Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:37 am

So, one of our yearly backpacking trips was well planned in advance. My wife and I planned out a 130-mile backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail (Erwin, TN to Damascus, VA). Everything was set and we set off; linked up with our shuttle and after sitting in vehicles for about 7+ hours, we finally got our feet on the trail. Day-one went just as planned; no issues other than fighting to get our trail legs and being just a little exhausted since we were up at 0100 with a long drive.

The never-ending curse of distance backpackers is cutting weight, shaving ounces, and counting grams. There is a certain level of risk associated with balancing weight, limiting redundancies, maximizing the use of every item, and generally riding the line of just the right amount of kit, water, food, and fuel for the environmental conditions.

Seasonally, it’s been a little cooler than normal with increased precipitation; water was no issue on the trail. As my wife and I used average forecasts and just watching the weather trends, we felt pretty comfortable cutting back on clothing and insulation. Big mistake.

We completely failed to fully consider the effects of temperature at the elevations we would be hiking (Roan Highlands), coupled with some severe thunderstorms and high winds. We froze our asses off after the first day. The following days were overcast, sporadic rain showers, cold winds, and we were dumped on the following two nights before even reaching our planned camp sites. We were soaked to the bone and nothing would dry out. The first major thunderstorm hit us about a quarter-mile from the planned shelter site. Even after we decided to just find a spot and get our rain flies up, we got pummeled from a massive deluge, high winds and a good 15-20 degree drop in temps. My wife got her fly up and as able to hunker down; she was soaking wet. I was only able to wrap up in my rain fly and take the 20-minute beating…soaking wet. Pack liners are important as we kept the hammock, quilts, and spare clothing dry, but everything else was soaked through and through.

There was a serious hypothermic threat. Once the winds died down, the temps still remained low and we had sporadic showers. We switched out of wet hiking clothes and climbed in the hammocks to warm up. Both of use skimped on better quilts to go lighter. My wife used a cheaper (and smaller) down quilt and mine was really only rated to about 50 degrees. We later found out temps with wind chill were in the low 40’s. Because previous trip experiences and conditions, we cut weight on heavier sleep clothes. I didn’t bring my rain shell pants, left off my heavier sleep shirt for a very light silk shirt, dropped my lightweight merino wool long underwear and just kept some silk-weight running shorts. I didn’t freeze, but sleep was affected and I wasn’t fully comfortable or warm throughout the nights. Because it’s June, I excluded brining my under-quilt (another colossal mistake); it only weighs 15 ounces but is very effective in temps lower than 50 degrees. If you know anything about hammocks, convection is the killer and cold air under your backside makes for a very miserable night. I still carried and used my Z-Rest section of CCF mat, which helps significantly, but only covers a section from butt to neck.

I typically get and function off of 5-6 hours of sleep, but sleep is pretty important to your body on the trail. Yes, we’re cramming calories in the body, but after carrying even a lighter load up and down irregular terrain, exposure to less than ideal weather, and just the normal exhaustion your body gets from hiking all day…sleep really helps your body recover; we value it highly! And we didn’t get much of it.

Same weather conditions and miserable night the next night. What was really bad is we just couldn’t get anything to dry out. Socks were the worst. I had two pair of merino wool socks and a pair of bamboo socks. I rotated two pair and kept one dry for camp and sleeping in. Shoes never dried out and the socks would be heavily damp at best. Fortunately, no blisters, but had we kept this up, I was beginning to feels some soft-skin hot spots.

We had a little view of the Roan Highlands, but my wife slipped in the mud, banged and twisted her knee pretty good which slowed us down. What was crazy was the wind-chill on when crossing both Little Hump and Hump Balds; both were socked in with fog and we experienced strong gusts, guessing it had to almost have been sustained at 15-20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph…it was freaking freezing for shorts. Moving (much slower now) was the only thing keeping us warm. As we descended into Roan Mountain, TN, we finally got some sunshine, but my wife’s knee was bruised with some swelling. We were going to resupply at a B&B/Hostel, but made the decision to reschedule the rest of the trip. Temps ended up being even lower with more rain in the higher elevations. Despite all the planning, Mother Nature can give you a good kick in the balls; and if you’re no prepared, she will follow up with a knee to the head!

