Friday, May 26, 2017

Isle Royale Gear List, May 2017

The table below shows my base weight, total pack weight with consumables, and body out weight for my recent trip to Isle Royale.

Isle Royale, May 2017

Item oz (ea) # oz (total)
Packed Items
ZPacks Arc Blast 60L, Hybrid Cuben (2014) 19.8 1 19.8
Trash Compactor Liner 20 gallon 2.1 1 2.1
Backup Wallet add-on (homemade) 0.49 1 0.49
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Square Flat Tarp (8.5'^2) w Tie Lines 11 1 11
Tarp Stake Kit (14 stakes) w sack 3.46 1 3.46
Zpacks Cuben Flat Ground Cloth, 36"x90" 2.9 1 2.9
Sleeping System
Katabatic Palisades 30 Sleeping Quilt, 6'6" 18.8 1 18.8
Thermarest NeoAir Xlite, 72" (Regular), Inflatable 12 1 12
MLD Superlight Bivy, Cuben, All Net Hood, LG 5.33 1 5.33
Stove & Cooking
Fissure Tri-Ti w Toaks 850 ml Ti Pot, 12-10 Stove 5.96 1 5.96
Cuben Pot Stuff Sack for Toaks 0.14 1 0.14
Glad Lockware Extra Small, 9.2 oz cup with lid 1.2 1 1.2
Dasani 16 oz Water Bottle (21-32 meals) 0.67 1 0.67
Gallon Baggy for Fuel Bottle 0.32 1 0.32
Aluminum foil (1' square) 0.28 1 0.28
Titanium Spoon - Folding (Toaks with bag) 0.67 1 0.67
Matches, Kitchen (book w/o cover) 0.1 1 0.1
Mini-Bic Lighter 0.4 1 0.4
ZPacks Bear Bagging Kit (carabiner, sacks + 50' Zline slick cord) 2.6 1 2.6
Loksak 12x20 odor-proof OPSAK 1.5 2 3
Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets, 20 + 24 = 44 1.34 1 1.34
Aquamira Liquid Rebottled (2x small bottles) + Mix cap + Baggy 1.41 1 1.41
Sawyer Squeeze PointOne (SP129) Filter 2.5 1 2.5
Sawyer Squeeze PointOne Backflush Syringe 1.06 1 1.06
Evernew 2L Bladder 1.52 1 1.52
Sawyer Squeeze 2L Bladder 1.34 1 2.68
AquaFina Water Bottle (1L) w Screw Top 1.23 2 2.46
Water Scoop 0.18 1 0.18
Toiletries & Skin/Bug Protection
Vivera Retainers 0.14 1 0.14
Retainer Container 1.1 1 1.1
QiWiz Original Trowel, Ti, 6" 0.42 1 0.42
Inox Nail Scissors w cover, Matt Finish, Stainless Steel 0.88 1 0.88
Emory Nail File 0 1 0
Dental Kit Small (toothbrush, floss, powdered paste, lip balm) 1.23 1 1.23
Purell in 30 ml squeeze bottle 1.38 1 1.38
Dr Bonner in small dropper bottle w baggy 0.6 1 0.6
Sunscreen in 30 ml squeeze bottle 1.16 1 1.16
Bug repellant (Picardin) in small dropper bottle 0.6 1 0.6
Sea to Summit Headnet 0.9 1 0.9
Utilities and Navigation
Photon Freedom Red & White & UST Whistle on Lanyard 0.67 1 0.67
Guide Pages/Maps in LockSak 1.1 1 1.1
Fisher Space Pen, Stowaway +7 little sheets of paper 0.39 1 0.39
Gerber Ultralight LST, Knife, Black Pocket 0.6 1 0.6
Electronics & Photography
Delorme inReach Explorer 6.88 1 6.88
Ricoh WG-4 GPS (Pentax) Camera, 32 GB, Halcyon 1500 mAh 8.22 1 8.22
Sandisk Sansa Clip Sport 8 GB (yellow) w 32 GB Micro SDHC 1.02 1 1.02
RavPower 3350 mAh External Battery, Black & White 2.54 1 2.54
Ricoh D-Li92, 3.7 V, 850 mAh 0.55 3 1.65
Lightning USB Cable, Syncwire Braided (1m, gray) 0.56 1 0.56
Bose SoundSport Ear Buds (green) 0.67 1 0.67
Gear Repair Kit
Baggy: Neo-Air, Cuben/Pertex Tape, Floss, Needle, Mini Glasses 1.05 1 1.05
First Aid
First-Aid Kit: Razor, Pin, Tape, 3xAlc, 3xIodine, 2xBandAid, 3xStrips 2.11 1 2.11
Meds: 12xBenadryl, 16xIbuprofen, 8xAcetomeniphen, 4xAmmodium 0.63 1 0.63
Hiker (Feet) Goo in green plastic container 1.23 1 1.23
Hat / Gloves / Socks
ZPacks Micro-Fleece Hat (black) 1 1 1
Buff, Afghan Graphite (Original Buff, polyester microfiber) 1.31 1 1.31
Lightload Towel 12x24" 0.6 1 0.6
Possumdown Gloves (L, black) 1.52 1 1.52
ZPacks Cuben Rain Mitts 1.13 1 1.13
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew (L) 2.1 1 2.1
Clothing Layers
SeaToSummit Ultra-Sil Nano Drysack 8 L (for clothes, Blue) 0.8 1 0.8
SeaToSummit Ultra-Sil Nano Drysack 8 L (for rain stuff, Orange) 0.8 1 0.8
Montbell Tachyon (wind) jacket w/o hood (L, blue) 1.9 1 1.9
Patagonia Houdini Jacket, Eclectic Orange (L) 3.2 1 3.2
Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket (L, gray) 5.3 1 5.3
Montbell Versalite (rain) Pants (black, L) including sack 4 1 4
Patagonia Men's Capilene® 4 Expedition Weight 1/4 Zip Hoody 8.5 1 8.5
Base Weight (lbs) 10.9

