Gear choices for Western Arthurs

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Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Drew » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 8:35 am

Hi all, a few gear questions for an upcoming (January) Western Arthurs walk (Alpha to Kappa).

Firstly pack choice. People talk about this walk being really hard on packs, dragging against abrasive rock etc. I imagine though that keeping pack size and weight down means pack hauling and dragging will be minimised. The pack I’m planning to take is my Osprey Exos 58. Not the most durable but a lot lighter and more comfy than my old 75 litre Lowe Alpine pack. I’m interested in thoughts on this.

Similar dilemma with footwear. I’ve mostly stopped wearing boots in favour of trail runners, but worry that my Salomon XA Pros will get torn to bits. Apart from the weight, I’m reluctant to wear my Asolo boots because if it’s really wet then they’ll remain waterlogged and be very heavy and squelchy. (Last year I wore Gore-Tex trail runners on the South Coast Track and vowed to never again wear Gore-Tex on such a wet track. In my opinion Gore-Tex is good for snow, dewy grass in cold weather, and a bit of rain, but not days of rain or calf-deep muddy tracks!) But, if my Salomons are likely to end in pieces (they’re fairly new) then I’d consider the Asolos.

A couple of options on tents. I’m walking with one friend, and we’d prefer to have separate tents. She has a Z-Packs Triplex, I have an X-Mid and a Tarptent Stratospire 2. While the Triplex is big, it’s light enough for one person, so we could take the Triplex and the X-Mid and each have our own, with space to hang out for meals, card games etc in the Triplex on tent bound days. My feeling though is that the Triplex is probably the least storm worthy of these - I’d be interested to hear if people think it’s suitable. If not, we could take the Stratospire 2 and share. My understanding is that most campsites are reasonably sheltered, is that right? I also imagine that it will be pretty busy (with so many other areas closed at the moment) and keeping to one platform could be good.

My last question is to do with pitching non-freestanding tents on tent platforms. The only other time I’ve camped on platforms was in a mostly freestanding tent. I used cup hooks for the door pegs and guy ropes on that trip. Are cup hooks the way to go, or are the Arthurs platforms well enough equipped with wires, tensioners etc? Do I need extra bits of cord to make sure I can get a decent pitch?

Thanks!
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby CBee » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 5:38 pm

My last question is to do with pitching non-freestanding tents on tent platforms

Image

Similar dilemma with footwear. I’ve mostly stopped wearing boots in favour of trail runners

Boots. If you use trail runners you still have to walk in the centre of the track in the deep mud, you can't dodge the sink holes.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby north-north-west » Mon 09 Dec, 2019 6:45 pm

The Exos should be fine. If you're a competent scrambler there aren't that many places where you really need to packhaul, and with two people it's easy to minimise dragging on rock.

The camping areas are variable. High Moor is the most exposed, and you really want something there that can handle the wind. Tent platforms at Haven are fairly small, so the Triplex may not fit.

Footwear - who knows. I've heard of people wearing Vibram 5Fingers through the Arthurs. The scrub in the more overgrown sections can do as much damage as rock, but people manage with light footwear.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Osik » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 8:02 am

Hi Drew, the Osprey pack will be fine as will the shoes. My friend wore those exact shoes through a very wet and stormy week we spent traversing the range...I also now wear trail shoes on everything except thick scrub and snow. I reckon wear what you are used to wearing. I'd definitely pack a pair of trail or light gaiters for the walk in though.
Given that the X-mid and stratospire duo are both reasonable weights...could you just take those two tents rather than the triplex for peace of mind?
A bit of extra cord never hurts & will definitely assist in getting on a good pitch on some tent platforms.I'd take a few extra cup hooks too.
Enjoy!
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Warin » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 8:16 am

The XAs are one of the more 'robust' shoes. You bought them to use?

Is the exos a more recent version or an earlier on with full mesh side and font pockets? I have an earlier version and the mesh is scared. I am considering putting ripstop over the outside of it for protection. Might be ok to use a strong rain cover as protection too.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Drew » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 9:35 am

Thanks all.

