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What does your pack weigh?

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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby BrianF » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:27 pm

Glad to hear I am not alone out there. Last fall's 7 day solo trip to the sierra I started with an old school 45lbs, without water (I agree with gdurkee about carrying water; I have a 220z bike bottle with an aquamira filter insert (removes giardia) that I can drink out of at stream crossings and occasionally carry over a pass). I too would like to pare it down but haven't been able to, although 10 years ago the same trip would have been over 50lbs. My 2-4 day summer pack is in the twenties because I use a super light sleeping bag and a bivy and pare everything down to the edge of comfort but on the longer solo fall trips the weight goes up. I am an old SAR guy so my tendency is to carry a bigger than usual first aid/repair kit and a PLB (12oz) plus I do like to have a tent for those storms (4lbs). I carry an old Gregory pack (5lbs) that has seen me thru many years and I can't yet justify replacing it to shave a couple of lbs. In early october nightime temps are often in the 20s or teens at the elevations I like so I carry a 10 degree bag (3lbs). Garcia bear can, food and fuel for 7days, pot and stove (I have shaved weight there), filter - the thing with solo trips is there is no sharing out the weight. My clothing that I carry is pretty minimal and is as lightweight as possible, I don't carry changes of clothes except one pair of wool socks, and I am usually carrying a lightweight pair of nylon pants since I almost always hike in shorts. In the fall I carry just enough warm clothes to be able to deal with an early snowfall (which I seem to experience to some degree each year) and to get myself out over a pass or two in a snowstorm if need be, again that SAR caution. I can feel the effects of age too and I am sure that when I replace the pack and if I would leave the book behind and really pared down the contingency stuff it would at least be in the thirties...we'll see this fall
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher



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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:59 pm

Allyn wrote:There are a lot of spreadsheets out there plus there is a nice little program here http://www.chrisibbeson.com/pages/GearWeightCalculator.html. This one allows you to pick and choose your equipment for each trip and you can categorize equipment as well. I used it for a trip on the JMT a couple of years ago. Became quite addictive to drop a few ounces here and there.

It's a ".exe" file, and so it's only useful to a fraction of computer users. :angry: (Well, OK, I admit it's a large fraction ;) .)

-B²
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:04 pm

I agree with George that most of us carry too much water, and that certainly includes me. However there is the trade off of the amount of time spent filtering water (if I'm near a water source I feel this is necessary) versus simply drinking out of one of my water containers. Also, while most off trail and trailed hikes will intersect abundant water, precluding the need for much more than a liter between fill ups, there are some exceptions. In 1997 on a shuttle trip that went from Sawmill to Taboose, my wife and I had a horridly late start owing to the slowness of the particular pay shuttle service we had hired. This resulted in a spectacularly late (11 am or worse) start at 4400' of whatever that trailhead was. The temps were already pushing into the 90's I'd guess. We packed a collective 5 L of water from the trailhead (4L in my pack) and the last drop was gone by the time we hit first water which is a very long way up that trail (2500 plus gain). I recall the Shepherd Pass trail can be even worse in this regard, depending on the time of year.

Now, why is my pack (say 50's on a 7 day trip with friends) on the heavy side? I do have a fairly heavy old generation internal frame pack, but I think the difference is mainly from carrying a bunch of stuff that most ultralight enthusiasts don't take with them. I always carry a tent. This is not only a shelter in event of rain, and more often from the mosquitoes (why a tarp system alone won't work for me), but it's comfy. I carry a lot of food and usually have food left over at the end of the trip. Better to have too much rather than too little. I carry extra clothing in event of cold and wet weather (rain gear and colder weather gear) given that conditions can change, get colder than expected and one can get wet. I carry fishing gear and this includes my backpack spin rod set as well as an enormous arsenal of lures (probably 100 or so) and a net. If my trip features any camps where campfires are allowed, I will have two folding grills in my tent for grilling fish. That's my preferred way of eating them. My camp stove (one of those Coleman jobbies) is a heavy beast as camp stoves go, but it has the most effective simmer setting ever built into a backpack stove, so this makes cooking meals much nicer. I carry a full-blown daypack strapped to my main pack (usually carry my Thermarest in it while in backpacking mode). This is important because I usually do a few long dayhikes from camp during a long backpack trip; long dayhikes require a big enough daypack to cram quite a few things in them. I do in fact also carry the Garcia bear cannister and find it to make a very nice camp seat.