Breakfast (3 oz each + 0.5) 3.5 7 24.5
Lunch (4.4 oz/day) 4.4 7 30.8
Snacks (5 oz/day) 6.7 7 46.9
Dinner (2.5 oz ea +.9) 3.4 7 23.8
Vitamins and Supplements 0.25 7 1.75
Fuel, Alcohol (0.75 oz/day - one meal/day only) 8.66 1 8.66
Water (35.2 oz/L) 35.2 2 70.4
Pad, Incontinence 0.9 1 0.9
Toilet Paper Small (8 squares + baggy) 0.17 8 1.36
Consumables (lbs) 13.1
Total Pack Weight (lbs) 24.0

Worn or Carried Items…
Trekking Poles
Black Diamond Contour Elliptical Trekking Poles 9.5 2 19
Duct Tape around trekking pole (5'/pole) 0.4 1 0.4
Shoes / Boots
Altra Lone Peaks 2.5 Trail Runners (11.5), Low Cut (Red) 12 2 24
Headsweats Protech White/Grey Coolmax (w neck sunshield) 2.3 1 2.3
Icebreaker Oasis LS Half Zip Hoody (Snowflake, Gray) 9.03 1 9.03
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 6" Boxer Brief (M, Petrol) 2.32 1 2.32
Columbia Covertible II Pant (Sage, M, 34"L) 11.46 1 11.46
Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew (L) 2.1 1 2.1
Dirty Girl Gaiters 1.45 1 1.45
iPhone 5S (gold) in Lifeproof Nuud Case (waterproof) 5.33 1 5.33
Fitbit Zip 0.25 1 0.25
Suncloud Pursuit Polarized Sunglasses, Gray w Neck Loop 1.09 1 1.09
Reading Glasses w Case (Brown or Gray) 1.13 1 1.13
Silk Handkerchief (16x16") with elastic cord & line lock 0.35 1 0.35
Lightload Towel 12x12" 0.25 1 0.25
Pant Leg Blousing Stretchies 0.03 1 0.03
Suunto Core Wristwatch, Black 2.3 1 2.3
Wallet 1.38 1 1.38
Truck Keys 1.9 1 1.9
Worn & Carried (lbs) 5.4
Body Out Weight (lbs) 29.3

