Welcome to thebackpacker.com
create account login
Newby, Apex 2 or Backcountry 2?
Viewing posts 1 to 45 of 45 messages posted.
To add this thread as a favorites, you need to first login.
“My first real pack trip was this weekend and I discovered that Walmart is not the hot place to buy your tents. I packed most of the gear for girlfriend and my sons, and pack weighed just over 70#.
I am torn between the Eureka Apex 2 (fits the budget), and the Backcountry 2 (which I've been told is the must have). I've read the gear reviews and it sounds like the Backcountry 2 gets a little higher marks. Should I spend the additional $55 per tent on two Backcountry 2's before our planned Thanksgiving trip? We'll be doing mostly family type stuff say 4 to at most 8 miles in until the boys get older. Three to five days seems reasonable.
Thanks very much,
Randy Todd, Dallas Georgia”
“I don't know anything about the backcountry, but I have the Apex 2 and it is a great tent. Freestanding, 2 doors with a full coverage fly, what could be better?
That pack weight is off the charts! How did you hold up? I bet the knees are thanking you today!
The Apex is not a light tent. If the other tent is lighter, I would consider going with that.”
“I love my Backcountry 2..if you can find one, get it! I think they're either revamping it or taking it off the market..it wasn't available a few weeks ago anywhere (Campmor etc) I could find...and I love mine..must admit it's the old style with the central coor rather than the off-side one..by the way, it's pretty tight for 2 people..I use it as a one-man tent..for 2 I'd rather have something with 2 doors..”
“Who makes that tent? I have never heard of it.”
Mataharihiker, I plan to sleep 2 in the tent, though my partner is small and fun to cuddle with! Do you think the Backcountry 2 would be OK under those circumstances?
Thanks for the quick response. The pack was miserable, but thankfully the hike was just under 4 miles, the trail was good, and the weather was cool. It was Beech Bottom to Jacks River falls in the Cohutta Wilderness north of Chatsworth GA if any of you are from around there. Everyone had a good laugh at my expense, and most gave a thanks somewhere along the way between smores for the kids and fresh apples for the hike out. I on the other hand appreciated the help getting the pack in the air. I suppose lessons learned the hard way really stick.
Aside from food which I WAY overpacked (can't let the kids get hungry), the obvious places to cut weight were the tents and bags. I'm torn over the tents, and I know that either would be a major improvement over what I used this time.
last edited: 9/06/05 3:01:56 PM”
“Did you have any cast iron in that pack?”
“No, but a little stainless steel and a tarp the size of a parking lot in case it started to rain on the little ones. 6 to 10 year olds can have a blast under a tarp turned circus tent. . .”
Cohutta and Chatsworth
“I've passed through there several times on my way to Springer.
Link to my pic from an overlook in the Cohutta”
“Nice photo alblum.
Like I said, I'm brand new, so where is Springer?”
“Springer Mountain, in Georgia...the start of the AT.
It's near Amicalola State Park, which in turn is near Dahlonega, GA.”
“Thanks for the praise, BTW!”
Do you have a limit you would like to spend on this new tent?”
“Ahh, we've all been there.
A guy who used to post here lives in Dallas, GA.
You should be able to whittle your pack weight with advice from folks here. We've all been there.
The main thing is, glad you had fun. Welcome to the board.”
How much to spend?
“Wow, the spending limit question is a tough one. I have an order with Campmor that is sitting at $620 right now for three new bags, a pack for the girlfriend, and two new tents (currently the Backcountry 2s).
I'd prefer to stay under $200 for the pair of tents, hence my reluctance to buy a pair of Backcountry 2s. One tent is for me/girlfriend, the other for my sons who are ten and just turned seven. I could buy different tents, but really don't think I'll go often without my sons. . .
I don't want to waste money. I'd much rather spend $350 for the pair with no regrets than spend $150 and realize I came up short of what we need.
Please, tell me what you had in mind.”
“Unless you have an impending trip in the next week I recommend asking lots of questions and making those purchases in a week. You'll likely come up with different purchases after that week.”
Check out these. It will cost you a little more that $200, but this is a rock solid tent. Each weigh a lot less that the Eureka too!
I am still looking.”
“The lower weight is much better on the one WK linked.”
“OK. Following your advice, here is what I have listed so far:
Kelty 50th Anniversary Womens pack (external frame) for girlfriend
3 ea NorthFace Elkhorn H.O.T. SL TrailHead series bags
2 ea Eureka Backcountry 2 tents
2ea gearlofts for above tents
MSR Miniworks EX filter
Any thoughts on that for a starting list? I'm wide open. I made some calls to Campmor and Kelty, but I am as green as they come.”
“I have head both positive and negative on the miniworks. I would look into this.
“you might consider going to a store with your girlfriend and trying on packs, throwing some weight in them and walking around the store a little. Packs all fit different based on your body type/build - kinda like boots.
Cool on gettin the kids out!”
“I second what Roam said.”
“Thanks guys. Keep the good info rolling in. Substitutions made on the filter and tents. So far the total cost has dropped a little.”
