Three season packing list
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 7, 2012 12:53 PM Last Post By: Andy87
Nov 29, 2012 3:04 PM
Three season packing listWhat to pack is a topic that comes up regularly here on the Thorn Tree. Packing too much is one of the two commonest mistakes that travellers make, along with trying to see too much in too little time.
Over time, my wife and I have refined our packing list to reach a balance between comfort/safety and weight.
So here is my packing list:
Pack: Vaude Triset 25+4. I’ve had this pack for a few years now and the fit for me is excellent. I like the Aeroflex back and find that with a wicking t-shirt my back stays dry (sweat free) all day. Since I won’t be carrying a tent, stove, sleeping bag, etc. it’s more than big enough.
3 wicking T-shirts Columbia Omni-Wick. 2 short sleeve and one long sleeve. I may try one of Columbia’s new Omni-Freeze instead of the standard Omni-Wick I’m used to.
2 long sleeve shirts Royal Robbins Expedition Light. Light weight, wicking, UV protection, low wrinkle and smart enough looking for anywhere.
3 pair pants North Face Paramount Peak. These are convertible to shorts (zip-off legs) and easy to wash and dry overnight.
1 rain jacket North Face Venture. Packable into one of it’s own pockets.
1 down vest Ralph Lauren. A lightweight down vest that can pack into it’s own pocket. Don’t ask, it was a gift but I have to say at least it doesn’t have a big RL logo on it anywhere.
3 pr. Underwear Icebreaker 150 merino wool. Keep you cool, don’t smell, feel great and dry quite quickly.
3 pr. Socks Rohner original merino wool medium weight. I’ve worn this brand for many years. Arguably the best hiking sock made.
1 pr. Hiking boots New Balance H710 Very light, breathable and fit like my skin. These were the first light weight hiking boots made. In 1984, Lou Whittaker wore one of the first pair to the top of the North Col of Mt. Everest. They’ll take you anywhere you are likely to go.
1 first aid kit My own assembly of items.
1 toiletry kit The usual but only smaller quantities ie. Toothpaste. A 4 oz. bottle of Couglan’s concentrated camp soap will wash anything you can wash in water. You, your clothes, your hair, dishes, etc. You use a very small amount so it will usually last around 3 months.
Miscellaneous A swiss army knife (never leave home without it), compass, map, baseball hat, 2 – 1 litre plastic water bottles, bandana, small LED flashlight, space blanket, sunglasses, matches, a couple of energy bars. The ‘ten essentials of backpacking’ are covered. Also passport,tickets, money, bank cards, etc. (no wallet, I use my pockets).
Here is my weight chart. Pounds rounded up to 2 decimal places.
Pack: 1200 grams/2.64 lbs.
T-shirts: (4.8oz. x 2, 6.2oz. x 1= 15.8 oz.) 448 grams/0.99 lbs.
Shirts: (5.0 oz. x 2 = 10.0 oz.) 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Pants: (17.6 oz. x 3 = 52.8 oz.) 1500 grams/3.30 lbs.
Rain Jacket: 400 grams/0.88 lbs.
Down Vest: 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Underwear: (3.0oz. x 3 = 9.0 oz.) 85 grams/0.56 lbs.
Socks: (2.82 oz. x 3 = 8.46 oz.) 80 grams/0.53 lbs.
Hiking boots: 454 grams/1.00 lbs.
First aid kit: 354 grams/0.78 lbs.
Toiletry kit: 340 grams/0.75 lbs.
Miscellaneous: (approximate) 454 grams/1.00 lbs.
Total all items: 6.21 kg./13.69 lbs.
Off course you have to add the weight of water carried, 1 or 2 litres at 1kg/2.2lbs. per litre as well as a ‘picnic lunch’ when hiking usually. Say another .5kg/1.1 lbs. But then you have to subtract what I am wearing and therefore not carrying in the pack. That can be as low as 1.15 kg./2.54 lbs. (shorts, t-shirt, socks, underwear, boots).