I guess every one has their comfort level in terms of what their balance in terms of camp comforts versus pack weight is. By modern day standards, I carry quite a but, but I'm hardly Norman Clyde, nor my dad who routinely carried 65-70 lbs (had lots of photographic equipment in addition to lots of other stuff) although he only weighed 138lbs.
Last edited by giantbrookie on Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:23 pm

giantbrookie wrote:Now, why is my pack (say 50's on a 7 day trip with friends) on the heavy side?


I know now why my pack is heavy. Somehow, giantbrookie, I picked up your pack by mistake and i've been carrying it all this time.. :)

You carry kind of the same stuff i do other than the tent. My tarp strategy has worked just fine. I don't trust the weather, so i carry enough clothes and raingear to stand there and fish and be comfortable.

I don't carry the bbq grill grates. I find that if i take my trout, stuff it with lemon slices (yes, sigh, i carry the essentials), pepper and other spices and wrap them up in tinfoil and put them under the coals until i can just smell them. I think sometimes i have at least 2 lbs of fishing gear, not including the fly rod and the spinning rod.

Fishing aside, my group tries to cull the packs of redundancy (stoves, pots, filters, etc). That helps a LOT.

As for water, we all now have the bladder systems in our packs. I only put enough water (and electrolyte mix) in to get me to where i know there will be more water. If it's iffy late in the season, i'll increase my early water load just in case. Last trip, i did have to throw in extra given we knew a cold front was coming through near Tuolumne when we went through.

Russ
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:24 pm

rlown wrote:Fishing aside, my group tries to cull the packs of redundancy (stoves, pots, filters, etc). That helps a LOT.Russ

Yes this does help. My friends and I coordinate beforehand, then do a second-state cut down at the trailhead.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:07 pm

Russ,

Clearly everybody has different priorities. The best I have ever done is with offspring 1 and 2 on 8 night trip—All three of us carried 31 lbs. (partly due to fact that I left a bunch of cheese in Bend but foodwise we did fine). The principles George outlined are fine except I can’t imagine needing to carry 40 lbs anymore.

Coregear:

Pack= 3 lbs + 8 oz (I like packs with full framesheet so I don’t have to worry about anything jabbing me in the back
Sleeping Bag =2lbs.+ 8 oz. (I need an honest 20 degree bag and more room than most ultralights, WM Alpinlite works for me at 1 lb 15 oz)
PAD: 1 lb 5 oz Big agnes 72” mummy insulated air core pad (I listed this because at 2½ “ thick my arthritic shoulders can handle sleeping on the ground. It has R rating of 4.1 but seems to sleep cooler than that and you have to blow it up.
Tent: Solo trips: 11/2 -2 lbs. (Ever since I woke up with 18 mosquito bites on my arm at the age of 18 I have opted for a real tent and not a tarp (a few September trips excepted)
With spouse: 2 ½ to 4 ½ lbs.
Stove: <5 oz with 1 8oz canister (12 oz per canister) for every 4 days (2 hot meals per day including frying fish)
Cookware: 1.9 liter titanium pot (guess about 5 oz)
7.25 inch non stick frypan (for fish) & gripper handle 8 oz?
2 single wall cups (one for food and one for mocha)
MSR Microflow filter: 7 oz
Where required: bear canister: Bearicade Expedition 2lbs 5 oz
If canister not required: 2 sillite stuff sacks and 50 feet of parachute cord (always take this) 4 oz.
Silnylon Poncho about 8 oz
Large black plastic garbage bag
First aid kit (antibiotic pills and ointment, then mostly blister stuff and bandaids, and a couple of triangular bandages)
1 roll gov’t issue TP. It rolls much tighter than most commercial TP so you get more sheets and less air per roll!

