Tester's Biographical Information:
I consider myself a lightweight hiker, carrying the lightest gear I can find that will provide a
comfortable wilderness experience and support my goals. Although my pack weight might label me as
an "Ultralight Weenie," I carry "luxury items" that hard-core ultralighters would shun;
e.g. a 23 oz (652 g) sleeping pad. Depending on the level of insects present and if I'm hiking
solo or not, I might pack a hammock, tent, or tarp. My base weight for three-season hiking is in the
sub-8 to 10 pound (3.5 - 4.6 kg) range, unless regulations force me to carry a bear canister.
Standing atop the 1883 shipwreck Mary Jarecki
Driftwood "sword" in hand
Day 2 of 4, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
|Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA)
fits torso lengths 20 - 22" (51 - 56 cm)
|10.6 oz (301 g)
|Weight as Delivered:
|10.6 oz (301 g)
|2600 cu in (42L)
. Main Body: 1600 cu in (26L)
. Side Pockets: 400 cu in (6.5L)
. Extension Collar: 600 cu in (9.5L)
|Up to 20 pounds (9 kg)
|Year of manufacture:
|Warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship. ULA-Equipment will replace or repair the product free of charge at their discretion for failures related to manufacturing defects. Necessary repairs due to improper use, unfortunate accidents, or general wear and tear will be charged on a materials and time-spent basis.
|Modular Front Pocket ($12 US):
|Removable pocket securely fastens to the Amp with six points of contact. It adds approximately 350 cu in (6L) of storage space to the pack, for an added weight of ~1.7 oz (48 g). Dimensions - 11"(h)x8"(w)x4"(d) (280x200x100 mm).
|Internal Stash Pocket ($5 US):
|Removable 5x8" (125x200mm) zippered mesh pocket that attaches inside the Amp's main body. This pocket can be used to hold money, identification, keys, etc. - adds ~1 oz (28 g) to the weight of the pack.
|Hydration Sleeve ($5 US):
|Removable 9x17" (230x430mm) hydration sleeve sized to hold 2 L (64 oz) bladders and a few 3 L (96 oz) models. - adds ~1.3 oz (37 g) to the weight of the Amp.
|Hipbelt Pockets ($8 US):
|Removable hipbelt pockets provide easy access for snacks, camera, and other essentials. Featuring a zip closure and 3 points of attachment to insure stability. Each pocket adds about 30 cu in (0.5L) of storage to the pack, for an added weight of ~1 oz (28 g). Dimensions - 4"(h)x5"(w)x1.5"(d) (100x125x38 mm).
The Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) Amp Backpack represents ULA's entry into the Super UltraLight (SUL) market. While the Amp weighs in at a scant 10.6 oz (301 g), it boasts options typically found on much heavier packs, such as a load compression system, bellowed side pockets, and 1.9 oz Dyneema Gridstop nylon panels used in its construction. With a capacity of 2600 cubic inches (42 L), the Amp is easily large enough for a 3-season ultralight-style weekend trip. With available options such as an external front pocket, the Amp's capacity can be stretched beyond the weekend for just a few ounces (grams) of additional weight, allowing the Amp to be transformed from a simple overnight rucksack into a pack suitable for true multi-day adventures.
When I first pulled the Amp out of its shipping box, I was surprised at the thick and durable feel of its material, the large bellowed side pockets that were constructed of Dyneema Gridstop nylon rather than the simple mesh found on other SUL packs, and the integrated variable compression system. I found myself running for my digital postal scale, as I didn't believe so much pack could weigh in at less than 11 oz (312 g). Well, the pack weight was equal to its advertised claim of 10.6 oz (301 g). Next, I grabbed my gear list and ran to the basement so that I could load the pack up with gear. I was surprised to find that the side pockets were large enough to hold a wide-mouth 1 L (32 oz) Pepsi PET bottle - my current choice for a backcountry water canteen. Not only did the bottle fit into the side pocket, but it fit deep enough inside that I wasn't concerned about the bottle slipping out of the pocket. As I continued loading the pack, I found that I could fold up my Therm-A-Rest Ultralight long length self-inflating mattress - packing it against the back panel of the pack - and still have enough room for my 30° F (-1° C) sleeping bag to fit horizontally at the bottom of the pack. As I'm planning on carrying this pack while on the trail with my wife, I opted to pack my larger, 1.3 L cook pot. I continued packing and tossed in some additional clothes, my toiletries and first-aid kit, and some other miscellaneous gear. With all my gear in the pack, save for the shelter, I still wasn't even up to the level where the extension collar began - I easily had 800 cu in (13 L) of space left for food.
