Good pack weight before food, water and clothing?

6:08 p.m. on May 31, 2012 (EDT)
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What is a good weight to be at before food, water, and clothing. I ask it that way because those items weight will be dependant on the length of the trip. I am not really an ultralight guy, as to me comfort matters more than weight. My load for tent, stove, backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water filter, empty water resivoir and cookware is 18 lbs 14 oz. It seems about right to me, like I said clearly not ultralight, but I don't think it is a heavy load either.

 

6:34 p.m. on May 31, 2012 (EDT)
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jchanman33 said:

What is a good weight to be at before food, water, and clothing. I ask it that way because those items weight will be dependant on the length of the trip. I am not really an ultralight guy, as to me comfort matters more than weight. My load for tent, stove, backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water filter, empty water resivoir and cookware is 18 lbs 14 oz. It seems about right to me, like I said clearly not ultralight, but I don't think it is a heavy load either.

 

 This is a great question....it is also a fairly subjective one since each of us has our own ideas as to what is needed or how much it should weigh.

I do think you are in a pretty good range for someone not trying to go UL and who is okay with some comfort items. This is the range I am in a lot of the time if I include a book, camera, etc.

It would be helpful if you could post a list of the items with their weight, but I understand you are asking a general question about base weight of your pack.

I would also say that as long as you are comfortable with your gear & weight don't let anyone pressure you into going UL - I have plenty of UL gear and I still choose to go with a mix of gear for my own reasons, comfort being one and the fact that I'm usually not trying to do 20 miles a day for another.

Hike your own hike.

Mike G.

7:04 p.m. on May 31, 2012 (EDT)
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My gear list

Pack- Gregory baltoro 75 (L) 6lb 2 oz

Tent- MSR Hoop 5lb 7oz

Bag-  Mountain Harware ultralamina 15 (L) 3lb 2oz

Pad- Thermarest Neo air trekker (L) 1lb 10oz

Filter- General Ecology First Need XL 1lb (heavy but filters viruses)

Cookset- GSI bugaboo backpacker 1lb 5.8 oz

Stove- MSR windpro 6.8 oz

Resivoir- not sure on weight, was military issued insulated Camelback with insulated hose I got when I went over to the desert, came with small pack I removed it from.

That comes out to 19 lb 1.6 oz, and I took some off because I remove some of the cookset that is intended for two.

Obviously I could reduce my pack weight but I prefer to have more space than needed rather than not enough, and can't justify the expense of a seperate pack for shorter trips. And the pad is my big comfort item, I am a side sleeper so foam pads and thinner pads are a no-go in my book (I love my sleep).

Side note completely unrelated, I need to get a picture up on here.

7:28 p.m. on May 31, 2012 (EDT)
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Pack: Gregory Cassin  Expedition size Not sure the weight

Tent: Mountain Hardwear Meridean 2: 4 lb

Sleeping Bag: REI Solar Pod 3 lb

Pad: Ensolite 1 lb

Cookgear including stove/fuel: MSR 1 lb

3 liter Camelbak :carried empty at first: 3 oz

2 Nalgene water bottle : 2 lbs to the qt/liter with water

Camera,binoculars, knives (folding and Gerber with pliers),odds and ends of little things, compass, maps, etc.

Clothing (2 shorts, 1 pants,4 socks (wool) tshirt, goretex jacket,hooded sweat shirt, ball cap (trailspace) cowboy hat,hat from Alaska.

Without food my pack weighs about 20 lbs +/-

I am about to go for 4 weeks so my pack probably weighs about 60 lbs. caching some of the food in bear canisters to come back for later.

10:24 p.m. on May 31, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't think any of your stuff is super heavy.  Yea a few items could be lighter, pack and tent being two.  But I also understand the concept of sticking with gear you have and that works.  On my last big trip (1 week) I got my base down to 26 lbs, including clothing and my starting pack weight at 39lbs.  Not bad for me, but also far from UL.  The reduction in weight of about 10lbs cost be about $300 all together, I could have done it for probably about half that, but Time was a big issue. 

I think if you comfortable with you current weight I would stick with it.  As time goes on and you want to replace items,  Look for items that are lighter but still well made. 

