Going lighter: this is the year!

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c9h13no3
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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:27 am

I'll add one other thing about lightening up: do more day hiking on backpacking trips. Dropping camp ~5-10 miles in and then day hiking to new places allows you to move really fast with very little weight. You don't have to necessarily shed weight, just shed miles hiking with it.

Daisy is right as usual that it's a process, always tweaking & finding what's the best balance between lightweight and comfortable. And each trip varies, based on how many miles you want to do, and how long you'll spend camping vs. hiking. I'm kinda a miser, and I haven't spent a ton on gear. But just by selecting gear with weight in mind, you can usually get down pretty light.


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newossab
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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by newossab » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:44 am

neil d wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 pm
- My current pack is an Osprey Atmos 65, about 9 years old...seems heavy, probably weights 7 lbs. I'm looking for something at least half that weight, either conventional or cottage suppliers. Any suggestions?
I have a ULA Circuit. It is light and comfort from my experience, also it is significantly lighter than the Atmos. Advertised as 41 oz, but you can remove some things to go lighter. It will comfortable carry up 30 lbs from personally experience.
neil d wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 pm
Chemical water treatment vs filter. I fell in love with my Platy 2L gravity system, but it is bulky and heavy. Anybody switched to chemical treatment, like Aqua Mira or plain bleach?
I use a Sawyer Squeeze water filter with 2 1L smart water bottles (threads are the same). One is a clean and dirty. Leave all the extra attachments at home. Never had an issue but water capacity is environmentally dependent.
neil d wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 pm
Solid fuel instead of liquid fuel stove. I typically do one or two dehydrated meals, but am not infatuated with them. Instant soup in the evening is nice, and gotta have instant coffee in the morning. That is the extent of my hot water and cooking needs. I want to experiment with Esbit and natural fuels (where permitted). Anybody made that switch?
I do the whole no cook thing. Easy to find dry foods that have a good nutrient to weight ratio. I also need caffeine (headaches if I don't) in the morning so I take enough caffeine pills that equal a cup of coffee per morning.
neil d wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:12 pm
Generic Krocs for camp shoes.
No camp shoes? That saves a pound or more.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by limpingcrab » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:30 pm

Haven't read the previous posts, so sorry if this is a repeat.

-I have the REI flash lightweight backpack, have had it for probably 10 years, and love it. The most comfortable pack I've worn and it's really well thought out.

-Also have the REI flash sleeping pad, the new ones with the square baffles are good for side sleepers (like myself)

-Biggest help is not carrying water!!! I carry water on the trail maybe once a year for a short stretch if it's obvious I'll be going uphill in the sun with no water for a few hours. Chug a lot where water is available (easy with a steripen without even stopping or taking the pack off) and then leave the bottle empty until the next source. It's physiologically more efficient to feast-and-famine drink as well.

-Forget the camp shoes. I usually tell people that if they need camp shoes then they're wearing the wrong size hiking shoes. Just untie the laces for some room and take out the insoles around camp if your foot needs a change of pace.

-I love my steripen, just don't get the rechargable one, the regular ones are much more reliable. For chemical treatment I've never minded the taste of iodine so I use those tabs if I want to save more weight.

-Going no-cook helps but it sounds like you want some hot water on occasion.

-Don't bring any clothes that you won't be sleeping in or wear during the coldest time of day/night. Maybe an extra pair of socks and underwear at the most. Basically if you don't have ALL of your clothes on at least once on the trip it's likely you brought too much.

-Keep a list of what you bring, even a simple word doc, and update it after every trip by deleting things you didn't use. You can include the weight for each item if you want to get serious.

Obviously everyone has their own preferences, but the above are the basics of what works for me.

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neil d
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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by neil d » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:48 pm

Awesome stuff! The internet ate my detailed reply, but I will rehash the high points...

- I should have mentioned that I finally did pick up a scale and am in the process of weighing out my gear, and keeping a detailed spreadsheet. I am really taking to heart the idea of optimizing what I bring, and bringing less.

- I went out and weighed my pack...Osprey Aether 70 (not Atmos 65 as stated)...5lbs/2oz...feels heavier to me.

- My tent is a Tarptent Double Rainbow...2lbs/14oz with pole and stakes. Love the tent, probably will not splurge on a lighter tent for some time.

So by my count, that gets my pack/shelter/sleeping system to 11.5 lbs. For about $400-$500, I could shave about 3.5 lbs with a new pack and pad. Need to decide if that is a good allocation of funds...although I have never needed a 70L backpack, would be nice to save that weight and bulk.

Food is a place where I've made progress, but still need to focus. I rarely come home with more food than an extra bar, but still tend to carry dense foods like salame and cheese. I crave salty/savory when I am out and about. Peanut M&Ms have been a revelation to me, as a handful of them will generally keep me satisfied from late morning until dinner. Perfect balance of fat/salt/protein for me.

