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#151578 - 06/16/11 10:55 PM So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
...cuts the labels out of their gear?
...saw off toothbrush handles?
...shortens shoe laces?
...drill holes in things that need less material?
...still make weight comparisons for store bought stuff?
...makes your own gear because store bought is still too heavy?
...leaves behind things like TP and essentials most hikers would consider "essential" to save some ounces?
...worries about the weight of your guy lines?
...and anything else I haven't mentioned.
After reading the active topics currently on this forum, few discuss weight and the original intent of this forum when I joined 9 years ago. grin
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paul, texas KD5IVP

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#151579 - 06/16/11 11:13 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3297
Loc: Portland, OR
As for cutting labels, I have discovered that modern manufacturers often use labeling techniques that would require me to wreck harm upon my purchases, were I to attempt to de-label them, so I am reluctant to make the effort. However, my usual motivation to de-label stuff is just a dislike of advertising, because most product labels are designed to be very prominent ads for their brands. The weight savings is so negligible that I never much think in those terms.

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#151580 - 06/16/11 11:38 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
I still do most of the things you mention. I don't trim the edges of my topo maps any more, because I own just about every map for the Sierras and already trimmed them years ago.

I'm taking my ten-year old on his first extended excursion in two weeks, and just today hacked off his toothbrush handle. He's never had the privilege of brushing with tooth powder before, but he's going to. He loves pancakes, so I bought a cheap spatula this morning and hacked the handle off that too.

I still weigh every single item on my digital scale, including the individual components of my first aid kit and repair kit. Can't help myself -- I'm a gram weenie.
_________________________
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#151582 - 06/17/11 07:31 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: aimless]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
While I still do some of the things you discuss (particularly constant attention to what does and doesn't get taken), I've found that the state of the market has changed considerably in the last 9 years, and has rendered much of my old obssessive behavior unnecessary. (I'm not going to address do-it-yourself; I have none of the requisite skills, and therefore no experience or knowledge.)

For example, 15 years ago, I was already playing the "light" game (at least to some extent.) I did cut labels off, cut excess straps, tool loops, and sleeping bag compartment dividers off packs, etc. However, the market was still overwhelmingly traditional, and a lot of the "cottage" industries hadn't come along yet. So, while I might be able to reduce the pack's weight by a pound, it was still a 6-pound pack. I went to a tarp-and-bivy setup that "only" weighed three and a half pounds - but replaced my 5-pound, 2-person tent (there weren't many solo tents back then - and they weighed 4 pounds.) There were no reliable canister stoves or titanium pots (and no pots smaller than a quart and a half), so I took my Whisperlite and only one pot (no cup) to save another pound.

As time went on, the market changed. Solo tents, weighing less than 3 pounds, appeared; one-quart titanium pots and stoves like the Snow Peak and Pocket Rocket showed up. Packs became simpler, and lighter - much lighter; a 3 or 4 pound pack is now considered "heavy" by most standards. Manufacturers began to print labels on the material, rather than sewing in a separate label. Companies like TarpTent, Gossamer Gear, and Six Moon Designs got started to specifically address the needs of those who wanted gear that was lighter yet.

All of the books on backpacking presumed a traditional load, and so these boards were where the techniques and details of how to pack light were found. Now, all of the books have at least a chapter on "Going Light," and many of our once-fringe techniques are now mainstream practices recommended in the books.

So, much that was discussed in the early days on this board are now part of the mainstream - and therefore are no longer discussed as thoroughly as they once were. One of the big changes I've noticed is that we spend more time helping folks use lightweight techniques to solve specific problems: how to compensate for inevitable aging (bad knees and such), or how to use these techniques to go farther/longer in more comfort, or how to get kids hooked on the outdoors.

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#151583 - 06/17/11 08:06 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Glenn]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
So, much that was discussed in the early days on this board are now part of the mainstream - and therefore are no longer discussed as thoroughly as they once were.


True. Like anything, market pressure changed the market. I home brewed for 20 years until it became cheaper to buy what I was making because the market listened.
I believe there is still room for change. I still don't like the stove systems available today. I still see poly insulation creeping into down bags when they can get away with it. Packs sold here in Texas are outfitted as though we have glaciers, with crampon pads, tool loops, etc, when a simple bag with straps will do. I make a lot of my gear for the simplicity and ability to tweak it the way I want.
As a long time hammocker (pre-Hennessey), I've seen what was a very simple system grow more complex...some improvements, but not necessarily lighter.
I'd personally like to see this board keep up the pressure. wink
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#151588 - 06/17/11 12:29 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I fully agree. We've finished the first generation of going light - now it's time to see what can evolve from that.

Water treatment would seem to be a prime target. Filters are convenient, but all the consistently reliable ones seem unable to break the 1-pound barrier. The filters that are lighter, like the Hyperflow, tend to have shorter lives and be less reliable. Chemical treatment is consistently reliable, but slow. As a result, I carry a Hyperflow for weekends, and a Miniworks for longer, with chemical backup - and constantly ask myself if I wouldn't be better off just to go the "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" route. No answers here, but I'm definitely interested in alternatives and ideas.