Cbee those ShineTrip anchor things look nifty. Not sure I'll be buying them though given how rarely I use platforms. I wonder if you could achieve something similar with a horizontal tent peg on the underside of the platform, like a dead man anchor?

Boots. If you use trail runners you still have to walk in the centre of the track in the deep mud, you can't dodge the sink holes.


Not sure what you mean there. If I'm walking in muddy sink holes and getting wet then I'd prefer to be in trail runner that will drain and dry out than boots.

north-north-west wrote:The Exos should be fine. If you're a competent scrambler there aren't that many places where you really need to packhaul, and with two people it's easy to minimise dragging on rock.

The camping areas are variable. High Moor is the most exposed, and you really want something there that can handle the wind. Tent platforms at Haven are fairly small, so the Triplex may not fit.

Footwear - who knows. I've heard of people wearing Vibram 5Fingers through the Arthurs. The scrub in the more overgrown sections can do as much damage as rock, but people manage with light footwear.


Cheers NNW. Yep, I'm a pretty good scrambler so I think I can keep pack hauling to a minimum. I suspect the Stratospire probably has a larger footprint than the Triplex. However a lot of that is vestibule which could perhaps overhang the platforms with some creative pitching. Good to know about exposure at High Moor and the small platforms at Haven.

Osik wrote:Hi Drew, the Osprey pack will be fine as will the shoes. My friend wore those exact shoes through a very wet and stormy week we spent traversing the range...I also now wear trail shoes on everything except thick scrub and snow. I reckon wear what you are used to wearing. I'd definitely pack a pair of trail or light gaiters for the walk in though.
Given that the X-mid and stratospire duo are both reasonable weights...could you just take those two tents rather than the triplex for peace of mind?
A bit of extra cord never hurts & will definitely assist in getting on a good pitch on some tent platforms.I'd take a few extra cup hooks too.
Enjoy!


Thanks Osik. Feeling reassured about the shoes. And will certainly have gaiters. Re the tents the X-Mid is around 900gm with pegs and the Stratospire is about 1400gm. Adds up to quite heavy by today's standards for 2 people! The Triplex is more like 750gm... I think if it's peace of mind and reasonable weight that we want then we just take the Stratospire and share.

Warin wrote:The XAs are one of the more 'robust' shoes. You bought them to use?

Is the exos a more recent version or an earlier on with full mesh side and font pockets? I have an earlier version and the mesh is scared. I am considering putting ripstop over the outside of it for protection. Might be ok to use a strong rain cover as protection too.


Yep, I did indeed buy them to wear. But would like them to last more than a couple of trip. Anyway, I'm feeling reassured and think I'll wear them. I actually have the old and new versions of the Exos. The mesh on the old model is certainly vulnerable. I'm not a fan of pack covers but might be worth considering.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby north-north-west » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 1:05 pm

Drew wrote: I actually have the old and new versions of the Exos. The mesh on the old model is certainly vulnerable. I'm not a fan of pack covers but might be worth considering.


Just get a sheet of Tyvek and some cuben tape and make your own. Cheaper, guaranteed to fit, and no great loss if it gets shredded.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby CBee » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 2:07 pm

Ehi Drew,
I wonder if you could achieve something similar with a horizontal tent peg on the underside of the platform, like a dead man anchor?

Sometimes the peg is too big. A wooden stick between and under the boards will do IMO.
Re shoes vs boots, I think that is a boot terrain but that's just me. Charging through the mud on the plains and stability on the rocky trail of the summit ridges. For some reason every time I cross path with trail runner hikers, they don't even have a spot on mud on them so I have came up with the idea that people using light shoes, bypass the mud holes on either side. I may be wrong :D
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Warin » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 3:23 pm

Putting a peg or stick under the platform can be difficult for the inner ones.

The other problem is gusts can not only tension the guy line but loosen it .. and the peg or stick under the platform can then fall out..

