This might be a stupid question but....

12:16 a.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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How heavy is your pack for a 3 day trip? I just weighed the damn thing and was surprised to see it at 42 lbs. I got no problem carrying that but I figured it'd be lighter! Also there is nothing realy that I can get rid of so unless someone loaded bricks while I wasn't looking I just got to buy lighter stuff from now on.

8:49 a.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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Over the last few years I have gradually moved to lighter gear. I'm not an ultralight freak, I still believe in having my creature comforts (things like a nice tent, full-length air mattress, extra clothes, etc). On an 8-day trip that I took last month, my starting pack weight was about 47lb. That included steak for the first night, my bear canister weight (2.7lb), and 3L water. I will be going on a short 2-day trip next week, my starting weight will probably be around 35lb or less.

9:13 a.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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For a three night trip, my pack will average around the 45 lbs range.

My pack (Camp Trails Wilderness internal frame) empty weighs about 7 lbs.

My tent weighs about 4 lbs, my sleeping bag less than 2 lbs, thermarest lite about 1.25 lbs, Bluett stove with a large and small cannister, one quart of water, about 5 lbs of, it sure can add up quickly.

9:18 a.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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OK, so I'm not that far off (I'm actually on the lighter side ;) ). Being that I have been out of it for a while (backpacking) I was worried that I might be overpacking.


12:45 p.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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I'm glad some others have similar pack weights to my own. I can't imagine how people get to these under 20 pound weights for 3 day trips without a serious sense of self deprivation.

3:51 p.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)
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I belong to a lightweight backpacking forum, so even though I don't consider myself a UL backpacker, I am familiar with a lot of the gear and techniques they use. It's a whole different mind set.

For 3 season trips-winter is whole different story-UL means lightweight internal frame or frameless packs that weigh as little as 1 or 2 lbs; ultralight cook kit-often a one or two titanium pots with a very small canister stove or Pepsi can alcohol stove that weighs a few oz at the most; UL bags (some are 1 lb.) or even quilts; trail runners instead of boots; UL clothes; minimal accessories and safety gear-very light headlamps, tiny compasses, minimal first aid supplies;freeze dried food and a tarp shelter that weighs less than a lb. Some UL one or two person tents offer full protection for around 2 lbs. or less.

Even though I'm not a UL person, around 45 lbs for a couple of days sounds high to me-that's only a few pounds less than what I carried in winter, including a bear canister, big pack, snow shovel, extra clothes-parka, fleece, outer shells, etc., extra pad, overbag, canister stove and so on. For a summer weekend trip in SoCal, I had far less than that-maybe 25 lbs. at most.

4:17 p.m. on September 15, 2006 (EDT)

No stupid pack weight for a 3 season 3 day trip is around 19 pounds- with food, without water. I hang my food, bear canister used only when required by Park. I use a hammock (with bug net and fly) that weighs under 2 pounds, 30 degree Down bag, 1.5 pounds, 3700ci internal frame pack, 3.5 pounds.

Once you have the 'big three'- pack, tent, sleeping bag under 10 pounds, the rest is gravy. I carry a real first aid kit, 10+ essentials, and use a canister stove and water filter. I carry a pillow, camp sandals and plenty of warm clothes- as needed. I have never felt unprepared for conditions.

I choose my gear based on weight, utility and durability.
I try to get multiple uses out of each piece of gear.

I don't consider myself Ultralight-I don't like to rough it that bad!

12:07 p.m. on September 17, 2006 (EDT)
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For 3 days my pack weight is around 22#, including my bear vault solo & I am not at all deprived! Also, I am a long way from being an UL backpacker.

On a 6 day trip my pack weight is 32#.

42# sounds awfully heavy to me!

1:28 p.m. on September 17, 2006 (EDT)
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My 3-season base packweight (including clothes I wear), regardless of trip length is 15 lbs. The variables are water, fuel, and food. For 3 days with iffy water sources this can mean another 10-12 lbs. Steve

11:21 a.m. on September 18, 2006 (EDT)
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my 3 season weight for a 3 day trip is around 35 to 40 lbs. my pack is 6lbs empty my tent is 6, my kitchen is around 3 lbs, food is around 5 lbs my sleeping bag is, 3lbs and then there is water and cloths that end up in my pack. but that is constantly changing due to weather.