Stoves could be improved. I love canister stoves, except I can't figure out why no manufacturer seems to be able to come up with a light, simple windscreen! Sure, I can always block the wind by putting it behind a rock - but a rock isn't exactly lightweight to carry around. wink I don't like the environmental aspect of disposable canisters, which makes me want to try an alcohol stove - except that no one has found a way to fill the things, then seal them off so you don't have to waste fuel by burning it off (or spilling it all over you while you try to pour it back in the bottle.)

As far as packs, I'm still surprised that major manufacturers haven't copied and refined the use of sleeping pads as part of the pack suspension; it works fairly well for Gossamer Gear and SMD, but there's still room for improvement. And speaking of sleeping pads, maybe someone can come up with a way to combine the lightweight and durability of a closed cell pad with the comfort and packability of a self-inflator?

Then, if someone could combine the best features of a poncho with the protection and multi-use features of a rain suit...

So, yeah, there's still a lot of fertile ground for us to plow.

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#151589 - 06/17/11 12:33 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2939
Loc: NorCal
It's a fair question. The good news is since Charles started the original site, there has appeared a vast array of gear a fraction of the weight and bulk of what was typically available at the time.

Think of the weight savings represented by a Tarptent shelter, a Gossamer Gear backpack, a Golite quilt, a Neoair pad, a White Box stove, a Snowpeak pot, a Petzl LED headlamp, ClO2 tablets, Platy un-bottles, trail sneakers. That could easily be twenty pounds shed right there.

I still scrutinize and trim my gear list. I go through a cycle wherein I either needed something or something broke or disappointed during a hike, and in response I added or replaced items the next trip. Once added, things have a way of staying in the pack on later trips, whether needed or not. I try to I.D. and eliminate the stuff I never use (first aid kit excepted.)

I'm also restless about finding the next "perfect" pack or shelter, so buy new stuff when old stuff still works. It's a sickness, I tell ya.

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (06/17/11 12:33 PM)
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#151591 - 06/17/11 12:57 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Rick_D]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I have seen a few manufacturers going back up a little with their packs, I guess the concept of a light pack did not overcome the lack of comfort with that pack. Not much of a weight increase though, from what I have seen by Golite and at least one or two others.

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#151595 - 06/17/11 03:47 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Some of these practices you mention are just plain silly and really don't save any weight!

I gave up cutting off labels when I discovered that (1) the weight difference doesn't even show up on my scale (to nearest 0.1 oz.) and (2) by cutting out labels, information on size, fabric content and laundering instructions are permanently lost. That makes a big difference if I decide later on that I don't want the item and want to sell or donate it! I do notice that more and more companies are printing this info on the fabric instead of using tags. A lot more folk than lightweight backpackers hate tags rubbing the backs of their necks!

I use a travel toothbrush in which the case becomes the handle, no heavier than a regular toothbrush with sawn off handle, but far more effective in reaching my back teeth (the few I have left). Considering the many thousands of $$$$ I've spent on dentistry, I consider any shortcuts in dental hygiene to be pound-foolish! My main weight saving in this area is to use baking soda as a dentifrice--far lighter than toothpaste, doesn't leave residue on the ground after spitting/rinsing, dentist-recommended, and a multiple use item--antacid, paste for insect bites/stings, deodorant.

I have never tried shortening shoelaces or drilling holes in gear. I just wish shoe manufacturers would make shoelaces of a material that, once tied, wouldn't loosen up in the next hour! I don't have any gear items into which I could drill holes even if I wanted to.

I certainly do make weight comparisons when shopping. I get dirty looks whenever I go into REI with my scale! I never rely on manufacturer weights because they are so often understated. On the other hand, there are other factors than weight to consider when making gear choices.

I never was very good at sewing, and since my detached retina surgery I don't have binocular vision closer than 3 feet, so no sewing beyond crude repairs for me. I would love to be able to sew a few items, though! I'd especially like to make packs for my grandkids using the frame and suspension of a Deuter Fox 30 or REI Comet, but replacing the heavyweight bomber-proof bag and gewgaws with a lightweight Dyneema pack bag. While kids need more support structure for their packs, they don't need a pack that is a third to a half of their total load! Kids' gear is an area that the lightweight manufacturers have almost completely neglected.

I always understood the TP argument to be an LNT issue, not a weight issue. I certainly do take TP (although I use paper towel sections, far more absorbent so I need less weight and bulk) and wet wipes. I have medical conditions that require their use. I pack out every scrap. IMHO, yanking up vegetation in sensitive alpine areas to wipe one's posterior is definitely not LNT--almost as bad as leaving the TP behind!

I'm far more concerned over the reflectivity of my guylines than their weight, having tripped over non-reflective guylines in the dark numerous times. It's Kelty Triptease or Gossamer Gear EZC2 for me, even if they are a little heavier. They make it easier to find the tent in the dark, too.

