. It's only $89 

http://www.amazon.com/Eureka-Spitfire-Tent-sleeps-1/dp/B000EQ8VIS/ref=acc_glance_sg_ai_ps_t_3

10:23 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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MoZee said:

You guys talk like he's hiking the LT naked without shells or layers.Combine a 35 to 40 degree bag with layers and shells and you'll be warm well below freezing.

 Not really, at least I am not. I am speaking from the personal experience of having my metabolism crash right as a cold front hit, and barely being able to function or subsequently get warm in my 20F bag. I am speaking from having seen someone's parasympathetic response render them nearly incapable of functioning after injuring their ankle when they slipped and fell down a rocky trail. They were shivering uncontrollably. Others got them into a sleeping bag, and it took over an hour to warm them up, with hot tea. Oh, and the ambient temperature was around 50F, in June in the NC mountains. Someone in that condition, and a myriad of other potentialities, is not necessarily or likely capable of putting on multiple layers, getting in a shelter, getting in a sleeping bag, and staying adequately dry in the process. Which is what would be required if all they had were light layers, a shell, and a summer bag. It doesn't really matter if it is actually summertime, a potential for 30-50 degree temps is not considered summer conditions. 

 Trekking with minimal protection and gear is fine for someone with the experience and knowledge to reasonably avoid potentially dire situations and deal with them should they happen. However, I do not believe it is wise to suggest someone who is new to backpacking. There isn't a good reason to suggest they ditch potentially vital insulation to save a few ounces of weight.

Srad is likely going to be hiking solo; no one will be there to help him should the undesired but reasonably foreseeable happen. 

11:04 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Gonz, you obviously have almost no experience with the weather here in VT in July.  The situation you speak of as your example is poor.  If your 20 bag was insufficient at 50 degrees then by that logic if temps could hit 35 we should carry 0 degree bags?  By using your way of thought it would be practical to use mountaineering helmets on backpacking trips in case of a fall.  How does an unconscious hiker shelter them self?  I'm not going to recommend that either.

We are just trying to give real and true information here that will make backpacking safe, fun, and comfortable.  A 30-40 degree sleeping bag with liner is all of those for this trip.  

11:39 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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The way i look at it is always bring a little more bag than you think you will need. You can always use it as a quilt or partially unzipped if its too warm. Why bother with bringing a liner, unless you already have a 30F+ bag. In this case, for a new purchase I think buying a 15 or 20F bag is the best bang for the buck as then this bag could be used for most of the year.

Your not saving any weight by bringing a liner either, it all equals out to about the same.

12:06 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Because if you sweat up the 15degree down bag for a month straight its not gonna be any good by the time your done with it.  Who wants to get cooked in pool of their own juices every night and have a sticky bag to sleep in over and over?  A liner is easily washed, even on the trail, and will keep a bag in good shape and adds versatility to your sleep system.   Is it really that confusing?

I think you guys just hate to be corrected.

12:11 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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MoZee said:

We are just trying to give real and true information here that will make backpacking safe, fun, and comfortable. 

 Mozee, I completely agree, that is precisely the goal of the advice that TheRambler,  Apeman, and I are giving. 

The situation you speak of as your example is poor.  If your 20 bag was insufficient at 50 degrees then by that logic if temps could hit 35 we should carry 0 degree bags? 

A couple notes here- In the example you reference, I never state the temperature was 50F. It was about 35-40, which is definitely within the realm of likelihood on the Long Trail in summer. 

You present the idea of carrying a bag rated notably lower than the likely conditions as ridiculous, when in fact that idea is almost universally held as advisable. A 35 degree buffer may be overkill, but my recommendation was for only a 10-15 degree buffer. That is a pretty standard guideline in almost every reference I have ever read.  I have never had difficulty avoiding being uncomfortable or sweaty when the temp is warmer- I just unzip it or sleep on top. 

MoZee said:

 By using your way of thought it would be practical to use mountaineering helmets on backpacking trips in case of a fall.  How does an unconscious hiker shelter them self?  I'm not going to recommend that either.

