Specific gear advice for March

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Thu 11 Jan, 2018 11:49 pm

Head off in early March and I'm trying to reduce pack weight and bulk as much as possible.

Leave the rain pants at home and just have quick-drying shorts and gaiters. Too cold for this in March?

Want to tent it the whole way instead of sleeping in huts. With a pad r=1.5 and sleeping bag rated to -5, is this doable?

If I bring a short length of thin cord to hang food from a tree in a dry bag, will it be safe from those pesky possums or mice? Might be sleeping a few nights in a non hut area, so need a plan instead of leaving my pack in a hut.

Cheers!
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby devoswitch » Fri 12 Jan, 2018 7:59 am

Hi Joel,

I'm sure others will chime in here and help however I think all your questions depend on how cold you sleep etc.
I walk all year here in southern Tasmania in shorts and Gaiters. Rain, Hail or Shine. Its a personal preference. If you're not prone to being too cold on the legs like myself then I reckon you'd be just fine in March. HOWEVER, as I'm sure you're aware the weather can change anytime of the year in an instant. you may be blessed with lovely blue skies or warm weather or you may get Hail and Snow.
As for the sleeping mat system someone else can help out as I'm not real sure, I sleep with a ridiculously high R5.7 year round with a fairly lightweight bag as I'm a warm sleeper.
The possums and Rats/mice are definitely problematic in places and can be difficult to control. I see lots of people hanging their food up to some success however personally i like to double bag my food and leave it in my pack in the tent. Works for me with the odd battle with a possum in my vestibule on occasions :)
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby philm » Fri 12 Jan, 2018 9:25 am

If camping away from the huts you should not have any issues with possums. They are mainly a problem around the huts including the tent platforms. If staying around or near the huts I'd play it safe and just leave your pack with food in the hut itself and have a good nights sleep in your tent. Ensuring you don't have any food wrappers left in your pockets etc. in the tent!

In terms of warmth, I like to walk in shorts and gaiters. The main thing would be to take a pair of base layer longs that you can put on under your shorts if needed. I would just take a good hard shell jacket that is long and I don't normally take waterproof trousers as there is a minimal area between the jacket and top of the gaiters that gets wet and this quickly dries off.

In terms of sleeping the weather is always unpredictable. As long as the bag is properly rated to -5C (comfort not lower limit) you should be fine. In terms of a mat I normally use a Thermarest Xlite which has an R value of 3.2. I would recommend a warmer mat than you have at present. It will be good insurance.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Fri 12 Jan, 2018 10:30 am

Thanks for the input.

I'm a fairly warm sleeper (says my wife).

I have a snowgum 1700 bag rated to -5 (I assume comfort since they appear to be a fairly reputable company).

I also have a Mannagum std long mat (https://www.wildearth.com.au/buy/mannag ... -mat/AB009) but cannot find it's r rating published anywhere. My reason for replacing this is it's weight (1.1kg) but more because it's too big and I'm having trouble fitting everything into my 75L pack. My replacement mat is less than half the weight and size...and yet to arrive in the post so haven't been able to test it's comfort.

Unfortunately there's no where nearby in NSW to give it all a test run with similar conditions this time of year.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Fri 12 Jan, 2018 10:32 am

Leaning towards gaiters and shorts. I've got merino longs for my base layer if needed.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby warnabrother » Tue 23 Jan, 2018 7:42 am

Joel1982 wrote:Thanks for the input.

I'm a fairly warm sleeper (says my wife).

I have a snowgum 1700 bag rated to -5 (I assume comfort since they appear to be a fairly reputable company).

I also have a Mannagum std long mat (https://www.wildearth.com.au/buy/mannag ... -mat/AB009) but cannot find it's r rating published anywhere. My reason for replacing this is it's weight (1.1kg) but more because it's too big and I'm having trouble fitting everything into my 75L pack. My replacement mat is less than half the weight and size...and yet to arrive in the post so haven't been able to test it's comfort.

Unfortunately there's no where nearby in NSW to give it all a test run with similar conditions this time of year.


