Backpacking Gear Questions.

Cool Danish

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
136
Almost all of the camping I have done until now have been out of my Jeep and allowed me to use heavier, cheaper and perhaps more comfortable equipment. The more I explore the Colorado plateau I have recognized that long day hikes from my Jeep is not enough to satisfy me and I want to get into doing some 1-3 night backpacking trips. This brings me to the question of equipment. I already own a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent which I love and will also be my backpacking tent. Most of the time I will also be carrying DSLR and Tripod. Here is my proposed gear list of the heaviest base items (~12lb. 2oz base weight):

  1. Osprey Atmos 50 AG pack (4lbs)
  2. Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 + footprint (3lbs. 7oz.)
  3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTerm MAX Sleeping pad Large (77x25x2.5”, 1lb. 7oz.)
  4. Jetboil Flashlite Cooking System (11oz.) + 100g fuel canister (~7oz.)
  5. Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag (trying to decide between these two):
Most of my trips will be either in the Spring or Fall with possibly low temps down in the low 30s, but also want to be able to do some trips in the Colorado mountains in the Fall where night temps can go down further. I am 6” tall and 180lbs. So here are some questions:

  1. I want to buy quality gear that will last and is fairly light. I don’t necessarily need to go Ultra Light and I really enjoy comfort when hiking/camping/sleeping. So are the above items a good choice? Is a base weight of ~ 12lbs+ acceptable?
  2. I am a side/stomach sleeper and most of the time will stretch my one leg straight and the other leg/knee drawn up towards my torso. This makes mummy bags very uncomfortably for me, so I am looking for a bag with a fairly large Hip circumference. I have heard nothing but great things about WM bags and have narrowed it down to 2 contenders (TerraLite & Sycamore). I am leaning heavily towards the TerraLite because of the barrel shape which will be perfect for me, but I am concerned about the durability of the ExtremeLite series shell fabrics. I am pretty careful with my gear, but have not been able to see any of the WM bags in person. Does anyone here have experience with the WM ExtremeLite series bags and able to comment on the durability of the bag fabric? (I seem to remember that @steve have a WM AlpineLite?).
Any comments/opinions will be greatly appreciated.
 
Last edited:

swmalone

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
429
Almost all of the camping I have done until now have been out of my Jeep and allowed me to use heavier, cheaper and perhaps more comfortable equipment. The more I explore the Colorado plateau I have recognized that long day hikes from my Jeep is not enough to satisfy me and I want to get into doing some 1-3 night backpacking trips. This brings me to the question of equipment. I already own a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent which I love and will also be my backpacking tent. Most of the time I will also be carrying DSLR and Tripod. Here is my proposed gear list of the heaviest base items (~12lb. 2oz base weight):

  1. Osprey Atmos 50 AG pack (4lbs)
  2. Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 + footprint (3lbs. 7oz.)
  3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTerm MAX Sleeping pad Large (77x25x2.5”, 1lb. 7oz.)
  4. Jetboil Flashlite Cooking System (11oz.) + 100g fuel canister (~7oz.)
  5. Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag (trying to decide between these two):
Most of my trips will be either in the Spring or Fall with possibly low temps down in the low 30s, but also want to be able to do some trips in the Colorado mountains in the Fall where night temps can go down further. I am 6” tall and 180lbs. So here are some questions:

  1. I want to buy quality gear that will last and is fairly light. I don’t necessarily need to go Ultra Light and I really enjoy comfort when hiking/camping/sleeping. So are the above items a good choice? Is a base weight of ~ 12lbs+ acceptable?
  2. I am a side/stomach sleeper and most of the time will stretch my one leg straight and the other leg/knee drawn up towards my torso. This makes mummy bags very uncomfortably for me, so I am looking for a bag with a fairly large Hip circumference. I have heard nothing but great things about WM bags and have narrowed it down to 2 contenders (TerraLite & Sycamore). I am leaning heavily towards the TerraLite because of the barrel shape which will be perfect for me, but I am concerned about the durability of the ExtremeLite series shell fabrics. I am pretty careful with my gear, but have not been able to see any of the WM bags in person. Does anyone here have experience with the WM ExtremeLite series bags and able to comment on the durability of the bag fabric? (I seem to remember that @steve have a WM AlpineLite?).
Any comments/opinions will be greatly appreciated.