If I have given the impression that I am recommending such hyperbolic precautions, I have missed my mark. I certainly wouldn't implore carrying Pro and helmets, and do not think my illustrations follow the same logic. 

 A 30-40 degree sleeping bag with liner is all of those for this trip.  

I agree, A 30-40 degree bag with liner is not a bad solution. But then you're carrying the same weight as a 20f bag. The flexibility is a a plus though, if that is important to the hiker.

Until here at the end, your several posts mentioning only summer bags, and even "just a fleece throw."  Those type of recommendations are what I believe I and the others are cautioning would not cover plausible and foreseeable events. 

I will just leave it at this: Both sides of the debate have been presented for consideration, I am sure Srad and others will be able to make a wise decision on what course to take.  

12:14 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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MoZee said:

I think you guys just hate to be corrected.

 Haha! Maybe it's contagious :)

3:23 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Check out Alps Mountaineering.  Their tents and self-inflating sleeping pads are often on steep and cheap. If you have a boy scout in the family you can register at Alps Mountaineering's scoutdirect.com where they sell directly to scouts.

I have 3 20 degree clear water sleeping bags, 4 lightweight air pads long size, a Chaos 3 tent, a Zephyr 3 tent, both sizes of Cascade packs and a Red Tail pack.

Not the lightest but all are good quality made out of durable material. I got them from steep and cheap, department of goods, gear trade and scout direct (my older son is a boy scout, the younger is a cub scout).

As for buying your pack from an outfitter it's a wise idea.  You have to find one who has people on staff that are experienced and know how to fit a pack.  The one near me in Gainesville hires college students who hike but don't really know enough to give advice tailored to you.  

I was in Hot Springs NC this summer and hung out at an outfitters rearranging packs while the rest of the crew went white water rafting. When they got back the guy with the knowledge there adjusted my daughters (Cascade 4200) and my wife's (Red Tail) packs. It made an amazing difference in comfort for them. 

For what it's worth (1/2 a cent maybe) I really like my JetBoil. I have the original and a GCS pot to go with it. The other thing I really like is my 2" thick self-inflating pad. It makes the ground comfortable and warm.  It insulates better than the air mattress we used to use car camping.

3:52 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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The one thing I don't think anybody has mentioned in the on going bag rating discussion is that bag ratings are NOT standardized like the EU bags. Ours are pretty arbitrary.  A really cheap 20 degree bag is not the same as a Feathered Friends or other high end 20 degree bag.  And I am not talking about better materials and designs. I'm talking about the temperature you will be comfortable at.  

The other thing to think about is whether you are a warm or cold sleeper. I always get which is which confused.  I like a lot of covers on when I sleep, therefore I need a higher rating on a bag to be comfortable than my son who wants next to nothing in the way of covers.

To boil it down... If you by a Western Mountaineering 30 degree bag you will probably be comfortable on you trip.  If you buy the wally world 30 degree you have a good chance of being cold.

5:00 a.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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I found a Osprey Aether 70L pack new online for under $200.  I know I should buy the pack last but this seems like a really good deal.  I know I need a size small which makes the pack about 68L.  There is a 180 day return policy on the pack.   Any thoughts?

7:35 a.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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IMO you can't go wrong with the Osprey Srad16. 68L should be ample room no matter what your gear is. I have a Aether 70, the XL version (74L?) and i absolutely love it, and have ample room to spare on most trips.

You should be able to fit most any average size/weight gear set in this pack i would think. 60-75L+ is about the average on most packs out there classified as 'extended trip packs'.  Worst case scenario you can strap your sleeping pad or tent to the outside to free up space inside, or return it.

The osprey aether 70 to me, is super comfortable and out of all the packs i tried i liked it the best. YMMV

That is a good deal, i would say get it. Osprey is a good brand and have good customer service with a lifetime gurantee on their packs. So if it ever breaks, rips etc they will repair or replace for free.

11:09 a.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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With a return policy that will let you return it sometime in May you should be OK.  By that time you will probably have most of your gear and if it doesn't fit send it back.

