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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:31 pm 
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As far as sleeping bags, check out the synthetic Mountain Hardwear lamina bags. The 0ºF bag is 3lb 12oz for the regular. You can find really good deals online for them. Big Agnes also has a synthetic bag under 4lbs. I think North Face might have one too. I was just researching bags a few months ago and the Mountain Hardwear ones were the best deal that I found. There might be nicer, lighter ones but of course they start to cost a lot more.

I ended up getting a MH -15 Lamina. We're going backpacking in a few weeks for my birthday so I'll be able to report on actual results then, but Nick has the same bag in -30 that he's used in extremely cold winter camping and it's great. I went with the -15 because we'll probably be winter camping when it's around 0 or above and I wanted something rated colder so I'd actually be warm.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:17 pm 
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Wow, this is so helpful you guys!!! I shared all this with my husband and we are trying to decide what to upgrade first. He might get a new pack...mine is new and has only been used twice so I may have to wait on that and get a sleeping bag instead.

I'm guessing ultralight is more of a summer thing then? Our 4-season tent is pretty heavy.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:05 pm 
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Also, I haven't trail tested this, but I like the idea of a sleeping bag liner which is supposed to add to the warmth of the bag. Mainly, I like that it is much more washable than the bag itself and I can see myself using it as a shawl around the campsite at night.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:41 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Wow, this is so helpful you guys!!! I shared all this with my husband and we are trying to decide what to upgrade first. He might get a new pack...mine is new and has only been used twice so I may have to wait on that and get a sleeping bag instead.

I'm guessing ultralight is more of a summer thing then? Our 4-season tent is pretty heavy.


Ultralight is an all-season thing, but the meaning changes for winter, ie, baseweight for most people is expected to go up. Just that the baseweight of an ultralighter in winter is still going to be lighter than that of a 'normal' or 'average' base weight.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:17 pm 
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I'm doing the Everest base camp trek in April and I'm so freaking excited!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:55 pm 
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Awesome, JB! Tell us about it! I can't wait to hear about being vegan on the trek. It's my understanding that the teahouse dahl is generally vegan, but that's about it. Are you bringing food with you? Are you going supported or unsupported?

I am so envious!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:11 am 
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I can't wait now, it feels ages away because I'm looking so forward to it!

I'm going as part of an organised trek with two of my vegan friends. We have been told that we will have no problem eating as the majority of meals served are simple and vegetable based, so we only have to bring whatever snacks we will be eating the same as everyone else. I did ask them to double check and explained what a vegan is just incase, and they confirmed that there will definitely be vegan options such as rice, vegetables and beans for dinner. I will definitely let you know how I get on eating there!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Are you already doing some altitude acclimatizing?

I'm thrilled to hear about the vegan options. Nepal is so much on my to-do list.

For me, this summer, it looks like I'll be doing some PCT section hiking and getting a good system together for backpacking. I have most of the gear I need already, but I'm afraid I'm going to want to do some serious upgrading for lighter stuff.

I just signed up for Wilderness First Aid through REI /NOLS. Exciting!!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:52 pm 
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Jellybelly - Everest is so exciting! I can't wait to here all about it.

~Sz - PCT sounds awesome. We didn't get to go backpacking on my birthday because it was 40ºF all week and the trails were mud and slushy snow, but that has just made me want to go even more. I'm horribly addicted to looking for gear deals online. There are lots of things I want to upgrade, even though I know I don't need to right now :) The weather has not been cooperative for outdoor adventures this winter so I've been turning to the internet for my fix.

And wilderness first aid is on my list of things to do. I'd love to hear about it when you've finished the class. I know REI offers it and so do a few other places out here. I should just sign up and do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Funny, regarding the First Aid. I was all stoked about it and then that night at Wilderness Basics Course a nurse spoke a bit about general first aid, complete with slides, and I remembered, I get really queasy at the sight of some of this. So if I survive the course, where we supposedly encounter "bloody victims" then I will write about it!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:01 pm 
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Good luck. I just checked and the REI here doesn't offer classes, but I'm sure the university offers a continuing education course that's similar.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:37 pm 
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~Sz, what part of the PCT are you considering? We're thinking we might do some of the sierra parts this summer.

I also really want to do some weekend trips near Lassen. It would have to be a one-night trip because I can't get any time off this summer except 4th of July weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:10 pm 
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~Sz wrote:
Also, I haven't trail tested this, but I like the idea of a sleeping bag liner which is supposed to add to the warmth of the bag. Mainly, I like that it is much more washable than the bag itself and I can see myself using it as a shawl around the campsite at night.


I don't backpack enough, but my fleece liner is my #1 used camping item for sure. Its warm enough to be my bag for summer camping, or even sleepovers at people's houses!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:28 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
~Sz, what part of the PCT are you considering? We're thinking we might do some of the sierra parts this summer.

