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RE: [at-l] Packs/More Money/Random stuff


I certainly understand the frustration you're going through.  We are in =
the process of planing our
20 year anniversary hike.  While we don't plan on hiking the entire =
trail we do wish to hike at=20
least 600 miles over two months.  While a 10 mile per day pace is not =
considered great, the past
20 years have not been kind to us. Plus a year ago now I was finishing =
up three months of chemo for cancer treatment (all's well now).

So in addition to equipment planning and everything else, we're hiking =
six miles a day on the treadmill.  It's not as good as hiking but it's =
better than the couch.  I figure by the time I start hiking the trail, =
I'll have logged an equal number of miles on the mill (100 down 500 to =

The other part of our plan to make the hike successful (and easy) is to =
get our pack weight down below the weight of our previous hike.  In '77 =
Linda and my packs averaged around 35 pounds fully loaded. For this trip =
I'm hoping to get them down to the 25 to 30 pound range.  Fortunately =
hiking in pairs we can split the weight (1 stove, 1 tent, etc.).

Unfortunately equipment manufactures generally work against use in that =
pursuit.  Part of this problem is because so many of us have purchased =
equipment and abuse it for five months and expect the manufacture to fix =
it if it fails.  In return the manufacture keeps making the equipment =
stronger (and heavier) to make sure it does not fail.  Plus to they add =
all sorts of conveniences to make the equipment more appealing.  This =
generally leads to more pockets, zippers, straps, etc. (read more =
weight). =20

Now I'm in the process of evaluating all of our accumulated equipment to =
see what we can use, make, or need to buy.  I've started with our packs. =
 My Kelty form our trip is still quit capable of making a return trip.  =
However, when I weighed it on Sunday I was suppressed to find it weighs =
5 lbs 4 oz. Thinking that the frame must weight too much, I weighed my =
Lowe internal frame pack and it weighs over 5 lbs. too. I stripped my =
Kelty down to the frame (removing the top bar and a couple stays) and =
the frame weighs slightly over 1 lb.  Starting at the frame I'm pretty =
sure I can design and make a pack that will carry all of my gear and =
weigh around 2.5 lbs.  On trails like the AT I prefer a frame pack =
because it allows my back to breathe.

On our '77 trip we carried a tent.  This time we'll also have our son =
and our dog along.  Buying a tent to accommodate everyone plus equipment =
will be much too heavy.  While we're still looking at tents, I image =
we'll probably use a tarp and ground cloth.  Properly pitched, a tarp is =
drier than a tent and is significantly less weight to pack when packed =
in the rain.  (Once you take the fly off a standard tent, the breathable =
fabric soaks up water like a sponge.)

Looking at your water and cooking gear.  You might carry one pot instead =
of two. In '77 we carried a 1 qt. aluminum pot for both of us and we =
just ate out of the pot (no plates).  This time we plan to carry a 1.9 =
qt titanium pot (maybe plastic plates).  I also noticed your carrying a =
3 gallon water bag and 2 1 qt. nalgines.  You can probably get by with a =
1 gallon collapsible bag and 1 bottle.  When hiking through long =
waterless streatches.  We generally plan to stop at the last water hole, =
fix our big meal of the day, and load up 2 to 3 qts each.  We found that =
was enough to last the day and cover morning breakfast.  We would then =
dry camp that night,  In the morning we'd use enough water to make =
breakfast and wait until we reached the next water source to wash our =
dishes. =20

I was thinking about my comments about the sleeping bag that I =
recommended. Unfortunately no one seems to make one anymore.  I looks =
like I'll have to make one for my son.

The reason I'm seem to be obsessed with weight is that I found over the =
years that the two things that make the most difference in how you feel =
at night when stopping for camp at the end of the day, weight and =
physical condition.  The less weight you carry the farther you can hike =
and the better you'll feel at the end of the day.

Ronald Moak

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