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Begins: Apr 5, 2021
Date: Sat, Feb 15th, 2020
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2/15/2020 - Gearing up
Backpacking gear is expensive! I budgeted myself about $ 1000 dollars for new gear but it is most likely
going to come close to doubleing that. My goal was to achieve a base weight of 20 lbs and I ended up at
20lbs 9oz. (this is assuming a weight of up to 1lb for a jacket, read below). I could get it down to 20 lbs
but after carefully considering things I could cut to save weight and the few things that I just don't want
to leave behind, I am OK with it. I could cut things like the extra shirt, the extra water filter, extra hipbelt
buckle, sitting pad, and going with a smaller battery pack to save ounces but I willing to carry the extra
weight in exchange for peace of mind.
My big 4 with weight:
Pack: Deuter aircontact lite 65+10 = 4 lbs 6 oz
Sleeping bag: Nemo Disco 15 reg = 2 lbs 11oz
Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 = 3 lbs 1oz
Sleeping pad: Thermarest neoair xtherm = 15oz
Total weight big 4 = 11lbs 1oz
Total cost big 4 = $ 1060
All in all I am happy and confident with my big 4. I came to realize there is no such thing as a perfect piece
of gear as there was always a compromise or concern I had with each item. For example, the Deuter pack
fit me the best and was the most comfortable out of all the packs I tried but at well over 4 lbs. it was much
heavier than I wanted.
The sleeping bag was a struggle. I initially purchased the Nemo Forte 20 because I feared the wetting out
issue and a synthetic bag would be much easier to deal with in damp conditions. I quicky realized that I
would want something warmer but a warmer synthetic bag would be way too heavy and bulky so I got over
my fears and went with a down bag. I went with the Nemo Disco 15; it has treated down and a DWR shell plus
the waterproof toe box is a bonus. It's warmer, lighter, less bulky and only $ 80 more. I feel much better about
The tent was another tough choice. I was debating between the Nemo Dragonfly 2P and the Big Agnes
Copper Spur HV UL 2. Both tents weighed in at 3lbs 1oz. I liked that they were both freestanding and
double walled which to me is a must have along with being a little roomier than a 1 person tent. The
Big Agnes had fantastic reviews on just about every website I looked at but the materials seemed a little
thin and came in at a cost of $ 450. The Dragonfly has more robust materials and a cheaper price point
at $ 399 but nobody seemed to be raving about it. Ultimately, price was the deciding factor as I was able
to catch a sale on the Big Agnes for $ 337. I'll use tyvec as a footprint. I hope I made the right decision.
My two biggest concerns with a sleeping pad is durability and comfort. I whittled it down to two choices,
both on the extreem ends of the scale. I like the Therarest Sol Zlite because it is a closed cell foam pad
that is nearly indestructable and super cheap ($ 35), but it is also horrorably uncomfortable. The Thermarest
Neoair Xtherm is the warmest pad available and has outstanding reviews but it is an inflateable pad (I am afraid
of popping it) and very expensive, coming in at $ 220. I decided to give the Thermarest Neoair Xtherm a go and
if I do pop it beyond repair I'll pick up a Thermarest Sol Zlite, learn my lesson, and be done with it.
I also struggled with clothing layers a bit. This is what I came up with. This is in my pack, not including what
I will be wearing when I set out.
Marmot Tights (sleeping)
Terramor 2.0 Base layer Shirt (sleeping)
Mountian Hardware tights (hiking bottom base layer)
Rhone Polarteck LS UPF 50 sun shirt (hiking top base layer)
REI short sleve hiking shirt (for style points)
REI ranier rain jacket and pants
Down jacket w/ hood (?)
Darn Tough socks (x3, two for hiking and one for sleeping)
I have some warmer base layers and sleeping gear for the Sierras and Cascades that I will have sent before
I hike those sections.
The down jacket is still an ongoing research project. I initially bought the North Face Thermoball Hoody but,
like the the Nemo Forte sleeping bag, i decided it wasnt going to provide the warmth I was looking for. If I had
my choice it would be the North Face Summit L3 Hoody but at a price tag of $ 375 i am reconsidering less
exspensive options. The Arc'teryx Cerium SL ($ 249) was an option but the fit just wasnt right...and by that
I mean I was too fat to zip it up. I am also considering the RAB Microlight Alpine and the Feathered Friends Eos.
Fit, water resistance, and warmth are the key things I am looking for.
Check out my gear list for a complete list of what I have put together for this trip.
Tom's 2021 PTC Journal
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