OK - it looks like I can use this pack for at least a weekend/overnight trip. On to an examination of its basic features.
Dual Hydration Ports:
The Amp has two hydration ports, located on the right and left side of the pack at the point where the extension collar begins - having a port on either side allows the pack to accommodate the wearer's preference in terms of which side they like their hydration tube to be located on.
Padded Shoulder Straps:
The Amp's shoulder straps are perhaps 2 inches wide and 3/8 inch (50 x 10 mm) thick - I would describe the level of padding to be sparse, though this is expected due to the lightweight nature of the pack and its recommended maximum load of 20 pounds (9 kg). At the top of the pack, the shoulder straps are set at 3 inches (75 mm) apart. What's nice about their design is how well they fit my torso. Like most other SUL packs on the market, the Amp does not come with a sternum strap. In the past, this has been an issue for me as I have often felt a shoulder strap drifting off one shoulder or another. With the Amp, the shoulder straps fit me like a glove - they remain fixed in place on my torso. The Amp also has a unique system in place for adjusting the length/tension of the shoulder straps - rather than using the traditional length of nylon webbing, the Amp uses 2 mm cord. When wearing the pack, this cord is positioned along the sides of my chest, against my ribs - it will be interesting to see if I notice any issues with comfort, as the cord has a round shape rather than the flat form of nylon webbing.
Adjustable Hip Belt:
The Amp's Hip belt can be sized up to 55 inches (140 cm) long. From the base of the pack, the first five inches (125 mm) of the hip belt is comprised of padded "wings" that cover the hips. The hip belt is adjusted by pulling the belt's excess webbing where it attaches to the tip of the left and right "wing." This system ensures that the tension on the belt can be evenly adjusted from both sides simultaneously.
Variable Compression System (VCS):
The Amp has a compression system that can be customized by the user in order to maximize compression, whether at the sides, front, or top of the pack. The pack's top compression is achieved by connecting a section of webbing from the pack's haul loop to the front of the pack. The front and side compression is achieved by a length of 2 mm non-stretch cord that's laced through a series of grommets from the bottom of the pack up its front and sides, terminating at a cord-lock (see photo at top of report). If the Amp is equipped with the optional modular front pocket, the compression cords can be positioned either on top of or beneath the pocket.
Drawstring Extension Collar:
Using the Amp's Drawcord Extension Collar reveals the pack's Achilles Heel - there's no flap of fabric around the opening of the pack - if the extension collar is used to its full potential, a small hole will be left exposed at the top of the pack. I plan to use a lightweight turkey-sized oven bag as a pack liner to protect the pack's contents from rain, in addition to draping my rain poncho over the pack.
Bellowed Side Pockets:
The bellowed side pockets found on the Amp backpack are about 6 inches (15 cm) deep, with a small grommet hole for drainage found in the rear corner of each pocket. In one pocket, I placed a 1 L (32 oz) PET bottle and Aqua Mira water treatment kit. In the other pocket, I placed my 8 oz (230 ml) fuel bottle, trowel, toilet paper, and stakes. I still had room for more items in both pockets.
Ice Axe Loop:
The Amp also has an Ice Axe Loop made of light gauge webbing.
The Amp also has a number of additional features that customers can purchase separately, including a modular front pocket that adds another 350 cu in (6L) of storage space to the pack, an internal zippered stash pocket that can be used to secure valuables, an internal hydration sleeve for holding water bladders, and the just announced removable hip belt pockets that can be used to keep handy items close by, such as snacks, sunscreen, a small camera, etc. The test unit I received came with the Modular Front Pocket, so I will include it in my testing. I've also requested that ULA send me a pair of the removable hip belt pockets, but at this time they are not yet available - when I receive the pockets, I will be sure to update this report.
