How big a rucksack? Can we handle it?

Malte8900

Posted: Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 11:12

Hey.
Me and my brother are planning to hike the gr20 this summer probably in late June. We will bring our own tent and perhaps also food for some of the days depending on how much room we will have in our rucksacks after everything has been packed.

I have been locking at a specific rucksack: an "Osprey" 70l rucksack:

(dead link removed by moderator)

I am wondering if this rucksack is too big to carry with you and if I should choose a smaller rucksack with less capacity? also if anyone have experience with this particular rucksack I would like to know? :)

Me and my brother are not experienced hikers but we are both physically in very good shape. My brother has experience in the military but we have only done some mediocre hiking before. I think we are both pretty strong-minded and very much dedicated to complete the full gr20. I am 21 years old and my brother is 24. We have been to Corsica three times before and I have dreamt about completing the gr20 since I first came there many years ago. So I would like to hear other peoples opinion. Is it a very bad a idea for us to take on the gr20 with no real previous mountain experience besides some fairly easy hiking on Corsica and in Norway among other few places? As previously said we are both in very good shape and very determined to do this.

Kind regards
Malte from Denmark :)



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 13:16

Gaffr
Hello,
We have used an Osprey Variant 62 rucksack, maybe this has been replaced nowadays?, but not when we went to the GR20....we had slightly larger sacks! The Osprey is a fine rucksack and has the convenience of the extra pocket/storage areas.
The important thing when travelling over the GR20 is to keep the weight in the sack down. For example carry only food for, say, three days. Three days at the start will take you to a wee shop at the camping/refuge/hostel place at Haut Ascu. Additionally there is usually food available, for the camper, at most of the refuges. '
To be honest if you get through the first three days, the toughest since you start from almost sea level, of the route and have no 'wear and tear' injuries you should be getting stronger and the rest of the journey is pure joy.
The important thing is to get out and about carrying the weight in you rucksack that you will taking with you on the journey. Not quite so easy in Denmark perhaps? whereas here in Scotland we have hundreds of hills and rough country that we can make at journeys over the week-ends!
Preparation is very important.
You say that you have been in Corsica in the past so you must have done some walking in the hills? There is a great deal of rough country to be found on the island.

--

Gaffr



Malte8900

Posted: Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 15:13

Hei Gaffr.
Thank you for the quick reply. It was very helpful. Think I want to go with this rucksack then.

And yes I am also planning to do some long walks with full equipment before I go. And your right Denmark is indeed not the best place to prepare for a hike but we do have some small steep hills and forests although it is nothing compared to Scotland :) We are planning to buy as much lightweight gear as possible within a reasonable price of cause and keep the weight as low as possible.
I am also running and working out several times a week to keep in shape and hopefully get fit to complete the gr20.

And yes I have been on holiday on Corsica three times before and done some hiking near Porto, Bavella, and in the Bonifatu Forrest one time to refuge Carrozu. Nothing too hard since I have been travelling with my parents who are not in the best physical shape. Usually we always like to go hiking when we go on holiday but like I said my parents are not that fit and we also did a lot of the hiking when I was younger and at that time I really wasn't old enough to do such serious walks. But now I have the opportunity to go with my brother and I am extremely dedicated to complete the whole gr20 north to south. So hopefully that dream will come true this summer :) Thank you again for the reply.

Malte



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Feb 3, 2013, 10:01

Gaffr
I see that you have had a 'sniff' at the GR route by making your way up the fine track to Carozzu refuge which is at the end of the second stage of the GR20. Did you do the Bavella towers route as well? If so that is a fine ending to the penultimate day of the journey coming from the North. On our third visit to Corse we camped at Bonifatu having walked over from Calenzana. We made journeys over the track to Carozzu and the one going up to the first refuge at Orto di u Piobbu before continueing along the Mare e Monti route to Cargese.
The track from Calenzana to the first refuge starts lower and is steeper that the one going up from Bonifatu and of course the heavy rucksack....right at the start of the walk. Prepare well.

Good travelling.

--

Gaffr



Malte8900

Posted: Sun, Feb 3, 2013, 12:25

yes we did get a little sniff at the gr20 walking up to refuge Carozzu all thought I am aware that the real gr20 route coming from Orto di u Piobbu is way harder and at a much higher altitude. But it was a very nice walk yes and it made me want to go further from Carozzu and explore the gr20.

