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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:21 am 
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AT trip/gear report 56k warning.

Did about 12 miles on the AT a few weeks ago with my uncle. It was very hot and humid so we burned though gallons of water. My uncle is older than the hills but can cover some real ground. Did a few gear tests so guessed a report is in order. The terrain was standard Appalachian Trail stuff. Mostly hills and rocks and even some roads as there are times when the AT needs to travel down roads to access bridges etc. The AT markers are white.

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Oh snap a UFO off to the left. :shock: :lol:

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Some T-storms moving in and I gotta go over that hill on the right before calling it a day.

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Bushcraft items of note:

The legendary true tinder fungus. There is some info on that in the Maya dust thread.

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Lime stone spring. Water flowing directly from the rock filtered though a large area of lime stone. Ice cold and oh so good. These are often at ground temperature maybe 54 degrees so are a benefit in all seasons. Often safe to drink from without filtration but one never knows so best to understand all the risks.

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Packs:

The Osprey Atmos 65.

Loaned it out to my uncle as his pack is a bit on the heavy side. Probably the most popular pack on the AT. A good combo of UL, capacity and comfort. Good ventilation too. It has been updated this year with a new suspension and less crazy colors. Being UL this is not bomb proof like my Kifaru packs but equal in comfort and better in hot weather due to exceptional back ventilation. Here he is messing around with the Atmos.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/Packs/AtmosSeriesMens/

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The Osprey Argon 85.

Larger capacity than the Atmos with better suspension. Still is UL so can’t say it could take the same beating as my Kifaru EMR. But comfortable and has a removable top lid that becomes a belt pack. The hydration system holder can also be removed and combined with the bottom straps makes for a UL CamelBak type holder. I have used the combo but prefer my Osprey Daylite that can dock with the host pack. The pack can be custom fitted with 6 different harness and belt sizes. Also you can get the belt custom molded at any shop that has the Osprey oven but this is more of a marketing gimmick in my view. The belt conforms to the user after a day or so on its own. The Kelp pack and brownish harness/belt blends in well. On a side note I pack Crocs for camp shoes. They are good for stream crossing and are crazy UL. Have a set of the coyote brown hiker Crocs in my INCH bag.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/Packs/ArgonSeriesMens/

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Shelters:

I used the Hennessy hammock Explorer DLX with sil nylon undercover. My uncle used his Expedition Asym. Much has been said on ZS about these shelters so a review would be redundant. The Asym is the green thing behind my DLX.

http://hennessyhammock.com/catalogue.html

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New gear tested:

Been looking to test out the Aquamira Frontier pro. I first purchased the black color but naturally wanted the orange too. I guess one can never have enough filters.

http://aquamira.com/preparedness/fronti ... er-system/

Water bottle test. The filter is supposed to fit standard soda bottle threads. I fitted it on a water bottle however would leak a bit during use. The treads on most water bottles are even more marginal than a Coke bottle so guessing it would work better for these. The flow rate was good but had to allow air back into the container after each drink. Notice the frosted bottle. This water was at ground temperature from the spring and better than any tap water I have ever drank.

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The filter has a tube that allows for use as a straw type filter. This was preferable to a direct connection as there was no need to allow for air flow back into the container. In this case my uncle’s Nalgene with insulated cover.

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Worked good. We also tested it connected to a Platy bag. No leaks at the threads as was the case with the water bottle but needed to allow air to return for the next drink. For some reason I had the urge to place my tongue on the bite value. This made it initially harder to use until I stopped acting stupid. Sorry no photos of the Platy test. It could also work in line for a CamelBak tube however this was not tested.

Zebra light H501 and H501w (warm tint):

Before my trip review I will go over what is meant by warm tint. The H501 uses a Q5-WD. The warm tinted H501w uses a Q3-5A. The Q5-WD is nice as is not too blue tinted and more efficient than the Q3-5A however the 5A tint offers some of the advantages of incandescent lights which to my eyes works better in the woods. H501 is on the right, H501w on the left.

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I used the H501w for a headlamp and the H501 for an area light hung from a dead Eastern pine over my camp. I should have looked over the site better before setting up camp. Widow makers are often a big consideration in site selection and I didn’t like the looks of the tree in the AM. :(

http://www.zebralight.com/

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They both worked great. These are so UL I could pack both without concern for bulk and weight. Nice even flood light. On the down side it is all flood at the expense of throw. The regulation is near perfect so there is little warning when the battery is low. My area light turned off without warning. But on the pro side it runs forever on low and a good long time on medium. One concern is recent reports of quality control issues on CPF. Mine work great but always report all available information on any gear recommendation.