Food ????

ExtraClothes: Lightweight brushed nylon trousers, lightweight long underwear bottoms, 1 pair of synthetic undershorts, 1 pair socks, lightweight silk T-neck, Wool loose knit crewneck sweater, wm flight vest, superlightweight nylon shell, lightweight balaclava, wool mittins. (best use of vest is when combined with my sweater in my clothing bag I have a great pillow)
In September I substitute 100 wt fleece top for turtleneck, and 100 wt balaclava for the lightweight one, add another pair of lightweight long underwear bottoms.

Extras

Packrod, spinning reel, extra spool and about 20lbs of lures (just kidding) fishing gear probably totals about 21/2 lbs.
2 oz 151 rum per night in plastic bottle. (Rumor has it that some people carry dry green vegetative material)
Since summer 2008: spot locator 7 1/3 oz.
Camera: Panasonic DMC TZ3 about 8 oz.
Closed cell pad from my Mountain Smith fannypack to cushion my buns when sitting on rocks.
Pair of Kroks for campshoes and creek crossings.
Book preferably something like a Dirk Pitt novel of no intrinsic social value.

Notes: I will not take tarp/poncho as only shelter. I’ve been stuck too many times with extended rainy periods. So the tent keeps sleeping gear and clothes dry. I do not ever bring food or cook inside my tent. I’ve been known to set up my poncho over the entrance of my tent and cook under the poncho.

I almost always hike in shorts and if it is raining just add poncho. I am anal about keeping a set of clothes dry (at least long underwear and t neck for inside tent and sleeping).

In the Sierra I have never found the need to carry a GPS. But George did mention one good reason to carry one: If you get fogged out. I’ve only had that happen to me once. I sat for 15 minutes and the fog cleared. I could have just use my compass, too. But sometimes a little patience is all we need.

As you can see if I was really careful I could probably cut another 5 lbs or so. But having my hot oatmeal and mocha at the same time is a comfort zone for me. I can’t imagine not fishing or eating fish, or not reading when I go to bed. 151 takes the edge off after a hard day, and to me a small ¼ inch closed cell pad for my buns is about as much luxury as I can handle in the backcountry.

Marksor said it best though,

Buy the best gear,
Take what pleases you,
Hike safe.
Eat well,
It weighs what it weighs -
Nobody is asking you to carry it.

Cheers

mike
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:26 pm

Does anyone actually jump on a scale with their pack to see what it really weighs? Scares me sometimes when i do, and i look for something else to leave back. I can't believe that my one canister of white gas makes up the difference between what i think stuff weighs and what actually happens. We spread the gas over the team where we can.

I spread my "stuff" over the dining table the week before i go, and stare at it (painful).. :paranoid: and then try and cull what i think is over the top. Still 52lbs every trip when i pack it up and jump on the scale.

OldRanger had a great list. that Food?? thing was a little dicey, but i suspect i need to eat more trout. We only plan to eat them if we do harm.

Russ
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby homeranch » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:04 pm

I usually go out for a week or two week trip with a small fanny pack with some snacks and a bicycle water bottle. Ok, so I cheat, the llamas carry everything, but, that is something to think about if as with me, your bones are getting creaky.

Ray Jardine has a lot of ideas on ultra light back packing, his website is a good place to start. http://www.rayjardine.com/

My wife would like to hike the PCT for her 50th birthday year, we are beginning the planning for that although it is some years away. We have found that eating good and sleeping comfortable are the keys to a good trip, that and staying dry. I think, although there are certainly many exceptions, that the younger you are, the more extreme ultra light will work for you.

I do like my chair, book and cocktail.