“bags: 4# 5 oz is pretty heavy. I'd avoid them until the dead of winter. I'll bet the boys slept on top of them. Consider a 20* bag. A 20* synethetic bag is probably good for 30* or maybe 35*. Try for 3#'s.
tents: WK has you on the right track. I have the Kelty Gunnison 2 that I use with my son. It's heavier than what I use alone, but I value the room.
pack: Try for 5# or less. 3# or less is much better. Also, I'd spend less money on bags and get the boys packs so that they can haul their own load. I'd probably still take a good bit of the 6 year olds stuff though. Academy Sports currently has a knockoff of the Kelty Redcloud for $100.00. I bought it for family trips. It's a Kelty pack with a different model name. I had 45# in it a few weeks back and it did fine.
cookware: You can probably cook everything on one or two MSR pocketrockets. Also, lots of folks use homemade alcohol stoves. Good project for the boys and light. Do a search on pepsi stove and you'll be amazed at the possibilites. Try to get some lightweight cook pots.
Food: This is probably what nailed you. Think simple. You want something that lets you boil water and maybe add a pack of tuna. The more complex the food is the heavier your food, stove, and cookware get. The whole thing will just snowball on the weight.
Do a search on this site with keywords like "newbie, newby, tent, stove, food, meal," and you'll get lots of the results of others asking these same questions.
Family comes down to a balance between comfort and weight. Do you value the camp experience over the hike, or vice versa? One leads to weight, one leads to comfort. The key is to find a balance.
last edited: 9/06/05 4:20:39 PM”
“Dayhiker said a lot of good stuff there Randy. Regarding the sleeping bags, how do you guys sleep? Warm or cold. Also, what will the temp be at night for your next trip? (an average will do) I sleep very warm. I have a 45 degree bag that I will use until the temp drops to 25 degrees. I would look into a 35 rating on the bag.”
“Yeah, the temp thing can be touchy. The good thing about where you are is that you can vary elevation with time of year to make the temps work out.
For example, it's still summer so you went up to Cohutta to probably get around 3500' to beat some of the heat. Say it's December and you have 35* bags and the mtns will be too cold. Just come over to the Pinhoti in Alabama and you'll be about 1500' and should be fine. Btw, the Pinhoti is a much less rugged area for trips to work the kinks out. It's a 120 mile long trail running through east Alabama. You can be at a trailhead in 2 hrs.”
“Apex! Double doors and full coverage vestibules. You won't be sorry.”
I'm meeting my girlfriend (let's call her Aime from now on since she has a name) after work to try on packs at Dick's, used to be Galyan's sporting goods.
'til I hear otherwise, I'll consider the tents a closed issue.
For bags, next trip is November, and friends tell me to plan for 15F and hope for better. Aime is cold natured, and I wanted mateable bags. I know the bags will be warm for 80% of our camping, but thought I could sleep with the bag open when it was hot. I guess a pound is a pound, and they do add up. . . Maybe warmer/heavier for Aime & I, lighter/cheaper for the kids? Aime is already talking about going back to Wyoming with me. The kids were born there and it is definitely in the oldest son's blood.
Noted on pack weight. I actually tried talking to youngest son about a real pack. His response was along the lines of "No way, you just want me to carry a bunch of that heavy stuff in your pack. My pack is just right for me!" Smart kid.
Food definitely nailed me, though as much in terms of the quantity I took as in the types. Had lots of dry mixes, some foil packed meat and some vacuum sealed cooked ground beef. The black bear seemed to particularly enjoyed the canned biscuits that my campmate kindly stored in his bag in the river instead of in the bear bag in the tree!
I can't comment much on the balance of the camp experience versus the hike. On this trip the camp was ecstacy, and the hike was agony. Did I mention that today was leg day in the gym? Standing from the desk to walk walk required a moderate grimace this morning.
Again, THANKS for all the help!”
Oldest son sleeps like a nuclear reactor, sweat, steam, the whole nine yards. Youngest likes the covers, but usually kicks them off in the night. Aime likes a goose down comforter in July. I tend to sleep with one leg thrown on top of the covers just to keep things livable.
I also like to sleep with the GI poncho liner (you know the camo nylon blanket thingy?) and thought that would do as a top cover in warm weather.
While I'm spending money I don't have, what about some sort of ground pad?
last edited: 9/06/05 4:44:12 PM”
“Ahh, Wyoming, different set of decision making altogether then.
Pocket Rocket stoves don't work well in those temps. That goes for all cannister stoves, for that matter. A northern friend will need to address that.
The food thing takes some experience.
If you've got until Nov, then you might want to try an overnighter or two to work some more kinks out before making purchases. You're going to wind up having 3x as much clothing in Wyoming and yet need to drop 20#'s or more off your pack.
You take one tent and split half the other tent between gf and oldest boy. Get each person to carry their snacks. Get gf to take her own food. Try to keep her pack at 30#'s or so, but I wouldn't push it beyon that. Spend the $10 or so on a digital scale and go crazy. It's amazing what weighing gear will do to help figure all of this out. Put your gear list, with weights on a spread sheet and figure out what your weight will be before you make the purchases. This will guid you to decdie what you think is important versus what is important.”