Actually, we do get into a lot of discussions about weight and similar topics here. Sometimes this doesn't happen until several posts down in a topic, but it happens--a lot! You will see more comments from some of us older folks that in some areas we've had to add a little weight to be more comfortable. It does get harder to be comfortable with aging joints!

In some areas, though, the manufacturers really are reducing their weights to meet us--as witness all the insulated air pads under a pound that have come on the market in the last two years (NeoAir, POE Peak Elite AC, the new Exped UL mat, Klymit [speaking of "drilling" holes!], custom mats from KookaBay--even Big Agnes plans to join the fray next year). On the other hand, other manufacturers keep getting heavier (such as GoLite, which needs to change its name to GoHeavier). Those are offset by the "cottage" manufacturers who are consistently making the innovative stuff. Unfortunately, in the race to reduce weight, the really lightweight stuff made now is mostly of cuben fiber, which is too pricy for many of us.

One thing I'd really like to see here is more discussion of the new gear and new "cottage" manufacturers that keep emerging. Much of it is excellent gear that deserves more publicity than it gets on the "other," more extreme lightweight backpacking forum!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/17/11 04:11 PM)
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#151597 - 06/17/11 06:21 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: OregonMouse]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
Originally Posted By OregonMouse

One thing I'd really like to see here is more discussion of the new gear and new "cottage" manufacturers that keep emerging. Much of it is excellent gear that deserves more publicity than it gets on the "other," more extreme lightweight backpacking forum!


I agree, cottage industries are excellent and very innovative. Plus it is supporting families directly. I can't wait to see what the future holds for backpacking markets - mostly because of the innovation of the cottage industries.
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#151606 - 06/17/11 08:15 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Great topic!

I've never been a gram weenie and early on made due with what I could scrounge and didn't give weight much thought at all.

I've always had too many interests and not enough money to spend on them, so to dabble in any of them I've had to do it on a tight budget. They way I tend to do this is to acquire the best I can of of bleeding edge technologies that are at least five years old wink

I'll probably be in my 60's before I even see cuban fiber laugh

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#151608 - 06/17/11 08:36 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: billstephenson]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
As of now, I have been counting ounces. And yea, I am on a tight budget as well so been doing what I can ya know. But haven't gotten to the point of counting grams. Maybe when I have a real job and can afford better things...then...but till then, I am pretty happy with my set up right now...3 - 4 pound base weight in the summer, 8 - 9 pound in the cooler months. I am very happy with that at the moment, way better than where I used to be that is for sure!

So right now, I just use my normal tooth brush, and don't cut tags on anything (to be honest never even thought about doing that, doesn't seem like much weight really.) Don't have any gear that I can really drill holes in to so haven't done that either. But who knows, things can change and maybe I will some day. But as of now, I am content smile
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#151609 - 06/17/11 09:29 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: GDeadphans]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I don't really count ounces any more - it's more like quarter- and half-pounds.

Mostly, that's due to having counted ounces until I got my weekend, summer load (including food and water) down to 20 pounds. That load is easily manageable for me, so there's not as much impetus to get from 20 to 19 as there was to get from 30 to 20.

A half pound gets my attention - thus my dalliance with a Hyperflow water filter as a possible replacement for my Miniworks, and an ongoing argument with myself as to whether the chair kit is a luxury or a necessity.

A quarter pound is thought-provoking: do I really need that cup, or can I get double duty out of my kettle? Do I need to carry a windbreaker, or will my rain jacket serve the same purpose?

But I'm left a bit cold by the 2 ounces I could save by replacing my headlamp with a squeeze light, or my aluminum tent stakes with titanium.

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#151639 - 06/18/11 07:41 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
...saw off toothbrush handles?

yep

...shortens shoe laces?

nope

...drill holes in things that need less material?

yes - everything from toothbrush handles to a swiss cheesed .308 stevens gun stock wink

...still make weight comparisons for store bought stuff?

all the time..

...makes your own gear because store bought is still too heavy?

usually just because I can't get what I want, but yes.

...leaves behind things like TP and essentials most hikers would consider "essential" to save some ounces?

I don't leave behind TP, but I do leave behind a lot of
stuff others deem "essential"..

- I take no pot lifter - I use my gloves
- I take no soap, I use sand
- I take no towel, I use my shirt

heck, for the most part, less is more.



...worries about the weight of your guy lines?

YES! geez, I have a heck of a time finding both good guy lines that aren't heavy - guylines make my tarp a *lot* heavier!

My biggest complaint here is everything decently light has a bad "feel" and tangles easily and does poor knots


...and anything else I haven't mentioned.
After reading the active topics currently on this forum, few discuss weight and the original intent of this forum when I joined 9 years ago. grin [/quote]
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#151646 - 06/19/11 03:00 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: OregonMouse]
james__12345 Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
I just wish shoe manufacturers would make shoelaces of a material that, once tied, wouldn't loosen up in the next hour!