Char-Broil Chimney charcoal starter.

This trip was rushed and forgot to pack my Trail stove Hobo. I like to use a Hobo stove for a campfire as they burn little wood and leaves almost no trace. Headed out from my sister’s house and remembered there was a brand new charcoal starter in the garage. Guessed it would make a good hobo stove. The handle assembly was separate from the body so to reduce weight this was tossed. It has all the good hobo makings including a raised ventilated bottom grate and side air ports. Guessing it came in at under 2lbs once field stripped. This is a bit more than I like to pack but beggars can’t be choosers. I have built my share tent/hobo stoves and must say this was a total surprise. It had great ventilation and like all good hobo stoves burned the wood down to a fine ash despite being wet. Put off a bunch of heat and helped keep the swarms of mosquitoes at bay. 15-minutes of wood forage were enough to keep it running until 12:30 am. I could have cooked my food with it but used the MSR pocket rocket. These charcoal starters are available at B&M stores so anyone looking to mess around with a hobo should check one out.

http://www.charcoalchimneystarter.net/c ... starter-2/

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I will probably use this again for a car/base camp but not so much for longer range activities as my other smaller hobo stoves like the Sierra Zip and Stratus Trail stove are more UL. But thinking the weight is still less than a MSR white gas stove with a full 20+ oz tank. Overall a good little outing.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:37 am 
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You make me jealous.....



And Seanwins needs to add this to your "Best Of". Never know what people will learn from reading threads like this.

Kinda off topic, but how did you like that Aquamira Frontier Pro? Looks like an interesting piece of gear.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:20 am 
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more pics? Also, what total weight were you carrying in your bag? Were you depending on the water sources for replentishment, or did you have enough with you at the start to make it the whole hike?

Awesome post, as always.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:23 am 
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Very nice indeed . :D

I am looking at picking up another headlamp or two . Looks like the Zebralights may replace my Petzyls .

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:43 am 
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Loved the idea about the charcoal starter.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:56 am 
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great pics man... :) looks like a fun trip... i also really like the looks of those Zebra lights...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Looks like a good hike. The burner sounds heavy, but with three people to spread the load I might not object to the weight.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Ive had my Zebralight H501 for a few months now and its awesome. The only downside is that runtime is extremely low on my rechargeables, maybe I have crappy ones? Using single charge batteries it runs perfect.

WW, have you tried both?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Hoss.

The pro worked out good but will need to test it out some more. It was on sale at EMS for around 12 bucks so couldn’t resist.

DaveJohn.

My standard water load is 120-150 ounces for a multi day trip. This is never enough and always dependant on alternative sources for replenishment. Camp alone can eat up a great deal as often my food is dehydrated. Things like MREs have water and would reduce my needs some however in the end I would be packing the weight all day rather than finding water at camp. I always camp within ½ mile of water. Being a round trip a greater distance becomes problematic. The Argon 85 was around 40lbs with food and water. Guessing my uncle packed 30 lbs in my Atmos 65. My summer load target is around 35lbs with food and water. I was going out with a bit more than normal.


Mk_ultra.

The H501/H501w are nice headlamps for sure as they have a 2.6-3 lumen low for a crazy long runtime in camp. I pack an older H50 in my E&E. But for an all around headlamp my preference is still for the PT Rebel LED EOS. I keep the 2-mode EOS II in the 72-hour BOB and often night hike or Kayak with the 4-mode EOS.

Ironraven.

Yea the burner was a bit more than what is normal for me however I was able to pack it along for 12-miles. Guessing next trip I will bring the Trail Stove at 10ish ounces. This would save at least 1LB. One pro of a White gas or other stove types is they are more UL and actually get lighter during extended use. But sooner or later these would become nothing more than paper weights.

Deeds.

