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Jack of many trades
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Went hiking up on the Benton MacKaye trail in North Georgia with three friends. Had a great time and learned a few things:

- 40 lb pack is even heavier than it sounds
- I love my kukri, but it's heavy
- I love my Makarov, but it's heavy
- Water runs out quick, and it's heavy
- Home-made firestarters using paraffin, sawdust, and cardboard egg cartons will start a fire even with reasonably damp wood. Not heavy.
- Pocket Chain Saws are AWESOME for cutting sizable firewood (something like this http://www.pocketchainsaw.com/pcs.jpg, not necessarily that brand). Not heavy.
- Mountain House dried meals taste better than the Coleman ones.
- Sleeping on the ground is not as fun as when I was younger
- Backpacking is fun

Now, I have a few questions for ya'll.
- One of my friends had a filter, and it worked pretty well, and weighed less than the gallon and a half of water I was lugging around. Anyone have a suggestion for a reasonably priced portable water filter?

- I've seen some things about hammock camping, and as above, sleeping on the ground isn't as fun as it used to be. Any opinions on reasonably priced hammocks and solutions for bugs and rain?

Thanks!!
 

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Went hiking up on the Benton MacKaye trail in North Georgia with three friends. Had a great time and learned a few things:

- 40 lb pack is even heavier than it sounds
- I love my kukri, but it's heavy
- I love my Makarov, but it's heavy
- Water runs out quick, and it's heavy
- Home-made firestarters using paraffin, sawdust, and cardboard egg cartons will start a fire even with reasonably damp wood. Not heavy.
- Pocket Chain Saws are AWESOME for cutting sizable firewood (something like this http://www.pocketchainsaw.com/pcs.jpg, not necessarily that brand). Not heavy.
- Mountain House dried meals taste better than the Coleman ones.
- Sleeping on the ground is not as fun as when I was younger
- Backpacking is fun

Now, I have a few questions for ya'll.
- One of my friends had a filter, and it worked pretty well, and weighed less than the gallon and a half of water I was lugging around. Anyone have a suggestion for a reasonably priced portable water filter?

- I've seen some things about hammock camping, and as above, sleeping on the ground isn't as fun as it used to be. Any opinions on reasonably priced hammocks and solutions for bugs and rain?

Thanks!!
Sounds like you had some fun! Good way to get out and try your gear to see what works and what improvements are needed. As far as a water filter.. i use a Katadyn Hiker Pro. It's good for 200 gallons befor the filter needs to be replaced. Some people have reported the pump handle breaking, but i haven't had any problems. It's very easy to use.. just make sure to purge out the charcoal before actually pumping into a container/canteen. :thumb:

Amazon.com: Hiker Pro Microfilter: Sports & Outdoors

Can't answer your other question.. i don't mind sleeping on the ground. Just make sure you remove sticks, rocks and pinecones... maybe make a small bedding of leaves or needles. A small foam pad is a plus too.
 

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I drive a compact car
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Ditto on the Hiker Pro, reasonably light, very easy to use, fairly inexpensive. Works very well.

I'd love to use a hammock but it gets too cold in the mountains where I camp, I'd need to spend big money on an underquilt, maybe someday...
 

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I have an MSR miniworks EX water filter that I love. Not had it long but no problems so far and as much as some people don't like military issue gear the Marines use it, to me that is a plus.

I also sleep in a ENO dounblenest that came with the bug net and tarp that is easy to set up and weighs little of nothing. Not tried it in cold weather yet but there are underquilts and other options for staying warm while hanging. My favorite part of being in a hammock is that as long as you have some where to attach to you don't have to have level ground, and you can hang all your other gear as well so no worry of critters getting in to your boots or bags.

I started years ago while on active duty using net hammocks and didn't know about high end hammocks untill about a year ago. Net hammocks are good, but i love my double nest.
 

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Went hiking up on the Benton MacKaye trail in North Georgia with three friends. Had a great time and learned a few things:

- 40 lb pack is even heavier than it sounds
- I love my kukri, but it's heavy
- I love my Makarov, but it's heavy
- Water runs out quick, and it's heavy
- Home-made firestarters using paraffin, sawdust, and cardboard egg cartons will start a fire even with reasonably damp wood. Not heavy.
- Pocket Chain Saws are AWESOME for cutting sizable firewood (something like this http://www.pocketchainsaw.com/pcs.jpg, not necessarily that brand). Not heavy.
- Mountain House dried meals taste better than the Coleman ones.
- Sleeping on the ground is not as fun as when I was younger
- Backpacking is fun

Now, I have a few questions for ya'll.
- One of my friends had a filter, and it worked pretty well, and weighed less than the gallon and a half of water I was lugging around. Anyone have a suggestion for a reasonably priced portable water filter?