We didn't do the Bavella towers route no all thought I wanted to really bad. But I was with my dad and he was a bit scared of the description in the guidebook saying that the route was truly alpine and only for experienced hikers. Perhaps a bit of an overstatement since it was a tourist guide and not a walking guide? But we walked on the opposite southern side of Col de Bavella following the gr20 trail to Paliri a little bit of the way. This was a very easy walk but still very nice. We also did some hiking when we stayed in Porto near Cargese along the trail to Capo Rosso. And also the hike through the Spelunca valley to Evisa. Also two very nice walks but not that hard.

But I have another question regarding equipment.
What kind of hiking boots would you recommend when walking the gr20? Is it most important that they are very light or would you recommend a heavier boot with a stronger sole? Read some where that it was very important to have a hiking boot with a very strong sole since it would be very worn along the trail. But me personally I prefer to walk in a bit lighter boot but of cause it has to be able to handle all the hardship. Have been looking at a particular boot:

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Sorry it is in Danish but perhaps you know the brand or have an opinion about the weight and such?
Thank you :)
Malte.



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Feb 3, 2013, 18:51

Gaffr
Hello Malte,
So you will have the pleasure of the so-called alpine variant when you approach Bavella on your journey.
The area around Paliri refuge is beautiful, we had our final camp there, but just around the corner heading South is the magnificent l' Anima Damnata...one of Corsica's true gems! The Spelunca gorge is one of the stages we travelled over on the Mare e Monti route. I think that I would say you have dipped a few toes into Corsica's many fine places. Many of the stages on the half dozen other randonnee routes on the island do lend themselves to day-trips...well that is if you have a motor.
For boots I used the Scarpa SL, my second pair now, for all of the routes visited in Corsica....my wife uses a gore-tex topped Meindl boot. We find at our age, both in 70's, that the extra support is useful, especially when carrying a full rucksack, although we each carry a pair of the Keen trainers for changing into.
Hope this is helpful.

--

Gaffr



dinny

Posted: Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 18:51

Hey Malte,
I'm very envious of your planned GR20 hike! I did it in two stages over two years, but would love to go back and walk the whole thing in one trip some day. I wore walking SHOES rather than boots. They have Vibram soles - reliably good grip, which is the main thing. I think if you can keep your pack-weight low by taking lightweight gear, then you'll be ok without ankle support. For example, being in the mountains (biting insects aren't flying around at night) you could just take the outer layer of your tent, and leave the inner tent at home - a thin sheet of plastic would be fine for a ground sheet (the sort used for 'emergency blankets', or for protecting furniture when decorating a house.)
Have fun!
Dinny



Malte8900

Posted: Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 20:41

Yes hopefully I will make it that long :) Corsica is definitely an amazing place for hiking. Thanks for the replys. it was very helpful. I will probably be posting more questions about the gr20 later on as the preparation progresses.
Kind regards.



Malte8900

Posted: Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 20:44

Thank you for the advise dinny :) I will definitely take this in consideration. But how big a rucksack did you bring on the gr20? Do you agree that a 70l rucksack isn't to big? Or did you go with a smaller?



dinny

Posted: Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 23:27

Hey Malte,

My backpack is around 40 litres, I think - it's one I made myself from Ray Jardine's Adventure Page website, and only weighs about 250g. My total pack weight before food and water was less than 4.5kg for each trip, although I took all my own food (mostly homemade dehydrated), which increased the weight to an uncomfortable level. (I threw some food away, and went hungry instead!) When my pack was heaviest, it certainly became harder to find good balance on the scrambling sections.

I must add that I'm maybe twice your age, and probably not as fit - I found some sections very hard due to the steep ascents and descents, but enjoyed the trek enormously.

One piece of valuable advice I was given by a Belgium woman on the Northern section was to start taking COLD showers before you go, so that you are prepared for the showers at the refuges!!! :-)

Dinny



Joanna

Posted: Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 6:59

Hi, I thought I'd drop a penny here as well :-) Looks like the forum's season is on again:-)
Shoes: it really depends on how stable your ankles are. I've seen people doing the GR in low shoes with wibram sole, and having no problems with it. But as long as you yourself say you're not an experienced hiker, I would not recommend using them on the GR. Most people wear leather hiking boots, and those should be enough for most. However, with my unstable ankles, I ended up with a badly twisted one the first time I did the GR. So the second time I used the Trango S Evo (http://www.oslosportslager.no/produkt/la-sportiva-trango-s-evo-gtx-toppt...). Those of course are too stiff and too heavy for the trip, but they gave me the safety of holding my ankles in "braces" so I was really happy with those. But unless you have the same "stability" problem, you don't need those, leather boots should be your best bet.
As for backpack, I had a 65 ladies model, but even with water and a week's worth of city clothes on top of the hiking ones, it was not full. Fully packed, with water, it was about 15-16 kg. My husband, who carried the tent, had a slightly bigger pack, 75l would be my bet (the tent itself is under 2 kg).