2:04 p.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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TheRambler said:

 

First aid kit- For the love of God do not buy a commercially available one! I bring the following along and this covers darn near anything you would ever need. Dental floss, sewing needle, 2 gauze pads, 4 bandaids, lip balm, hand sanitizer, quick clot sponge/field dressing(i assume you are in the army and this should be easy to obtain), small roll duct tape, several doses of naproxen AND ibuprofen(they can be taken together), a dose or two of benadryl, dose or two of immodium ad, dose or two of a cold/flu/sinus med. With all of those items and a little ingenuity you can take care of any injury under the sun well enough until you can make it to a town, as well as tend to blisters and other common ailements. Do not forget to bring immodium on a long hike! If you by some chance get the runs you can easily get very dehydrated and that can lead to a bad situation in theory.

 

Dewey thinks:

I disagree with this and must agree with BillS, as there are several suppliers of very high quality first aid kits specifically intended for backpacking from dayhikes in densely populated suburban areas to long stints in remote wilderness. I have three different kits, two from Adventure whatever and my base kits made up by my wife and I, which I carry depending on where and for how long I am going and solo or with a companion.

Case in point, one of my partners is a certified "Occupational First Aid" attendant, with extensive international and Canadian Arctic working experience. He and I will go into some remote BC mountain areas and we carry two kits and keep one in base camp during our daily hunts or hikes. My wife is a fomer RN "outpost nurse" in Canada's vast and empty nothern territories and also an OFA ceritified professional and my brother is a BC Ambulance Service Emerg. Med. or "paramedic" with years of field experience dealing with mountain rescues and saving lives.

Based on my own experience and advice from these good people, plus consultation with our physicians, I do have the specialized kit for remote uses, including opiates and other prescription meds. But, the little yellow Adventure kits plus the Imodium, Anti-histamine and blodd clotting powder work very well and are probably cheaper to buy than building one's own.

I also like to carry extra triangulars and abdominal pads and a mask for CPR, not much weight and you never know......JMHO.

 

 

 

 

 

4:47 p.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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@Dewey- My point with the first aid kit is not so much what exactly to carry, but more so that you can put together a kit yourself and save alot of money vs buying one thats already made. Both net the same end result, one just costs more and comes in a fancy wrapper.

If someone were a paramedic etc and wanted to carry a full fledged hospital in a bag type of kit then feel free. But for the average backpacker anything beyond a few bandages, basic meds, other basic supplies, and maybe an ace bandage your really wasting your money.

My kit exactly(including some items from my other gear that can double as first aid items): 4 band aids, bandanna, military quick clot field dressing, 2 3x3 gauze pads, dental floss, sewing needle, 4 safety pins, small roll duct tape, smal tube antibiotic ointment, lip balm, hand sanitizer, 2 doses each immodium ad, benadryl, flu/cold, 4 doses aspirin, 4 doses ibuprofen.

Weight of my entire first aid/repair/survival kit is 10oz. And this includes an extra guy line and 50ft of paracord, and a leatherman squirt.

Below i have put several different models of med kits from Advenure Medical Kits, as you can see they range from $12-65 and include all kinds of items, and excessive quantities of some. Unless your the leader of a large group of kids, scouts, etc you don't need to carry a hospital in a bag.

A few basic supplies along with some items your probably carrying anyway can take care of almost any situation you might resonably encounter. I paid maybe $5 total to assemble the first aid portion of my kit, which bought everything minus the leatherman squirt and duct tape. It only took me 30 mins or so in a CVS to get everything i needed.

You decide, if your sitting on wads of extra cash feel free to buy a premade one, otherwise take a little time go to your local drug store etc and put together a kit on a budget.

For comparison sake:

Adventure Medical Tactical Field/Trauma with QuikClot® -45$ 1lbs

Adventure Medical Mountain Series-Weekender-$60, 1lbs 15oz

Adventure Medical Sportsman- $40, 1lbs 3oz

The next two seem to be the most commonly purchased by your average backpacker from what i can tell. Yes, they do make a few other kits, some much more expensive, and the cheapest and simplest kit is $9 and 2.3oz which is basically a few bandaids and some single dose tylenol etc in a fancy ziplok bag, you could make the same thing for probably under $2-3.

