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Thread: Bob Marshall Hike

  1. #1
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    Bob Marshall Hike

    In early July I will be hiking from the Benchmark Trailhead to the Chinese Wall in the Bob. This is a 50-ish mile, out and back 4 day hike. Now that I am out of the military I am having difficulty getting away from the ridiculous 100lb packing lists I used to have. While I have some bases covered, I am looking for advice on a few things:

    1. Sleep System- Should I do a military summer bag in a compression sack or go buy one of those woobie sleeping bags?
    2. Tent- I want a tent, not a hammock or tarp. What lightweight tents do you recommend? I've been looking at this one: https://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Salida-...rds=kelty+tent
    3. Food. All I know is MRE's. I know there are better ways. I've found a few threads on this, but didn't know if someone had any real world experience on here.

    Any other pertinent items I might overlook. I know this is pretty much the prime uncontrolled or managed grizzly bear country. I'll bring a gun and have spray. I don't want the thread to deteriorate into what kind of defense I need.

    Thanks!
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

  2. #2
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    Just wanted to say Good Luck! with your hike. In my retirement I took up hiking to stay fit and do about 400 to 500 miles per year, mostly in our National Parks and Monuments, as well as some international parks. But I can't help you with your questions as I day hike only for 6 to 12 days at a time and stay in motels or lodges. I will be watching your thread.

  3. #3
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    Although I have not hiked in the "bobs" yet, (I may this summer) I do backpack every year hear in Montana, usually the Absorka/Beartooth Wilderness. At 45 Yrs. old thought my backpacking days were over as the Thermarest self inflating sleeping pad I used was not enough to allow me to sleep or get up in the morning without a lot of pain. My lovely wife heard me complain and researched and purchased for my birthday a Big Agnes Q Core SLX inflatable pad and that made all the difference. Now at 50yrs old I think that I sleep better out there than at home.

    I use a 25 degree rated, down ultralight sleeping bag and have not been cold on mid to late summer trips.

    I have an MSR bivy style, 1 person tent that MSR no longer makes that has worked well but is not designed for snow. It slowly collapses as the snow piles up but keeps me dry if I knock the snow off regularly.

    Mountain House freeze dried meals are my go to for backpacking. Very tasty, easy to prepare, easy clean up, light to carry. A bit bulky but worth the volume.

    I have yet to see a Griz on a pack trip. I've seen them from my vehicle, and would like to see one in the backcountry, but from a distance.

    Enjoy your trip. I never feel more refreshed than after a trip like you describe.

    DC

  4. #4
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    My wife and I have backpacked in Glacier and/or Absorka/Beartooth Wilderness each summer for the past 5 years or so, but haven't done the Bob yet. Last summer we did a version of the Northern Loop in Glacier, 70-something miles (wife's trip report is here, if you're interested: https://tntammy.com/trip-reports/justa-walk-round-mt-summer-17/ ). We're in our mid 50's.

    1. As far as sleeping bags, we both use 2-lb, 20 degree down bags. We unzip them and use them as a quilt if the nights are warm. It seems like we had frost on the tent one morning last August and cold rain another night, and those warm bags were really nice. It has snowed on at some point on every summer trip we've had in Montana. If I had to pick the one item I like the best of any of my gear it would be that sleeping bag. If you're a warm/hot sleeper you could get by with that summer bag, but might have some less than comfortable nights.

    We use Exped Synmat UL sleeping pads. They are thicker and we find them more comfortable than Thermarests. They are blow-up air matresses, but we've used them regularly in the desert with lots of thorns without significant problems with punchures.

    2. Agree with you about the tent, we use a free-standing, 2-wall tent - a Big Agnes Copper Spur 2. That tent is a closest 2nd to my sleeping bag as my favorite piece of gear. I don't have any experience with the Kelty tent you linked, but Kelty generally makes good stuff.

    3. Like DCsampson, we regularly eat Mountain House freeze dried meals. I like them way better than MRE's. There are other brands of freeze dried meals that are good too. Just try it before your trip to make sure you like it. We generally like the chicken based meals best (chicken breasts & mashed potatoes is a favorite), but are also very fond of beef stroganoff and mac & cheese. You can get the Mountain House meals in vacuum packs if space is at a premium.

