1. geekgirl
    geekgirl July 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Excellent post. It’s easy to get wrapped up in ounces that may cost a significant amount of money, and not save you that much in the end. Just being aware of what you are really spending, and what you are getting for it, is very helpful. Particularly when you keep sight of the big picture, and not getting bogged down in individual items.

    I came to a point where I needed a new tent. I looked at a gorgeous cuben fiber shelter, and was going to get it, until I started adding everything up. The cuben fiber shelter, with an inner bug tent, and everything else I needed was going to cost me over $500 and would weigh 22 ounces. A Tarptent Contrail cost only $200, and weighs 27 ounces. I ended up going for the Contrail, as I don’t think those 5 ounces was worth $300. With the $300 I saved, I was able to make my own quilt, which saved me 8 ounces off my sleeping bag, and got a different backpack which saved me another 9 ounces. A much better tradeoff and I came out lighter.

    Sometimes, cheaper items can be much lighter than the expensive stuff. A sawyer squeeze filter weighs 3 ounces and costs $30, vs. a Katadyn pocket filter which costs $360 and weighs 20 ounces. It seems to me that the simpler products tend to weigh less and cost significantly less than the “newest, greatest, all the bells and whistles” products.

  2. Steve Piccinati
    Steve Piccinati July 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I always enjoy your posts and find them useful. I am a huge proponent of the “gear triangle”. However, I’m curious what your solution is to your post – ” I carried an e-reader, GPS, and cell phone on my last thru-hike. Next time I may bring one device with the functionality of all three.” I own an iPhone 5s – the folks at Apple and REI tell me that the iPhone can’t operate as a true GPS since it requires cell tower signial (not avail on the JMT). How do you combine, the ereader, phone and GPS?
    Thanks and “Happy Trails”!!!

    1. Sean
      Sean June 5, 2015 at 5:19 am

      Hi Steve,

      REI was upselling you, apple was covering their ass.

      The iPhone 5 should have full GPS capabilities. I know of multiple people on backpackinglight.com who use the iphone with GaiaGPS I think it is without any problems. Apparently according to Google Fu starting with the 4S the iPhones even support GLONASS.

      Most cellphones use the cell radio to triangulate your approximate location and then use GPS to refine that. The practical effect is that it takes like 10 seconds to lock into your location, even when you’ve moved a *long* way from your last location. If you’ve ever booted up a dedicated GPS unit a couple hundred miles away from where you last had it on, you know it can take a while to get a lock on where you are. The cell towers help speed that up since all of those are in known locations.

      Apple was covering it’s ass because you need to use a dedicated app that downloads the maps to your phone, and that takes space and usually costs money for the app. I know that the Delorme maps that I downloaded with my InReach took up almost a gig of space for example. You could quickly fill your phone up.

      However, if you want to test this, find a GPS program on the app store that doesn’t require online maps, set your phone to airplane mode, and check it out. You should still get a lock. It might take a little longer initially but it should work fine.

  3. Steve Netherby
    Steve Netherby July 22, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Another reason for the titanium Spork: Three days into my JMT thru-hike, my plastic Spork broke. Had to use my plastic fast-food fork from my first resupply stop for the rest of the trip.

  4. […] Start your research to ensure you get the most bang-for-the-buck on your gear choices. You have some decisions to make: tent or tarp, sleeping bag or quilt, boots or trail runners. If […]

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