Just my 2 cents

Wolfman

1:01 a.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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How much to carry depends on your ability to carry and how you like to "camp".  For me, my 3-season base weight (includes clothes) is 15 lbs.  If I know it will rain, or winter time I add stuf appropriately.

For a weeklong trip, after adding food, water, and stove fuel I can gemerally start out around 30lbs.

 

But that is me, and I am getting older.  When I was sherpa for the family I carried as much as 80 lbs.  Maybe could, but have no desire to do that any longer. 

 

My point being...how much weight is comfortable for you given the distances you like to cover and the number of days you like to be out on the trail?  Once you have that, then load up to be a comfortable as you can be. 

 

More simply stated...do what you like.

1:19 a.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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You seem pretty much at a good weight already.

From my experience I would start at shorter trips first and peel away the layers that you may not need and as gear wears out replace with the lightest model you can find.

4:47 a.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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steve t said:

..If I know it will rain.. ..I add stuff appropriately...

(Chortle). 

It seems every time someone in my group neglects to bring rain gear, it seals the deal.  The only time I’ll second guess rain is when I am willing to make the short walk back out to my car.  The three times in fifty plus years camping I forewent taking rain gear, it rained twice.  Perhaps weird, freaky, odds, but it even the weatherman is far from perfect.

Ed

10:37 a.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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As others have mentioned this is fairly subjective based on location, time of year etc. That all being said I am in the NE and try to keep my base weight below 20lbs, by base weight i mean everything except food and water and fuel. My base weight for summer trips is 15lbs, base weight for more 3 season weather(think spring/fall) is 18lbs, and base for winter is about 25 lbs. With food,water,fuel I try to stay around 25-35lbs for a 3 day trip.

Summer trips for clothing I typically don't carry any extra clothing other than a spare synthetic shirt to sleep in and spare socks. For spring/fall I add in a pair of gloves, a beanie, a nano puff, long johns, and use a 20F bag/quilt. For winter I add in a thicker down jacket, a wool l/s shirt, and a -10F bag/quilt.

Other than that my load pretty much stays the same. If your at 18-19lbs without any clothes I would say thats probably a little on the heavy side, but far from horrible. The only way to trim weight further is to either leave items behind or replace items with lighter ones.

Your loadout looks solid, but if your interested in lowering your pack weight here are some quick tips to lighten your load some without spending money.

-Leave 75% of that cookset at home, all you need is the pot, drink and eat out of it. If you really want bring a mug too.

-Leave behind the two poles for the hoop that make it freestanding

Other than that you either need to make some DIY items, or spend a little money to drop your weight further. You could make an alchy stove, get a lighter tent, lighter pack, lighter sleeping bag, and a lighter cookset. You cookset even if you already took alot of the items out is heavy at over a pound, there are much lighter options out there, cheap ones too, a small grease pot from walmart etc is only 2-3$ and weighs about 4.5oz.

Your tent looks like a solid tent but its heavy. If you really want to shave weight during 3 season you could get a silnylon tarp for around $100 and save like 4 lbs, addressing the pack and bag would be the most pricey by far. Using a more minimalist shelter and a lighter cook set is your best bet and best bang for your buck, tarps or tarp tents would both save you lbs.

5:34 p.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah I looked at some Marmot plasma bags but I could get almost 3 of my bags for the same price. Although on hikes where the nights won't get below 40 I just take a light blanket, so that cuts weight down a lot, also I have a home made gortex bivy sack that I left at my parents house from my boy scout days, may get that back and use it for warm weather. Also leave the freestanding poles as suggested or just use the footprint and fly with the quickpitch option.

As for my pack, I used my brothers lighter pack that was just under 4lbs before and under similar load of gear weight it felt heavier, I would say the comfort makes up for about 5lbs extra weight, but that's just me my brother tried mine and despite us being the same height he thought his felt better under same weight.

I do like the idea of taking out all the cups from the cookset, besides maybe one of the insulated for coffee, but I have never done coffee on the trail before, so probably will take them all out and then just stuff the pot with knick knacks to save room...not that I need more room with a 75L pack.

6:06 p.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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IMHO, a total around 25-30% of body weight is fine, so 20 lbs before food and water should be good. You can do more if you have to. I've sometimes had to carry a client's pack as well as my own, which would be around 80 lbs, but it's not a lot of fun (I only weigh 150).

