Whats your pack weight?

6:15 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I am interested in hearing what your average pack weights are for a trip.

For me, my average weight is 43lbs for a 3 day(3 season) trip. (That's wet weight, fully loaded with 3 days food and 4 liters water). With a base weight of 28lbs. I have a few older and heavier items that I will replace at some point that will shave off a few more lbs.

I have found that I can get my pack down to about 20lbs if I really strip it down, but I prefer a higher level of comfort and versatility normally so I just carry the extra few lbs.

6:47 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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My five day (three season) pack weight is usually 35-38 lbs. My partner and I share a few things. He carries the 3lb tent and I carry the guide tarp, ropes and pegs which weighs about the same. One of us carries the Ezbit stove and the other the fuel. The rest is personal gear and what each of us wants to take. I bought a lighter pack this year so am hoping to shave a few pounds off our next five day trip!

7:00 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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just took a 5 day trip and my weight was between 30-32 lbs. happy to discuss what I bring etc if you would like

7:03 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Hmmm ... where are you backpacking? 43 lbs seems awfully heavy for a 3-day backpack for anything other than winter in the snow. 3 days of food should be about 6 pounds. 4 liters of water? That is about 9-10 pounds. If you are in most of the US, you could cut that to 2 liters of water and add a good filter (couple pounds at most), for a reduction of a couple pounds or more.If you are in the Southwestern deserts or Death Valley, where you have to carry all your water, that's a different story.

As I have posted here a number of times, my 3 season 3-4 day weekend base pack going into the Sierra or Rockies is about 15 pounds (prepared for frosty nights which we can have in the Sierra and Rockies even in August), plus the food, water, and filter. One place to cut is the pack itself - too many packs with a nominal weekend capacity weigh 5-8 pounds by themselves. My Osprey Aether is 3.7 lb and one of my GoLites (intended for loads) is 2.2 pounds (my Kelty Cloud is 3 pounds set up for expedition loads). Other companies make good weekend packs in the 3.5-4 pound range, so depending on your pack, you could cut 1 to 4.5 pounds ust in the pack alone.

Tents are another place to cut lots of weight, especially if you are sharing with a partner.

I think you could easily cut your 3-day weight in half without sacrificing any comfort.

7:17 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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About 16 lbs no food and no water and not counting the clothing I am wearing.

I do not travel/camp away from a water source so have no need to carry much water.

My dried meals are just ounce's so do add to bulk but not much weight.

7:50 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Same as Noddlehead about 16 lbs with no food and water. A overnighter would be about 20, a weeks hike about 35-40 and a months hike non basecamp style which is my preferred way to stay out longer than a few days, a months continuos hike would start at about 50 lbs.

Water weighs about 2 lbs to the quart/liter and I carry macaroni, pasta and rice most. fresh vegys when close to towns and basecamping.

8:32 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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For a three season hike my pack weighs 30 lbs with a weeks worth of food and a full 3L water bladder. Most of my hikes are a week or more and I rarely do day hikes or overnighters, so my pack weight stays pretty consistent.

9:30 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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For a three season hike my pack weighs 30 lbs with a weeks worth of food and a full 3L water bladder. Most of my hikes are a week or more and I rarely do day hikes or overnighters, so my pack weight stays pretty consistent.

Do you count on 3L of water for a week? I think 3L is a ton of water to carry if water is available. But never worth a week of hiking.

10:03 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Do you count on 3L of water for a week? I think 3L is a ton of water to carry if water is available. But never worth a week of hiking.

I usually consume 3L a day, or more depending on circumstances. I carry a water bottle that I refill from my bladder. This way I know how much water I have without opening up the pack. I always refill my bladder and keep it full when I can because you can't always be 100% about your next water source. I have found this out the hard way... :)

10:44 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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multiday hikes in summer for me are about 20lbs. Winter mountaineering I'm looking at about 70lbs no problem.

11:29 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Now a days I usually only hike where I know the water sources are there. I need to stay hydrated when hiking. I usually use two one liter bottles for hiking and a 2 liter Camelbak in my pack. Thats 8 lbs of water. Water for me tends to be the second heaviest thing in my pack. If water sources are readily available I can go without the extra two bottles of water, but carry them empty for camp use. After 20 years of hiking the Grand Canyon from October to March when the water can be found in about every other side canyon on the south rim from the South Bass in the west to the Tanner Trail in the east. And Jackson Hole where evry canyon has water in it from current snow melt or springs at their heads. Here in the southwest around Flagstaff if is so dry during the summer, water is not readily available as it it is in SW Utah, Jackson Hole and like say Alaska.

