Kings Peak Via Garfield Basin

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Mike K

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
816
This won’t be a legit trip report - you’ll see why if you read on.

I headed up to the Uintas with two friends for a 3 night backpacking trip last weekend. We checked out some new territory starting at the Center Park trail head, hiking through Garfield Basin, and bagging Kings Peak. It was my first time on Kings (my previous attempt was a bust due to a storm). One of my buddies was ambitious and bagged South Kings as well. (By the way, it was cool to hit Kings from the way less popular south slope). We had a little bit of everything. Bugs, all sorts of weather, beautiful sunsets, wind, a bit of wildlife, fishing, cards, etc. It was a moderately arduous and great trip. But I left the trip with more questions and thoughts than I’ve had in awhile. I’m always looking to improve my experience - whether it be gear, the route choice, miles hiked, comfort, sleep, food, etc. So here you have my musings with a bunch of questions and thoughts. I’m not REALLY looking for answers but feel free to answer them, correct me, or add to my thoughts. I’m just kind of thinking out loud and musing.

I’ll add a few pics at the end.

Sleep
What can I do to sleep better? All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Maybe I got more sleep than I thought. I have a decent pad and bag. Maybe the 15 degree bag was a bit much and I was too hot. Oh! Here’s one question I’m actually curious about. Why do I always feel damp/wet/clammy/humid regardless of the temperature?! Maybe it’s just more humid up there. Ugh...I hate that feeling and I think that’s part of what prevents me from sleeping well. I’ve tried stuff like benadryl and “PM” Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Meh...just makes me feel foggy while tossing and turning. Maybe a wider pad? I have a decent pillow that works well. I’ve got to try something new next time.

Filtering Water
Last summer we had two Sawyer Squeeze filters. Mine was SO slow and mucked up it barely worked at first. Backflushing helped some but several of us vowed “never again” with the Sawyer Squeezes. I’ve also tried the old school pumps, UV filter, some other stuff. We had a new toy on this trip.This time I splurged (it was a splurge for me anyhow) on cost and weight and I bought a new Platypus Gravity filter. https://www.rei.com/product/866422/platypus-gravityworks-water-filter-system-4-liter
Holy crap we loved it! I’d always rolled my eyes at gravity filters and at all of you guys that have sung their praises - but you were all right. They rock. The only slight negatives in my book are: a little heavy, the air purging is a bit of a hassle, and the recommended backflushing is a hassle, too. Still. Loved it!

Carrying Water
I’ve been using a ZPacks water bottle clip. I’ve really liked it (after some modifications - velcro and zip tie for security). Well, it busted on this trip. I had to shift stuff in my back to one side (to make the side pocket “looser”) so I could easily grab and put back my water bottle in without asking for help or dropping my back. I’m debating getting several new clips (possible taking a backup next time) vs getting the Zpacks water bottle sleeve. Any thoughts?

Hiking Boots
I’m a big fan of waterproof boots. I have some that aren’t all crazy heavy. They really came in handy for the mud, river crossings, multitude of swampy sections, the snow, and for the unforgiving rockiness of the Uinta trails and peaks. One thing I noticed is that I didn’t buy the right size with a big enough toe box. Argh. Poor bruised and sore pinky toes. Lesson learned. Do some of you really use “trail runners” in these harsh conditions up there? I’ve always been tempted to try lighter footwear. I have a low volume foot and I wonder if some La Sportivas (which I think generally run narrow) might be in my future - appropriately sized with room in the toe box! =)

Pain
My legs and feet generally did fine. (The pinky toes were tolerable). But my neck and shoulder muscles always get sore. Always. I started with about a 29 lb pack (heavy for some of you, light for others). I’m a small guy about 140lbs and 5’8”. Anyhow, it’s probably just me being out of shape from sitting at a computer all day. It makes me want to lighten my load and get more exercise - focusing on those muscles. I’m also wondering if I wear my pack wrong or if I load it poorly...hmm…

Lightning!!
What in the world are you supposed to do when you’re camped right at treeline, in a pretty wide open space with sparse trees? We were chilling at camp and a storm was going on over the other side of the mountain. We saw a lighting strike pretty close. We talked about it but we didn’t really know what the best protocol was. Duck in your tent? Hide in a thicket of low trees/shrubs (that’s the only cover that was close by)? Ignore the storm and go with the odds? =) Run to lower elevation if it gets bad? Crouch down on your tippy toes? Crouch on something to insulate yourself from the ground? Anyhow...we were lucky the storms blew by and we only saw the one close-ish lightning strike. =)

Sunshirts
I’ve been liking the protection of a hooded sunshirt. I have a white Columbia PFG one (50 spf I think) that I wear in conjunction with a trucker/ball cap. It’s great when it’s not too hot. But if I'm climbing or working hard or it’s sunny or there’s no breeze, I get toasty! I’ve been researching some alternatives. Some of the lighter weight ones that sound nice for hot weather are only 15 spf. Maybe I need to go back to a wider hat with another type of shirt. I know it’s good to protect myself from the sun, especially at high elevation, but dang I was jealous of my buddy who wore shorts and t-shirt when we were working hard. Hmm…maybe I just need to pack a load of sunscreen instead.