12:17 p.m. on September 18, 2006 (EDT)
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then add in the GPSR, the pocket knife, the hammock and rainfly, three extra tent pegs, couple spools of rope, the head lamp, the flash light, the light sticks, the reflective tape and push pins, the compass, the first aid kit, gallon of tequila, couple limes and salt, rain suit, extra socks, extra t-shirt, extra compression shorts, 2 packages of baby wipes and a plastic shovel.

40 some pounds comes pretty darn quick.

9:37 p.m. on September 19, 2006 (EDT)

I think there isn't any relevance to anything in the weight of a pack, knowing yourself is what matters. If you're planning on doing mileage take less or buy lighter stuff and if you're slack packing take anything you might not be able to do without while spending those long hours relaxing with a book. I was in a shelter in NH once and a guy came in with a huge pack filled to capacity and he also had stuff tied on. He had one of those stadium seats and a sleeping pad along with a bunch of other redundant gear. I had a Camp Trails Adjustable II and the bag hung loosly on the frame. He was having the time of his life and so was I. Morale of the story: Don't get hung up on pack weight because the fun factor is most important.

3:28 p.m. on September 20, 2006 (EDT)

Infantry has been struggling with this issue for 150 years! People in Washington decide they need 75 lbs. Then they get in the field and are told to get rid of everything except water and socks. Two months into it and they have ripped off shirt sleeves, replaced a hat with a kerchief, hang on to bug repellant and socks and water .. and carry things in pocketws and belts instead of packs. (they don't use their ALICE). So they are trying to reduce weight. So start with WHAT YOU NEED (water, socks, water purifier, dry food) and move up. Do you absolutely need it? Can two of you share it? Can you buy it along the way? (carry money). Can you get along without it?

3:52 a.m. on September 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Hiked Glacier Nat'l Park this past July. Out once for three days. Packed about 20-lbs. Didn't need my boots but packed them anyway. Could've shaved another 3 lbs. Go Keen!
Want to get lighter? Hike with a partner, share the load...

3:23 p.m. on September 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Last trip I went on was a 3 day winter trip where the day time temperature never got above 15 degrees. My pack weight was 35 lbs including food and water.

12:22 p.m. on September 25, 2006 (EDT)
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Just got back from a week in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in northern New Mexico.

Number one - there is no "stupid question" except the one that is not asked.

I will agree with a number of the posts that 42 pounds is rather heavy for a 3-day trip. Question is how much each thing in your pack weighs and whether you actually use the stuff you take (plus allowing for the emergency gear).

One thing you might do is weigh each item and make a list or computer spreadsheet of what you take. Then after each trip, note whether you actually used each item and add items to the list you wished you had along. After a few trips, you will find that there are a number of items that never get used. At that point, you should decide if these are items that can be left behind or, as with first aid items that hopefully never get used, you should keep taking them.

When you look at the weights of each item, you can see which items can be replaced with lighter weight items. Of course, you have to trade cost, weight, utility, and a number of other things. For example, sometimes I take a very light weight camera (like a tiny 2 ounce digital), and sometimes I take my DSLR with 3 lenses (a 12-24, 24-120, and 80-400, the last two with vibration reduction), tripod, and flash unit, and sometimes the night-vision scope that attaches to the camera - all adding to 15-20 pounds, but needed if I am shooting wild-life photos. You want high quality photos, ya gotta get the heavy, expensive gear (and you need the knowledge to use the gear). For "memory shots", the 2-ounce camera is just fine.

You can take a 5-pound sleeping bag that is barely adequate in warmth for summer, as well as being bulky, or you can take a very pricey down bag, adequate to 0F, weighing 3 pounds or less. You can put the gear in a 6-pound pack (mentioned by one poster) or a same size 2.5 pound pack (I won one in a drawing last year that comes close to the capacity of my expedition pack that weighs 7.5 pounds empty). You can take a 7 pound 2-person tent or a 3.5 pound one that is a bit more cozy. These 3 items are the most weighty items in most packs. Add the differences up and you get 9 pounds of weight-saving with the lighter items right there.

