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Topic: Another Newbie, Pack stuffing.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 7:07 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am going to be trying my first stab at backpacking in a 3 day, 2 night adventure.  

I am trying to be as light as I can with all gear, with using as much as I can with what I have.

I have an old EMS pack that I will use.  It is the Ascent 4200 W.  

I have a hennessy hammock with tarp for sleeping.  

Here is my problem…my sleeping bag now takes up almost the entirety of the rest of my pack.  It is a Cat’s Meow from REI.  I have tried it just pushed into the bag without the compression sack and it seems so huge.  I have also tried it with the compression sack, and it is just a big lump.  

There doesn’t seem to be enough room left for my cook system, food and such.

Since I am a newbie, I need some advice in how to pack.

Thanks.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are some websites that show methods but other than a generalized "heavier items close to the back and towards the top", it's what works for you. I understand you're not sure how to do that but a 75L pack and you're having problems getting all your gear in for only 2 nights when packing that sleeping bag? I'm sorry but I really can't visualize what you're doing to have that issue with that much space. Maybe some more details on how you're trying to pack? Possibly your bag isn't being compressed enough?

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3 day, 2 night adventure.

It's only an adventure when something goes wrong. If it all goes right it can be kind of boring.....  :p


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 8:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

4200 cubic inches is not a lot of volume for a synthetic bag.  Can you borrow a down bag or go with something that's rated for warmer temps?

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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 9:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That sleeping bag is not going to keep you warm in the hammock without a pad or some kind of insulation underneath the hammock, if it drops into the 40s or 30s at night.

One of the problems newbies have is overpacking. What else is going in the pack?  Just a big lump would sum it up - put the big lump in the bottom and stuff in clothes in the gaps around it.

Here is a sample list - my list is a little different but this is essentially what I pack, and it fits inside a 45 liter pack with just a few things in the pockets outside. http://www.backpacking.net/18-pound.html

Newbies should go one night before they go two - give yourself a test trip with a quick bail out if you wake up cold and can't figure out what to do. Going car camping with your loaded backpack and pretending the car isn't there is a good way to do that.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 9:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Putting your bag in first, loose, requires you to continue to place items on top of it, and just keep pushing it all down.  Make sure there is something on top of the sleeping bag to protect it.  

2 nights with a hammock should all fit in there quite well.  Put your heaviest items in on top of the sleeping bag, and then just keep cramming the other items in after.  What will you be taking?  How about 2 1/2 days of food, 1 change of clothes, rain jacket, and something to cook with.  
I think that means the food and the kitchen goes in on top of the bag, then the clothes stuffed in anywhere it fits.  Add the rain jacket on top so it is easily accessed if needed.  Water bottles on the very top.  When you finish, the pack should look full, but balanced.  The sleeping bag at the bottom, the heavy stuff next, and close to your back, then the lighter stuff on top, with the water topping off the pack.  Some folks carry bladders in a pocket of the pack, others carry bottles and put them wherever they can.  

My hammock goes in close to the food, but my tarp goes in close enough to the top that I can haul it out soon.  If it is raining, I want it up first.  I use snake skins for the hammock and tarp, which makes it easier to put up, take down, and store.  It all come out of the pack ready to hang.  If the tarp is wet, I can put it in an outside pocket on my pack.  I use a 4200 ULA Circuit for a week at a time, with a bear canister inside.  My bag is a down quilt, so it takes up very little space, but the canister for my food is bigger than your sleeping bag.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 12:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ May 10 2014, 9:03 am)
QUOTE
That sleeping bag is not going to keep you warm in the hammock without a pad or some kind of insulation underneath the hammock, if it drops into the 40s or 30s at night.

This is true - however, if you are sleeping on the ground in the summer it may be more bag than you need.

Just shove the bag in the bottom of your pack and pile everything else on top. It will fit. The natural tendency is to pack too much food, clothing, and camp conveniences, so be careful how much of that you carry for such a short trip.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 1:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

4200 ci, backpack,  2 nights, no bear can, synthetic sleeping bag...and clueless.

Those were simpler times...
Consider a compression sack for the sleeping bag and,
going along with someone  who has backpacked before.