Miscellaneous Stuff
  • My cheapo rain suit (Frog Toggs) has been a good bang for buck. Super delicate, but light and reliable. And kept the bugs off!
  • I hate getting my pot all greasy when eating Ramen so I’ve been eating it out of a freezer bag. Works well but it’s kind of difficult to eat. One night I ate my Ramen out of one of those bowls (that stores flat). It was nice but then that thing was all greasy. Argh.
  • I think we only had one Mountain House meal between the three of us. Reason to celebrate! =)
  • I love love love my little 2 oz. Z-Seat. I even converted the other two guys. We all had one.
  • I need to find a more durable cord that goes underneath my boot to hold my mini gaiters down. Those things barely last one trip.
  • I’ve had my black diamond compact trekking poles for, I swear, like 10 years + and they’re still going strong. When will they die? Probably at a really inopportune time.

Who knew a backpacking trip would inspire so many thoughts and questions. If you’re still reading, congrats. That felt like some serious rambling.

Cheers,

Mike

On the way in
50060685016_745633a6e7_k.jpg

Small "pass" before dropping into Swasey Hole
50060930367_4d359b18f6_k.jpg

Dropping down, rocky trail
50060685596_28f649c322_k.jpg

Nice sunset
50060122703_32a18e88fe_k.jpg

Fishing in Spider Lake
50060931117_c34cf49fd2_k.jpg

Looking back at Spider Lake
50060123653_a7dfe820ba_k.jpg

Tiny bugs, this was only a few of what was on my pack at this moment. Gnats?
50060687196_de36d1f0cd_k.jpg

Five Point Lake (I think)
50060932142_80a8177675_k.jpg

Our high camp with nice open views
50060124728_5d2855a906_k.jpg

Playing cards at camp
50060933187_d98fbb798b_k.jpg

We had all sorts of crazy colors this night
50060929282_65ac6e1a7b_k.jpg

Awesome waterfalls in the distance. That might be Powell Peak?
50060125403_fc1636b13a_k.jpg

Kings and the south side of Andersen Pass/Highline trail (don't quote me on that)
50060125578_35d64b5df1_k.jpg

Short snow field, I brought microspikes , but never used them. A wasted extra 12 oz!
50060125658_147ca8efba_k.jpg

Kings from Andersen Pass
50060125963_ca58c64071_k.jpg

Summit!
50060689266_0c3a5c43a5_k.jpg

Dave on South Kings (tiny...from far away)
50060689676_01c9ff981e_k.jpg

Looking back at our route
50060929507_a8680ccf7c_k.jpg
 

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Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
15
Sleep
What can I do to sleep better? All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Maybe I got more sleep than I thought. I have a decent pad and bag. Maybe the 15 degree bag was a bit much and I was too hot. Oh! Here’s one question I’m actually curious about. Why do I always feel damp/wet/clammy/humid regardless of the temperature?! Maybe it’s just more humid up there. Ugh...I hate that feeling and I think that’s part of what prevents me from sleeping well. I’ve tried stuff like benadryl and “PM” Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Meh...just makes me feel foggy while tossing and turning. Maybe a wider pad? I have a decent pillow that works well. I’ve got to try something new next time.
I find that elevation >10,000' generally throws off my sleep the first couple nights, but after that it evens out. (I live at ~6,000'.) My biggest sleep improvements came when I switched to a hybrid bag/quilt that allows me a little more tossing and turning w/o waking all the way up. And unfortunately I'm a side sleeper, so some sort of pillow is necessary.


Filtering Water
Last summer we had two Sawyer Squeeze filters. Mine was SO slow and mucked up it barely worked at first. Backflushing helped some but several of us vowed “never again” with the Sawyer Squeezes. I’ve also tried the old school pumps, UV filter, some other stuff. We had a new toy on this trip.This time I splurged (it was a splurge for me anyhow) on cost and weight and I bought a new Platypus Gravity filter. https://www.rei.com/product/866422/platypus-gravityworks-water-filter-system-4-liter
Holy crap we loved it! I’d always rolled my eyes at gravity filters and at all of you guys that have sung their praises - but you were all right. They rock. The only slight negatives in my book are: a little heavy, the air purging is a bit of a hassle, and the recommended backflushing is a hassle, too. Still. Loved it!
Gravity filters are amazing when shared w/ a group, but I just can't justify the weight if I'm the only one using it. The past few years I've used a Sawyer Squeeze and had some similar issues, but pre-filtering silty water does help a lot. Recently a friend bought me a Katadyn BeFree as a gift and I'm really liking it so far. (Can't vouch for long-term use yet though.)

