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Ultra lighters bear canisters?

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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:51 am

I just finished Rae Lakes loop with entry/exit at Onion Valley (~50 mi). We planned for 4 days. My pack was right at 30lbs fully loaded and my hiking buddy's pack was 40lbs. I'm very thankful for the lighter weight and looking to trim even more - it really makes the difference on climbs and distance. When I see a 50+lb pack on the trail I feel for the person (although when I see someone carrying in an ice chest (really!) I have a different response).

I haven't done anything extreme to get the weight down, and, yes I do carry a bear cannister. I use a Bear Vault 450 which will hold about 3 days of food (if necessary, I carry the first day's food outside the BV 450). I also have a BV500 which will hold more food at a slight size/weight penalty.

Here's where the big weight savings come from:

Bag: REI Sub Kilo (too warm most of the time)
Pad: Exped Synmat UL (LUXURY at the cost of lung power) & Exped air pillow (awesome)
Tent: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 (not this year's lighter model) with footprint
Pack: Osprey Exos 58 (its a tight fit, but everything goes inside - no danglies) & Gregory raincover
Water Treatment: Sawyer Squeeze water filter & Osprey 3.0 bladder (the 30lbs includes 3 liters!)
Cooking gear: Snowpeak Litemax stove & GSI Outdoors Halulite Cookset
(generally) packed clothing: Patagonia sunshirt, Montbell down sweater, GoLite rain jacket, extra coolmax tshirt, running shorts, extra underwear, extra socks
(generally) worn clothing: REI convertable pants, coolmax tshirt, floppy hat, Merrell Ventilator boots

I have a good medical kit I assembled myself. It's probably more complete than those you'd find prepackaged but not particularly light.

I do make sure to minimize the extras and really think hard about whether I'll use something. I pack more food than I'll need (NLT 2500 cal/day). And I do carry a camera with a Joby tripod.

They key is to go light when you replace your gear piece by piece. Make a list, research those items with good customer feedback (read the reviews to make sure the item will work for you), and then wait for the sales in the fall/winter.



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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby obxcola » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:13 am

Don't most thru-hikers on the JMT-PCT rely on lockers? I seem to remember that popular way stations in Seki "reserve" lockers for thru-hiker use. Looking at the map though there are LONG gaps between Woods Creek Crossing and Lake Edison and then again from Lake Edison to Devils Postpile. I also wonder why there is a box at Shadow Lake if there's no camping? If that one's no use it leaves a long gap between the Postpile and Tuolomne?

On the subject of "lightweight". It's pretty easy to put together a comprehensive and safe gear list that; minus food and fuel, comes in at 10lb or less. If you're planning for every possible accident you might as well stay home.
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby jessegooddog » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:58 am

Cloudlesssky: Were you affected by the fire???

I would say "thank you" to someone carrying an ice chest, and camp nearby where I could watch the nightly raid!!
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby Ska-T » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:07 am

jessegooddog wrote:$195 for the small bearikade....crazy for a plastic cylinder!!

The Bearikade is made of carbon fiber and aluminum, not plastic.

jessegooddog wrote:One person, one night - I really need very little as the first day's food need not go into the canister.

Some people probably think my short trip small pack doesn't contain a bear canister when it does. You can put other things in a bear canister besides food.
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby obxcola » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:01 am

Cloudlessly: You can fill that synmat with an inflator made from a thin 13 gal kitchen trash can liner. The ones with the drawstring weigh a little more but add some substance to the open end when you're "catching" air. Put a @ 3x3 piece of duct tape on the bottom and cut a small X just big enough to pull over the fill valve. I also put a narrow velcro "strap" around that to hold it tight and reinforce. Fill the bag with air and squeeze it into the synmat. Lots easier and faster than blowing and also no moisture to condense in the mat. Avg lung capacity is 6 liters or 1.5 gal. A half full trash bag is 4 x that. Can get a little tricky the last little bit when/if you want the mat really tight full. Hard to hold tension on the bag and close the valve, so top it off with your lungs if you need to.

Sorry for the thread drift.
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:18 pm

jessegooddog wrote:Cloudlesssky: Were you affected by the fire???


Fortunately we came through Woods Creek after it was opened again. The burn area was about 2 mi beyond Upper Paradise Valley and extended for 1-1.5 miles.

Still several smoldering spots (and some minor flames as well). I've never been in a recent burn area, and at one particular point I was worried it might spark up again and I waited to make sure my hiking partner cleared the area.

The pro's didn't seem concerned though. It looked like they were breaking camp at Castle Domes Meadow (helo shuttling in and out).

IMGP0804.JPG
Smoldering tree in Woods Creek burn area 7/21/12.
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby jessegooddog » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:55 pm

Ska-T wrote:
jessegooddog wrote:$195 for the small bearikade....crazy for a plastic cylinder!!

The Bearikade is made of carbon fiber and aluminum, not plastic.