Adventure medical kit 1.0(group size 1-2 people, trip duration 1 day): $12 8oz

Bandage Materials

12 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"

1 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 2" x 4.5"

2 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle

3 Bandage, Butterfly Closure

2 Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2", Pkg./2

2 Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3" x 3", Pkg./2spacer.gif
Blister / Burn

1Moleskin, 3" x 4"spacer.gif
Fracture / Sprain

1Bandage, Elastic with Clips, 2"spacer.gif
Instrument

1Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forcepsspacer.gif
Medication

2Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2

2After Bite Wipe

2Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)

2Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2

2Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2spacer.gif
Survival Tools1Compass, Button, Liquid Filled1Mini Rescue Howler Whistlespacer.gif
Wound Care10Antimicrobial Towelette1Tape, 1/2" x 10 Yards2Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use

Adventure medical kit-Ultralight / Watertight .9-$36, 12oz

Bandage Materials

5Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"

3Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle

1Bandage, Conforming Gauze, 3"

2Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2", Pkg./2

3Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3" x 3", Pkg./2

2Dressing, Non-Adherent, Sterile, 3" x 4"spacer.gif
Bleeding

1Gloves, Nitrile (Pair),

Hand Wipe

1Trauma Pad, 5" x 9"spacer.gif
Blister / Burn2Moleskin, Pre-Cut & Shaped (11 pieces)spacer.gif
Duct Tape1Duct Tape, 2" x 50"spacer.gif
Fracture / Sprain1Bandage, Elastic with Velcro, 2"spacer.gif
Instrument

3Safety Pins

1Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forcepsspacer.gif
Medication

2After Bite Wipe

3Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)

1Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2

4Diamode (Loperamide HCI 2 mg), Pkg./1

4Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2spacer.gif
Wound Care

6After Cuts & Scrapes Antiseptic Wipe

3Alcohol Swab1Cotton Tip Applicator, Pkg./2

1Syringe, Irrigation, 10 cc, 18 Gauge Tip

1Tape, 1" x 10 Yards

1Tincture of Benzoin Topical Adhesive

4Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use

1Wound Closure Strips, 1/4" x 4", Pkg./10

 

 

5:36 p.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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Well, everyone has their own opinion as to various items of gear and this is often based on their own experiences in the areas where they live and hike. You have your opinions on gear, BillS has his and I have mine and I tend to find Bill's more like mine.

There is sufficient information here for the "OP" to decide what he feels is best for his needs and my comments are merely to assist him to whatever degree I may.

2:42 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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Srad,  I had a couple questions and recommendations about your trip.  Do you know which direction you'll be heading N or S?  North would  be my choice for the time of year you're going.  A few reasons for this;  The weather will be warming as you go and the difference in temps from Mass to Canada are noticeable.   The trail IMO gets more picturesque and challenging from S to N.  Finishing at Canada's  border gives you better options for beer.  

Your average distance between resupplies is about 50 miles.  I have recommendations for the main towns you'll head into.  Manchester, west at rt 30/11 intersection, has two good shops I know of, Mountain Goat and EMS.  Both have quality gear.  A good grocery store right next to EMS and a laundry across the street.  Don't eat at Bob's Diner!  Its the first place you come to off the trail and looks tempting, but resist.  Manchester is a nice town but pricey$.  If you can stock up for another 50 miles you'll be at Pico pass on rt 4.  Right at the top is Murray's.  He has a great bowl of stew, mugs of delicious beer, and good rooms.  If you need to send a package ahead you can pick it up at the Killington post office half a mile east on 4, and if you need supplies or gear, west on 4 takes you to Rutland aka Vegas.  It lives up to its nickname.  Watch out for your gear down there.  Theres a killer shop Mountain Travelers if you need repairs and an army navy for other odds and ends.  There are a couple nice hikes right there Deers Leap is worth a look.

Mind, there are places to grab some gatorade and snickers bars between these towns but not much for repair and supply.  

