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#90632 - 02/18/08 07:54 PM Truly Impressed
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
I have been backpacking in the mountain- and southwest since the early 70's. I have decently light gear in general and don't like to take any more than I absolutely need to be out and about. I recently started consulting this forum.

My main objective was to get educated on what gear is now out their and how the folks that use it, rate it. Primarily I wanted to get a new pack that would work for the 3 to 5-day trip.

I have benefited greatly from the information and excellent tips folks here. One thing in particular I thought I would never try was the spreadsheet all my stuff. But a virus kept me in for two weeks and I got bored. What an eye opener on selecting which of my various options I will go to next. This was especially true when I weighed my various clothing options

What staggers me is the light weights that people discuss. Like I say, I have reasonably light gear (base weight for the big three as I've seen it described less than 9 pounds) but I can't figure how to get much below the 35 to 40 pound starting range per trips such as GCNP and the four corners area.

I suspect mostly it is my water carrying requirement. I don't feel safe from exposing myself to potential dehydration leaving without at least a gallon on board. This is even if I plan to get to water by evening.

I have bailed out too many who haven't carried enough H2O or had them get sick on my trips. If I am dry camping a night or two along the way. or even an out and back dry weekend dry camp it really jacks up the pack weight capacity requirements and limits my pack purchase options.

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#90633 - 02/18/08 08:03 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2860
Loc: Portland, OR
We backpackers live by the sweat of our brows. When we stop sweating and its from dehydration, that's no good. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

The people who post here hike in every part of the USA and Canada, plus some other places in the world for good measure. What works in British Columbia won't always work in Arizona, or in Tennesee, or Georgia.

If water is the difference between your safety and your keeling over somewhere in the desert, then choose safety. The more you know about your hiking area, personal style and what can go wrong, the more you can refine your load.

But don't take our word as gospel. You know your needs better than we do. Happy hiking! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#90634 - 02/18/08 08:54 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
Desert hiking is a completely different animal. My starting weight for a mountain hike of, say, six nights is around 25-26 pounds (base weight 13 lbs., water weight each morning 3-4 lbs., food at start 8 lbs., fuel at start 3/4 lb.) My starting weight for an out-and-back desert hike of one night is around 31-33 pounds (same base weight, 4 lbs. of food, less fuel, but a whopping 14-16 lbs. of water). I couldn't imagine doing a multi-day hike in the desert unless I was either sure of a water source or could somehow cache water.

When hiking in the mountains and camping near a water source, I don't stop and think about all the water I use re-hydrating food, washing, brushing my teeth, etc. When I'm in the desert I use water only for drinking. I actually find it more weight-efficient to bring hydrated foods such as pouch tuna or fresh vegetables so I don't waste water re-hydrating dried stuff. And if I bring the dog, she carries her own water.
_________________________
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

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#90635 - 02/18/08 08:58 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:

What staggers me is the light weights that people discuss. Like I say, I have reasonably light gear (base weight for the big three as I've seen it described less than 9 pounds) but I can't figure how to get much below the 35 to 40 pound starting range per trips such as GCNP and the four corners area.


Some people here are much lighter than me - I'm relatively light, About 20-23 pounds for
a 5 night outing. depending on how warm it is. My typical gear list for 3 season work
is linked in my profile, click my name. However, bear in mind this is for hiking in alberta
and british columbia, during the typical hiking season. This means, it's not winter,
and there is relatively plentiful water.

Quote:

I suspect mostly it is my water carrying requirement. I don't feel safe from exposing myself to potential dehydration leaving without at least a gallon on board. This is even if I plan to get to water by evening.

I have bailed out too many who haven't carried enough H2O or had them get sick on my trips. If I am dry camping a night or two along the way. or even an out and back dry weekend dry camp it really jacks up the pack weight capacity requirements and limits my pack purchase options.


My weight that I'm telling you there includes about a litre of water - which is what I normally
carry. Now me, I carry a 4 litre capacity bag - and I *can* fill it up if I need to. I have on occasion put a couple litres in if I know I'm going where I won't have a fill up for a while.

On the other hand, my little pot and water treatment sits in the top of my pack. I typically will
stop for a rest near a water source. When I drop my pack. at the least, out comes the pot, and the aquamira. I will then usually suck back a pot worth if it's hot out, and maybe top up
the bladder. So remember, probably over the course of a long day hiking, I'm stopping 2 or 3 times and sucking back about a half to 3/4 litre of water, and topping up the water bag. Basically, it's easier to carry it in me, than on my back.

Now understand as well, I don't camp in a dry camp, I'm always camping where there is water (or snow <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> ) If you're actually in a desert environment, all bets are off. You better have a lot of water with you.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#90636 - 02/19/08 01:14 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
BOBEFORD, best way to find your answer is to use the SEARCH function for pack, best pack, etc. It's been discussed ad nauseum here. Look in the Beginer Forum too, surely a thread going there on that. You could peruse the front page of the forum for the gear lists too, to supplement your SpreadSheet.

