Hey all -
This upcoming weekend a friend and I are doing a 3 day 22 mile trip in the Smokies. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this trip - getting away from everything, getting into the woods for a few days, and having some good times with my friend.
I'm weird in that I love planning. I spent almost a week finding the "perfect" route for our trip - or at least as perfect as I can. Finding a good route for a 3 day trip while avoiding the AT and shelters was actually kind of frustrating. There were a couple trails I really wanted to include because of the where they were and what they saw (my favorite trail, Porter's Creek), but they really weren't conducive for a three day trip, or due to camp site location would require very short (5 mile) days.
So, since this is a 3-day trip, I thought it would be perfect for my Umlindi.
I'm going to break down everything that's in this, both as a running commentary for myself so I can do an AAR, and as an example of probably the heaviest load I'd want in an Umlindi.
On the top of the Umlindi is a stuff sack holding the Mountain Serape and a Marmot Minimalist rain jacket (rain jacket can just be pulled out by loosening the draw string). At some point, replacing this stuff sack with a 812 stuff sack or Kifaru 5 string would be preferable, but this works perfectly fine. There's plenty of room for more insulation if I want to include a light bag, a fleece liner, or something else for a later season trip.
On the back of the Umlindi is a PALS pocket. (A very oddly colored PALS pocket. It is supposed to be ranger green, but ... I'd definitely call it an OD.)
In the PALS pocket I have 2 condor hook-and-loop pouches, my BFAK, my IFAK (Dark Angel Med Gen 3), a Mora, and a Bahco Laplander. I really love these Condor pouches, especially when combined with either a PALS pocket or a Aston/Tara insert. In pouch 1:
There's 50' 550 cord, 2x 6' cord, 2x figure 9 carabiners, a Leatherman Wave with bits and bit extender, a pencil, a sharpie, a Rite-in-Rain notebook, a Fieldsharp, and Thrunite headlamp.
In pouch 2 I have 4 granola bars, a pop tart (later removed), 20 chlorine dioxide tabs, 2 sporks, lighter, storm matches, a bunch of coffees and teas, and a MSR pocket rocket.
Initially I tried to put my sleep system in the PALS pocket, and while it fit, the pack felt too back heavy for my liking. I thought it would be a great idea to have a detachable sleep pocket, but it just didn't carry right for my liking. So... Into the pack it went.
In the bottom of the pack is Klymit XL pad and a tarp, followed by a Hennesey hammock.
On top of the hammock is my cook set and food sack.
The cook set is a Pinnacle Dualist if I recall. I've had it for years, so I could be wrong. Its really great - wash tub, 2 insulated cups with lids, 2 bowls, and a pot and lid. There's room to set it up to hold an 8 oz fuel container, and I have a second 8 oz container sitting on top in my pack. I don't THINK we'll need 16oz of fuel, but I'd rather have a little too much.
In the slot pocket inside the Umlindi I have bug dope, biodegradable soap, TP, a high tech towel, and a bear bell.
In the slot pocket outside of the Umlindi is a contractor trash bag. As you can also see, I have a prairie belt. On the prairie belt are two medium GP pouches and two canteen pouches. In the right canteen pouch, I have a 1 gt Oasis canteen (I have 2 more Oasis canteens in the pockets on the Umlindi itself). In the left canteen pouch I have my emergency cook set.
I've played around with using this as my only cook set, but I'm not quite comfortable with it yet, especially in the Smokies where stoves are encouraged and fires are often banned. The cook set is a 1L Nalgene stainless steel bottle, a stainless steel cup and lid, and fish mouth spreaders (which work great for suspending the bottle or the cup above a fire). The bottle is a little loose in the canteen pouch, so I added some 550 cord with a slip knot and a stop knot so I can secure the bottle but can also get it out relatively easily.
In the left GP pouch I have more coffee, a strop pre-loaded with compound, a compass (Suunto MC-2G I think), a small survival kit (I don't know who made it, I've had it for years, and I'm really thinking about leaving it behind), a sawyer mini with accoutrements (straw and little baggie), a flashlight (Thrunite Archer), matches and a lighter, and chapstick.
In the right GP pouch I have my Carhartt work gloves and a lightweight waterproof boo-boo kit with some oral rehydration salts.
Paracorded to the PALS under the right GP pouch is...
Gary!!! (with a ferro rod on the sheath and a striker on a loop) I love this knife. Very comfortable to use for wood working. It has a beautiful scandi edge, so maybe not ideal for skinning, but that's really not in the forecast this weekend. It has a very sharp 90 degree spine - like an ice skate - and if you don't wear gloves while using it and your thumb wanders on top of the knife... You will get tons of little shallow cuts.