If you are struggling to fit everything into a 75L pack, I would suggest you are packing WAY too much gear, OR your gear is more car camping than bushwalking..
I can comfortable fit everything for 7 days into a 48L pack with a little room to spare..
Perhaps post your gear list so we could try help you shave some kilos and space..
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby bobcrusader » Wed 24 Jan, 2018 5:30 pm

We just had a warm, dry week, but it snowed the week before - that’s the nature of the place. Regarding Possums - no, your food is not safe in a tree. They are crafty buggers, and will tear open bags/tents and can open zips. We found the only safe place was food in hut, bag in bag hanging area. Don’t use fragrant sanitizer and double check for wrappers and snacks. Away from huts, keep it in your tent (not fly) in a closed dry bag.

You can get away without rain pants, but I’d take thermal pants to sleep in or walk in, if needed.

What are you doing for cooking? Might be able to reduce weight there. We used a single 230g canister with a Jetboil Flash and had 1/3 left over. Did coffee every morning, cupasoup and a 2 serve dinner every night for 6 nights.

How big/heavy is your tent? Another good place to save weight. Take minimum pegs - they are not needed for the tent platforms.

Do you have a buddy you can share gear with?
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Tortoise » Wed 24 Jan, 2018 9:27 pm

Obviously plenty of people get away without overpants. But in my first experience of the OLT (one January), we had torrential rain and icy conditions, followed by snow. I got significantly hypothermic, so would always advise taking them. Even if it's just Rainbird ones, they'll keep the wind off you, which obviously is't a good combination with torrential rain.
Forecasts are a useful guide, but anything can happen. For a recent trip in the Ossa area, the forecast was for about 2 mm of rain and light winds. Instead, we got 36 hours of howling winds, 12 hours of horizontal snow and 12 hours of rain.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby norts » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 9:08 am

I agree Tortoise. Light rain pants are needed especially with the torso length of most jackets these days.
You get out on the plains in wind and rain and you will be very cold very fast.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Sat 27 Jan, 2018 1:34 pm

Thanks for all the advice.
I'll do a full gear list on this forum in a few weeks with weights once I get everything. Although it will just be to see what I can remove or replace cheaply. Since there'll only be a few weeks left before heading off, I won't buy anything else significant or expensive to replace what I have. Note that I still have to do some more practice packing to be sure. But to address a few comments...

I have an MSR Hubba Hubba NX as tent, with the footprint because I'll spend a night or two away from huts. Taking 8 of the supplied pegs.

I swapped my Managum standard long (1.1kgs) for a klymit from massdrop (~500g) so that saves me a lot of weight and space. Plus increasing my R value to 4.

Still using the mannagum sleeping bag.

75L pack is the denali kepler. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that 75L is a generous estimate.

Cooking: MSR whisperlite with 600mL bottle. Shellite as fuel. I realise this isn't the lightest option for cooking but it was my first purchase of hiking gear and I expect to use it for a long time for other hiking and camping outings as well. All fits inside a 1 L pot from Aldi.

Think I'll stick with the rain pants and use them for when things get cold and windy. Just gaiters and shorts at other times, even though my rain jacket goes halfway down my thighs.

Unfortunately, the couple others who I invited to go on the trip have pulled out. So no gear sharing.

Goal base weight is 10-12kgs.


For storage of food and food waste, what do you use? Dry bag? Ziplock bags? Tupperware? Combination?

Cheers
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby bobcrusader » Sat 27 Jan, 2018 4:19 pm

Can you get/borrow a different bag? I have a 75L Denali and we opted to upgrade to an Osprey Xena 85L (for my daughter) for 2 reasons: 1. The Denali quality is not great (basically Anaconda home brand) and we have already returned one under warranty for stitching coming away. 2. As you mentioned, they are not as big as other 75L bags. Expect to pack about 4-5kg of food - best storage option is a 10L dry bag, which can be easily hung in the huts. Put your name on the bag! Waste in a large zip lock bag (2) kept inside the food bag. We needed 2 good anchors for the Hubba Hubba on our trip on the tent platforms, so remember to take a couple of anchors or cup hooks and some rope.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 7:49 am

I’d take the overpants.

As Tortoise said, if you get wet and the winds are strong, you can become hypothermic very quickly.

