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Help me reduce pack weight

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Help me reduce pack weight

Postby sambieni » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:50 am

New to this forum, but really digging it. I am getting back into backpacking after number years off (babies, laziness, life, etc). And taking look at my pack, realized much my gear was heavier than current trends. In a few test overnight car camps, my 8 year old REI tent crapped out. I asked for a repair and they just told me to return it! So I upgraded my REI 3 person quarter dome with a new BA Copper Creek UL 2. Here list of my upgrades:

BA Copper Creek UL 2 replaces 8 yr old REI Quarter Dome. Shaves ~3 pounds!
Jet Boil Minimo to replace 20 year old MSR Whisperlite and my GSI 2 man pots/pan system
OR Helium HD to replace Mtn Hardwear Kepler shell shaving ~18 ounces
Therm-A-Rest Nano Air to replace REI Trekker shaving ~27-28 ounces
Katadyn Hiker Pro filter replaces 20 year old First Need filter and shavs ~5-6 ounces
Patagonia R1 Fleece and Patagonia Piton Fleece: Going to test them both a bit. Likely will return R1 since has zero wind protection and my new OR shell lacks as well, might need a bit more protection then.
Bear Vault 500: Got my canister for my new west coast living.... 2.5 pounds of necessary dead weight.
Patagonia Capilene - got new capilene midweight layer, but may return since realizing warmer than I desired; will get just a baselayer for night time
Mountain Hardwear Wicked T-Shirt

I am attaching my full gear list for my pack. Trying to figure out where I can cut out some weight. 30 pounds total including on my back. 20 is my pack baseweight before food/water and closer to 23-24 if not sharing any load. Hoping I can get that 23-24 down, but really struggling figure out how.
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Re: Tents, tents, oh, what tent?

Postby markskor » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:58 pm

Since you asked...Respectfully, if it were my gear...talking Sierra summers
Lose one/two pair of pants - you have four...
- 11 oz fleece, and/or
- 14 oz rain pants
- 5.5 oz for a nalgene what?...lighter (1 oz) water bottles are available.
14 oz of camp shoes...could shave a few oz there...imitation crocs or?
- 6 oz of car keys?
Waterproof gloves...summer? fingerless wool?
both Tent lantern and a headlamp...- 3 oz.
sorry, $$ but eventually a lighter bear can? Bearikade? - 8oz
Don't see your kitchen (stove/fuel/spork), pad, sleeping bag, tent, backpack weights listed anywhere - Big 5...(under 10 lbs?)
BTW, like the Komperdell's but not so hot on any Antishock feature.
Also, where's the fishing gear? Heathen!
BTW Welcome!
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Re: Tents, tents, oh, what tent?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:22 pm

Your post was broken off the OP's thread and new one started, so that you are not piggybacking on the OP's thread Sambieni. :)
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby sambieni » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:49 pm

(thx for the split, sorry Maverick for the piggyback :thumbsup: ) Uploading the new list to avoid the cutoff of kitchen stuff, etc.

and first -THANK YOU for even taking a detailed look. I REALLY appreciate it. Any help appreciated - totally new to the Sierras.

Car Keys - 6 oz is overkill. I did not weigh that and was just a plug number. Lets say 1-2 ounces. Those FOBs are heavy!
Camp Shoes - My chacos. I love them. But they add up. Still, not sure I can leave 'em behind and I really don't want to spend more money. So this might be ounces I suffer with once the boots come off

I did not realize I had so many pants. My intent was:
-Baselayer Long Underwear (listeD)
-Trekking pants (listed)
-Fleece pants for night wear around camp, etc
-Rain pants

I think you're right on the fleece. Been thinking I likely will ditch it and just trust capilene baselayer does the trick at night around camp/in sleeping bag.

Lantern is a small LED for tent time. Not gonna take it when solo, just when with my buddy on 6-day trek.
Gloves - I need to revisit these specs. I have light ones somewhere, just gotta find 'em.

Items not in this list, but to add - small moleskin journal, small pocket camera, swiss army knife, and pack of moleskin/tape (my potential lifeline if ankles decide to crap out).

Why don't you like anti shock poles? My Komperdells have served me well, but don't collapse small enough like newer models.
And fishing pole... well....
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:27 pm

Depending on your route, carrying a full bottle of water may be overkill. With a filter, you can pump/squeeze at every rest stop. I have rarely had to carry more than half a quart of water. I usually pass plenty of streams. I have a 3 oz. Sawyer squeeze.

I am trying to wean myself away from camp shoes. Unless I know I have to cross lots of streams, I do not take camp shoes. My hiking shoes are really quite comfortable and if I take a paper-thin liner sock to wear in camp, my feet have room to spread out and toes to wiggle. I am definitely getting more comfortable about this. I hardly miss the camp shoes any more.

