Two nights in the summer in Ohio: 22 pounds, including my hiking shoes and 1 liter of water. Add a pound of food for each extra day, and 2 pounds for each extra liter of water (rarely do I start out with more than 1 liter.) At the four-night point, add another pound of clothing (spare T-shirt, third pair of socks, clean boxers.)
Two nights in winter in Ohio, light skiff of snow on the ground: 26 pounds. (I don't do more than 2 nights in cold weather.)
Loc: Portland, OR
For two nights in the summer in the PNW? I would probably average about 28 lbs. for everything, including the clothes I'm wearing, footwear, food, fuel, water, a camera, a book, and a PLB. Substitute a non-snow low-elevation hike in March and I'd probably creep it up to around 31 lbs. give or take.
If were in a contest to see how little I could take for two days in summer, I could see that 28 lbs. dropping to more like 24 lbs. But it's never a contest, so I always bring the book, camera, etc.
I rarely do a weekend trip, so here are my last summer's trips. On each I had to take a bear cannister -- 2 pounds. I only carry 1/2 liter water. I drink out of streams if need be. I tend to be a low water consumption person (or camel as my kids say). So the water I carry is only 1 pounds 4 oz. The only thing deleted are hiking clothes/shoes I wear and trekking poles. I plan using a spreadsheet, but then step on the scales at home to verify the weight. The weight given below is starting weight on my back. I do not carry stuff in my pockets. I hate the feel of it jingling around.
Two Yosemite low elev trips. 4-day June trip= 21 pounds and Oct trip=24 pounds (took fishing gear on this one and extra clothing).
5-Day Desloation Wilderness, mod high elev, June, 26.7 pounds
7-day High Sierra trip, July, Brewer Basin- 28.2 pounds
8-day Southern Yosemite, mod high elev, late Sept, 31 pounds
9-day Kings Canyon NP, high altitude, August, got snowed on, 33 pounds
On two 9-day trips with my husband I carried close to 40 pounds, just because I carry all the group gear and 3/4 the food. He has a heart conditions, so if we want to do any sort of miles, I have to carry more.
I carry a little more weight per day when I go into the Rockies to accomodate the generally worse weather.
I thought I was the only one who didn't carry stuff in my pockets. I don't like the jingling, either - but what's worse is when the jingling stops. That usually means a backtrack to find whatever fell out.
Loc: San Diego CA
With my recently "updated" setup (including tent), that 35 pounds is close to what I would take on a weekend backpack in the desert. But I would also be carrying close to 20 pounds of water to start. This would include clothes for nights down to freezing, 20 degree bag, desert FAK, and everything else for a solo run.
I don't use hiking poles, never keep stuff in my pockets (don't like how it feels), and don't include most of the clothes and the boots I start the trek with. My new backpack has a pocket on each side that I keep snacks, camera, lib balm, and sunscreen in and THAT is included in the weight.
How true that all those little things add up! I also have found if I limit the size of my ditty bag as well as the weight, this makes me choose personal hygiene items that I most want, and not take everything. I quit taking a towel long ago- just do not need it. I now dry myself with my hiking shirt before I rinse it out. On the other hand knowing exactly what each item weighs allows me to ADD a few items guilt free. I now always add my 2.5 oz balaclava in addition to my regular fleece hat. I find that wearing both the balaclava and hat creates amazing warmth. It is about as good as adding an extra layer of micro-fleece.
I think food and water are huge weight items we need to look at more closely. It is easy to say that the food and water we take are absolutely neccessary therefore off the table for weight reduction. I disagree. The water I carry on the trail is less than what I would prefer, but it works, and "tanking up" in the morning and at camp suffices. I also think you need to re-think "emergency water" in context with being willing to drink straight out of a stream occassionally if needed. Treating water reduces risk, but in a lot of places the risk of drinking untreated water is pretty low. I filter weighs nearly a pound. Is it really needed? I use chlorine tabs that take some time to work. Occassionally I end up drinking out of a stream. That is a risk I am willing to take.
When reducing your pack weight you have to look at everything you take in light of risk reduction, not risk elimination. And you have to be able to separate needs from wants. Just considering those two concepts will do a lot to get rid of excess weight.