Have them (and your rain jacket) somewhere in an outside pocket so you can access them quickly if it starts raining. If you stay dry, you’ll be safe.

Note that the Parks essential gear checklist includes waterproof overpants.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 8:15 am

I'm not sure how they get away with it to be honest but the denali kepler packs are not a true 75l. I have a friend who tried to save money by buying one of these ridiculous packs and he has now bought a One Planet Mungo 60l and finds it much roomier than his "75l" denali.

As they say, buy cheap and you'll buy twice!

It's probably down to personal preference, but in summer I never take waterproof pants on trips unless the forecast is truly woeful. Thermals pants as a back up should be fine.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 12:17 pm

As much as I'd love to have a nicer, lighter, better pack, this one was a gift and it is the one I have right now. When I'm in a better financial position I'll get something new.

Thanks for the tips, everyone!
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Species 8472 » Wed 31 Jan, 2018 12:27 am

I personally think that with your sleeping gear and tent you will have a couple of cold nights during that time of the year ( actually anytime of the year)
I've walked the OT 6 times and have experienced all conditions. I had a bag rated to supposedly minus 5 but I felt cold and the temperature was only plus 1.
Then on other nights the bag was too warm. The temperature is that variable. I would advise to wear thermals at night. I also think overpants aren't necessary but then again I have a 3/4 E-vent jacket and I take 2 synthetic light long pants that can dry quickly and can be zipped off to wear as shorts.
Anyway that's my preferences.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby warnabrother » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 10:23 am

Snowgum 1700 sleeping bag is a 1.7kg (!!) synthetic fill bag with a rating of -5.
Looking at the specs of that bag, I would say it's more than likely a comfort level of about +1/+3ish degree bag.. you may be cool to cold.. either get a warmer and lighter down bag/quilt or pack some warm sleeping gear
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Warin » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 12:49 pm

Joel1982 ... you can hire gear in Tas for the Overland Track.
That maybe better than some of the gear you have .. or not. Specifically the sleeping bag .. think the renters have one that is 1.4 kg but does -10C comfort limit. Not certain of the volume.

Good luck.
(Presently struggling to estimated volumes of my gear ... I do have several 34l plastic cases that I'm using to bundle things into. Figure if I can get my base weight/stuff into one 34l that will leave the rest of the pack for food... )
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Joel1982 » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 1:33 pm

Yeah, the sleeping bag is probably my least desirable piece of gear. But I'm stuck with it. I do have a cotton liner for it, but that will only do so much??? Happy to be sleeping in thermals if required.
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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby weeds » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 1:45 pm

Joel1982 wrote:For storage of food and food waste, what do you use? Dry bag? Ziplock bags? Tupperware? Combination?

Cheers


The OT was our first eight day walk and prior to that we had done a four day walk staying in huts (that had all cooking gear)

We packed the food for each into a single large zip lock bags......8 bags for us. The zip locks become the rubbish bags.

A dry bag would have been handy for rubbish but the more dry bags you have the less ability to use all the space.

We did have an animal chew a small hole in the tent even though our food was in zip lock bags which were inside our packs......maybe dry bags would have prevented this. From that night on we didn’t eat/prepare food near our tent.

We had our spare cloths and sleeping bag in dry bags......did think about swapping the food into them.

Tupperware containers don’t reduce in size one the contents is gone so I would steer clear.

Enjoy the walk........


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Re: Specific gear advice for March

Postby Warin » Thu 01 Feb, 2018 1:59 pm

Joel1982 wrote:Yeah, the sleeping bag is probably my least desirable piece of gear. But I'm stuck with it. I do have a cotton liner for it, but that will only do so much??? Happy to be sleeping in thermals if required.


Sleeping bag temperatures are done with thermal on. To add to the sb temperatures;

Use thermals - they add a lot of heat for very little weight.
Use warm socks and hat (wool, down, fleece or thermals - make certain all the clothing you use in the bag is dry!)
silk liner - not cotton.

I'm not certain that 'reactor' liners are worth the weight.
I keep the sleeping thermals with the sb - not to be used for anything else. A goods nights rest is essential.
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