11:48 p.m. on August 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I am usually about 30 to 32 pounds for a 3 day trip, that includes 3 liters of water and my food.

1:19 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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For a six day trip that I took last week with some scouts from Onion Valley to Whitney Portal, my starting weight, including 1L water, was 33 lb. That includes a full coverage solo tent (freestanding) and a bear canister, which is required there.

1:47 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I find it fascinating to read all these reports about 15 lb packs, and how it should be "so much lighter" for a "short" trip of 3 days. I feel pretty good that I've reduced my pack weight by about 26 lbs from what it was before (it used to be in excess of 70 lbs). But that took a lot of doing ... and a lot of spending$$$ on lighter gear.

Here's where mine is now, and I really don't see how I could get it any lighter...

"base" weight: pack tent, pad, and all misc. items: 22 lbs

clothing: 4.7 lbs

food (2 dinner, 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 2d snacks): 2.7lbs

water (3L) (I see there are those who say "we can get by with less" .... but there are those of us who get extremely thirsty from sweating all day, and typically consume 3-4L of water on an all-day summer sierra hike)... 6.8lbs (believe me, I've tried carrying less, and it *really* s*cks to run out of water on a hot dry hike)... and I seem to find myself on lots of hikes without water sources ... or there may be water, but I have no way of knowing that ahead of time...

Photography gear: 8.7lbs

Total 44.9Lbs

And if it were winter, with more clothing required, heavier sleeping bag, etc. ... it'd go up from there.

OK, if I scrapped one of my main backpacking/hiking activities, photography, or cut back to a 1lb P&S camera I'd be down to 37.2lbs (for summer). But this is where we have to say "this is something I really want to do, so it's worth carrying it".

Maybe I'll post my gear list one of these days and see what people think I can do without :).

1:52 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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... My Osprey Aether is 3.7 lb...

Interesting that The OGBO uses this... this is one I've been considering too. But the one I'm considering (Aether 70, Large) is 5 lb 2 oz.

My gear *barely* fits into my Kelty D4. And I've pretty much cut it (my gear) as much as I think I can. So I'm pretty sure, especially when going in cooler weather (carrying more extra clothing), I'd need the '70.

8:54 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I know there are lots of ways I can cut weight. For one, my pack weighs 5lbs 1oz but I don't see this getting replaced anytime soon. I carry 4L of water on hikes where I have never been there before, sometimes 5L. Most of the hikes I take are to new places. And through experience I have found that unless the source is a major river or lake etc, that water sources can be unreliable. I easily drink 3L a day, including water for meals, sometimes even more if it is really hot out.

My view is this. I have the capability to carry 4L, if I don't need it all then I wont fill it all up , but if the water sources are looking dry I would rather fill up all 4L when I can. Nothing sucks more than running out of water. (I also like to have it incase the dog runs low on the 2L she normaly carries)

Like I mentioned, some of my gear is older or general purpose and thus a little heavier. Next pay check I should be able to drop 33.5oz by replacing some of my heavier kitchen stuff with some Ti stuff including a snow peak 700 trek mug. (replacing some stainless steel pots, and a heavy arse military canteen cup).

One of these days I will buy a summer bag/quilt. I use a 15F bag now year round that weighs about 3lbs. (I just use it as a quilt/leave it open in summer.

I carry a 23oz trail chair, while I could probally cut this out to save some weight but I find it worth it's weight in gold most hikes.

I guess my mind has been stuck in military mode where carrying a 80+lbs pack was normal, haha. I thought I was still a little heavy compared to others, thats why I started this topic to see what the average weight people are sitting at.

Guess it's time to start shaving off the oz's! Thank's to everyone that has given feedback thusfar.

