I picked up a new 'backpack' this weekend

227 grams, without the two dinky water bottles it came with.

It's going to be challenging to get a 3 day trek into this itty bitty waist bag. Warm weather trips only.

My last weekend trek last fall, water became a problem, so this is probably a bit water-focused.

I am making 2 leather pouches for the Sawyer Squeeze Mini water filter and the cleaning syringe. One tucked into each side next to the water bottles. I cut the 'straw' down so it fits inside the back of the syringe handle. The squeeze bag fits inside the pack.

The kids are getting the half liter water bottles that came with this bag. I am replacing them with larger bottles. The silver bottle pictured will likely be my Berky Sports bottle once I find it. The green bottle in the black sleeve has a soup can it is nested with for a cook pot.

I am making a new 8.5' square tarp out of a window insulation kit. This will eat up the bulk of the pack. Cordage to pitch the tarp are 25' and 10 foot pieces of Amsteel Blue (silver colored) wrapped around the outside of the pack and held on with a soft shackle. Also will have several lengths of braided mason line.

Other items include:
A SOL 1-2 person space blanket or two for sleeping.
A disposable clear rain poncho in case it rains.
A bug head net.
2 citronella tea light candles.
My new LED headlamp with the 3d printed red lens.
A norwex towl (my wife can't stand the feeling of them).
A long sleeve polyester shirt.

I need to make a 'repair kit' with neosporin, tape, a needle and thread, a bit of wire and the like. Stuff to keep me and my gear walking.

Sticking it all on a scale at the moment, 1610g or 3.5 lbs.

What am I missing for packing out my new 'bag'?

In album 2014-05-26

My new waist bag. I like the color and that it can hold 2 water bottles. I have some amsteel rope wrapped around it. I am making a pair of leather pouches for holding the Sawyer Squeeze Mini water filter parts.

The leather pouch on the right side will be added and a mate to it on the other side.

I tested my new sleeping bag last night

It didn't get as cold as I was expecting, so I ended up being overly warm for most of the night. I tried the new down bag inside a synthetic bag inside a bivy sack arrangement all on a thermorest pad. About 10 lbs for the sleeping set. I'd dug a snow-cave topped with a SOL space blanket for about 2/3rds my length.

I was sweating for most of the night until the temps bottomed out at 11 degrees. I was chilled then, but a toss and a turn and I warmed back up and fell back asleep.  I think I would have been better served with just the 20 degree down bag.

Maybe I will try again next weekend.

In album 2014-02-02

Getting out in the morning. A bit challenging trying to keep the snow out of my bags. The grey blanket was just used as a ground sheet for that purpose.

Unfortunatly, it didn’t snow for real. Google did this to me. Taunting me.

Clothes where a lightweight packable down jacket over a poly longsleeve shirt. Insulated pants over longjohns & 2 sets of dry wool socks. I tried to keep the clothing minimal as the two bags and myself basically filled the Bivy bag, so I didn’t want to over-pack it and loose all my loft.

Getting in to the sleeping bag at night. Wiggle wiggle, scoot scoot, repeat.

Looking down from the deck at my snow-cave. I used a SOL space blanket as a top-sheet. About 5 minutes with a shovel to make this (Much of the snow was tossed off my deck and porch). I was planning on using a snowshow to make it, but I was there with a shovel, and it just worked.

Side view of my snow cave. About 2-3 feet tall, with maybe 6-8 inches of snow left in the ‘floor’. The top was done up with a space blanket to keep the wind from whistling over my tent.

Sleeping in my snowcave. Quite toasty and comfortable.

Just waking up. It’s a bit awkward trying to loosen up the hood. I’d pulled the stopper out when I just climbed in. Took a LONG time to get it back right in the dark.

Looking into the snow cave. It was a bit snug at the shoulders. I wiggled around a bit when i was settling in to try to smash the walls wider so there was more room for my sleeping bags to loft.

A couple of weeks ago I found a packable down jacket at walmart…

A couple of weeks ago I found a ''packable down jacket'' at walmart for $29. Couldn't really afford it, but couldn't really afford to not get it. Royal Falcon is the brand. I've found references on forums it's sold under a couple of names. 14oz even for the extra large. I've been using it as a second liner for my Columbia ski jacket. Very warm combo. Too warm, really. It sticks to my arms really bad if I sweat in it, so I don't think its very breathable.

I was thinking that it being a packable coat, it would make a good sleep coat.

Today I decided to put it through its paces while shoveling Chicago's 8 inches of snow. I put on a long sleeve polyester shirt i got on clearance for $5 this spring. Essentially an under armour knock off and delightfully ugly. My insulated pants, bomber hat, some good gloves and my hiking shoes I wear every day with some freshly patched wool blend socks.

4 to 6:30. Shoveled out my driveway. Then I spent half an hour standing under the hood of a car futzing with a battery cable. Then after dark I fired up the grill for some steaks and cleared the deck while the temps dropped down to 7 degrees.

Near the end I was no longer warm, standing around waiting on the steaks. Not cold, but not warm – about the same feeling as a tshirt in my basement.

