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#108680 - 01/02/09 09:14 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: phat]
Tango61 Offline
member

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

Amen!!!

3 hammocks, two DIY tarps (BlackCats), 1 RayWay quilt.

I love my hammocks!

Tango
_________________________
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.

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#108681 - 01/02/09 09:22 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
Tango61 Offline
member

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

Lighten the load? Hmmmm, we took 3 pick up loads of 'stuff' to the local women's shelter resale store this weekend. Does that count? grin

T
_________________________
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.

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#108682 - 01/02/09 09:30 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: ttaboro]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Well, I really couldn't afford to do much this year, but Santa was real nice to me. Also, finances have eased up a bit (finished most of the carpentry on my house) so this winter I'm putting into action some decisions that I made this pst year to lighten my load.

added a Montbell UL down jacket (extend my hiking season)
replaced clunky headlamp with Petzl e-lite (thanks Santa)
will replace self-inflating pad (18 oz) with TaR Ridge Rest short (9 oz)
will replace JetBoil with PocketRocket

I plan on adding some tieouts to my sleeping tarp and making a cooking tarp

I tried trekking poles (cheap Wally World ones) and found them much better than my hiking staff. I loved the staff, but the poles are much more adaptable and better for my knees.

BUT, the coolest thing? Freezer bag cooking!
All hail Sarbar! All hail Sarbar! thanks

Realistically though, I really just need to keep weeding out the crap I don't need or use. Now, if Phat would just keep up to date on e-reader research and share with the rest of us, I could trade in the paperbacks for a nifty gadget . . .
_________________________
Why am I online instead of hiking?

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#108694 - 01/03/09 12:51 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: Folkalist]
Ulhiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Arkansas
I went to a smaller tarp (custom made cat tarp)and I also bought a ULA Amp pack for a 2-5 day trip. I also made a woodburning stove that has dropped my cooking kit weight down to 6 oz. I made some other changes in my kit so that my summer kit is less than 5 lbs.
Oz
_________________________
www.backpackingarkansas.com

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#108695 - 01/03/09 02:21 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
mugs Offline
member

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Kent, WA.
I acheived my 5lb base weight goal...actually came in 2 ounes less then 5lbs, which is something I have been working towards for about two years now. So I have gone from a 40 pound base weight pack (60 total with food, fuel, water)for a weekend four years ago to the current weight I am at now. Which is about 12-15 lbs pack weight for a weekend. I have found this to be actually a very comfy weight zone for me. Knowing that I am capable of/did do it has freed me up to take along more or less depending on my trip. I think the one piece of gear I got this year that was the coolest was the cuben fiber tarp I bought from Joe at Z Paks. Out of all of this I have learned to be more self reliant, and rezilant. To think through a situation more thuroughly when it does arise and make sure keep mor in tune with what my body and surroundings are telling. This year's goal will be big mileage day goals. And to start another big mental backpack trip by getting into and going to grad school.
_________________________
I miss my 4.8lb base weight as a ground dweller. But I sure don't miss the ground.

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#108716 - 01/03/09 04:57 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: mugs]
jasonklass Offline
member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 551
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I dropped a pound by switiching to a Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag.

I dropped a ton of weight by switching from my Leki anti-shock poles to Gossamer Gear Light Trek 4s.

Mostly, I just learned more things I could leave at home to lighten up.
_________________________
Gear Talk There's no such thing as having too many sporks!

Backpack Flyfishing Tight lines,light packs


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#108722 - 01/03/09 06:36 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: Ulhiker]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Ozark, Is that summer pack at 5lbs without water and food?
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#108725 - 01/03/09 07:03 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: chaz]
Ulhiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Arkansas
chaz:
Yes. That's a base weight. Food and water would be added to that, but for a weekend overnight trip, I'm still looking at less than 7 lbs. total pack weight.
Oz
_________________________
www.backpackingarkansas.com

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#108728 - 01/03/09 08:30 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
jpanderson80 Offline
member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Memphis, TN
2008 weight loses:
transition from bottles to bladders
carrying less clothes
transition from interested in tarps to completely sold
Kelty synthetic bag to WM bag - do I really need to say more about this ? smile

Lesson learned...
I realized that I carry too much food. I'm ok with just 1-1.5 lbs of food per day. After bringing home extra food, I decided to write down everything I ate. I realized that I eat more snacks and enjoy less big meals at night. This helped out a lot!

