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#109748 - 01/21/09 10:18 AM Weigh in on scales
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
I'd like to reopen the topic on how everyone weighs things. Know it has been discussed before, but looking again for some advice.

In a recent discussion I guessed at the weight of a lens filter and was off by probably 300 per cent, which brought forth a humorous comment. I had tried to find my wife's food scale -- which doesn't work well -- but she seems to have hidden it from me, so I just guessed. Fortunately, I'm better with distance, especially when hiking on cliff-side trails.

Is there one good scale that can weigh everything, from packs to spice cannisters, and I just don't know about it? Are hikers using a variety of scales, all good? Anyone have a good, but inexpensive one? How do you weigh bulky items like jackets, sleeping bags? Use more than one scale? JasonK, have you got a video about it?

Please post your thoughts, maybe an image, to help enlighten me so I can get one and not have to resort to some obscure weight measurement -- my pack weighs about .4 qedetys and my sleeping bag a little over one shady -- to CMA. blush
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#109754 - 01/21/09 11:31 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I suggest you search the web and/or your local office supply store for a "postal scale" --- not a kitchen scale. Typically I'd expect you would get a unit that's accurate up to 0.1 ounce, if not indeed down to a gram if that's important to you. I'd suggest an electronic unit, not one that uses springs.

The particular version I have has a 5 pound capacity. That's mostly just fine --- after all, my base weight is not too many multiples of that (!). But in retrospect something like a 10 or even 15 pound capacity might have been nicer for weighing aggregates of stuff, such as a bear can containing a weeks worth of food.

To weigh bulky items, most postal type scales will have a "tare" function. This allows you to put a light basket or flat board or something like that on top and reset the scale to ignore the weight of the added platform, which in turn allows you to put something bulky on a fairly small weighing device.

While a bit time consuming, I enjoyed the process of weighing various stuff and putting it into a spreadsheet. FWIW, I found it helpful to put the weight in one unit (say, grams) but also display in a couple of other units (ounces, pounds). This makes it easier to compare existing weight to however the weight is expressed for an item I'm considering for purchase/replacement. I hope you enjoy the process too!
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#109756 - 01/21/09 11:56 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: BrianLe]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6797
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
That's the type of scale I have; it's digital and cost about $30. I take it with me every time I visit REI, much to the horror of the clerks. With a gram function, it can be used for cooking with European recipes, too. It will even weigh your mail! I tested its accuracy at tax time (weighed the return at home and had it weighed again at the Post Office).

My bathroom scales weigh to 0.1 lb., so I can use them for stuff weighing more than 5 lbs., such as my loaded pack.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#109757 - 01/21/09 11:59 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: BrianLe]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I haven't bought a decent postal scale yet. I use a food scale, to 20oz, but only consider it approximate. I use volumes of water as a reference weight for calibrating.

For heavier items, my digital bathroom scales really suck, so I sometimes rig up a balance scale, using a long stick, and water weights on one end and clothes or gear on the other. Make sure when you do this that you don't pull your dining room chandelier from the ceiling. wink

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#109760 - 01/21/09 01:34 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3281
Loc: Portland, OR
I have a digital scale that will read out either in grams or in ounces and pounds to the eighth ounce. Maximum capacity is two kilos, or about 4 lbs 5 ozs. It has a tare function, meaning you can place an empty container on the scale and re-zero it, so the container's weight is excluded from the readout. That's handy.

It cost me something like US$20 about 5 years ago and I am pretty sure it was intended as a kitchen scale. I can't recall where I bought it.

And yes, it works fine as a postal scale, too.

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#109761 - 01/21/09 01:49 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: BrianLe]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I make it pretty simple. I just get on the scale and weigh myself and then put my pack on and weigh with it on. Then, believe it or not I just subtract the difference and get the total weight of my pack. Pretty simple Huh????sabre11004....

The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there !!!!
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#109765 - 01/21/09 02:16 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: sabre11004]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
My scale weighs up to 15 lbs., cost about $40, wish I could have afforded something bigger at the time, kinda hard to put bulky items on. I'm away from home during the week so I can't get the name. When I got it, there wasn't much that came up on a search for companies, just this one company that had been in business for years. Lit, digital accurate to .10 oz?, tare capable, grams or lb. and oz.

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#109766 - 01/21/09 02:41 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: hikerduane]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Thanks for the responses. I've got an update:

While I was reading the comments my wife asked me what I was looking at on the computer and after my explaining, she reached in this pink-cloth grocery bag (that I've never looked inside of) and pulls out this:



So the reason I couldn't find the old "spring" food scale was that she threw it away a year ago when she got this digital WeightWatchers one (and then carefully hid it from me.)

It meets the criteria suggested: digital, goes to about 11 pounds, grams or ounces, tare weight feature, so the result is I've absconded with it.

Just weighed my "3.0 oz." polarizing filter, and it was 1.1 ounces, and that was 1.1 oz WITH a 58-62mm step-up ring attached.

So I'm no longer "weight challenged" with my posts, and have a way to weigh my stuff! grin

BTW, Oregon Mouse:

Quote:
It will even weigh your mail! I tested its accuracy at tax time (weighed the return at home and had it weighed again at the Post Office).


. . . filing a return, I never knew you could determine your tax rate by the pound! grin grin
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#109768 - 01/21/09 03:29 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Earlylite recommended in this blog entry a particular eBay seller who specializes in these scales. I got on eBay and bought one from the same guy for what I think is a very reasonable price (about $25 including shipping). You might want to pick one up. I don't know what the highest weight is that you can put on it. But I haven't really tried to weigh anything very heavy. I weigh everything that goes into the pack separately and then sum them up so I never need to weigh the whole pack.