A month or so ago, Barb and I went on a weekend backpack that had us at 30 and 38 pounds respectively. But we were headed for a potentially dry camp, so we had 4 liters of water each (generally, the recommendation is that much per day for drinking and cooking needs). That is 9 pounds of water each. If we had a source of water available, we would have only needed to have a liter bottle each, plus some method of purifying the water (an ounce of tablets or a pound of water filter shared between the 2 of us) for 12-13 pounds of weight saving for the 2 of us.

The basic idea is to think through what you are carrying, whether you need it, and whether there is a lighter alternative.

My basic pack for anything up to a week of backpacking, 3-season in the Sierra, is 15 pounds. Add to that food (roughly 2 pounds per person-day), water (depends on availability of water sources), and fuel (2 ounces per person-day). This gives me sleeping bag, inflatable pad, tent, stove, cup, pot, small camera, and clothes warm to the frosty nights of fall or early spring, and sharing of tent and cook gear with a partner. Ultra-lighters go 5 or more pounds lighter than that.

Your choice, your style.

2:59 p.m. on September 25, 2006 (EDT)
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I'm not an ultralight freak either but 40+ pounds of weight for a 3 day is really heavy for me. Even when starting I never reached 40lbs. As a rule of thumb only allow yourself 2-3 luxury items (Everything else HAS to be a necessity, though many allow themselves only 1). My only two luxury items are a pillow, small book, and an extra flashlight. Don't take camp chairs, another pair of shoes (a pair of old navy flip-flops is okay), extra extra clothing (Only hiking clothes and sleeping clothes are enough) and GPS and extra batteries and so on.

5:02 p.m. on September 25, 2006 (EDT)
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I'm actually down to the bare minimum of stuff when I'm at 40+ lbs. I don't even take spare batteries or snacks. Just enough food to give me three meals day and enough water to get me to a sulphur well.

I also take mental note of - have I brought anything that I don't use? Nope.

Well, if it hasn't rained, I havent used my rain suit or tarp for the hammock. But I will always carry that stuff.

40+ lbs is the Ray Way for me. I actually used to carry a heavier pack.

12:32 a.m. on October 2, 2006 (EDT)
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Have you tried breaking down everything that you carry?

Acessories (headlamp, bandanna, sunglasses, multi-tool, camera and etc)
Hiking (Pack, trekking poles, boots and etc)
Food (Water filter, stove, fuel, spare parts and etc)
Sleeping and shelter (tent, sleeping bag, pad, pillow)

If everything you carry is bare essentials as you say then it's time to move to another equipment. The "Big 8" to me right now is:

Pack (Osprety Aether 60 - 4lbs)
Sleeping Bag (Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 - 1.5lbs)
Tent (Sierra Designs Lighting - Split weight is 2.5lbs)
Sleeping Pad (Therm-a-rest Prolite 3 - 1.5)
Stove (MSR Simmerlite - 12oz fully packed)
Water Filter (Katadyn Hiker - 11oz fully packed)
Boots (haven't weighted them)
Trekking Pole (1.5lbs)

And that is pretty lightweight for me right now. I suspect your pack likely weights 6+ lbs, sleeping bag 3-4lbs, Tent 6lbs and carrying it solo. That can really add up to 15lbs or more and that is way too heavy.

3:46 a.m. on October 2, 2006 (EDT)
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I don't believe we can really define what "way to heavy is". Amount of work involved carrying 45 lbs is certainly going to vary from person to person dependent on their physical conditioning.

My pack weighs 6.5 lbs, thermarest lite 1.5 lbs, my sleeping bag is 1.5 lbs, my tent is 4lbs.

I will not share a tent and stuff like cameras, water filters and treking poles is not in my camping inventory.

