gear weight

9:19 a.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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As mentioned in another post, my family and would like to pick up backpacking.  Keep in mind that we are starting from scratch and buying all new gear...so, top end products aren't going to be an option for me all the time.  What I'm looking to hear from you all is about a decent range on weight of gear.  I can sort out functionality and such, but what are some reasonable weights as I start looking for

stove

cooksets

sleeping bags

pads

tents

filters

and any other "major" item that I might have left off the list

Thanks!

9:51 a.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Johnathon,

The trip and objective usually help determine what is reasonable. So what time of year and where do you plan on going?  It's difficult (but not impossible) to have one kit suitable for all seasons; but would you really want to carry a -15F sleeping bag weighing up to four pounds in the heat of summer for example.

Outside of safety concerns, gear weight can have a lot do with how much discomfort you can live with (again usually based on trip objectives). Some folks have no issue sleeping on a 1/4 inch blue foam pad weighing 8oz while others can tolerate no less than a down filled four inch inflatable pad weighing in at 2 pounds.

You mention that it will be a family affair. How many (big difference between a solo and a three person tent)? Do you see all of you sharing a tent?

 

Some of the items you listed are failry easy to throw out a number like the filter: (there are other methods to treat water besides filters of course) so assuming you have decided that a filter is what you want to use (which also means special precautions in winter because most filters will freeze and if it's a ceramic element it can actually crack and fail if frozen) the heaviest filter I am most familiar with is the MSR mini-works which weighs about 1 pound dry (and a little more after use because you can't really get all the water out of it quickly). So for a single person or a small group any filter weighing up to a pound or so is reasonable to me. Ultralight minded folks (who may have different trip objectives than me) might disagree.

 

So I think you will get better responses if you can give a little more information.

 

10:14 a.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman is right on the money. To give applicable advice it will help greatly to know some more about your family, where and what type of trips your planning, seasons you intend to trek, etc. 

12:39 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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weekend trips.

wife.  3 kids (4, 6, 8)

won't hike in far...just far enough for the fun.

i'm sure fall and spring only.  we live in upstate SC...so, NW GA or Western NC locations.

We won't have to be plush, but we certainly won't be ultralight minimalist.

I wish I could be more specific, but we have never really done this so I don't even know where to start.

What I have so far...

MSR Whisperlite International

SnowPeak Lite Max (just scored this today clearanced for $40)

Jansport external frame

Kelty external frame

ultralight thermarest

a not so light coleman sleeping bag hand me down

Pur Voyager filter

And I'm stalking eBay like crazy.

1:22 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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well, without having to go to deep, you can tend to get away with a bit more weight. 2 small backpacking tents (around 5-8 pounds, lighter if you can afford it) would probably be more efficient than one big tent for all of you. craiglist your area for good deals, just may have to be patient. 

1:24 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Weight/bulk is so very important, though keep in mind functionality for the item to continue to work and for you to want to continue to use the item.  The review section here will work very well for assessing gear.

A very quick answer to the listed topics is,

stove, MSR WhisperLite Universal Backpacking Stove and your Snow Peak.

cooksets, REI Campware Nonstick Cookset - Medium

sleeping bags, depends temperature range for camping. Go synthetic.

pads, REI Stratus Insulated Air Pad

tents, capacity to equal 1.25 - 1.5 times the number of people or get two tents, 2 doors, freestanding, 3 season, complete fly.

filters, MSR SweetWater Water Purifier System

2:34 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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The biggest complication I can see it the kids. All too often, I've seen Dad lugging all the gear for the whole family.

I agree with the idea of two tents but go for the 5 lb range. That way Mom and Dad can each carry one, so that neither one is humping 10-15 lbs extra. Each kid can carry his/her own sleeping bag, mattress and clothes.

You might also want to think about cost vs benefits. Kids could easily puncture a thermarest, for example, so you might want to look at either cheaper air mattresses (heavier) or even those blue foamies. If you're in the Carolinas, you don't need a lot of insulation, and kids don't seem to need as much padding as their parents.

I agree with getting synthetic bags. They can be washed more easily than down. Watch out for the cheap cotton ones from stores like Target or Wallyworld. No insulation when they get wet, and they're very heavy.

