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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?

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Offline Lynn

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« on: May 25, 2007, 09:55:12 PM »
Does anybody have any suggestions for a new pack--light but with structure enought to carry three gallons (how much is that in Platypi?) of water?  Gear talk, I know.  I currently carry a 5-pound pack and then we add the water.  Whoa.  Are there any ultralight desert hikers out there--three day max?  What is your pack?  I don't think it can be done, litely, that is.  I want to be wrong.

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Offline Undertaker

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Water is Life
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2007, 08:48:36 AM »
You have no way to pack lite at 8+ pounds per gallon of water, except to reduce the weight of everything else in the pack or cache and carry. Preplace water at some point near trail you are taking. I am not a lite packer but with the experience on this board you will most likely get some very good answers to your question.
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline trtlrock

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2007, 09:22:15 AM »
We do the ultralight thing pretty religiously, but you're running up against some more practical obstacles than just which pack to buy.  Even if you found a light pack with some rigidity, you can't fit 3 gallons of water PLUS all the food, clothing, etc.  There's simply not enough cubic inches available.

Even if you could, the total weight you'd be attempting to carry would be annoying at best, impossible at worst...that's the kind of thing that can cause a medical breakdown out on the trail.  Who wants to strain a foot, knee, ligament, back, etc when you're out on the Dodson, for instance.

Best idea by far is to get a light pack, embrace the ultralight methods, but ALSO invest the time necessary to drop caches of water, clothing & food so you're total pack weight can hover somewhere between 20-40lbs.

If you have a specific route you're thinking of let us know.  There's a lot of knowledge on this board with regards to where to drop caches...
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline trtlrock

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2007, 09:25:31 AM »
FYI we did a 14-day, 130-mile, cross-country hike around the Chisos in February.  We dropped 17 caches in advance, and our pack weights never exceeded about 30lbs on any given day...it can definitely be done!

Trip report coming sometime in the next few weeks...months...ye ars  :roll:
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2007, 09:40:46 AM »
Are you sure you need to carry 3 Gallons of water?  Unless your going into the Deadhorse Mtns or something there are almost always water sources available that you can filter or treat (during normal or wet conditions).    If your thinking about the Outer Mtn Loop I would cache water and goodies at Blue Creek but other than that there are not too many areas of the Park where water sources are more than 5-10 miles apart.  During drought you have to be a lot more careful but things are green and lush this year and it's been a fairly good rainfall year so far.  Let us know if you want specific trail info but why use ultralight gear if your going to be carrying 3 gallons of water past existing water sources anyway? ... TWWG

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Online mule ears

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It all depends
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2007, 03:06:27 PM »
I hike ultralight (desert base weight ~12 lbs.) but with 3 days water and food you will be looking for a pack that can handle around 40-45 lbs.  On our Dead Horse mtn. traverse I used a Mountainsmith Auspex (just over 3 lbs.) that carried that kind of weight very well.  

I have been using a 28 oz. SixMoons Designs Starlight, with stays, the past few years and it has the volume and can carry that kind of weight but not as comfortably.  

Many Pacific Crest Trail thru hikers (that includes a lot of desert hiking at first) are also using one of the ULA equipment packs (Catalyst or Circuit) which weigh between 2 and 3 lbs.

The beauty of the weight being in water is that it goes down quickly so if the pack is a bit uncomfortable the first day it will soon get within it's comfortable carrying range.

As the others have said, it all depends on the part of the park as there are a lot of springs and places to cache more water.  I am sure that dryer, who is on this list, would have some good ultralight pack suggestions too.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline 01ACRViper

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007, 01:14:56 AM »
just pile on the pounds and slow down your schedule, always worked for me :lol:

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Offline Al

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 01:28:03 AM »
I blew off the 6-volt lantern and spare battery many years ago.  Be sure you have enough stuff.  Treats on the trail are especially enjoyable.

Al

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Offline Lynn

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Thanks for responses
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2007, 08:11:12 PM »
Thanks to all; I have no specific trail, other than all desert trails, in mind, but I do want a new pack.  I may advocate cache and carry, but I feel sooooo much better with major carrying.   I have checked out the Mountainsmith and the ULA sites, and the ULA Catalyst looks good.  Buying a new, lighter pack is confusing, but now I consider that caching itself may be even more so: caching and the knowledge of water sources other than Boot Springs would make a great pamphlet.  (You potential authors know who you are.)  Thanks again.  Maybe I should just go hike the bubbling brooks of the Ozarks and trade pounds for poison ivy.