For my upcoming Lost Coast trip, I think I will try taking WD's approach and come up with a target caloric load for each day, and pack each day's food individually. I think that will keep me focused on bringing the appropriate amount.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by markskor » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:41 pm

All good advice -
As never wanted to be, or professed to be UL, and don't use spreadsheets.
Many trips last 10+ days and now usually hike to fish...like me some comfort too.
Just keep your big 5 - (backpack, sleeping bag, tent/shelter, kitchen, and bearcan) as close to 10 - 11 pounds and the rest will take care of itself.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:12 pm

I may have mislead on the bear can; the BLM section of the Lost Coast requires a bear can; as of a few years ago, the southern section did not. In that case you can save some pounds. However, I ran into a lot of wildlife on that southern section, including bears. So they are out there, regardless of bear can requirements. In fact, if you have small binoculars you will really enjoy watching the wildlife. Wildflowers are also quite wonderful.

Lost Coast is always wet, even when no rain you will have lots of dew and perhaps fog. When I did it in April the temperatures never changed much between night and day- always 60F give or take 5 degrees. It is usually windy so you need wind protection. First trip all I managed to do was get everything wet. Next time, a few years later, I used the "wet clothes- dry clothes" method and it worked much better. I wore a very light wool layer under my rain pants and rain jacket, which acted like a wet suit. I wrung out the hiking stuff and put it in a plastic bag at night. I had a set of 100-wt fleece tops and bottoms for camp. Just put on the wet stuff before taking off next day. One day it was warm enough that I only wore the rain clothes! Your clothing goal on the Lost Coast is to stay warm, not necessarily dry. There are nettles and ticks, so I had no desire to wear shorts. I did not take sunscreen or sunglasses. Even when sun shines it is not glaring, like in the high Sierra. Even though you are on a trail, it is good to have a map or GPS. The trail is quite overgrown early season. You are always rubbing up against vegetation so I used my old leaky rain gear. I did not want to ruin my good expensive rain gear. Your pack will get soaked too, so use a large compactor bag inside to keep stuff dry. Even if you are lucky and get sunshine, you will walk through hip-high wet vegetation. I did not take camp shoes, because all shoes get wet regardless.

Hot chocolate was warming and yummy once in camp. Don't skimp on warm drinks and soup. I would not have liked to go cookless. Hot food was an essential as far as I was concerned. Oh yes, trekking poles are very useful.

There a number of hardy locals who walk up and down the Lost Coast, with very low-tech gear. Getting wet is a normal for them; they know how to build fires from wet wood. A small tarp is all they use, some with no sleeping bags at all, just their cozy big friendly dogs, big all night fire and getting stoned. One couple, who were marijuana growers offered me some! Very "alternative"!

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by neil d » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:26 pm

WD, thanks for your very informative notes on the Lost Coast. Of course all that dampness makes sense, given the location. I will share that knowledge with our group, that we should be prepared to be wet, and endeavor to stay warm.

We did the northern section in late March a few years back and had just stellar weather, with no fog at all. AMAZING wildflowers on the bluffs. I'm really looking forward to completing the southern section and spending some time in the redwoods.

I think your 'wet clothes/dry clothes' idea sounds very smart and comfortable. Also a good note on the binoculars, I will budget space for my 8 x 25 compact Nikons.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by neil d » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:27 pm

Also...I have never work Crocs, but I thought they were the lightest camp shoe going? Sounds like some folks here classify them as heavy. i would go flip-flops, but I like having toe protection for camp and creek crossing shoes. I have very nice Keen sandals, but since I am trying to go lighter...

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by balzaccom » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:48 pm

Your pack is heavy. We use some Go-lites that cost us $75 on sale and weigh under two pounds. Heck, we found an old external frame pack at a thrift shop that works fine and weighs under three pounds. You don't need to spend a fortune to leave at least two pounds of your current weight at home.

But the other thing I would note is that you have a 70L pack. that's big enough to carry a lot of stuff. And I bet you fill it up. Get a 50L pack and make do. You'll be amazed at how your weight goes down simply because you don't have room for all that stuff you normally bring. Most hikers take as much stuff as their pack will hold.
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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:12 pm

I wrote a trip report on my 2015 Lost Coast hike. It is on page 11 of the "Beyond the Sierra" section. It has more details on what to expect.

That trip was 5 1/2 days, and I carried a bear can all the way because I had no way to delete it half way through. Everything I took including everything worn weighed 32.5 pounds. Starting pack weight was 26 pounds, including 7 pounds of food That is not counting water, because I hardly ever carry more than half a quart of water. I treat the water I pick up along the way. I did not take camp shoes, although I do admit I wished I had them a few times. My sleeping bag was a 10-degree bag (3 pounds with stuff sack). Definitely over-kill but it is all I have.

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