9:30 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I too am one who carries an (over) abundance of water. If I hike out with plenty of excess water then I know I had enough to keep me hydrated in case of injury or illness. All you need is one lower GI problem to flush your body of a liter or so of fluid. Fluid that needs to be replaced in-full. I do carry a water filter but there are some areas of Ohio that are surprisingly sparse in wild water. The trip I'm taking this weekend has all of one creek running through the area. The problem is there's an extremely shallow LNG well under the entire site. In fact, it's so shallow in one area that the stream literally "boils" from the gas escaping under pressure through the soil. I won't be filtering, and I will be carrying almost 5L of water. Does it suck? Sometimes. But what sucks more is running out.

10:35 a.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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My base weight for 3 season camping,in the pnw,is 14.7lbs.This includes a tent,sleeping bag,pack,stove,cook kit,clothing,first aid kit,etc.This does not include water and camera gear.If sharing a tent with a friend the weight drops by a couple of pounds,we use a very light 2 man tent.I very much agree with BillS that there is no reason to carry a pack in the 6 to 8lb range.There are so many high quality light weight packs on the market today to chose from.Iam not a ultra lightweight hiker,i like some comfort at the age of 59,but since going liter i have enjoyed my outdoors adventures much more.ymmv

12:40 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Some day I should weigh my gear and pack, on my list of things to do.

1:06 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill S said:

... My Osprey Aether is 3.7 lb...

Interesting that The OGBO uses this... this is one I've been considering too. But the one I'm considering (Aether 70, Large) is 5 lb 2 oz.

I got the weight from weighing the pack, not from the catalog. Mine is a large, too, so I don't know where the extra 1 and a half pounds comes from. I check the scale's calibration from time to time with known weights, so I know it is giving correct weight (within 0.1 pounds).

bheiser also said:

Here's where mine is now, and I really don't see how I could get it any lighter...

You mention "miscellaneous" things. I used to throw in a number of "small" items, just an ounce or two each (so I thought). One day, I had unloaded the pack after a trip except for a couple of "tiny" ditty bags with the "small" stuff that "doesn't weigh much." I picked up the "empty" pack and ... hmmmm, that sure feels heavy. So I weighed the "small" ditty bags - 8 pounds!!!! That made me think long and hard about (1) how essential those "nice to have" things were, (2) when the last time was that any of them had been used, or if they ever had been used in the past 20 years of backpacking and climbing, and (3) which if any could be justified as vital in a dire emergency. Ultimately, all of them were eliminated (they did not include the first aid kit, since it seems that I do an inordinate amount of blister repair on my charges as a trip leader - now you know why I repeat over and over comments about proper boot-fitting - I am really really tired of treating blisters, sometimes on a couple people who seem to like my hikes so much they keep coming back... I can't really bar them, can I?)

And he carries:

Photography gear: 8.7lbs

Yeah, I know. My D300s with the 18-200 lens weighs 4.2 pounds, which is why I carry the P6000 (has a built-in GPSr) at 0.6 pounds when I want to lighten up. The P&S does change the style of images somewhat, though, as a friend of mine who was a famous photographer showed me, it's the photographer, not the gear (some of his most famous climbing photos were taken with a digital P&S). The 18-200 lens is versatile enough that, unless I am heading out to do a lot of photography, I usually don't take extra lenses, external flash, etc (the polarizer is on the lens most of the time). The tripod is also reserved for those "photo only" treks (the Gitzo with Acratech head is 3.6 pounds).

2:00 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Several people have commented on the amount of water they carry in their packs. Clearly, the amount you have on you at a given time depends on the water supply along the way. The general recommendation for water consumption in the mountain medicine literature is 0.5 to 1 liter an hour, more in hot and hot-humid conditions and in cold dry high altitude conditions, less in cool conditions (adjust for urine frequency and color to be sure you are staying properly hydrated).

A good quality pump (I use a Katadyn Hiker Pro) weighs a pound including spare element (about the same as a half liter of water). If there are plenty of water sources, you can limit the number of water containers to 2 liter bottles or 1 bottle plus a hydration bladder. On the other hand, if you are in a scarce water situation (desert, contaminated sources such as mine or agricultural runoff, high mountains in late summer after the snow has melted, or heading for a known dry camp, as is the case for a couple camps on each trek at Philmont Scout Ranch), you will have to carry extra for at least a short distance. The problem here is that extra containers weigh a lot. The best solution I have found is to collect the liner bags from the boxed juice and wine containers. These bags are usually 2 to 4 liters. You can buy the same bags at outdoor shops (I have seen them at REI), but the effective cost is less if you go to the grocery store, buy the big box of apple juice or the really cheap wine, and pour the contents out (you really do not want to drink the wine unless you are homeless and desparate, though the apple juice is pretty good - it's not Martinelli's though). These bags fold up very small and are just 3 or 4 ounces. Fill up with water at the last certain water source before the dry camp.