I used to guide the Sierra High Route, using High and Light techniques, a 6 day cross country ski trip with packs no more than 28 lbs. It worked, the food sucked.
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby gary c. » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:20 pm

We have found that eating good and sleeping comfortable are the keys to a good trip, that and staying dry. I think, although there are certainly many exceptions, that the younger you are, the more extreme ultra light will work for you.

homeranch,
I'm with you on that one :nod: Last year at Red's Meadow a solo guy doing the PCT came out of the store and opened his resupply box to fill his pack. All that he had was 2 gallon size ziplocks, one with gorp and the other had rice. he also had a sandwich baggie with what looked like some spices and tea bags. There may have been more but I didn't see it if there was. It was no surprise to see him eating an icecream and a bag of Doritos at the same time.
Gary C.
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-- Lionel Terray
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:22 pm

rlown wrote:Does anyone actually jump on a scale with their pack to see what it really weighs? Scares me sometimes when i do, and i look for something else to leave back. I can't believe that my one canister of white gas makes up the difference between what i think stuff weighs and what actually happens. We spread the gas over the team where we can.
I spread my "stuff" over the dining table the week before i go, and stare at it (painful).. :paranoid: and then try and cull what i think is over the top. Still 52lbs every trip when i pack it up and jump on the scale.
OldRanger had a great list. that Food?? thing was a little dicey, but i suspect i need to eat more trout. We only plan to eat them if we do harm.
Russ

Very seldom have I actually jumped on a scale. I've only done this when it was clear that I had a really epic pack and I was curious. Otherwise, I'm not too concerned, so I don't bother. Between my friends and I or my wife and I we try to eliminate any redundancy, but so as long as I can lift the thing onto my back I'm not concerned. If it ever gets to the point where I'm the slowest person holding up the group, then I will get serious about pruning weight (or dumping it on folks that are faster than me), but I've nearly always been the fastest one of the group, so whatever I carry has no impact on the overall progress of the group (ie measured by the progress of the slowest individual).

More fish in the diet to save weight on food? I eat a ton of fish on my trips, because I love the flavor (better than any backpacking meal I can think of; even at sea level fresh-caught trout is no. 1 among my kids too) and because it's some high octane nutrition. However, I would advise strongly against counting on fishing success and reducing the dinner and lunch food in anticipation of catching fish. I learned this lesson the hard way. On a trip to climb Mt Rodgers I caught and released innumerable fish en route to the campsite, but proceeded to strike out where we camped the first night. On the second day, knowing we had an issue with lack of dinner food, we shifted the campsite to a place where I had released lots of fish the day before. I struck out again in the clutch. We ended up exhausting our breakfast food (oatmeal) for dinner (not a crumb of anything left in our packs). On the trail out the next morning (hiking the last few miles to the car), I pounded Gem Lake and caught brookies up to 14" that served as a belated brunch for two very hungry backpackers. After that trip in 1987 my group has always carried enough dinner food so that we can eat well even if the waters pitch a total shut out every dinner time. Does this result in left over food at the end of the trip? Of course it does. But, as I said earlier in this thread, I'd rather be left with a surplus than be going hungry up there. For those of you who followed my accounts of the death marches of 2007 (Blackchuck) and 2008 (Tunechuck), it's pretty obvious there was a whole mess of food left over at the end of those trips as a result of the enormous amount of trout consumed (collectively we still had close to half of our dinner food at the end of the trip, for example, and a healthy surplus in the other categories, too).
Last edited by giantbrookie on Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:25 pm

Russ,

I'm not convinced that eating fish saves weight if you can't cook them over a campfire. The ??? for food is that I never weigh it separately and this summer I'm going to try out some of the food ideas others have shared on this forum to cut down on both weight and volume. I probably should cut out a couple of z-rays but gb has gotten me addicted to them. I figure that I have cut 3 lbs from pack, 11/2 lbs from sleeping bag, 1 lb from pad, and 3lbs from tent over what I used to carry solo--there is 81/2 lbs right there. I've cut way back on the weight of my clothes, too.

You can do it. But only if it matters to you.

mike

Yes I jump on the scale. Gotta figure how much stuff to dump on my wife or kids!
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Re: What does your pack weigh?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:33 pm

oldranger wrote:I'm not convinced that eating fish saves weight if you can't cook them over a campfire.


You're right.. we never plan on eating fish, and we carry a full compliment of meals; hence we come out with extra food. actually more comforting to have extra. Given that most areas we all go to do not allow fires, that requires fuel and a pan.

Russ
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