I am actually amazed by how well it worked. I dressed lightly knowing all that snow was going to be work. I paced myself so I wouldn't sweat up bad, but did a little. I expected to freeze while wrenching on the car. I didn't. The gloves are good, warm hands even though the wrenches would freeze to them. Standing out in the wind in a foot of snow, still not cold.

Seven Degrees.

It's amazing what the right combination of light weight gear can do.

I remember as a kid bundling up in layers and layers and still getting cold.

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This is my ‘ugly’ shirt. I’ve several different prints. The pants are my FAVORITE pair. Insulated. My folks gave them to me. They are starting to get holes in them. Time to patch them. I am thinking leather patches. In the shape of leaves.

The little one was outside with me, making sure I was piling the snow up right.

The down jacket I just got. Love this thing! The hat is a replacement for the one I lost in the house fire. I love it, my wife hates it. The gloves have some sort of plastic bag liner inside of them so the fleece is water proof. Works well, but they take DAYS to dry out.

Exploring the weights of the gear I used last week in the back yard

I measured the weights after I packed it all up and am about to shove it into a backpack for storage. So the weights are of everything I used, and a little bit more in the case of the shelter 'kit'.

I am not counting the weight of the shovel & long rope I ended up using to secure it – those don't go into the backpack. 

army wool blanket 1677g 59oz 3.7lbs
grey wool blanket 1578g 56oz 3.5lbs
tent stakes 140g 5oz 0.3 $6
foam pad 251g 9oz 0.6lbs $6
shelter kit 762g 27oz 1.7lbs $25
under quilt 236g 8oz 0.5lbs $15
hammock 571g 20oz 1.3lbs $25

total 5215g 184oz 11.5lbs $77

The wool blankets obviously aren't UL gear. Both where given to me, so I won't complain. The one was my grandfather's service blanket. The other one is a Harbor Freight packing blanket that I am working on water-proofing with lanolin. I use this blanket a lot in the fall/winter/spring with the bushcraft sessions I teach & attend. The grey one is too small for me to roll up in properly, and the other one has too much sentimental value for me to be rough with it in the woods.

The shelter kit has the ropes & cordage, snap-clips, clear window-shrink-film tarp @165g, an unused space blanket tarp I made from 2 cheap mylar blankets taped together and added tie-outs @121g, a unused window-shrink-film tub floor @114g, and the bug net & bug head net. It's intended on being a complete set for sleeping on the ground that will also work with the hammock. 

The underquilt I made from a mylar space blanket and some bubble wrap. I added tape tie-outs like I do any cheap plastic tarp, and taped on the bubble wrap. The concept is that the bubble wrap has it's own convective & conductive insulation and it enforces an air-gap so the space blanket can provide the radiative insulation. It's just a prototype, and it works very well. I think I want to make one specifically shaped for use as an underquilt, and maybe one as an overquilt as well – or just use the curent one for that.

I want to switch from the mylar blankets to heat-sheets. They would be much quiter, less prone to cataclysmic failure, and I think I can dye the one side a more pleasing color than 'shiney' as they will take printer-ink.

I did have 2 of my tape tie-outs let go on my window-shrink-film tarp. I had the tarp strung up tight for a couple of weeks before the tape started letting go after some heavy storms. The plastic wasn't damaged, so it will be trivial to replace the tie-outs. Longer tape in the corners I think will be the solution. I may look at doing larger patches to make that stick better. I need to pack a few feet of the trimmed up tape to make replacement tie-outs in the field. I am also wondering if some of that new Rustoliem water-proofing spray could be used to keep the water from seaping under the tape and causing it to let go.

I am just getting into backpacking and the concept of "Ultralight'

 I've done a lot of camping in the past, so I have all the heavy stuff. I've a limited budget, so most of my stuff is DIY or cheap bargain gear.

I am currently getting a hammock setup. I've some photos of my mis-adventures in my back yard.

In album Hammock Camping Tweaks

I like this setup. Easy up, easy down. pretty functional in the weather too.

I’ve even tested space blankets.

The little ones LOVE the hammock. It’s a lot of fun to hang out in.

I’ve done extensive research on sleeping gear.

I’ve spent the night in the woods with nothing more than a space blanket & really big mosquitoes. It sucked.

This is my older tent. It’s Huge. And Heavy – 47lbs. I could park a car inside if I could figure out how to get it through the door.

I own a couple of large tents. The kids love this one, it has a doggy door and play tunnel on the back side.

I’ve made my own under-quilts for hammocks. This one is a mylar space blanket and green bubble wrap. I’ve used it on single degree nights with a wool blanket on top of me in the hammock. I was cold, but I made it the night.

I’ve made and weighed my home made gear. This is a large tarp made out of window insulation film and duct tape. This tarp is my main shelter now when I go out.

I made a bathtub floor for sleeping on the ground if I was so inclined.

Space Blanket tarp made from 2 cheap blankets taped together and duct tape tie-outs. When used right, it can make the difference between a cold night and a really cold night.

Half a dozen tent stakes.

I’ve even weighed the bag. It was free, I will use it until I find something lighter for cheaper.

Under 4 lbs. for this shelter. Not great, but much better than the 47 lbs tent I hiked a mile into the woods once…

Taken during a ‘Blue Moon’. A clear roof means you can star gaze and stay dry. I turned on the flash so you can see the tarp.