West of Virihaure - the gear

Here is a list of the gear I brought with me to Virihaure and some comments. It was basically the same gear that I have been using for the last year or so.

By Jörgen Johansson


It was a 6-day trip that turned out to be colder than what I had reason to expect. So the gear was working at the limits of its capacity. I slept in everthing I had including rain pants (but not rain jacket) a couple of nights, but that meant I was not particulary cold at night. I hiked in my rain gear for 3-4 days even if it did not rain, in order to stay warm. There was no frost at night but around 4-5 C and an insistent wind day and night. So I was never in any danger and not even freezing, just close to being uncomfortable a lot of the time. Bottom line: The gear worked well and kept me in good working order.

One important and impressive piece of gear was the 58 liter Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus that I had only used before on the Vålådalen hike with members of Nordic Lightpacking in May. For that trip the pack was way too big and had no chance to really give much of an impression, except that it worked for a three day trip. This time with the packraft taking up volume and starting with 16 kilos on my back it was an exact replica gearwise an weightwise of last years packrafting endeavour between Abisko and Nikkaluokta.


Morning of the second day with a fairly full Mariposa Plus. Full, but not bursting, I could probably have squeezed in food for another 2-3 days.
For the Abisko-Nikka trip I used the ULA Ohm which I later reviewed and was satisfied with as a good compromise for the person who wanted a light pack and still needed some sort of frame within. Both Ohm and Mariposa Plus weigh between 650-700 grams and reputedly hold around 58 liters. And both have a frame of sorts. I cannot honestly say that I would need more of a frame ever.

I found the Mariposa lots better for me than I found the Ohm. It is bigger inside (according to BPL and Roger Caffins articles ULA liters seem smaller than most due to the fact that they include the pocket volume) and fits more comfortably on my back, with the waistbelt a better fit around my hips. What I find not so good on the Mariposa is the elastics used to compress the main bag. I find them a nuisance that block side and back pockets when you need to start compressing after a couple of days. Ohm has a similar system but no pockets are blocked (since there are no pockets where the compression cord is). The Mariposa abundance of net pockets do suit my way of packing very well though, which makes them an improvement over Ohm, but alas, when you compress.... Oh well, there probably is no way around this, you cannot have black light. Comparatively the Mariposa fabric gives a weaker impression (true or false) than that of the Ohm and the general impression of 'finish' goes to the Ohm. All in all I prefer the Mariposa.

New for this summer as well was the Marmot Trail Wind Hoody as well as the Marmot Essence 2010 (there are older version that are heavier) rain jacket and pants. The windshirt performed a lot better than my old Marmot Ion windshirt. The cut is much better for one thing (the Ion must have been designed for couch potatoes like Homer Simpson and not for tall and thin galoots like yours truly...). The new hood is excellent and the overall weight of the Trail Wind Hoody as well. I prefer a windshirt with a hood, since the few extra grams mean a lot of warmth in my windy mountains.

The rain gear from Marmot worked very well also. They have kept rain out all summer (there was no rain for more than five minutes on the Virihaure trip) and I walked in them for several days without having any trouble with condensation. I usually try to avoid putting on my rain jacket for as long as I possibly can, which is pretty long since I carry an umbrella.
Two wool undershirts, windshirt, pants and rain gear (Marmot Essence) barely kept me warm in the cold wind blowing from the glaciers of Mt Sulitelma.
I am really pleased with the Marmot Essence rain suit so far. And I have also for several years been favorably impressed by Marmots pricing here in Sweden. Their Ion windshirt was for a long time about half the price of windshirts from comparable brands.

The MSR Titan Tea Kettle also worked very well. Expensive though. Using the light plastic bowl for lid and for eating out of as well also was a good solution.

Improvised windscreen by Lake Vastenjaure, before packrafting.
As you can see from the complete table of gear below (I am trusting everyone to be as nerdy as I am) I brough two pair of shoes. I have used Salmon Tech Amphibians in different reincarnations for many years now and they fit my style of hiking perfectly. I get along fine without very supportive and stiff shoes and need something flexible enough in the size department to handle everything from barefoot to pile socks underneath waterproof Goretex socks. But this time I also brough a pair of even-closer-to-barefoot shoes; Vivo Barefoot Evo Running Shoes.