Don't buy overbuilt equipment. I have a NF gore-tex rain jacket that is 24.8oz. Yikes! sick My next step (hopefully this month) will be a poncho/tarp for solo use. That alone should save me 2.3 lbs. I bought my jacket back in 1999, so it's certainly had its fair share of use. But... I'll never do that again.


What could I have done better?
I could certainly have gone out more. (With little kids it's tough.)
_________________________
I always forget and make it more complicated than it needs to be...it's just walking.

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#108738 - 01/04/09 12:52 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: jpanderson80]
skinewmexico Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 81
Kelty 50th Anniversary to a REI UL 60 to a Golite Jam2 to a Gossamer Gear Mariposa.
Various tents to a TT Double Rainbow, and a SMD Lunar Solo.
Sleeping bag to a Golite Ultra 20 quilt.

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#108772 - 01/04/09 08:33 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: Folkalist]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
My birthday is on Tuesday so I decided to treat myself to the new stove I've been wanting to replace my JetBoil (16 ounces). I was planning on getting a Pocket Rocket, but I hadn't ruled out similar style stoves such as the Snow Peak and Brunton. Well, the Brunton Talon won and I just ordered it (from the backcountry link on the left, thank you very much for making them so prominent, Mr. Packlite!). Sixteen ounces to less than four . . .

Itching to get on the trail, itching I tell you, is winter almost over?
_________________________
Why am I online instead of hiking?

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#108799 - 01/05/09 12:12 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
to lighten my load for summer backpacking, I bought a JRB Stealth Quilt and love it (15oz). I used a different stuff sack than what it came with. That saved 5oz off my WM Caribou.

-Barry

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#108800 - 01/05/09 12:16 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
S Martin Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 9
Loc: GH IL
Decided to lose the liquid fuel stove and transition to a natural fuel stove (Zip Stove). Saved nearly a pound on the stove, and no longer need to carry fuel. Upgraded from traditional mummy bag to a Nunatak sleeping quilt (a la Ray Jardine). Saved about a half pound, but spent nearly $500. Upgraded from my Eureka! tent to a Stephenson's-Warmlite. Didn't really save any weight here, but the tent is extraordinary. My arguably four season setup now weighs less than 20 pounds. I am still carrying my solar system (panel, charger, batteries), and electronics suite (GPS, PDA, camera) so I suppose those really aren't necessary.
_________________________
Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.

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#108809 - 01/05/09 01:39 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: S Martin]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
"I am still carrying my solar system (panel, charger, batteries), and electronics suite (GPS, PDA, camera) so I suppose those really aren't necessary."

Depends on what you do with them; if you find them worth carrying, you're the only one you have to answer to ... cool

If you (a) still want 'em, and (b) are willing to spend some time and money, one potential weight saving is to combine them in the form of a smartphone. I carried one on the PCT this year and it gave me all three functions you listed plus more.
It's not a trivial transition, however. Look here if you're interested in some specifics:
http://postholer.com/smartPhone.html
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#109238 - 01/12/09 11:41 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: BrianLe]
S Martin Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 9
Loc: GH IL
I do, of course, find them worthwhile. After reading so much on people who go to extremes to lighten loads - shaving toothbrushes and cutting small squares of maps and the like - it seemed almost sacrilegious to carry a few pounds of not critical gear. I enjoy the convenience, but should the iPod or PDA break, I won't die. Well probably not anyway.

On the other hand, other than the tent/quilt system, I feel this to be the pinnacle of my gear. I am an engineer by trade, so I am quite enamored with gadgetry.

I considered the smart phone route, but felt it to be a jack of all trades but master of none. My biggest issue was with GPS. According to research (not experience), Smartphone GPS systems are nearly useless on anything but on a road in a car. To my knowledge they do not have many of the features available in a handheld unit. Things like topography, altitude profile, barometer, 12 channel receiver, water-proof housing, etc. Not to mention I don't need turn by turn directions, but course, bearing and heading. Extras like the moon cycle, tide tables and prime hunting/fishing times only make it better. The games are fun too (ever play a GPS maze?).

The phone, PDA and camera could certainly be combined into a single unit. I would have bought one, but they were prohibitvely expensive. Since the PDA's main function is for journal entries, I wanted a largish screen. I also intend to write my own journal-keeping software (another exciting innovation), so it must operate on Windows Mobile. To include a camera and WiFi (I refuse to pay for 3G or even EDGE for that matter), I am limited to higher-end phones. When I looked at pricing, it would cost around $300 to $500. What I wound up with was the last pure PDA on the market that I know of, the HP iPaq 111, which cost me around $200.