9:55 p.m. on October 4, 2006 (EDT)
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My 10 yr old son has a weight of about 35-40 lbs and thats only for 5 days, Some say a lighter pack is the place to start but mine is 100% waterproof, rubber lined and about 5 lbs. better dry than soking wet. We use homemade tarp tents and floors so we can split the weight evenly, also ditch the can goods and go on a diet for the trip, but eat good before you go and when you get back. I love the new bacon in a box (non-refrig) take 4 packs and some oatmeal and the new mac&cheese for the microwave, it works the same on the stove. Stay away from too many dyhy. foods (require too much water) camel back bladders work good for me and a small katadyn filter (hiker). I also only use a fleece sleepin' bag when its not going to be too cold. and if it does take a trash bag to cuddle up in. (see vapor barrier, he's not kidding) mess kit's made of alluminum are junk, stick to TI or SS. you'll be glad you did. Clothing is my major problem, they don't seem to make a spandex jumpsuit for 40 year old 240 lb beer belly backpackers that match my style. AS far as i'm concerned, if you want to be comfy, you'll stay in shape.

10:54 a.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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Ultra-light gear is ultra-expensive. No one yet mentioned that. For some of us, this is quite relevant. For example, I own a perfectly usable older model cansister stove that weighs at 6oz. I could dump it and pay $40-70 for one of the newer UL stoves that weighs 3 oz. Is a 3 oz shaving off pack weight worth the extra cash? Sometimes I have to grin it.

1:09 p.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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Kirby said
"Ultra-light gear is ultra-expensive. No one yet mentioned that. For some of us, this is quite relevant. For example, I own a perfectly usable older model cansister stove that weighs at 6oz. I could dump it and pay $40-70 for one of the newer UL stoves that weighs 3 oz. Is a 3 oz shaving off pack weight worth the extra cash? Sometimes I have to grin it."

Ummm, Kirby, I will have to disagree strongly with that first sentence. If you will read Ray Jardine's book "Beyond Backpacking", he gives a lot of directions to making your own gear and otherwise going the "RayWay", which is the extreme of ultralight (Ray claims it isn't "extreme", but it really is). You can lighten your load a lot by doing simple things like keeping track of what you are putting in your pack and after each trip, writing down whether you used each item or not (yeah, some items of emergency gear you hope you never use, but you better take them anyway).

You can cut 3-4 pounds off the pack, just by looking at what you buy in the first place, and probably pay less for it. For example, I have an expedition pack (top line) that weighs about 7 pounds empty that cost over double another pack of almost the same capacity that weighs 3 pounds and is just as comfortable with the same gear in it. The price difference was a couple hundred bucks. When going very light for a weekend, I sometimes use a pack that weighs about a pound, and is plenty comfortable for the light load, besides costing even less than the 3 pound pack I mentioned. These packs directly contradict your statement that "ultralight is ultraexpensive).

Sleeping bags are harder to compare, since quality of a sleeping bag (hence long term usability) is a direct function of initial price. I see parents buying their your scout a cheap sleeping bag that weighs more than 5 pounds, but is only good for warm summer camping and falls apart in a season. In that case, the $50 bag is very expensive compared to the $150 bag (3 pounds, good from early spring to late fall) that lasts the kid's 5 to 8 year career in scouting (less than $30/year, compared to $50 for one short season).

The pack and sleeping bag are the heaviest single items in your pack, along with the tent. There are inexpensive ways to cut the weight of a tent, as well. A tarp, as has been discussed here many times, weighs 1-2 pounds for one adequate for spring through fall camping in many parts of the country (Sierra, Rockies, deep South where Ed lives), and costs $10 (or if you use a plastic drop cloth as I sometimes do, less than $1 - and that's only a half pound).

You don't have to go to a 3 ounce stove if you already have an adequate 6 ounce one (some would call a 6 ounce stove top already "ultralight", compared to a liquid fuel stove). And if you look around, you will find stoves under 6 ounces for no more than your 6 ouncer. Besides, you aren't counting the fuel canisters in your 6 oz. Again, if you really want to go ultralight, a "Pepsi can" stove is free (just get an empty Pepsi can from the trash and cut it in half). The alcohol fuel is lighter than that butane canister for the same heat output, and works just fine for most cooking. "Free" is a heck of a lot cheaper than any canister stove.

