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Topic: New gear ideas< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 7:43 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm getting back into backpacking after many years away and am discovering gear is so much smaller and more compact than it was 15 years ago.  I am going to "re-fit" myself and the family to do a little packing this spring and summer; however, I need some pointers and ideas on what to look for.  I would greatly appreciate any information that could be provided assuming wanting to be light weight (since it will now involve two little ones), compact but not break the bank considering some things will require four sets.

I have come up with the following:
TarpTent Hogback for all 4 of us (wife states all four must be in the same tent)
ULA Epic pack for myself and maybe the wife
Gram Weenie Pro stove with GSI Halulite Minimalist (for freeze dried meals and coffee/hot chocolate)
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti and AquaMira tabs for backup

I will use light water bottles and Platypus bottles for camp storage.  Kids will carry their clothes and "toys" they have to have.  

I need drastic help with sleeping gear.  The wife and I have older Cascade Designs 20 degree bags but they are just too large when packed and heavy to also carry with the kids needed equipment.  I would like to find some quilts that will pack very small, weigh little and suffice for summer temps in SC with lows probably not below 50 or so.  What do I need?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 11:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It looks like you have some good ideas already.  For nice, superlight, reasonably priced quilts I would look at Enlightened Equipment.  Good reputation, good service, and made in USA!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 6:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Why the Epic?  Do you live in or plan to hike in extreme conditions?  That's a pretty specialized pack, imo, and you're paying a weight cost for expedition-style waterproofing.

You might want to consider the Ohm or Circuit.  I have the Circuit and I think it would be a great versatile pack if you're planning to hike with your family.  I've carried 15 to 35 (with water cache) with it comfortably (well, as comfortable as 35lb can be...)


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 7:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Nov. 05 2012, 6:54 am)
QUOTE
Why the Epic?  Do you live in or plan to hike in extreme conditions?  That's a pretty specialized pack, imo, and you're paying a weight cost for expedition-style waterproofing.

I like the waterproofing and really like the idea of replaceability.  If the sack/bag gets worn and has a tear you can purchase a new bag for very little vs. purchasing an entire new pack.  I didn't think there was that much difference in the weight.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 9:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(G22inSC @ Nov. 05 2012, 7:58 am)
QUOTE

(TigerFan @ Nov. 05 2012, 6:54 am)
QUOTE
Why the Epic?  Do you live in or plan to hike in extreme conditions?  That's a pretty specialized pack, imo, and you're paying a weight cost for expedition-style waterproofing.

I like the waterproofing and really like the idea of replaceability.  If the sack/bag gets worn and has a tear you can purchase a new bag for very little vs. purchasing an entire new pack.  I didn't think there was that much difference in the weight.

The ULA packs have lots of dyneema -- very durable and pretty waterproof.  My Circuit with all the removable internal pockets taken out is 34oz.   The Epic *without* the drybag is 32.5oz alone.  The drybag is going to be at least 10-12oz if you want anything durable.  My raincover, if I take it, is less than 2oz.  Lots of people just line the inside with a trash bag which weighs even less.

Btw, tears are almost always repairable and wouldn't warrant having to buy a brand new pack.  I hike in the Canyons and certainly don't baby my pack and damaging the Circuit really isn't a concern.

Have you talked to ULA?  Their customer service is great.  If you have concerns about durability, you should talk to them.  I'm saying all this because you've posted this in the "Ultralight" forum -- don't buy a tank if you don't need one.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 11:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I will second the idea of either the Ohm or Circuit.  Waterproofing is heavy, whereas a simple pack cover is not.  If there is no rain in the forecast, you can choose to leave the pack cover at home.  I hike in the desert about half the time, and rain never enters my mind there.

As for replacement, I would not buy a pack based on the ease of replacing a component.  I used the same pack for 8 years before selling it and buying a Circuit, and that pack was still in good working order.  I am hoping the Circuit gives me a similar experience.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 4:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Same thoughts about the Epic

If not packrafting or something like that there are better choices
( the Circuit is nice...)
Why the Gram Weenie Pro ?
Do the 4 of you cook independently ?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 5:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Epic - 42.5 oz with dry bag (3966 ci)
Ability to use std 65L or smaller bag when you don't need as much room.  Able to place Cascade Designs Z-lite pad (14 oz) either wrapped around the dry bag before placing into ULA Epic, under dry bag or between dry bag and mesh pocket on ULA Epic.