2:40 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Jonathan, seems like you will be hauling alot of stuff since your kids are fairly young, before going into details about gear, know that water and food for all these people are probably going to be the bulk of your weight, so get familiar with managing those as you go on your trips. Dehydrated food for me seems to be the way to go right now (for me), I'm getting into making them on my own, you should look into that also, I posted a topic here a while back about that. 

Now related to gear, the 3 things that will weight the most will be first your tent, then sleeping bag/sleeping pad combo, and then your backpack, the difference between products with those will be in pounds, rather than ounces.  
You seem to have your backpacks already, I would not have recommended external frame, but stay with what you have until you decide to change for something better.
For sleeping bag I currently use the Kelty Cosmic Down, you can find them anywhere from $50-$100 bucks online, they are lightweight, durable, and compress well, you can use that model to compare to other bags as you shop. When selecting a sleeping bag I recommend getting something rated 20 degrees with a full length zipper to control temperature, I've slept anywhere from 20-60F with my 20 degree bag super comfortably, I could probably go into single digits with it by adding layer and using different sleeping pad, I just never really encountered those temperatures with that bag.  Sleeping pad is a little harder, you first gotta decide if you are going for an air pad or a closed cell foam pad, depending on how you sleep that will matter alot, a good cheap foam pad that is lightweight are the Thermarest Z-Lite, as for air mats, you should really just go to a store and try as many as you can to see which are most comfortable for you, temperature rating is also something to think about.

Now for a tent, boy there are so many out there with such crazy price range ($5-$1000) it's hard to recommend one, you can either go with two 2 person tents, or one 3 person and one 2 person tent, or even just a 4 person tent, all depends on your body frame. I'm slim but tall, my wife is skinny and short, we fit just fine in a 2 person tent, but if I go with my brother who is 6ft4 and 240lbs we need something bigger, give us a price range and what you are looking to get and we can help you more on this selection, also note that this will probably be your most expensive single purchase, may require a thread on its own.

Stove and cookset now, if I were you, not saying that's what everyone will agree or that is what you should do, but if I was on your shoes I would sell the MSR Whisperlite for as much as you can get, keep the Snowpeak Litemax(which is an amazing stove), build yourself an alcohol fuel stove which is pretty much free(and easy, search youtube), and use the money from the whisperlite to get a nice cook set, the best in my opinion are from MSR, Snowpeak and Evernew. Go for a titanium set if you are bringing dehydraded food and just boiling water, go for aluminum if you are doing gourmet cooking, you should consider getting a skillet and cookware with nonstick coating depending on what you are going to eat. I use the MSR Quick pot set and the MSR quick skillet just so you can compare to what your get, and btw I love them! Another option is cooking over fire, some people do it, some don't, it's not as convenient but you could boil water, make hotdogs, etc...

You seem to have the water filter ready, I never used that one, but if it works to filter bacteria then go for it, invest your money on something else until you know what you want.


Other things you are missing:
Get a good compass, not a cheapo one, one fully featured less than $10.

Get a rope to hang your food from the bears and rodents.

Get a wash kit with TP, Bio degradable soap, wet wipes, traveler toothbrush and toothpaste(the mini ones),  maybe some gold bond body powder if you are planning on going over 2 nights,  and a shovel if your soil is hard to dig with branches.

Make your own first aid kit with things you need for you and your family, don't forget some chewable pepto-bismol, some pain killers and some cute band-aids for your kids ;)

Add a headlight, utility knife, fire starters, bic lighter, and you are ready to backpack my friend!


Some extras: Hand sanitizer, sunscreen, cut up sponge to wash dishes, deet if you got bugs, bear spray if you got bears, bandana if you wanna look cool and dry your sweat, towel if you got places to swim, gaiters if you got pebbles and stuff that sneak up your shoes and rain gear.

3:39 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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i have most of the small items already.  

The packs were ebay steals.  thought I would at least try them as cheap as i got them.

we currently have a marmot limestone 4p that we can split (just under 11 lbs) and probably all fit in with room to spare.

why dump the whisperlite?  

kitchen gear and sleep gear are probably my biggest question marks right now.

3:46 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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The tents are going to be the trickiest to cover cheaply without carrying a ton of weight. I would get two tents, both under 5lbs. I would also advise Tents - getting one 2-man and one 3-man. This way you have some flexibility for how who sleeps where, and you have options when the whole gang isn't going. I think getting a single tent large enough for all of you, that doesnt weigh far too much, will be difficult and cost prohibitive.