    We've seen grizzlies and black bears on a few of our trips (probably about half). Only once up close (about 20 yards). We both carry bear spray, but no guns. That's primarily because of weight, but also because I'm not a Montana resident and have never been able to get a definitive answer about if the Blackfeet recognize out of state carry permits (we always seem to wind up on the Blackfeet Reservation at some point during our trips).

    You probably already know this, but if you are going to access trails from the Blackfeet Reservation they require a separate permit that you can get on-line here: https://blackfeet.nagfa.net/online/

    One other gear recommendation: get a very good to excellent breathable, lightweight, hooded jacket if you don't already have one. It can be a life saver if/when the weather turns bad.

    Don't know if there's an REI near you, but last time I checked they still rented nice gear for low prices.

  5. #5
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    Gossamer gear "The One" or they make a 2 person version now. The One is like 19 oz. It's been great so far but you have to treat it nice.

    I really like my Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt. I think my 30 degree is 17 oz.

    I use a Thermarest Xlite. I find it to be the most comfortable pad I've used but I haven't tried many. It's about 16 oz.

    I put it in a HMG Porter 3400. I think my pack plus sleep/shelter system is around 5.5 pounds.

    My trail weight last fall for a 5 day trip in the wind rivers including a spinning rod and fair amount of tackle was about 33 pounds. That's still pretty heavy for the real ultralight guys.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_f View Post
    My wife and I have backpacked in Glacier and/or Absorka/Beartooth Wilderness each summer for the past 5 years or so, but haven't done the Bob yet. Last summer we did a version of the Northern Loop in Glacier, 70-something miles (wife's trip report is here, if you're interested: https://tntammy.com/trip-reports/justa-walk-round-mt-summer-17/ ). We're in our mid 50's.

    1. As far as sleeping bags, we both use 2-lb, 20 degree down bags. We unzip them and use them as a quilt if the nights are warm. It seems like we had frost on the tent one morning last August and cold rain another night, and those warm bags were really nice. It has snowed on at some point on every summer trip we've had in Montana. If I had to pick the one item I like the best of any of my gear it would be that sleeping bag. If you're a warm/hot sleeper you could get by with that summer bag, but might have some less than comfortable nights.

    We use Exped Synmat UL sleeping pads. They are thicker and we find them more comfortable than Thermarests. They are blow-up air matresses, but we've used them regularly in the desert with lots of thorns without significant problems with punchures.

    2. Agree with you about the tent, we use a free-standing, 2-wall tent - a Big Agnes Copper Spur 2. That tent is a closest 2nd to my sleeping bag as my favorite piece of gear. I don't have any experience with the Kelty tent you linked, but Kelty generally makes good stuff.

    3. Like DCsampson, we regularly eat Mountain House freeze dried meals. I like them way better than MRE's. There are other brands of freeze dried meals that are good too. Just try it before your trip to make sure you like it. We generally like the chicken based meals best (chicken breasts & mashed potatoes is a favorite), but are also very fond of beef stroganoff and mac & cheese. You can get the Mountain House meals in vacuum packs if space is at a premium.

    We've seen grizzlies and black bears on a few of our trips (probably about half). Only once up close (about 20 yards). We both carry bear spray, but no guns. That's primarily because of weight, but also because I'm not a Montana resident and have never been able to get a definitive answer about if the Blackfeet recognize out of state carry permits (we always seem to wind up on the Blackfeet Reservation at some point during our trips).

    You probably already know this, but if you are going to access trails from the Blackfeet Reservation they require a separate permit that you can get on-line here: https://blackfeet.nagfa.net/online/

    One other gear recommendation: get a very good to excellent breathable, lightweight, hooded jacket if you don't already have one. It can be a life saver if/when the weather turns bad.

    Don't know if there's an REI near you, but last time I checked they still rented nice gear for low prices.
    Thanks for the great info. I feel I should also say that I am 6'4" and 285lbs, so some gear might not fit me. Questions:

    Is the jacket for rain only or warmth?