Callahan has a good suggestion. Start with shorter hikes and figure out what you really need. Some people are surprised when they finally figure out what is absolutely necessary, and what isn't.

Be careful about the nights 'that won't get below 40', though. Wet clothes plus an unexpected temperature drop and you could be in real trouble.

4:42 p.m. on June 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I am running 36 pounds before food and water... I must be doing something very wrong. I am very comfortable when I do make camp. I still have a couple of things to add. A footprint for my tent and a very compact fishing kit.

I am going to itemize my pack once I get it right and see where I can loose some weight.

7:10 p.m. on June 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's a link to my 'ultralight' pack list for a 3 day/4 night trip, assuming 2L water carried at a time. I have all of the neccesseties, a few comfort items, but by no means am anywhere near uncomfortable. Heck, with my hammock setup I am the most comfortable guy in the woods! If its a fishing trip then It will be about 3lbs heavier with my fly rod and waders.

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=5432

The link defaults to grams, but if you click the little drop down menu in the top left of the page you can change it to lbs or oz.

7:37 p.m. on June 2, 2012 (EDT)
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My pack as of last summer was 28 lbs before food and water or photography gear (needless to say it's much heavier when I factor in those items), but including vessels to contain food & water (e.g. bear canister, water bottles, bladder, etc).  This is for summer backpacking in the Sierra Nevada of California.

I consider this to be "heavy" but I think it's "just the way it's going to be" based on how I backpack.  As others have mentioned, this is all very subjective based on your personal style and preferences.  There are several areas where you can save weight, for example:

  • If you're comfortable sleeping in the open (e.g. tarp instead of tent, quilt instead   of sleeping bag);
  • Likewise, if you're not in an area where bear canisters are required, and you feel comfortable hanging your food or using an Ursack, etc, you can save weight there;
  • And if you're comfortable eating "cold" (e.g. just cold food, no cooking) you can save more weight...
  • if you are in an area where you don't need clothing, you can save weight ... :-D.  etc, etc, etc...

But based on what you (OP) described, your kit already seems pretty light to me.

11:40 p.m. on June 2, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

steve t said:

..If I know it will rain.. ..I add stuff appropriately...

(Chortle). 

It seems every time someone in my group neglects to bring rain gear, it seals the deal.  The only time I’ll second guess rain is when I am willing to make the short walk back out to my car.  The three times in fifty plus years camping I forewent taking rain gear, it rained twice.  Perhaps weird, freaky, odds, but it even the weatherman is far from perfect.

Ed

 I always bring something for rain.  Be it a jumbo trash bag that I can fashion into a poncho and a tarp to sleep under (for times when it is not supposed to rain) to a full on rain suit and 4 season tent when the forecast calls for an onslaught. 

Never would I take nothing in the way of rain protection.

2:54 a.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I wouldn't dream of going backpacking without rain gear.  Knock on wood, I've never needed it in the Sierra in the summertime ... but rain (and snow) happens year-round.  I guess my bias is based on "growing up" in the White Mountains in NH where it can rain a lot in the summer ... and rain gear is a necessity.  Getting cold and wet can be miserable, if not dangerous.  YMMV depending on your location...

9:08 a.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Never would I take nothing in the way of rain protection.

 In addition to my own rain gear, I always have couple of dollar-store ponchos in my emergency kit. Cheap, very small and light, and they work fine for a day or two.

9:20 a.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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TheRambler said:

Here's a link to my 'ultralight' pack list for a 3 day/4 night trip, assuming 2L water carried at a time. I have all of the neccesseties, a few comfort items, but by no means am anywhere near uncomfortable. Heck, with my hammock setup I am the most comfortable guy in the woods! If its a fishing trip then It will be about 3lbs heavier with my fly rod and waders.

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=5432

The link defaults to grams, but if you click the little drop down menu in the top left of the page you can change it to lbs or oz.

 Rambler,

Thanks for posting your gear list. I think it is kinda neat how each of us carries different items based on our own preferences and how we manage to shuffle types of gear and their respective weights to hit out target weight.

I also appreciate the heads up on Gear Grams dot com. I was not aware of it. I watched the tutorial after looking at your list and I think it would be a very useful tool for my own planning & sharing needs.

Thanks, Mike G.