I have always had a HORRIBLE time keeping shoes tied. I found out on a post on this site about knots that all these years I've been doing it wrong :P. It may sound crazy, but which direction you cross at first makes all the difference. Its important that they are tied so that if the loops are pulled all the way through, it's a square knot, instead of a granny knot. It sounds crazy, but it has made all the difference in the world for me. I had always tied the same way, and always the granny knot way. Now that I've switched, they basically NEVER come untied on me. After typing all this it hit me you may mean loosening from stretching though, if you're talking about that, then I've got nothing.

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#151667 - 06/19/11 05:26 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: james__12345]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I've always made sure I used a square knot, not a granny, ever since I learned to tie knots as a kid. Having to use extra knots because of too-long laces actually helps, but I usually have to re-tie every hour if I'm not wearing gaiters (gaiters definitely help). The old-fashioned flat cloth laces seem to stay tied better than the round ones they sell with running shoes and hiking boots.
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#151675 - 06/19/11 08:23 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: OregonMouse]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
Velcro! Tevas smile
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#151699 - 06/20/11 01:40 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: GDeadphans]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Curse you, Red Barons!

Since my last reply, I've re-read your post, Phat's, and Dryer's - and they motivated me to go back through my pack and see what might have crept in without my permission. I found:

a chair kit (do I really, really sit around that much? Couldn't I sit on the floor of my nifty, all-mesh tent?) 6 ounces.

Crocs (I don't really wade many streams, and my feet aren't really that tired in camp. Biggest advantage was I didn't have to tear apart my Dromlite-and-trail-shoes pillow for those midnight nature calls.) 8 ounces

Windbreaker (my rain jacket will work.) 4 ounces

2nd fuel canister (I can weigh the one I have before I leave.) 8 ounces

Hydration pouch (the food doesn't really cool off that much when I don't use it.) 2 ounces

Collapsible nylon bowl (the filter doesn't clog any less when I don't use it to dip-and-filter) 2 ounces

Princeton Tec Scout headlamp (that Impulse clip-on light, with the nifty little hat clip, seems to do the job.) 4 ounces

And how did that Nalgene Lexan (or whatever it's made of now) replace my Nalgene Cantene?? 4 ounces

Total saved: 36 ounces - a bit over 2 pounds! blush

I was shocked, to say the least - and may have become a bit of an ounce counter again! (Or maybe just a believer in an annual spring cleaning.)

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#151700 - 06/20/11 02:03 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
We all need to do this sort of thing periodically. It's not just on our bodies that the pounds creep up over the years! laugh
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#151703 - 06/20/11 02:15 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Gee, OM, thanks for reminding me of that one, too - I'm still working on the 10 pounds that snuck on over the winter! wink

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#151705 - 06/20/11 03:46 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'm still working on that type of weight, too--it's more or less perpetual!
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#151712 - 06/20/11 07:31 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I think we have to be careful to evaluate if all that new stuff is really needed. I just use topo maps (yes with edges cut off) and have eliminated the compass becaues I hike in areas with very distinct landmarks. I do not take: cell phone, GPS, personal locator, batteries, or any other electronic gagets, except my camera. And weight was a big consideration when I bought a new camera. I do not take a headlamp when it is full moon. I cut off the handle of my toothbrush so it fits in a snack size zip lock, not to save weight. I do not take a "camp towel" - I use my head kerchief. I do not take a bowl- I eat out of the cooking pot. I do not take "extras" - I just am very careful not to loose things. I cut off excess strap lengths on my pack. Not just for weight savings- I just do not like to have a dangling ends. I resist 90% of the "toys" and goodies offered now at REI. No hydration bladder- I use old vinegar bottles. I use chlorine tabs and do not carry more than 1 liter water - often only half a liter of water. I plan my food so I have NOTHING left when I walk out. There are a lot of lighter options for clothing, but I am too cheap to buy them until my stuff wears out.

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#151717 - 06/20/11 08:10 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: wandering_daisy]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Daisy, we pack a lot alike. I still print maps, don't bother with cell phones or electronics (unless I'm doing the ham radio thing), still like to cut and slice out non-essentials, I use socks for padding in my pack straps, platypus bags and recycled bottles, bleach and coffee filters (or bandana) for water safety, and find the lightest clothing at walmart and Academy. I don't mess with a stove where permitted and use cookfires IF I cook at all. Still use my trusty "Beyond Backpacking" lightened umbrella for shade...none lighter. Part of the fun of this hobby is lightness without loss of comfort. A thinking game.
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#151721 - 06/20/11 11:16 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Dryer
Part of the fun of this hobby is lightness without loss of comfort. A thinking game.


That's really the key right there.

I cut my toothbrush handle for the same reason W_D does, but I take a handi-wipe for the kitchen and some paper towels for after dinner cleanup.