The H501 should run longer on NiMH batteries than Alkaline on medium or high modes. Some higher capacity NiMH has issues with rapid self discharge. The worse I ever owned was the Energizer 2500 and now for some reason the Duracell2650 mAh seems to be developing the same issues in my Fenix TK20. My advice is to get some LSD NiMH batteries. These come pre-charged as they don’t self discharge. The mAh starts lower than the standard rechargables but will hold the charge for a year. The Zebra lights run longer with Lithium batteries too. The battery in the H501 photo is a Duracell precharged LSD and works great. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:19 pm 
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Another good write up, thanks. The Aquamira is now on my 'will get next' list.

DK

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Great post as always, WW!

I had this problem when I test-loaded the Atmos and put it on... the aluminum rails that hold up the trampoline back dug into my sides. Have you had this problem with Osprey packs at all? They're my favorite pack designer, but they unfortunately don't fit me. I went with a *shudder* North Face pack instead, because it was comfortable and not too heavy.

Also, how does that light compare to your other headlamps? Do you have a favorite?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Resolute wrote:
Great post as always, WW!

I had this problem when I test-loaded the Atmos and put it on... the aluminum rails that hold up the trampoline back dug into my sides. Have you had this problem with Osprey packs at all? They're my favorite pack designer, but they unfortunately don't fit me. I went with a *shudder* North Face pack instead, because it was comfortable and not too heavy.

Also, how does that light compare to your other headlamps? Do you have a favorite?


I find the Atmos very comfortable within its listed weight tolerances but not every pack works for everyone. I have 3 ZL headlamps and think they are the best in-camp headlamp going. But for general purpose I prefer the 3xAAA Rebel 4-mode EOS and for 4xAA the PT Apex.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:49 am 
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At hike part 2 with yet more gear:

We pushed some more down the line last weekend.

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Sometimes the AT is easy going, other times not so much.

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Shelters:

Another Lean-too. Made it to two of them but one had a group of thru-hikers up from Springer. I don’t want to post photos of people without their permission even though they probably wouldn’t know for some time as it over 700 miles to Katahdin.

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Setup up a flying A-frame for the gear. Rained hard and filled up the canteens for the night using the runoff from the tarp. If it rains next weekend I will setup the same tarp as a modified Lean-too and maybe crack out the Zip stove to mix it up a bit.

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This has got to be my highest hammock pitch ever. I nearly needed a ladder just to get in. The trash bags are there to see the ropes in the dark. I forgot the yellow paracord loops normally used for this.

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Gear used:

The standard cook/fire gear:

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The Trail stove is more for a small camp fire that doesn’t qualify as a ground fire. Next time maybe I will just use the Sierra Zip stove for both cooking and fire needs. The rest of the stuff is well known by most.

Lights:

I set up my ground cloth a high lean-to for a cooking area. This time used the Fenix E01 with a crazy glue cover used as a diffuser. Worked out well for a small area light and made it easy to find my camp in the dark after hitting one of the AT’s world renowned privies. Guessing a very UL makeshift hanging lantern. The angle of the lean-to tarp setup is less severe than the photo show. A lean-to is good for this application but can be lacking for windblown rain. Notice the cheap camo cord. Ran low of 550 as setup too many shelters with the extra A-frame etc. Kinda junk in my view but was glad my uncle had it all the same.

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Also used the H501w headlamp and had the new iTP EOS 3-mode 1XAA in my pocket incase the headlamp cuts off on a water run or trip the AT privy. One of the downsides to the near perfect regulation of the headlamp is little warning of a shut off. No photos of the new little flashlight but next hike I will empty my pockets for stuff that I Every Day Carry on the trail or EDCT. Here is a link to a seller of the light. Darn near puts of 80 lumens. Hard to believe considering it is the same length as a chapstick only thinner.
http://www.batteryjunction.com/itp-a3-eos-upgrade.html

Water filtration:

Used the PUR water filter. This is my uncle’s and seemed to have a good flow rate. The stream was ice cold and spring feed so goes without saying the water pushing out of the filter was downright good.

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The business end fits a wide mouth Nalgene but with a little effort filled the Platy bags. I believe the top unscrews for changing out the activated carbon. It would not surprise me if activated fish tank carbon wouldn’t also work or for that matter crushed charcoal left over from a campfire but this is all speculation.

