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Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Tents, tarps, sleeping bags & general campsite gear

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OZZZ
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Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Jul 11 2011 8:50 pm

I just moved to Flagstaff about 2 weeks ago and am loving it here.

Im usually a pretty good researcher and to be honest, pride myself on it but I gotta tell ya .... trying to shop for backpacking gear is really starting to make my head spin and I think I need some advice before I end up making any more purchases that end up not being what I need :o

So this is the equipment Ive purchased so far. Most of the time Ill be up here in high elevations, but will be using this stuff everywhere, lower elevations and even the desert if possible. From what Ive read, it sounds like if you want to be out during winter, its probably best to have two sets of gear. So for this first set Im looking to 3 season equipment.

1. A slumberjack 2 tent. This was my first purchase and admittedly a misinformed purchase. The tent weighs just under 7 lbs and I now realize thats pretty dam heavy. Whats more, I paid $69 for it and thanks to the threads here I see many tents for under $100 that weigh half the weight. I did set it up in a thunderstorm the other night and it worked well. I do like that it has enough room for my GF and I, and a decent sized dog as well. What do you guys think? Scrap it and buy a lighter version or suck it up and pack the 7 lbs around?

2. I found a coleman exponent canyon mummy 32 degree bag on craigslist for $50. I did a couple quick searches and it seems like a good bag. Weighing at just over 2 lbs and being rated well. My first search showed a sales price of $189, the second for $169 so I figured at $50 thats a buy! I go buy it, get home and immediately find one brand new online for $59. Grrreeeeaaat. I still need another bag though, so I wouldnt mind any input on this bag. I might just buy a new one for $59. Im not sure about the $150+++ bags and/or if I want to drop the cash right now.

3. I bought a snow peak trekker kit that consists of the gigapower stove, the snow peak titanium 1400 cookset, and a windshield. Heres the link: http://www.campsaver.com/trekker-kit

So, I wouldnt mind any input on these items and whether or not I should ditch them or keep em. I think Im happy with the cook set, and the sleeping bag as well other then the fact I got burnt on price. The tent is fine but its heavy.

Also I need advise on footwear, and packs as well. Would rather have a boot of some sort or a taller type shoe I believe. Definitely not interested in sandals.

Thanks in advance. Ill still be reading and researching.... but if someone could point me in the right direction Ild be greatful. Price is an issue, but I can spend the dough if its one of those make or break items. I think on most Items Im looking for the standout price/performance winner in each category..... regardless of what that price might be.
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by big_load » Aug 05 2011 10:42 am

There's nothing like actually lugging stuff on a trip to inspire lightening up. That pack isn't so bad. I'd work on replacing the tent and sleeping bag first. Then your base weight may be down to where it will haul comfortably in a lighter pack. I saw your mention of 36 lbs above, but what was the total when you actually hit the trail?

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Aug 05 2011 12:17 pm

Have to agree with Timmber and Nonot on this. I'm still trying to find out what works for me. Thinking about hammocks now. I don't think that finding out what works for you is ever truely finished. :)
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I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by te_wa » Aug 05 2011 3:10 pm

http://www.hammockforums.net is one serious resource. for every 100 new hangers, maybe, maybe 2 dont take to hammocks. that's a fairly high success rate. just sayin'
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:D

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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 08 2011 9:24 am

I want to give everyone an update in case another newbie happens across this thread. After that single hike I realized the importance of leightweight yet COMFORTABLE gear.

I sold the tent. Returned the pack and demoted my sleeping bag to backup car camping duty.

I decided to just go for it and spent the dollars to get quality gear. I moved here to hike and camp, and I've been here for just over a month and hiked 30 or so miles with 6500 ' in elevation gain (approximately) so I figure ill be spending a significant time out there. This is the gear I ended up purchasing:

Tent: big agnes flycreek ul3. $449 ....OUCH! It weighs in at 3lbs 10 oz packed weight though. It will be myself and my girlfriend and a 100lbs American bulldog so I needed a tent that could hold us and our gear and be as close to 3lbs as possible. Its freestanding.

Pack: REI flash 65. $169. 3lbs 3oz. I went back and forth with Gregory, osprey and others ultimately this came in with everything I need and the weight is right for a large pack. It had good reviews and I can return it if it doesn't work for me.

Bag: kelty lightyear down 20. On sale for $127. 2lbs 10 oz. Looks good to me. Nice reviews.

Pad: big Agnes air core $79. 1 lbs 8oz. I tried one of these in the store and they were very comfortable. I'm very worried about durability though but ultimately decided to give it a shot. Ill just have to baby it. After a badnights sleep out there ild like to at least attempt to be comfortable. If it doesn't work ill get a thermal z light or something.