Hiking Boots
I’m a big fan of waterproof boots. I have some that aren’t all crazy heavy. They really came in handy for the mud, river crossings, multitude of swampy sections, the snow, and for the unforgiving rockiness of the Uinta trails and peaks. One thing I noticed is that I didn’t buy the right size with a big enough toe box. Argh. Poor bruised and sore pinky toes. Lesson learned. Do some of you really use “trail runners” in these harsh conditions up there? I’ve always been tempted to try lighter footwear. I have a low volume foot and I wonder if some La Sportivas (which I think generally run narrow) might be in my future - appropriately sized with room in the toe box! =)
I use trail runners everywhere, including week long trips in the Brooks and Alaska ranges. Sometimes I'll only get ~200 miles on a pair if I do a lot of off-trail hiking on scree/talus, but I consider it a fair trade-off. I love the features of La Sportiva Bushido, but they're too narrow for me to wear on a multi-day trip where my feet swell a bit. Lately I've been using Altra Lone Peaks - which are on the less durable side of trail runners - and they've been averaging about 400 miles a pair.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,243
Sleep
What can I do to sleep better? All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Maybe I got more sleep than I thought.
You know, this always happens to me the night before climbing a peak when sleeping at elevation. For the longest time I thought I just wasn't able to sleep, yet I always felt OK when I woke up early in the morning. What I eventually found out is that I actually was sleeping and was only dreaming that I was tossing and turning and not able to sleep. That feeling kind of sucks, but at least now I know I am actually sleeping!
 

Parma

@parma26
.
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
705
Checkout Joe Rogan's podcast from a couple years ago with Matthew Walker, a sleep expert. It has some amazing stuff!

Right out of the gate he says that when you're in a different environment that half your brain doesn't sleep as deeply as the other half. It's a threat detection.
Check it out, it's an amazing podcast episode.
 
Last edited:

Born to Hike

Member
.
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
134
Sleep
What can I do to sleep better? All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Maybe I got more sleep than I thought. I have a decent pad and bag. Maybe the 15 degree bag was a bit much and I was too hot. Oh! Here’s one question I’m actually curious about. Why do I always feel damp/wet/clammy/humid regardless of the temperature?! Maybe it’s just more humid up there. Ugh...I hate that feeling and I think that’s part of what prevents me from sleeping well. I’ve tried stuff like benadryl and “PM” Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Meh...just makes me feel foggy while tossing and turning. Maybe a wider pad? I have a decent pillow that works well. I’ve got to try something new next time.
I always plan on not sleeping while backpacking: then I am never disappointed, and many times nicely surprised.
 

Born to Hike

Member
.
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
134
This won’t be a legit trip report - you’ll see why if you read on.

I headed up to the Uintas with two friends for a 3 night backpacking trip last weekend. We checked out some new territory starting at the Center Park trail head, hiking through Garfield Basin, and bagging Kings Peak. It was my first time on Kings (my previous attempt was a bust due to a storm). One of my buddies was ambitious and bagged South Kings as well. (By the way, it was cool to hit Kings from the way less popular south slope). We had a little bit of everything. Bugs, all sorts of weather, beautiful sunsets, wind, a bit of wildlife, fishing, cards, etc. It was a moderately arduous and great trip. But I left the trip with more questions and thoughts than I’ve had in awhile. I’m always looking to improve my experience - whether it be gear, the route choice, miles hiked, comfort, sleep, food, etc. So here you have my musings with a bunch of questions and thoughts. I’m not REALLY looking for answers but feel free to answer them, correct me, or add to my thoughts. I’m just kind of thinking out loud and musing.

I’ll add a few pics at the end.

Sleep
What can I do to sleep better? All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling quite refreshed. Maybe I got more sleep than I thought. I have a decent pad and bag. Maybe the 15 degree bag was a bit much and I was too hot. Oh! Here’s one question I’m actually curious about. Why do I always feel damp/wet/clammy/humid regardless of the temperature?! Maybe it’s just more humid up there. Ugh...I hate that feeling and I think that’s part of what prevents me from sleeping well. I’ve tried stuff like benadryl and “PM” Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Meh...just makes me feel foggy while tossing and turning. Maybe a wider pad? I have a decent pillow that works well. I’ve got to try something new next time.

Filtering Water
Last summer we had two Sawyer Squeeze filters. Mine was SO slow and mucked up it barely worked at first. Backflushing helped some but several of us vowed “never again” with the Sawyer Squeezes. I’ve also tried the old school pumps, UV filter, some other stuff. We had a new toy on this trip.This time I splurged (it was a splurge for me anyhow) on cost and weight and I bought a new Platypus Gravity filter. https://www.rei.com/product/866422/platypus-gravityworks-water-filter-system-4-liter
Holy crap we loved it! I’d always rolled my eyes at gravity filters and at all of you guys that have sung their praises - but you were all right. They rock. The only slight negatives in my book are: a little heavy, the air purging is a bit of a hassle, and the recommended backflushing is a hassle, too. Still. Loved it!

