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#108906 - 01/07/09 03:56 PM lite weight packing
hazydavy Offline

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 4
Loc: n.c. florida
I here so much about lite weight packing these days that it blows my mind how light some of you can go! I have a rei wonderlust pack (wich I know is large)but no matter what I do I cannot get the weight down. If I go w/a smaller pack It all wont fit, I guess I just nedd to reaserch the heck out of it and buy new lite weight gear

#108909 - 01/07/09 04:27 PM Re: lite weight packing [Re: hazydavy]
hikerduane Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
If you throw enough money at it, you will get there. I have lots of light gear, but still have too much volume I guess.

#108911 - 01/07/09 04:49 PM Re: lite weight packing [Re: hikerduane]
chaz Offline

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
It's been discussed at length on this site. Do a search, you'll find lots of info on being light. Check out other peoples gear lists. I lightened my load by at least 100 lbs. (I went from a load in a pickup truck to putting everything on my back). After ditching the multifuel stove for a DIY alcy stove I was on my way to being lighter. You don't have to spend a ton of money on gear. When you go lighter, you are happier at the end of the day. smile
Enjoy your next trip...

#108939 - 01/07/09 08:44 PM Re: lite weight packing [Re: hazydavy]
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Hold on, Pilgrim! Don't start buying that new gear just yet. (My name is Glenn, and I'm a recovering gearaholic...)

Before you start replacing gear, take a good hard look at what you can eliminate from your pack - otherwise, you'll just end up with lighter versions of stuff you don't need. Doing so will require you to determine how you define "necessity" and "luxury." For example:

Food: Can you be happy with simple dishes? For example, how do you feel about oatmeal for breakfast and freeze-dried entrees? They're not great cuisine, but if you can be happy eating them for a weekend, your kitchen shrinks to a mug-style pot and a canister stove. It also uses less fuel, which reduces your weight even further. So, you discard your bowl and mug, the larger pot from your cook set, and the knife and fork from your 3-piece utensil set - and save as much as a pound without buying anything. (I realize I may be exaggerating what you're carrying; it's not intended as a slam, but just a colorful illustration.)

Clothing: you can go for a weekend wearing just a synthetic T-shirt and nylon shorts. If the shorts have a mesh liner, you won't need a change of underwear, either. So, that saves the change (or two) of clothes. Rain gear can double as windwear - so the separate wind shirt and wind pants can stay home. Another pound saved?

Water: if you hike where water sources are only a couple of hours apart and reliable, why are you carrying 2 quarts of water? Carry only one, and save two pounds.

Next, ask if there's anything you're carrying that you don't need (chair kit? iPod? Stuff in your first-aid kit that you don't know how to use? If there's little or no chance you'll get stranded by weather, do you really need that emergency food?) A good techinque is to unload your pack after a trip by dividing everything in there into three piles: used it, didn't use it but need it (first aid kit, compass, rain gear, etc.), and didn't use it. Next time you go out, don't take anything that was in the "didn't use it" pile, and see if you miss it. If not, don't take it the next time, or ever again.

Again, I apologize if this sounds sarcastic. I'm not trying to imply that you're totally without a clue; I'm just trying to illustrate the thought process with broad, bold strokes for emphasis.

Ok, now you're at the point where you can only shed weight if you replace gear: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad. Then, after you've got the load down to a balance of light weight, comfort, and convenience that is perfect for you, you can start looking for a pack that's the right size (and hopefully lighter.)

Welcome - You've come to the right place. There's a good group of folks here who subscribe to a lot of different styles, from "lightweight traditional" to "lightweight" to "cutting edge light" to "bleeding edge ultralight." You can get good input from them on the plus and minus of each style, and how to put each into practice. That will include lots of information about specific items, too. Keep asking questions as you look at your current gear, and let us know how we can help.

Edited by Glenn (01/07/09 08:46 PM)

#108951 - 01/08/09 12:11 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: Glenn]
Jimshaw Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
As Glenn points out, there has been a paradigm shift in thinking about what you have to take camping. Most of my gear is 10 to 25 years old, and I am a light weight backpacker. I carry the exact same gear in the winter as I used to except I leave a lot of it out. My winter pack (for minus 10F) with food water fuel and tent is in the 27 pound range. It used to be 45 pounds. I simply no longer take 18 pounds of what was formerly "necessary". eek

In the Summer my pack can weigh as little as 16 pounds less food and water, if I take my siltent - 1 pound.
Jim crazy

Edited by Jimshaw (01/08/09 12:12 AM)
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

#108961 - 01/08/09 12:48 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: hazydavy]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Go to the home page of this website and read the articles listed in the left-hand column. With the aid of those I was able to reduce my total pack weight for a 9-day trip from 50 lbs. to 25.

You don't have to spend a lot of money, either (except maybe for a top quality sleeping bag). Here are some ideas. If you browse through the "Lite Gear Talk" section of this forum, down a ways (December) is a thread on "$200 and 20-lb. challenge." Also check the Archives, especially the 2005-08 section (see left hand column of this page).

The main requirements are a computer spreadsheet (I assume you have the software for that since you're on a computer!) and a digital postage scale that weighs in 0.1 ounce increments. List everything you have and its weight and compare to the lists of others who hike in similar conditions. I still use my spreadsheet to evaluate possible new gear purchases (as Glenn says, gear shopping can be addictive!) and, most important, to print out a checklist when preparing for each trip.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#108966 - 01/08/09 02:17 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: OregonMouse]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Here's another good source. Unlike most of the articles on that site, this one is free. Lightweight Backpacking 101
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#108967 - 01/08/09 02:59 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: OregonMouse]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
This whole site is dedicated to lightweight backpacking. Go to the Home Page and start with the articles and gear lists, then come back to the forums and start reading through them. Lightweight backpacking is not just about paring down the weight of individual pieces, although that is part of it, but putting together a system for each task-shelter, sleeping, cooking, survival, clothing.

Before buying a lot of new gear, next time you go camping, lay out all your gear, put half of it back in the closet and the rest in your pack. And no, I'm not kidding.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#108968 - 01/08/09 07:55 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: TomD]
hazydavy Offline

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 4
Loc: n.c. florida
Man ya'll are awsome, Just with a few tips I have already shead 15 lbs! And that is still without buying new lighweight gear,(my sleeping system weighs in at a hefty 6 lbs and thats w/o the tent (old northface at 5.5 lbs) I dont pack in the winter so I think my first major purchace is a sleeping bag rated at only 30 deg. I should be able to find one reasonably priced at rei mail order (hopefully around 100 $) weight around 3 lbs that will save more weight. Once again thanks alot for all the great input

#108969 - 01/08/09 09:13 AM Re: lite weight packing [Re: hazydavy]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Yep, pretty much what Glenn and Jim said. Before you buy new stuff, see what you can do without. That is the only way to lightenup seriously. After you decide what is truly necessary, then replace with lighter stuff, but also keep in mind function and other things before being sold on the really light stuff.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#109113 - 01/10/09 04:37 PM Re: lite weight packing [Re: finallyME]
JAK Offline

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
A light pack doesn't need to be small either. Sometimes the extra volume can save money and weight and time and wear and tear. Its more flexible. The golite jam2 and pinnacle are good examples at 3000ci and 4500ci, both under 2 pounds.


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