From there north it gets a little more sparce, but the small towns have better groceries (not just gas stations with chips).  Theres a good grocery in Rochester and Brandon, Rochester is a quieter town with more hippies but its a ways off the trail for both.  If you can make it to Middlebury theres some great watering holes and gear repair.  The trail is going to get tougher and miles will be harder make sure you get the calories you need.  Theres a hostel in Warren you can get a bed and shower for 20 bucks.  And if you zero out there check out the swimming holes on the Mad River!!  Make sure you have plenty of supplies heading to Camels Hump because you want to take your time for sure here, get a weather report and wait for good weather if you can.  Try to get there early and enjoy the view.  You would hate to rush through this section.   Then cool your dawgs in the Winooski.

I've never hiked the section from the Winooski over Bolton Mountain.  I headed to Little River State Park, then blazed north along the reservoir to Taylor lodge.  Thats just me, I tend to follow my bliss/girls.  I resupplied in Waterbury,  I don't frequent this region as much less than 6 times in summer on Mansfield.  Its fairly congested and in peak season platforms and shelters are more crowded. The boldering and climbing around here should be noted.  There are several ladders to climb and allot of slick rock.

A ride can be gotten to Stowe or Jefferson easily as there are cars backed up along Smugglers Notch.  Its a cool ride.  I've done it myself.  Dont be afraid to try to score some supplies from someone as everyone has coolers and extra and can save you a car ride.  Usually a good story of the trail can work some magic.  Its a good spot to keep moving if you have the supplies as its a steep hard pull up out of there.  At least for me, I don't linger long in these parts, too crowded for my liking.  

From here north the trail is alot quieter.  Johnson is nice town, has a grocery, pizza shop and laundry all conveniently located.  Load up on supplies as theres not much between there and Canada.  There's a grocery right across the border from N Troy, usually border patrol doesnt give you any trouble for quick beer runs.  I've done more winter hiking here so that changes things.  I've stayed at Grampy Grunts in the winter in Montgomery, its sufficient and affordable a little too close to the end for a shower but ya never know.  

Do you use hiking poles?  If not I would suggest trying them out for this trip.  They make a world of difference distributing your load and keeping balance, plus you can incorporate them in your shelter.

Black flies are going to be your nemesis.  You will spend more time in your shelter hiding from them than weather.  I suggest non chem methods, like bug nets if they really bother you.  But bug dope and fires will be important too.  

I live about 10 minutes from Stratton these days and spend 2 to 3 weeks on the LT every year.  And do some trail magic on occasion especially the really hot days.  Cant get enough.

If you ended up getting that Osprey, that will be plenty of pack for your adventure.

Have a good trip. 

3:29 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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MoZee, that was an awesome post chock full of good information. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

8:50 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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As far as water purification goes.  Will simple tablets work for this trip or do I need something different?   Thanks again everyone.   I going to use all of the information presented here.   Maybe i'll see some of you on the trail.  

9:13 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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Yes, tablets will work fine for the LT. Some water sources will be lakes and at times a prefilter or a bandanna are useful to get the 'floaties' out. A just as effective and more cost effective option is to carry regular household bleach(not color safe) in an eye dropper or similar. 2-3 drops per liter will suffice.

But any standard drop or tablet will work, aqua mira, cholorine dioxide tabs, idodine tablets. Whatever method floats your boat really.

I carry a filter most of the time, but tablets etc are a common place in the backpacking community as well. When I choose not to carry my filter I carry an old contact solution bottle, travel size, with bleach.

12:06 a.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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A filter or Steripen takes a lot less time to clean your water. It takes less time using liquid bleach but only the amount of time it takes to dissolve the tablet.  Bleach is probably a little faster than iodine but you need to let it react for the maximum time because protozoa like Giardiasis (Giardia) and Cryptosporidium are the last to die.

Filters are the quickest at removing them. I've read some labels that you should wait for up to 3 hours before drinking. They also work if the water is turbid or if there is a lot of organic matter suspended in the water which the chemicals will react with instead of killing the nasties.  

I have a Sawyer .1 micron gravity fed.  $58 from moontrail.com Several others on trailspace have gotten the squeeze version of the filter.  They are hollow glass fiber based filters and are VERY easy to clean.    