The good news is we had a good time despite the freezing nights, cold winds, and heavy downpours. I’ve spent my career in some pretty crappy conditions…part of the job and I got paid for it. This is our “vacation”, so we admitted we are “fair-weather” backpackers and after making the decision to reschedule the last leg of the trip, we shuttled back to the truck and made our way to Asheville, NC for a great Juicy Lucy burger and couple of local micro-brews after a hot shower and looking forward to a warm bed.

First, I’m glad I packed my Arc’Teryx dri-down puffy vest. My wife even wore it climbing those balds with the wind chill. Pack liners are a must to keep essential insulation, shelter and spare clothes dry. Having a merino hat and glove liners were crucial at night…glad I brought them. My wife’s circulation sucks; her hands were freezing when on the trail and she actually used my gloves. She’s going to add a pair of liners to clothing bag as well (I was using OR 100-eight synthetic gloves; very thin liners).

We completely underestimated the weather conditions at the higher elevations. I think the average is 3.5 degrees cooler for every thousand feet; it was likely 10-15 degrees cooler without the addition of rain and wind. We both agreed that a couple extra pounds of proper insulation and sleep clothes would have made a significant difference in dealing with the conditions. As much as I love my non-waterproof Salomon shoes, I am going to use GTX versions for anything that remotely places us at elevation with any chance of rain. My current shoes got soaked from ankle high grass and the conditions never let them dry out. Rain pants and ankle gaiters would have helped significantly as well. Even damp merino wool socks are okay, but damn, it’s no fun putting on cold damp underwear and socks every morning (my wife wasn’t too excited about the cold, wet sports bra either).

Immediate additions to the pack: OR Helium rain pants, long sleeve merino wool sleep/layer shirt, lightweight merino long underwear. GTX hiking shoes outside of the drier months of July and August (for the SE area). Sweaty feet are easier to manage than soaking wet feet that won’t dry out when constantly overcast, wet, and frequent rain showers. Any trips outside of July and August, I’m going to include my under-quilt as well; it’s 15-ounces of quality sleep insurance. My base weight is going to go up a couple pounds, but I am going to go back to some lighter accessory items (headlamp/battery combo, no need for a regular flashlight, etc,).

We were in much better physical shape than previous trips. Still, with poor weather conditions, your hiking distances take longer. Even with the basic “trail” terrain, we typically average about 25 minutes a mile. With the weather and effects on the trail, we ended up taking as long as 35-40 minute miles having to slow down on slippery rocks, deep/slippery mud, and having to stop frequently to don or doff rain gear.

Foot care is critical. I tried to rotate two pair of soaking wet socks (one merino wool, the other bamboo). The mesh-toe shoes would soak them as soon as a I wrung them out. What was important was retaining one dry pair for sleeping in and despite the weight of “camp shoes”, I had a pair of Xero-Shoe sandals which I put on as soon as we got to a campsite. My feet were a little cold at times, but getting them air out was extremely important. Massaging your feet is also important. I may consider a small container of Gold Bond powder, but it wasn’t necessary as long as we got into camp with a few hours of daylight and the opportunity to do some foot maintenance. I’m also considering “waterproof” socks. There are some new versions on the market and one of our shuttle drivers said they have heard some good reviews from thru-hikers. I’m leery as most waterproof linings that get soaked take longer to dry out, but regardless, nothing dried out the last three days of our four-day section.

We considered making a fire to dry stuff out, but honestly, it was way too wet and the frequent and heavy rain storms would have made a fire extremely hard to maintain. We were far better off stripping down, getting into dry sleep clothes and climbing into the hammocks to maintain body heat.

The start as mentioned was great…good weather…we were happy (although my wife promptly fell asleep as soon as here hammock was up!):

Image

Image

Image

Image

…and then the weather turned and the temps dropped:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Merino wool cap and glove liners were much appreciated for the much-colder-than-expected nights (just wish I had my long underwear and under-quilt!)…

Image

Despite our poor planning for the conditions, we still had a good time and plenty of lessons learned as usual. Fortunately, we had the flexibility to adjust our first plan…it sure didn’t survive first contact! Time to reload and finish the rest of that section…and hope for slightly better weather and more importantly prepare for less-than-ideal weather!

Image

ROCK6

User avatar
JeeperCreeper
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 2535
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:49 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Twilight... making zombies of our future generations
Location: Yo Momma's House

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:54 am

Looks fun! Gorgeous landscape and views as well.