Total carried (dry weight): 5.06kg./11.16 lbs.
Maximum load carried (wet weight): 7 .56 kg./16.67 lbs.
I’d love to break that 7 kg. maximum but just can’t see how to get there without sacrificing comfort or safety. Of course I am well under it when in a town or on the plane.
My wife’s weights are slightly less primarily due to smaller clothes sizes and therefore slight weight reductions on each item. She carries a small make-up kit instead of a first aid kit and her miscellaneous items differ as well. On our next trip she will carry her Ipad 3 for taking photos, making calls (Skype) and internet access. It’s relatively heavy at 652 grams/1.44 lbs. but she feels it’s worth it. Overall her list is basically the same for clothing. Her total dry weight is just under 5 kg./11 lbs. Her wet weight is almost right on the 7 kg. mark.
I call this the 3 for 3 pack. Good for three seasons and any number of days from 3 to infinity. Whether on a city break or in the country; whether travelling for 7 days or 7 months, on streets or hiking trails, it makes no difference.
The only other item sometimes added is a pair of Teva sandals. They are only added if it will be really hot weather or we plan on visiting beaches. They weigh 680 grams/1.50 lbs. but generally when we need them we don't need a rain jacket or down vest and so the overall weight remains the same. If travelling alone, some items that are shared would have to be carried by the individual and would increase overall weight by perhaps 7-8%.
The key to successful packing is to always take the lowest weight item you can find that will do the job. Look for multiple use items (like camp soap) that can replace several individual items. My wife adds, colour co-ordinate everything to look good. Pack smart, not heavy.
This may provide a specific list for those new to backpacking to compare their own lists to and see where they could save some weight and add to their comfort. Feel free to question or comment.
(cross-posted on Gap Year and W. Europe branches)
Dec 1, 2012 2:24 AM
Dec 1, 2012 3:38 AM
2Nice. Based on local availability I go with Techwick (Eastern Mountain Sports) rather than Omni wick (Columbia Sportswear) but the two are probably pretty much the same. When I was growing up in the '70's anything that wasn't cotton or wool, was polyester or rayon, cold in the winter and hot in the summer. A complete waste of weight and money.
Today, the synthetic fabrics really are high-tech and worth the money.
I'd bet my life on the advice of Winton Porter (he sells North Face and something called Patagonia Capilene2.) Several people already have, and lived to write books about it.
Winton is the biggest thing in travel since the Wheelers founded Lonely Planet. If you can't trust him you're dead.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Dec 1, 2012 10:16 AM
3Yes, my list mentions specific brands only so that someone can look them up if they wish to see more details. There are many brands that make the same or similar items and are just as good. Today, 'performance fabrics' that have been designed with all kinds of outdoor sports in mind exist and should be (in my opinion) what the savvy traveller uses as well.
I am quite fascinated by the new Omni-Freeze Ice fabric that Columbia have brought out. I have yet to buy one but intend to, just to see if it really does work. It supposedly takes your sweat and turns it into cooling !
I hadn't heard of Winton Porter but found a good article on him here: http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659
Again, this just illustrates to me the difference between wilderness backpackers and the typical 'backpacker' here on the TT. There is all kinds of information out there and experience to draw from for the first time wilderness backpacker but the typical first time backpacker who posts here just sees it as an extension of what they would take on a 'vacation' to a beach for 2 weeks.
The 'Bible' of backpacking is considered by many to be The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher. He has also written a few other books on his travels. He is a good writer, anyone who can make discussions of gear fun to read must be. He has also been credited by many as pretty much starting the whole wilderness backpacking idea. If you are at all interested LongIslandBob, I would highly reccommend reading his books. I've read them all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Fletcher
Dec 1, 2012 1:17 PM
Dec 2, 2012 12:20 AM
5The siege of Mafeking made him famous, but that was child-in-a-well stuff with the press looking on closely.
He's the man who took down Prempeh, and brought the men back alive.. That and his adventures during the Zulu wars made him epic.