I weighed myself with and without the pack before my overnight trip this past weekend. It was 21.2 pounds with 2 liters of water and 1.5 - 2 pounds of food. That doesn't include my clothes or shoes because I didn't take them off to weigh myself without the pack. I don't get the point of "skin-out" weight. My backpacking clothing and shoes are similar weight to what I wear the rest of the time, so it really has little to do with backpacking weight. If it's not in the pack, it doesn't contribute to the backpack digging into my hip bones and collar bones and restricting my walking motion.
Loc: Portland, OR
I don't get the point of "skin-out" weight.
It is mostly useful for capturing the weight of items in your pockets, your trekking poles (if any) and your footwear. Plus it smoothes out any differences caused by what you are wearing at any particular time. For example, if I zip off my convertible pant-legs and stick them in my pack, my pack weight goes up a few ounces, but my skin-out weight remains constant.
It also makes for a less fraudulent point of comparison with other hikers, if you are caught in a cut-throat game of "who has the lightest set-up?"
For our last overnight, my pack was 23lb and my boyfriend's was 26lb (his pack actually weighs 6lb). Another night would add a few more pounds of food, obviously. Some things are shared between us, but we each carry a hammock, which is actually a tad heavier than my 3-person tent split between 2 people, but soo much more comfortable. I actually do find this thread more useful than the base weight - doesn't make me feel like such a heavyweight.
Good thoughts on food and water. I always take a filter, but I consider it part of the luxury items I allow myself - tablets work, but for a half a pound, I gain a lot of convenience. I'd still leave them behind if weight was critical, though.
I also don't carry emergency food any more - but that's driven by the fact that I hike in the East, where help is rarely more than 10 miles away, and I can go hungry for a day if I have to. If I'm hurt, I'll be on a regularly traveled trail, and be found in a couple days. Since I'll be immobile, I won't be burning up as many calories, so I can make one day's food last a couple of days. (If I were hiking in truly remote areas, off-trail, or in cold weather, I'd take extra.)
Since I'm usually carrying about 5 pounds more body weight than I'd like, and am rarely out more than 2 or 3 days, I can get by with a bit less food - flavor and variety aren't critical, so freeze-dried food and oatmeal or granola bars work fine, and I can get by with about a pound of food a day.
I like your comments about risk, too - I tend to operate on the idea that nothing is risk-free, so it comes down to how much risk I'm willing to accept, and that varies by season and trip length, as well as other things.
Edited by Glenn (03/06/1207:55 PM) Edit Reason: clarifying that 5 pounds is me, not pack
Call it about 9.5 pounds base. then at 2 pounds worth of water, 4-5 pounds worth of food and fuel, and I'm somewhere around 15 or 16 pounds for my two night weekender.. but that assumes I'm ground dwelling..... You can drop a pound off that if I just tarp, Add a pound if I hammock, many options there
I really think this isnt relavent totally either. Like slowfoot says. The stuff in my pockets two knives and gerber tool on belt I carry every day of my life! It is irrelavant to my pack weight as it is normall for me to carry. so weight naked isnt a good judge. The weight beyond your everyday carry is relavant! Just my opinion. Unless you consider naked weight everyday carry?
Jim I agree but my point is weigh yourself clothed in daily attire for ten days and get a average. Include what you carry everyday! Now dress in backpacking attire with full pack and gear and weigh! This would be the real truth,dont you think? My backpacking clothes are a bit lighter than my everyday jeans etc. Shoes may be a couple ounce heavier. My point is yes you are right hard to judge. But the weight is only relavant beyond your everyday average carry? Right or wrong? I often carry a gun as well. Will I backpacking I havent determined? But if I do does the weight count if my body normally carries it?
The point is that backpacking is not everyday life. I hike in the mountains at 10,000feet + and live at sea level. Everything on me, including what I am wearing, and any excess fat I carry on my body, has to be hauled uphill, at altitude. The lighter TOTAL weight, the easier this task becomes. Although I do not know if it is proven, the saying is that a pound on your feet need more energy to lift than a pound in your pack. I suppose it is because your foot moves around more then the center of gravity of your pack. The whole REASON to go lighter is to use less energy, thus you can either go farther, faster, or have more energy once in camp to do all the stuff you enjoy, like fishing. You do not go UL to impress others, it is all about expanding what you can do. Why? Well, say of you are going to do the PCT in one season, you have to make about 25 miles a day. Most humans have to really lighten up to be able to do that, day in and day out for several months. Much backpacking does not require UL. But some does.
