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[pct-l] Lightweight Backpacking--I'm a Believer

Campy, I am so glad that you are back on the trail, and I enjoyed your
inspiring message.  Also, Tom, I know the Goat Rocks area, and I think it i=
one of the most beautiful parts of the Washington PCT.  Thank you for your
description.  It brought back wonderful memories.

About lightweight backpacking, I am getting better and better at it.  About
a year and a half ago, I had back surgery for two herniated disks.  I am
lucky enough to have been able to heal well and still backpack.  But in
order to go out into the beauty, I absolutely HAVE to stay light.  Last
year, I made a tarp out of that new silicone nylon.  It worked well, except
that I felt it was cumbersome to set up, and also the bugs got to me.

This year, I found a tent on the internet, made by Wanderlust Gear, back
east.  I ordered one, and it took about two months to get, since they are
individually made to fill orders.  It is of the same silicone nylon
material, but it has a zippered door and mosquito netting that allows for
ventilation.  The fly is like a tarp that is sewn into the ridge of the
tent, and it can be staked out or rolled up, depending on the weather.  It
is only two pounds.  If I put my boots in a plastic bag and tuck them into
the foot of the tent, I have no trouble with condensation.  It does not
absorb water, so if rain or heavy dew are on the outside, I can just wipe u=
the water with a sponge and the tent is not that much heavier than when I
loaded it at home.  The tent is roomy and easy to put up, using hiking pole=
to hold up the center.  I absolutely love it.  I also made all my stuff
sacks out of the same material, and they feel weightless.

The thing is:  I am also older than you, Tom, but maybe a little younger
than you, Campy.  I come alive in the mountains and want to maintain my
hiking ability as long as I can.  I enjoy hearing new ideas from other
people that might help me go lighter.  I hope my little message will help
someone else who is looking for a lighter tent.


>From: campy <campydog@earthlink.net>
>To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>,Thomas Griffin
>CC: Campy <campy@mtnhighwest.com>
>Subject: [pct-l] Lightweight Backpacking--I'm a Believer
>Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 12:27:59 -0700
>This concerns:
>Message: 2
>Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2002 20:23:18 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Thomas Griffin <griffin@u.washington.edu>
>To: pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net
>Subject: [pct-l] Lightweight Backpacking--I'm a Believer
>Hello Tom:
>It's music to my ears to read of your plunge into lightweight
>backpacking as this idea has also gripped me - an old hiker who gave it
>up some years ago when I just couldn't hack the shoulder and hip pain!
>I'm a little bit your senior, Tom, being a fifth of a century older than
>you (but not wiser!), and I only wish I had continued on a "going light"
>path when I was your age. Then, the packs and other items had to be big
>and strong and heavy, and that was that! (strangely, pack weights
>weren't published usually but people did pay attention to the weight of
>their sleeping bag!)
>I'm on a modestly revolutionary course now, and I capitalize on some
>equipment already on hand. I use a Kelty top-loading soft pack designed
>to fit under an airline seat. There is enough safety in the clothing and
>emergency gear that it contains to handle storms of three-season caliber
>on both the PCT and the CDT. Backpack weight is 27 pounds minus food and
>water (two one-liter bottles in belt pouches hang on the pack waist
>straps). Strapped vertically outside the pack is a long skinny stuffsack
>containing a RidgeRest full length pad along with an easily accessible
>fleece sweater and the wonderful Mauldin rain pants and parka.
>Additional clothing items inside the pack include an insulated mountain
>anorak, mittens, balaclava, nylon "sport pants", and a medium weight
>Patagonia underwear top and bottom.  After arriving in camp, this long
>sleeve top is what takes the place of the damp hiking shirt since no
>"extra" usual clothing is carried. A pair of board-walkers is tucked
>under a compression strap to be worn when crossing streams and/or in
>camp. I carry a Walrus one-person tent (no ground cloth) AND a Gore-Tex
>bivvy. The down sleeping bag is a 30-degree Kelty of no particular
>distinction, and this along with the bivvy is all I've had to use so far
>during a limited test CDT backpack (two weeks ago during August monsoon
>The main enabler for the lighter weight is a total absence of frills. I
>now leave out the binoculars and the long-lens camera (a Canon digital
>Elph camera is kept on my belt), and I have no stove and fuel! Verily, I
>found that I can live without my usual morning coffee or hot food (or
>evening wine even!). In fact, I have little appetite on the first day
>out, but as the appetite grows I stifle it with "Flyin' Brian"-style
>junk food. 'Cept I depend upon a large bag of sugary cereal like Sugar
>Frosted Flakes, for eating by the handful both on the trail and in camp,
>and without the dry milk. There are some tasty high-carb oat and corn
>cereals out there now! Space is still available in the pack for canned
>items, one per night) like large Campbell's chunky soups which taste the
>same whether hot or cold. Butterfinger bars and those Oriental rice
>snacks round out the food selection for three nights out. After four
>days I come down the trail with an appetite which is strongly focused on
>the first Tex-Mex restaurant I can drive to! But in experience, I also
>end up with a little food left over.
>I don't want to leave the impression that all the stuff can be tossed at
>random inside a 2,500 cu-in pack! My pack is small, but it depends upon
>a packing technique which is truly marvelous. It calls for systematic
>and careful fitting, with exertion of appropriate downward pressure on
>its precisely sequenced layers of contents. It is so system-atized that
>the Summer pack contents are identical to the off-season pack contents
>I'm afraid, 'cause I can only remember the details of this one packing
>So, for a limited range of three to four-day section hikes, I'm with it
>again, and I apologize for reporting herein at length on some rather
>obvious points. But to be  on the trails again is a true thrill to me.
>Cheers to one and all, forever the PCT
>PCT-L mailing list

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