Now, this whole kit - including a gallon of water (8.3 lbs) and my food sack (5lbs) - weighs 41.5lbs, or 28.2lbs before food and water. This is pretty heavy, and there are definitely some weighs (aha ha) I could cut that down. I could definitely carry less water, but that's not something I'm comfortable doing yet. I'm really looking at whether I'm packing too much food, and input there would be welcome.
I'm carrying (not including the 4 granola bars in PALS pocket) 6,330 calories for the 3 days. I like to keep an eye on protein, so in those calories, I have 392g protein. In the 5lb food sack there is 8 tortillas, 1 mountain house breakfast skillet, 2 mountain house dinners (chicken and potatoes and mexican chicken and rice), 2 tuna packets, 3 powdered chocolate peanut butters (180 calories each), 4 powdered regular peanut butters (180 calories each), 2 ramen packets, and 4 instant oatmeal (raisin, apple, and walnut). Breakfast on the first day is at home/on the road type deal, and depending on day 3 dinner may be on the trail or on the road. My basic idea meal plan would be ...
Day 1: Breakfast at home; lunch 2 tortillas + tuna + peanut butter; mountain house dinner + chocolate peanut butter
Day 2: Breakfast skillet; lunch 2 tortillas + tuna + peanut butter; mountain house dinner + chocolate peanut butter
Day 3: 2 oatmeal packets + peanut butter; one ramen for lunch + peanut butter.
This means I'm carrying one extra chocolate peanut butter (which I plan on sharing with my friend), 4 extra tortillas, one extra ramen, and two extra oatmeal packets. I'm not sure how much weight I could save here, but I realize that I could probably save 1-2lbs.
One thing I kept seeing pop up as I did my PCC was I had instant coffee, matches, and lighters hidden EVERYWHERE. Mostly this is because this kit is put together from 3 separate kits (EDC, belt, Umlindi day hike). I don't think this will add up to significant weight savings, but I'm definitely going to be going through and removing excessive duplicates - I think keeping one pack of matches, one lighter, and the ferro rod is fine, and I think deciding how many coffees and teas I actually need would help shave a little more weight.
I'm taking 3 knives (folding pocket, Gary, and Mora) and 1 saw. Considering I'm not allowed to use dead wood thicker than my wrist, I could lose the saw (4oz) and the Mora (4oz), so that would drop a half-pound. If I dropped the Mora and the saw, I'd be down to one fixed blade, which I could probably live with. I'm debating dropping the leatherman. I can't imagine when I would need one on this trip, and its heavy. The Wave is 8.5oz, the bit kit and extender and sheath are going to add a few more ounces, so I imagine its getting close to 11-12 oz. That's a good chunk of weight for very little return. Anyone care to weigh in here?
I'm carrying almost 4lbs of medical gear. The light kit in the pocket is a half-pound, the IFAK is about a pound, and the BFAK is about 2.5lbs. Between the light kit and the IFAK I could cover just about any injury up to and including a GSW. It would save some space and a save some weight, and I really don't think it would put me or my friend in significant risk.
My sleep system (hammock, tarp, serape, and sleep pad) is 6.5lbs. The serape is 2.5lbs (based on HPG), the hammock + tarp is 3lbs, and the sleep pad is 1lb. I could leave the sleep pad considering I'm in a hammock, but honestly its more for insulation from convection below. So, I don't see any weight savings here unless I want to drop the tarp and take my Alpine bivy (2lbs), saving 1lb of weight by dropping hammock and tarp. For the summer, this isn't worth it to me.
The only other area I could see saving weight is leaving the rain jacket (1lb) behind. There's no forecast for rain, but I don't really think that its a great idea to leave it. I could replace it with a frogg togg ultralight jacket (4oz) though. So not as stylish...
So, by my numbers, I could drop between 4-5lbs, reducing my total weight to between 36.5-37.5lbs. Staying under 40lbs would definitely be good, so I may make these modifications. Being around 35lbs with food and water is actually a really good weight for a 3-day trip.
Oh - one thing I didn't take into account for weight is that I'm taking a little point-and-shoot camera. It'll be riding in the right GP pocket, and could add around 8oz.
Anyways, I apologize for this being incredibly long and rambley. If you have any thoughts, critiques, or comments, please share. I'm all about learning and tweaking. I'll be posting some trip pics when I get back!