I have mentioned the pack frame that I am being sent for testing purposes. It is what is called a “pack-less” system. The intention is for you to use a book-bag or day-pack that you already have instead of pouring your money off into a dedicated backpack. Almost everyone has some kind of pack, bag or duffel that can be utilized instead. Larger items like sleeping bags and sleeping mats are strapped onto the frame separately in their own, individual stuff sacks.
Yesterday while I was out driving around, I stopped in at a yard sale. For two dollars I picked up an old Tecnica cordura nylon zip-bag for toting ski boots. I think it is going to solve a lot of my bulk packing. The bag measures in at 8x12x15 with the zipper across the top. I went ahead and took off the shoulder straps immediately, then, depending on the exact nature of the attachment points on the pack frame when it comes, I may also cut the handle straps off to save a little more weight.
Here is my bulk stuff. None of it is overly heavy, but it all adds up and certainly looks like quite a pile.
Down booties, two separate cook-kits [they will get hybridized into a single unit for camping this weekend], goosedown jacket, US Army surplus Bivy-bag, sleeping bag, Typar ground sheet, 5×7 tarp, wind parka, and the white envelope underneath is an insulated pouch for the flameless ration heaters that go with the MREs.
The down booties are for keeping my feet warm in the in the lightweight, 45° sleeping bag. They may very will not make the cut and will be replaced by some heavy wool socks. Also, depending on what the weather forecast is in terms of low temperatures, I may leave out the bulky down jacket since I will probably have a fleece hoodie [for layering] bungeed to the outside of the whole pack anyway. That may very well be enough on its own. The wind parka fits over it quite comfortably even when using the hood.
Also up for consideration is that the small orange bag up on the left edge of the top photo is a 31 L compression sack. If I put everything into that first and drag the straps down, I’ll have an even smaller package. It is also quite probable that I will actually strap the sleeping bag and the bivy, together with a ground mat, on the outside of the bag and to the frame itself. I suspect that I will find that there’s plenty of room leftover inside the boot bag for all my “smalls” and my share of the food.
I don’t have a scale, but using the old tried-and-true “finger dangle” test, it seems to weigh just about the same as a 12 pack of sodas. That means it comes in right around 10 pounds. The pack frame itself will go just over 2 pounds. Not in the photo is the insulated ground mat which weighs less than a pound itself. Total weight so far?… call it 13 pounds. This is well within my planned limitation of a total carry weight of under 20 pounds.
Today I’m going to fool around with the “smalls”… my personal items, other clothing and all the various little stuff that you end up thinking you’re going to want. Just how badly do I want to take along the mini boombox? Will I need the water shoes? Swimming trunks or too cold yet?
We will see… Everybody knows that on every camping trip you always end up uttering the phrase “Damn, I wish I had brought that __________…”
And, when you get home and are unpacking, you will always also say “Why the hell did I take that along?”
Onward through the fog.
UPDATE: The 10 day forecast is now calling for decent weather upptacamp and in the woods over next weekend. Highs in the mid 60°s and lows around 50°… looking good