I can't comment on the bag but the pack and similar tent I can comment. I use the Atmos 50 and a BA Fly Creek UL2. Those have worked great for short 1-2 night trips. I am a tosser and turner when I sleep and I had never found a bag that worked well. I would always wake up with the bag twisted all around me. I added a silk liner and even though it adds a little weight it helps keep my bag clean, and also when I toss and turn the liner moves along the inside of the bag and keeps the bag from twisting into knots around me.

One suggestion I have is make sure you are happy with those three key elements because they are critical and where most of your money will go. The pack, bag, and tent. In the end I have multiples of each of those depending on the situation.
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,853
I have the 40 degree MityLite, and the 15 degree Ponderosa (not sure about the model I got), both down semi-rectangular. They are about 10-15 years old, very well made, very light. The MityLite is maybe the best bag I have ever owned, I have used it into the 30's with no problem. They are expensive, but worth it IMO because they last a long time.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,392
I have the WM Sycamore which is use as my main sleeping bag, not only for backpacking but also car camping and I absolutely love it.
 

SKLund

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
I guess my method is to not over plan and just try the gear I have on hand and see how it works. This has not worked out well for me sometimes but has never kicked me out of the field. Pack that fits, boots ditto, sleep system that works for you. Weigh em all as you pack with a food scale so you have knowledge of what you are putting in. If something does not work, I augment or replace. Your gear list looks good to me but I don't know bags that well. Test your sleep system at home in the temperature range you are working with. Don't spend too much time with the gear store geeks.
 

BryanG

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
67
Have you ever considered using a backpacking quilt? Similar to you, I am a side sleeper. I have a Kelty Cosmic 20 and only use it as a mummy bag when its really cold, like high 20's. The majority of the time I use it like a quilt with the bag unzipped and my feet in the foot box. I think that in the future, due to my preferred sleeping method, I will buy a quilt instead of a mummy style sleeping bag. So maybe consider that as a potential option.
 

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
570
The 50L pack may feel a bit small some times. Especially when you are required to carry a bear canister on multi-day trips. You may want to look at a 65L bag. I don't have a jetboil but friends who do love it. The MSR windburner and reactor are also great options. The thermorest pads are great just don't pop them. I have the neotherm x light whatever...my kids always try and snake it from me as it is very comfortable. If I were gear shopping with you I would really try and talk you into a 65L pack.
 
Last edited:

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,580
The 50L pack may feel a bit small some times. Especially when you are required to carry a bear canister on multi-day trips. You may want to look at a 65L bag. I don't have a jetboil but friends who do love it. The MSR windburner and reactor are also great options. The thermorest pads are great just don't pop them. I have the neotherm x light whatever...my kids always try and snake it from me as it is very comfortable. If I were gear shopping with you I would really try and talk you into a 65L pack.
Not to be all contrarian, but I'd suggest the exact opposite - especially for 1-3 nighters a huge pack isn't necessary. Given the other gear he's carrying (12lb base weight isn't a huge load), I'd suggest a smaller, lighter pack. Atmos is a good pack but it's also 4 lbs... for comparison's sake, the similar-sized ULA Circuit is a pound less (close to two pounds if you start cutting off the useless crap) and can carry 35 lbs without a problem. Course, whatever is the most comfortable to carry is the right pack to choose.

Also, @Cool Danish if you really are six inches tall, you might need a custom-order backpack and sleeping bag. I know that Patagonia makes some nice infant-sized puffy jackets, but even they might be too big on you.
 

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
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Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
570
Not to be all contrarian, but I'd suggest the exact opposite - especially for 1-3 nighters a huge pack isn't necessary. Given the other gear he's carrying (12lb base weight isn't a huge load), I'd suggest a smaller, lighter pack. Atmos is a good pack but it's also 4 lbs... for comparison's sake, the similar-sized ULA Circuit is a pound less (close to two pounds if you start cutting off the useless crap) and can carry 35 lbs without a problem. Course, whatever is the most comfortable to carry is the right pack to choose.

Also, @Cool Danish if you really are six inches tall, you might need a custom-order backpack and sleeping bag. I know that Patagonia makes some nice infant-sized puffy jackets, but even they might be too big on you.
I agree you can get 1-3 days of summer gear in a 50L. However, IMO the added camera equipment may push the limits of a 50L. Also, a bit larger pack could be used in the fall and winter when colder weather requires more pack space. Just some things to consider...
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,580
I agree you can get 1-3 days of summer gear in a 50L. However, IMO the added camera equipment may push the limits of a 50L. Also, a bit larger pack could be used in the fall and winter when colder weather requires more pack space. Just some things to consider...
I think either way, the fact that we're having this discussion underscores an important point - make the pack the very last thing you buy. Put together your gear, put it all in a trash bag, take it to the outfitter and try loading it in different packs. Presto, perfect sized pack.
 