- I've seen some things about hammock camping, and as above, sleeping on the ground isn't as fun as it used to be. Any opinions on reasonably priced hammocks and solutions for bugs and rain?

Thanks!!
There is a difference between filter and purifier, do you take Iodine, And have you tried coffee filters?
 

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I like the "Clark" jungle hammock. Get the over-sized rain fly and laugh at the rain. You can pick up a "Steri-pen" for about 60 bucks if you shop around (for your water) weighs next to nothing. For security S&W 637airwieght, about 1lb loaded.
 

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The Katadyn filter is a good deal for the price.

I use a crappy Walmart blue pad to make sleeping on the ground more bearable, and you can let the excess ball up at the head end and something soft completes the whole pillow idea.

Don't ever carry more water than what fills a normal hydration bladder, unless you absolutely are going into an area of no water. The work of filtering water is much better than killing your shoulders/back.

For fire, you can also use petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls, and for a saw, Gerber makes a cheap plastic exchange-a-blade type saw. Your methods may be better though...
 

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Okay so here goes...

I use the ENO Doublenest Hammock. It safely supports 400lbs (I camp with my gf so combined is around 330). A REALLY nice add-on is the ENO Guardian Bug net. Both of these will cost you around $120

For the water filter, I use a hydration bladder, so I picked up the Sawyer 3-way inline filter.... wayy batter than expected and no need to field clean (also states to last 1M gallons). However, I also picked up a Platypus 3L bladder to make a gravity filter into my Blackhawk bladder. This thing filters about 1gal/1.5min. My setup cost about $80 total but if you just want the filter it's $60.

Altogether I am always drinking reliable water and VERY comfortable in my hammock, provided you bring your own warmth cause this one has none.
 

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Make your own hammock, it's very easy to do. Dad made them for us when I was a kid, not to be cool, we just couldn't afford a tent or store bought hammocks. Now you can do an online search and there are directions to be found. Now I use ripstop material, but as a kid dad used a flat bed sheet and a rope.
 

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I prefer gravity filters over pump filters. I think it's foolish to sit next to a creek pumping a filter while getting tore up by mosquitoes. I'd rather quickly fill my water bag, hang it on a branch and go do anything else. You might also want to try using chemical treatments like Aqua Mira.

Hammocks don't work for me, but may I suggest a different pad? My tolerance for stiff foam pads is going away as I get older. Even my hybrid foam/air mattress isn't comfortable enough. My 3" thick Thermarest is incredibly comfy, but way too heavy to bring backpacking. I've been getting a lot of use out of a new air mattress made by Pacific Outdoor Equipment, the Peak AC. It's pretty comfy, and Amazon had a long running sale at around $60. I still carry a small foam sit pad that I put under my air mattress where pointier parts of my body might still touch the ground, for example my hips when I sleep on my side. Also, while I tend not to suggest carrying more weight, you might want to look at the Luxurylite cot. It weighs a little under 3 pounds, but will get you off the ground.
 

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Renaissance Man
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Me and a buddy did the Georgia Loop (Benton McKaye to Duncan Ridge to AT) about 2 months ago. It's a great hike, with lots of ups and downs, few people, (except for the AT section of course) and not a lot of water. Well, I did it anyway. My buddy dropped out on the Duncan Ridge.

We saw hogs, turtles, deer, pheasant, turkey, bear, and many hawks. It's a beautiful hike.

We both carried hammocks, sawyer inline filters, and built no fires. (It was nearly 100 degrees, why build a fire?)

My pack weighed 28 lbs including water and 7-10 days of food.

My double stack .45 (15+1) came along for the ride. I found a way to rig my shoulder holster to the top of the pack frame and the shoulder strap. The entire weight of the pistol was distributed to the pack, and then to the waistbelt. I couldn't even tell it was there, but it was still in my hand in less than a second when that hog came running at me. It's the most comfortable way to carry backpacking that I've ever found.

And yes, backpacking is fun! :thumb:

Az
 

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Renaissance Man
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first needs water purifier is the only filter that removes viruses.. it's only $100 and is easily the best on the market.
Virus removal is not needed when in the backcountry. Heck, it's not really needed much of anywhere in the USA. Most viruses that affect humans are transmitted by humans. Several filter manufacturers (MSR, Sawyer) make filters that do remove viruses, but they don't market them in the USA because there's no need.

The First Need is a great purifier, (I have one) but it's way overkill for backpacking. Too heavy, not really field maintainable, and filters out stuff you'll never find in a mountain brook or spring.