Yeah, you may have to carry the 10 to 20 pounds of water for some distance (been there, done that). But it may be only the last couple of miles. Or, if you are crossing the Sahara, at least the weight drops as you progress.

4:03 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I find it amazing that some of you are able to get your total fully loaded pack weight to 20lbs or below, nevermind the mind boggling 15lbs! I know without a doubt that I have room for improvement, and every oz adds up. But without shelling out some major $$$ I don't think I will be able to get down to anywhere near that anytime soon.

Well, a formula error on my spreadsheet just corrected my pack weight. My base weight is 24.1 lbs, so that would put me at 38.9lbs with 4 liters of water and 3 days of food.

I should be able to drop 2 more lbs here in the next few weeks when I overhaul my kitchen setup. So I guess I am not too far behind the power curve. When I have a little bit more $$ to upgrade to a few other lighter options I should be below 20lbs easy.

6:12 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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The way I got my pack weight down was to make a complete list of everything I take on each trip, weigh each item, and on the list (in a spreadsheet these days) note for each trip whether I actually used it, whether I left it at home but really really wished I had it, and/or it is an item that I want there in case of dire emergency. Items that don't get used more than 2 or 3 trips in a row are candidates for elimination.

I also have spent time in figuring out what items can be multi-tasking (keeping in mind that most multiuse widgets are good at none of the intended uses, especially multitools).

Some examples -

Do I really need a complete cutlery set (knife, fork, spoon and their case where they nest together), or can I use just the spoon or a spork and the pocket knife I need anyway? If I am doing gourmet dinners, then yeah, I need full place settings of sterling and a checkered tablecloth.

Do I need dinner plate, salad plate, cup and saucer, and soup bowl, or can I get along just fine with a bowl and an insulated cup, or even use the pot as my bowl? When I stopped by the Sea to Summit booth at the OR, they had folding plates, cups, and bowls - not much space, but they do weigh more than the cup and bowl basics. Oh, but the folding plate turned over to reveal the bottom which serves as a cutting board, so it's multipurpose. Maybe I can just eat out of the freezedry package and eliminate the bowl or plate.

Do I really need that 6-C cell baton flashlight that I see often, or would a Tikka headlamp serve as well (there are several less than an ounce headlamps that put out as much light using the modern LEDs as the police-baton giant flashlights - though maybe you need the baton to fend off bears and escaped convicts). My 3 ounce Black Diamond headlamp puts out as much light as the big MagLite, and my Pelican waterproof clip light does just fine for most cooking in the dark. Candle lanterns are also quite a bit lighter than the police baton-sized MagLite.

The difference in weight of cookpots was mentioned above, but to go a step farther, do I need to take the full 3-pot set with their lids, or can I get along just fine with a single pot and lid (I often just a single pot, even though I carry the full set).

These are just a few of the places to save weight with no reduction in function.

A small kitchen scale and a spreadsheet can really open your eyes to how easy it is to shave pounds at no loss in convenience or function with what you already have or can get at minimal cost.

6:29 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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My pack weight runs 20 - 25 lbs. right now. That's food, fuel, batteries, and 2 liters of water for 3 -4 days.

Does not include camera & fishing gear.

The biggest areas where I have been able to cut weight are:

1. Shelter - solo or hammock.

2. Sleeping pad - I use a Ridgerest.

3. Stove - I can take a wood stove if weight is more important that convenience.

4. Cooking gear - I just take a spork, plastic bowl, wooden spoon, Snow Peak Soloist or Trek 900, metal mug, Bandanna, and half of a micro fiber pack towel.

5. Just being minimalist with my misc. stuff. I used to bring way too much "stuff".

8:24 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Pretty fun exercise and ran a spreadsheet to get my weight down to 11.28 pounds.