“I like the Big Agnes pads. VERY comfortable!! See links below.
I have the 3/4 length because I am a lightweight freak.”
“Wyoming is a next year kind of thing, and we definitely won't do the high country after September. I got in some real trouble up there on our snow machines. You can get WAY back there in a hurry, and blizzard conditions drink fuel at 5 mpg instead of 12 on the way out. When we do WY it will be in fall or spring so temps probably won't be worse than mid-winter GA.”
“BA's are good. Insulmat makes the same thing at a lower price.
My bad, I thought you meant the next trip was in Nov in Wyoming. I thought 15* sounded too warm. You must be doing a local trip in Nov then if 15* is likely.”
“Yea, November will be a 3 day local trip Fri, Sat, Sun after Thanksgiving. Haven't finalized the spot yet.
Aime called and is headed towards Dicks. I'll check back for more advice and to let you know what she liked.”
“I'd like to throw my two cents in. I bought a great pack, Osprey Atmos 50. The pack is light and has mesh against your back so it breathes a lot better. They are selling like crazy because it's a great pack. REI doesn't have large in any color last I checked, but I agree that you should try them on first. Maybe even rent one to see if you like it.”
“For cold weather you'll need a white gas stove, like the whisperlite. the rest of the year a canister stove like the pocket rocket is tough to beat.
FOr sleeping pads i use the Thermarest Prolite 3/4. Its minimalist, an inch thick and hits at the knees, but it works well and is super light and compact.
last edited: 9/06/05 6:24:55 PM”
The trip to Dick's was a good move. I was looking at external frame packs for Aime, but she much preferred the internal. She liked the Kelty bags, though I'll try to get a look at the Osprey Atmos 50 (thanks Ox). Seems like you folks prefer the 3/4 length pads. Aime will be good with that, since it'll be full length for her.
How about this bag for a cost effective, warmer weather alternative. Again, one of my requirements is a mateable bag. Anything better in this price range?
Be glad you guys don't need to pick up a water filter from a local shop. Our Dicks was sold out of everything, headed to LA.”
“I had a slumberjack bag for a while. It will be heavier than advertised as an fyi. That one is probably 4#'s in actuality. It's probably good for 30-35* and is probably a good value. It's probably fine for shorter trips where you don't mind a few more pounds. If your days get 6miles and up you'll likely start looking for a lighter bag.”
“man that BA pad is cool to bad that wasnt a 4 season pad.”
“BA and insulmat both make insulated versions that will get you down into the teens.”
““BA's are good. Insulmat makes the same thing at a lower price."
I've never seen one separate at the seam either. Very unseemly!
I saw Campmor has an Apex 3 that is huge for about $150. It's like 6 lbs some odd OZs. I may try to get the wife to buy one for our hiking trips.”
“Randy, just be aware that you have to buy the long bag with left zip to mate to that bag.”
““man that BA pad is cool to bad that wasnt a 4 season pad.”
I've used mine down to 15 degrees with no problem. A thin piece of ainsulation would probably let you go to zero. Hell, I carry a Ridge Rest in the winter anyhow.
When Backpacker did their test of the new air mattresses they took the Insulmat sledding down a screee slope four times before it failed.”
“So, although I love my Backcountry keep in mind that if it rains there is no vestivule to speak of..if you want a tent where you have to see out, as I do, buy the Backcountry 2's but, from the info you've given, I think you will be happier if you purchase the Apex tents, myself...vestibules and 2 doors with 2 people will greatly increase your comfort levels...I don't care how friendly you are, the Backcountry 2's will not work as well as a 2 door/2 vestibule tent when 2 people are using it..your kids will find it more comfortable (no fights to see who gets to sleep next to the door!) and I think the Apex a better investment for your needs...hey! it's also CHEAPER!”
“OK, stoves...although finding the fuel canisters can be a drag the Coleman Xtreme
or, in your case the Xpedition:
will work just great in the cold, without priming, and at altitude..I've used mine at -11 and it fired up, full throttle, right away..it aslo had no problems at 11,000 feet...I buy the fuel canisters a dozen at a time when I find them..I also prefer the taller, thin ones to the shorter, fat ones...the only drawback to these stoves in the availablity of fuel..I think their performance is worth the fuel hassle...that said, making a pop can stove will earn you points with your kids and save you a fortune..however, performance in cold or at altitude leaves much to be desired, IMHO...I just bought this prices little item:
in titanium ($129.00)
I hike primarily in places where wood is easily accessible so thought I'd try something different...I also have a friend who just wrote, and published a book about her experience hiking the NCT (North Country Trail), who swore that this stove was wonderful as she saved weight not having to carry fuel...”
“Make those kids hump some weight ;-)
But seriously if you want good bags for your kids look at the North Face Tigger 20* bag. Defintely a good buy for what you pay-and are reasonably small when in sack.”
Post a MessageIn order to post a response to this thread you must first be logged in. If you do not already have an account, you must first create a new account.
Ready to Buy Gear?
Great Outdoor Sites