Modular Front Pocket:
I call this pocket the "Turtle Shell Pocket" (see photo, below). When I first saw this option on ULA's website, I envisioned an external pocket that could be completely sealed and I planned to use it to store my spare clothes and toiletries/first aid kit. The pocket's top is actually open, and the side walls are constructed of a stiff nylon mesh to promote airflow within - as a result, I've decided to use it as a place to store all my gear that might get wet, such as my tarp, poncho, Gore-Tex socks, wind shirt, and a hat and gloves. I'm also hoping that when I receive the hip belt pockets, I'll be able to move my hat and gloves into one of them.
Removable Hipbelt Pocket:
The removable hipbelt pocket allows the convenience of having small items easily accessible without have to stop and remove the pack. It's not a huge pocket, but it can hold a lot of what I consider handy items - items that I like to have close to me rather than somewhere in the deep recesses of my pack. I've been able to fit my Aqua Mira water treatment kit, bandana pre-filter, sunscreen, lip balm, lighter, compass, flashlight, and a small pocketknife. On the other hand, a knit hat OR a pair of lightweight fleece gloves pretty much fill the pocket. Up to two hipbelt pockets can be added to the pack - one on the right and the other on the left side of the hip belt.
Construction/Fit and Finish:
The construction and finish of the ULA Amp backpack is first rate! There are no loose seams or threads and fabric panels are cut symmetrically.
Intended Use/Testing Strategy:
My test plan is pretty simple - I'm going to use this pack on as many trips as I can during the next four months. I'm interested in seeing how many work of gear I can fit in it, how comfortable the pack is in carrying loads of up to 20 pounds (9 kg), and if, over the long run, there are any durability issues.
Thoughts Thus Far:
The ULA Amp pack is a fine example of what happens when solid design and state-of-the-art lightweight materials come together. Most SUL packs on the market in the weight range of the Amp are basic stuff sacks with shoulder straps sewn onto them - perhaps there's a few mesh pockets sewn on as well, but that's it. The Amp features go beyond mere functionality, and step into the realm of durability and comfort. I can't wait to get out and put some miles onto this pack!
- End of Initial Report -
Field Locations and Conditions:
April 21-22, 2007 - Jordan River Pathway, Mackinaw State Forest, Antrim County, Michigan
|A two-day loop hike along the Jordan River. The hike climbs into and out of the river valley, traversing hills, spring-fed streams, and low-lying wet areas. The trail is primarily single-track, but makes use of old logging railroad grades along its course as well.
|18.7 miles (30.1 km), 10 miles (16.1 km) on day-1, 8.7 miles (14 km) on day-2
|Starting Pack Weight:
|16 pounds (7.3 kg) - geared up for backpacking, including sleeping bag, pad, tent, cook kit, etc.
|High-Low Temps While Hiking:
|71.1 °F / 21.7 °C 48.9 °F / 9.4 °C
|Cross Trainers (Merrell Mesa Ventilator II)
May 5-6, 2007 - North Country Trail, Manistee National Forest, Newaygo County, Michigan
|A two-day trail maintenance session along a 6.3 mile (10 km) section of the NCT. This section of the NCT is comprised mainly of deciduous forest with some areas of pine plantation. The trail is generally level, with drops and climbs limited to a handful of areas where pothole glacial lakes are present - in these areas, the trail is routed high along ridges surrounding the lakes.
|8 miles (12.8 km) on day-1, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) on day-2
|Starting Pack Weight:
|12 pounds (5.4 kg) - low volume, with emphasis on water
|High-Low Temps While Hiking:
|62.6 °F / 17.0 °C 51.8 °F / 11.0 °C
|Asolo TPS 520 GTX Hiking Boots
May 25-28, 2007 - North Country Trail, Lakeshore segment, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Alger County, Michigan
|A four-day point-to-point hike along Lake Superior's southern coast. This trail is primarily a single-track tread way that traverses dunes, beaches, and deciduous forest. Long sections of the trail can be characterized as either being sandy or comprised by many exposed roots.