Im having a bit of a gyuilty conscious because i blew a wad on gear but all in all my tent, pack, bag, and pad all weigh just under 11lbs, considering my tent alone previously weighed 7lbs....that's a huge improvement!

Hopefully ill get the gear this week I've got a trip planned This weekend. Reports to follow.

Thanks for all the help!
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by te_wa » Aug 08 2011 11:00 am

did you see this stuff? (cottage gear is where all the good equipment is, not REI - although they sell some nice things, overall cottage companies are on cutting edge duty)

for $449 you could have this, and a bag of chips: http://zpacks.com/shelter/hexamidtwin.shtml
or this, and a beer: http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/index.php ... egory_id=7
or my favorites: http://tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html and the http://tarptent.com/cloudburst2.html

also, go to Tempe's LowerGear (http://www.lowergear.com/) and try on the ULA Circuit pack http://www.ula-equipment.com/circuit.asp or the OHM.

to save more weight, try the NeoAir. Al likes his. you can even use it in a hammock, until you get one of these: http://tewaunderquilts.webs.com/apps/we ... ow/1216221
:D

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Aug 08 2011 8:16 pm

Wow, that's a bunch of money, but I don't think I can fault any of your gear purchases. There are ways to cut ounces here or there, but you now have some pretty solid gear.

I would recommend you review Te-wa's suggestions if you ever decide to downsize to a 2 man tent if you find you want the dog outside the tent.
Also, if you find you really like backpacking, you could get a summer weight down bag to save another pound there. Your 20 degree is a good rating for an all season bag (for AZ), and will be useful for winter backpacking as well.

Enjoy, hope to see more backpacking triplogs!

P.S. There are several backpacking clubs in AZ. I would suggest that you try out a trip with one or more of them sometimes. You will find that you can pick up some excellent tips just by observing what others do, tricks for multipurposing gear, and other options - self made, cottage industry, and consumer stuff.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 08 2011 8:40 pm

You know ..... I kept getting notices that people were responding to my thread. When I came to it I didnt see any comments..... then I realized they were all on page TWO lol.

Brain fart ..... I just now saw that you guys have been giving me suggestions. Ill look into all of these and greatly appreciate it.

Keep in mind though .. the hammock thing is NOT going to work for now. My girlfriend is coming with me on 99% of the trips, after this last trip in which we ran into a bear she is a little skittish. I havent tried talking her into a hammock, but I would bet my left you know what shes not going to go for it. She'ld feel to insecure... shes already skittish just being in the tent! lol. The bear took off running for about 10 feet immediately upon spotting us, but then he turned around and stood his ground, started to grunt and bluff a bit until we backed off.

So the shelter used is as much determined but whats going to get her to come and feel comfortable too.... for now - thats going to be a tent. However, Im going to look into these shelters a bit more because $449 really hurts. Thanks for the suggestions!! Anyone have any more before I end up switching my order for the third time (maybe, maybe not lol) ??
Last edited by OZZZ on Aug 08 2011 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by joebartels » Aug 08 2011 8:51 pm

hammock = shish kabob for bears

just kidding ;)
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by The_Eagle » Aug 08 2011 8:55 pm

More like a Bearritto :o
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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 08 2011 9:07 pm

LMAO ... no kidding! BEARITTO ... lol.


So I looked into those shelters, and Im going to keep researching them but on first glance the only one that is big enough (keep in mind two people, two packs, and one big dog) is the six moons designs one. However its weight is listed as 39 ounces. Then you read the "notes" though:


1. Weight does not include stakes or pole.
2. Stakes not included.
3. Vertical Poles not included.
4. Standard floor is constructed using 70 denier silicon nylon. Ultralight floor uses 30 denier silicone nylon.


So this weight doesnt include any supporting structures. The tent Im getting, at 46 ounces (3 lbs 10 OZ) comes with all stakes, rainfly, footprint AND the actual sack its stored in. If I ditch the sack Im down to 3 lbs 3 oz. Thats 39 ounces with all the stakes, poles, etc, etc.

Im sure Im niave and am missing something, but these are my newbie concerns as of now. I certainly wish I could have found something around the $300 mark though. Would make me feel a whole lot better about things lol

I looked at the neo air, but I had to buy two pads, one for me and one for her, at $79 for the big agnes I got two of them for $160. The neo air is like $120 a piece or better and after the tent stuck me where the sun dont shine I had to try to watch the budget a bit. Im definately going to go sniff around the cottage, thats good info to know and Im sure will help my learning curve tremendously.