I am happy to see I am not the first to go this route. If I may ask, how did it work out for you on the PCT?
_________________________
Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.

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#109239 - 01/13/09 12:17 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3291
Loc: Portland, OR
Overall I am very, very happy with my gear and clothes system, but in December 2008 I finally decided to work on the most obvious opportunity I've got: my backpack.

I've been using a heavily-modified no-name internal frame pack that weighs 4 lbs. with the framesheet and stay inserted (and they almost always are). I saw a GoLite Quest pack (size: L) on sale at REI, with a special coupon offer at the same time that let me buy it for $109. When it arrived I made a few modifications to cut off excess strap length and such. It now weighs 3 lbs. 2 oz., saving me nearly a pound.

I was feeling flush, so I made another purchase of an REI Flash Kilo sleeping bag, rated +45 degrees, on closeout. I will use it when my REI Sub-Kilo, rated +20, is too warm. On those occasions substituting the lighter bag will save me 3/4 lb.

This splash was my big gear purchase for probably the next 3 years. Until then, I will chip away at smaller weight improvements, as I do each winter. I can hardly wait to get out there and try them out on a nice long trail somewhere.

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#109247 - 01/13/09 03:32 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: S Martin]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
Smartphone GPS systems that come with the smartphone are like you say, designed for use on highways. But a smartphone is essentially a PDA combined with a phone, i.e., you can add software, and in at least some of the times (if not always) there's a standard software interface for software to talk to the GPS hardware. I used National Geographic Topo software (PocketTopo), and got some of what you're talking about in terms of what a "real" GPS does. I can't strongly recommend the software, as I found it buggy and slow, but it did the essential --- showed my location on a topo map. There are other options available, but you would have to research this yourself based on the particular device you went with.

You mentioned five things you wanted from a handheld unit: "topography, altitude profile, barometer, 12 channel receiver, water-proof housing".
Topography --- check, depending on what software you get for it (which in turn is impacted by the processor and operating system).
Altitude profile: check, again depending on software. With mapsets of any size, that feature was broken in the PocketTopo software, but certainly with the right software, altitude can be calculated with a GPS; I seem to recall that the accuracy is less than horizontal position, however. But with a location, it's also possible that the software can pull the altitude from the underying topo map, or that you can just read it off the contour lines yourself.
Barometer: nope, that's an option on some GPS units, and of course there's no reason why one couldn't be built into a smartphone, but I reckon there's little call for it. I have one in my altitude watch however ... (FWIW).
12-channel receiver --- you want to make sure your unit has a true GPS (doesn't rely on local cell towers), but mine worked great, locked on pretty quickly, and the SiRF Star III chipset did a good job under tree canopy.
It won't be waterproof, but the GPS function in my smartphone worked fine in a ziplock bag.

Extras like moon cycle, titde tables, hunting/fishing times --- again, these are just software. Freeware, shareware, and purchases software is available perhaps to do some or all of this. For example, I have a freeware application on mine that shows sun/moon rise and set times, which can be adjusted based on position (long/lat).

You said:
"The phone, PDA and camera could certainly be combined into a single unit. I would have bought one, but they were prohibitvely expensive."

If you can buy a unit as part of a contract with Verizon or AT&T (the better two choices for backcountry cell coverage), the cost might not be as high as you think, but indeed, if you want or need to buy an unlocked unit they can run pretty high.

You said:
"Since the PDA's main function is for journal entries, I wanted a largish screen. I also intend to write my own journal-keeping software (another exciting innovation), so it must operate on Windows Mobile."

Mine doesn't have a super large screen (it's 2-1/4" x 1-3/4"), but I found it fine for doing a daily journal on, coupled with a folding bluetooth keyboard. You can look at my journal (link at end of this) to see random entries, virtually all of which I typed up at the end of each day on the trail. My device does run Windows Mobile, but I'm not sure why a person would write up their own journal-keeping software (?). I found that just posting to www.postholer.com (via email or web interface) worked great, FWIW.

"To include a camera and WiFi (I refuse to pay for 3G or even EDGE for that matter)"

With AT&T it was (at that time last year at least) possible turn turn on unlimited internet access and then just turn it off again when I didn't want it, so for my use --- and in the context of already having a contract --- it wasn't that expensive, and it was very useful. I did get WiFi a few places, but in a couple of those the WiFi security interface didn't work on my mobile web browser (so that even with the password in hand I couldn't log in).

