Hike Prep: Backpacking the Pemi-Loop

As a part of my 1-week vacation in New Hampshire, I’ll be backpacking the Pemi Loop with the “other” Dan from Berks-Lehigh Hiking and Backpacking. This is often done by the more hardcore day hikers and trail runners as a one-day event. Even though I’m capable of doing the mileage (~32), this is a lot more elevation gain than my Pennsylvanian body is used to.  That being said, we will be hiking this as a 3-day/2-night backpacking trip.

Our route is comprised of several different trails and circumnavigates the western half of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and travels over the summits of nine of the New Hampshire 4000-footers (Mts. Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, West Bond, Bond, and Bondcliff). Depending on how much progress we make each day and how tired we are, we may add the summits of Galehead, North Twin, and/or Zealand.

There are several camping options along the way including tent sites, shelters, “stealth” camping, and huts. My partner and I are going to err on the side of caution and stay at the AMC operated tent sites and shelters. We are both hammock-ers, so it shouldn’t be an issue if the tent platforms are all full when we arrive. Camping in these areas may be a bit crowded, but using established campsites like this lessens the overall impact of campers on the forest.


Hammock Tarp Modification

In an attempt to save a bit of weight, I made a few minor modifications to my MLD UL Hammock Tarp. I swapped out all the guy lines with some leftover ZPacks 1.25mm Z-Line. This cord is much thinner and lighter than the manufacturer-supplied guy lines, but it’s still pretty strong (rated over 200lbs). I will probably upgrade to the 1.5mm version at some point (for a little extra strength), but the 1.25mm was all I had on hand. The tarp came with a piece of elastic cord, which I will continue to use for one of the guy out points. I think it adds a bit of shock absorption and seems to somehow quiet down the spinnaker fabric of the tarp.

Since I am using thinner line, the attached LineLoc 3’s are now pretty much useless. I cut off 3 of them to save an amazing 0.1 ounces! I left the fourth LineLoc 3 in place for use with the elastic cord.  These two slight modifications saved me 1.8 ounces. It may not sound like a lot, but the old UL cliché is true: EVERY OUNCE COUNTS!


My layering system will be my pretty standard 3-season set-up, but I’ll be adding my The North Face Verto Jacket. This jacket weighs in at a measly 3.5 ounces and is well worth the weight. It has a full zipper and hood, and it does a great job as a wind barrier. Above tree-line, the wind can take your body heat away pretty quickly, but a thin barrier, such as the Verto jacket, can go a long way towards keeping you warm. I’ll also be carrying a rain jacket and down jacket. My hiking clothes will be running tights, athletic shorts, a long-sleeved Capilene 2 Crew top, and a sun visor. My shoes, as usual, will be La Sportiva Wildcat trail runners.

Kitchen and Food

My gear list for this hike may look eerily similar to the one from my John P. Saylor Trail hike in April. There will, however, be one key difference: I won’t be carrying any cooking gear on the Pemi Loop. Going “No Cook” will allow me to save about 8 ounces in gear and fuel.

I’ve been focusing on packing very calorie dense foods, so that I can keep my body fueled and my pack as light as possible. My current menu contains 6480 calories and weighs in at 46.9oz. That gives me a caloric density of 138.2 calories per ounce.  Since this is a 3-day hike, I am budgeting the largest amount of calories for the second day (approximately 3500). On days 1 and 3, I’ll be able to eat something in civilization before starting/after finishing my hike, so I won’t need to carry as much food for those days.  My food list can be seen by visiting my COMPLETE GEAR LIST.

UPDATE 6/5/14: I corrected a cut/paste error on my gear list. I had 3 different water containers listed, but I only actually use 2.




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