I also agree that footcare is paramount and often forgotten by weekend warriors like myself.
They see me trollin', they hatin'.... keyboardin' tryna catch me typin' dirty
Halfapint wrote:There are some exceptions like myself and jeepercreeper.... but we are the forum asshats. We protect our positions with gusto
zero11010 wrote:The girlfriend is a good shot with a 10/22.
Her secondary offense will be nagging.

User avatar
TacAir
* * * * *
Posts: 8226
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:01 pm
Contact:

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by TacAir » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:53 am

Thanks for the detailed and information rich post!

The photos showed you had some fun, albeit wet fun.

What kind of stove did you carry and chow consumed? That seems to be the one thing you forgot to add.

Thanks again.
TacAir - I'd rather be a disappointed pessimist than a horrified optimist
**All my books ** some with a different view of the "PAW". Check 'em out.
Adventures in rice storage//Mod your Esbit for better stability

User avatar
woodsghost
* * * * *
Posts: 3647
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by woodsghost » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Terrific write up!

Sorry you had a tough time.

I know I have started many a fire in such conditions. It sucks, but the right tools make a difference. But they are usually heavy. Also, some days all that will start a fire is a bar of trioxane. Or a road flair. Been there :(

I would love to hear more about the foot wear solutions you find. I don't yet have a really good solution other than maybe Keens or other open shoes for the wet days. I have liked flip-flops for those wet days, but don't see them as a hiking solution. Otherwise I just wear non-water proof boots and suffer with frequent sock changes and foot powder. I dig me some foot powder.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 14286
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Safe On Base

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:16 pm

Good write up. Glad you learned that lesson in June and not April. That is the difference between being uncomfortable and getting medevaced off the mountain.

Makes me miss the AT.
You go 'round and around it
You go over and under
I go through

User avatar
RonnyRonin
* * * * *
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 8:11 pm
Location: Front Range, CO

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:32 pm

I think the changing facial expressions in the photos as the trip progressed really tell the story.

Not a critique of hammock camping, bust something that stuck out to me: Ground sleeping really gives you a lot of options for sharing body heat. There are been plenty of times where my wife is cold and any amount of sleeping bag (I'm talking 10* bags being used in the 40*s) won't warm her up in a reasonable time, but I can crawl under with her and bring the temp up to where her circulation starts back up and she can produce her own heat again. My emergency "cold as balls" or rewarming plan with her is to stack pads and open up both our bags and spread them over us as quilts, wouldn't expect to sleep much but on paper it should more the double sleep system warmth.

I think waterproof socks make a lot more sense then waterproof shoes, but I don't have enough time in them to say. I've made a few knee-high gaiter/sock things but I'm in a desert right now and don't get much chance to test them. Even a complete moisture barrier (oven bags, bread bags) might be drier and warmer then constantly letting cold water in from the outside. Certainly they would buy you more time when putting dry socks in wet shoes.
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:56 pm

TacAir wrote: What kind of stove did you carry and chow consumed? That seems to be the one thing you forgot to add.
Stoves were alcohol. My wife has a Pepsi can variety with jet rivet; mine is a mini-Bull design. Alcohol is a good choice for this type of trail, hike, and weather. Chow as assorted freeze dried meals of the shelf and some of my wife's dehydrated meals (chili, refried beans and rice, penne pasta and dehydrated marina sauce). We try to make every meal edible with tortillas...they serve as plates and the remainder can get rolled up into a burrito. Everything else was pretty much ready to eat to keep moving on the trail or snack in short breaks. Granola/trail bars, trail mix, day one was some summer sausage, favorite nut-butter and tortilla, etc.
woodsghost wrote:Terrific write up!

Sorry you had a tough time.

I know I have started many a fire in such conditions. It sucks, but the right tools make a difference. But they are usually heavy. Also, some days all that will start a fire is a bar of trioxane. Or a road flair. Been there :(
It wasn’t really that bad. Conditions were hypothermic, but spare/sleep clothes, hammock and insulation were all dry, just not comfortable enough to really sleep well. I have the stuff to make a fire, but the ground was completely soaked and it would have taken me far longer to keep a fire going in those bad conditions than to just bundle up in the hammock. From a true survival perspective, we would have just used one fly as to cover and buddle up on the ground with our ground mats and other fly to stay dry and huddle up with the quilts. It does make you think about conditions, circumstance and options.
RonnyRonin wrote: I think the changing facial expressions in the photos as the trip progressed really tell the story.