The white Evos to the left. I used the same insoles, switching between shoes, gotta watch the weight...
I had used the Evos on day hikes in the mountains earlier in the summer and had been favourably impressed. I am definetely not a barefoot fan from way back when, and was not very keen when Martin pressed a pair into my hands (or onto my feet). But they where an awful lot more comfortable on the trail than I ever expected. With a heavier load, like here by Virihaure, they worked just as well. There was one problem with them, that I suspect had to do with them being new. One of them started pressing painfully on my Achilles tendon, so after three days they went into the pack. I had only used them for about 2-3 hours every morning in order not to overdo things far away from civilization. We'll write more about the barefoot revolution later. For the moment I can only say that my 17-year old son has hijacked the Evos...

Finally, the BPL Thorofare pants has gone through the mill this summer and proven themselves worthy. They are very thin but windproof and with a bit of stretch. The leg pocket is a good place to keep your money when you are in civilized surroundings. They have so far not shown any holes in spite of some bushwhacking. They dry out extremely fast after fords; I can seriously say in a couple of minutes. With the DWR it is almost as if they do not get wet. We'll see what happens after they have been laundered some more.

The 120 gram Thorofares to the right have replaced my homemade, five year old 170 gram blue Pertex pants. The latter ones have truly been through the mill and seen a lot of bushwhacking. I have certainly walked more than 1000 kilometers in them, a lot of it off trail. No holes and some sign of wear without being worn. Something for people that claim that thin fabrics are torn to shreds when you step into the brush to chew on.

Complete packlist

Gear worn

PantsBPL Thorofare sand L120 g
CapHomemade, Pertex Equilibrium46 g
Shorts/underwear BPL merino size M110 g
ShirtIcebreaker Kent merino220 g
ShoesSalomon Tech Amphib size 46/11712 g
SocksThin nylon18 g
WindshirtMarmot Trail Wind Hoody XL150 g
Hiking poles Axess 50460 g
Total gear worn: 1836 g

Gear carried

PackGG Mariposa Plus L 680 g

Clothes

GlovesKarrimor fleece54 g
Warm jacketCocoon Pullover316 g
Long underwearLadies leggings 60 den62 g
Stuff sack, clothes 8 l SeaTo Summit 72 g
SocksCoolmax dry nightsocks50 g
Socks, waterproofRocky Goretex size 1190 g
UndershirtBPL Hoody merino size L246 g
ShoesVivo Barefoot Evo size 45520 g

Rain gear

Rain pantsMarmot Essence L 195 g
Rain jacket Marmot Essence XL 215 g
UmbrellaGolite Dome silver226 g

Shelter

Tent pegs (12 pcs)Mixed types125 g
Innertent/bugtent Homemade: Cuben/mesh/ripstop150 g
Tarptent and linesHomemade: Cuben160 g

Sleeping

 
PillowInflatable wine bag52 g
Stuff sack sleeping bag 13 l Sea to Summit96 g
Sleeping pad MEC Evazote 150*50*0,5166 g
Sleeping pad Neoair Small 120*50*5245 g
Sleeping bag Marmot Hydrogen -1 C685 g

Safety

CompassSilva Ranger 27 mirror24 g
Repair stuff25 g
Whistle28 g
Map, plastic58 g
Medical gear50 g
BloodstopperSwedish Armed Forces42 g
Swiss Army Knife 55 g
Fire making66 g
Spare spectacles With shades and case84 g

Eating

Spoon, wood8 g
Bowl, plasticFrom frozen soup20 g
LighterBic20 g
Water bottle Platypus soft 2 l38 g
Windscreen, stove BPL titanium foil 22*82 cm26 g
Kettle/cup MSR Titan Tea 0,8 l92 g
BurnerPrimus Micron in fleece bag105 g
Gas canister Primus 155 g
Trash bag5 g

