I'm finding that while gear research is extremely necessary, testing it in the field is invaluable. I read every blog and review on a product before I purchase it (if its over $25) and think I found the best product available, take it into the field and realize what doesn't work for me. I'm fortunate to live in a place that promotes my gear addiction and an environment to test it (Vail, CO). I have found for smaller items (under $25), I give my research OCD a break and just buy it, test it and then find a better one if needed.... I'll be able to give the best Christmas gifts this year at the rate I'm at!!
It took nearly 6-8 weeks (as promised) by mountainlaureldesigns.com but its finally in the mail. I ordered a cuben fiber Patrol shelter, cuben fiber ground sheet/bug bivy and 8 Ti stakes. Should all come seam sealed, guy lines, stakes, bivy and ground sheet at just or under 16oz!! I'm embarrassed to share the price, but if you are reading this, you probably already know how expensive cuben fiber is. The total price (with shipping) was $525.00. However, since I quit drinking, the $$ and time I've saved makes me confident that it's money well spent.
Reasons for choosing MLD Patrol Shelter with MLD bug bivy
This is the tarp from the other end..
- versatility and lightweight
- ability to set up camp anywhere
- cook under shelter while also having bug protection
- When bug protection isn't needed, I can sleep on the netting and the cuben fiber provides my groundsheet (so I don't need to bring both)
- If raining, I can preen the area at a leisurely pace for sharp objects that may rip my gear or cause discomfort. Likewise (if raining) while breaking camp in the morning, I can make breakfast and pack everything while staying completely dry. When its time to leave camp, I can take down the shelter and keep it in the mesh pockets outside my pack to eventually dry
- Cuben fiber is extremely lightweight, waterproof and doesn't stretch so it won't baffle in the wind or loose tenacity in extreme weather
- The Patrol shelter is essentially closed off on one end with a beak on the other which makes it nearly rain/snow/sleet/hail/etc proof if pitched correctly. I would recommend reading Ray Jardine's Tarp Book for proper tarp pitching techniques. I also bought one of his "Ray Way Tarps" to sew myself for fun!
- It comes with adjustable guy lines so the tarp's height is fully customizable while under the shelter
- With a close line sewn in, I can dry gear that I washed or wet from rain without worry of condensation build up
- if no trees are available, 2 sticks or 2 hiking poles are all that's needed to assemble
- If wanting more closure, one could open a umbrella at the beak end and have almost an enclosed shelter
QUILT/UL SLEEPING BAG
Based on research, a 20 degree bag is whats recommended for the PCT. So I knew the degree, just had to decide on the style. After learning the sleeping bag material underneath the body provides no insulation, it seemed like dead weight. In addition to this, UL sleeping bags can get really pricey (so can quilts for that matter. But the weight savings in quilts make it worth it!) Western Mountaineering's Ultralight mummy 20 weighs 29oz and costs $420. A quilt isn't what you might think. It resembles a sleeping bag, but is more like a blanket. It has a closed foot box to keep your feet enclosed, but fans out like a blanket.
I narrowed my quilt brand down to:
- zpacks 20 at 16.7oz ($390),
- katabatic Alsek 22 at 22oz ($435) or Palisade 30 at 18.2oz ($405)
- hammock gear Burrow 20 at 20oz ($255)
- 1 x Burrow 20°
(Outer Shell Color: ARGON Black, Inner shell Color: ARGON Black, Length: Standard Length 74", Width: Wide 55" (+$20), Footbox Style: Snap closed , Taper: Half Taper, Overfill (oz): Standard Amount)
- ULA ohm - 3,960 cu in/29oz Max weight 30lbs
- Gossamer Gear Gorilla - 3,000 cu in/26oz Max weight 35lbs
- Become a member at backpackinglight.com
- If you are planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, buy Yogi's PCT Handbook
- Read what Ray Jardine has to say. I have his Trail life and Tarp book. He is a bit preachy, but I'm new to this stuff. Don't only read him, read everything you can. But most importantly, get outside and PLAY!!
Headed out on a 200 mile bike ride to Aspen this weekend to see Xavier Rudd and camp, followed by a 4 day backpacking trip to Spider and the Fly. Next week is going to be awesome!! I'll link some pictures and let you all know how the new gear worked out!