I almost always take a topo map and usually take my GPS. I like the additional tools the GPS gives me, like time for the sun rise/set, moon rise/set, tracks, routes, waypoints, et. I like having the wide area coverage with all the topo maps I can load into it, and my exact position on them, but when hiking I mostly use my GPS to cross-reference with my printed map and my position on it. Because I have the GPS I can do that without being in a position to locate landmarks, which is tough to do in the thick forested hollows we have here. Being able to head straight back to my camp or car after wondering around bushwhacking a few miles has saved me a lot of time and miles hauling my pack.

I take my cell phone too, mostly because of the camera and the weather forecast I can get with it. A friend and I dashed out of the Ozark NF a day early this winter and beat a very nasty storm home. I'm really glad we did too. We would have survived, we'd have been warm enough and had enough food, but we would have been locked down with no way out for at least two or three extra days, and it would have been, at the very least, uncomfortable. Here, even if you can't make a call, you can often send a text message. That works out good for letting my wife know where I am and that I'm okay. All in all, that's a lot of bang for the weight right there, but that Android phone does a lot more too. It also has a pretty good GPS and if it could last a week on a single charge, or even have a changeable battery, it could be an amazing tool for backpacking. It's pretty darn close right now.

So, for me, those two items, the GPS and Smart Phone, have actually provided a lot of comfort. I would not ever want to rely on any battery powered gizmo for my safety and well being, but I do like having them smile

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#151723 - 06/21/11 12:27 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: wandering_daisy]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I pack a lot like you WD. My cell phone did manage to creep it's way into my pack as a regular occupant - but only to replace the one or two paperback books I would usually carry - and that is it's only purpose on the trail for me - I use it to read books at night. (It has occasionally worked well as a backup camera). I did weigh it - it's actually a little lighter than the average paperback - so I think I came out ahead.

I am typically running with printed topos, and nothing else. I don't bother with a compass in the mountains. I do in flatlands. I've still not succumbed to taking a GPS with me unless I know I want it for a reason.

Glen - I've done periodic "pack evictions" like you talk about. things that always seem to be there and getting evicted:

0 - books - buy it on kindle and put it on the phone!
1 - extra lighters - I need one extra - not three
2 - extra batteries - My petzl e-light lasts all season on two little cr2032 batteris for going pee and the odd evening task. I've not yet stooped to not taking the e-light - I know it's a luxury and I could do without it just fine
3 - extra tie lines and guylines - I seem to toss the odd bit more in and soon I have the proverbial ball of string - I need some little bit of utility cord with me, but not a huge amount!
4 - knives - I need my little teeny SAK, or my opinel, but not both
5 - pills - I want my two aleve a day, a few ibuprophen, and a vitamin a day - no more.
6 - bandaids and blister treatment - I put a *lot* more of this in when taking newbies on the trail, then evict it from my pack again when it's just me
7 - (a recent eviction) my wool gloves in warm weather - I now typically *wear* mechanic's gloves while hiking/scrambling and these are good enough as pot lifters and hand warming in warm weather.
8 - pot lifter - use gloves that can take some heat
9 - firestarters - I take *one* candle. and only just in case. more keep creeping in. with a sharp knife and a lighter I manage to light fires even in some very wet rainforest. just takes some patience. (the candle is for an emercency when I do not have such patience)






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#151732 - 06/21/11 08:54 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: phat]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I've done periodic "pack evictions"


So that's what you call it. grin
My fire kit grew from book matches to lighters, fire steel, and paraffin starters I make up. All that has been 'evicted' back down to 3 book match packs and a couple birthday candles.
I bag the matches and put them in different places to keep 'em dry. Firesteels are only good for stove lighting, I've decided.
I like to practice "single match technique" when lighting the chiminea on the porch...you get pretty good at it after awhile.

Phones/GPS....I'll only carry a phone on day hikes or, if I'm technically "at work" and clients need to reach me, meaning I've stolen away a couple nights. It stays off...on, to check messages.
A GPS is fun if I'm going off trail, but a good map is much easier to read an can't die. I don't own a SPOT.

Hammock...tried all the fancy whoopie slings, tree huggers, biners, etc. and have gone back to single suspension line simplicity. Two/three wraps around the tree...done. Shaved off some ounces and pack size.

I've got a nice 11oz. pump/filter that has traveled many miles and came out of the bag "o" times...it's never been used. So, I evicted it. I have a simple gravity bag/filter from silnylon that is much lighter, if I filter at all.

No headlamps. Sill using a red and white Inova coin cell light. Those hang around my neck with my Silva compass/whistle...then on the ridgeline in the hammock at night.

TP...evicted years ago. Leaves, water, drop of bronners, cloth (8" square of pack towel). Much cleaner, no trash, and much lighter when you consider the ziplocks and what TP rolls weigh. You run out of TP anyway after a few days.

Most clothing...evicted. Depends on where I'm hiking but usually what I'm wearing is all I bring. I'd rather wash it.