Not a critique of hammock camping, bust something that stuck out to me: Ground sleeping really gives you a lot of options for sharing body heat. There are been plenty of times where my wife is cold and any amount of sleeping bag (I'm talking 10* bags being used in the 40*s) won't warm her up in a reasonable time, but I can crawl under with her and bring the temp up to where her circulation starts back up and she can produce her own heat again. My emergency "cold as balls" or rewarming plan with her is to stack pads and open up both our bags and spread them over us as quilts, wouldn't expect to sleep much but on paper it should more the double sleep system warmth.
Yeah, we stick with hammocks down to about 40 degrees, but we also have better under-insulation and quilts if the conditions warrant it (and we plan better!). My wife gets much colder than I do, but we did have the same conversation about “what if”. As said above, we could have improvised to maximize sharing body heat. This was more just uncomfortable than dire, but it’s always a good reminder that you can plan for typical conditions and then get kicked in the teeth. It’s a challenge to always balance weight reduction in your pack with the right essentials for the environmental conditions…most of the time it works out; sometimes you get it wrong and it simply sucks.
RonnyRonin wrote: I think waterproof socks make a lot more sense then waterproof shoes, but I don't have enough time in them to say. I've made a few knee-high gaiter/sock things but I'm in a desert right now and don't get much chance to test them. Even a complete moisture barrier (oven bags, bread bags) might be drier and warmer then constantly letting cold water in from the outside. Certainly they would buy you more time when putting dry socks in wet shoes.
Yeah, this is the first time this has happened to me and I know what will work. Again, I was trying to go for a lighter shoe that (typically) dries faster…but when the wet conditions persist, nothing dries out. The only stuff that dried out was my underwear, shorts and shirt closest to my body after about 3-4 hours of hiking and a good breeze. Of course, showers hit us off and on, so that didn’t help either.

Future planning just needs to include a lower temp and worse-weather focus. We knew it would be colder at those elevations, but I totally underestimated the intensity and persistence of the thunderstorms and wind. Even when it wasn’t raining, the trail-hugging foliage did a great job of sharing their own water. I’ve already fixed the shoe problem, but I would be interested in some of the newer waterproof socks. Two types I’m going to try combine a vapor barrier with material; one is bamboo the other is merino wool. This also requires me to pack rain pants (and possibly ankle gaiters) to keep water from flowing down into the shoes/socks. Honestly, with more than a few hundred miles of hiking north GA and the AT, I haven’t seen conditions that cold and wet since a tour in Ecuador in the middle of the highland jungle during rainy season.

Ah, the value of lessons…a great example of “lifelong learning” from the school of hard knocks :mrgreen:

ROCK6

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:58 pm

Just for situational awareness, this was my loadout:

The loadout:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

My inadequate quilt for this trip was a Hammock Gear Burrow-50 quilt (the one in multicam):

Image

Base-weight was under 15 pounds (including my HPG Kit Bag); total weight with food, fuel and water was just over 28 pounds...

ROCK6

User avatar
Canadian Guy
* * *
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:13 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Canadian Guy » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:34 pm

Sorry to hear your trip went south due to the bad weather but I agree with you that with every bad experience you learn lots.

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:50 pm

Canadian Guy wrote:Sorry to hear your trip went south due to the bad weather but I agree with you that with every bad experience you learn lots.
As I've always said, bad experiences make the best memories (if you're still alive :mrgreen: )...

ROCK6

User avatar
Woods Walker
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 9404
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:15 pm
Location: CT

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:38 pm

Some of the coldest times I had were either in the summer or the margins of the seasons. Times when my guard was down. It doesn't take much to really get cold and there is no way that can be properly conveyed via internet. Yea just have to experience it. I always pack a bag for lower than expected conditions and have insulation under or inside my hammock which can't be compressed. Nice outing! :)
Image

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

Best of Woods Walker's posts.

User avatar
Asymetryczna
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 1293
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:56 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: The Road
Location: Crow, WV

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:07 am

The old saying goes: Travel light, freeze at night. Great write up, and those views. My brain feels a sense of overall wellness looking at all of that green.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
woodsghost
* * * * *
Posts: 3647
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by woodsghost » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:54 am

Woods Walker wrote:Some of the coldest times I had were either in the summer or the margins of the seasons. Times when my guard was down. It doesn't take much to really get cold and there is no way that can be properly conveyed via internet. Yea just have to experience it. I always pack a bag for lower than expected conditions and have insulation under or inside my hammock which can't be compressed. Nice outing! :)
My coldest nights were all in the winter. I finally figured out ground insulation matters and some sleeping pads are better than others. That was a sucky lesson to learn. Also a very simple one. I have made a lot of simple but costly mistakes.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