If you can really all fit comfortably in the Marmot, that will work, but that is an awful lot of weight for one 4P tent.  You'd be much more comfortable, especially as the kids get older and bigger, in two tents. 

Here are some suggestions for 3man tents that can be gotten for under $200. search for the 2man versions of these and similar: 

Sleeping - Unless your wife is really used to roughing it, or is a much warmer sleeper than most, get a 0F or warmer bag for her. It is well documented in clinical studies that women tend to sleep colder, have lower blood volume, and circulate their blood closer to the surface of their bodies than men. Combined, this means a warmer bag is needed. At the very least get a 15-20F one for you and any girls. For you and male kidos, a 20F is likely the best bet. It is easy to leave your bag open when it is warmer, but difficult to keep warm if temps are colder than expected. Synthetic insulation is heavier and less compressible than Down, but will still retain some heat when wet. I'd say go with synthetic for at least the kids.  If you have the available funds, go with something mid range, If you really need to maximize your budget then go with the Ledge Featherlite 0F or 20F. You can easlity get the 20F for under $40, and the 0F for under $60. They are remarkably well made, warm, and packable for the price.  Don't get anything of lower quality or cheaper than the Ledge bags, as it just won't be worth it. 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dsporting&field-keywords=ledge+featherlite+

I echo the advise others have given, go with your wife to an REI or other good outdoor store and try out a bunch of pads to really find out what you are both happy with. For the kids, I would also avoid inflatables, which are quite likely to punctured; any closed cell foam will do. The Zlite are great, but the classic blue ones woud work just fine for the tykes.

Cooking - the snow peak and alchy stove suggestion is fine, but I don't think you need to sell your Whisperlite and switch.  Whatever you do, make sure you spend some time using your stoves before you go and become completely familiar with them. Cooking a meal on them one evening outside would be a great idea. 

I gave my cookset thoughts in your other thread, just be sure to have something for each of the kids to eat out of. You and mom can eat out of the cookware. 

Dehydrated and freeze dried food is probably a good idea, especially for the first couple trips. It's easy and light. I would do something like hotdogs over the fire one night though, along with cider or hot chocolate, as they make for a fun time. 

Packs - those external frame will probably serve you pretty well, as long as they have good adjustable and well padded hip and shoulder belts. If you know anyone who really knows their stuff, I would have them helt you get them fitted and adjusted really well on you both. It is a bit of an art, and can make all the difference between a miserable and enjoyable hike. 

3:58 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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jonathansc said:

As mentioned in another post, my family and would like to pick up backpacking.  Keep in mind that we are starting from scratch and buying all new gear...so, top end products aren't going to be an option for me all the time.  What I'm looking to hear from you all is about a decent range on weight of gear.  I can sort out functionality and such, but what are some reasonable weights as I start looking for

stove

cooksets

sleeping bags

pads

tents

filters

and any other "major" item that I might have left off the list

Thanks!

 OK, good stuff pouring in already....

 

so for your original question of reasonable weights here are my suggestions based on your answers:

stove: the Whisperlight you already have is listed at 14.5 oz packaged; that is not unreasonable but a tad on the heavy end IMO, I would probably not go with alchy for a five person camp with kids; gotta disagree with our buddy Maxx on this one (for various reasons)

 

cooksets : for five people I think a total weight of 2 to 2.5 pounds isn't unreasonable

 

sleeping bags: anything under four pounds per bag is reasonable

pads: I think one to 1.5 pounds is reasonable per pad

tents: depending on whether you go with a two person and a 3 person...i think staying under 6 pounds per tent for a 3 and under 5 for a 2 is a good weight ceilling but if you find the right deal on something heavier don't let that barrier stop you of course

 

good luck!

 

4:09 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman, Thanks for reminding us what the OP's actual question was! Ha! 

On that note: 

stove..................under 1lb for a white gas stove. Under 1/2lb for canister 

cooksets.............under 2.5lbs for the whole crew, + utensils and mugs/cups

sleeping bags.....under 4lbs/bag, and compressible down to 10" squared

pads....................under 2lbs for Lg inflatable, under 1lb for closed-cell foam

tents....................Under 5lbs for 2-3 man, under 8lbs for 4-5 man.

filters....................You've got that covered, but no more than 1.5 lbs. 