    Do you both fit in that tent?

    What kind of compression sack do you have for the sleeping bag?

    How do you cook your mountain house meals?
    Last edited by CPM; 06-07-18 at 21:46.
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPM View Post
    Thanks for the great info. I feel I should also say that I am 6'4" and 285lbs, so some gear might not fit me. Questions:

    Is the jacket for rain only or warmth?

    Do you both fit in that tent?

    What kind of compression sack do you have for the sleeping bag?

    How do you cook your mountain house meals?
    You're welcome.

    The jacket helps tremendously for warmth too if its cold and the wind is blowing (which is usually to some extent). With the breathability (relative term), pit zips, hood, etc., you can keep warm overall while getting rid of the right amount of body heat.

    Yes, we both fit in the Copper Spur 2. It's tight, but has 2 doors & vestbules. Two doors are nice if you are going with someone else. We've spent a week or so straight in it several times without problems. 6'4" won't fit in it though. We have a 6'2" ish friend that bought a Copper Spur 3 that he fit in comfortably, but that's alot of tent if you're by yourself.

    We use the Sea to Summit silnylon compression sacks, but they make other ones that weight slightly more and cost a whole lot less. We built up our gear over many years, so the cost has been spread out. I don't think we've had a Sea to Summit compression sack ever fail us.

    Part of the beauty of the freeze dried food is all you have to do is add boiling water & stir. The only trash is the pouch which has a ziplock top. We typically use an MSR Pocket Rocket canister stove to boil water. There are a bunch of good little canister stoves out there though. The pocket rockets are pretty inexpensive which is one of they're main selling points. Weve used for over 10 years and even Boy Scouts didn't break them.

    You probably already know, but there are important food/smellables handling/storage rules when in bear country. The freeze dried meals eliminate dirty dishes and minimize trash volume too.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Howdy

    You big 3 , pack, tent, sleep system shouldn't be to much over 6 pounds.

    I have had a 20 degree Feathered Friends bag for about 6 years now, its 2 pounds.

    I switch between a tarp and ground cloth and a tent, depending on bugs

    Just switched from a Golite Jam 70 to an Osprey back to actually carry a few pound more comfortably

    Last year my ruck with water was about 38 pounds for a 5 day through hike in the N end of the Bob.

    Thats being warm, dry fat, fat and happy from 20 to 100 degrees

    That Andrew Skurka has a good book on the subject when back up with your own previous experinace.

    I switch between Hawk Vittles and Mountain House chow

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPM View Post
    In early July I will be hiking from the Benchmark Trailhead to the Chinese Wall in the Bob. This is a 50-ish mile, out and back 4 day hike. Now that I am out of the military I am having difficulty getting away from the ridiculous 100lb packing lists I used to have.
    First, thanks for opening your endeavor up for discussion. Am tagging just to see how it goes & wish you luck. My ex-.MIL knees & back won't let me do that kind of thing, partly because of the thing you mentioned. Envy the ability to throw everything on the floor & work it out WITHOUT:

    "Spare ammo - you're gone.
    "Spare batteries for the other guys that's carrying too much ammo - you're gone.
    "New high-speed/low-drag (not) trinket the Puzzle Palace sent - you're gone.
    "Some mission-specific thing the Good Idea Faerie thought up in the middle of the night - you're gone."
    Now you can pack what you actually need & still be more than comfortable.

    I wish you all the best & hope to hear how it all goes.
    Happy Trails!

  10. #10
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    Alright, I've purchased the tent and the ruck. I went with a Kelty Revol 65 and a Kelty Salida 2. I called Kelty for recommendations and guidance and they had Americans speaking english in America on the phone take a few minutes and make some recommendations. They even offered a 25% code for their website- without me asking for anything. Great company.

    My last piece of the puzzle is the sleeping system. I am planning on taking just the green summer bag from my military sleeping system, but am looking for a compression sack to get it as small as possible. Any recommendations?
    When you're done saying what you're saying, stop saying it.

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