Sunday, 2 March 2014

Gearing up for the John Muir Trail

It has to be said, it doesn't take much for me to justify in my head buying new gear.  So a big trip to the USA is more than the perfect excuse to look at some different options.    The main requirements are to cut weight, but retain as much function/comfort as I can.  The weight issue is a high priority, as I could be carrying 8+ kgs of food towards the end of the trip.  That alone could double the weight I'm carrying.

Though it has to be said, back in the day (the hazy memories of DofE) the rule of thumb was no more than a third of your bodyweight.  Now even using my ideal weight as opposed to the real weight, it would give me a max weight of about 25kgs.  I'm aiming for about 8kgs + 8kgs (food) + 2kgs (water) = 18kgs at its max.  The lighter it is, the easier it is.

There is a balance though.  I could use a lighter sleeping bag, but then freeze at night and get no sleep.  Or skimp on food, and run out of energy.  Or use a Closed Cell Foam (CCF) mat, and again not sleep as well.  There is also a cost issue, some things cost a lot for a minimum weight saving.  Balance is a key word.

The general mantra to be a lightweight hiker is to keep your 'big 3' below 3kgs.  The big 3 are, shelter, sleeping and pack.  My current planned kit include the following -

Pack - Gossamer Gear Mariposa at 765g
Sleeping  - ZPacks 20 Degree Quilt - 520g + Exped Synmat UL - 365g
Shelter - ZPacks Hexamid Solo+ Tarp - 450g

Total - 2100g

I need to add a few things to this weight, tent pegs, tyvek ground sheet, and a pillow.  Which will bring things to approx.. 2500g.  This would be a great weight but without to much of an impact on comfort.

Cooking equipment is quite easy, Soto OD-1R and Evernew cookset.  With the current drought conditions alcohol stoves will likely be banned, so it's gas only.  My food will be quite simple freeze dried fare, requiring boiled water and no 'real' cooking.  The OD-1R does this easily, and at 71g it is pretty damn light.

My main dilemma's will come concerning things like camera's.  Iphone and/or Point and Shoot, or my Panasonic G3 and tripod to capture more of the trail? 

I'll do a full kit list later in the year with the exact weights.  I know, I can't wait either!

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