Circuit - 39 oz (4200 ci / 2400 ci in main body)
Just slightly lighter and much more awkward with sleeping pad somehow attached since it will not roll up very small like some of the self-inflatable.  Just seems to me that the main body is really small for a weekend trip knowing I would also have to carry some of the kids gear.  See end of post for further questions on gear "space" concerns.


I was looking at the Gram Weenie Pro to be suitable for both solo use and family (two small kids and wife) use.  We would not really do much other than boil two cups of water at the most two times for the kids and then adults freeze dried dinner.  Just seems to be a smaller and lighter option than other possibilities.


I like the Enlightened Equipment Revelation X quilts and am wandering about their stuffed size.  I have not been able to find any such information.  The weight seems to be good but I don't know how small they will stuff.  Will they stuff small enough to carry the following base gear plus other necessities in the above packs:

TarpTent Hogback
Two quilts (mine and one of the boys)
Two sleeping pads (mine and one of the boys)
cooking stove, pot, alcohol, etc.
other typical items...


I don't really know how much space is needed these days since all this gear has changed so much from what I remember.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Best advice we can give you is to buy the assorted gear before the pack.  You can either see what size (Liter) dry bag or stuff sack it all fits into, or carry it to the store and find out which packs it all fits into.  Carrying comfort is the most important thing, and you cannot tell that until you load a pack with your gear and walk around the store with it for a couple of hours.  

I use the Circuit for week long trips with all of my gear, including my food, inside or in a pocket.  My food was in a BV 500 last trip to Yosemite.  The Circuit functioned wonderfully.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think you guys have talked me out of the Epic.  Did some more reading and research last night and I think I am sold on either the Catalyst or Circuit.  Does anyone know of a stocking dealer some where near the Upstate of SC to be able to put hands and eyes on both packs to make a decision without doing a blind internet order?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 9:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(G22inSC @ Nov. 06 2012, 8:23 am)
QUOTE
I think you guys have talked me out of the Epic.  Did some more reading and research last night and I think I am sold on either the Catalyst or Circuit.  Does anyone know of a stocking dealer some where near the Upstate of SC to be able to put hands and eyes on both packs to make a decision without doing a blind internet order?

OK, I'm going to guess that you've never dealt with cottage companies like ULA *and* you're also downright stubborn  :D ...  But, honestly, trust me on this one.  CALL ULA.  With cottage companies, chances are that the person you'll talk to is the person who owns the company and makes and/or designs the gear.  Chris is really helpful and will make sure that you have a pack that fits you and your needs.  I think he sent me 4 packs before we got it right.  He'll also know if there are any available in stores near you to try on.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Me, I'm not sure the Steripen is the best idea, especially for a family. You'll have to pre-filter particulates and treat small quantities. Take a look at the Sawyer set-ups. No batteries, pre-filtering optional, field-cleanable, nothing to break (as long as you don't freeze it), lightest weight, and can be set up as a large-quantity gravity filter, an in-line filter, or a drink-direct filter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 9:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It seems there are several options from Sawyer.  What seems to be the best/most popular choice?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 12:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We have the Sawyer Squeeze (bought new for a Utah trip last month) and we really like it a lot.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 09 2012, 2:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ditto on calling ULA.

I'm about to take the Squeeze back. Don't like the whole process - want my gravity filter for most places, and the pump is preferred where the gravity filter or the Squeeze would not work well. The bags didn't fail (though some of my friends had that problem with it) - it's a hassle, and not worth the effort.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 10 2012, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For an idea of how small quilts pack to go here:

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews....lankets

Most of the reviews (all of mine) will have a picture of it stuffed.

Considering you are boiling water for 4 people I would suggest a bigger pot, and better stove.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 11 2012, 1:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I will be the contrarian here and vote for the Epic.  The ability to size it for day trips as well as week long trips would be ideal.  