Also, anyone have any suggestions to backpacking clubs in the flag area?? Ive checked into meetup.com and theres some decent outings there, in fact we are going with them on one this weekend assuming the gear comes in time.
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OZZZ
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 08 2011 9:20 pm

BTW Big load ..... Im guessing the pack was about 40 lbs or so total - lesson learned!
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by big_load » Aug 08 2011 9:49 pm

Forty pounds isn't horrible as a rule, but can be if your pack doesn't fit right or isn't adjust well. (Most people probably aim for less on short trips in warm weather, though.)

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Grasshopper » Aug 08 2011 10:07 pm

nonot wrote:There are several backpacking clubs in AZ. I would suggest that you try out a trip with one or more of them sometimes. You will find that you can pick up some excellent tips just by observing what others do, tricks for multipurposing gear, and other options - self made, cottage industry, and consumer stuff.
I totally agree with this for any new backpacker and even seasoned backpacker. Never underestimate the importance of seeing first hand and learning from others.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by fretlessdavis » Aug 09 2011 1:56 am

Sorry, I'm a little late to the party on this one. Looks like you ended up with some great stuff!

A couple things I think I didn't see mentioned before:

Invest a little more in a sleeping bag. Look at Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends. Both are very nice down bags that WILL last a lifetime! I have a 20 degree Western Mountaineering bag that is about 25 years old, and it looks like it could easily go for another 25 years! They're about the lightest bags out there, and WM's "semi-rectangular" bags can be laid out flat, with a sheet and pads underneath (since you mentioned backpacking with your gf... one bigger bag would be significantly lighter, and could still be used on your own with a minimal weight penalty.)

Try T-Rest's self-inflating pads. They're more durable, more comfortable, and still provide insulation if they pop. I personally have a near vintage 'Ultralite' and a new Prolite plus. I could never say enough good things about the Prolite Plus... except that it's a bit too toasty sometimes! Both pads are exceedingly comfortable, and even feel good about letting guests sleep on them! Both are around $100, but well worth it!!! Like my WM bag, my old Thermarest looks like it could go for another 20 years... easily!

Also, I would avoid "ulatralight" specific gear. In my experiences, it is often more expensive, and a lot less durable. My second pack for a while was a Deuter ACT Lite 65 (their ultralight extended backpacking offering). After 30 or so backpacking days, I am not sure I would trust it to hold up much longer (granted the first 9 days of its life were thrashing around in Escalante... ) Buckles have broken, fabric torn, seams ripped... However, my very similar Deuter Futura Pro 42 (The BEST pack in the size range... hands down!!!!!!) is made of burlier materials, and weighs more (even though it is about 66% the size) but has not had a single issue... It's been thrown/dropped off waterfalls, squeezed through slot canyons, and generally used HARD (not quite abused, mind you!)

It seems like a lot of other suggestions focus on weight. I use my equipment a ton, and would rather spend more now and carry a bit more on my back than have something fail in the field and/or have to be replaced sooner rather than later. I am definitely a proponent of luxury, gourmet backpacking. Weekend packs for me end up in the 35 lb range, and I've been known to have 65+ lb packs on multiday trips. Trips often are nicer when you can stretch out at camp, eat a good meal, and sleep soundly through the night! Just make sure you're not so weighed down that you can't keep up!

If you shop wisely and invest now, you'll have gear for life!

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by fretlessdavis » Aug 09 2011 2:04 am

I also totally forgot about 2 of the most important things.... Water, and your feet!

Do NOT skimp on boots. Try every pair in the store... try half a size up.... try half a size down. Take your hiking sock setup with you (liners and wool socks) and try them using those. Wander around the store a bit, lollygag, make sure that they are comfortable, light, and right for your feet!

As far as water goes, I've always opted for chemicals... until recently. Earlier this summer I picked up Crypto from some iodine treated water! MSR and Katadyn make some good pump filters, but always have a backup. The easiest/cheapest solution is bleach. Fill a nalgene dropper bottle with it... Use 2 drops per liter, bleed the threads, wait an hour. If the taste bothers you, leave the bottle uncapped in the sun for awhile... that coaxes the remaining chlorine out. (make sure you do this AFTER the initial hour). While guiding in Tucson, we used Polar Pure a lot. That stuff works, and doesn't have much taste. Just make sure to get the temp/measurements right... it is easy to screw up!