I have a Bearikade. It is worth every bit of the $$$. I also have an Ursack. Unless the bear can is absolutely REQUIRED, I use the Ursack. I research this before going out. If you ask the ranger, they will always say it is required, even if it is not.

Often I do not take rain pants. Depends on the length of the trip, location and the weather report. My hiking pants dry REALLY fast. I have long johns to stay warm in at night, and they always stay dry. You may also want to look for some lighter weight rain pants.

As for food, I have my requirement now dialed in to 1.25 pounds per day, 2400 calories. That requires a pretty high fat (good fat- lots of nuts and olive oil) diet. But since I do not eat this way every day of my life, I think it is OK, health-wise for the short term. I could go lighter if I used freeze-dried food, but it does not agree with my digestive system. I feel if I get back to my car with any food left, I have taken too much. Walking out the last day without food does not bother me anymore. I am also getting more comfortable with counting on catching fish. I take 1 pound per day when I fish. All my fishing stuff weighs 11 oz. I can fit 9 days food in my Bearikade Weekender. That said, I am a small person, so obviously big guys would have to take more. The point is do not take too much and take compact, calorie-dense food.

I could to lighter, but I am satisfied now with my compromise between wants and needs and what I am willing to carry. Some things I am not willing to sacrifice - I always take my 5-degree down bag (but then have an 8-oz pad), and a 3 lb pack. A pack is something that you choose for comfort, not worth shaving off ounces if it is not comfortable. And camera and fishing gear. That is why I go out, so would not think of leaving that behind. And there are many very light-weight things that make life more comfortable- a less than 1 oz. disposable towel, my 1 oz I-pod for music, dry foaming face wipes to clean up with, an extra 2-oz kerchief, one small square of dark chocolate each night, mosquito head net, an 18-inch square blue closed foam sit pad. None of those are a necessity, but worth the weight, to me.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby sheperd80 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:21 am

My first thought is clothing. This all depends heavily on the season, area, expected conditions and length of trip. But all i take for summer trips in the sierra is..

Worn: trekking pants, tshirt, sometimes lw fleece, socks and shoes
Carried: rain shell, running shorts, baselayer top, extra socks, beanie

With this simple system ive been comfortable in various conditions. I can layer if it gets cold, change if i get wet, and sleep clean and dry. For added warmth and redundancy u could bring baselayer leggings and a down jacket.

Id start there before spending any money. Just my take YMMV

Also, try https://lighterpack.com/

Its a great way to look at your gear list and weight distribution.

EDIT to point out that the link above is populated with my current hypothetical summer list and not intended as advice on what anyone should take. I shared the link so OP can use that website for his own list if he wants.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
Last edited by sheperd80 on Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:44 am

You did not say how old your son is, but when I backpacked with my kids, I would error on the cautious side with respect to clothing, both for them and myself. As an experienced backpacker I could tolerate being a bit cold or confined to the tent when weather was poor, but I wanted my kids to have a very positive experience, even if that meant I had to carry more weight. Insulating clothing not used when hiking are used when getting into camp, particularly as the shadows hit. If you are willing to get into the tent and sleeping bag early or if you hike enough hours each day that all you WANT to do when you stop is eat dinner and hop into bed, then you can do with less. This was never my style when I took my kids.

I am a big fan of down sweaters. For the weight of a down sweater the benefit is tremendous and allows me to enjoy evenings and getting up in the morning is much more comfortable. The higher the altitude, the more dramatically it cools off once the sun goes down. I have picked up two very nice down jackets (6-7 oz) for less than $50 at Target and Macy's, on sale. They are not as good or light as my $120 Montbell down sweater, but I use these for shorter trips and save the Montbell for longer trips. The down sweaters/jackets are more windproof than fleece so also double as a wind shirt.

Another very light item that is worth its weight in gold is a fleece balaclava. It only weighs 2 oz and I wear it on colder nights- makes a huge difference because it keeps drafts from my neck. Also great on cold mornings.

I would not count on always having a sunny next day to dry out if you got caught in a storm. Of course, the more days you are out, the less you can tell about conditions. An overnight at lower to moderate altitudes, with a fantastic weather report is different from a high altitude longer trip. There is no "gear list" that covers every trip.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby edhyatt » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:27 pm

It can be a bit 'the Kings new Clothes' when discussions turn to gear

I hike a lot...am pretty much a gear obsessive and don't like carrying stuff. But I run hot when hiking (you may not). I don't like camping, I 'bivvy' (you might not). I walk all day (you might not....) and that list just grows.

Whatever you are comfortable with is my motto; often people recommend the stuff they take - and that is fair-enough. We all make our choices.