Carrying Water
I’ve been using a ZPacks water bottle clip. I’ve really liked it (after some modifications - velcro and zip tie for security). Well, it busted on this trip. I had to shift stuff in my back to one side (to make the side pocket “looser”) so I could easily grab and put back my water bottle in without asking for help or dropping my back. I’m debating getting several new clips (possible taking a backup next time) vs getting the Zpacks water bottle sleeve. Any thoughts?

Hiking Boots
I’m a big fan of waterproof boots. I have some that aren’t all crazy heavy. They really came in handy for the mud, river crossings, multitude of swampy sections, the snow, and for the unforgiving rockiness of the Uinta trails and peaks. One thing I noticed is that I didn’t buy the right size with a big enough toe box. Argh. Poor bruised and sore pinky toes. Lesson learned. Do some of you really use “trail runners” in these harsh conditions up there? I’ve always been tempted to try lighter footwear. I have a low volume foot and I wonder if some La Sportivas (which I think generally run narrow) might be in my future - appropriately sized with room in the toe box! =)

Pain
My legs and feet generally did fine. (The pinky toes were tolerable). But my neck and shoulder muscles always get sore. Always. I started with about a 29 lb pack (heavy for some of you, light for others). I’m a small guy about 140lbs and 5’8”. Anyhow, it’s probably just me being out of shape from sitting at a computer all day. It makes me want to lighten my load and get more exercise - focusing on those muscles. I’m also wondering if I wear my pack wrong or if I load it poorly...hmm…

Lightning!!
What in the world are you supposed to do when you’re camped right at treeline, in a pretty wide open space with sparse trees? We were chilling at camp and a storm was going on over the other side of the mountain. We saw a lighting strike pretty close. We talked about it but we didn’t really know what the best protocol was. Duck in your tent? Hide in a thicket of low trees/shrubs (that’s the only cover that was close by)? Ignore the storm and go with the odds? =) Run to lower elevation if it gets bad? Crouch down on your tippy toes? Crouch on something to insulate yourself from the ground? Anyhow...we were lucky the storms blew by and we only saw the one close-ish lightning strike. =)

Sunshirts
I’ve been liking the protection of a hooded sunshirt. I have a white Columbia PFG one (50 spf I think) that I wear in conjunction with a trucker/ball cap. It’s great when it’s not too hot. But if I'm climbing or working hard or it’s sunny or there’s no breeze, I get toasty! I’ve been researching some alternatives. Some of the lighter weight ones that sound nice for hot weather are only 15 spf. Maybe I need to go back to a wider hat with another type of shirt. I know it’s good to protect myself from the sun, especially at high elevation, but dang I was jealous of my buddy who wore shorts and t-shirt when we were working hard. Hmm…maybe I just need to pack a load of sunscreen instead.

Miscellaneous Stuff
  • My cheapo rain suit (Frog Toggs) has been a good bang for buck. Super delicate, but light and reliable. And kept the bugs off!
  • I hate getting my pot all greasy when eating Ramen so I’ve been eating it out of a freezer bag. Works well but it’s kind of difficult to eat. One night I ate my Ramen out of one of those bowls (that stores flat). It was nice but then that thing was all greasy. Argh.
  • I think we only had one Mountain House meal between the three of us. Reason to celebrate! =)
  • I love love love my little 2 oz. Z-Seat. I even converted the other two guys. We all had one.
  • I need to find a more durable cord that goes underneath my boot to hold my mini gaiters down. Those things barely last one trip.
  • I’ve had my black diamond compact trekking poles for, I swear, like 10 years + and they’re still going strong. When will they die? Probably at a really inopportune time.

Who knew a backpacking trip would inspire so many thoughts and questions. If you’re still reading, congrats. That felt like some serious rambling.

Cheers,

Mike

On the way in
View attachment 89799

Small "pass" before dropping into Swasey Hole
View attachment 89798

Dropping down, rocky trail
View attachment 89797

Nice sunset
View attachment 89796

Fishing in Spider Lake
View attachment 89795

Looking back at Spider Lake
View attachment 89794

Tiny bugs, this was only a few of what was on my pack at this moment. Gnats?
View attachment 89793

Five Point Lake (I think)
View attachment 89792

Our high camp with nice open views
View attachment 89791

Playing cards at camp
View attachment 89790

We had all sorts of crazy colors this night
View attachment 89789

Awesome waterfalls in the distance. That might be Powell Peak?
View attachment 89788

Kings and the south side of Andersen Pass/Highline trail (don't quote me on that)
View attachment 89787

Short snow field, I brought microspikes , but never used them. A wasted extra 12 oz!
View attachment 89786

Kings from Andersen Pass
View attachment 89785

Summit!
View attachment 89784

Dave on South Kings (tiny...from far away)
View attachment 89783

Looking back at our route
View attachment 89782
[/Q
 

Born to Hike

Member
.
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
134
Nice to read about a different approach to King's Peak!
Always enjoy other peoples' take on gear, experiences on the trail, etc.. so thank-you! Different perspectives help refine and improve my own experience. :thumbsup:
 

scoags

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
39
Sounds like a really nice trip.