Miscellaneous

Tickets10 g
Spare memory cards10 g
Skin care Swedish Defence Forces10 g
Toothbrush10 g
Piece of soap In plastic bag20 g
Stuff sack, safety gear2 l red silnylon22 g
Bug protection25 g
Money, credit cards In zip loc25 g
Pencil and diary paper In zip loc25 g
Toilet paper 10 m In plastic bag25 g
Stuff sack camera 8 l Sea to Summit Silnylon red30 g
Sun screen50 g
Headlamp Petzl Zipka Plus65 g
GPS Garmin Geko 101 incl batt88 g
Mobile phone Nokia100 g
Tripod for camera Homemade w carbon fiber legs, 144 g
Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28458 g
Pack baseweight (excluding packrafting): 6065 g

Packrafting

Packraft (incl pump and stuff sack)Alpacka Denali Lllama3000 g
PaddleAqua-Bound 4-parts 210 cm865 g
Flotation Device Homemade vest for inflated bottles70 g
Neoprene socks125 g
Repair patches and Aquaseal30 g
Sum packrafting: 4090 g
Pack base weight10519 g
Worn1836 g
Gear base weight12355 g
Food and fuel5500 g
Pack total weight16019 g
Gear total weight17855 g
My bodyweight81000 g
Pack total weight/body weight20%
Pack base weight/body weight13%

17 comments:

Helen Fisher said...

This is a fascinating read and I really enjoyed the gear list too.
How do you find using an umbrella though? I've noticed only a few people here in the UK using them on hikes, so would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks

Mattias said...

I think you forgot base layer in 'cloting worn'.

Why both neoprene and gore tex socks? i.e, why not use the gtx socks for packrafting or neoprene for hiking?

Gustav Boström said...

I'm glad you liked your Mariposa Plus. I also feel the compression features are a bit lacking, but I've found an acceptable solution in that I attach carabiners to the side bungy attachments and use them to hook up with the opposite attachment. It doesn't solve the pocket issue though, except for the high pocket on one side. Maybe a better solution would be to add some attachment point for a hook on the bottom ice-axe loop.

Jörgen Johansson said...

Helen,
Liking an umbrella seems to be an individual thing. Either you like it or you don't (I am talking about people that have actually tried, discussing use with others is seldom productive). I like it, lots of experienced hikers don't. The biggest advantage is that you do not need to don a rain coat in a mere drizzle. This usually means warmer clothing than the temperature calls for which tends to overheat me if the temperatures are benign. Biggest disadvantage is if you walk with poles, since the umbrella tends to occupy one hand. However, there are solutions:
http://www.fjaderlatt.se/2010/05/handsfree-umbrella.html
Mattias,
Yes, I did! Luckily enough only on the list and not on the mountain. My base layer is the Kent merinowool shirt. I will add it to the list shortly.
Gustav,
Good idea. I will probably use the Mariposa next summer as will, and will tinker a bit.

Joe Newton said...

I'd like to echo the comment made by Mattias about the neoprene and GTX socks. Is it necessary to carry both? And if neoprene socks are useful (I'm guessing they're required for their 'warm when wet' function) would a pair of neoprene gloves be useful too?

Jörgen Johansson said...

Mattias and Joe,
Sorry, forgot to answer that one. Both socks and shoes are doubles for testing. I would normally only carry one pair of each. Since I was packrafting I knew that neoprene socks are better for when you regularly immerse your foot. Always a risk that water runs over the top and into the sock. I also wanted to test hiking in neoprene socks as an alternative to my wet feet/waterproof socks aproach. I'll write about my findings in a while.
A pair of neoprene gloves would probably have been nice, or a pair of Sealskinz that I actually have but did not bring. However, my experince of neoprene gloves is that it is sometimes warmer without them. Depends on temperatures of air and water I guess.

Joe Newton said...

