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[at-l] Re: at-l-digest V1 #96

Hi Ron,

>Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 12:28:35 -0800
>From: Ronald Moak <ronm@fallingwater.com>
>Subject: 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

I don't feel it's the distance we go but the enjoyment we have while just
doing it.

, 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).

It appears you have a very positive atitude and as you know that's a step in
the right direction, congradulations.

>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

Boy, do I agree with what you just said.

>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.

I've been using a Tahoma from Jansport 2800 cu in framless daypack with hip
belt weights 30 ozs.  Very few bells and whistles but it does the trick
quite well for me.
I can comfortable store all my needs and keep my total weight including food
and water for 4 days is down to 25 lbs.
Your idea to build a pack around your frame should eliminate quite a few
lbs.  If you get a chance check some of the fabric shops in your area they
maybe able to help you with patterns.  Or you can just measure the pack you
have now and then used some rip-stop nylon to make your new much lighter
backpack?  As long as you use a plastic garbage bag for a moisture barrier
all your gear should be be quite dry.

>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.)

I've used my rain fly to my Eureka Timberline, less than 2 lbs.(25 years
old) as my tarp and your right it can be pitched any way you like plus give
you more room than most tents on the market.  I get more ventalation and in
heavy rain or high winds I just pitch it lower to the ground with no ill
effects to my gear or myself.
For the bugs I use a sleep screen 20 ozs, that covers me and most of my body
and no bugs.  Campmor has it in their catalog.  They also have a two person
version. I'm not familiar with that one.
Recently I've changed to using a tube tent 16 ozs with sleep screen and my
poncho as ground cloth when I can't find a space that's free of rocks or
stumps. The tube tent has enough room in it for two people and all your
gear.  Yes Campmor sells them.
>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.

Titanium is the lightest way to go.
I carry a reliance 10 liter collapsible bag it has a handle and a loop
attachment to hang for those refreshing COLD showers on the trail weight 6
ozs and two 1 liter soda bottles they weight 2ozs each.

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 definitly agree with your idea to saturate yourself at water sources eat
your meals and load up with a supply of water and move on.

>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.

I use a Western Mountaineering Aspen 62"/46" dryloft 830 20 degree bag
weights 38 ozs.
For summer camping I'm uncertain if I'll use a light pile blanket, sleeping
bag liner or a Western Moutaineering Mitylite 62"/46" 40 degree bag weights
25 ozs?
The summer bag I used to used is just to heavy for my needs now.
>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.

Boy did you hit the nail on the head with those comments.  I enjoy myself
much more with alot less weight on my back.  I am able to enjoy the journey
so much more and not be fatigued as in the past.
Just last weekend 3 of us hiked 6 miles, to much ice on the trail forced us
to cut short the day hike, from Delaware River almost to Sunfish Pond and
back.  With only 25 lbs, that's 4 days food supplies and gear, on my back on
a rocky, hilly trail (1800' elevation), rain, sleet and ice. The temperature
ranged from 36 to 42 degrees.
This was the first time I tried running shoes (20 ozs) with nylon socks and
I had no ill effects at all.  I also used a 42 in diameter umbrella and it
really worked well at keeping most of the rain off me.  You know you can't
stay completely dry unless you stay on your couch.  The clothing I wore was
a nylon jacket, nylon shell pants, light weight capilene long sleeve shirt,
nylon walking shorts under shell pants, a polester pile jacket during breaks
and start of hike, Tilley hat, nylon socks and running shoes.  I also wore a
pair of wool socks as mittens during the start of the hike and right after
the break.  I was extremely comfortable with the clothing I wore as I do
generate alot of body heat while hiking.  The only time I got chilly was
when we had a 15 minute rest stop and at the start of the hike until I
generated some hiking body heat.
If the weather conditions are tolerable I'll be hiking the Batona Trail in
NJ in February.  It's 50 miles flat sandy trail.  This is when I can get a
second opinion on my gear and endurance.  I've hiked portions in the past
with alot more weight so it'll be interesting to see the change with less
In late March a group of friends and myself will be hiking the NJ section of
the AT about 75 miles.  From Delaware Water Gap to Greenwood Lake and back
total 150 miles in 8 days.  We plan on doing a couple of additional practice
hikes before then weather conditions permitting.
Good luck with your training and eliminating all that unneccesary weight.
Take care,
John O

John O    E-mail johno@mail.monmouth
Brick, New Jersey
60 miles north of Atlantic City   60 miles south of New York City

                               /  \
                              /    \
                             /Mount \
                           /  Maine   \
                          /     _      \
                         /     / \      \
                        /     /   \      \
                       /     /_____\      \
                      /     /   |   \      \
                     /          |           \
                    /        Springer        \
                   /         Mountain         \
                  /          Georgia           \
                 /                              \
                /          THRU-HIKER            \      
A dream that may become a reality someday by taking one step at a time

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