For backpacking I use a Sawyer inline on my hydration bladder. Simple, easy, cheap. It's a .02 micron filter with a 1,000,000 gal guarantee. Easily backwashed in the field, (although I've never had to do it, I just backwash after at home) weighs 2.5 ozs, and I paid $32 buck for mine.

Inline on the hydration pack, I simply fill up the bladder with water from a spring, creek or pond, put it back in the pack and start walking/drinking. No wait, no pumping, no chemicals. At camp, I hang it from some paracord, and anyone that needs water simply opens the tap and out it comes thanks to gravity.

If I can only find small puddles and can't get the bladder filled, I can simply pull the hose off the bladder, drop it in the smallest and muddiest of holes and drink.

I leave the First Need at home for bugging in. We have a creek on our land, but like most suburban creeks, it's very polluted. (There were fish in it when we moved here, but it's gone downhill) The First Need cleans that water nicely.

Az
 

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OK, first, I buy the best quality I can find. So, my equipment is usually at a premium cost.

Water Filter: Katadyn Pocket Water Filter.

Water Treatment: Polar Pure.

Hammock System: Warbonnet Blackbird Double 1.7, Warbonnet Superfly, and Warbonnet Yeti Underquilt.

This expensive, but it is extremely comfortable/light and worth the cost to me.
 

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Bravo Zulu
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I gotta get me one of those saws. I've got a cheap-arsed wire saw, but it's not exactly suitable for my needs.

I plan on getting chainsaw, but it's only suitable for carting around in my car. I also want something I can carry with me.
 

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Your going to get different answers/opinions in response to your questions but one thing I want to comment on is you actually using and trying out your gear. Seeing what works and what you may replace is one of the best things that some do and far too few bother with.

You arent one of those that buy everything they think they will need or want and let it sit without seeing if it will work as you think.

Big Kudos to ya!
 

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I hear you on the weight of water... My baseline pack weight is roughly 25 lbs. When I add 3 days worth of water and food, it's right around 45 lbs. The only good thing about that weight is that it slowly decreases as you drink and hike throughout the day.
 

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war comin, choose a side
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Making a hammock out of a tarp is easier than i originally thought. It worked fairly well too. Roll up the ends and tie it to a tree. Just make sure you get the balance right. If you use a poncho to cover like i did make sure you have two. I only had one but luckily my buddy had an extra. It was supposed to be his pillow, oh well. ;)

I used a pure easy soldier water filter earlier this week. It worked well. It is slow and steady, but is easily maintainable in the field and filter .02 microns and 5000 gallons each filter. It came with 2 filters. It also only weighs 3oz. And yes, there are definitely better ones out there but this one was only $40 and i have yet to have any problems.

Check out AZB's backpacking saw thread. That saw worked great and it weighed next to nothing and doesnt take long to make. :thumb:
 

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I use the MSR SweetWater. I have used the Katadyn and like it. I normally try to keep about 4 liters of water filled because a lot of times creeks will be dried up and nothing sucks worse than getting to a spot expecting water and there is nothing.

I also carry tablets and bleach so I have four ways to purify water since I can also start a fire multiple ways.

Now go through your pack, grab everything you did not use and chuck it. Also, most people starting out overpack food and clothing or add in stupid luxury items that are unessary weight and as you know in backpacking ounces are pounds.

I normally go a weekend on a change of clothes. At night I air out what I wore that day and the next day wear my change. Keep swapping them and if they get to stinky just a quick wash with some Dr. Bronners and back to new.

As far as food good chance you will die of thirst well before food so just carry enough for each meal/snack and forget the emergency I may get stuck and need food because good chance you will never ever use it or need it.

Depending where I am backpacking I will rarely ever carry a gun that is 3 lbs I do not need and I will normally just go to my ka-bar. I have found I can cut down branches with it and smaller pieces of wood.

I would also be really curious what you packed because even with a gallon of water my pack is about 35 pounds with a tent and sleeping pad and I have done 40+ mile weekends without a problem.

Also, depending on your level of conditioning you might want to just keep your pack filled, head out to the park, and start walking.

Also, make sure you are packing your pack correctly. I normally keep pillow on the bottom, and try to keep heavier items in the middle, and stuff I know I need at the top for quick access.
 

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Also if you really want to cheat check with local outfitters because most of them will do water drops at trailheads for a small fee. In summer at the one trail I will have a gallon dropped a day. This is because there is a great chance the creeks will be dried up and there is barely any other water. Costs like 5-10 bucks a gallon and well worth it.

The one place would actually stash it in a cooler so when I got there I had cold water.
 
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