|41.3 miles (66 km), 8.5 miles (13.7 km) on day-1, 10.5 miles on (16.9 km) day-2, 12.4 miles (20 km) on day-3, 9.9 miles (16 km) on day-4
|Starting Pack Weight:
|24 pounds (10.9 kg) - geared up for backpacking, including sleeping bag, pad, tent, cook kit, etc.
|High-Low Temps While Hiking:
|69.8 °F / 21.0 °C 50.0 °F / 10.0 °C
|Asolo TPS 520 GTX Hiking Boots
Performance in the Field:
Hey, You Cheated:
If you look at the picture of me at the top of this report, you'll see a rather large bag strapped around my waist. This is my camera bag, and it contains only camera gear. There's a big digital camera in there, a lens hood, filters, lens cleaning fluid/tissues, spare batteries, and some other goodies. I carry this pack for convenience - I don't like a camera bouncing off my chest as I walk, and I take enough photos that it would be inconvenient to pull the camera out of my pack every time I wanted to use it. As a result, no matter how large of a pack I'm carrying, I always carry this camera bag on my waist. If I chose to carry a simple "Point-and-Shoot" type camera, it could easily be carried in one of the Amp's hipbelt pockets. This bag has absolutely no bearing on the number of days worth of gear I can get into the Amp.
The Amp backpack holds all my gear without my feeling that I have to excessively work at compressing my gear in order to make it all fit. On the contrary, I feel that given warm summer conditions I can easily get away with using the Amp for a week-long trip if necessary. Even in conditions where lows are just above freezing, I've already proven to myself that I can use the pack for four days, and I easily had enough unused room in the pack for another day or two of food.
The key element in allowing me to use the backpack for more than a simple weekend trip has been the Modular Front Pocket - I feel that this option is a mandatory add-on that increases the utility of the basic Amp exponentially, given the minimal amount of weight that's added to the pack. The Modular Front Pocket swallows shelters, be they traditional tents, tarps, tarp tents, or hammocks. In the case of tarps, tarp tents, and hammocks, the pocket still had room for my guy line, 25 feet (7.6 m) of cord, windshirt, rain poncho, mosquito headnet and gloves, gaiters, and Rocky Gore-Tex oversocks.
With so much gear in the external pocket, the main body of the pack (1600 cu in / 26L) only had to hold my sleeping bag, pad, spare clothes, 1st aid kit, toiletries, cook pot, stove, windscreen, camp bucket, and of course food.
In one of the pack's side pockets I carried a water bottle, and in the other I stored my fuel bottle, toilet paper, trowel, and tent stakes.
In the right optional hipbelt pocket, I carried my Aqua Mira water treatment kit, bandana pre-filter, sunscreen, lip balm, lighter, compass, flashlight, and a small multi-tool. I really haven't used the second hipbelt pocket yet - I suppose it could hold a light trail snack, but given the extra ounce it weighs I just don't feel the convenience is justified. For me, one hipbelt pocket is enough.
On my backpacking trips, I found that I used the top compression the most. If I had excess room in the pack, I just moved my sleeping bag to the top of the pack and let it expand to take up the space inside. When the Modular Front Pocket is installed, the cord used to pull the pocket closer to the main body of the pack is the same cord that controls the side and front compression system on the Amp, so in pulling the pocket close to the pack I'm activating the compression system at the same time. During my NCT maintenance session, where I used up little of the main pack's volume and the majority of the packweight was comprised in a 2-liter Platypus bladder and two additional liter Nalgene bottles for my dog, the compression system was able to wrap the pack around its contents, bringing the size of the pack down to less than half of its total volume without affecting comfort or load transfer ability in the least. The Amp's compression system uses actual cord in its design, unlike the stretchable shock-cord I've seen on other packs. From what I've experienced, the Amp's approach allows for real compression that holds the load securely - there's no "give" to the system - the Amp's compression system works in the same way as a corset.