1:56 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I really like gear grams, especially since its free. It just makes for an easy way to track all of your gear and weights. It's not everyone's cup'o'tea, but I like it.

3:05 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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As light as possible without negatively affecting safety, warmth, and durability given a specific weather and geographic scenario.  Does that help?

For 3 seasons in the Rockies I am at just under 9lbs without clothing.  All my gear with pack is @ just under 12, although I could get that down to 10 if I trekked in warmer weather.  This is with a framed pack, insulation to get me to -5C, shelter to handle high winds, etc.

10:40 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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As light as possible without negatively affecting safety, warmth, and durability given a specific weather and geographic scenario.

Well said - especially since this permits some subjectivity based on individual perception of risk and comfort.

My base weight for a backpacking trip in WV was around 11 lbs. Temperatures were forecast in the high 90's during the day and the 70's at night.  I brought a 1 lb down vest.  Torrential rain both days (hail too!) made it worth it for comfort's sake at night.

6:30 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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jchanman33, you asked what's a good weight to carry, and you specified that you are not an ultralight guy and comfort matters more than weight, half the replies completely ignored that and were pushing you towards a minimalist ideology. The maximum load anyone should carry depends on their body frame, physical conditions (such as health), and the backpack they use. One guy may think something is comfortable, while another may find it miserable, it varies from person to person.

With that being said, internal framed backpacks usually list maximum comfort loads at around 40-45lbs total weight, I couldn't find anything about your pack though. Consider that 2L of water weight around 4.4lbs, food varies alot, I never carried over 10lbs on my trips without resupply, so if you take into account that you would never carry over 15lbs of food and water(and that might be on the extreme but who knows what you take =P), 19lbs of gear is just fine. You could lower your pack weight to make your trip more enjoyable, being able to move easier and be more mobile, but don't leave anything at home just for the sake of being ultralight unless you want to. 

Enjoy your hikes! 

2:47 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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It's so easy to start parsing numbers and weight and particulars.

Good advice: keep it simple. You don't need as much as you think you do.  Unless you sweat miserably, you don't need as many clothes. Never take anything that has less than 2 uses.

Look at all of the food threads. Keep it simple, too. You can eat well for remarkably light weight.

Bottom line -- take the best and lightest that you can afford.  But the bottom line is you are still "out there"!

10:22 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Go with what your buget can afford and what makes you comfortable. My pack is about the same wt. , but I carry much more stuff. Only super light stuff. Everyone knows I do a lot of scouting , so I take the what if stuff. I'm response able for the kids. I have prosthetic knee braces. It is painful to carry a heavy load without them (about25lb). With my good cam lock trekking poles I can go all day. I used to think only old people used them . I believe know. Poles take some weight off some parts of your body. Plus they can be used as poles for a tent or tarp. Just what I do.

12:50 p.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Pack: Osprey Kesterel 58; S/M Version, actually 55L; 3lb 9oz

Shelter: Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 DL hammock and A-sym diamond tarp; 2lb 2.5 oz

Bag: eureka silver city 30 degree bag; 2lb 4oz

Those are my big 3; Not sure on the weight of my other stuff, I'll have to look.

12:35 p.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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New guy here...

I recently got into backpacking over a year ago and since then I have dropped a significant amount of weight in my pack. Not being the fittest person in the world, I knew I had to lower my overall pack weight just so I can keep up with the people that I hike with.  

Currently my base weight without food and water ranges between 11lbs to 14lbs - this changes depending on which shelter I decide to bring (Hammock/Tarp, Tarp only,  or MH Lightpath 2).  On my past trips, my full pack weight has not exceeded 24lbs and my back, knees, and shoulders have thanked me for this.

As a note, I am a budget backpacker as well and a few pieces of gear that I use I have made myself to save $$ - from my alcohol stove, pot, bug bivy, hammock, and even my sleeping bag (quilt).

Here are some pictures of my shelter variations.

DIY Bug Bivy with Tarp and Groundsheet (less than 2lbs.)
image.jpg

Hammock Setup (less than 3lbs. counting straps, etc.)

image.jpg

Full Double-Wall Tent (4lbs 8oz.)

image.jpg

6:59 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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The simple answer is what ever you are comfortable with and can afford.  Don't let anyone ever tell you what you should take backpacking.

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