Like you, I'd rather carry water than be thristy <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#90637 - 02/19/08 06:30 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I have been kicking around the same country for about a decade longer than you, and I would say that your requirement of a gallon of water is completely reasonable. There have been times when I have carried too much water, but I don't remember them nearly as vividly as those times when I did not carry enough water. At least I am still around to remember them <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

At GCNP they used to say, "A canteen carrying less than a gallon water is just a toy."

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#90638 - 02/19/08 06:43 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: oldranger]
Ulhiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Arkansas
Bob:
One question I have when reading your initial post is that, if your base wt is around 9 lbs. and a gallon of water is a little less than 9 lbs., and you say your total pack wt is 35-40 lbs., where is the other 17-22 lbs. coming from? I just can't see where that much extra weight is coming from.

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#90639 - 02/19/08 06:49 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: Ulhiker]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
I can.....REALLY good food <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#90640 - 02/20/08 07:05 AM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: Ulhiker]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Quote:
Bob:
One question I have when reading your initial post is that, if your base wt is around 9 lbs. and a gallon of water is a little less than 9 lbs., and you say your total pack wt is 35-40 lbs., where is the other 17-22 lbs. coming from? I just can't see where that much extra weight is coming from.


Well, he did say 9lb was his "big three", so just shelter, pad, bag (?)... not "base pack weight" (all but consumables and clothing worn/carried)

None of these terms are super clear or officially standardized, but I break my spreadsheet down to:

1) pack (including liners/covers, etc)/shelter/sleeping system (bag, pads/etc)
2) clothing carried
3) other stuff carried in pack
4) clothing worn (including shoes)
5) stuff carried (like hiking poles)
6) consumables (food, average water carried, fuel)

so 1+2+3 = base pack weight
1+2+3+6 = total pack weight
1+2+3+4+5+6 = skin out weight

I've actually broken #3 out further into cooking bag, emergency bag, junk bag(s), just so I can identify what is where. But then I fool with my spreadsheet all the time adding/moving stuff, so I'm certainly no authority on the matter.

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#90641 - 02/20/08 09:47 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
Out here on trails along rivers or streams I rarely worry about water. In Mt. Rainier NP and The Olympics you will hit water almost every mile...so yeah, one can get away with a quart of water!

Now, hiking on dry sections of the PCT? Yeah, that is different.

But...realize that low pack weights MAY be minus food, fuel and water <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Many do that. For instance, last year my pack weighed 16 lbs at the end of one trip....that didn't include 4 days of food and 2 quarts water. Then it was more like 27 lbs!
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#90642 - 02/22/08 01:59 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: sarbar]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
I'm making progress because I just pick up a 2 pound 12 ounce pack yesterday that I really like! The weight capacity will limit me now.

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#90643 - 02/24/08 03:20 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Lots of us made progress to where we are at by several means:

0) look at other people's lists to see how they do it.

1) slowly aquiring new gear and/or changing how we do things. Often this meant carrying, carefully, appropriate gear for the conditions we are going to face, as opposed to carrying year round gear the summer.

2) in combination with 1), going through our packs mercilessly after each trip, and outside of emergency gear, giving the critical eye to anything that wasn't used on the trip.

Plus, I revisit constantly.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#90644 - 02/24/08 07:11 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: phat]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods

Phat,
So true on your last statement (the others are right on, too).

In fact, I spent all morning Saturday going through ALL my gear and weighing every single item. I then started a spreadsheet using the categories from PacLite's TLB homepage. I also followed the link on your signature and reviewed your gear list. Most appreciative!

I realized that I have a few things missing that I want to add.

I plan on reviewing the First Aid kit threads and going through my kit (again).

My skin-out weight was 28lbs (w/o food and water) and I want to try and get that down to 22 before my long hike this summer. But, not quite sure you I'm gonna do that. Ounce by ounce I'm sure.

Tango

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#90645 - 02/25/08 01:46 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: BobEFord]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
Right on. I have had the water problem lately. We have had drought conditions and some of the trails I have been on lately were lacking in water. I used to carry dehydrated water, but now I have to carry the real stuff and it can get heavy. To me nothing is worse than being thirsty at night. I would rather not cook and save the water for my thirst when it comes to that. I am not familiar enough with your area, but it sounds as though the water is just something that you have to deal with.
I may have to get a camel if this drought continues.

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#90646 - 02/25/08 03:31 PM Re: Truly Impressed [Re: hootyhoo]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
Hootyhoo,

Based on the process of weighing my gear, I come to the conclusion that the bladders are not the way to go for lightness.

I had four flavors of bladders, 28 to 3 liter, at home, and the light water bottles were indicated to give me more volume per ounce of container carried relative to water bladders.

Actually, the larger the light plastic water bottle the more weight savings per quantity of water carried is what I measured (when going from 16 oz to 1 gallon light plastic containers from water to juice).

Ruling out the camel would bum me because I enjoy using them. So, I put the scale away for now on that.

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