You said:
"I am happy to see I am not the first to go this route. If I may ask, how did it work out for you on the PCT?"

I'm somewhat of a geek too, but FWIW it worked great. I did the whole trail (2600+ miles) and used and carried the device the entire trip. The device itself has some design and implementation flaws, but a person learns how to work around those. All my pictures came from this device, and I considered them adequate for the job. The GPS helped me out in a few cases where the trail seemed to disappear or the signage was unclear at a junction, etc, plus it helped me be specific in my daily start/end locations for the journal. I used the built-in voice recorder some, though not a great deal. As a journaling tool it was marvelous. I rarely read books on it, but if stuck in a trail town I infrequently did, and this was a nice option to have (www.baen.com offers some nice free Sci Fi and I bought some from them too). The phone was of course quite useful at times, and the internet access was great to have --- I checked weather reports for places I was heading too, looked for trail reports, and had email access (for better perhaps and for worse).

This approach isn't for everyone, but it worked well for me, and I expect the suite of tools will get only more powerful and useful in future.

This reply is already way too long; for more on smartphones, look at http://postholer.com/smartPhone.html
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#109318 - 01/14/09 11:06 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
I actually added weight this year, going from about 14 lbs. base-weight to a tad over 15. That's because, at 47 years old, I decided it was time to stop sitting on rocks and logs, so I added a chair kit to my pack. I also ditched the hip belt from my home-made pack and added a Luxury Lite hip belt, gaining about four ounces. But I was much more comfortable this year.
_________________________
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

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#109440 - 01/15/09 11:04 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Switched from Mountain House to ramen, which also saves big $$. Started using a chest harness and lens pouches for my camera gear instead of a full bag, and having a Outdoor Research drybag/daypack that I can stash it in for waterproofing and day hiking.
_________________________
www.gregpphoto.com

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#109453 - 01/16/09 08:02 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: gregpphoto]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
Switched from Mountain House to ramen, which also saves big $$. Started using a chest harness and lens pouches for my camera gear instead of a full bag, and having a Outdoor Research drybag/daypack that I can stash it in for waterproofing and day hiking.


Which chest harness? I also started using a chest harness last year.

I purchased a GG White Lightening tarp to replace my 2 person tent for most of my hiking.
_________________________
Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#109486 - 01/16/09 09:41 PM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: BrianLe]
S Martin Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 9
Loc: GH IL
Choosing to write my own software was just another thing I didn't have to do, but would like to do. I could have just as easily kept the journal on the PDA and copy/paste to a website when I found a connection. But, because I can, I decided to make my own website and software.

The journal manager would keep track of all the journal entries and pictures associated with them. Then, when I find an internet connection, the software will check the website to see what the most recent entry was. It will then upload whatever pictures or entries are missing.

A few reasons I like this idea. First of all, wherever I happen to find a connection, I need not have the PDA actually out. I can press a quick access button and everything will happen automatically and play a little tone when it's done. This way it is not so obvious to others that I am a wayfaring traveler with a seemingly expensive gadget. Also, it allows me to control content. I plan on telling everyone I meet to check out the website, learn about me and my journey. Call me paranoid, but I'd rather not have everyone able to see exactly where I am. I would however like people I trust to know exactly where I am. To this end, the website can be designed to delay the entries for two weeks. Everything publicly available will be delayed, but members can sign in and see everything.

Your ideas seem to be excellent. I had stopped considering smartphones when I learned of the GPS situation. I never considered the possibility of installing GPS software on the phone, rather than relying on the included software. Even now, my PDA has the option for GPS capability. I could have included coordinates in the journal manager, and made a companion Google Earth widget for the website. Perhaps another trip, for now I have already bought everything.
_________________________
Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.

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#109491 - 01/17/09 12:22 AM Re: What did you do in 2008 to lighten your load? [Re: billstephenson]
4x4Dragon Offline
member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 325
Loc: Lexington, SC
hmmmm???? quite a bit it seems like for me.....

switched to 3/4 ridgerest from 3/4 inflatable/insulated insulmat

switched to an ultralight pack(Elemental Horizons - Northern Lite)

switched to an ultralight tent(AGG O2)

got a lighter weight tripod smile

cut back on clothing i bring

oh yeah, also switched rain jackts to a Sierra Designs Isotope

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