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#109774 - 01/21/09 04:30 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6797
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
My tax return plus envelope was exactly 1.0 oz. even, so I wanted to be sure the scale was accurate before I put it in the mail with one stamp!


Edited by OregonMouse (01/22/09 04:20 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#109778 - 01/21/09 04:53 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I rescued an old Ohaus triple beam chemistry lab balance and a set of test weights from a dumpster at one of the universities at which I worked. It reads directly to 0.1 gram and has a capacity of 2 kg. It is highly accurate but has more precision than necessary. One gram is 1/28.35 oz or 0.035 oz; that is more precision than I really use and the tenths grams readings are way overkill. It can be slow to use but, hey, the price was right. I did have to wash a lot of ketchup and mustard off of it though.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#109782 - 01/21/09 05:30 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: Pika]
EricKingston Offline
member

Registered: 11/01/02
Posts: 272
Loc: Michigan
I'm jealous... I wish I had one of those to weigh fuel during stove tests. Perhaps it's overkill, but I think it would be very nice to have the extra precision.

Eric

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#109783 - 01/21/09 05:32 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: Pika]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I use the ones at work. One does .01 grams, one does .0001 grams, and there are a few that do .00001 grams. Unfortunately they only go up to 300 grams. I have only used them to weigh fabric (I cut a small square, measure the area, then weigh it to determine the oz/yrd). Anyways, they are way more expensive than you want, especially since you found the one your wife was hiding. grin
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#109790 - 01/21/09 06:44 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: Heber]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I don't quite understand the weighing of "each" item other than to shop or maybe research for a specific item that weighs less or may be smaller, then I could understand that. If I am wanting to know how much my loaded pack weighs as I said before I just weigh in on the scales and then weigh in with the pack on my back. Now, with that being said, if I am trying to "tweak" an item or two, to maybe make it smaller or lighter, then I would definitely weigh the individual item, but until that times comes. It doesn't really matter what each item weighs if you are going to throw them all in the pack any way. It is the total weight that really matters is it not????? Hope this helps but let's not make this wonderful activity that we partake in worry some when it doesn't have to be. Also, let's all remember that it is "just walking"...sabre11004...

The first step that you take is one of those that will get you there !!!!!
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#109791 - 01/21/09 06:47 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: OregonMouse]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
But for those times that the weight info is needed, I have a set of triple-beams and an electronic jewelry scale for the smaller items I think they both go to around 2.2 kilos if I am not mistaken...Hope this has helped...sabre11004...

The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there !!!!!
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#109800 - 01/21/09 08:04 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: kevonionia]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3983
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Kev

AS people have pointed out - postal and food scales are great but limited. If you put everything into a spread sheet, 5 pounds should be fine as what weighs over 5 pounds? Maybe some tents...

I'm lucky in that I grabbed a retired "electronics counting scale" from a place where I worked. It will weigh up to 35 pounds very accurately and it will do it in any unit you choose, lb, oz, kg, g. A scale like it is worth in the thousand dollar range or more new.

Your total pack can sit on a bathroom scale - 1/2 lb is accurate enough for the whole pack weight.

You may wish to take advantage of entering multiple gear choice combinations in your spread sheet to determine the lightest choice.

Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#109802 - 01/21/09 08:46 PM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: Jimshaw]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
When bpers start talking about owning a scale, they are getting serious about what they carry. I find a scale handy, when comparing what I have and may replace with the weight of a potential new item. Has saved a purchase or two. New isn't always lighter.

Never thought of weighing alcohol before and after stove testing. Great idea. I have weighed isobutane to determine how much fuel is left.

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#109829 - 01/22/09 04:30 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: hikerduane]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6797
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Sabre, the reason for weighing each item is to record its weight on a spreadsheet gear list. With a spreadsheet and accurate weight for each item, I can immediately see the effect of each item on total weight (whether base weight, total weight, skin-out weight, or whatever). The total pack weight should be the same as the total I come up with on myr bathroom scale. If not, my spreadsheet is out of whack and needs revision.

With the spreadsheet, I can immediately determine the effect on weight (whatever category) of any item I want to add or subtract. This information is extremely useful when I'm tempted to purchase a new gear item. Once I see the purchase price per ounces saved, I may save a lot of money!

I also print out the spreadsheet before each trip as a checklist, so I don't forget anything. After each trip, I evaluate to see what I can omit or what I should add.

This system allows me to fine-tune my weight as well as make sure that I don't get a few days away from the trailhead without an important item, whether camera, stove, bandaids, or an insulating layer when the weather turns bad! Without such a list, I've forgotten such important items as hiking shoes, hiking clothing (when the trip wasn't started from home), camera and a light source. I find the checklist invaluable.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/22/09 04:43 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#109837 - 01/22/09 10:03 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: sabre11004]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
ďif I am trying to "tweak" an item or two, to maybe make it smaller or lighter, then I would definitely weigh the individual item,Ē

Actually, itís not an item or two; itís every single item. Say you haul around 40 items. If you can shave 3.2 ounces off each item (which really doesnít seem like much), you have just shaved 8 lbs from your pack!

You keep track of the ounces and the pounds will follow. If you donít think this way, your pack will win the heavyweight award in the group.

-Barry

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#109842 - 01/22/09 11:02 AM Re: Weigh in on scales [Re: EricKingston]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Eric, I do use the precision of the balance for stove tests, the tenth gram accuracy is nice for that. In fact, I can interpolate to the nearest mg from the beam slider but seldom bother unless I'm trying to impress.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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