The unit he lead was the same as the one from the Charge of the Light Brigade from years before, brave men, a tradition of courage.
Dec 4, 2012 1:09 AM
6TiS, very useful article, thanks for posting.
Firstly, when you say wilderness travelling, what exactly do you mean? As in wild camping, or as in an independent trip to the likes of Alaska maybe?
I'm looking to get some similar gear to that mentioned in your OP, given that I'll be spending the month of May in Darwin/Queensland, Australia. I realise that the wet season is just about finished by then, but no doubt there will be some rain and issues with sweating etc when I'm walking around the Daintree Rainforest.
I'd be interested to know the exact omniwick t-shirts you went for, and find out how exactly you found their performance. For example, I see some of the t-shirts are nearer £30, whereas some are more toward £50. Is it important to pay the extra or do they all essentially do the same job?
Also, I don't suppose there are any well known 'cheap' outlets that sell this sort of gear, are there? I'm looking to pick up a shirt or two, a couple of t-shirts and a rain jacket - perhaps a Paclite? Any advice on the best for being packable, lightweight, breathable but completely waterproof would be appreciated.
Again, thanks for an incredibly useful post.
Dec 4, 2012 9:15 AM
7I think I answered you on one of the cross-posted branches Andy but it seems to have disappeared.
Wilderness backpacking means just that. Go off into the wilderness with all you need on your back. Food, shelter, clothing. So a tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc. are all carried.
Backpacking is a term that was first used in N. America to describe this combination of hiking and camping. The term has come to be used to describe anyone who travels using a backpack to carry everything with them. So the average 'backpacker' here on the TT is not a wilderness backpacker but more of a traveller/tourist who happens to use a backpack.
I have about 15 wicking t-shirts from various manufacturers. Most of the major brands have them and all are pretty much equal. Often you can find some on sale. What you look for is material and weight. Compare several brands online and if the sale item matches up, go ahead and buy it. Look for the words, wicking, high performance, quick drying, doesn't smell. Some of my t-shirts are 15 years old and still good to go.
Regarding rain jackets, not all are created equal. However, you may not need the very best if you can't afford it. There are lots of waterproof, breathable, lightweight jackets out there. Some use Goretex which is still the gold standard for waterproofing but others have their own proprietary materials that are as good or nearly so. Again, look online and you can find sales. Look for waterproof (not water resistant), breathable, seam-sealed and compare weights. You may need to go to the manufacturer's own website to find weights or even weigh jackets in store to compare.
While the best names like North Face, Sprayway, Craghoppers or Berghaus will have excellent jackets it doesn't mean even lower priced jackets from companies like Regatta will not do the job for your intended use. Keep in mind that even with the best rain jackets, you eventually get wet regardless.
Any good outdoor store should have staff who know why you are asking what something weighs and should have the information and/or scales to weigh items right there. Outdoor clothing has become fashionable in the last couple of decades unfortunately and not all that is out there is made with the original intended use in mind and therefore weight being of primary importance. If the staff in a store doesn't know why you are asking what something weighs it is a good indication that you shouldn't rely on their advice.
Dec 4, 2012 9:30 AM
8Andy - we bought some brilliant gear from an outdoor suppliers in Darwin. Its better suited to the conditions in Northern Territories than anything we could get in the UK. We are still using the shirts, shorts, shoe cuffs years later. They have proved perfect for our frequent trips to Africa too. Its 8 years since we were there but I would imagine you can still get this kind of stuff over there and its inexpensive too - compared with the outdoor gear you can get here.
For inexpensive gear in the UK try Go Outdoors or Decathalon. Eliis Brigham and Cotswold have a great range but its more expensive. My favourite travel clothes now are by Rohan but even they don't compare with the stuff we bought in Darwin in 2004.
I loved Northern Territories and Queensland. I feel positively envious of your plans!
Dec 4, 2012 10:40 AM
9They aren't quite traditional boot gaiters.......the nearest thing I can find to them are these safari gaiters.