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Offline Roy

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2007, 08:34:07 PM »
I bought a Mountainsmith Ghost pack a while back;  it comes with 100 oz. bladder and enough room for water/food/gear for a couple of nights, if you pack creatively.  Don't know if they still make that particular model.

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Offline Big Bender

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2007, 11:42:45 PM »
If you're interested in trying to go real lite, you may want to pick up a copy of a book Beyond Backpacking, Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking by Adventurelore Press at www.adventurelore.c om.  

Jardine has hiked the entire PCT, CDT, and the AT on numerous occasions and has some really good suggestions on hiking light.  His pack, even in winter, rarely goes over 20 pounds without water.

Jardine is best known for inventing Friends, a rock caming device used in rock climbing.

Geary
What doesn't kill you usually hurts like hell

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Offline dryer

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2007, 07:13:10 AM »
Visit this website for tons of ultralight backpacking clues:
www.backpacking.net
Go to "community" and surf the forums.  You'll learn techniques on how to shed pack pounds and hike more efficiently.

Lightweight packs....I use a GPV 4 by Gossamer Gear.  It has no frame or pads in the shoulders or hip belt.  Weighs 13 oz.  Your foam pad becomes your frame and your spare socks/clothing becomes your strap pads.  For 1-3 nighters I use a GoLite Day pack.  Again, well under a pound and just big enough.  I'm wearing the GPV 4 in the avatar pic to the left......

As far as desert hiking goes, as others have mentioned, cache your water if possible.  After you gain some hiking experience in BiBe, the 'gallon a day' mantra can be reduced somewhat.  Hiking the Outer Mountain Loop, I've never carried more than 6 liters of water at one time, but cached and purified along the way.  My pack weight was never more than 25 lbs. at it's heaviest....base weight around 12-13 lbs.   Little tricks like what season you choose to hike, hiking with an umbrella (permanent shade!), what time of day you hike, what you wear, what's on your feet, and what you eat, can effect what you must haul.   Going "ultralight" is a process you must work into over time.

Try and find a copy of Ray Jardine's book "Beyond Backpacking".  I believe it's out of print but it's a great place to start.
KD5IVP, Texas

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Offline RichardM

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2007, 09:01:21 AM »
Quote from: "dryer"
hiking with an umbrella (permanent shade!)

So what kind of umbrella setup do you use?  Big golf umbrella carried in one hand?  One that clips on your pack frame (oh wait, yours doesn't have a frame)? Inquiring minds want to know....

"Oh I'm a lucky fella, I'm a lucky boy,
I've got a new umbrella, and it's me pride and joy!"

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Offline dryer

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2007, 01:32:34 PM »
Quote from: "RichardM"
Quote from: "dryer"
hiking with an umbrella (permanent shade!)

So what kind of umbrella setup do you use?  Big golf umbrella carried in one hand?  One that clips on your pack frame (oh wait, yours doesn't have a frame)? Inquiring minds want to know....

"Oh I'm a lucky fella, I'm a lucky boy,
I've got a new umbrella, and it's me pride and joy!"


Per Ray Jardines book (above post) I took a standard, and cheap, one piece umbrella, and lightened it.  Basically removed the un-needed springs and brackets and put it all back together.  I've made a few of these things over the years.  It weights about 5 oz. and stores in my pack's outside web pockets when not in use.  Doubles as rain and sun shelter, and sometimes a tarp/shelter support.   AMAZING the difference hiking across the desert floor while in perpetual shade!  

Surf the Golite site and you'll find some ready made hiking umbrellas.  The "Dome", I think they call it.
http://www.golite.com/product/productdetail.aspx?p=AC0112&s=1
KD5IVP, Texas

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Offline Big Bender

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Ultralite pack in the desert: Way/No way?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2007, 06:38:39 PM »
Dryer,

I haven't tried an umbrella yet, I know that Jardine swears by them.  Then again, I avoid BiBe in the summer.  Maybe I shouldn't.  Yes, an umbrellas could open up a whole new realm of misery..

Interesting, if there is any place an umbrella could come in handy, BiBe would be it.  Thanks for the links, Iíll check out some of the other web references.

Geary
What doesn't kill you usually hurts like hell

 


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