10:32 a.m. on November 29, 2011 (EST)
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You can save a lot of money by making purchases on Ebay, BUT make sure you have tried all of your purchases out like through a friend or at a store, that you know your sizes for the equipment you are purchasing, that the seller has at least a 98% rating.  Purchases are usually final, so know your product and prices before bidding.  I picked up a new-like Osprey Argon 70L in my size for $140.00.  That's a $350 pack.  However, I was looking for almost 3/4 of a year & had tried a friend's before.  So I knew it would work for me.

2:50 p.m. on January 3, 2012 (EST)
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I recently bought a deuter act lite 50+10.  I have had it out several times and i love it . It weighs 3lbs 8oz which is 1 1/2 lbs lighter than my old pack .  my back doesnt sweat like it did with my old pack and alot more of the weight is off my shoulders .  It cost $180 but i found A 30% off sale on the store so i grabbed it for $125.  The adjustments are many and easy to access. I like the two compartment system but if you dont it opens up .

Why we are on the topic of packs. I have two boys 8 and 9 that have the bug and are ready to do some overnight loops.  Im looking to buy a pack for each so i dont want to spend too much and i want it to be something they can use as they grow larger, so it needs to have a good range of adjustment.  I saw a kelty jr external frame that has a good range of adjustment for $88 at a local store. What say you?

4:53 p.m. on January 3, 2012 (EST)
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My son has a Deuter Climber

08-On-the-trail-to-Stan-Murray-Shelter.j

Has room for his MH mountain goat sleeping bag, 2 liter camelbak, and clothes.  I believe it's been discontinued but it's still available on ebay. It's torso is not adjustable but it does have a light internal frame.

There's also the Fox 30 from Deuter
31icW045lYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
Available on amazon.com for $79.80

You may want to look at Alps Mountaineering Red Rock if you want an external frame.  Torso adjustable from 13" to 18"
red-rock.png

Available for $59.99 from Sportsman's Warehouse

9:43 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the info computerguy.  Im leaning towards that adjustable fox 30 from deuter.  Its almost like mine , which im happy with and its 1lb 4 oz lighter than the external frame pack.  This site has been a gr8 resource for good info without the judgements that you find elsewhere.

4:41 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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jock said:

...Why we are on the topic of packs. I have two boys 8 and 9 that have the bug and are ready to do some overnight loops.  Im looking to buy a pack for each so i dont want to spend too much and i want it to be something they can use as they grow larger, so it needs to have a good range of adjustment.  I saw a kelty jr external frame that has a good range of adjustment for $88 at a local store. What say you?

 In the Scout troop that I was Scoutmaster of, we recommended the Kelty Jr for new boys. That gave them a bit of range to learn how they really liked backpacking, while avoiding the all too common practice of parents buying a full-size pack for a boy who was less than 5 ft tall ("He will grow into it." - Baloney! he will get so frustrated with trying to deal with this ill-fitting monstrosity that he will refuse to go on a second backpack and drop out within a couple weeks).

Over the years, we collected several of the Kelty's which we could loan for the first, beginner's outing.

So, based on experience, I highly recommend getting one for each of your sons. You can probably sell them in 3 or 4 years to one of your local Boy Scout troops for as much as you pay for them.

4:57 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Bill S said:

...while avoiding the all too common practice of parents buying a full-size pack for a boy who was less than 5 ft tall ("He will grow into it." - Baloney! he will get so frustrated with trying to deal with this ill-fitting monstrosity that he will refuse to go on a second backpack and drop out within a couple weeks).

First impressions can last a lifetime.

10:19 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Rick said:

First impressions can last a lifetime.

+1

A couple of tips from when I took my 8 year old son on a 3 day 2 night hike on the AT.

Don't do long trips unless you are willing to carry their packs some.

My son loves Camelbaks. It really helped keep him hydrated because it was very convenient and "cool" to drink from.

Don't put to much in their packs.  Sleeping bag and Camelbak and maybe a change of clothes is probably all they should carry.