Loc: San Diego CA
In reality these are just guidelines; tools to organize and plan. Whatever works for you, the key word being "works". But if you are struggling up that 2000ft climb, or struggling to go 15 miles plus a day, you may want to reconsider being a little more picky about how you define the weight you are carrying. And yes, the weight of your boots/shoes counts then. My boots weigh 2 pounds each. Say I take about 2110 steps per mile. Say I do 10 miles (21,100 steps), or 20 miles (42,200 steps), or 25 miles (52,800 steps) in a day. That is a lot of 2 pound reps. Wearing a 1 pound shoe is going to make it easier to maintain that rhythm/pace for multiple days. Why do think athletes train with ankle weights for running or jumping?
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Kent W
But the weight is only relavant beyond your everyday average carry? Right or wrong?
I see your point, but I think for comparison purposes estimating the weight of everything besides your naked self is really the number that counts.
I have almost no body fat. Now, that might make me lighter than most to begin with, but I backpack mostly when it's cold out, so being lean may not be any advantage at all because I have to add some insulation that others might do without. And I have to agree with W_D, I still have to carry whatever I'm wearing, so the choices I make for that can make a big difference.
As Jim points outs, if you carry a gun (or a laptop computer) with you everywhere you go everyday it's still weight you have to count if you carry it backpacking. You choose to carry the gun on the trip, or not, so it's added weight.
Same with shoes. I used to wear heavy duty work boots when I built cars for living, I remember getting my first pair of lightweight mid-hiking boots in 1987. Man, they were like wearing feathers on my feet. I can't imagine wearing work boots now. And I can't wear trail runners either. They are lighter, but they're not for me. That's a choice too though.
And there's a great deal of wisdom in that. I'm not going to take more or less or different stuff just because YOUR pack is 2 pounds lighter than mine. Pack weight, whether "base" or "from skin out" is only useful as a starting point:
"Hey, Bill, I see your pack is smaller than mine, and when I lift yours, it's a lot lighter than mine. How much does it weigh?"
"Well, Sue, before food, fuel and water, it's about 14 pounds; the food and water add about 4 or 5."
Now we can, if Sue wants to, begin to talk about how to reduce the weight of her pack. Much of that discussion is going to be about techniques, which can affect both base and FSO weight, food, and water. (A lighter shelter affects base weight only; a switch to freezer bag cooking can affect both base weight - less cook gear - and consumables - less food weight.)
Beyond that, comparing my base weight to yours, if we both are happy with our loads, is pretty pointless, and comparing FSO weights even more so, since preference and technique figures so heavily into it. (I like trail shoes and shorts, you may like full-on boots and long pants; you carry a Kabar knife, I carry a tiny Gerber LST Mini.)
In the end, the first priority is take only what you need, then carry the lightest functional version you can find.
[quote=Steadman]OK, referencing two conversations we're having, what is everybody's pack weight (step on the scale naked, step on the scale ready to head up the trail w/food, water, etc) weight for a weekend.
I walked out the door with about 35lbs on my back over President's day weekend, and had way too much food at the end of the hike (learning). [/quote I assume you mean summer, weekend only I would maybe be heavy. Might tend to not go ultralight on food. No long weekend places to hike any distance close around here. Best case scenario would be Ice age trail. even then what 4 miles a day loop? Might carry steak potatos and real eggs. I sure wont fire up dehydrator for two day trip. Pretty broad spectrum but I will say pack would be 30 pounds including 6 pack or so! Short hike im gonna live a little bit!
Over the winter I hit the sales and upgraded to lighter gear wherever I could cheaply.
Right now for a spring overnighter, my pack is at 25 lb, including food and 1.4 liters of water. My sleeping bag is a zero degree-rated 4.6 lb synthetic fill bag, and my pack is a 25 year old Jansport that weighs 4.4 lb, so two of the "big three" still have plenty of weight to cut.
This summer I am looking forward to switching to a fleece liner bag and a UL pack. Then I should be around 19 lb. including food and water.
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