You have a good start (OK backpack, maybe a down bag instead...later on?)  - but you need to just get out and see how things all fit, how things work together...maybe a few times with an experienced group. (Keep your eyes open and ask questions.)

Then, after a week or so out, you too will be an opinionated pro.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 5:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you for all of your replies.  Yes, this is a learning process.

Currently, I have my hammock and tarp in the bottom section of my pack, my sleeping bag in the bottom of the top loading section.  I have my cooking system on top of the sleeping bag: mini stove, small fuel canister, kettle and cup.  I do not plan on taking much extra clothes, maybe socks and my light shell and a light knit hat.  On top of that, I will have my food.  

When we car camp, I have an under quilt I use for the hammock, but it is too bulky to hike with.  So I am trying to figure out the warmth factor.

Maybe my sleeping bag is too big???? That seems to take up the most room.   I guess I could look into borrowing a down bag.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 10 2014, 5:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Where are you headed off to camp?  What temps are you expecting?  Florida, Georgia mtns, NH?  Each location will require particular factors for warmth.  

Put your sleeping bag on the bottom.  You won't need it until the hammock is set up.  Won't matter which sleeping bag, it still needs to be on the bottom.  Food is your heaviest item, so keep it close to the middle of your pack, and as near your back as possible.  It should fit right next to you, in that section of your back above your waistline and no higher than between your shoulder blades.  Keep cramming.  It will stuff your bag smaller.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 9:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

IF it doesn't fit inside, there are other options for it fitting out side.  

1 - Find the smallest stuff sack it will fit in.  Not having that, then roll it as tight as you can, use two shorter straps to help compress it tight and cinch them down. Then wrap the sleeping bag in a garbage bag.  Attach it to the out side (top, bottom back or side).  It will not fit as nice, look as nice or carry as well, but you will have it on your back.

2.  Lay the bag out flat.  Optionally make a layer of the stuff you will be bringing with you.  Roll it along the long side and use light weight line ('parachute cord') to keep the roll together.  It probably will look like a deranged spider secured a long worm or a long deformed sausage   Fold it in half and tie more line around near where the top and bottom meet.  This is called a 'horseshoe' pack.  There are other less complimentary descriptive words.  This can either be carried (uncomfortably over your head on top of the pack) OR secured to the pack around the out side.  You can use more cord securing it around the pack. You will look a lot like a Doughboy or WWI soldier in the field.  In the beginning,  I spent a lot of my deformative years carrying my stuff that way.  Couldn't afford a pack or if I could, to find one to fit me.

Either way you will not have the best fitting pack, but it will get that large cumbersome bag there and back.

And if you don't have a sleeping pad (ThermaRest is a good brand) you should be looking for a couple of inches of space under you for insulation. Any bag will compress under your weight to give you the equivalent of a t-shirt under you.

My strategy for getting more 'stuff' is to announce to all who wish to give me presents to simply buy a $25 gift card to a local backpacking supplier (REI comes to mind).  Over time when you accumulate enough of them, it will allow you to buy what YOU want instead of having them worry for a week about what it is you might like.

Good luck on the new bag AND of course on this upcoming trip.  You might be a bit uncomfortable, but you will still have a great memory of that first foray into the back country.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Shelters always go in the top or outside front pocket of the pack - if it's raining, why get the interior of the pack wet trying to get out a tarp?

It's amazing how much water can suddenly descend on you without warning.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 9:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naperica @ May 10 2014, 5:01 pm)
QUOTE
Maybe my sleeping bag is too big???? That seems to take up the most room.   I guess I could look into borrowing a down bag.

There's a zillion possible solutions.  Getting a smaller bag or a larger pack are probably the simplest and most effective solutions.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 11:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

have you hammock-camped before?  definitely heed AlmostThere's advice about having some under insulation. even with lows in the 50s or 60s you're gonna want something underneath you. i take a CCF pad in the 50s and 60s and an underquilt below that. you can pick up a relatively light CCF pad for cheap (ive heard that walmart carries).

