Do you weigh your pack when leaving on a trip?

11:10 a.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Do you weigh your pack when leaving on a trip? That is, after you've packed up?

If so, why? To make sure it doesn't weigh too much? To see if you've successfully lightened the load compared to last time? For bragging rights on the trail? Because you're obsessive and can't help yourself?

If not, is it because you just don't care? Or are you too lazy to bother with it? Would you really rather not know how much it weighs? Do you want to be able to claim it weighs 45 lb without knowing it actually weighs only 30?

I seldom weigh my pack before I leave on a trip. I'll do it occasionally, just to see where it is "this time", so as to have some idea of that weight as a landmark for future packing, etc.

The heaviest pack I've carried was 72 lb, and that was a load. I only weighed about twice that at the time. (And the weight I've added since then is nuttin' but muscle, I'll tell ya!)

11:54 a.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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I remember weighting my empty pack only one time: i was at the post office and just couldn't help myself, the scale was right there! I tought i'd been slacking because i hadn't shaved onces in a while, but it was still 10lbs flush, not too bad! (bragging, bragging..see what weighting does?)

Another time was in California right after a ressuply. It helped me confirm i had bought too much food.

And the last time was before a ski trip for school, i had to.

Apart from these 3 times i never waited my pack, i'm too anxious to go hiking!

11:57 a.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Yes.

Why? Because I have to keep the scouts' pack weights down, and they want to know what my pack has.

Heaviest packs have been on expeditions (40-50 lbs of personal and group gear plus 30 days of food adds up to 120 or more pounds total - but then, a lot of that is on the sled, except when heading up the headwall or icefall, when 60-70 pounds is common). Backcountry climbs call for 30 or more pounds of climbing gear added onto the 10 pounds of camping gear and however much food (2 lbs/person/day). But mostly for expeditions, I don't really want to know. Except that when we get flown onto the glacier, the air taxi bush pilots weigh everyone plus their gear (the pilots here know about the importance of weight and balance in a small plane).

3:41 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Interesting point about the Scouts' packs, Bill. Very curious thing happens when I'm backpacking with Scouts--my pack's always 35 pounds! No matter what I'm bringing along, no matter where we're going, no matter how long we'll be out there, my pack's always 35 pounds. Can't figure how that happens, but....

Here soon we're gonna have our annual "how to pack a pack" meeting. Always ends up with two or more of the curmudgeonly sort vehemently disagreeing about something, but we'll hope the younger Scouts get the proper gist of things, at any rate.

4:18 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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I have been lately, but only because I've been half-heartedly pack shopping and I like to know how much weight to put in the empty to simulate my normal gear load.

6:20 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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I usually know from previous experience what all the items in my pack weighs already. I just add the weight of water and food per trip.

7:40 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Simple answer is: Yes

Why: I never gave it much thought until Perry had to go rocking the boat, now I've got the whole intraspection thing going. Seriously though, partially because I just want to know, partially because I am a bit compulsive, but mostly because I know my limits and have been doing this long enough to know how I'll feel with 25 or 30 lbs. on a given trail. I will take or leave certain items based on the comfort to weight ratio I'm happy with for a given hike.

Now, about those scouts. What I like to do is get them to make a list of their gear and what each item weighs, then the total pack weight. I weigh the packs before we leave. If things don't add up I ask them to dump the pack so we can get rid of the magazines, two hot beers, game boy, fireworks, or whatever.

I was a sneaky kid myself, not a trouble maker really, but sneaky.

I almost wish I could congratulate these guys on their ingenuity sometimes. Good kids really, and equally good at helping around camp and coming up with solutions to problems.

8:43 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Haha, nice, trout.

When I was a scout we used to roll up our contraband in our sleeping bags. Even if we got the "shake down", they never unrolled our bags.

9:11 a.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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ahhh the old Playboy and bottle rockets in the sleeping bag trick! At the moment I have been weighing my items individually and adding up the weight for a total. I use a food scale for most everything since it can register up to 5 lbs. As for total pack weight, I must confess that I don't weigh the total ammount since I don't have a bathroom scale.

9:26 a.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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OCD with weight sometimes... Mostly on 3+ day adventures.

4:57 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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mahoosic--

I think they make a medicine for that. (Jus' kiddin'!)