This may sound weird, but my solution to the greasy pot is to use any loose dirt that is around. Rinse the pot to get any food scraps out of it, then use some dirt as an abrasive and sponge, and do a couple rounds. Get most of dirt/mud out of the pot. In the morning it will be mostly dry again and you should be able to shake the last of the dry dirt out, and then one last rinse before cooking should do it.

I should say the same LNT and bear-country principles would probably apply to soiled soil as much as soiled water.

It is easier to carry around a sponge I guess, but I think they are kinda gross personally.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
723
Sounds like a really nice trip.

This may sound weird, but my solution to the greasy pot is to use any loose dirt that is around. Rinse the pot to get any food scraps out of it, then use some dirt as an abrasive and sponge, and do a couple rounds. Get most of dirt/mud out of the pot. In the morning it will be mostly dry again and you should be able to shake the last of the dry dirt out, and then one last rinse before cooking should do it.

I should say the same LNT and bear-country principles would probably apply to soiled soil as much as soiled water.

It is easier to carry around a sponge I guess, but I think they are kinda gross personally.
Dry dirt, sand.... and it is easier the more you put in the bowl or cup to soak up the grease... not weird at all.
 

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Miya

Because I am able.
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Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,148
Oh my goodness...so many musings, but I love chatting about gear and practices, so here I go haha.

Sleeping:
Like others said, I would try camping in different locations/elevations. Maybe it is elevation, maybe it is because you are in humid areas, maybe it is because you just don't feel 100% safe being in a new setting? Luckily, I have never had this issue with sleep in the backcountry, except for yes, the occasional sticky feeling. If I think it is going to be humid or damp I sleep without my fly. If it is warm, I bring thin base layers or start stripping them off as the night goes on.
My friend that goes sometimes has never gotten a good night sleep out in the backcountry and I think it is more a mental thing. She even brings a lot of extra luxury sleep items, like an actual pillow from home and an extra BLANKET.

Water filters:
I hear good things about BeFree.
I use the Sawyer Squeeze Micro and Regular and haven't had problems yet. I don't like the Mini.
I purchased the MSR hand water pump, it is fiiiine, but wouldn't recommend. My favorite is my Katadyn pump for groups.
I will probably try a gravity filter someday, but honestly, I hate stopping. I like to just keep moving, so would probably only use if I was doing a base camp.

Carrying water:
I have a little pouch that I tried out on my shoulder strap. It broke, but honestly I hated it anyways.
Sometimes the bottle would hit my face or get in the way and putting my pack on with it in the pouch made me irrationally angry haha. I just keep it in my side pocket and practice my flexibility. However, I know I have to make more of a conscious effort to drink water.

Hiking Boots:
I would say I wear hiking sandals 60% of the time, then trail runners 40%. I do wear hiking boots when I have a snow trip though. I always buy my shoes 1 to 1.5 sizes larger.

Pain:
My most recent trip, I forgot to adjust my pack when I put it on. I was rushing. I hiked the whole first day uncomfortable and my back and shoulders screaming.
The next time I put it on, I placed it correctly and adjusted my straps. Alllll the difference! Make sure your pack is the right size too. One of mine is too big for my back and is very uncomfortable (I sized myself incorrectly). You could also play with the placement of things inside your pack, distribute the weight differently.

Miscellaneous:
Nice that your frogg toggs worked for you! Mine ripped all the way down the butt within 5 minutes of use haha.
I will not do dishes in the backcountry. I use ziplocs for my Ramen too haha. Sometimes you just gotta decide on the lesser of two evils for yourself.
I have the same booty pad and won't go anywhere without it. Even day hikes. I also half fold it and keep it under the head of my sleeping pad. I don't like bringing a pillow, but I like to sleep with my head raised slightly.

The end.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,483
Sleep
Same here...so maybe try a hammock? But that requires you be down in lower tree level and is much harder to find good spots to hang with so many dead trees in the Uintas and has its own learning curve and so on...so...maybe not? I think a wider pad would be a nice luxury but I'm content to keep my more narrow X-Lite for its lesser weight on my back. I'm usually a slide sleeper that twists and turns from side to side through the night, even at home. Sometimes I'm tired enough to actually fall asleep on my back and not move the rest of the night. Those are the most restful nights.

