Jan 25, 2020Gear change – new backpack

New Backpack – Zpacks Arc Haul backpack (3lbs lighter than my old pack). Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Keeping to my vow to not add weight to my pack without lessening weight somewhere else to compensate, I’ve invested in a new pack. The Zpacks Arc Haul and front pack have the same base capacity, but at 1.76lbs, it is over 3lbs lighter than my Deuter backpack and Ribz front pack (5.03lbs). Of course, that weight saving comes at a cost, ultralight gear is very expensive.

It is also going to take a lot of ‘dialing in,’ I’m well aware that it will take several trips out before I’m happy with the adjustments and where everything is stored. In fact, it wasn’t until Day Three that I was happy with the basic set-up. Working out (and remembering) where everything is packed is another challenge too. There was lots of learning to be had on this trip.

Checking before I left home, the base weight was 18lbs which puts me in the ultralight backpacking zone, something I would have laughed at when I started backpacking. Loaded with food, water, and camera gear, etc. It was 27lbs. Not bad for a full winter (20°F load-out). You can see a list of all my gear for this trip here.

The pack is, to all intents and purposes, waterproof. So I need to rethink my wet weather strategy, I no longer need a rain poncho that keeps my pack dry. However, the poncho also doubles as an under quilt protector, and I haven’t got any lightweight rain gear at the moment.

Considering solutions, a set of Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 ought to fix the rain gear problem and they are relatively inexpensive at under $20update. The jacket can be used as a windcheater which is something I don’t carry at the moment. Reverting to a larger groundsheet and fitting grommets to it will enable that to be used as an under quilt protector. Lots to think about.

Why do I want to save weight? Well, I want to be able to bring along a chair which will weigh1lb-ish. You might wonder why I want a chair when I can sit in my hammock. Well, I can’t sit by a campfire in my hammock, I shouldn’t be eating in my hammock, and just maybe, after a day on the trail, I’m not so keen on sitting on the ground, especially when the ground is frozen.

Update February 2020

The Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Rain Suit was a disaster. When it arrived it fitted well, the weight was good (10.41oz), but I noticed a small hole in the front of the jacket, so I requested a replacement. When the replacement arrived, the first thing I did was hold the jacket up to the light, and lo-and-behold, there was another hole, right in the middle of the back at shoulder level. So I’ve sent them both back and asked for a refund. Now I’m researching alternate rain gear. In the meantime, my poncho will work fine.

Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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