6:03 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Yep I don't know why though, I don't ever take away or add to it.

My packs weighs in at 35/40lb to 55/60lb winter or summer a weekend to 10 days, 95% of all my trips a solo (I guess that means I don't have ant friends lol) I guess there are Items I just don't want to go with out that I could due with out but ho well. But there again I have never packed for a trip more than 10 days. So I don't know what would happen If I was to go on a expedition like Bill speaks about.

6:11 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I weigh my backpack only to get an idea of how much it weighs. Many weeks before the trip I write a list of things I would need. I review it several times and eliminate whatever I can, so whatever I pack is something I need.
Now, the heaviest pack I ever carried was the first time my youngest son accompanied my oldest son and myself on a snowcamping trip.... my backpack weighed fifty-five pounds. That included the tent plus some gear that would have made my youngest son's backpack exceed the 20% of his body weight guideline I use. That was back in 1992. Years later in 2003 I again went on a trip with my two sons and my son in-law, I was real happy for it was the first time they were all old enough to carry the tent! I was the first backpacking trip where I did not have to carry a tent.

7:43 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry if you didn't bring enough to share with everybody than don't bring it in... hehe

If I get over 30 lbs or so I use my external frame ALICE pack. It may be old, but she can sure haul some gear. Shovels, axes, and a blender. Anything less than that, and I rarely go over, ill go with a white mtn. internal frame pack from beans.

9:18 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I think it is wise to bring enough for everyone, 'cause usually it's everyone else that has the problem, not me.

One day just for fun I weighed myself holding my dog with my full pack between my legs. 308 lbs. total. I've got a photo of it somewhere, geez the things you do when you can't actually go on a trip.

Say, who makes an accurate bath type scale anyhow? Mines off a couple lbs. from the ones at the Doctors office. Maybe I should find one of those somewhere?

9:53 p.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I weigh each time. I want to know how much I am taking to keep tabs on what I am not using and can get rid of. I have a hard time getting below 30 lbs. I carry the marjority of our tent and all our cooking gear. Plus, I always bring too much water (but I always drink it all). And without a doubt, the compusive that I am, I always bring too much food too, never eat half of it. So, basically I weigh each time, and for no real reason cause I never learn a dang thing from it.

2:39 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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For me it depends on the trip, usually no, unless i'm doing some multi day mountaineering, thats mainly to keep a target weight of ~ 30lbs and distribute weight evenly amongst team members.

9:30 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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I do weigh my pack before I go just because I like to know. The OCD in me actually has me weighing the pack when I get back to see how much less or more(LOL) it weighs after.

11:07 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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I estimate my pack to be around 35lbs - 11lbs being the 5 liters of water i carry so the weight fluctuates throughout the day.

11:20 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Having known what each item weighs i can pretty much guesstamate what my load is most of the time.However last year i decided to lighten up my load so i not only weigh each item but my loaded pack weight as well.My summer base weight is 14lbs 5oz and i just add food and water as needed,sometimes after this i still weigh its total just because i like to know.

Of course winter trips and climbing trips are a whole different area weight wise.I do weigh them out as well and then decide if there is something i really dont need or some item of food that i can change that weighs less but tastes good and does the job i need it to do.As i age i find myself less willing to carry the huge weights i once thrived on and in return seem to enjoy the trips more.

11:33 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Skimanjohn,

What's included in your 14.5lb pack?

11:30 p.m. on May 9, 2009 (EDT)
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What's the heaviest a 90 L pack should weigh? Or, to put it differently, what's too much weight for a 1 month trip? I've been researching, looking at different reviews, and buying gear like a mad-man. Last time I weighed my pack, it was around 41 lbs, before food and water (and that doesn't even include everything). Yes, it's true that I'm a bit of a gear junkie, but as much as I try I am just not an ultralight packer. Since I'm a newb, is it uncommon to have such a heavy pack for a 1 month trip? I estimate that when all is said and done, I'll have around a 50-53 lbs pack. My clothes alone (not including hat, jacket, booties & sandals) weigh 8.8 lbs. Is that normal? I even tried to get the "lightweight" stuff - nylon pants and lighter t-shirts. What the heck am I doing wrong?