Filtering Water
I picked up a CNOC Vecto bag a couple years ago after seeing a friend use his. Has the slide off top to allow you to easily get water even from small trickling streams and makes filling up at a lake a single stroke of the hand. It is designed to withstand 200 lbs of weight on it so it's pretty much bomb proof. I've stood on mine and wobbled all over it and it certainly passed the test. No leaks, no busted seams yet. Pair it with a standard Sawyer Squeeze and a coupler adapter to connect your water bottle to it, hang it up while you set up camp or wherever you're at and you'll have a liter or two clean water within a few minutes. The bag also pairs well with a HydroBlue Versaflow filter which doesn't require a separate coupler to connect your bottle to the outflow end. Nice thing about Sawyer is that if something ever did happen to your bag, you can mate the Sawyer directly onto your bottle and just filter as you drink. With the Hydroblu, its threads lack a washer set up so it will leak contaminated water if you dry to mate the inflow to the hard plastic threads of a bottle to drink as it filters from the bottle. The CNOC bag is softer material and self seals to the threads of the Hydroblu, thus keeping it from leaking. Either way, it's important to loosen the bottle connection with the outflow with this sort of gravity setup to allow air pressure to escape.

1595255515313.png


Carrying Water
Having a water bottle on your shoulder strap is definitely convenient. If that's important to you, might just be worth getting a few more of those clips and always carry a spare. I use a set of bungees with cord locks rather than any clips to hold mine on my shoulder strap. That said, I don't use them on every trip...typically only when I need more water capacity and have extra bottles in my pack side pockets. Otherwise I find myself taking at least a breif break about every hour where I'll sit down for a breather and chug some water then. Either way is much less fussier than dealing with a Camelback style bladder. I'll never go back to those when backpacking.

Hiking Boots
I've finally made the switch to Altras and love the wider toe box. They do seem to start falling apart much sooner than other high end brands though. But I shop their corporate outlet in Orem where they sell lightly used, discontinued, and new returned pairs, etc with considerable discounts. Of all the waterproof shoes/boots I've had, they've all managed to leak and wet my feet when they've been submerged in a shallow stream or march, whether by accident or intentional. Then they take forever to dry out and so on....They also get really warm in summer mid-day temps. I figure if my feet are going to get wet anyway, might as well go for breathable trail runners. Lighter weight, dry faster, and I still pack a long a light weight pair of camp shoes/slippers for camp so if my shoes did get wet, I don't have to keep wearing them around camp.

Pain
Same here. I still get a sore neck and shoulders after so many miles. I've upgraded to a better fitting pack this year (ULA Circuit) and finally going to take it out on a legit trip this week, so I'll see how much, if any, it improves the comfort of my neck and shoulders. I've also lightened up a lot of my other gear. I'm now down to 12-18 lbs of total pack weight depending on what luxuries (chair, fishing gear, photography/electronics, etc) I want to take before adding food, fuel, and water. If want to go absolute bare essentials, I can actually get my pack weight down to about 10 lbs prior to food, fuel, and water. I'm hoping to have my days of super sore shoulders and neck at the end of each trail day behind me now.

Lightning!!
From what I understand is that the best thing you can do in those situations is as you say, crouch down, feet close together to minimize surface contact with the ground since most lightning strikes will spread via ground current from a nearby tree, bush, etc. That is, odds are, if you're going to get hit by lightning, it's going to come through the ground via a strike on a nearby object. Minimizing your surface contact makes it so less current can flow into you and having feet close together minimizes any circuit that could be created with feet further apart. Of course, having a pad, like your z-seat, to add a layer of good insulation between you and the ground is even more ideal. Gotta get uncomfortable to stay in that position for very long though if you're waiting out a long storm.

Sunshirts
I'm all about having a good hat with ear and neck coverage during the mid-day hours. For my arms, I often have a light weight breathable long-sleeve button up (fisherman style) shirt that I can roll sleeves up or down. Still, I bring a good bit of sunscreen just for extra measure when I do want to roll my sleeves up for temperature control, etc.

Miscellaneous Stuff
  • My Frog-Toggs are still holding up just fine. Haven't had to use them a whole bunch though and won't dare go bush-whacking with them on.
  • I only hate doing dishes if I get into camp late and have dinner in the dark. So i always pack food in a feezer bag and will eat out of bag if I'm cooking in the dark, but will otherwise cook and eat directly out of pot if in daylight hours so the trash I carry out is less smelly, drier, and lighter-weight and so on. I bring a small drop bottle of Dr Bronner soap to clean out pot residue with and scatter the was water out away from camp and water sources.
  • You should try a Peak Refuel meal. Pricier, but some of their flavors are amazing. DIY meals can be certainly be cheaper and healthier though.
  • Can't beat a Z-seat setup for a balance between comfort and ultra-light packability. I do have an REI Flexlite Air chair I take when on trips with my wife or for other more leisure trips whenever a little more comfort up off the ground is desired.
  • I'm starting to wonder if gaiters are even worth it at all in places like the Uintas.
  • I've been using some budget brand poles without much issue. Only the tips wore down really fast, so I replaced them with some Black Diamond tips a while back.

