When backpacking, what do you bring a backup of, despite the ultralight backpacking community suggesting you may be crazy?

donkiluminate

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Nov 28, 2018
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I carry more water than I need on desert trips. I've almost never needed the extra that I've brought, but I'd hate to have a time where I ended up needing it and decided not to bring it.

Otherwise, it's just clothes. I always like to bring some changes of underwear, socks, and shirts, even for a night or two. I bring deodorant to keep the stink down, but sometimes a shirt change is just needed.


We brought almost 9 liters each for 3 days in Needles last October and ran out by the time we got to our last site, SQ1. We were parked at Squaw Flat and had a cooler full of Gatorade. Another guy and I hiked out to Squaw flat, loaded up on water and raided the cooler and hiked back to our site. I still chuckle about that.
 
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Stickerbumper

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May 16, 2017
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We brought almost 9 liters each for 3 days in Needles last October and ran out by the time we got to our last site, SQ1. We were parked at Squaw Flat and had a cooler full of Gatorade. Another guy and I hiked out to Squaw flat, loaded up on water and raided the cooler and hiked back to our site. I still chuckle about that.
Sounds about right. I need 4l for a full day when it's warm but not hot, but everybodies milage varies when it comes to water.
 

WasatchWill

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No @WasatchWill You are correct in washing them every now and again. Just a joke as I wash mine about every decade or more. Or as often as Biscuit McGee recommends, whichever comes first.
I see what you meant now. Haha. I can relate and well, I've only had my new UL down bag for a year now, so I haven't actually washed it YET...but I assume I'll want to if I use it heavily enough. Its ability to loft may just depend on it at some point. :)
 

OwenM

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Sorry. Am I missing out on a joke? Do down bags not need to be washed every now and then to get body oils and other grime out that can build up over time and inhibit the down in the bag from fully lofting the way it should?
Depends. Some people sweat more, have oilier skin, etc.
I take a "it'll let me know when it needs to be washed" approach.
Can't speak for anyone else, but being blessed with minimal body odor, and having numerous habits that may contribute to this-wearing dry socks to sleep in, never getting in a bag or quilt sweaty, putting them in a drier on low heat with half a dozen tennis balls(and a couple of drier sheets if there's ever a hint of odor) to insure they're completely dry and fully lofted after every outing, storing them uncompressed, and never overcompressing them to begin with(larger than standard stuff sack, or just stuffing in a pack liner), I never wash my down.
My favorite sleeping bag is a 40F Marmot Arete that's ~13yrs old, and my most prized piece of gear is a Katabatic Palisade quilt that's over 7. Both have well over 200 nights' use, and neither has been washed.

I did worry a bit when my OCD ex-girlfriend borrowed the 40F bag a few years ago, but she said she didn't notice any odor.

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I bring an extra pair of socks on overnighters, and a pair of ultralight ankle socks for sleeping on longer trips, plus a spare Buff.
In my emergency/first aid/repair kit, there's an extra mini Bic and headlamp battery, and MicroPur tabs in case my filter fails. That's it for backups.
 
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Depends. Some people sweat more, have oilier skin, etc.
I take a "it'll let me know when it needs to be washed" approach.
Can't speak for anyone else, but being blessed with minimal body odor, and having numerous habits that may contribute to this-wearing dry socks to sleep in, never getting in a bag or quilt sweaty, putting them in a drier on low heat with half a dozen tennis balls(and a couple of drier sheets if there's ever a hint of odor) to insure they're completely dry and fully lofted after every outing, storing them uncompressed, and never overcompressing them to begin with(larger than standard stuff sack, or just stuffing in a pack liner), I never wash my down.
My favorite sleeping bag is a 40F Marmot Arete that's ~13yrs old, and my most prized piece of gear is a Katabatic Palisade quilt that's over 7. Both have well over 200 nights' use, and neither has been washed.

I did worry a bit when my OCD ex-girlfriend borrowed the 40F bag a few years ago, but she said she didn't notice any odor.

----------
I bring an extra pair of socks on overnighters, and a pair of ultralight ankle socks for sleeping on longer trips, plus a spare Buff.
In my emergency/first aid/repair kit, there's an extra mini Bic and headlamp battery, and MicroPur tabs in case my filter fails. That's it for backups.
I just can't sleep feeling icky, even in the wilderness...I always hope there is water running through where I camp or a lake and I do the best I can to rinse off as much upper body sweat and bug bites as I can, if not completely submerge myself in water, before getting into clean long underwear and getting into my sleeping bag...and I don't camp as often as I like..as a result can't say I ever washed a sleeping bag. Having said that I usually don't bring down because of how useless it is if it happened to get wet somehow...and it's expensive. I think down is better for winter when precipitation is likely "drier" (snow). But I have heard there are now water repellant down bags...that might be a good idea if it could be counted on to not allow much water in.
 

Jackson

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I just can't sleep feeling icky, even in the wilderness...I always hope there is water running through where I camp or a lake and I do the best I can to rinse off as much upper body sweat and bug bites as I can, if not completely submerge myself in water, before getting into clean long underwear and getting into my sleeping bag...and I don't camp as often as I like..as a result can't say I ever washed a sleeping bag. Having said that I usually don't bring down because of how useless it is if it happened to get wet somehow...and it's expensive. I think down is better for winter when precipitation is likely "drier" (snow). But I have heard there are now water repellant down bags...that might be a good idea if it could be counted on to not allow much water in.
Yeah, wet synthetic will outperform wet dri-down every time, but it's also incredibly rare that your sleeping bag will get wet if you're using a waterproof pack cover in the rain and you keep your sleeping bag in the center to bottom of your pack. My sleeping bag has only once ever gotten wet, and it was because of a leaky tent floor. And I've only ever backpacked with down sleeping bags. The significantly smaller size and lighter weight makes down my choice for all conditions.

And it seems like my stuff always actually gets wetter when it's colder out. More condensation in the tent from my breath, and moisture from my body doesn't evaporate nearly as readily. And then it's harder to dry stuff out during the day as well when it's cold.
 
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