User avatar
Wraith6761
* * *
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:00 pm

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Wraith6761 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Looks like a fun (if cold and wet) trip...plus you learned (or at least were reminded forcefully by Ma Nature) some things to not leave at home, even if they do shave a little weight. Personally, rain jacket/pants and an underquilt always come with me if I'm going up above 2500 feet elevation, as every time I've left them behind I've bitterly regretted it. Out of curiosity, did you use your rain gear to help mitigate the wind, or just as needed when the skies were opening up? A rain jacket (and rain pants) can make a pretty big difference in warmth just by cutting the wind for you...

I hate when stuff won't dry out properly, especially when it's also cold outside...one thing I've had mixed results with is hanging my shoes from the end of my hammock, either by the laces or by a mini-biner attached to the loop on the back of the shoes. The theory is that the extra air flowing around them will dry the shoes out faster than just leaving them on the ground, but it's pretty hit or miss in my experience...mostly seems to depend on the humidity more than anything else.

Something that might help out with freezing hands/bad circulation is a simple DIY item called a wristie...basically, it's a tube of polar fleece that stretches from your knuckles to almost your elbow, with a hole for your thumb to stick out of. It's really simple to make (or you can buy them from places like http://www.wristies.com/Default.asp, if neither of you want to mess with sewing), but because it's a solid piece of fleece covering the part of your wrist and arm where the blood vessels are closest to the surface, it actually keeps you really warm (plus you still have full use of your fingers without the annoying seams you can get with some gloves).

Is that a Minibull Fancee Feast stove I see? I love that little stove...so much easier to use than a lot of the stoves I've seen, which makes it a better choice for early-morning/pre-coffee me :lol:
Woods Walker wrote:...I don't think it matters if a backpack has Dora the Explorer on it. Based on my observations from years of hunting and fishing if something looks and acts like prey it will draw in predators.

drop bear
* * *
Posts: 539
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:56 am

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by drop bear » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:15 pm

Did you try the garbage bag trick at all?
Image

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:19 pm

Wraith6761 wrote:Looks like a fun (if cold and wet) trip...plus you learned (or at least were reminded forcefully by Ma Nature) some things to not leave at home, even if they do shave a little weight. Personally, rain jacket/pants and an underquilt always come with me if I'm going up above 2500 feet elevation, as every time I've left them behind I've bitterly regretted it. Out of curiosity, did you use your rain gear to help mitigate the wind, or just as needed when the skies were opening up? A rain jacket (and rain pants) can make a pretty big difference in warmth just by cutting the wind for you...

I hate when stuff won't dry out properly, especially when it's also cold outside...one thing I've had mixed results with is hanging my shoes from the end of my hammock, either by the laces or by a mini-biner attached to the loop on the back of the shoes. The theory is that the extra air flowing around them will dry the shoes out faster than just leaving them on the ground, but it's pretty hit or miss in my experience...mostly seems to depend on the humidity more than anything else.

Something that might help out with freezing hands/bad circulation is a simple DIY item called a wristie...basically, it's a tube of polar fleece that stretches from your knuckles to almost your elbow, with a hole for your thumb to stick out of. It's really simple to make (or you can buy them from places like http://www.wristies.com/Default.asp, if neither of you want to mess with sewing), but because it's a solid piece of fleece covering the part of your wrist and arm where the blood vessels are closest to the surface, it actually keeps you really warm (plus you still have full use of your fingers without the annoying seams you can get with some gloves).

Is that a Minibull Fancee Feast stove I see? I love that little stove...so much easier to use than a lot of the stoves I've seen, which makes it a better choice for early-morning/pre-coffee me :lol:
Great, constructive feedback! I'm really going to reevaluate adding my under-quilt back into my base-weight. A comfortable night's sleep is well worth that extra 15 ounces! I also committed the cardinal sin or leaving my rain pants at home. All I had were shorts. I was okay for the most part, but if I would have been immobile for any length of time, I would have been in the hurt locker. My feet were the worst part; soaking wet. I was hanging everything above me on the hammock line. I've never had this problem before, but nothing would dry out at all. I hung my shoes, I used my micro-fiber washcloth to try and dry out the insides; I inverted them on sticks in the ground...I tried everything but roasting over a fire :mrgreen: These are nice (non-waterproof barrier) Salomon shoes that dry with just a little time in the sun. I'm just going to resign to wearing their GTX versions up through June. Wet feet for 7-8 hours just sucks and when you socks (even rotated) never dry out, it's a recipe for blisters. I was really close to just hiking in my sandals, but I needed more cushion for the rougher parts of the trail.