Oh, and nice pics! Looks like it was still an enjoyable trip.
 

andyjaggy

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2013
Messages
922
Sleep. I always sleep poorly the first night. In fact I have a night terror about 50% of the time on my first night of a backpacking trip. They terrified me at first but now that I know to expect them they aren't too bad. I just plan on tossing and turning half the night, but the important thing is like you said, I wake up and still feel pretty good. Having dealt with insomnia in the past I can say that we are pretty bad at judging how much sleep we actually get. Most of us sleep more than we think we do on a bad night.

Sun shirt. I always hike with a long sleeve shirt and wide brimmed hat. I hate putting sun screen on, so the less areas I have to do that the better. Even if the shirt is only rated at SPF 15, it's still better than sun screen, because it will SPF 15 all day under any conditions. When was the last time you were sunburned under a shirt? I can't think of a single time it's happened in my life, but I can think of plenty of times when I have still gotten sunburned even with SPF 60 sunscreen on. I had skin cancer at the age of 30 so don't mess around with it.

Boots. I tried trail runner once and hated it. I also don't like the high or mid hiker boots as they are too heavy. For me low cut hikers are the way to go. Also I can't imagine having to fork out 100 dollars for new shoes every 200 miles. That would mean buying two pairs of shoes every single year for me, that's a cost I am not willing to take on. My Columbia low cut hikers were 120 dollars and have lasted me 500+ miles and are still going.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,148
Oh yeah, second @WasatchWill. Peak is yummy and has more calories. Also, I tried Pack it Gourmet recently and Off Grid Food CO so amazing!! Tastes like real flipping food! I would say I prefer Off Grid Food because they go out and hunt their meats and there is a good amount of it in their meals. Yum!
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,483
Oh yeah, second @WasatchWill. Peak is yummy and has more calories. Also, I tried Pack it Gourmet recently and Off Grid Food CO so amazing!! Tastes like real flipping food! I would say I prefer Off Grid Food because they go out and hunt their meats and there is a good amount of it in their meals. Yum!
Yes, Pack It Gourmet has got a good thing going. Wife and I took along some of their cheese cake and ramen rescue meals on a trip last year.
 

Mike K

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
816
I love all the replies - thanks guys and girl! I'm going to cram all my responses into one ugly post and one paragraph per person.

@TheMountainRabbit - I've contemplated trying a quilt. I've heard good things about them. Maybe when my Montbell bag no longer holds its loft/warmth. Gravity filters are great. I'm converted. There were enough reasons to ditch the Sawyers - I won't get into them all. =) The BeFrees are intriguing. I'm seriously looking at some lighter weight footwear.

@IntrepidXJ - haha...that's pretty funny - dreaming that you're tossing and turning! I'm pretty sure that's not the case for me but you'll have me thinking about it on my next backcountry outing! =) Like I said, luckily I awake feeling refreshed. It might have something to do with being prone for 8 or 9 hours.

@Parma I watched about 30 minutes of that podcast/youtube vid and found it pretty interesting. I need to get back to it. It also got me watching some other sleep Youtube vids. Fascinating stuff. Thanks.

@Born to Hike - ha...going in with low expectations sounds like a great way to go about it. I kinda do that. But I'll have to go in with even lower expectations. And maybe I'll mix in some more experiments to see if I can come up with some magic combination.

@wsp_scott - our group always jokes about how well we SHOULD sleep after long arduous days - but how it often turns out that we sleep just as crappy. It sort of defies logic. We often hammer ourselves pretty good but it honestly doesn't seem to help me sleep any better! =( Maybe I need to go push my body even farther?! =) I was *this* close to setting up a gravity system with a Sawyer. My wife talked me out of it for some reason...I can't remember the details. But I'm really digging the Platypus one.

@scoags - I think I used to do that. But something about that method didn't quite work. Maybe I got it on my hands? Or maybe it didn't come off as well as I hoped? (@Ugly - maybe I didn't use enough dirt!) Maybe I'm just a princess and need to suck it up. I agree...a sponge is kind of a hassle - and doesn't seem to work well with out some sort of soap/detergent. I guess I'll have to continue eating Ramen out of freezer bags for now. =)