Now I feel really stupid.... #-o
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby 87TT » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:29 pm

obxcola wrote:Cloudlessly: You can fill that synmat with an inflator made from a thin 13 gal kitchen trash can liner. The ones with the drawstring weigh a little more but add some substance to the open end when you're "catching" air. Put a @ 3x3 piece of duct tape on the bottom and cut a small X just big enough to pull over the fill valve. I also put a narrow velcro "strap" around that to hold it tight and reinforce. Fill the bag with air and squeeze it into the synmat. Lots easier and faster than blowing and also no moisture to condense in the mat. Avg lung capacity is 6 liters or 1.5 gal. A half full trash bag is 4 x that. Can get a little tricky the last little bit when/if you want the mat really tight full. Hard to hold tension on the bag and close the valve, so top it off with your lungs if you need to.

Sorry for the thread drift.

Buy the pump. weighs a whole ounce, seriously and packs in the sack with the mat.

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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:26 pm

My feeling is that true "ultralighters" rarely stay out in the wilderness for more than a few nights at a time. They keep their kit to a minimum so they can achieve high daily mileages, then bolt to civilization to load up on calories. The few serious ultralighters I've run into on the trail seemed to be attracted to the bare minimum in footwear (tennis shoes, sandals, etc.) and they were all fixated on high mileages. Some used a small bear canister, most did not, preferring instead to plan their itinerary so they would camp in an area equipped with a bear locker. They were all prepared to bail if extreme weather threatened. None would be caught dead with a pack in excess of 30 lbs.

That said, many of us strive to minimize our pack weight -- who wouldn't want to? For those of us who like to do multi-week trips without resupplying, here are some ideas to consider:

-- Get rid of the Thermarest pads -- they're heavy and prone to leaks. Far better to hike with a blue foam pad (or something similar). They insulate, they are absolutely reliable, and they weigh a lot less.

-- Lose the water filter. You don't need it in the Sierra.

-- Leave your tent at home for summer hikes. Consider a bivy or a tube tent. I've been backpacking in the Sierra since 1970 and have always relied on a one pound tube tent. Admittedly, they're not the most comfortable, but they have served me well over the years, providing adequate shelter both from rain and snow. A tube tent costs less than $10 and can be re-purposed as a ground cloth a few years down the road.

-- Lose the pillow. Instead, stuff your down jacket into a stuff sack, cover it with a cotton shirt, and you have the softest pillow you can imagine.

-- Minimize the extra clothes. I bring one extra T-shirt, one extra pair of undies, and one extra pair of socks. I prefer to hike in blue jeans and take one pair of light nylon shorts, which does double duty as headgear under my baseball cap when the sun is fierce.

-- Lose the Leatherman Tool -- it's too heavy. I hike with a small, lightweight two-bladed Swiss Army knife -- just the right size for slicing off a piece of cheese or salamie.

-- Don't buy pre-packaged dehydrated food, the kind of stuff you would find at REI. It costs an arm and a leg, is not particularly weight efficient, and cannot easily be repackaged -- which means once you've cooked it in the backcountry, you're left to carry the crap it was packaged in for the duration of your trip.

-- Carry a basic lightweight cook kit. All you need is a 2 quart pot (aluminum is light and cheap) to cook and boil water in, plus a Sierra cup (they make them out of Titanium now and they are extremely light).

-- Your backpack itself might be a prime suspect when it comes to the weight of your overall kit. Most packs on the market today are unnecessarily heavy when empty, with all sorts of straps, pockets, and gizmos you don't need and will never use. Ridiculous.

-- Do you really need a water bladder built into your backpack? No. I carry two one-quart Nalgene bottles, one empty in my backpack and one about half full on my hip, which serves as a canteen. I keep both bottles full in camp, and use one in the morning to prepare a helping of "instant breakfast."

Happy trails --

Mike
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby rlown » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:47 pm

A lot of great stuff in there, Mike. I actually mean that, but the finer points might be a bit suspect. I do know a leatherman can fix a failing zipper or a broken trekking pole. I can't sleep on blue foam anymore, or I choose not to. Other than that, great points.

Edit: carrying the filter.. It became popular on my last trip as we saw increased mule traffic and other visitors and the resultant TP piles.

On the 2 bladed knife.. I carry one.. One of our members kept borrowing it and cutting with it on either granite or titanium. He and his cohort carry a spindly 1.5" blade Victorinox. Barely able to cut cheese. I stopped loaning it out after I saw how they treated it.. I've had it since '76. the corkscrew on it makes no sense unless I buy an insert for a screwdriver.

Of course, this was about bear cans. we seem to be off track.

Russ
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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:50 pm

Russ:

Yes, just some ideas. I still cling to some luxuries, but still try to cut weight when I can. I'll put my 7.5 oz blue foam pad up against a Thermarest pad (almost 2 lb) any day! I never bring a filter. I admire Leatherman tools but can't justify the weight. Yet I always lug around at least three paperbacks, so go figure!

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Re: Ultra lighters bear canisters?

Postby whiteout » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:57 am

Lots of restful nights on this compromise in winter. Yellow is 5mm evazote..6oz. Cush where I need it most. Snow easy to form, though, so shoulder not so happy in summer. If you don't need the full-length Koma-King version of Thermarest to coddle calves & ankles, Prolites are only a pound. :)

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