The pack compresses so well, in fact, that I haven't found any load management issues while hiking with a near empty pack - for example when the pack just has a narrow water bladder inside. I mention this because the Amp has an optional hydration sleeve that adds another 1.3 oz (37 g) to the weight of the pack. My test pack doesn't have this option, but I can't say that I've noticed any issues in using a bladder with the Amp and having it supported simply by the pack's integrated compression system - I don't miss not having a hydration sleeve one bit.
I've carried anywhere from 12 to 24 pounds (5.4 to 10.9 kg) of weight in the Amp when staring off at the trailhead. Throughout this range, the pack has been extremely comfortable. I've positioned my food - the bulkiest part of my load - at both the bottom and top of the pack without any noticeable preference toward either configuration.
The shoulder straps of the Amp stay positioned on my shoulders whether I'm wearing a fleece or slick windshirt as an outer layer and I don't find the lack of a sternum strap to be an issue in keeping the pack centered on my torso. The shoulder straps do tend to cut into my armpits as opposed to riding down my chest and out along my rib cage, a characteristic that can be changed by tying a bandana to the to straps and using it like a makeshift sternum strap. I tested this setup but have since reverted to allowing the shoulder straps to fall in under my armpits, as I didn't notice any comfort or chafing issues when I wore the pack in this manner, even when carrying 20 pounds+ (9 kg+).
The hip belt can be tightened to realize a maximum level of load transfer from the shoulders to the hips, but I find the amount of padding at the hips of the pack to be less than adequate to support this level of performance. By loosening the hip belt just a bit, I definitely feel a bit more weight being carried on my shoulders, but comfort is not an issue. What I really found surprising was that the pack retained a rigid form that promoted load transfer with a full-length Therm-A-Rest ultralight sleeping pad packed along its back panel, folded such that its width equals the width of the pack. I've found that having a Therm-A-Rest pad placed in this configuration makes the pack comfortable against my back as well.
The Amp's side pockets are positioned such that reaching into them feels natural - I don't feel that I'm having to contort my arm into strange positions or that I'm risking dislocating my shoulder each time I reach for my water bottle while I'm wearing the pack.
I really like how the size of the hip belt is adjusted from the point where it attaches to the pack rather than from the center, around the belt buckle as on most other packs I've carried. This system allows for consistent pressure to be applied or released from the left and right sides of the pack simultaneously. Adjusting the shoulder strap length is another story, however. I've found that I need two hands to adjust the shoulder straps, one to position the cord/strap and the other to release pressure from the locking mechanism. Thankfully, the pack is comfortable enough to where I don't find it necessary to adjust the shoulder straps very often.
What I Carry (my maximum load thus far):
To date, the longest period of time I've been out with the Amp has been for four days. On that trip, the forecast called for daytime highs in the 40's (7 C) and a possibility of rain during two of the four days. In addition, nightly lows in the upper 30's (3 C) were expected. Hypothermic conditions were of concern. This meant that I found myself using the Amp with more clothes than I would normally carry during summertime conditions - particularly the 100 wt fleece top, which took up the same amount of space in the pack as two days of food. Because of this, I'm confident that in the warmer summer months I could leave some of the bulkier items at home and have enough extra space in the pack to push my food supply to a full week. I also realize that this is a pretty open-ended statement, as some people need larger sizes in clothing, or need more food calories per day. While I might be able to use the Amp for a week-long backpack, others might be asking themselves how I did it. To avoid any such questions, I have decided to include a list of the essential gear I packed along with my backcountry menu at the end of this report for additional context.
Also, note that my load for four-days started out weighing 20 pounds (9 kg), the maximum weight that ULA rates the Amp to be used at. The additional four pounds (1.8 kg) of weight I carried was composed of "sympathy pounds" and unnecessary luxuries that I forced myself to take due to my wife's pack being a full eight pounds (3.6 kg) heavier than mine. I had to bring our loads closer to being even, so I elected to carry her tent poles - I'm testing a 1 person shelter so she had her own tent. I also carried the dinners for both of us, tossed a flask of Drambuie into the Amp's Modular Front Pocket, and hung a pair of Crocs shoes off the back of the pack. None of these additional items are reflected in the list of gear packed, below.