Trekking poles...evicted one. Can't hold umbrella and two poles. grin
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#151741 - 06/21/11 12:11 PM What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: Dryer]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
Jeez, how are you guys able to do this without a change of clothes????? When I'm done hiking at the end of the day,I am almost always fully sweated out, I mean dripping, if not very moist. I go swimming, hang those rinsed clothes up to dry, and put on the clothes that I rinsed out from the day before. It not just a question of oder but rather moisture. Fires are not allowed in the areas I hike. I DO NOT want to sit around all night in wet clothes. Additionally, what do you guys do if it rains? Put on rain gear and sweat even more? Then what when you get to camp? Its cold and wet and you don't have a change of clothes?

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#151743 - 06/21/11 12:47 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: OldScout]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Well...OldScout....it's easy. I'm in Texas and hike mostly desert. Yeah you sweat and stink, but your dry. Rain is a blessing. Anyways, I've hiked plenty of rainy places but find the rules are the same. Wear stuff that dries really fast, no cotton. My underwear is the cut out lining of Brooks nylon running shorts. Dries in seconds with a quick rinse. Socks are the thinnest nylon I can find. Sometimes I wear the running shorts to hike in (not cutting out the linings), while my convertibles dry out. My shirt is always a white poly blend, long sleeve, cheapo dress shirt. They wick well, keep me cool, dry super fast. I'll sometimes bring a poly shirt to sleep in...and take advantage of bathing opportunities, which might be a clothing rinse and wet rag wipedown. I'm very careful in the desert to not pollute water sources. If hiking along our lakes or paddling, I'll dive right in. grin

Oh, yeah, the rain part....with a poncho and umbrella, I don't often get wet but sometimes enjoy it in summer. My pants dry out in under an hour, as do shirts, if the humidity is low. So, i try to make sure I'm dried out in plenty of time for camp. There are some fabrics that simply don't hold much water and that's what I'm looking for. I did hike Vancouver Island once where nothing seemed to dry out fast...so, sleep commando, or in your sleeping shirt, and your stuff should be dry'ish by morning. Body heat takes it from there.
Oddly enough, I learned a lot about lightweight travel from Rick Steves....look him up...he's got good ideas.


Edited by Dryer (06/21/11 12:56 PM)
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#151744 - 06/21/11 12:58 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: OldScout]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2939
Loc: NorCal
Unless it's freakishly cold, I doff and rinse my hiking shirt and undershorts at the end of the day, changing into my "sleeping" shirt and boxers. I like wearing clean clothing in my bag, which helps keep it from becoming a biohazard. In the Sierra the hiking clothes usually dry overnight, so I can wear them the next day. If it's raining my clean clothes routine begins to break down.

I don't carry spare pants like I once did, so I suppose I've cut back there, and everything is weighed before I pack it. Those ounces add up.

Cheers,
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#151745 - 06/21/11 01:34 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: Rick_D]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Just so you do not think it is only a "Sierra" thing, when in the Wind Rivers, I also take no second changes of clothes. I get up early and plan to stop by about 3PM. I rinse out my shirt and underware and let them dry between thunderstorms. I wear my fleece or raingear. I do not do this every day- but when the sun shines. Lots of time I take my "dip" in the streams on lunch breaks before the typical afternoon storms. I dry clothes on the top of my backpack while I am walking. Going without underware for a few hours is no big deal. Noon is also my standard time to wash hair. It dries quickly in the wind. Worst case of continuous cold, I simply stink the duration. I also never sleep in my hiking clothes and try to keep one layer mostly clean for sleeping. When the hiking shirt gets too stinky I wash it and put it on wet. It usually dries while I am walking. I wear long gaiters that really help to keep mud off my hiking pants. I wash the gaiters every day. I take 3 pair of wool socks and rotate them. One washed pair on my pack to dry, one on my feet and the other packed inside so I have dry socks at night. Of course, in the sunny Sierra this is a whole lot easier.

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#151748 - 06/21/11 02:58 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: OldScout]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I hiked and climbed in the PNW for over 30 years and almost never took a change of clothes except underwear. When I was on the trail, I dressed lightly and let the clothes I had on get wet either from sweat, rain or both. In camp, I would change into my around-camp clothes, usually down or fleece if it was cold, light fleece if it was only cool. I generally would take a pair of extra socks and that was about it.

A friend and I hiked to Lake Constance one very humid July afternoon on a climb of Mt. Constance. The climb to the lake is about 5000' in about two miles IIRC. Like you mentioned, we were literally dripping with sweat by the time we got to the lake. I just let my nylon pants dry (sort of) overnight and changed into dry undies. Our clothes got just as wet again the next day; we just dealt with it.

Whenever it would rain (a lot of the time) we would just wear as few clothes as possible and try to keep the warm layers dry in our packs. In camp, off came the hiking stuff and on went the warm stuff.
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#151751 - 06/21/11 04:16 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: Pika]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
Well, maybe its a matter of semantics. You say you almost never take along "a change of clothes" yet you change into your "around camp clothes" when you hit camp at the end of the day. I have one set of extra clothes consisting of underwear, wool socks, pants, and a long sleeve shirt, all fast-drying synthetic clothes, except the socks. I wash the clothes that I just hiked in, and put on the dry set, use those for my "around camp clothes" and then hike in those "around camp clothes" the next day while the wet set dries (hopefully). Repeat process.