Wristies look interesting, something my wife would like. Her hands get pretty cold and she ended up hiking with my glove liners.

Good eye, that is the Minibull Fancee Feast stove. It's one of my favorites...simple, efficient, and is the fastest to get a boil.

Thanks again for the feedback and suggestions...

ROCK6

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:22 pm

drop bear wrote:Did you try the garbage bag trick at all?
Image
I had rain jacket, just no rain pants. The pants are too necessary when I'm moving but would have been a nice addition if my shoes were actually more water resistant or waterproof. Although rain pants rarely get used, it's nice to have them when all you have are shorts.

ROCK6

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:55 am

Well, I've been toying around with some options for rain gear. I want to add some rain pants, but keep the weight down. My current (or at least from this trip) gear is an Outdoor Research Heilum II jacket (6.3oz) and a cuben fiber rain cover (1.5oz) for a total of 7.8oz

If I add pants (OR Helium, 6.2oz), the combined weight would be 14.0oz...

I've pulled out my old 20D Packa, and with the OR Helium pants (6.2oz) the two total 16.1oz.

A weight gain of 2.1oz.

The Packa starts out as a pack rain cover and you can quickly pull the integrated cover/jacket out and over your pack suspension...I've used this during colder, wetter seasons but typically don't use it during the summer since the lighter rain jacket is often used as a wind shell as much as a rain jacket. The Packa does replace both the rain jacket and pack cover which can be a nice cost savings, but not always a significant weight savings.

So with just the pants and Packa it's only a weight gain of 2.1oz but simplifies my full rain gear ensemble for the typical conditions down here. I'm using the 20D Packa and what I like about it is that you can put it on your pack like a rain cover and if it starts raining hard, you can pull the rest of the "jacket" part on with the pack still on you. I simply overheat with rain gear down here even when the temps are in the 40's. This drives my wife crazy because I'm constantly putting my jacket on and off as the rain is sporadic which also means having to stop and drop the pack all the time. The Packa will allow me to just fold the jacket part back without having to take my pack off and it's equally as accessible to put back on.

This solves my pants problem with only a 2.1oz weight gain and simplifies the jacket and pack-cover. The Packa will "breathe" a little better than the jacket (the Packa also has pit zips where my Helium doesn't) and also provides better coverage for the pack (actually, complete coverage and zero gaps). The Packa can still be used as a jacket without the pack, but you just have a large piece of hump-material on your back :mrgreen: . It's not something you would wear down to the mall, but once the hammock fly (or tent) is up and your pack is under (inside), you still have full use as a rain jacket.

I'm just jealous as my wife and her sister/girlfriends took off at 0300 this morning heading up towards Hot Springs, NC for their own backpacking trip. Weather is supposed to suck here all weekend, so I may just go out for a day hike when it's raining to try out the pants, Packa and Salomon GTX shoes...

ROCK6

User avatar
Woods Walker
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 9404
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:15 pm
Location: CT

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:18 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Woods Walker wrote:Some of the coldest times I had were either in the summer or the margins of the seasons. Times when my guard was down. It doesn't take much to really get cold and there is no way that can be properly conveyed via internet. Yea just have to experience it. I always pack a bag for lower than expected conditions and have insulation under or inside my hammock which can't be compressed. Nice outing! :)
My coldest nights were all in the winter. I finally figured out ground insulation matters and some sleeping pads are better than others. That was a sucky lesson to learn. Also a very simple one. I have made a lot of simple but costly mistakes.
The same can happen in a hammock as the quilt or sleeping bag gets compressed under body weight negating the loft. I think the ground pad is just as important as the bag.
Image

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

Best of Woods Walker's posts.

Dragon80
* * *
Posts: 400
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:26 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead
Location: Indiana

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by Dragon80 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:08 am

Pants are a staple for me, no matter the time of year or the weather. I have considered wearing shorts as I have a pair of North Face that would be great in the Summer months, but I've always worn pants.... I wear pants for many reasons, we get ticks badly here, if it rains or I have to hike through morning dew/high grass, the pants take the brunt of the problems. I'm considering a switch to my Mammut Soft Shell pants as they're super ligthweight, breathable and water resistant. I too struggle with taking rain pants with me, so the soft shells really have bridged that gap because they're the most versatile overall and aren't that hot to wear. I am going for a hike tomorrow, high humidity, 87 degrees, and potential rain so I will report on how that works.