If they don't have good bags, I recommend the Mountain Hardware Mountain Goat 20 degree bag.

7:24 a.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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bill im a scout leader as well and both of my boys are scouts.  the deuter i looked at has a torso adjustment like the kelty jr but its much lighter.  Is there another reason i shouldnt get lighter internal frame? 

1:33 p.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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I haven't looked closely at the Deuter, so can't really comment on it specifically. What are the prices, weights, and range of adjustment for the Deuter and the Kelty?

The current fashion is internal frame packs, with a lot of rationalization and urban legends about the internal vs external question. As much good advice as there is here on Trailspace, there has been "information" on the internal vs external question posted that is just plain wrong.

I suspect that the Kelty has a wider range of adjustment, hence might be usable longer. You say the Deuter is lighter (how much?). My old Kelty Backpacker (1960 version) weighs just over 2 pounds. For some reason, the nearest current equivalent external frame Kelty is something like 4 pounds. The adjustable Kelty's that we got for the Troop were just under 2 pounds.

Fact of the matter is, on reasonable trails, a properly adjusted external frame pack carries better than an internal frame, as well as being able to comfortably carry heavier loads and awkwardly shaped objects. Externals are also cooler in hot weather. Externals are generally easier to load for balance. plus provide convenient ways to attach gear that doesn't fit inside the bag.

Internals for the most part have poorer circulation on the back, hence even in cold temperatures can be much more sweaty. Internals are narrower, hence more maneuverable when scrambling, skiing, climbing, or moving through off-trail brush. But the narrowness also means that some gear does not fit as well (or even sometimes, at all) inside the bag, and the 3D jigsaw puzzle of packing the stuff is harder, as is getting the correct weight distribution. Amazing number of people I see on the trail have no idea of how important weight distribution is to a comfortable carry.

I personally have a number of packs of both internal and external frames. Each has its place. If I have a heavy load of climbing gear heading for the backcountry for a week of climbing, I will go with my Kelty Sherpa (a huge external that was only made for a couple years, but is surprisingly comfortable with a 70-80 pound load). But for expeditions, I use the internal Dana Terraplane. For a light and fast trip, I may go to my Osprey Aether, and for an ultralight, go to either my Kelty Cloud stripped all the way down or my GoLite (the Ray design that GoLite used to make under license from Jardine).

The real answer, of course, is to have the boys put the packs on with a load and walk around the store for a while. This does require getting a store clerk who really does know packs and how to do the adjustments.

I am afraid, though, that the boys will be under peer pressure to have a "real" pack (i.e., internal), rather than an "old school" external. In which case, you better include color as a criterion as well. Maybe as they grow up, you can educate them to understand that different uses call for different tools and that "new, latest, greatest, fashionable" is not always the best, most suitable choice. Mainly make very sure that the pack fits properly.

To add a bit to John's comments - the recommended max load for a beginning youth backpacker is 1/4 of his/her body weight. Limit the first trip to 1 mile each way, and a weekend 1-night overnight.

2:07 p.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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Bill, thanks again for your reply.

Kelty jr  34 liters , 3lbs 6 oz , torso adjusts 9-14 inches

deuter fox 30 liters , 2lb 7oz , torso adjusts 10-17 inches

http://www.rei.com/product/811552/kelty-jr-tioga-34-external-frame-pack-kids

http://www.rei.com/product/781283/deuter-fox-30-pack-juniors

The one advantage to the kelty is my boys can try it on.  I cant find the deuter locally so i would have to order it online.  I was thinking about keeping the packs under 10lbs and doing just one night.  Im sure both packs would be fine.  kelty runs about $10 less, i have found both packs cheaper than the links above but those had the best specs.

5:34 p.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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Bill you sound like the local Scout leader who is about your age, when it comes external/internal frames. 

In Florida there's very little need for an internal frame. Wide trails, no climbing, hot climate, etc. He uses an old external frame but says that his scouts get the internal frames. 

11:07 p.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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I really like my Osprey Kestral 58, torso adjustable and I can go like 3-4 days between resupplys. Just my 2 cents though.

What kind of shelter do you plan on bringing with you?

 

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