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by Canyonram » Aug 09 2011 9:54 am

OZZZ,

Did you measure your torso length before buying your pack? More expensive packs will come with the ability to adjust to match a range of torso lengths. If your pack is not made for/adjusted to your torso, you'll be uncomfortable carrying it around. Others have the option of a hip belt that can be heated and molded to your hips.

http://www.backpacker.com/videos/10

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by te_wa » Aug 09 2011 1:32 pm

OZZZ wrote:the hammock thing is NOT going to work for now. My girlfriend is coming with me on 99% of the trips, after this last trip in which we ran into a bear she is a little skittish. I havent tried talking her into a hammock, but I would bet my left you know what shes not going to go for it.
a) you cant expect to use one hammock for two people,if that is your concern. see this photo: http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=167622
2) a nylon tent is not going to be any safer a haven than a hammock shelter system. hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - does not mean evil is unreal. tents offer no more bear protection than anything else.. and also if you were confronted, escape from a hammock shelter is much easier than trying to get out of a zipped-up tent.. do i even have to explain this stuff? :roll:
c) this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. try to think more positively.

at any rate, you could get the TarpTent Rainshadow. Its HUGE!
:D

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by GrottoGirl » Aug 09 2011 5:46 pm

nonot wrote:I doubt you will get much use out of the knife.
:) I use my knife a lot! I've used it to cut duct tape (which I have wound around a pen in my pack) to patch holes on water bladders, pool floats, and pants. Also, it is used for slicing cheese - which is one of my favorite backpacking foods.

I recommend a ThermaRest NeoAir air mattress. It is expensive but worth every penny. I've had mine about a year and a half and I would not go backpacking without it. I often have problems sleeping (I've tried sleeping pills and/or wine - neither worked). So I am happy that I am at least comfortable when I'm laying in the tent wishing I could sleep. You can sleep on your side without getting an achy hip. I use it with a down sleeping bag - not only are they lighter than synthetic but they aren't as clammy. Just be sure to have a waterproof compression sack so that you don't have to worry about whether or not your bladder springs a leak in your pack or if it rains.

A few other items that I take on every backpack regardless of season is a warm hat and gloves (it can get nippy in the wee hours or after it rains). I also pack a down jacket which doubles as a pillow.

Good luck on your future backpacks!

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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by OZZZ » Aug 09 2011 6:26 pm

Great suggestions!

Te-wa .... I think you misunderstood my post. My girffriend is skittish now after the bear encounter, not I. I have told her all the things you just said to no avail. Either way, a tent is what she feels comfortable with for now. Sometimes you just have to do things for your significant that arent exactly what you would prefer. Like living with those pink hand towels or putting the toilet seat down every time (and I do mean EVERY time) lol. I still say that the six moon one would be ok and cheaper ... but it is heavier then the tent I purchased so thats not all that appealing (although its like $170 cheaper with is extremely appealing. A toss up).

Canyonram... I did measure my torso and ordered a pack that is adjustable, thanks a ton for the suggestion. I really wont know how the pack fits until after Ive used it. Luckily if it doesnt I can send it back. At any rate its a full 2 lbs lighter then the other and has the same storage capacity and what looks to be some nice features. Crossing my fingers on this one!

I got the sleeping bag in today, it doesnt compress down as much as Ild like at at 2 lbs 10 oz it is a little heavier ... but dang is it warm! Its a down 20degree bag. Ill be using the equipment this weekend for a test run, assuming it all comes in time.
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Re: Alright FINE ..... I think I need some advice .....lol

Post by nonot » Aug 09 2011 7:35 pm

I guess I should clarify: a knife is handy - a big blade though - not really much more useful in AZ. Most can get along with a pocketknife with a sharp blade - save a lb or two.
bknorby wrote:
nonot wrote:I doubt you will get much use out of the knife.
:) I use my knife a lot! I've used it to cut duct tape (which I have wound around a pen in my pack) to patch holes on water bladders, pool floats, and pants. Also, it is used for slicing cheese - which is one of my favorite backpacking foods.

I recommend a ThermaRest NeoAir air mattress. It is expensive but worth every penny. I've had mine about a year and a half and I would not go backpacking without it. I often have problems sleeping (I've tried sleeping pills and/or wine - neither worked). So I am happy that I am at least comfortable when I'm laying in the tent wishing I could sleep. You can sleep on your side without getting an achy hip. I use it with a down sleeping bag - not only are they lighter than synthetic but they aren't as clammy. Just be sure to have a waterproof compression sack so that you don't have to worry about whether or not your bladder springs a leak in your pack or if it rains.

A few other items that I take on every backpack regardless of season is a warm hat and gloves (it can get nippy in the wee hours or after it rains). I also pack a down jacket which doubles as a pillow.

Good luck on your future backpacks!
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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