As a reference point, my typical pack for a 3-4 day weekend from March through November (or all 12 months in the local hills within 75 miles of my house) is 15 pounds base weight, including pack, sleeping bag, my half of the tent, canister stove, cook pot, cup, sleeping pad, rain gear, warm jacket for cool nights, water bottle, and a small camera. Food adds another 2 pounds per day (I include things like fresh fruit anc cheese which require no rehydrating but weigh more), water adds however much I have in the water bottle (70 ounces if I am using my Camelbak, which I drink down fairly rapidly), and fuel (2 ounces weight per day, shared with Barb). Total is 25 pounds roughly for the 3-day weekend at the trailhead (actually cut half the water weight to get the average during the day, and the food is gone by return to the car).

Anyway, the main point is - you can cut the weight of your pack by just considering what you are putting in it. And if you do it right, you will cut the cost as well, certainly for the long run, when you amortize your sleeping bag over 10 years, the tent over 15 years, and the pack over 20 years as I do.

2:51 p.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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My last sierra trip in mid sept my pack was about 65lbs, but I did go for 4 days!!. When solo you will have some weight as no one to share the stove,cook kit,fuel,water filter,tent,first aid kit with. Then of course I need the tripod, bigger mpeg camera,camp chair,fishing gear-bait,spin,and fly of course, a big fry pan to cook the fish,couple nice bottles of Chardonnay, and a flask of Apple schnaps and quality vodka for green apple tini's.While it might be a little rougher getting there, it is SOOOOOOO nice for those days in camp!!

But hence I agree, check weight of each item and shave off some with a lighter bag and tent.Every pound does make a difference. Then the "heavy" is only comforts you bear the burden of to enjoy whilst in that camp chair!!

8:33 p.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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Cowboypacker took a skillet!

I presume this was a cast iron skillet, since they are so superior for frying, especially over a campfire. I did that once. But on the way out, one of my partners had tied it on the outside of his pack. The cord broke, the skillet hit a rock in the trail, and the handle broke off. My other partner had to restrain me from breaking the rest of the skillet over the perp's head.

And yes, for extended camps, when we had burros or mules to carry the gear in and out, we have carried dutch ovens (cast iron, only, please, none of this aluminum junk), cast iron skillets, cast iron griddles, chairs, etc. But when I have to be the beast of burden, I work very hard to cut the weight down. Sometimes that's because I am carrying my share of the ropes and hardware for backcountry climbing. The pack for the camping part is still 15 pounds, but the climbing gear adds another 30-50 pounds for each of us.

8:51 p.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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OK in my previous post the first sentence may have over-generalized, however, my point was none the less validated. A free Pepsi can is not a $40 canister stove even though both can be used to heat something until it boils. One of them will likely serve up supper faster. A tarp can be home-made for dirt cheap, but it is still not a tent. If one already owns camping gear that is considered too heavy for this or that reason, it will likely cost extra cash to replace one gear item with another that is comparable except for its pack weight. I never said it is impossible to find less expensive ultra-light gear. So I will make my point again a little more precisely: it can be ultra-expensive to trade in one's heavier gear for comparable gear that might weigh less. For example, one must decide if one must haul around that 6 lb two-person double-walled tent with a good vestibule that is in the closet until one can afford to shell out cash for a lighter replacement. You know you need a 3 lb tent, you know you want one, but considering the weight of the one you own each time you must take it out is not going to change the fact that the ole budget just can take on a $200 new tent that fits your specifications. Hats off to those who can afford to collect a variety of packs, tents and sleeping bags to coax their overall pack weighs down with each new ultra-light model that shows on the market; I can not.

8:58 p.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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Tents, sleeping bags, clothes, etc wear out over the years and have to be replaced. In 6+ decades in the backcountry, I have worn out lots of gear. Cost per night has been much less than I have spent on apartment rent.

If someone is buying gear for the first time, they should consider what the long term cost will be, and know that an excellent pack that is lighter can cost less than a heavier one, and that a lighter sleeping bag of higher quality will cost less in the long run. Yeah, make do with what you have. But give consideration to the other parameters when you need to replace that tent that is coming apart.

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