Going lighter: this is the year!

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freestone
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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by freestone » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:18 am

If you do it in "slow degrees" you basically never get there and will always have items that drive up the pack weight. Start with the big 3, make the plunge.


Fram...






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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by neil d » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:46 pm

Yes, there is friction between 'progress by degrees' and 'taking the plunge'! While I have never retrospectively regretted spending money on gear, it does pain me to shell out $$$ all at once. Hence my approach: a couple of big purchases this year (backpack and pad), and then see what I feel like I need next season.

Dang, just remembered I need boots this year...I had a top-shelf pair of Zamberlains that finally met their maker...I think I will backtrack to an old favorite, the Merrell Moabs with Goretex layer.

I am hopeful that my newfound attention in 'counting every ounce' (via scale and spreadsheet) will really allow me to focus on 1) choosing the lightest available options from the gear closet, and especially 2) going without and leaving more stuff behind.

Clothes are another issue altogether...like Harlen, I don't care to splash out on high-end gear until absolutely necessary. I have a favorite mid-weight merino wool LS shirt and soft shell that are perfect for the Sierra, but both are becoming threadbare and are rather heavy. My latest go-to is a $20 down sweater from Costco and a cheap Patagonia rain shell over it...very packable, very warm!

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by bobby49 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:04 pm

I've been at this ultralightweight stuff for a very long time, since about 1982, so I've learned a few things. I think of the entire gear lightening process like a big downward spiral. You start with a high total gear weight, and you are shooting for a lower weight. Then I think of time as circular motion. So, as I make one glide downward over time, it puts me into position to consider another glide downward. All of that is stabilized now after these many years. Now as I get one year older, I attempt to lighten up my total weight by one pound per year.

Incidentally, back then at the beginning, I was going out for three days at a time in the high country of Yosemite, and my total pack weight including food and water was 14.5 pounds. Of course, that was back in the days before bear canisters.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:15 pm

neild- be careful with Merrell. I have used Merrell shoes for the last five years, and in the last year or so they have definitely gone downhill in quality. On many models they have replaced Vibrum soles with their generic "merrell" soles. The quality of stitching was poor on the last pair I bought. I am going to try something different this year, in spite of the fact that the Merrell's really fit me well.

One advantage of the step-wise method, is that when new, innovative and better stuff comes out you have the flexibility to buy it. If I sunk $1000 in buying everything today, I would be very reluctant to buy anything else new for many years. My budget and my upbringing of never wasting anything makes me someone who does not buy new until the old wears out. And gradually reducing the weight is fine with me.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by JWreno » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:14 am

Of course don't bring what you don't use. We took the approach of buying 1 or 2 things a year that where better and lighter than we were using. I haven't had to replace much recently other than tents that wore out after 10+ years and hiking shoes almost every year.

I would consider map/compass essentials. I only use GPS (now just GAIA on phone) when I am going to spend considerable time off trail.

3 night trip should be easy to keep it under 30 pounds without doing an extreme makeover.

Do one a year

replace 7 pound pack with 3 pound version
replace filter with Steripen
optimize your clothing.
lighter tent
get a quality 2 pound sleeping bag
consider a lighter sleeping pad
Bearikade weekender if you need a canister
Jeff

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by neil d » Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:21 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:15 pm
neild- be careful with Merrell. I have used Merrell shoes for the last five years, and in the last year or so they have definitely gone downhill in quality. On many models they have replaced Vibrum soles with their generic "merrell" soles. The quality of stitching was poor on the last pair I bought. I am going to try something different this year, in spite of the fact that the Merrell's really fit me well.
Boo to this! I was hoping to get back to Merrells specifically for the fit, as they also fit my feet very well. I will inspect closely. Maybe I'll be 'that guy', and take advantage of the REI return policy if they are not up to snuff after a few trips.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by wsp_scott » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:44 pm

As far as clothes go, I don't think you need to spend lots of money, just don't take too many things with you. In other words, be happy wearing the same stuff for the whole trip. I have hiking clothes and sleeping clothes and no spares except for socks. By the end of a week, my hiking shirt will stand up by itself, but I don't really care.

If you only bring a small amount of clothes, then you don't end up with too much weight. If you bring lots of extras, you end up with lots of weight.

TL;DR Clothes are like food, don't bring too much just in case.
My trip reports: backpackandbeer.blogspot.com

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:09 pm

I don't carry any changes of clothing, either. If my shirt gets too dirty, I will wait until mid-day when the sun is out, and I will dunk the shirt and swish it a couple of times in a mountain stream. Then I carry it pinned to the back of my pack. If it is a proper backpacking shirt, it will be dry enough to wear in about 30 minutes to an hour. If you wait too late in the day to rinse the shirt, it may not dry before sunset. Then there is the possibility of it freezing, and that becomes a problem in the morning.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:44 pm

I wear a light cotton t-shirt under my long sleeve nylon hiking shirt. I simply like the feel of cotton. I buy the $2.99 very thin (3 oz) shirts from Walmart; luckily these paper thin shirts are very popular with teen girls nowadays. These are almost "throw away". They do not last for more than one season. The t-shirt gets washed every day; thus the hiking shirt stays relatively less smelly. I leave clothes out at night on most summer nights in the Sierra; hang the shirt under a tree so it does not get dewy. I have even dried washed wool socks overnight. This does not work as well in the Rockies where afternoon and night rain is more common. The key to getting clothes to dry is to REALLY wring them out. I do not use soap. Drying in sunshine seems to get most the smell out.