In Oz they wore them over their bush boots. They were great for keeping sand and insects out of your shoes/boots.
Oddly enough I hadn't thought of taking them to Africa - but I will now.
Dec 4, 2012 4:01 PM
Dec 4, 2012 4:26 PM
11I've been looking for a good pair of cold weather pants. North Face Paramount Peak? I'm thinking they might not be warm enough.
Dec 5, 2012 12:47 AM
12Gaiters are really for snow but they are also very useful for boggy moorland - we have quite a lot of that in the North of England.
The shoe cuffs we bought in Oz aren't really gaiters - they prevent sand and other things getting into your boots rather than protecting your clothes. Everyone wore them in the outback when we were there but I've not found a perfect example and I'm blowed if I can remember the name of the store we bought them from..............it happens when you get old.
Dec 5, 2012 9:45 AM
13LongIsland, for cold the answer is to layer, not expect the pants to keep you warm. When snowshoeing for example I wear merino wool underwear; merino long underwear and then pants over that. What I look for is windproof (wind chill, not just air temperature is an issue) and synthetic for water resistance (not waterproof). Cotton and wool if they get wet, absorb water and rob heat.
What to wear for cold weather depends a great deal on what activity you will be doing. For example, gaiters that are waterproof would be good in rain and boggy conditions but are not so good for snowshoeing. The biggest issue in cold weather is over-heating. When you snowshoe or ski you produce a lot of heat and if that heat is not able to dissipate you begin sweating. More people get in trouble from sweating and consequently getting wet from the inside out, rather than from getting wet and cold from the outside if you see what I mean. My gaiters for snowshoeing are actually a simple sturdy cotton fabric. Totally breathable. I tried an expensive Goretex pair once and when I stopped for the day my socks inside were soaking wet. The gaiters simply couldn't wick fast enough.
You might expect gaiters, pants, etc. would get wet from the snow but in fact they do NOT! The ideal temperature to snowshoe or ski is around -5C to -15C. Snow is not wet, it's dry. It is only when snow begins to melt and turns into water that it is wet. If snow starts to melt on the outside of your clothes, you are probably exerting too much and producing too much heat.
Insulation works both ways. It keeps your body heat in and does not let much of it pass to the outside of your clothes. So you have to regulate your heat. The easiest way to do that is to wear layers and remove or add them as needed. The greatest heat loss from the body is at the extremities. That's why the saying is, 'if your feet are cold, cover your head and hands. So you can wear less on your body (torso, legs) if you wear a hat and gloves.
It is not uncommon to snowshoe or cross-country ski (downhill skiing does not generate nearly as much heat) without a jacket but with gloves and a hat on. I carry a 'parka' when snowshoeing but the only time it goes on is when we stop for lunch.
So the point is, you have to look at cold in terms of what activity you will be doing (or not doing). A pair of snowmobile pants or downhill ski pants would roast you alive if snowshoeing and could lead to hypothermia from the inside out. They would be too warm for walking city streets as well.
From the list I have given here, I would be comfortable doing normal walking to around freezing but not below. If the temperature went below freezing I would add long underwear and heavier socks along with a toque and gloves.
The final factor is the individual's comfort zone. Sleeping bag manufacturers for example will rate a bag to a certain temperature. But it's actually meaningless as some people are what is referred to as 'warm sleepers' and others are 'cold sleepers.' Primarily it is about blood circulation. Someone with good circulation will be a warmer sleeper than someone with poor circulation. I have a bag that is rated to minus 5-10C but have slept comfortably in it to minus 20C. I'm a warm sleeper. Someone else could find that bag does not provide them with enough insulation even at plus 5-10C.
The point is that "looking for a good pair of cold weather pants" requires that you also say what purpose you want to use them for and for what temperature range. City walking? Any pant and long underwear plus a hat and gloves and jacket will be fine for most people to below freezing.
Dec 7, 2012 12:53 PM
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