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#120324 - 09/04/09 08:00 PM Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear?
Echterling Offline

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
I'm looking for a cheap but accurate scale to weigh gear. I tried using a fishing scale that I could hang things from, but it proved very inaccurate. I'd like to be able to weigh larger items like sleeping bags, packs, etc.

My blog

#120325 - 09/04/09 08:07 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Echterling]
Trailrunner Offline

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles

Use the tare feature and a basket for bulky items. Capacity is five pounds but this is a lightweight site so no single item in your pack should weigh that much.
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

#120341 - 09/05/09 01:20 AM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Trailrunner]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I have a little scale made by Nexxtech. I ordered it online and picked it up at my local Circuit City, I think. Costs maybe $15 and it will weigh up to 3 kilos (105 oz). Works great. The pad is fairly tiny, but you can weigh bigger things by using a piece of cardboard as a plate on it and it can be set to account for that to net out the weight of whatever you have on it.

Edited by TomD (09/05/09 01:21 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#120344 - 09/05/09 04:26 AM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Echterling]
kevonionia Offline

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
I stole my wife's weightwatcher's scale a year ago and it still hasn't been missed. Closest thing I found to it online is at Target for the Salter or the Taylor, but you got to remember you get what you pay for and for $30 (and free shipping), you may get one of those Chinese lemons that just don't work.

I've used my obsconded one for a year now without any problem. Use a plate or piece of cardboard and the "tare" feature to reset to zero to get an accurate weight of the gear or food.

Still have a feeling someday I'll move up a notch and get a semi-pro one, so think about it: pay now or pay later. Pay now and you'll be poorer, but probably happier sooner longer. For 10 bucks more trailrunner's Pelouze scale sure seems to be a better-built scale.
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)

#120352 - 09/05/09 10:41 AM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Trailrunner]
BrianLe Offline

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I have this very same scale (that Trailrunner gave a link to) ... Pelouze brand model SP5, 5 pound capacity, weighs in either oz or grams. I like the option to weigh in grams; I keep my gear spreadsheet in grams (28.x grams per oz) as it's a more accurate number, and occasionally gear weights online are given in grams/kg. Just separate (narrow) spreadsheet columns in parallel to also show oz. and pounds.

If I were buying a scale again I'd search for one with a 10 pound rather than 5 pound max capacity. It's almost never an issue, but once in a while I wish I could weigh more at once. The most common reason is to weigh a full food bag, but it's not that hard to sort of decompose it into a couple of chunks. Also for weighing larger subsystems as a whole; even that's normally not a problem given that we're all trying to keep relatively light and minimal gear.

The only other thing I occasionally wish for would be a "stay on" switch. This unit automatically shuts off to save battery power after a limited time. Mostly that's fine, but occasionally I wish I could just force it to stay on until I want it to go off. The particular time I wish for this is when I'm measuring out food --- for example, I want to put 10 oz of gorp into a ziplock bag, I pour some gorp in, check the weight, iterate until done. I can generally do that without it turning off on me, but any significant delay and it's start over.

Oh, and I also wish I could get it to default to grams; I always have to push one extra button to switch to grams after turning it on.

All of these are pretty trivial complaints, just FYI for anyone searching for what they might deem the ideal gram-weenie scale!

Edited by BrianLe (09/05/09 10:42 AM)
Brian Lewis

#120354 - 09/05/09 12:41 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Echterling]
MattnID Offline

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
You could always go hit the local grocery store. You just might have to be a little quick about it or do only a few items at a time, lol.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

#120369 - 09/05/09 05:44 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: MattnID]
Echterling Offline

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
Thanks for the ideas everyone. The grocery store idea definitely wins in terms of cheap. . .

Thanks again.
My blog

#123176 - 10/30/09 05:37 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Echterling]
Kent W Offline

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I live only a block from my local post office. There scale is acurate to a tenth ounce. They are more than happy to weigh things for me. I tend to ask in the afternoon when they are not as busy sorting mail.

#123179 - 10/30/09 06:02 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Kent W]
sabre11004 Offline

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
This may seem pretty primitive but I use two different scales. For larger items I use a simple bath scale. (the difference between me on the scale holding the item and not holding it.)For the smaller stuff I have a triple beam scale that's accurate down to a tenth of a gram.They both together seem to do the job that I need them to do. Then after the pack is totally packed, I do the bath scale thing to get a total weight ...sabre11004... thanks

P.S..I think that for winter I am going to forgo weighing stuff. It just gets me depressed
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

#123182 - 10/30/09 06:19 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: Kent W]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6430
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I also have the Pelouze scale referred to by Trailrunner and BrianLe. It was about $25 on sale, but that was almost 5 years ago. Watch for sales at places like Office Depot or similar "big box" office supply stores. Any brand scale that has similar functions (there are quite a few out there) is fine. While the "tare" function is handy, with a little simple arithmetic you can get along without it. An accurate scale is also very useful for postage (saves standing in line at the PO to mail Christmas gifts), cooking from European recipes and for dieting. It's nice for food portions (backpacking or at home)--for example, for my snacks I measure out about 300 calories worth of nuts using the gram option. I agree with Brian that the quick "power-saving" shutoff can sometimes be a pain! On the other hand, I'm still on the original battery.

I have a quite accurate Taylor bathroom scale (at least it agrees with the doctor's office balance beam scale) that weighs to a tenth of a pound. Not good for individual items, but great for weighing the entire pack!

I've had a few times recently when the total pack weight was a couple of pounds less than the spreadsheet total. This resulted in a big panic--unpacking and going through the list once more to see if I forgot something! The problem turned out to be the food. I was using a daily average of ten days' supply to estimate the food on the spreadsheet. The basis for the average was a trip when I took quite a bit more food than I could eat. I've since learned to trust my checkoff on the printed-out spreadsheet--I just go through it to see if I missed a line.

The hanging grocery store scales in produce departments, I've found, are very inaccurate. The accurate (hopefully!) ones are in the checkout line and wired to the computer that now fills the function of the cash register. I doubt that the store will let you use those. I suspect that a small post office during non-busy times might be a better bet. I'm sure you can find a used scale somewhere--just check its accuracy before relying on it.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#123417 - 11/05/09 08:47 PM Re: Cheap and accurate scale for weighing gear? [Re: OregonMouse]
idahosteve Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 62
Loc: Idaho
On any day you can get a totally digital scale that will weigh either 35, 50,or 75 lbs in as little as .1oz increments on Ebay for .99 with $16 priority shipping... I just bought one, and its awesome. They are available continually by a "store" called Pounds and ounces I think.
I dare you to move, like today never happened...


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