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Isle Royale Lessons Learned

This post is unusual. Usually I learn a few things around the edges, just minor refinement. This trip I think I learned a lot.

First on travel. Use distance and ave mph to predict time on the road. Say 60 mph. Don't count on a service, an app or a device to cut it closer. Also, have hotels booked at reasonable distances and rates. Every time I drive late I find hotels booked. And trying to find the cheapest needs to be done ahead of time. 

Now for wet and cold. Unless you are going mid-summer Texas, take the down puffy!  The cap 4 expedition weight hoody was barely adequate for low 40's and wind. I thought it would be better for wet conditions. Bah!  Maybe it's only intended as a base layer.

Take decent gloves. Possum down gloves didn't work. They maybe added 2 or 3 degrees of warmth. They did NOT shed water. This is the only Zpacks purchase I have been unhappy with. Not worth it. Carry good fleece or wool plus the cuben rain mitts. 

The Montana ultralight course taught me to sleep in clothes. But what if they get all wet?  You need a backup. My spare (lighter) wind shirt plus my cap4 or puffy would be good for top at night. Need extra undershorts and wind pants or long underwear for bottoms. I need to work weight optimization there to come to a final decision. 

Don't skimp on spare socks. Keep one dry set for night/emergencies. A second to wear. And a third to wear while second is drying. I had a bare foot one night. I lived with it, but it would be better not to. 

Use that foot goo!  I thought I had so few (no) problems in the past, that skipping or just using a little was enough. Maybe that would work on good, dry trails with few rocks and roots. It didn't here!

And if you have damaged insole inserts in your shoes, fix them before the hike. I developed a heavy crease in my left insert during rainy hiking on the AT. It felt like a long rock in the shoe. It also tends to bunch up the sock. I forgot all about it. It got worse during the rainy hiking on Isle Royale. Having a relatively dry (i.e. only damp) sock and placing each footfall flat minimizes the problem. I should have replaced the insert before the trip. 

A couple of odds and ends. Thinking back, the day my clothes all got wet, I had forgotten to take off my buff. I also had the Houdini hood up under the rain jacket hood. In the future I won't let anything interfere with the rain hood's seal around my face. In an opposite situation, I need to use sunscreen. There was very little actual sun, but I still ended with dry skin on my face. 

This was the first time I used the quilt during the day for warmth. Don't rely on a warm forecast. Take the warmer quilt if it might be needed. 

I currently use an ultra-sil waterproof sack for rain wear. But its not really good for wet stuff in the pack. See about a cuben dry sack. 

I skipped the pee bottle this time. I found if I go about 9:00 pm, I don't have a problem holding till dawn. But what if its raining?  You want to keep your rain wear dry but can't hold it long enough. Carry a pee bottle. I carried a pint water bottle with the top cut off for getting lake and stream water for filtering. It works as a pee bottle in an emergency if you are alone and can just throw the urine out from the tarp. If not, carry a real bottle with a lid. 

Ghee has been great up until this trip. This time it was so cold I couldn't squeeze it out of the bladder. Olive oil would have solidified too. Need to think of a solution. 

Snacks are a continuing problem. I always bring them back. I stop for a light snack every hour. Say about 90 to 125 calories. That's half a candy bar or half an ounce of home-bagged snack.  So two bars and two one ounce bags will last up to eight breaks or nine hours on the trail. Assuming you take an extra lunch (e.g. tortilla with peanut butter and jelly) you are good for 10 hours. At my speed that's about 15 to 16 miles per day. I put the four snacks in a waist pocket on my pack. 

