Monday, August 1, 2011

UltraLight on the JMT

That's going to be the title of my new book, what do you think? Well it may be a pipe dream...we'll see.

I thought I would share with you my UltraLight gear for 2 weeks and 200 miles in the high Sierras. My base weight (pack weight minus consumables - food, fuel, and water) for this trip is very high for me at 9 1/2 pounds. It's about 3 pounds heavier than normal because I'm carrying gear for the heavy snow conditions this year as well as being in bear country. Pictured below is my 1/4" closed cell foam sleeping pad (which doubles as my pack frame), Kahtoola Micro Spikes, Tenkara USA Iwana 12' fishing rod, Simblissity bug net, Smartwool glove liners, DriDucks rain jacket, BearVault BV450 bear canister, ZPacks Hexamid Twin tent and stakes, and Trail Designs 1.3L Sidewinder stove system.



My insulation layers and extra clothing go in my home made pack first.



First goes the folded sleeping pad (which you can't see in this shot), then the pack liner with the sleeping quilt, and extra clothing inside. The pack liner is made from very lightweight 0.51oz (per square yard) cuben fiber, and weighs just 0.65oz total. It will puncture easily, but with a little care it will remain water tight for years.



On top of that goes the stove and tent.



Then simply push some of the air out and tighten the cord lock on the pack liner. No need for a heavy roll top closure, just fold the top down and you've made it rain proof. Note that the insulation layers aren't compacted all that much, which will help extend their useful life. A lot of people like to roll their sleeping pad and store the contents inside, but my method adds more padding where it counts, and also helps to keep the pack flat against your back.



On top of the pack liner goes the bear canister (ugh, 2 pounds without food!). I will either store my micro spikes on top of the canister, or hang them on the outside of the pack if I'm going to be using them soon.



The top closure on my pack is made like a stuff sack, and the draw cord goes through a small loop above the top rear pocket to secure it. This is an idea I borrowed from ZPacks, although I think he does it a bit differently now (thanks Joe!). The pack is not waterproof because there are probably a thousand little holes from sewing it together. That said, I have hiked all day in rain and snow and had the inside of the pack stay dry. The pack liner is a nice bit of insurance though.



I like to store items I may need throughout the day in the outside pockets, and my two pocket pack design helps me keep things very organized. In the bottom outside pocket I put the bug net, then the rain jacket with the glove liners just behind it. This makes it so I can reach the glove liners without stopping. It's amazing how quickly you can warm up just by putting on a pair of gloves.



I made a large dry sack to store my essentials in. I used to use the same really lightweight cuben material my pack liner is made from, but I've found that it's just not durable enough for this application. Now I use the same material I do for making backpacks. Included is everything from fishing gear to water treatment to medicines to electronics to maps. All in one great big sack that I have seam sealed.



The tent stakes and essentials go in the top outside pocket. One of the large snow stakes doubles as a potty trowel, so I keep the stakes withing easy reach. I simply fold the top of the essentials dry sack over to make it rain proof, which is why it's extra tall. Again, no need for a heavy roll top closure, although if you think you might go swimming, say during a stream crossing, you can close it similar to a roll top closure as well.



My backpack is on the large side relative to its contents so it doesn't have to be over-stuffed. This makes the pack ride flat against your back rather than like a big cylinder flopping around. You might also notice I don't use a hip belt, which I find restricting and unnecessary with a light comfortable pack. In fact I only use the sternum strap about half the time.



My Tenkara fishing rod stores in an outside pocket secured by shock cords, and protected by a sleeve I made from the same material as the backpack. I'm ready for a stream or lake at a moments notice. Tighten up the side cord locks to add some horizontal compression and also snug the tops of the outside rear pockets.



Packed and ready to go. I'll only carry one quart water bottle in the Sierras because water is so plentiful. Carrying less water makes up for some of the additional heavyweight gear I don't normally carry.



Gear List - here's how it all stacks up.


