General weight ranges?

1:59 a.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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Hi, I'm new to backpacking and am in the process of looking for and aquiring gear. I know there are no right or difinitive answers when it comes to gear and I expect to see a variety of opinions in response to this, but here goes. I would like to know what constitutes an 'normal' weight range for major items, ie. pack, sleeping bag, and tent. I think I have a good idea on the rest of the stuff but these three seem to have such a huge range. Any suggestions would be great. :) Thanks!

6:44 a.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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It depends on the season. Ive got 3 tents ranging from 4 -13 lbs. Each has its use. Sleeping bags are the same. You dont take a -40 bag to sleep in 50+ weather. In the summer I traval lighter than in the winter. The lighter smaller pack in summer and heavier larger pack in the winter.

11:24 a.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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I should have been more specific, sorry about that. :) For the time being I am interested in the average 3 season stuff. I understand that the winter stuff is going to be a bit more weight for obvious reasons.

11:52 a.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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My three season is almost finished. I built mine and my sons with a different angle. I wanted items that have high customer approval. I have found most items you buy from the store (almost all stores) are junk that break two minutes after the warranty is over or before the warranty is over but after the receipt is gone. I would rather pack a tried and true item that will last then buy five of the same item. I expect my finished pack to weigh around 40-50 pounds. It is 32 pounds right now. I still need to get a few more items. When I set off it may weigh a lot more if I have to carry a lot of water.

Do your research and buy quality products. I use and and I sometimes use to purchase the gear after I find what I want.(beware of one guy tried to burn me on tents and sent a broken one. I was able to repair it for 12.00 but I was the lucky one.)

12:37 p.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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Personal preferences will play a large part in your decision making.You can choose an Osprey or Gregory pack in the 5-6 lb. range or choose to go lighter with Granite Gear or GoLite.It depends,more importantly,on how well a pack fits you. The length of your trip and amount of gear you actually need help you make that choice. Experience will help you narrow that down.Lots of sleeping bags out there, I prefer down over synthetic anyday for its packability and weight.I'd rather take extra precaution keeping goose down dry than dealing with the extra weight and bulkiness of synthetics.Wide range of tents and asst. shelters out there.Again,personal preference is the name of the game.Is it for one or two people? Single-walled or do you prefer a rain fly with a vestibule? Can you divide the weight amongst others? I own several because of varying factors for each trip. My son,on the otherhand, would'nt trade his Warbonnet hammock for anything.

1:30 p.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks for the replies so far. My dilema comes from reading sites and looking at gear and trying to compare. Some suggest your pack, bag and tent should each be under 3 lbs, if they are more than that you are carrying too much. Then I look at gear. Some of the recommended stuf fits in this range, some does not. Obviously every pound counts when it's on your back but an extra pound here and there almost seems worth it if it results in a better functioning product. Also, I see a lot of variation in total weight, obviously varies by length of trip, any guidelines on total weight for 2 or 3 day trip as opposed to a week? I know you need more food for a longer trip but does it really require much more gear?

-If it helps this would be for two people in the Colorado front range area.

6:25 p.m. on January 23, 2010 (EST)
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It can be confusing, and there are many variables - how much space do you need in a pack, how warm a sleeping bag you need for three season use, how many people will be in your tent. keep in mind that some people will say everything must be super-light, but they may be ultralight camping afficionados for whom weight is a premium.

i am not particularly conscious of being ultralight. i think a pack that's between 3000 and 4500 cubic inches, a good weekend to multi-day pack, should be 2 1/2 to 5 pounds - but you can get lighter than that. you really need to try packs on and feel how comfortable they are with your target weight. a solid three-season synthetic sleeping bag (30 degrees) may weigh up to five pounds; an equivalent down sleeping bag may be half that, perhaps up to three pounds. however, you may need a warmer bag if you get cold. a non-ultralight two person tent (dome, a-frame, or modified a-frame are the most common options) may weigh five or six pounds, but you can cut weight and find all kinds of lighter options for tents, at some expense. a key for tents, forgetting about weight, is how hard or easy they are to put up when conditions are bad. it's worth a little extra weight if the tent is easier to put up.

food contributes a lot of weight; freeze-dried or dried foods can lessen the impact.

6:33 a.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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My basic packing tent is a 2 man. 4 lbs. +30 bag 5 lb. My pack is another 5 lbs. But it's the water that adds most the weight. On the way out my pack seem 1/2 of what I took in.

7:09 a.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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Like has been stated before, it basically boils down to personal preference. For instance there are some people that like to be safe rather than sorry so they'll take a winter bag on a fall trip just in case the temperature drops unexpectedly. And then there are those that know they're own body and they're limitations well enough to be able to go out for a chilly fall trip with less than 10 pounds of gear. Basically its all about what you're comfortable using and what you're comfortable paying for that gear. There is no right or wrong way to do it (actually I take that back, you should never put yourself into a situation when you don't have the necessary skills or gear required.)