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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 7:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ashepabst @ May 11 2014, 11:08 am)
QUOTE
have you hammock-camped before?  definitely heed AlmostThere's advice about having some under insulation. even with lows in the 50s or 60s you're gonna want something underneath you. i take a CCF pad in the 50s and 60s and an underquilt below that. you can pick up a relatively light CCF pad for cheap (ive heard that walmart carries).

I have, but from a car, in which I carry my DIY under quilt that is just too bulky to carry in a pack.  I have a thermarest ridge rest that I use for church overnights when I am on the floor, but that too seems to huge to carry.  

This transition from car camping and day hiking to overnight backpacking is taking more thought than I originally planned.  I know it probably shouldn't, but I tend to overthink everything.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 7:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you intend to be out for multiple days, preplanning is everything. Including leaving your intended itinerary, return time, and a description of you and your gear with a trusted friend - so in the event something goes wrong, the authorities can be contacted and a search started.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 11 2014, 7:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

IF it is this bag it should compress to 10L? Even 25 L in stuff sack should still not be that bad?

http://www.rei.com/product....pecsTab



That would leave 60 L for everything else.  A ridge rest while bulky is light enough to be strapped on the outside IF this pack has loops to put pack straps on (the lid, or near the bottom).

EDIT:

and HH site says " the packed size is 5" x 10" at least the "Ultralite Backpacker Asym" or about 1  liter? Though I think mine is more like 3 to 5 liters.

If the bag is warm then you don't need much in sleeping clothes (take just one very light set) and you wear your hiking clothes, except rain gear and a maybe a warm top.

So that leaves food and cooking gear? Some 10 essentials and so other stuff, camera.  Should fit?
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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 8:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You are going to need an underquilt for that hammock. a pad will do also as long as the night temps are not too cold. And don't forget your water treatment.  Just make sure you DONT PACK COTTON gear. Goodwill stores have a nice assortment of wool, silk, nylon, and poly to keep you well outfitted for cheap. And don't forget a bear bag and some rope to hang it with.  As for the rest, I think you should just learn. Three days is survivable even if things go bad.  IF you don't use it on this trip ditch it when you get home. If you found yourself needing it add it. Have a nice trip don't orget the pics.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 9:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ May 11 2014, 7:49 am)
QUOTE
Shelters always go in the top or outside front pocket of the pack - if it's raining, why get the interior of the pack wet trying to get out a tarp?

It's amazing how much water can suddenly descend on you without warning.

Rain gear is always quickly accessible.

My tent body and poles go inside with the (when wet) fly on the outside.
When I lived in WA and OR, I started carrying a lightweight silnylon tarp on the outside of the pack to string up to set up under since it was always raining Oct-Apr.
I could also quickly put it up for lunch breaks just to get out of the rain for a little while during the day.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 9:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naperica @ May 11 2014, 7:09 pm)
QUOTE
I have, but from a car, in which I carry my DIY under quilt that is just too bulky to carry in a pack.  I have a thermarest ridge rest that I use for church overnights when I am on the floor, but that too seems to huge to carry.  

This transition from car camping and day hiking to overnight backpacking is taking more thought than I originally planned.  I know it probably shouldn't, but I tend to overthink everything.

most packs have straps that should handle your ridgerest on the outside of the pack. if not, lash it on with some cord.

it does take a lot of planning but the best way to learn is to just get out there and do it. someone mentioned starting with a one-nighter --great idea. with a one-nighter you're never more than a day's walk away from your car. make a list of all your gear and afterwards take note of everything you didn't use. the list will help on future trips and help you whittle down on the excess.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 10:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(toejam @ May 10 2014, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE

(AlmostThere @ May 10 2014, 9:03 am)
QUOTE
That sleeping bag is not going to keep you warm in the hammock without a pad or some kind of insulation underneath the hammock, if it drops into the 40s or 30s at night.

This is true - however, if you are sleeping on the ground in the summer it may be more bag than you need.

That depends. Synthetics degrade rapidly, especially when used a lot.

It could be a 40F bag by now. Or a 30. I would never go to elevation without a reliable 20F setup with an extra layer or two to go lower in an emergency.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 10:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naperica @ May 11 2014, 4:09 pm)
QUOTE
I have a thermarest ridge rest that I use for church overnights when I am on the floor, but that too seems to huge to carry.  

