Backpacking and Tenkara Part 2 Gearby Graham Moran April 6, 2017 1 comment
Once a backpacking tenkara trip has been planned the next step is gathering gear. In Backpacking and Tenkara Part 1 I discussed the planning of a trip into the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in Colorado. In Part 2 I will discuss the gear planning that I have done for this trip.
Gathering Core Gear
Packs and Lodging
After years of searching for the perfect backpack I came across the Osprey Atmos 65 AG Backpack. I had been using a Gregory Rock Creek that I bought almost 20 years ago. Coming in at a weight of 4 lb 6 oz / 1.82 kg, I cut a ton of weight simply by switching to the Osprey Atmos 65. With a carrying capacity of 65 liters the pack carries everything I need for a comfortable trip.
There are a few features that really work well for my backpacking tenkara trips. With a highly functional accessibility design I can quickly get to any and all gear I might need. The pack features a double front pocket allowing me to organize frequently used items. Or in my case, one side is for clean clothes and the opposite side is for dirty clothes and trash. The Atmos 65 is a top loading pack with an integrated sleeping bag compartment.
The pack is also water bladder compatible allowing me to carry up to a 3 liter/100 ounce of water. Surprisingly, and as a great benefit to tenkara anglers, there are two water bottle pockets on each side of the pack that I use as rod holders. I have been known to attach my tamo to one of the ice axe loops, allowing me to net a fish even with my pack on.
The Marmot Tungsten 2P was one of the best purchases I made for my home away from home. I love the fact that this tent has a gear swallowing 32 square feet of floor space. I will admit that at a minimum packed weight of 4 lbs 13 ounce / 2170 grams it is a bit on the heavy side for one person to carry.
The Marmot technical specifications state a packed size of 21″ x 7″. Using a slightly different packing method I have been able to conveniently distribute the tent into my Osprey Atmos 65 pack. Simply by separating the tent into individual components I am able to completely utilize all 65 liters of my pack.
For a sleeping bag I decided on the Big Agnes Mirror Lake Sleeping Bag for a number of reasons. With a temperature rating of 16° F/-9° C up to 30° F/-1° C I am comfortable in almost all conditions that I might encounter. The bag is filled with 600 fill DownTek™ water repellent down. The bag weighs all of 2.31 pounds. My bag measures out at 5′ 10″/178 cm due to the fact that this is a women’s sleeping bag. Using a compression stuff sack I am able to get the bag down to 8″ x 10″/20 x 25 cm. This was one of the better purchases I have made in a bag. I will admit I am always looking for lighter bags but for now I am super happy with the decision of purchasing the Mirror Lake!
I can say with confidence that my Big Agnes Double Z Sleeping Pad has truly made sleeping a pleasure when backpacking. When it is fully inflated I enjoy 4 inches of comfort. I know people who think 4 inches is excessive but at a weight of 1.31 lbs it is well worth it. The Double Z does require a bit of lung power to inflate, yet does so with ease.
Food and Water
I have been experimenting with the flavors of many different dehydrated and freeze dried foods currently available. Because I am eating dehydrated or freeze dried meals I only need to boil water to cook. For this reason, I have elected to use the Jetboil Zip Stove System. With an overall weight (minus a fuel canister) of 12 oz / 0.75 lbs, the entire stove weighs next to nothing. A stove of this weight is surprisingly powerful, boiling a half liter of water in 2 minutes 30 seconds. A key factor in choosing the Zip as my stove was the fact that everything you need is included, the pot, the burner, and a base. The components along with a 100 g fuel canister nest into the pot, taking little space in my pack. With a short boiling time a 100 g fuel canister will provide up to 12 1 litre pot boils.
The number of human/bear encounters are growing at an alarming rate here in Colorado. Because of this, regulations have been put into place requiring the use of bear canisters in the backcountry. Many people complain that carrying a bear canister is annoying and inconvenient when it comes to weight. The weight is a bit of a hinderance, although if the canister keeps a bear from eating my food I am ok with that. Canisters also save the lives of bears by shrinking the occurrence of human/bear encounters.
With a capacity of 440 cubic inches/7.2 litres, it will easily carry up to 4 days worth of food. The Bear Vault BV450 takes up a minimal amount of space in my pack. This capacity is more than enough for me for any given trip with smart food selection.
When I need clean water to drink I use the Katadyn PUR Hiker Water Filter to make my water safe. I have been using this filter for over 20 years as my primary water treatment device. In that 20 years I have only needed to replace the entire device once. Because the filter uses a replaceable cartridge it is not necessary to buy a new device every trip. One of the key factors that makes this an awesome filter in my opinion is that it is field maintainable. Field maintainability is a big thing when filtering water high in suspended sediment. With a filter capacity of 200 gallons (depending on water quality) I have safe drinking water for almost any trip. The filter is water bladder compatible which is very nice considering that I am using the Osprey 3L Hydraulics Reservoir for carrying water in my pack.
The reason I am currently using the Osprey 3L/100oz Hydraulics Reservoir is because I very seldom need to replenish during the day. Integrated into my Osprey Atmos 65 AG Backpack is a sleeve that holds my water reservoir.
Through experience, I have found that 3 litres is more than enough water for most days. With a zip-top opening I am able to fill the bag with ice cubes before I leave the house. Of course, this is not something I do every morning when I am backpacking but it is still a very nice feature. The bladder is constructed using a food grade plastic that does not make my water taste weird.
Osprey uses what they call the QuickConnect™ system allowing for easier removal from the pack. Using this system also allows me to fill the bladder using my Katadyn PUR Hiker Water Filter. To keep the profile of the bladder minimal Osprey uses the Hydrostatic™ backerplate. The backerplate also makes loading the bladder into the pack easier as well.
When in camp, I try to make as few trips as possible back and forth to the nearest water source. I do this to avoid creating additional damage to the edges of the water sources I am near. With a total capacity of 6 Litres I have more than enough water in camp for food and drinks.
MSR thought about the design of the Dromedary bag when they created the cap making the bag easier to fill. Additionally, with the wide mouth opening I am able to attach my Katadyn PUR Hiker Water Filter so that I have clean water while in camp.
Because the Dromedary is made with black fabric, I have used the bag to warm the water used the power of the sun. At times it is nice to have warm water for washing hands or dishes.
Gathering Gear Summary
Gathering my gear for this trip has been a long term project. Finding these pieces of gear has been well worth the time to really dial in my needs for multiple trips. And because I have spent so much time and effort on this I am a total gear weight of just 17.45 lbs/299.51 oz.
I hope that this short list helps you in your gear selection for your backcountry excursions. I am including a checklist of gear below that you can use as you are gathering your own gear. Please leave any thoughts you would like to share in the Comments space below.
All the items in this post can be order online following the links included. I would suggest that you try your local gear shop first, at least for proper sizing if nothing else.
If you did not get a chance to read Backpacking and Tenkara Part 1 check out how I planned my trip.
____ Backpack ____ Stove ____Dromedary Bag
____ Tent ____ Bear Vault
____ Sleeping Bag ____ Water Filter
____ Sleeping Pad ____ Hydration Reservoir