I also really want to do some weekend trips near Lassen. It would have to be a one-night trip because I can't get any time off this summer except 4th of July weekend.


We are going to do an overnight from the southern terminus to get that out of the way, since it is local. That will be a sort of gear shakedown and may coincide with ADZPCTKO, which I am super excited about. (http://pct77.org/adz/ warning, not updated for 2014 yet.)

Also scheduled: a short Warner Springs hike with additional day hike possible.

Then: Marion Trail at San Jacinto (not technically PCT, but good altitude training)

On PCT: Kennedy Meadows to Cottonwood (Jun)

Cottonwood to Kearsarge Pass (July)

Kearsarge Pass to Dusy Basin / Bishop (Aug)

I'm getting super excited. I definitely want to do longer section hikes, so this will be a good reality check for that.
The longest stretch will only be 5 or 6 days, but I think that will be OK since we have several trips planned.

Lassen looks lovely!
I have a friend up near Shasta, so that will be a plan, but maybe not for this summer.


Last edited by ~Sz on Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:30 pm 
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lycophyte wrote:

I don't backpack enough, but my fleece liner is my #1 used camping item for sure. Its warm enough to be my bag for summer camping, or even sleepovers at people's houses!


Good call! Happy for the endorsement!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:02 pm 
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Stoked I looked for a hiking thread.

My brother and I are doing the first 100 miles of the PCT in June. I'm working really hard to get my pack weight down. There are a few days where there might not be an y water to refill so I'll be carrying almost 15lbs of water when I'm fully loaded. Thats making the pack weight a bit annoying. I'd love to get it down to 30lbs instead of 40lbs (fully loaded)

Any ideas on super lightweight food? I'm aiming for a calorie to weight ratio of 150 - 200 per oz

I loathe oatmeal so I am opting for rice and beans for breakfast.

Any lightweight food ideas would be very welcome, the less processed crepe the better (avoiding ramen and crepe like that)

I also plan on dehydrating a bunch of veggies to add to my meals to help out nutritionally (carrots, peppers, spinach, ect)

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:14 pm 
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If you have access to dehydrating, I would dehydrate soups and things too! That's what my brother and his girlfriend did. What's your baseweight like? Is there anyway you can lighten up there as well? Can you re-fuel halfway through?

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:44 pm 
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lillianp wrote:
If you have access to dehydrating, I would dehydrate soups and things too! That's what my brother and his girlfriend did. What's your baseweight like? Is there anyway you can lighten up there as well? Can you re-fuel halfway through?


Yeah, I'll be doing a lot of dehydrating at home leading up to it.

There are some spots you walk through near tiny markets I'm just not sure how vegan friendly any of the them will be, I'll probably give myself 5 days of food and be hopeful I can get the other 3 days supplied on the trail.

I'm going pretty minimally, not quite sure what to omit.

Pack List

3 shirts, 1 convertible pants, 2 underwears, 3 pairs socks, hat, jacket

sleeping bag, tent, plastic ground sheet, air pad

stove, fuel, cooking pot, spork, head lamp, lighter, rain parka, pack parka, knife, book, trek poles

toiletries, food, water

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:48 pm 
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Honestly, I never found the pack parka all that helpful, though I use the trashbag inside. Not sure if there's much of a weight difference! How heavy is your tent?

Do you need three shirts? What kind of jacket is it? What type of temperatures are you expecting? Also, what kind of stove/fuel do you have? You might consider getting an alcohol stove-they're super light and can be made from a cat food stove if need be.

ETA: I ask all these questions because I pretty much accept that food is going to be somewhat heavy and I can get rid of more ounces/pounds by examining gear.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:04 pm 
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Yay PCT! I just did Campo to Lake Morena as an overnight. There was a huge water cache at Hauser Creek but of course you cannot count on that.

For the desert part of the hike you can either carry already hydrated food or the water to hydrate your food. I chose to carry hydrated food.

I made these (in advance) for breakfast:
peanut butter endurance bars {gf}makes 24 small bars or 12 large bars
5 cups crisp brown rice cereal
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
1/3 cup dried fruit {i used a combo of cranberries, cherries & goji berries}
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup natural pb
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt {optional}

in a very large bowl, mix together the cereal, seeds, fruit and flax. set aside. in a small saucepan heat the brown rice syrup and peanut butter until they've melted and can be incorporated (this should only take 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat). remove from the heat and stir in the salt & vanilla. pour this mixture over the cereal and mix it all together, being sure to coat everything. then, pour it all into a 9x13 baking pan that's been lined with parchment paper and press it down evenly to fill it. pop it in the fridge to harden for 30 minutes, then cut the bars up with a sharp knife. keep them in an airtight container either at room temperature or in the fridge.

http://cupcakesandkale.blogspot.ca/2012 ... -bars.html

And for lunch / dinner I made brown rice pasta with lentils, beyond meat, hemp seeds, pine nuts, carrot shreds and olive oil.


