[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [pct-l] A few questions

On Tue, 20 Jan 1998, J. Thoreson wrote:

> I'm making plans for a thru-hike this summer and have a few questions.
> I've read the PCT Hikers Handbook and have decided that a light pack is
> for me!  I've consequently made a pack, clothing, and a tarp.  In the
> spirit of cutting weight, I was thinking of turning my plastic ground tarp
> into a poncho.  Kind of a dual purpose thing.  The idea of holding onto an
> umbrella for hours while hiking doesn't sound too appealing.  I figure
> that with a decent design and good hat (any suggestions for good hats?) a
> poncho would be fairly effective at keeping the wind and rain at bay.
> This would also emlinate about 10 ounces.  I figure that an umbrella
> through the desert sections will be quite valuable though.  What does
> experience have to say on this idea?

Ground cloths inevitably get dirty and muddy. Especially in wet weather
when you'll need the poncho most. Wearing a mud covered poncho could be a
bit unpleasant. Since wet weather is plentiful in Washington, I'd suggest
that you go out and test it now. Find out if things work now while they're
easy to change. Experimenting now can avoid having to change things after
you've started when it will be more difficult.

Personally, I used a thin nylon rain suit that kept me much dryer than any
poncho I've ever used. It might have cost me a little weight but it worked
for me. Again, go experiment and find out what works for you.

> Also, of major concern is safe drinking water.  I have an MSR filter
> (about 14 ounces), but

People have had mixed results with the MSR. Some folks swear by them while
others swear at them. I used a Sweetwater filter until mid-Oregon where
the handle broke. The seals were starting to fail and I just don't think
it was up to the task of lasting the entire summer. I picked up a PUR
Hiker after that and never had another problem. In fact, thru-hikers
seemed to universally love their PUR Hikers. I would definitely recommend

> am wondering how others have handled this obstacle (chlorine or iodine
> tablets, any particular filters that have performed admirably, or does
> scouting out the water source work well enough?).  I would like to travel
> without a filter if possible for the reduction in weight.  If a filter is
> too invaluble though, so be it! 

Before the Sierras, you won't be able to be selective about water sources.
They're just too limited to pass many by. Although people do it, I think
it's a poor choice to do anything but filter down there.

Like many of the hikers, I gave up filtering through most of the Sierras.
I figured that fresh snow melt high in the mountains was pretty likely to
be safe. Still there was some risk but I was willing to accept that. After
the Sierras, I was selective but more often than not, I filtered. Let your
own level of worry be your guide.

> One final question on the umbrella, I saw in the original edition of the
> Handbook, that Jardine had sewn an 'umbrella holder' on his shoulder
> strap.  Has anyone else tried this?  Or, do most just carry the umbrella
> in their hands?

I never saw anyone that had perfected a good way to attach their umbrella
to their pack. I'm sure if you're ingenious it could be done but it's not
easy. It's also worth noting that in much of southern California, the
brush is close enough to the trail that you'll be constantly maneuvering
the umbrella around it. This isn't to say that an umbrella isn't a good
idea just be aware that there are limitations.

> The last question concerns fuel for stoves.  The stove I've got can burn
> just about anything, but white gas is preferred to keep the thing from
> clogging up.  Do most of the resupply stations sell white gas, or do you
> have to break the law and mail it to yourself?

Wasn't that umbrella thing the final question? :)

Don't bother worrying about it. There should be enough white gas 
available. At most you'll only need to use gasoline once or twice.

-Karl PCT-97

Karl Brandt                             Center for Integrated Systems
kbrandt@stanford.edu                    Via Ortega Rd.
(650) 725-3686                          Stanford, CA 94305-4070

* From the Pacific Crest Trail Email List | For info http://www.hack.net/lists *