- End of Field Report -
Unfortunately, the Long-Term testing period fell in between my scheduled backpacking trips. However, I did continue to use the Amp on numerous dayhikes, where I carried up to 3 liters of water and pretty much the same gear I take on an overnight, sans shelter, sleeping gear, and extra/insulating clothes - I also carried less food, of course. As I enjoy a hot lunch while on the trail, I did continue to carry my cook kit. Overall, my typical dayhike pack weight was around 12 pounds (5.4 kg). Weather-wise, humidity levels continued to be moderate, with daytime temperatures in the 75-85 F range (24-30 C). Hiking was on generally level single-track trails that could be classified as "rolling" across short distances of 1/2 mile (1 km) or less.
I carried my Anti Gravity Gear Poncho Villa (see review) and during periods of rain I was able to sufficiently shield the pack such that its contents stayed completely dry. The pack itself is not waterproof and, while I didn't really experience the need for a pack liner, I feel that some sort of a liner should be used with the pack as insurance, particularly when carrying items that absolutely must be kept dry, like a sleeping bag.
In terms of overall comfort, this pack shines - given a total pack weight of 25 pounds (11.3 kg) or less, I really can't see a reason for taking anything else into the field with me, unless, of course, space was an issue (e.g. winter conditions). In my case, this means the Amp will be my pack of choice for 3-season backpacking trips of up to 5 days in length. The beauty of this pack is its ability to carry well whether it is packed to the gills or barely has any gear in it. The Amp's compression system allows the pack to conform to any sized load up to its rated maximum capacity, eliminating any shifting of gear that can occur and cause issues with comfort, balance, and the like.
I have found the modular front pocket to be a welcome addition to the pack, even when I am carrying very little gear and could get by without the added volume that the pocket provides. The external pocket allows me to keep wet gear, like a poncho or tarp, separated from dry gear. It also allows me to access gear quickly without digging in my pack by holding items like a sit pad or a lightweight fleece. Even though I prefer to leave the external pocket attached to the pack full time, I don't think it would be a good idea to permanently attach the pocket to the pack. In the current design, I can loosen the compression system a bit and squeeze in a garment between the outside of the pack and the back of the modular front pocket - the tension that's created when I tighten the compression system is more than enough to secure bulkier items in this way.
The only thing I've found missing in the Amp's design thus far is some sort of a tab or loop of fabric on the shoulder strap that I can use to secure my hydration tube with. The shoulder straps on the Amp have a nice little channel running through their centers that makes for a natural slot for a hydration tube to be held against - a small elastic loop on each shoulder strap would allow the Amp to hold a hydration tube along the shoulder strap for easy access. Currently, when I use a bladder system with the Amp, I have to leave the hose hanging loose on the side of the pack somewhere. Fortunately, my hydration system of choice is a simple bottle that I store in the Amp's side pocket.
I estimate that I've hiked about 150 miles (250 km) using the Amp. In terms of durability, the pack looks like new, save for the material used on the inside of the hipbelt's padded wings. This material is a soft mesh of fabric and has started to pill in places due to the rubbing that occurs against my pants/shorts as I walk. I would prefer that the manufacturer move to a solid nylon backing for the padded wings, rather than this mesh material.
The Amp has proven to be one of those rare items that I want to buy two of, just so that I have a backup in place when my first pack has worn out and the manufacturer is no longer producing a comparable pack. This is definitely an item that I will choose to take onto the trail even after my obligation as a field-tester has completed - I look forward to its continued status as an "essential piece of gear" in keeping my pack weight low, while at the same time allowing me to realize a high degree of overall comfort. I tip my cap to ULA for designing an excellent product for the lightweight backpacker.