3:39 p.m. on May 10, 2009 (EDT)
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What's the heaviest a 90 L pack should weigh? Or, to put it differently, what's too much weight for a 1 month trip? I've been researching, looking at different reviews, and buying gear like a mad-man. Last time I weighed my pack, it was around 41 lbs, before food and water (and that doesn't even include everything). Yes, it's true that I'm a bit of a gear junkie, but as much as I try I am just not an ultralight packer. Since I'm a newb, is it uncommon to have such a heavy pack for a 1 month trip? I estimate that when all is said and done, I'll have around a 50-53 lbs pack. My clothes alone (not including hat, jacket, booties & sandals) weigh 8.8 lbs. Is that normal? I even tried to get the "lightweight" stuff - nylon pants and lighter t-shirts. What the heck am I doing wrong?

For a trip that long, a lot of people don't take all of their food at once. For example, on the Appalacian Trail, a lot of folks have their food mailed to post offices along the way. A month worth of food is going to be REALLY heavy if you have to carry it all at once.

If you're doing what most people do, you're probably taking too many of everything. Depending on the environment you're going to be in, you can get away with 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of undies, 2 shirts, 1 or 2 pairs of pants, something warm, and rain gear. For shorter trips, I don't take extra pants at all, but on a month long trip you'll want to wash them along the way. If you'll have privacy and it's not going to be cold, take 1 pair and wash them in your undies.

I also don't take "extras" like sandals unless I know I'm going to need them for wet crossings.

11:40 p.m. on May 20, 2009 (EDT)
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OK! If I am the only one that weighs the pack after the trip----fine!

I am afraid to weigh the pack before the trip, but afterwards I am eager to know what I carried in and out: after eating and drinking what I needed.

Isn't that what matters?

11:52 p.m. on May 20, 2009 (EDT)
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For TravHale----who packs five liters of water in his lightweight pack??

Since I live in the rockies and pack 1/2 liter to 1 liter of water and a Katadyn water filter------five liters of water seems like a huge 11 pound burden. Do you live in Arizona-----or have you not been liberated by a good Katadyn or MSR microfilter?

3:32 p.m. on May 26, 2009 (EDT)
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On a recent hike along the AT, I sent home the following items because I was not using them: water proof socks, sunscreen, foot stick lubricant, special lightweight towel, an extra dinner, an 8 oz. bag of almonds, a spare box of matches, and a trail map I no longer needed. Not much, right? Wrong. Total weight, three pounds.

Weigh everything that goes into your pack. Iliminate unnecessary items, items you "think you might need".

I start the day carrying two liters of water and usually have a few swallows left at the end of the day. However, when I come to a good water source, I stop and drink a liter from a container other than what I am carrying in the main platypus.

9:37 p.m. on May 27, 2009 (EDT)
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...Say, who makes an accurate bath type scale anyhow? Mines off a couple lbs. from the ones at the Doctors office.

For weighing my gear, I rely on 3 different scales. All of the current ones are electronic. We have a kitchen scale that weighs to the gram for cooking and goes up to the 5 pound (2.5 kg) range which I use for small stuff that I can set on the platform (hard to weigh fluffy stuff like jackets, though). For up to 50 pounds/25 kg, I use a Berkley hunter/fisherman hanging scale I got from Cabela's. Above that, I use the differential method - hold the items or put them in the pack, weigh wearing the pack, then weigh without it and subtract. The scale we use for that is a somewhat sophisticated athlete's scale by Tanita (a bit on the pricey side, but it agrees very well with my PCP's scale - that's "Primary Care Physician" in HMO-ese). Even if your scale is off by a couple pounds, taking the difference should give your pack's weight to within a pound or so.

My doctor told me one time that sometimes the scales in doctor's offices are set a couple pounds heavy to induce some guilt. He doesn't believe in that, because here in California, there are too many anorexics and bulemics who are way underweight, along with the fast-food addicts who are truly obese - best to be brutally honest with those types. On the other hand, the fact that the blood pressure and pulse that gets measured in the doctor's office are often high because lots of people get anxious when having their annual physical (what's that, you say, you don't remember when you had your last physical?).

7:09 p.m. on June 4, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm big on the whole weight thing. I recently bought a go-lite Jam for that reason. its more of a performance reason for me, the lighter i am, the less energy i expend and the longer i can go. A pack for me usually weighs on average about 20-25lbs if i am going overnight, and 15-22lbs if it is a one day affair.

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