A list close to what I took last year for the Sierra is here: make of it what you will :)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mz72e7udx47pc4e/GearList_HST.xlsx?dl=0

I am off to Southern California early next week to do some PCT sections - there I am at about 4kg (9lb) carried weight - a nonsense though as I have to carry the same weight in water on a routine basis...and need food too.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby Tom_H » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:35 pm

I did most of my Sierra packing in Desolation and Emigrant/Hoover where bear canisters are not required. I use very light cord and one micro-biner for tandem suspension. If you know the correct technique, you will never get entangled. This saves a lot of weight.

Others are correct about the pant layers. The Sierra requires far less layering than the Rockies. At Whitney elevations, however, you need more than you do on the PTC between Tahoe and Sonora Pass.

WD is correct about the water-as far as this year. In a drought year, however, it is advisable always to carry sufficient water between reliable sources.

What pack do you have? I didn't see specs on it. You can get a new 40 liter Osprey that is 34 oz. You can find Cuben fiber packs that size at 1 lb. from super-ultralight mom and pop manufacturers.

In late summer in the Sierra, it rarely rains and the skeeters are gone, so I take only a 10' x 12' (2 person) Cuben fiber rain tarp that weighs 6 oz., cord included. Most nights I don't even unfold it, preferring to stargaze at the clear high altitude sky. You need to know the myriad ways to pitch a fly and how to tie a modified half-hitch.

In the old days, my 3-season bag weighed 4 lb. Today I use a water resistant down bag that is 16 oz.

Every pound on your feet in boots is equal to 5 lb. on your back in terms of expended energy. If you are going to be on soft trail, you can go with very light boots. If you'll be on blasted granite, you need a steel shank. Nevertheless, my modern boots weigh 2lb in contrast to the 6 lb Reichle boots I used 40 years ago. Four less lb. on the feet is equivalent to 20 less lb on the back.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby sambieni » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:27 pm

Thanks guys. Yes, its totally a personal preference decision in the end, plus check against the ole bank account. But this is very helpful - trying to understand ways you would shave on weight where I may not have thought about it.

My pack is ArcTeryx Altra 65. Very comfy. A bit heavier than I would like and can squeak given its suspension system, but uber comfy. This is one item I told myself I would not be upgrading this year.

I've done a bear hang before for Glacier NP, but seems canisters used many of the areas I am looking to go. :(

Good to know on the water. Dehydrating is huge fear of mine -always. I was gonna just use the 3 liter bladder. Was going to bring and just trek w an empty Nalgene for camp use, but maybe will just leave behind.

Big question - rain covers. Ditch it, right? I don't have it in my pack now. Figure may line sleep bag w trash bag and call it a day.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby longri » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:14 pm

If you don't need it and don't want it don't carry it. But if you have to ask us if you need something then you may not be ready to remove it from your pack. There are many items (like a pack cover) that I select based on a variety of factors; it isn't always the same choice. And that's me, not you.

You really need to base your decisions on experience -- your experience.

I mean, I could pack your pack for you... but you wouldn't like it.
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Re: Help me reduce pack weight

Postby Hobbes » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:38 pm

edhyatt wrote:I don't like carrying stuff. I run hot when hiking. I don't like camping, I 'bivvy'. I walk all day.


Jeez, did someone log-in as me? :D

I've been MYOG for a couple of years, and each off-season I think about ways to further streamline my approach. I saw a photo - like this one - of Scott Williamson (he set the initial PCT FKT) a few years back and noted his lack of hip belt:

Image

Last fall, I got some 140 Dyneema with the intention of making my own super-minimalist pack sans hip belt. I've already made a few packs, including the one below from a few years back, but they've all had conventional hip belts & sternum straps. This one was made out of silnylon, and while really light, I was always patching it at the stress points.

(You can see my two water bottles up front - I use two so that I can treat one with bleach while the other is ready to go. I also like moving some weight forward to eliminate "drag ass". Water being the obvious choice due to weight/density + being available to "dip & drink" on the fly. Also, I always take two rods: fly for fun, spinner to catch fish in deep lakes when it's windy.)

Image

Image

Anyway, while I was mulling over my design ideas, it appeared that there was an social media underground movement among really fast thru-hikers, including "Handy Andy" who set the JMT FKT in 2014, to ditch the hip belt. The logic is simple: you don't need a hip belt if your weight is really low. By eliminating the hip belt, you're literally forced to take only the barest essential(s).

Here's a shot of Andy's pack design - you can see he's got his water bottle up front. While I certainly don't consider mine anywhere near original, I have a pretty good self-made stable rig that I use on my packs that lots of passing hikers have seen. (Also, the strap around his hip is not a belt, but a hip pocket that is filled with food so that he can eat without needing to stop.)

Image

Now, it should be noted, that a pack of this nature is essentially good for only 3-4 day outings. It seems like that's the evolving PCT style anyway, which is to hike all day long for 3-4-5 days, then re-supply, gorge (and party).

BTW. for those who are interested, here's his account of the JMT FKT:

http://www.palantepacks.com/blog/pct
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