3 Season Backpacking Gear (Sierra's) - John Roan
7/19/2011
.
0.31
Pack



Recent changes:
0.93
Shelter



1) Including optional gear I'll be taking on the JMT

2) Changed out to larger bear canister for 7 day stretch

3) Kahtoola Microspikes for icy conditions

4) New Mizuno Wave Ascend 5 Trail Runners

5) MYOG lg HD dry sack replaced several stuff sacks and ziploc

6) MYOG HD camera case/shoulder pouch, waterproof and more durable (1.43oz cuben)
1.33
Sleeping


1.66
Clothing (packed)


0.53
Cooking & Water Storage


0.59
Essentials & Stuff


0.81
Electronics


0.32
Fly Fishing


3.03
Misc Seasonal


9.50
Base Pack Weight


9.92
Consumables (Food & Fuel - 7 days)
1.10
Water (average carried)


20.52
Total Pack Weight


4.52
Equipment (worn or carried)


25.04
Total Skin Out Weight


.
Qty
Lbs
Oz
Description

0.31
4.95
Pack



1
0.29
4.60
MYOG 3035 C.I. Cuben backpack
1
0.02
0.35
MYOG 1/2" sternum strap

0.93
14.82
Shelter



1
0.66
10.60
ZPacks Hexamid Twin Tent w/stuff sack & guy lines (seam sealed)
1
0.13
2.00
MLD 55 x 84 UL Ground Cloth
6
0.08
0.22
Vargo 6"Shepherd Hook Ti Stakes (painted ends)
2
0.05
0.40
Vargo 6.25" Ascent Ti Snow Stakes
1
0.01
0.10
ZPacks 3 x 10 cuben tent stake sack

1.33
21.20
Sleeping



1
0.19
3.00
Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad 1/4 x 21 x 41
1
1.14
18.20
Katabatic Gear Palisade 30 degree 6'6" quilt

1.66
26.54
Clothing (packed)



1
0.58
9.30
Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka (men's xl)
1
0.38
6.00
DriDucks Rain Jacket (men's L)
1
0.38
6.10
SmartWool Microweight T-Shirt (men's xxl)
2
0.18
1.47
SmartWool PhD Running Ultra Light Mini Socks (men's xl)
1
0.10
1.55
Smartwool Glove Liners (lg)
1
0.04
0.65
Zpacks 11 x 4.5 x 26H custom cuben stuff sack  (seam sealed)

0.53
8.55
Cooking & Water Storage

1
0.08
1.35
Trail Designs Caldera Sidewinder .9L cone & MYOG cuben sleeve
1
0.24
3.90
Evernew .9L Pot & Lid
1
0.00
0.05
MYOG Esbit stove
1
0.03
0.40
Mini Bic Lighter
1
0.00
0.05
MYOG cuben Esbit stuff sack
1
0.01
0.10
MYOG cuben stuff sack 10 x 8
1
0.11
1.70
Gatorade Water Bottle 32oz
1
0.03
0.40
Sea to Summit T6 hard anodized long spoon
1
0.04
0.60
MYOG Bear Bag system (40' 1.25mm Z-Line, cuben rock sack, carabiner)

0.59
9.38
Essentials & Stuff



1
0.02
0.30
Mini compass
1
0.17
2.70
JMT Trail Atlas
1
0.06
1.00
TP in snack size ziplock
1
0.05
0.80
Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap
1
0.02
0.30
Photon X-Light Micro on mini shockcord
1
0.01
0.23
MSR Packtowel Nano 2X (cut in 1/4 - 9 x 11 1/2)
1
0.01
0.20
Comb (cut in half)
1
0.03
0.45
Body Glide (repackaged in 0.15oz lip balm container), Leukotape P Sports Tape 15" rolled onto outside
1
0.03
0.55
Anti Persperant (Repackaged in 0.15oz lip balm container), 12" Duct Tape rolled onto outside
1
0.01
0.10
Toothbrush - shortened handle
1
0.01
0.10
Fisher Space Pen - refill only w/custom cap (full pen = .65)
1
0.01
0.10
Mr. Pumice (small pc) pumice stone
1
0.05
0.80
Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide drops (.20 liq oz parts A & B + mixer bottle)
1
0.01
0.20
12 Imodium A-D in micro Ziploc
1
0.02
0.30
Advil, Advil PM, (3) benedryl in micro Ziploc
1
0.03
0.40
Emergency Supplies: thread,(2) CR2016 flashlight batteries, (1) CR2032 watch battery, Sewing needle, Spark-Lite Tinder-Quik Firestarting Tinder Tabs (8) in mini ziplock
1
0.02
0.30
First-Aid Supplies: (2) Benzoin Tincture, mole skin, triple antibiotic ointment, tweezers, water proof paper in mini ziplock
1
0.03
0.55
MYOG HD cuben dry sack 12 x 15 (seam sealed)