This transition from car camping and day hiking to overnight backpacking is taking more thought than I originally planned.  I know it probably shouldn't, but I tend to overthink everything.

Considering the bulk of the Ridgerest, it is a decent R-Value  and can't deflate. It is easily carried on the outside and it won't get soggy. Simply shake it off when you get to camp (if it's raining). A great value, all things considered. That said, it can be a PITA getting it setup inside a HH. I've done it and it's brutal. Also, as mentioned, a mattress inside a hammock leads to "cold elbow" syndrome. If you shove your jacket and other items around your torso, this helps but an underquilt will be much better in that setup. In mid-summer (night time temps above 50), I've used my rainshell and leftover clothes under me for "insulation" and had it work reasonably well.

I don't think there's such a thing as overthinking backpacking overnight. Many things can go wrong and there is much to think through. It's taken me years of tweaking to make it on long trips in all sorts of foul weather to get it "right" comfortably. There is such a thing as overpacking though.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 12 2014, 6:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(naperica @ May 10 2014, 7:07 am)
QUOTE
…my sleeping bag now takes up almost the entirety of the rest of my pack.  It is a Cat’s Meow from REI.  I have tried it just pushed into the bag without the compression sack and it seems so huge.  I have also tried it with the compression sack, and it is just a big lump.  

The bottom compartment of your pack that you are packing your hammock and tarp in is intended for the sleeping bag. Stuffed in alone there wouldn't be a lot of extra room left for anything else.
If I understand you correctly, you are not noticing much of a change in size/volume when you put the bag in the compression sack. You definitely should and I suspect you may be referring to a stuff sack. A compression sack is a stuff sack with straps on it that squeeze or compress the bag top to bottom. This is what I use for a similar size bag as yours and it reduces the volume by about a third.

Packing wise, I put my sleeping bag (in a compression sack) in the lower compartment along with my tarp and a few small odds and ends (gloves, etc).  In the main compartment I put my cooking gear in first and fill in all the corners and spaces with food items. I always remove food items from the original packaging and put them in ziplocs so they can often fill these gaps very efficiently. Then the clothes go in either loose or in another compression bag. The last thing in is the tent & fly, if I am bringing one, so it can be accessed quickly if it is raining when I arrive at camp. Other items such as my pad, camp shoes, Nalgene bottle, etc get strapped to the outside of the pack. Rain gear and water filter should also be kept accessible.

The heavy items close to your body and toward the top guideline is good to keep in mind but much is determined by your individual pack and gear.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 13 2014, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Crockett @ May 12 2014, 6:43 pm)
QUOTE
The bottom compartment of your pack that you are packing your hammock and tarp in is intended for the sleeping bag. Stuffed in alone there wouldn't be a lot of extra room left for anything else.
If I understand you correctly, you are not noticing much of a change in size/volume when you put the bag in the compression sack. You definitely should and I suspect you may be referring to a stuff sack. A compression sack is a stuff sack with straps on it that squeeze or compress the bag top to bottom. This is what I use for a similar size bag as yours and it reduces the volume by about a third.

Packing wise, I put my sleeping bag (in a compression sack) in the lower compartment along with my tarp and a few small odds and ends (gloves, etc).  In the main compartment I put my cooking gear in first and fill in all the corners and spaces with food items. I always remove food items from the original packaging and put them in ziplocs so they can often fill these gaps very efficiently. Then the clothes go in either loose or in another compression bag. The last thing in is the tent & fly, if I am bringing one, so it can be accessed quickly if it is raining when I arrive at camp. Other items such as my pad, camp shoes, Nalgene bottle, etc get strapped to the outside of the pack. Rain gear and water filter should also be kept accessible.

The heavy items close to your body and toward the top guideline is good to keep in mind but much is determined by your individual pack and gear.

My single track mind never thought to switch up the arrangement.....I will try the sleeping bag on the bottom and hammock in the top section.

I might not be tightening up the straps on the compression sack enough.

Alright, back to this....
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