I'd put one edged of the tent on the platform edge so it lines up with the platform 'pegs'. Then you only have to deal with one set of 'pegs' that are not true pegs. This minimises the extras you carry (cup hooks or 'platform pegs').
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Thylaseen » Tue 10 Dec, 2019 9:15 pm

A lot of the platforms have the platform boards spaced apart and nails in the sides allowing you to loop onto them.

Can't remember if this is true of the WA's but we didn't have any issues & didn't take anything extra in the way of C hooks or the like.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby north-north-west » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 5:48 am

Thylaseen wrote:A lot of the platforms have the platform boards spaced apart and nails in the sides allowing you to loop onto them.

Can't remember if this is true of the WA's but we didn't have any issues & didn't take anything extra in the way of C hooks or the like.


Some do. Some don't. Doesn't hurt to have a bit of extra line anyway.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Drew » Wed 11 Dec, 2019 8:59 am

Sometimes the peg is too big. A wooden stick between and under the boards will do IMO.
Re shoes vs boots, I think that is a boot terrain but that's just me. Charging through the mud on the plains and stability on the rocky trail of the summit ridges. For some reason every time I cross path with trail runner hikers, they don't even have a spot on mud on them so I have came up with the idea that people using light shoes, bypass the mud holes on either side. I may be wrong


I know the spotless ultralighters you speak of - I haven't quite got to that stage. Too clumsy. Last year on the South Coast Track we crossed paths with one such guy - tiny pack, clean as can be, right in the middle of a super muddy stretch. He was doing SCT, Port Davey, West and East Arthurs... in 14 days!

Good points about pegs being too big and coming loose with wind gusts. Sounds like some extra cord and cup hooks should be adequate. Thanks.

Still wondering about the Triplex. I should perhaps post that question in the Ultralight thread.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby Drew » Tue 14 Jan, 2020 10:50 am

Hi all, just wanted to report back after the walk.

We ended up taking the Triplex and the X-mid as planned. We had to share on the first night when a group of 4 arrived late at our campsite at the bottom of Moraine A, but otherwise were glad to have our separate shelters (although it was a bit of a squeeze fitting them both onto one platform at Haven Lake). We had strong winds for our night at Oberon Lake but were very sheltered on the platform. One group missed out on platforms and had to camp by the lake. Luckily they had 4 season tents. We also had strong gusts at High Moor throughout the afternoon and evening but the tents stood up well. Thankfully the wind died down overnight.

Pitching on platforms was a breeze. High Moor and Haven Lake have heaps of nails between boards which makes it very easy. Oberon had fewer but it was still okay. A few cup hooks came in handy.

I took the Osprey Exos, with no pack cover or additional protection for the mesh pockets. It did end up with a few new holes in the side pockets but they will be easily patched. Carrying water bottles in the side pockets as I do makes the pack more vulnerable to snagging (I ended up putting one bottle inside the pack to minimise damage). We didn't do any pack hauling with ropes but did pass packs to one-another a couple of times, so there was a little rock-scraping.

I wore the Salomon XA Pro shoes and overall was happy with the choice. It wasn't very muddy so I probably could have worn my Gore Tex boots and kept my feet dry the whole time (I was definitely having that thought at lunch on day 2, when my feet were wet and cold from a couple of hours walking in rain and 100km winds!), but I was happy to have less weight on my feet, less chance of blisters, and the better agility that comes with shoes over boots. I did however find that the soles of the Salomons didn't give the best grip on the Arthurs rock, which surprised me. I think my boots would have given better grip.
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Re: Gear choices for Western Arthurs

Postby crollsurf » Tue 14 Jan, 2020 3:56 pm

I have a thing about dry feet so I'd be hiking in my Zamberlan Vioz GTX and S2S Quagmire gaiters.

The Exos should be fine but the mesh pockets do get shredded pretty easily so just make sure you have some tough tape with you, but you should be carrying that anyway.

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