dinny

Posted: Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 8:06

Joanna,
You're quite right - I'd forgotten to say that I'm used to hiking rough ground in walking shoes without ankle support. By doing this as much as possible (wearing the shoes all the time, and walking on uneven rather than flat surfaces) before a 'big adventure', the ankle can (usually) become strong enough not to need a higher boot. To my mind, walking is so much less tiring when the ankle can flex properly, and the shoe is much lighter, so less effort is required to take each step at the end of a long, hard day!
Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 9:40

Just to throw my 2 cents in ...
Actually the ankle makes millions of micro adjustments every second at every step to keep your balance and footing right. So I strongly believe that ankle support (i.e. higher boots) is important not to tire your feet in the long run. But, of course, your mileage may vary ...

--Michele



gilesc

Posted: Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 1:34

50L would be about right - for more info see the kit list:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiN5jbIs7tQ6dEtQdE1kaUJld1d...



Joanna

Posted: Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 10:06

One question is how big a backpack you'd need for THIS trip, another how many backpacks you want to invest in. If you plan to continue hiking AFTER gr20, I'd buy a bigger pack, 70-90 l (for a man that is). You might not fill it up on gr20, but next time you go hiking you might need all the space there is. So if you buy just one, buy a big one just in case.



Malte8900

Posted: Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 16:28

What I meant was actually not whether to go with shoes or boots. I am definitely going to wear boots and not shoes. My question was whether to pick a more lightweight boot instead of a heavier boot with a bit harder sole and more stability. Guess this is very different from person to person and perhaps a difficult question to answer? I have been looking at this particular boot which suited me very well:

http://www.friluftsland.dk/dk/shoparticle/scarpa-khumbu/shop/catalog/pro...

My concern is whether this boot is to light and not sturdy enough for the gr20? I know its probably a difficult question to answer :-)

I just bought a 60l osprey rucksack instead of the 70l rucksack I talked about before so I hope this will suit fine.

Malte.



Joanna

Posted: Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 19:34

Hi, as long as your ankle is "normally" stable, those would definately be ok. GR20 is mostly trekking, with some scrambling here and there, so as long as you have an ankle support, as those boots seem to have, most boots will do.



Malte8900

Posted: Sun, Feb 10, 2013, 20:21

Okay, seems like they will fit fine then :-)
thank you.



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Mon, Feb 11, 2013, 16:47

Malte

Firstly, I'm glad to see some forum traffic popping up now we're getting into the planning season.

I'm heading back this year to finish off the GR20 so I thought I'd better keep an eye on what's happening. Interestingly, I'm travelling with my brother as well!

I would favour a boot with quite a stiff sole for the same reasons as already described. As the ground is very rocky and uneven, it helps to have a stable platfurm under your feet. More rigid boots would probably be a bit heavier but you won't feel the weight on your feet nearly as much as you will in your pack. Take better boots and chuck out all the extra kit but do take Flip Flops for the evenings.

Alan

--

Alan



Malte8900

Posted: Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 17:09

Thanks for the advice Alan :-) It seems like many of the boots I have been looking at with very stiff soles have been with gore tex and I think that is too hot when walking on Corsica in summertime? Also the boots I tried with very stiff soles didn't seem to fit me very well. One particular boot that fitted me very well was this Scarpa boot:
http://www.friluftsland.dk/dk/shoparticle/scarpa-khumbu/shop/catalog/pro...

Don't know if this is too light and not sturdy enough for the gr20. Know its difficult to say when you haven't seem them in real life but perhaps you know them? :-)



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 19:18

Malte,

those boots seem just fine. However, I'd pick a version with a rubber bumper around the base to protect from rocks and stones. Something like this: http://www.aku.it/it/scheda/famiglia/23/281/cresta_weg_gtx.html

--Michele



Joanna

Posted: Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 21:00

Any ankle-high boot with a good sole will be ok. Goretex boots will not be too "hot". I'm however not too keen on goretex boots as in my experience the membrane os not so durable. I prefer leather boots myself. The boots with very hard sole are normally most suitable for high mountains (think crampons). For long-distance hiking you want one with a sturdy but more flexible sole. To give you an idea, looking at scarpa, i'd deem all boots featured under trekking here would be sufficient for corsica: http://it.scarpa.net/prodotti/trekking/

On the other hand, you do not want anything like those here unless you're going to climb something like Mont Blanc: http://it.scarpa.net/prodotti/tech-mountain/
The truth is I myself use boots like those, as I've explained in a previous post, but there is no reason anyone else should follow my example!