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#151752 - 06/21/11 04:44 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: OldScout]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I mostly backpack in cool/cold weather so usually I take three layers. Since I mix and match those depending conditions you could say I don't bring a change of clothes when I'm wearing all of what I brought, or you could say I have one or more changes when I'm only wearing one layer.

As far as rain goes, I try to have one layer packed to stay dry at all times. Generally that's a pair of fleece pants and shirt when I'm hiking, but it can vary.

In the past few years I have cut back a lot on the weight of the clothes I bring, and I wear everything I bring now too. I don't think I could go much lighter there without spending a lot or being cold.

I'm always looking for a deal though. My nylon zip-offs are getting pretty old and beat up, and I can't find those on the shelves of any stores around here anymore. Don't know what I'm going to do about that frown


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#151754 - 06/21/11 06:04 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: billstephenson]
backpacking4life Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 1
I hike in cooler to cold conditions. To eliminate the problem of bring to much clothes I plan according to the conditions I will be in, not all the conditions possible.

I will wear one set of clothes: a shirt with long sleeve over, and light fast drying pants. I will wear this for almost the whole time (no more than 4 days). If I get wet I have another whole set of clothes. I then bring a light jacket. If it gets too cold I can put on both sets of clothes at the same time with my jacket.

On top of this I will bring a rain suit if the conditions permit. I can wear all of my clothes at once if it is cold, and remain dry no matter how bad it is raining.

To even get more critical, or if you have the money; it would be smart to invest into getting all of the 5 basic layers that are MADE FOR BACKPACKING. These layers are the (1) base layer (2) inner layer (3) mid layer (4) insulating layer (5) outer layer. If you want more information on this visit Backpacking For Beginners , my website (still under construction). If you can stick to these you will be comfortable.

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#151804 - 06/22/11 11:43 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
OK, a couple of days have passed since my "gear eviction." I got my summer weekend weight, including the pack, food, and a liter of water, down to just over 17 pounds, according to my spreadsheet; I even weighed it, packed, and the spreadsheet load really did weigh 17 pounds! That 3-pound, 60-liter pack is suddenly looking like a lot of dead weight, so I began looking at lighter packs (principally large daypacks, like the Deuter ACT Trail 32 or Osprey Talon 44, and at "frameless" packs like the Golite Jam that still had at least a pad pocket and padded hipbelt.) Most weighed 1 - 2 pounds, and were rated as "comfortable" for 15 - 20 pound loads. No problem - take my current 17 and deduct 2, and I'm at 15. I should leap at this, right?

Then I relearned a lesson that Colin Fletcher talked in Complete Walker IV (or was it III?), on the relative merits of the ultralight rev- or evolution.

The 15 pound load, in the large daypack, is blissful on those summer hikes, with the sun shining through the 70-degree air, as you walk along with a stream always burbling beside the trail. Then you hit the point, just after noon, where the trail veers off from the stream, heads uphill for 2,500 feet, and eventually rejoins the brook about noon the next day. You load up an extra 3 liters of water, and suddenly you're carrying 21 pounds in a frameless daypack rated for 15 - and will be doing so for about 5 hours.

As Fletcher said, water can make a hash of the best-laid ultralight plans.

I'm thinking the two extra pounds of pack, mostly suspension, is not really a frivolous luxury. Overkill at 17 pounds, yes; but then I thought about my last 3 trips, and realized that all of those loads found me carrying extra water, and carrying at least one layer of warmer clothing - all of that had me carrying 25 pounds for at least an afternoon, if not a full day. Another spreadsheet theory shot down by reality.

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#151809 - 06/23/11 11:43 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Glenn]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
Water can often be an issue for me as well. Just last weekend I took my ten-year old on a two day trip into the local mountains. He weighs just 68 pounds, so I figure his maximum load should be around 17 pounds (one quarter of his weight). I weigh everything down to the gram and have him at 12 without water -- then realize I'm hiking into a canyon where, while I'm reasonably sure there will be water, I'm not absolutely certain.

So I weigh him down with three and a half liters of water, putting him over his weight limit, at least for the first couple of miles. He did fine (plenty of water in the creek, after all), but it brought home again the importance of considering everything. Think I'll see if I can shave a few more ounces from his load before our next trip.
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#151810 - 06/23/11 12:19 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Haiwee]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Once, I came up with the idea of carrying freeze-dried water, but I could never find any comercially available. I tried dehydrating my own, thinking I'd store it in ziploc bags, but it never quite worked, somehow. smile

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#151811 - 06/23/11 12:52 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: Glenn]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
When you load up on water, you have a peak load, but it doesn't (or shouldn't) last very long. As you drink regularly, the load diminishes. It is false economy to "ration water."

I can't understand why commercial interests haven't taken an interest in developing a good brand of tasty dehydrated water. There is definitely a market, and we need job creation.