Cool Danish

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
136
Also, @Cool Danish if you really are six inches tall, you might need a custom-order backpack and sleeping bag. I know that Patagonia makes some nice infant-sized puffy jackets, but even they might be too big on you.
:) LOL...

Thanks everyone for comments and advise.. I acquired the Osprey Atmos 50 AG pack and the other items I mentioned. I settled on the
Western Mountaineering TerraLite down sleeping bag (25F, 6'6"L, 65"/68"/42", 1lb.15oz.).
I am very happy with the quality of the WM bag, can't wait to try it out this fall. It's perfect for me.. lots of room for moving around inside.. it's also unzips into a quilt for warmer nights.
As far as fitting everything in the 50L bag, I think it is a perfect size for the kind of trips I am going to do. I can fit Tent, Bag, Pad, Jetboil, 3L water reservoir, 1L bottle, Feisol Tripod & Acratech GP head, Clothes for 2-3 days and Food for 2-3 days and still have room for my DSLR in the top part of the bag (Although I usually carry the camera around my neck when I hike). If I need to go with a bear canister, I would have to either leave the tripod at home or somehow strap it on the outside of the pack.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,580
:) LOL...

Thanks everyone for comments and advise.. I acquired the Osprey Atmos 50 AG pack and the other items I mentioned. I settled on the
Western Mountaineering TerraLite down sleeping bag (25F, 6'6"L, 65"/68"/42", 1lb.15oz.).
I am very happy with the quality of the WM bag, can't wait to try it out this fall. It's perfect for me.. lots of room for moving around inside.. it's also unzips into a quilt for warmer nights.
As far as fitting everything in the 50L bag, I think it is a perfect size for the kind of trips I am going to do. I can fit Tent, Bag, Pad, Jetboil, 3L water reservoir, 1L bottle, Feisol Tripod & Acratech GP head, Clothes for 2-3 days and Food for 2-3 days and still have room for my DSLR in the top part of the bag (Although I usually carry the camera around my neck when I hike). If I need to go with a bear canister, I would have to either leave the tripod at home or somehow strap it on the outside of the pack.
Everybody knows that you're not cool unless you strap stuff to the outside of your pack.
 

SKLund

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
Have you ever considered using a backpacking quilt? Similar to you, I am a side sleeper. I have a Kelty Cosmic 20 and only use it as a mummy bag when its really cold, like high 20's. The majority of the time I use it like a quilt with the bag unzipped and my feet in the foot box. I think that in the future, due to my preferred sleeping method, I will buy a quilt instead of a mummy style sleeping bag. So maybe consider that as a potential option.

I don't like quilts or at least the one I have. It's a GoLite Summer weight and I was cold all the time early this month in the South San Juan's. I see it now as augmentation or as a super light survival bag for very long day hikes that might go overnight.
 

humble hiker

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
15
My goal has been to find my comfortable loaded pack weight including food and water. Then try to shave 5 pounds. That allows room for trip specific luxuries like camera equipment, fishing stuff etc. That way I can still still hit my comfort zone. I did take my 35 degree bag once when my 20 would have been ideal. However I slept with my puffy jacket which always comes with me. That saved me a pound. Overall your base weight isn't bad maybe another 3-5 pounds for food, water, clothes ( trip dependent) maybe 5 more for camera gear totaling about 25 pounds. Assuming the pack supports and fits well and you don't have any physical ailments it will be comfortable. Until you catch the U.L. virus
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,848
Expand your horizons to other brands....... I use a Tarptent Rainbow, Mountain Hardware syn bag, Granite Gear pack.....they all have gotten me to and from some tough places......
 

SKLund

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
Your gear is better than mine and my kit is plenty good enough. My suggestion is to get out and use it. That is the only real way to find out were adjustments need to be made. Get a food scale and weigh your stuff as you put it in your pack. That way you will know how much things actually weigh individually and in total. Then you can adjust for the real cost in labor and calories for whats in your pack. In general terms, light does not mean durable in my experience but that is an individual issue of how tough you are on your stuff.
 
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