Considering the Circuit has a main bag volume of 45l, apples to apples there would be almost no weight difference between the packs.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 12 2012, 4:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I made it over to the closest ULA dealer about 1.5 hours away this morning and pulled the trigger on the ULA Catalyst.  I like the Circuit, but wanted to make sure I had enough room for the "family."  If it was just me I would definitely down size but oh well.  I decided on foregoing the SteriPEN and am in the process of making my own gravity system with the Sawyer SP122 and Platypus parts.  It will include a 3L dirty bag, tubing and multiple 2L clean bags for a total weight of approximately 9 ounces.  I will weight it all out once the orders come in.  I think it will work as well as the complete Sawyer system for about half the weight.  We'll have to see how it all goes together.  Now I just need to purchase the Hogback and figure out the quilts.  Thanks for everyone's opinions.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 7:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

How old are your kids? Did you see my post on the GoLite quilts? I will be selling those two.

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews....strella

I have two 60" Big Agnes IAC pads too.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 10:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My favorite pack is the ULA Catalyst - a bit heavier, but superb weight transfer for my cranky back, and can carry a bit more weight if needed with kids, etc. Good choice!

But just to be contrarian, the Epic with a custom cuben dry bag works darn nice when you have to carry a large bear box (Bearikade Expedition). And a few cuben dry bags of different sizes makes for a very adaptable pack!

Good choice as well on your water filter! I've done the exact same thing, and find it works great with groups (family). On solo trips or with only one other person I take the Steripen, which I love!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2012, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ULA are my favorite packs.  I have a Circuit right now and it is my favorite.  I had a Catalyst and it too is a fine pack but I found the Circuit with the lighter weight and smaller size forced me to be more careful about what I packed.  I would not trade my Circuit for anything.

I think Tarptents are good tents.  I have one of the Big Anges UL tents that is only 3 pounds and would recommend that as well.  

I absolutely love my Jacks R Better quilt.  It weighs nearly nothing and is very warm.  Still with that said when the temps are going to be below 20 at night I have a Kelty zero degree bag I take.  It is 4 pounds and does not fit the UL style but I just can't afford a $600 plus bag for the three or four winter trips I take a year.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 02 2012, 9:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(charadeur @ Nov. 22 2012, 2:52 pm)
QUOTE
ULA are my favorite packs.  I have a Circuit right now and it is my favorite.  I had a Catalyst and it too is a fine pack but I found the Circuit with the lighter weight and smaller size forced me to be more careful about what I packed.  I would not trade my Circuit for anything.

I think Tarptents are good tents.  I have one of the Big Anges UL tents that is only 3 pounds and would recommend that as well.  

I absolutely love my Jacks R Better quilt.  It weighs nearly nothing and is very warm.  Still with that said when the temps are going to be below 20 at night I have a Kelty zero degree bag I take.  It is 4 pounds and does not fit the UL style but I just can't afford a $600 plus bag for the three or four winter trips I take a year.

I too use a ULA Circuit and it is comfortable, lightweight and just Plain awesome.  I switched from a 65 liter osprey pack and this smaller size has forced me to evaluate what I carry..  

As far as my tent, the Big Agnes Flycreek ul 2 is great and only weighs 2 lbs 2oz. Perfect for me by myself or when my 8 year old goes with me..

Currently I don't have a quilt or anything for cold temps. I have done a night in snow and it was only 28 out, and I used my 35 degree bag with a liner.. I can say that the Thermarest neoaire was not the right pad!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 03 2012, 11:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would ditto the ULA Circuit.  Since you'll probably be carrying the bulk of the equipment it's better to have too much room than not enough and this pack carries great even if it's half empty.  Also, top notch customer service!  I would second guess the Steripen.  It's a fun toy but you end up having to carry Aqua Mira drops anyway in case the batteries fail.  Also, to get the kids to help with chores you may want to look into a filter/pump, which is something they can use without worrying about breaking it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 03 2012, 11:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oops, I referred to the Circuit but I actually have the Catalyst.  I like having the extra room.  But they are both amazing packs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 11 2012, 9:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have had a catalyst and circuit.  Between the two I love the circuit.  There is something to be said for the smaller size (and lighter weight.)  Like my garage I tend to fill whatever space I have.  The circuit helps me make decisions but still has enough room for me to down to zero degree temps.
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