4:18 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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I love my little alcohol Trangias, but they're too slow for cooking meals for a whole family. At 7 minutes per litre of water, you'd be there all morning just making coffee and cooking some oatmeal. Gotta go with a pressurized gas stove.

4:29 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

 compressible down to 10" squared

Do you mean a cube 10" x 10" x 10" (10"cubed)? 10" squared would be 100" but that's not a measurement of volume.

My -7° down bag compresses to the size of a couple of softballs.

9:52 a.m. on July 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Yes, that is what I meant, sorry for the typo. 

peter1955 said:

My -7° down bag compresses to the size of a couple of softballs.

 My cold weather down bag compresses really small as well, but it doesn't seem the OP has in the neighborhood of $2,000 just for sleeping bags.

I and others were recommending synthetic bags on a budget. The bags I mentioned will compress to between 7" and 8." With synthetics, you're not going to get much better than that regardless of what fill brand you get. 

11:05 p.m. on July 27, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

My -7° down bag compresses to the size of a couple of softballs.

 Really!

My three year old TNF -20F 800 fill bag compresses to only 7 - 8."  Two softballs is about what the volume the shell alone would require (and it is one of those lightwieght shells at that).  What brand/model is this -7F bag of yours?

Ed

9:20 a.m. on July 28, 2012 (EDT)
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My down bag is a Mountain Equipment Co-op Cygnet barrel bag. It costs about $150.00. One point I would remind you of is that when I say -7°, I'm talking about degrees Celsius, which would be about 20°F.

But it really is amazing how small some of those little OR compression sacks can squash a sleeping bag down to!

4:04 p.m. on July 28, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

My down bag is a Mountain Equipment Co-op Cygnet barrel bag. It costs about $150.00. One point I would remind you of is that when I say -7°, I'm talking about degrees Celsius, which would be about 20°F

Ok, that makes a lot of difference. I started to ask the same question as Ed. My 800FP Valandre Bloody Mary, which is comfortable down to 10F, only compresses down to about 6" cubed. So around the volume of 3 to 4 softballs. 

The MEC bags look like a pretty good value. 

9:54 a.m. on July 31, 2012 (EDT)
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You and your wife will be toting a lot of extra gear.  My 8 year old (at the time) carried (most of the time) his bag, change of clothes, snack and 2-liter bladder on our 2 night trip on the AT. 

I would recommend a canister stove instead of the white gas stove.  Canister stoves are much easier to operate and are lighter as Gonzan noted.  

For sleeping bags for your children take a look at Mountain Hardwear's Mountain Goat.  I bought one for my son last year.  It is probably too big for the 4 year old but the 6 and 8 year olds should fit fine. 

I noticed you were using ebay.  Here are some other websites for you to look at.

www.geartrade.com Somewhere between craiglist and ebay for outdoor gear.  The sellere backcountry is backcountry.com selling there open boxes and returns.

www.sacalerts.com This website doesn't sell gear but it provides alerts for backcountry.com's  one-deal-at-a-time websites. You can get some extremely good deals from them (60-80% off retail). 

www.departmentofgoods.com This is backcountry.com's clearance site.  Deals are not as good as www.steepandcheap.com but you don't have to wait for them to show up.

 

8:38 a.m. on August 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks!  Those are great sites.  The only 1 I can't get going is www.geartrade.com.  It won't load for some reason.

9:55 a.m. on August 1, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

The MEC bags look like a pretty good value. 

 MEC is kind of like REI, in that it's a co-op. That holds the prices down. In Canada, it's probably one of the few places you can go to be sure of finding 'real' outdoor gear, including things like mountaineering equipment, 4-season tents and sleeping bags, and a wide variety of clothing and boots.

They also manufacture a lot of their own gear, including clothing, tents, packs, and sleeping bags. Their gear, made to similar standards as the big names like MSR and Big Agnes, has helped push the prices down. Their down products offer a pretty good alternative, as well. 

One great thing about their website is that they post reviews, both good AND BAD, of the items they sell. It's a great place to research what people are REALLY saying about their gear. And like REI, they have a 100% return guarantee - if you don't like it, for any reason at any time, they'll take it back 'no questions asked'.

Unfortunately, they've started to drift away from their original mandate, and are now selling yuppie stuff, like yoga clothing and cycling gear. I guess you have to pay the bills somehow.

10:27 a.m. on August 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Try back on geartrade later.  The site seems to be down temporarily.

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