I have the Helium II jacket and hate they way it feels next to skin, so lightweight though!! I'm currently building a lightweight kit myself and will be going with a Bivy, ultralight tarp, REI Flash pad, and an Aegismax sleeping bag I got super cheap on AliExpress.com. My weights are a bit off due to having the wrong pack as my new one hasn't come yet, but still, going lightweight is a bitch! lol
BOB also used for backpacking
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=114606

GHB dedicated thread in need of serious updating!!!
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=112108

User avatar
ROCK6
* * *
Posts: 477
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:44 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Still working on it!
Location: Georgia

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by ROCK6 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:40 am

For most of the “trail” backpacking, I much prefer shorts, but there is no denying the need for full-leg pants for many reasons. I actually like shorts so I can actually see those bastard ticks on me. If mosquitos were worse, I would definitely go with pants. I just overheat down here in the summer when backpacking and I even tried zip-off pants/shorts…I just ended up wearing them as shorts the whole time.

Softshell pants are perfect for cooler weather for me. They aren’t waterproof but shed light rain well. The biggest attribute is drying fast. My current hiking shorts (Duluth DryFlex shorts) are made of similar material and even after being soaked, they dried within just a couple hours hiking (when we weren’t being rained on!).

I just think if I go exclusively with shorts, I need to add rain shell pants. For trail hiking, the lighter variety will be fine and serve as a wind shell as well. I said screw it, and added my lighter merino wool long underwear in my clothing bag. Much warmer to sleep in if needed and if worn under the rain pants, they can really help when the temps are low and nasty.

Going lightweight over the past several years has been eye-opening. I’m got a career in the military where redundancy, over-engineered gear, and weight were accepted norms for the field. Going lightweight forces better planning but really makes you evaluate necessity and simplify your requirements. Where the old adage of “one is none and two is one” is what I grew up with, lightweight backpackers try to find that one item to serve two or three purposes to cut weight. There’s a balance, but I’m probably at the 95% happy-with-my-weight-loadout, right now.

I need to repack everything with these past few changes and my base weight will likely jump to 14-14.5 pounds, but I still want to have a certain level of mental comfort preparation. This last trip, my full pack weight (9oz fuel, food weight average 6 pounds, and water weight was with 3 liters) was around 27-28 pounds. That is extremely light for me to carry all day…zero issues. I want to keep that full weight under 30 pounds, and these few changes will do that but offer me far more comfort in unplanned weather conditions.

Tweaking your kit is a constant evolution, so these “lessons learned” are vital for me and my wife. We can pick the gear, the location, and the time of year; we just can’t always pick the best weather and that is just the part of every trip you have to learn to deal with…

ROCK6

User avatar
moab
* * * * *
Posts: 3878
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:07 pm

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by moab » Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:43 pm

What is the difference between a Fancy Feast stove and a "Minibull Fancee Feast stove"?

Great write up Rock6. I think of all the contributors I read on all my outdoor forums. I follow you the most. First it's becuase you write so well. And it's probably also, because I too was a "military one is none and two is one" type person. And then learned how to lighten things up. But then that evolved into more of what you're doing now. Which I see as a "safe ultralight load out". Although mine is still quite higher than yours. Especially with my INCH bag. But it's been heavily influenced by guys like you that have gotten into the ultralight thing without going to far.

EDIT - Ugh I've got the flu. forgot this one point. I'm a shorts guy too! lol. I'd have been real happy to be in a UK WWII summer uniform with those badass khaki shorts. Just not in North Africa. lol. I just picked up a pair of long hiking shorts. Not the kind that look like capri pants. But ones that fit my long legs and fall about just under the kneecap. MAde of typical nylon blend etc. etc. They feel great on. We'll see how they work out.
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

MPMalloy
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 6154
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:48 am

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by MPMalloy » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:43 pm

Awesome post Rock. I salute you & your wife!

bufordtjustice
* *
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:17 pm

Re: Trip AAR: The best plans never survive first contact…

Post by bufordtjustice » Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:32 pm

Great post. Thanks for taking the time to document everything.

Post Reply

Return to “Bug Out Gear”