For short days, that's too much. For long days it's not enough--and I never want to dig deep down in my food sack to find an extra snack in the middle of a hike. Plan mileage and the right number of snacks!

I brought kale to mix with my Mountain House dinners. On the AT the slight degradation in taste was offset by the worry about nutrition. Here I wasn't going to be gone long enough to have serious nutritional problems. Don't take green vegetable additives on short trips. 

Cooking breakfast... The Mountain House Breakfast Skillet tastes fine, as opposed to their blah scrambled eggs. But when I want to hit the trail quick for a long day, I just want to grab a breakfast bar and get moving. Preferably I stop and eat it after I get warmed up. But if you anticipate a short hiking day or partners that won't start early, go for the cooked meal. Plan ahead for the right food. 

Tarp/bivy vs tent... I love the tarp and bivy. But if it rains, you have to worry about keeping all your bags dry. Plus back splash on bivy and quilt. With the tent everything fits inside and there are almost no back splash issues. If you think its going to be wet, take the tent. I plan to get a longer tarp, 8.5x10 feet versus the 8.5x8.5 foot I have now. Maybe if you are 5'6" you could live with the smaller one in a rain storm. The larger one will cover head and foot back splash better, and its going to save me three ounces. Take the tarp if you anticipate only occasional rain or short storms. 

This time I used a Dasani pint bottle to carry my alcohol. It saved almost half an ounce on my usual bottle and doubled the capacity. Do it again!

Water filtration stinks--not literally. I like my Steripen. This time the presence of tapeworm eggs in Isle Royale waters meant I had to carry a filter. I used an Evernew 2L dirty bag flowing through a Sawyer PointOne with a female-female screw connector either to an AquaFina 1L or to a Sawyer Squeeze 2L bladder. After filtering I added one AquaMira tablet to each liter pf water. This was the lowest weight option I could find in my equipment boxes. My alternative was a heavier 2L Gravity Works system. 

Neither system is optimum if you only want to filter one liter. Both take up space and weight in the pack. And you have to make allowances for everything in the system getting wet. You also have to worry about the filter rupturing if it gets to or below 32 F. To make it worse, no dirty bag I've seen fills easily. Holding them under icy water is painful. You have to bring an extra scoop. A cheap pint water bottle with the top cut off works well. The instructor in Montana used the lower half of a flat 1L Platypus. He could Steripen right in the bladder, tank up (drink) at water sources, and carry almost no water. That relied on water sources every 3 to 4 miles. 

One final point on my water filtration complaint. I believe I drank less than I normally would and less than I should have just because of the hassle. It seems hard to believe most AT hikers use Sawyer Squeeze for their whole trips. 

Finally the extensive bushwhacking this trip was unexpected. I tore two holes in the mesh back pocket on my backpack. A couple of times when I was wearing only my merino base layer on top I almost tore holes in it. Both items are very expensive. Take tough enough gear to handle the conditions you expect. Even then, be careful. 

That's about it for this one. Good hiking!

Isle Royale Final Itinerary and Thoughts

There will be two other posts after this one:  a lessons learned that I'm mostly done with and an equipment list. I'm also waiting on pictures till I get to a PC.

This was my final itinerary:
Day 1 Rock Harbor to Lane Cove, 7 mi
Day 2 Lane Cove to McCargoe Cove, 12 mi
Day 3 McCargoe to S Lake Desor, 18.2 mi
Day 4 Rain at S Lake Desor, 0 mi
Day 5 Lake Desor to Moskey Basin, 20.5 mi
Day 6 Moskey to Rock Harbor, 11 mi
Day 7 Rained out trails @ Rock Harbor, 4.3 mi
Day 8 Trails at Rock Harbor, 7 mi

So I walked 80 miles of trail instead of the planned 106 miles. The 4 days of rain and bitter cold/winds were disappointing. So too were the conditions of the trails. There was a great deal more blow down than in 2014. I wanted to do the whole Minong but the rangers said it was washed out. 