@Miya - I love reading your trip reports. I'm was happy to see your response. Good theories about sleeping. The one that I think I might try again is going without the fly (although, it inevitably sprinkles when I try that). But maybe I'll make a mental note to see if it seems "drier" without the fly. I've tried various base layers and I usually end up feeling more sticky and humid and eventually strip them off and just end up in my underwear - it seems to be the least annoying. =) The gravity filter wasn't TOO bad to use on the fly. I kept it accessible in my pack. But some of the other filters are definitely more on-the-go-friendly. I keep hear about the BeFree...hmm...might have to give that a go for the quick fill ups. My hiking partners still roll with 3L camelbacks and don't' need to stop as often as I do (I just hike with two water bottles). After my aqua clip broke, It wasn't too bad to reach back in my side pocket as long as I prepared my pack according so it wasn't too tight on the side. As for sandals, that sounds awesome. I now wear orthotic (sp?) so I can't even give those a go. In fact, I should probably try to unload my chacos to someone that could use them. I'll have to mess around with my pack and see if some adjustments might help my shoulder/neck pain. Good idea. I've had really good luck with Frog Toggs. I do consider them to be moderately disposable...but I can usually get 5 years out of the. I tape them up with electrical tape when I see holes from campfire embers. =) "Booty pad" - that was my favorite part out of EVERYONE'S comments!! Ha. I love love love it and use it to kneel on, in my tent under my head (like you), for quick stops on the trails, to sit on while on summits, and yes, on day hikes as well! Awesome. Thanks for the reply!

@WasatchWill - great Red Castle trip report recently! Hammocks...urgh...sound cool...I just don't know if I can ever be a convert. Seems like a big investment. Maybe some day - especially if it helps me sleep better. Maybe I need to "test drive' one sometime. I actually usually take a ultralight hammock for chilling in back at camp. Pretty comfy...so maybe you're on to something. I came across that CNOC in my research of gravity filters. It was definitely on my radar. Looks like a nice set up! I'll also never go back to a camelbak. Too much weight penalty and nasty taste. I even recently bought a platypus bladder (for day hikes and mtb) - supposedly no plastic tasty...but it still tastes nasty. Fail. I think I'll end up buying several aqua clips and taking one as a back up. Someday I'll try out some lighterweight footwear. I do hate the idea of how fragile the trailrunners are. You're method of lightly used ones, is a good one. For pain...if I could drop another 5ish lbs from my pack weight, I think that would do me a world of good. I think that might mean a new pack for me. I have various styles of sunshrits and I might have to go back to the button up ones with a wide brim had. But even they seemed pretty toasty. Peak Refuel huh? Maybe...but I think I'm done with the pricey dehydrated meals. =) It might be fun to try something new though.

@andyjaggy - crazy about the night terrors! At least you're prepared for them now. It is pretty cool how I still wake up refreshed. I probably really do get more sleep than I think. Interesting thoughts about a lightweight (even 15spf) sunshirt. I've totally been looking and super lightweight ones. Can't you still get harmed by rays even though you're not getting burned? (Seems like I remember reading about that). But I agree...sunscreen wears off. A shirt is working at keeping the sun off full time. I don't think I can justify buying that super light weight footwear either - when they won't last many miles. I guess I can't knock them until I try them someday though. What did you hate about the trailrunners (anything besides their lack of durability)?

Thanks all...for your awesome thoughts and replies!
 
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Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,148
Aww glad you like my TRs! Appreciate it. Another coming soooon.
There are definitely risks to sleeping without your fly haha! I woke up in the middle of the night in a desert storm and had to attempt to get the fly back on with sand and wind whipping. Maybe just opening a vestibule door could help?
Haha yeah, I have heard people call it a** pad, but I like my G rated version haha
 

OwenM

Member
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Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
182
Sleep
What can I do to sleep better?...All three nights were constant tossing and turning and it felt like I got very little sleep....I’ve got to try something new next time.
Maybe don't wait 'til next time! This is a hot topic for me, as I'm all about sleep in the backcountry, and would obsess over not sleeping well.
I've no way of knowing what might help you sleep better, as we're all different, so will just throw a few things out there, "works for me" kind of stuff. They only work for me because they address particular things that affect MY sleep, though.

-The wet, clammy, humid thing(in UT!)...perhaps too much bag. I sleep too hot to relate to most people, but having too warm of a bag/quilt is a huge issue for me. Inadequate ventilation, as well.
-Have you tried sleeping on your pad at home? Dialing in the inflation level/firmness can make quite a difference in how an inflatable feels, and just being accustomed to it could factor in.
-Dedicated sleep clothes that are kept dry and clean might help. That could be long baselayers, or just as easily, a pair of shorts and a tshirt(I sometimes carry cotton boxer briefs or shorts, because even highly breathable synthetics feel hot and sticky on the inner thighs once cocooned in down).
-Sensory deprivation can help, sometimes. Buff or neck gaiter to cover the eyes, ear plugs, etc.
-Eating/digestion/bodily functions. Hot food may be a comfort while eating it, but that's not always the case afterwards!
"I feel like I need to go, but don't want to get up and do the deed" is probably something we're all familiar with, and hot food or drink can really set that off. People I know tend to eat meals, particularly in camp before bed, but that destroys my sleep. I'm a big eater in "real life", but hardly ever carry anything that could be described as a meal when backpacking, eating light and grazing through the day, never getting very hungry, never feeling overfull. In like manner, I try to stay well hydrated, and if there's any tanking up done, it's well before turning in for the night. Always better to just get it over with, but it sucks when there's a sudden and overwhelming urge to pee 5 minutes after getting settled in.
 

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