Just to show you what other people use, and like to take I'll give you a list of my major gear that I usually take for an average 2-3 day 3-season trip. Anything that's under two pounds are the weights that I have gotten, and anything over that is the manufacturer's listed weight.

Osprey Aether 60 [Pack] w/ raincover (4 lbs. 7 oz.)

The North Face Vector 22 [Tent] w/ footprint (4 lbs. 9 oz.)

Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4 [Pad] w/stuff sack (1 lbs. 9 oz.)

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 [Sleeping Bag (Down)] (1 lbs. 7 oz.)

Petzl Tikka XP [Headlamp] (3.5 oz.)

Snowpeak STW-001T [Cookset (Titanium)] (7.75 oz)

Snowpeak Lite Max [Stove] w/stuff sack and repair kit (2.25 oz.)

Snowpeak MG-043 [Mug] (2.75 oz.)


In total, my base weight is right around 18 lbs. I try to keep it light but I also take along lots of little luxuries. I've also spent a nice chunk of change on my gear. I believe retail on everything I have is over $2600, but I didn't pay retail for everything. That's why it's a good idea to get to know the people at your local outdoor gear shop!

7:14 a.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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Ok, You are new at this. Just what kind of bucks do you want to spend? Many go all out, only to discover that this isnt their cup of tea. I have very inexpencive gear. An older Kelty pack that I picked up for $20. Tent $25 (pictured) Bag $16. I'm very happy with it all. The biggest thing is to have fun. Staying safe and dry. Being this is your first time out I would stay on the cheaper end of things. And as you get into it you will get a better idea of what YOU want and need. Everyone is differant. Dont try to impress others. Its all about you and your happiness.

That being said, now is a good time to buy. Tents are on sale. A good beginer tent would be a Coleman. Low price, and a good tent. I like external frame packs. They are cheaper, and many you can adjust to your size.

11:26 a.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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I have been trying to keep the price low but not to the point of buying junk. :) Seeing these last few posts and numbers I think the stuff I'm looking at is going to be just fine to start with and adjust as I go. Thanks for the tips and I'm really liking the site so far.

7:58 p.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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If you want to keep the price low then check out yard-sales and craigslist. You can usually find some very nice deals there. The only reason I've spent a lot on gear is because when I was 17 I had a job that paid me entirely too much money and I wanted to spend it on something so I bought all the expensive fancy gear that I though I would want. Mainly because I wanted something from a company that is reputable but also because I knew I would used it a lot and I would get my money's worth. I think mikemorrow gave some very good advice when he said "It's all about your happiness." Just find out what works for you. There are many many ways to do this, but every way is different.

3:19 p.m. on January 25, 2010 (EST)
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So much gear and so little time!Most gear is like shoes.What works for one does not for another.Also be aware that all of us have our own opinions on what gear you should buy.Some one stated early in this post yopu can buy an Osprey or Gregory in the 5 to 7 lb range but if you look at their product line they also make light weight packs.Some like to us nothing more than a stuff sack with unpadded shoulder straps and bubble wrap for a ground pad.Some go all out and get the "premium" gear,wich also weighs more,and have maximum comfort.It will take time to figure out what works and fits for you and some of this self discovery will only happen on the trail after putting miles on your gear.Try a lot and look for good deals and even good used gear that did not work for another but buy because it "fits" you not because it is the right price.I like a Osprey Kessler 38 for my summer trips up to 5 days.Pack weighs 3lb7oz and with all base gear i come in at under 15lbs with clothes,tent,stove,sleeping bag and all the little things i need.Food and camera gear varies on when and were i go.I have been climbing,skiing and packing for 40 years now so i have dialed into what i like and want pretty well but the main idea of this whole thing is to enjoy the journey not so much the gear.It allows you to go out and enjoy your trip with some comfort and safety.Good luck,welcome and enjoy the whole "package"!ymmv

4:46 a.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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Trial and Error... thats the best way to find out what works! In time you will buy and sell gear that you loved and now hate. It's all a matter of preference, and the preference being you spending $$$ and realizing what you bought is not what you wanted after all. It's takes some time , patience and research (Trailspace) to figure out what YOUR needs are as apposed to your wants... We all want everything! ;) But thats the Great part of it Learning, the research, trial and error which makes that "next" trip so worthwhile! Get out there and be smart .... and be safe..... the Adventure of a Lifetime! Ya.... ok... so I'm off topic.....I would check out the Osprey packs...they fit really good!


Mojo :)

11:23 a.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks everyone! This has been a ton of help. I've also been reading through the gear reviews on here and I feel somewhat more educated when I look at a piece of gear as far as what I should be looking for to determine the quality and fit for me. Thanks to everyone who contributes here for the wealth of information and hopefully I'll be out on the trails soon.

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