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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Need to reduce bulk

    My current pack is a Gossamer Gear G4. This weekend I was expecting temps in the low 40s, so I put in a Walmart blue pad and the black intermediate bag from a surplus MSS sleep system. That setup kept me reasonably warm, but it took up almost all the room in my pack. I have wanted to get a down top and bottom quilt to relieve some of the space issues, but that seems to be about a $400-$500 outlay.

    It rarely gets colder than 20 degrees here so I can make do with 3 seasons, but I also have to deal with summers where one can be dripping with sweat when you get into the hammock but still wake up in the night with cold butt syndrome. An underquilt which can be moved to the side seems ok (I actually own two poncho liners, so maybe this is my summer option), but getting a summer weight under quilt is also pretty pricey.

    What is the best course of action for me here?

    Thanks,
    Rob

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    The Walmart down 32F bags are great. I got four when they were $35. They pack really small. Not sure they are tru 32 bags but you could use two as a top quilt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nodust View Post
    The Walmart down 32F bags are great. I got four when they were $35. They pack really small. Not sure they are tru 32 bags but you could use two as a top quilt.
    I'm in pretty much the same situation here in Fort Worth. I like to get out "off-season", but not enough to invest in real winter gear! I use the Walmart bag above as a top quilt without mods; just unzip most of the way and turn over so zipper is on bottom. Use closed end as foot box and shove in some spare clothes or a seat pad if you need extra insulation there.

    for a cheap UQ, I was able to buy a summer 3/4 down UQ off this site and I also made a poncho liner UQ. To kick it up a bit, I simply purchased a J.C.Penney down puffer jacket for $18 and spread it out on top of the UQ (no mods, just unzip it and spread it out). This has kept me warm to 20deg in field and below 15deg in backyard testing.

    Just keep an eye on Walmart.com and JCP.com for sales and you can be set up 'good enough' for less than $100.

    PS: Most items get double duty also. Sleeping bag is great for my 6yr old son when we are together (I use an UL 2man tent when he is with me) and I can take the UQ and wrap it around the bag to keep him really warm in colder temps. The puffer jacket is great for around camp before turning in and when I'm not using it my dog loves the poncho liner folded to four layers to keep him off the ground too. And the inflatable seat I use under my feet doubles as a...wait for it...seat!

    Finally, as I've reduced bulk/weight on my other items, I have room to use cheap CCF pads (on ground and sometimes in hammock). They're super light and fit between the main bag and top pocket of my pack. If my pack is really full, I wrap a small piece of tyvek around the foam to protect it from snags and strap to the outside.
    Last edited by wesbri; 02-06-2014 at 12:27. Reason: extended

  4. #4
    Senior Member cwford's Avatar
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    For TX summer i usually use a insultex uq if the temps < 70 and a simple fleece blanket as a tq. This will easily get me in the low 60s. For nighttime temps > 70 I leave the uq at home. You could easily do the same with your poncho liners

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrob View Post
    What is the best course of action for me here?
    A bigger pack?
    Carrying the pad on the outside of the pack?

    Little-known facts that today's lightweight & low volume pack enthusiasts seem to ignore:
    Human physiology hasn't changed a lot since 1970-you still need insulation, even when it's just cool (40F). The colder it gets the more insulation you need.
    Those backpackers of olden days weren't 'silly' to carry the packs they did!

  6. #6
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaGuy View Post
    A bigger pack?
    Carrying the pad on the outside of the pack?

    Little-known facts that today's lightweight & low volume pack enthusiasts seem to ignore:
    Human physiology hasn't changed a lot since 1970-you still need insulation, even when it's just cool (40F). The colder it gets the more insulation you need.
    Those backpackers of olden days weren't 'silly' to carry the packs they did!
    Though VictoriaGuy is not at all shy about expressing his at least partial disdain for those that choose to try and lighten their packs/loads ( ) in this case he is spot on. You will be much better served in the long run to choose your gear, and find a pack that it fits into, rather than the reverse.

    Lighter gear costs more money, but tends to take up less room. Non-lightweight gear works just fine, and can cost less, but tends to take up more space. Unfortunately there's not too much you can do to get around that.

    You can put lighter, smaller gear in a bigger pack, but it's tough to do the opposite.
    Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

  7. #7
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Actually, I bought my GoLite Jam 50L pack and then upgraded my gear so it would fit in that pack. Did it cost a lot? Yeah, but I went from 45-60 lbs. of gear to 18-25 for a 2-3 day hike.
    “The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” - Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    Actually, I bought my GoLite Jam 50L pack and then upgraded my gear so it would fit in that pack. Did it cost a lot? Yeah, but I went from 45-60 lbs. of gear to 18-25 for a 2-3 day hike.
    I will amend my statement to reflect that you can do it this way, if you consign yourself to spending a decent chunk of money in a short period of time.

    But if, like the OP, you're rolling with a CCF pad and a USGI MSS (both of which are fully functional and will keep you plenty warm) but trying to find a way to make them fit into a frameless ultralight pack, your options are limited.
    Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    But if, like the OP, you're rolling with a CCF pad and a USGI MSS (both of which are fully functional and will keep you plenty warm) but trying to find a way to make them fit into a frameless ultralight pack, your options are limited.
    +1

    Off-topic:
    I've been thinking that an interesting DIY project would be an old Kelty frame with a simpler bag with compression, made with one of the new light fabrics. Those frames weren't that heavy (unlike some of the knockoffs), and there sure were lots of spots to lash light and bulky stuff on to them. I couldn't do that with my 'modern' pack as easily...
    I was on a trip with students when one kid got a mild ache/pain/injury and I ended up with most of the gear stacked onto my Kelty...I was trying to get in shape, anyhow, so it worked out OK.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    Though VictoriaGuy is not at all shy about expressing his at least partial disdain for those that choose to try and lighten their packs/loads ( )

    Hey! I resent that allegation. I am just as lazy as anybody! I just like to stay warm and dry with a full tummy, that's all!
    I even have a titanium pot and a titanium stove burner and several pieces of my gear have UL printed on them! Doesn't that count? Err, well, they are thick downmats, but still..
    I'm sorry for my sometimes bad manners .....

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