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Our goal for the summer is to finish the entire 52-miles of the AT in CT. I have done it myself but my uncle has been wishing to do this hike. This may not sound like much but he is pushing 70 and these trips are every other weekend. Plus we have to hike back to the car therefore doubling the distance. Not to mention miles of blue trail that often connects the parking areas to the AT. So guessing once everything is added up we would have done about 110 miles total on these bi weekly summer trips. Just a few more to go. Nothing major but sure lots of fun.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:20 am 
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Awsome theard as expected from the great Woods Walker. I can't wait to see more pics.

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SamuraiBobX26 wrote:
Awsome theard as expected from the great Woods Walker. I can't wait to see more pics.


+1 :D
after reading "walk in the woods", i always wondered what the AT looked like.

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I like that idea of the diffuser for the Fenix. I never would have thought to use a cap from a Krazy Glue bottle...

That PUR filter looks an awful lot like a re-badged Katadyn Hiker... do you know the cost comparison between the two?

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northernxposure wrote:
That PUR filter looks an awful lot like a re-badged Katadyn Hiker... do you know the cost comparison between the two?

NXP


I definitely agree with you there Northern!

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northernxposure wrote:
I like that idea of the diffuser for the Fenix. I never would have thought to use a cap from a Krazy Glue bottle...

That PUR filter looks an awful lot like a re-badged Katadyn Hiker... do you know the cost comparison between the two?

NXP


Sorry I don't know anything about the filter. Was going to take the MSR but heard my uncle had something different so wanted to test it out. The diffuser works well. This is one reason why I don't like LED lanterns. I can just pull double duty using a flashlight.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Part 1.5 Day hike on the AT. For those who want more AT photos.

Not sure if I posted these photos before but they are from the same AT hike trips over this summer. We don't camp all the time as things come up but still it ALL has to be done one way or another. This time it was a day hike to cover the area around Rand's view and Prospect Mt. This is between Belter campsite and Limestone spring/lean-to but could be a bit off as running from memory. Guessing 6-miles in then back out. Started late but got out just before dark.

Waterfall action.

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Rand's view.

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Top of Prospect Mt.

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Limestone spring that gives rise to the name of the camping area and lean-to. I could pull the PVC pipe right out of the ground. It is more for easy access. Water is a ground temperature.

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The limestone Lean-to (same one in my daypack thread).

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At bear box.

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Gear used.

My revised 3-season day pack. These trips were the motivating factor to cutting back on my daypack’s weight. Here is a link to the thread rather than reposting the photos. Maybe some good ideas for those looking to slim down their EDC bags etc. Often this daypack is in the truck so if there was an ER guessing it would have to hold me over until I get to the 72-hour BOB. Anyways there is stuff in the truck too but that is another topic.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=48744

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My Uncle’s Mountain smith Yoho pack. The old guy is crafty with gear. Guessing if I spilled out the contents it would put smaller BOBs around here to shame. He has a Thermolite bivy version 1, PT Quad headlamp the new 45 lumen model, Ti cup, FAK and other good stuff to.

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The next trip is to Bear Mt. and out of the State though Sages Ravine brook. Going to crack out some new and old but underappreciated gear items for that trip. Then a few trips in the southern areas to wrap it up.

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When my son gets older I am going to take him on the trail so that he can appreciated nature and how it can kick our ass if she has too.

WW those are some gret pictures.

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Using the crazy glue cover as a diffuser is a good idea. It works on the Maratac light too. I have been using a hand spray pen cap as a diffuser for my Maratac light until now. The crazy glue cover works better because the thick end blocks some of the light so it won't irritate your eyes if you accidentally look into it. Thanks for the idea.

Your beam shots of the Zebra lights has me wishing I had bought the warm version instead of the white one.


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davidt1 wrote:
Using the crazy glue cover as a diffuser is a good idea. It works on the Maratac light too. I have been using a hand spray pen cap as a diffuser for my Maratac light until now. The crazy glue cover works better because the thick end blocks some of the light so it won't irritate your eyes if you accidentally look into it. Thanks for the idea.

Your beam shots of the Zebra lights has me wishing I had bought the warm version instead of the white one.


Yea it works great. But I wouldn’t leave the Maratac 1XAAA light on high without your hand as a heat sink for extended periods of time. I have the iTP which is basically the same light. I should take some photos of this as for 20 bucks it is a great 1XAAA just like the Maratac and is used on these hikes. The post is just as much about the gear as the trip and is the reason for the placement on the gear thread. Guessing living out of your backpack on a trip is about as near of a thing as a bug out minus the zombie stuff. I wouldn’t sweat your pick of the Q5 H501. On the pro side it is a bit visibility brighter on high but indistinguishable on low and medium. ZL picks good Q5s with the current production headlamps so most are not angry blue or squid piss green. Mostly vanilla white and don’t mine the tint on my Q5 but still prefer the Q3-5A of the w model.