0.81
13.00
Electronics



1
0.45
7.15
Canon S95 camera w/Franiec Custom Grip
1
0.01
0.10
MYOG HD cuben camera case (seam sealed)
1
0.05
0.80
Canon S95 spare battery
1
0.00
0.05
SD memory card in micro ziplock
1
0.03
0.40
Stick-pic camera mount
1
0.23
3.70
Blackberry Curve 3G
1
0.05
0.80
Blackberry Curve Spare battery

9.92
158.69
Consumables (Food & Fuel - 7 days)
10
0.31
0.50
Esbit fuel cubes

9.61
Food (see Nutrition Planning)

1.10
17.63
Water (average carried)


0.5
1.10
35.25
Liter of Water (33.8 Liquid Ounces)

4.52
72.38
Equipment (worn or carried)

1
1.85
29.60
Mizuno Wave Ascend 5 (men's 14)
1
0.09
1.45
Dirty Girl Gaiters (men's 12.5-13)
1
0.09
1.47
SmartWool PhD Running Ultra Light Mini Socks (men's xl)
1
0.93
14.85
Montbell Trail Ridge Stretch Convertible Pants (men's xl)
1
0.25
4.00
GoLite Baja Short (men's xl)
1
0.38
6.10
SmartWool Microweight T-Shirt (men's xxl)
1
0.15
2.45
Nike Fit Cap
1
0.01
0.20
Chap Stick
1
0.03
0.40
Dr Bronner's Mint Soap (repackaged .20 liq oz)
1
0.01
0.21
MSR Packtowel Nano 2X (cut in 1/4 - 9 x 11)
1
0.02
0.30
Firelight Mini "Sweedish Match" FireSteel
1
0.04
0.60
Victorinox Pocket Knife/File/Scissors
1
0.05
0.80
ID, Credit Card, Cash
1
0.49
7.80
BPL Stix 130cm Fixed Length Trekking Poles (pair)
1
0.06
0.90
Gas Station Sunglasses w/MYOG flat cord
1
0.08
1.25
Tech 4-0 Watch/Pedometer/Altimeter/Thermometer (no band)
.
** SEASONAL ITEMS **
+
0.32
5.15
Fly Fishing



1
0.19
3.00
Tenkara USA 12ft Iwana 6:4 rod, Fuji EZ Keepers
1
0.00
0.05
Traditional Tenkara line 10ft 6in, Tippet, Fly
1
0.02
0.30
Spool 5x tippet (30m)
1
0.05
0.85
Tenkara USA Forceps
1
0.01
0.20
MYOG cuben rod sock
1
0.00
0.05
MYOG Tip Grip
1
0.04
0.65
Morell foam fly box - small (w/fly's)
1
0.00
0.05
Fishing license
+
3.03
48.40
Misc Seasonal



1
2.05
32.75
BearVault BV450 bear canister
1
0.90
14.40
Kahtoola Microspikes (lg)
1
0.05
0.85
Sun screen + deet (.5oz)
1
0.03
0.40
Simblissity UL Mosquito Headnet (peak season only)









2 comments:

  1. John, I've been interested in making my own backpack. I've been trying to find a good design online but haven't found one that I think I would like. How do you like yours? Did you copy another design or make your own? And lastly, where could I find a design like yours/do you have directions/specs on how you made yours?

    Thanks- Jason

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Jason,
    I made my pack about 15 months ago and have used it exclusively ever since. I have around 500 miles on it and it's holding up very well. The design is my own, with ideas I came up with along with some borrowed from others I have seen. I made a new one recently for my son and took lots of photos for an upcoming (how to make your own) post. I hope to get the post published in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
    Thanks!
    John

    ReplyDelete