I was just wondering if anyone has taken a look at one of their old packs and performed a little "light" surgery on it to drop some weight? One of my packs is a Gregory Shasta that is an absolute load monster but awfully heavy at about 6 lbs.
I was looking at it and realized that I could trim down all the straps to the lengths that I use (taking into account winter clothing etc.), cut off the 15 labels, shorten the long zipper pulls, cut off excess interior fabric, and I could get rid of useless weight. I took the pack apart and conservatively drilled out the very strong aluminum stays, and have even drilled out the very thick plastic reinforcements that are in the hipbelt. The pack is still incredibly strong and I doubt that I compromised the strength to any significant amount.
I no longer even carry the heavy loads that I used to but this still makes for a great winter pack, long trips with no resupply, or if I start climbing again.
I would be surprised if I haven't knocked off a pound in weight. I could even knock off more by cutting off the nalgene bottle holster (never use), cutting out the bladder pocket and the sleeping bag divider. The way the pack is sewn makes it very easy to trim fabric as all the seams are sewn with a fabric tape for reinforcement and to prevent unraveling.
I recently ordered a scale and wished I could have gotten this thing weighed for a before and after but I was bored and sick with nothing else to do.
That's pretty much how I got started. I started with 4-5 pound external frame packs and ended up with a 1 lb frame pack that did everything the originals did.
My sequence went something like this.
Cut pieces off aluminum frame Cut pieces off nylon bag replaced all buckles and webs with lighter ones replaced frame with homemade aluminum frame replaced bag with homemade bag replaced frame with homemade carbon fiber frame went to lighter homemade bag (1.9 ounce nylon) replaced waist belt with lighter homemade belt changed design of pack refined, refined, refined etc.
I've been fiddling with pack designs for about 10 years now. I'm sure I've tried hundreds of different combinations. I enjoy the process.
Before my first AT hike in 2007, I refurbished my very old Kelty pack.
In the process, I decided what things I could remove and what things I could alter. I have since donated the pack to the Scouts as I have moved on to more modern packs.
I eventually got the 3,000 cu.in. near antique down to just a little over 3 lbs. I had shaved off almost a pound. I removed the top extension bar and replaced it with a loop of nylon webbing to have a "handle" to easily lift it.
I considered cutting the partition between the lower and upper compartments, but I liked the way I could put all my kitchen stuff into that compartment, so I left that. I cut off excess strap lengths. The new belt and shoulder straps were a little lighter than the old.
I guessed that there were too many aluminum tubes running across the back and singled out one to remove - and it worked out well. You may or may not be so lucky.
You could probably cut off more weight with a new bag of lighter weight material (and a waterproof bag cover of silnylon) which uses velcro instead of zippers for the side pockets and add lightweight stretchy back pockets for carrying things like wet tents/tarps/groundcloths....