I also look for quick drying hiking pants because I have a tendency to fall into streams a lot. They dry out amazingly fast too. I want my hiking pants to be sturdy too, so no cheap ones- I will splurge on these. Both my hiking shirt and pants are "bugs-off" (insect repellant woven into the material). Not cheap but I swear by them.

I am small, so big guys clothes will weigh a bit more; but mine clothing weights:

Bugs off Orvis hiking shirt- 7 oz
t-shirt- 3oz
hiking pants- Craghoppers, 6.5 oz
light weight Smartwool long johns- 7 oz
Smartwool socks, 3 pr, 2.2 oz each pair
Lands End 100-wt fleece zip turtleneck- 6.1 oz
Ibex light wool undershirt- 4.8 oz
Montbelle down sweater- 4.4 oz
REI kids rainpants (often do not take these)- 6.2 oz
Montbelle rainjacket (actually wear it also as an insulating layer and wind layer) -13.3 oz
baseball hat-2.5 oz
fleece gloves (most often do not take these in the Sierra) -2.2 oz
cheap Walmart garden gloves (I need these to keep my hands from getting worn by trekking poles) - 1.3 oz
fleece hat- (or balaclava shoulder seasons) - 2.2 oz
no-seam under pants- 1.5 oz
knee high MSR Rocky Mountain gaiters- 5.3 oz -- yes heavy but this is my odd-ball habit left over from my days in the Rocky Mountains

As you can see, some stuff is pricy, but a lot not. The down sweater was $120 - I also have cheaper ones from Target ($50) but they weigh 8 oz. I use those on short trips where weight is not a bit issue. I love Montbell , Smartwool and Ibex- all mid-higher cost. But I get most stuff on sale.

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Re: Going lighter: this is the year!

Post by Satchel Buddah » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:54 am

Start with a book! I read "Ultralight Backpackin' Tips: 153 Amazing & Inexpensive Tips for Extremely Lightweight Camping" and it changed the way I pack completely. While this book could take you to the bleeding edge of UL, I chose the things that worked for me - I am still comfortable and not ultra. This took me to a dry weight for one comfortable and safe week of hiking to 15.5 pounds / 7 kg, including bear can and camp shoes, , without water, food, fuel.
Step one is to procure a kitchen scale, and weight absolutely everything that will go in your pack. Enter everything in an excel sheet and work from there before putting anything in your pack - it will be illuminating. It completely changed the way I pack.

https://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backp ... cking+book

Here are some of my favorite items - I spent several years testing/collecting gear, a few of these are pricy which may make a steep total all at one time, but you can go one item at a time over time, or start with the best bang for the buck. My kit is mostly UL for the big bits, with compromise for comfort.

pack: ZPacks arc haul 62l 850g - Other slightly heavier options but very excellent and cheaper, ULA circuit, Gossamer gear Mariposa

tent: ZPacks duplex tent, stakes, 773g, pitch with hiking sticks. expensive but very spacious and airy, plenty of room for 2+, palatial for solo.

sleeping bag: Enlightened equipment revelation quilt, 20F 569g + liners (don't want to wash my quilt often) 130 to 261 grams. This is excellent and cheap when you compare to traditional bags, and very very light.

Pad: neorest xlite. 4 slices of a cut Zlite pad for sitting and lounging at camp. Tried to convert to a Zlite pad because indestructible and cheap and lighter, but could not stomach the comfort downgrade.

Water: I made my own "gravity bag" setup with a 3l platy for input, and a sawyer inline filter which I found has much better flow/more reliable than the classic sawyer squeeze filters. I use it to fill a 1l smart water plastic bottle fixed on my harness, so I always know how much water I have. The whole kit is 278 grams - not the lightest in town but reliable. I carry chlorine pills as backup, and in winter/freezing weather I switch from the filter setup to a steripen/nalgene.

cooking: I am an esbit convert, and I use a caldera cone fitted to my pot (900 ml deep pot, enough for 2 if needed). I absolutely love it, been using it for years and can recommend it to anyone, it is an extremely efficient and lightweight system. The base aluminum cone costs 30 bucks, cheap UL goodness. I switched last year to the fancier titanium version which weights even less, fits inside the pot and allows me to use wood fire where legal and safe. One of the upsides of esbit is you know exactly how much fuel you need to pack per day (about 35g for me), and you reduce waste/increase sustainability karma by not using canisters. If you are camping in freezing temps you might have to sleep with the cube you intend to use in the morning, can be hard to light up when frozen solid. It works at all elevations. Cooking kit with stove, pot and lighter: 245 grams.
https://www.traildesigns.com

A word about the Ursack, it's not a panacea - Still heavy and bulky for what it is, awkward shape, not legal in the sierra. Bearikade carbon fiber bear canisters are pricy but peace of mind is priceless. If you can get the rest of your weight down, the weight of the bear can is a small sacrifice.

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