I can see the reasoning behind the neoprene socks. There is a high probability that they will get wet being in the bottom of the packcraft, even with a spray deck. I've read elsewhere of people coping with GTX over-mitts on their hands, with the cuff tightened on the outside of the rain jacket as the wrist is more often than not above the elbow allowing water to run off the sleeve.

Sealskinz though I can't bring myself to use. I've tried the socks and gloves and found them extremley difficult to dry out.

Jörgen Johansson said...

Joe,
Actually the biggest challenge is to get in and out of the packraft without getting your feet wet in the Goretex socks. Neoprene was much better; that is the keep your feet warm when wet.
About the hands I did not find it awkward while paddling, only when I got to the shore and tried to use them for more delicate things than swinging a paddle. Most of the time I also paddled in only my rain gear and windshirt, which did get a bit wet. No problem as long as I was paddling, but pretty cold when I got out of the packraft.

Mattias said...

I would say that neoprene socks make more sense then neoprene gloves. Since the chance of getting your feet wet in most cases are higher then for your hands, a sock that still functions when wet (like a neoprene one) would be preferable.
I have been using neoprene socks when hiking and biking with great success, and looking forward to try them out for rafting.

Nielsen Brown said...

Jörgen

This is a very useful gear list, I like the way you have markings on your MSR pot (what did you use to ensure permanency?)

Gas Canister 155 gms, is that half a container or ? I must admit that I was very impressed with gas consumption when I was in Lapland over summer. The only challenge is 3 weeks which probably means 2 canisters or one canister with a wood stove.

Have you retired you OZ pullover?

I have finally been able to get a pair of Salmon Tech Amphibians in my size (very big) I like them and will probably take them on my next trip up north for river crossings etc.

Jörgen Johansson said...

Roger,
The markings on the Tea kettle were semi-permanent, I have noticed... I just used a permanent (sic) felt pen. It will have to be re-applied now and then. But I am sure it will last for a couple of weeks in the field, it is the dish-washer that makes the most damage,
It is the medium size canister at 155 grams empty. The gas itself is added among the consumables. For three weeks I would probably bring two medium canisters and the small one as a backup. I find the very largest canister a bit tippy.
The Oz is retired, but not because it was ailing. I simply got the chance to test the Essence. The Oz has a better hood and I actually prefer the pullover type. It is also a bit stiffer, the Essence is more pleasantly soft.
Good luck with the Amphibians. If it is one thing I have learned it is how personal shoes are. It seems most people find the Amphibians to 'loose' and soft.

Joe Newton said...

I marked my Titan Kettle with the end of a screwdriver. It's pretty permanent!

Jörgen Johansson said...

I have discovered that some things are missing in my gear list, it is not quite as austere as it looks. One thing missing is a Cocoon Pullover, another a 'blood-stopper', heavy duty bandage courtesy the Swedish Armed forces. I'll check the list ASAP, which is probably tonight.

Jörgen Johansson said...

OK, now I have checked the gear list against the original Excel. I must have screwed up somewhere in the process of copying it to an html-editor, editing it and so on. It was soon discovered that I had managed to mislay my Icebreaker Kent at 220 grams. Today I also found that a very important piece of gear was not on the list; the warm jacket a BPL Cocoon Pullover. A favorite piece of gear and something I would never go without in the mountains. 316 grams for that one. Also sadly mislayed was a piece of medical gear; a blood stopper originating in the Armed Forces. It weighs 42 grams and contains gause and cloth designed to stop massive bleeding. I have carried the likes of it for 35 years and never needed it.
This has added about 675 grams to the original list. I hope I have all sums right now. Sorry about this. Luckily I am more careful when actually packing my stuff.

Fu said...

Hi... I thought the Marmot Essence was discontinued? I haven't seen it on their website in 2010.

Jörgen Johansson said...

Fu,
I checked with the Swedish agent and they say it is not in the fall 2010 catalog, but in the spring cataoog for 2011. Updated version that is 20 grams lighter and 'breathes' 50% better.

Jörgen said...

It is stated 5500 g for food and fuel - can I ask you to be a little more specific? It would be very interesting to see a list. Thanks in advance!

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