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#151813 - 06/23/11 01:23 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: oldranger]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
For week+ long trips, I can't seem to get under 30 lbs. but then I carry two qts. of water also, with a 2 lb. bear canister. 5lbs. right there. All those other little things add up in a hurry. I think I need to leave the 4 oz. flashlight at home along with the 11 oz. camp shoes etc. I have not used my 20oz. Slinglight chair for a few years, so can't blame that.

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#151815 - 06/23/11 04:32 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: oldranger]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
In the example I used, my peak load would be 4 liters, diminishing to 3 liters by the time I got to camp. I'd use 2 liters overnight (cooking supper and breakfast, and drinking), and leave with my "standard" 1 liter load, which would be enough to get me to water sometime late in the morning. (That's typical for the part of the country I hike in; other climates might require modification of my numbers to fit those conditions.) So, I'd be carrying 6 to 8 pounds of water most of an afternoon - not the end of the world, but definitely noticeable as I climbed the hill, and definitely more than enough to overwhelm a lightweight suspension like the one in my 32L pack.


Edited by Glenn (06/23/11 04:33 PM)

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#152060 - 06/28/11 09:37 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: phat]
TomM Offline
member

Registered: 11/05/05
Posts: 26
Originally Posted By phat

YES! geez, I have a heck of a time finding both good guy lines that aren't heavy - guylines make my tarp a *lot* heavier!



You might want to take a look at mono-filament fishing line as a replacement.

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#152079 - 06/29/11 12:43 PM Re: What?!?!?!? No Change of Clothes??? [Re: OldScout]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Back to clothes, I follow the pattern suggested here I think by Oregon Mouse (good luck with Hysson)some time ago. The clothes I have with me can all be worn at the same time (including into the sleeping bag), and, in total will keep me toasty warm on the coldest night I am likely to face on a given trip. If I'm wearing boots for a particular trail, I will also carry crocks, and I have spare undershorts and socks, but that's about the extent of my duplication.

I also have a poncho and rain gear, but the poncho is also my shelter, and my rain gear is what I wear in town while everything else is in the laundry. The jacket doubles as my wind shirt, and I use the rain pants when the trail conditions require long pants.

Aside from what I've mentioned, I'm usually wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt (often over wicking T-shirt). I typically carry a WM down vest, a set of lightweight silk longies, a fleece cap and light fleece gloves. That's it.

Hope this is useful. Best, jcp

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#152094 - 06/29/11 07:28 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: TomM]
RHodo Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 60
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Funny you should mention. I just stripped some braided Dacron off the fishing reel to hang my food bag.

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#152099 - 06/29/11 09:22 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: TomM]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By TomM
Originally Posted By phat

YES! geez, I have a heck of a time finding both good guy lines that aren't heavy - guylines make my tarp a *lot* heavier!



You might want to take a look at mono-filament fishing line as a replacement.


tangles horribly, and terrible to tie and untie wink

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#152100 - 06/29/11 09:23 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: RHodo]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By RHodo
Funny you should mention. I just stripped some braided Dacron off the fishing reel to hang my food bag.


Dacron backing is ok for some stuff - but is not the greatest to tie and untie, and if you need to haul up or down a heavy food bag with it you may find it a bit difficult/uncomfortable to deal with pulling on line that thin.
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#152105 - 06/29/11 10:47 PM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: phat]
RHodo Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 60
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Originally Posted By phat


Dacron backing is ok for some stuff - but is not the greatest to tie and untie,

I planned to follow my eldest brother's example and untie it with a knife!
Originally Posted By phat

and if you need to haul up or down a heavy food bag with it you may find it a bit difficult/uncomfortable to deal with pulling on line that thin.


First I switched to paracord because it's lighter per foot than the braided cord you find at Wallyworld but it snags when running over a branch. Even with paracord I always wrap a few loops around a stick and use that to haul with.

You bring up good points, I'll try hauling a couple of gallons of water up a tree at home before heading out. I'm also concerned about it cutting thru the bark and plan to abandon the idea if it does.

Thanks,

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#152120 - 06/30/11 08:55 AM Re: So, back to 'lightweight backpacking'...Who still [Re: RHodo]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By RHodo
Originally Posted By phat


Dacron backing is ok for some stuff - but is not the greatest to tie and untie,

I planned to follow my eldest brother's example and untie it with a knife!


Doesn't work so good if you need to use it more than once. and if the lines tangle, it's a bear to undo..

Quote:

Originally Posted By phat

and if you need to haul up or down a heavy food bag with it you may find it a bit difficult/uncomfortable to deal with pulling on line that thin.


First I switched to paracord because it's lighter per foot than the braided cord you find at Wallyworld but it snags when running over a branch. Even with paracord I always wrap a few loops around a stick and use that to haul with.

You bring up good points, I'll try hauling a couple of gallons of water up a tree at home before heading out. I'm also concerned about it cutting thru the bark and plan to abandon the idea if it does.

Thanks,


I found it cut through stuff pretty good and wasn't very good to hang stuff - I did try this once a while back smile
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