Well, those are the risks of going early in May before the bugs and the crowds get there. This year I lost on my roll of the dice. 

However I'm really more disappointed in myself. I was careless and didn't properly handle the rain. I made decisions to shelter up instead of walking in the rain and seeing more of the island. Admittedly, I don't think my toes and feet would have survived even more rough footing in continually wet socks and shoes. 

Despite my regrets, I am glad that I went. I saw the three moose, the fox, and all the great forests, marshes and lakes. That's not an experience I get very often. It was wonderful!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 8 Rock Harbor to Copper Harbor

Monday, May 22, 2017
Started 07:14 AM, stopped 09:59 AM.
Ave mph was 2.54
Battery used:  0 percent
Fitbit: 14,873 steps, 7.01 mi, 1542 cal
Today is a lot nicer than yesterday. Cloudy with an occasional bit of sun. No rain!  The roaring wind also stopped. 

I ate breakfast and then tried the Stoll Trail out to Scoville Point again. Much wetter but effectively warmer. 

I saw 5 rabbits on the trail, snowshoe rabbits I think. No people till I was on the way back. 

The rocky approach wasn't as bad as I remembered it. Maybe I could follow the path easier. It was pretty windy and chilly out there. 

After making it back I packed up. Must have been 3L of trash for the NPS dumpster. 

Got to the wharf a few minutes before the Queen arrived. It was loaded with people. Hopefully they get better weather. 

I'm in my rain gear sitting on the wharf--a real bench-- waiting the two hours to board. Kind of the worst aspect of Isle transportation. It would be nice if they just turned the Queen around for the trip back immediately after letting off the people from Copper Harbor. 

It got colder on the bench. A huge crowd ended up boarding. Apparently a lot of people just do a weekend. Nice couple sitting next to me from Milwaukee. They had heavy stuff and were on their first backpacking trip. Headed for another 3-4 day trip in a state park. 

This year I have room for my legs. But the boat is rolling something terrible.  Still, no storm! And the rolling didn't bother me. A couple of folks got sick. The rolling was so heavy, I was a little worried about capsizing.

My pack was the last one off the Queen. But I still got a shower and a meal at Mariner North. 

My biggest problem now is what to do with my 8-day stinky clothes!

The End

Day 7 Rock Harbor

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Started at 7:47 am, stopped at 9:44 am
Average mph was 2.28 mph
Fitbit: 9,149 steps, 4.34 mi, 1371 cal
This didn't turn out to be the day I hoped. It rained over night. The wind was a loud roar all night and so far all day. 

I slipped on the wet rock when I stepped out for a leak. The picnic table was wet so I cooked breakfast in the shelter. 

The plan was to take the Stoll Trail out to Scoville Point. I put on my rain gear just in case. Good thing too, there is an icy strong wind out. 

I got about a 1/4 of the way around the trail before it started raining. That ended my hopes of going out on the long rocky, now wet and slippery, point. 

After a while the rain let up and I headed down Tobin Harbor trail toward Suzy's Cave. I requested another weather forecast via my Explorer just in case. Shortly thereafter the rain started again, and I headed back to the shelter. 

When I got back I looked at the forecast. Rain all day, and the temperature stays at 41 F all day.  I've been catching up on my blogging. Wearing everything but my now wet rain gear. With that strong icy wind it is Cold! 

It rained and the wind blew and it stayed 41 F all day. I alternated between blogging and covering up in my quilt to get warm. Wouldn't have been so bad but my rain gear was hanging to dry. So was the Houdini wind shirt. I was stupid enough to step out for a leak in the Houdini. The rain came down while I was busy. 

A Ranger came checking permits just before 4:00 pm. Do you think they have many cheaters that slip onto the island without paying? :)

This was my second disappointing day this trip. Cold and bored!

The End