- End of Long-Term Report -
Appendix A - A Typical Day's Food:
|1 cup Quaker Oats, Honey, & Raisin cereal
|Jif Creamy Peanut Butter "to go" cup
Bumble Bee Spicy Thai Chili Seasoned Tuna Medley, 5 oz (142 g) size
(this stuff is AWESOME)
|Oreo Thin Crisp 100 calorie pack
Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce flavored almonds
Boysenberry fruit leather
Chocolate covered raisins
Sour Patch Kids candy
Sunkist pistachio kernels
|Recipies from "Lipsmackin' Backpackin'
Michigan Salmon Fettuccine
Tahoe Chicken Curry
White Trash Pasta
|2490 - 2670
Appendix B - Gear Carried in the Amp:
|Therm-a-Rest Ultralight full length pad
pack liner (Reynolds turkey sized oven bag)
Sierra Designs Wicked Fast sleeping bag
MontBell Alpine Light jacket
GoLite Snow Cap
100 wt microfleece L/S shirt with half zipper
Patagonia lightweight Capilene leggings
Turtle Fur fleece neck gaiter
Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch gloves
Wyoming Wear Polartec 200 fleece sleeping socks
Seattle Sports folding bucket
Evernew 1.3l titanium pot
Evernew 1.3l titanium pot lid
Cozy for Evernew 1.3l titanium pot
homemade alcohol stove
Ziploc bag with misc 1st-Aid and toiletry items
Nivea moisturizing cream
Dr. Bronner's Soap
Photon II microlight (Red)
Stowaway Fisher Space Pen
Light My Fire Lexan spork
Toob refillable toothbrush
|Right Side Pocket
|GSI 16oz (0.5 L) Lexan flask
|Left Side Pocket
|BrassLite 8oz fuel bottle
SilNylon bag with 8 titanium stakes
toilet paper in Ziploc bag
|Modular Front Pocket
|AntiGravityGear TarpTent w/guylines attached
AntiGravityGear Poncho Villa
25 feet (7.6 m) of cord
mosquito headnet and gloves
|Right Hipbelt Pocket
|bandana H2O pre-filter and Aqua Mira in Ziploc
Aloe Vera Sunscreen lip balm
Leatherman Micra multi-purpose tool
AAA ARC-P LED flashlight
Silva Companion 609 keyring compass
|Left Hipbelt Pocket
|Clipped to 2 mm non-stretch compression cord
|Purell hand sanitizer
Coghlan's Stove and Lantern Funnel
Appendix C - Tips on Fitting Everything Into a Small Pack:
When it comes to fitting a few days worth of gear into a pack that holds less than 3000 cu in (50 L), there are a few essential lessons that I've learned:
- Leave the water filter at home if possible - use chemical solutions like Aqua Mira instead.
- Carry only the amount of water that's needed and camel up at water sources - try to keep the amount of water carried at any given time to a liter (32 oz) or less and know where reliable water sources are located along the trail.
- Take only what's needed in terms of toilet paper, creams, pastes, gels, pills, and liquids - repackage into secure, leak-proof containers where applicable.
- Pack a tarp, hammock, or single-wall shelter.
- An empty cookpot is wasted space - in my 1.3 L Evernew pot, for example, I can pack four days worth of dinners inside.
- A closed-cell sleeping pad may weigh less than other designs, but it also takes up valuable pack space. If this translates into my having to carry a larger pack, there may be no real weight savings at all. My comfy Therm-a-Rest isn't necessarily the heavier solution, all things considered.
- A hat, gloves, neck gaiter, and a pair of sleeping socks can extend the comfort rating of a sleeping bag by a good 10 degrees (5 C).
- Sleeping bags can also take up a lot of valuable pack space - carry a bag that is just warm enough for the expected conditions. Should an unexpected cold front move in, augment the sleeping bag by wearing dry layers inside.
- If I'm still cold in my sleeping bag, I boil some water, pour it into my Lexan water bottle, and toss it into the sleeping bag with me. Sure, the Lexan bottle is a good 3 oz (85 g) heavier than a non-Lexan alternative, but the difference between a 30 F (1 C) sleeping bag and a 20 F (-6 C) sleeping bag can easily be a pound (454 g). Same goes for the difference between a 45 F (7 C) sleeping bag and a 30 F (1 C) sleeping bag. Between dry clothing and my Lexan water bottle, I've never had an issue with staying warm in a sleeping bag that some may consider "less than suitable" for the conditions at hand.
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