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Part 3: Riga plateau to Bear Mt. End of the road for AT in CT.

On the last AT hike trip we went along the Riga plateau and ended a bit beyond a lean-to. This time we went over Bear Mt. and according to the GPS crossed over into Mass. Which would make it the northern most hike on our cross state AT summer hikes/camping trips. We still have some unfinished hikes from the Mt. Algo lean-to and a small leg into NY. But that is another trip.

Overlook from the camp. Seen a plane flying below the camp, this is something I don’t get to see all that often in my area.

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Looks like a pygmy pitch pine with a white blaze AT marker. There was a bunch of these trees mixed in with huckleberries which naturally I ate. :D

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The top of Bear Mt.

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Lower elevations.

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A small mountain base pond. Speaking of water I found the head of stream that was feed by 3 springs. We acquired our water from there. Less murky than the ponds and pools along the base of the higher country. Spring water is always clear and cold.

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Gear used:

My other uncle is in from Florida so was lucky to have both uncles for this trip. I offered my Hennessy hammock as he came without any gear. He said that hanging in the trees like a monkey was no way for a man to sleep :lol: so packed him a very UL shelter system. The weather was expected to be clear with a small chance of a passing shower. This is what I came up with on the fly from my gear collection.

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1. OR double bug bivy as there was still a few bugs around.
2. Thermarest guidelite ¾ long self inflating pad.
3. Thermarest Z-rest folding closed cell pad.
4. 5x8 ID Siltarp
5. EMS urethane coated ground cloth.
6. EMS Thaw 40 down sleeping bag sized long. A very nice UL down bag with reasonable loft.

I used hiking poles and paracord for support. He used a fleece jacket stuffed in a sack for a pillow.

Stoves:

http://www.zzstove.com/

We used the MSR pocket rocket but decided to mix it up with my Sierra Zip stove as there was 4 people in the group. This is a bit much for one small canister stove to service. The stove runs off 1XAA and worked good for a extra campstove given the groups size. Also made for a nice makeshift campfire as ground fires are a no go in this area. I wished they had a 3-point support system rather than 4 as this would be far more stable. So the stove must be put on a small flat spot.

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Packs:

Used my Osprey Argon 85 and loaned out the Stratos 65 and Kifaru Pointman. The extra person had her Osprey Ariel. All the packs worked very well.

Extra items.

1. Olight T10 flashlight. I have the 1XAA (T15) tube but took along the 1XCR123 style. Worked good for the intended purpose of a backup to my 1XAA headlamp. In the future I will pack this using the 1XAA tube.
2. MSR Mini works EX water filter. Once again was a proven performer.
3. Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS. I mostly use a map and compass but nice to know exactly how far to camp etc.

Bushcraft tricks:

The world famous burning white birch bark.

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Edible Huckleberries. These are often found at evaluation and are still in season.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:31 am 
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Woods Walker wrote:

My other uncle is in from Florida so was lucky to have both uncles for this trip. I offered my Hennessy hammock as he came without any gear. He said that hanging in the trees like a monkey was no way for a man to sleep :lol: so packed him a very UL shelter system. The weather was expected to be clear with a small chance of a passing shower. This is what I came up with on the fly from my gear collection.

Image

Image

1. OR double bug bivy as there was still a few bugs around.
2. Thermarest guidelite ¾ long self inflating pad.
3. Thermarest Z-rest folding closed cell pad.
4. 5x8 ID Siltarp
5. EMS urethane coated ground cloth.
6. EMS Thaw 40 down sleeping bag sized long. A very nice UL down bag with reasonable loft.

I used hiking poles and paracord for support. He used a fleece jacket stuffed in a sack for a pillow.


Hi WW, awesome pics. I am jealous. Offhand, do you know the weight your "on the fly" setup weighed? Also, have you had any experience using two inflatable pads? I see that you usually use both an open-cell and an inflatable, but I am considering going with two air mats, to save on pack space. What do you recommend?

And next trip, can I come along? :)

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