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 13:33

Malte

I should have said a stiff sole but not a rigid one. If you can bend the boots right over, they're not robust enough. All the ones suggested look good. They look very good. Maybe I need some new boots too....

Alan

--

Alan



Malte8900

Posted: Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 13:45

unfortunately you cant get this boots with a rubber bumper all around the base. Is this essential you think?
Just found another pair of boots:

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/hanwag-yukon-hiking-boots-nubuck-for-me...

Think these will be too heavy? :-)



Malte8900

Posted: Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 15:00

I don't think you can get this scarpa boots with rubber bumper all around the base. Is this essential you think?
Just found this boots too:
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/hanwag-yukon-hiking-boots-nubuck-for-me...

Think these will be too heavy? :-)



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 18:00

I think those you linked look just fine to me. What I called rubber bumper is technically called "360-degree textured rubber rand" and even if it's not vital, I personally believe it helps a lot to protect the boot from the rocky/stoney terrain.

--Michele



Joanna

Posted: Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 20:11

Malte, the rubber "bumper" is not essential, as long as the boots are sturdy enough. The ones you want have the rubber in front, as far as i can see, and that's probably enough. I wore down more boots then i can possibly remember, but at least the three most recent pairs did not have the "bumper". The ones I had on my first gr20 did not even have the rubber "tip" but the leather was tough enouth to withstand all the stones and rocks.

Please remember that any boots you'd buy will need breaking in. Ideally while walking in a mountain terrain, but being Danish that might be a problem... Remember to pack a lot of band-aids, and something to clean the open blisters!

Btw, judging from your questions, you really seem to be quite an unexperienced hiker. Are you sure you're up to what is supposed to be "Europe's toughest trek"? It's not technical, but still you might find it a lot tougher, hotter, and less romantic then you probably think it is... If i was you, i'd start my hiking career with something easier...



Malte8900

Posted: Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 9:13

okay, thanks Michele :-)

Joanna, yes I know I have a lot of questions and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. You're right I am not an experienced hiker, I dont know a lot about all the equipment and what to choose. That is why I start my preparation early so I can learn a lot before the walk.
I have only done mediocre day hikes before so you're right the gr20 is probably going to be very tough. But hopefully not TOO tough and I will complete it. I have great respect for the walk and know that it demands caution and preparation. That being said I have always been used to pushing myself physically and mentally and I am preparing as much as I can by reading and working out several times a weak. Maybe I will make it and maybe I wont. But I want to give it a shot and I really believe I can make it since the route isn't technical and I am young, very fit and determined to do this. I guess there is only one way to find out :-)



idzerve

Posted: Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 9:31

Hej Malte,

I have trekked GR20 with exactly the same model - Osprey70 and can only say the best about that pack. As we were on budget, we had dehydrated meal for all the way with us + lightweight tents. It made the pack about 12 kg + water in the beginning of trip, later of course it was lighter. But it should not be a problem at all for you as you are describing your fitness level.

For boots, the main think is to have good Vibram sole to have good grip. Personally I dont see ankle support as benefit, rather opposite and did both sections in Adidas boots, which were kind a middle height.



Malte8900

Posted: Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 10:22

I actually just bought the 60l model and so far I have only heard good things about this brand.
How many kilos of food did you bring then? I guess you only have to bring for the first three days since you can refill at Haut Asco?

But hope you're right definitely I am trying to be as prepared as possible so I hopefully will complete the full hike :-)

I definitely want good ankle support though but know this is also a matter of personal taste and experience.

Malte



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 8:25

Malte

I just checked my photo's to see which boots I took. The brand is Brasher, which is probably only available here in the UK. They weigh 1450g so are a bit lighter than the ones you're looking at.

This is the nearest model available now: http://www.fieldandtrek.com/brasher-hillmaster-gtx-mens-walking-boots-18...

Alan

--

Alan



Malte8900

Posted: Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 13:30

Yes Alan I think you're right you can't get them in Denmark but thanks for the advice :-)

Malte.



Stenning45

Posted: Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 22:26

Take a Gosamer Gear Gorilla or the G4 for very light weight. Even with a tent, pad, sleeping bag, clothing and some food you don't need much more than the Gorilla.