Harmony House has some great varieties of dehydrated vegetables. I just ordered spinach, chives, shallots and carrots from them. This can help if you don't have time to dehydrate everything.

I plan to dehydrate meals for when I backpack in the Sierra later this summer since water will be available there.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:13 pm 
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Also, my plan is to go stoveless, so I am looking at foods that will rehydrate during the day as I hike. I'm saving a couple of ounces by not carrying fuel (stoves don't weigh anything).

Here's a site with a great idea: http://www.backpackingchef.com/food-deh ... cipes.html

My friend already made this "bark" which she said was awesome, like chewy potato chips. You can do sweet potato also. And his idea about turning it into stew and all of that sounds great.

Potato flakes are a backpacker's friend but when I looked at a box and saw all the crepe in them I was all blarg! So a couple of days later I happened across the above site and was so psyched.

Couscous of course is another option, but I'm gluten free these days, so that's no-go for me.

OK -- pack weight. What are your big three? What sleeping bag, what tent and what backpack?
Or, are those items non-negotiable for you? Going lighter means spending money, so that may not be an option, but these three are where you can lose the most extra.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:38 pm 
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I know someone who just started the pct last week! It would be funny if you crossed paths.

I made energy bars for my last trip, dried fruit, and fruit leather. Also made a potato soup mix--powdered soy milk, dehydrated potatoes, dried herbs, veggie broth powder, dried veggies, salt. It was really tasty. Dried refried beans are really good--is that what youre doing for breakfast?

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:18 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
I know someone who just started the pct last week! It would be funny if you crossed paths.


Kickoff was nuts, there were tons of people there. On the trail itself we only crossed paths with a few folks.

Oh! I did take that Wilderness First Aid class. Adam -- don't forget some first aid supplies.

It was pretty intense and the scenarios were super helpful in determining how to address situations. Mainly it is important to decide whether to self-evac or call for help and which circumstances call for which response.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:38 pm 
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Adam, I totally agree with lillianp- ditch the pack parka. I use a trash compacter liner inside my bag, which is thicker & stronger than a trash bag, but lighter than the pack cover. I would also probably ditch one of the shirts, as well. Do you have gloves? Also, unless you are making camp super early, if you're doing thru-hiker miles you'll probably be too tired to read, so you might want to rethink the book. Or maybe download books onto an ipod or something to save weight? I save books for trips when I know we'll get into camp early and are doing fewer miles, not when we want to do big miles. Your mileage may vary, of course.

As far as food goes, one thing my husband and I occasionally use for meals to save weight & ease with prep/clean up is something we call powermush. I wouldn't eat it every night because I enjoy texture in my meals most of the time, but 2-3 times a week it's awesome.
Powermush is pretty much just what it sounds like. You just take whatever yummy food you want to make- say black bean sweet potato enchiladas- and once you've prepared it, throw the whole mess in a food processor. Then deydrate this mush on dehydrating trays. After drying, give it another go in the food processor. Ta dum! A meal that rehydrates very quickly and has little clean-up. Sure, it doesn't have much texture, but it tastes and smells yummy & exactly like what it is, and you know exactly what went into it. After a really long day, sometimes it's nice not to think too much about dinner.

Caveat with all your food- test it at home first to work the kinks out! That way if you have any issues with rehydrating, you work it out at home where it's not a big deal, and not on the trail where one bad meal, or worse yet a lost meal, can ruin your day. Oh, also rec the pop can stove. We used one the whole time we hiked the PCT. Super light, quiet- it beats the shiitake out of our 3 other backpacking stoves.

One dish we do put some effort into because it always gives us great energy the next day is what we call White Trash Chili Mac. Corn Pasta (thanks to Ray Jardine, you can find this discarded in many hiker boxes along the PCT..free food)! plus black beans, mixes with salsa, topped with Frito's and maybe even an avocado if it's your first day out. All the farts are worth all the energy you get from the great mix of protein and carbs.

Warning: when you dehydrate salsa it makes your whole house smell like feet. So worth it on the trail, though. We'd rehydrate it in an old Tang bottle (seriously, these things work great for that; they are lightweight and don't leak- we settled on the Wal-Mart brand one) when hiking during the day, then throw it in a stream to chill it if we were close to one for dinner. Chips and salsa on the trail!

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Last edited by Tenacious LD on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:39 pm 
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Seriously, you get me talking/writing about trail food and I can't shut up. YAY for backpacking season!

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