No water or food but all I would need on my back for three season camping and will take me to 30 degrees.

10:25 p.m. on August 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Well this certainly is an interesting (and for me, very time apropos) thread.

TOGBO, interesting you mention the camera details. I'm still using my D300 from several years ago. And I recently got an 18-200 precisely because I wanted a versatile yet light lens for trekking. I also dumped (relegated to non-trekking usage) my heavy tripod for a Feisol CT-3441T plus a Photoclam PC-36NS ball head. The tripod/ball head now are 3.39 lbs, just under your setup with the Gitzo/Acratech setup. I stopped carrying my 17-55 2.8 :( because it's heavy, and the 18-200 is lighter & more versatile. I am currently shopping for a better camera bag to carry my gear... I have one 1lb TLZ1 that's too small, and one TL75AW that's a good size (for the gear) but bulky and ridiculously heavy.

I, too, have gone the route of painstakingly constructing a spreadsheet detailing every single ounce of anything that goes on my back for a backpacking trip. I've counted all the "miscellaneous stuff... and at this point I believe I'm using everything I bring ... or have a very good case built in my mind for how I "very well could" use it an feel I'd be foolhardy to leave it behind. haha :). So, yeah, I could probalby shave a pound off if I really try. And there are a couple things that I am bringing now that I don't truly "need", which help me in ways that I deem worthwhile (like a Sea to Summit 10L bucket ... which the LNT people would love because I make just one trip to the water source, then the rest of my water needs come from that one bucket fill-up... but it costs me 3.5 oz in pack weight.

I've also gone thru the process of lightening core essentials. For example on my recent trip, I didnt' carry utensils except for one long-handled Ti spoon .. suitable for eating directly from freeze dried packages, as well as my morning oatmeal. I have one 4.4oz plastic mug (because the Ti one doesn't have a lid, which I really want for drinking my tea), it's only 1 oz heavier, and I've read that Ti is terrible for retaining heat.

I did reduce my cookset from an aluminum one to a single solo Ti 900ml pasta pot.

I guess my next step is to further categorize the items on my spreadsheet to separate the "miscellanous items" :).

As for the weight of the pack itself ... ummm, well IMO that's not as simple as saying "you don't need a 5-6lb pack". Yes, there are lots of very light packs on the market. But how much hassle will they be (e.g. top-loading only). How comfortable will they be (e.g. how UNcomfortable is my 4.5 lb Kelty D4)? there are lots of factors ...

9:44 a.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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The budget factor is a large limiting force in my current ability to lighten my load.

I need to carefully evaluate my "extras" and "little stuff" to figure out where I can cut off some ounces or pounds. On my main categories I just don't have expendable income to spend multiple hundreds of dollars to reduce the weight of my pack, sleeping bag, tent, cookset, etc. Especially if I want the same functionality and comfort that my current gear provides- to do that I would most likely spend well over a thousand. I plan on investing in better and lighter gear over time, but that will be a slow process unless my income increases dramatically sooner than can be practically anticipated.

1:49 p.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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So I just bought a Snowpeak Trek 700 Mug. Should arrive in a week or so. This will let me shave off a total of 33.5oz(2.09lbs). I got alot of use out of my stainless msr pots, and old canteen cup but they sure are heavy. This will also save me quite a bit of space in my pack as well.

Now to think of the next item to replace, back to the drawing board I go!

6:49 p.m. on August 13, 2010 (EDT)
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I think how you cook will probably shave the most besides a heavy pack, tent and bag and pad.

9:45 a.m. on August 16, 2010 (EDT)
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I disagree with the assumption that to walk lighter you must discard gear from your pack, cut off your toothbrush or drill holes in the handle of your spoon, etc.

Much the same way I feel about ultra light mountainbiking, I believe that the best way to walk light is to make yourself lighter and stronger. Its much easier to loose five pounds of fat than to buy titanium/carbon fiber/down everything, not to mention cheaper.

Yes, I threw away my old cotton sleeping bag that used birdshot and sawdust as insulation and I own several cool and light pieces of gear but I try to be reasonable about price. A titanium cookset? No thanks. A $20 spoon? Be reasonable. I am better off loosing 5 pounds than paying $500 to buy lighter gear.

If 30 pounds seems like a lot of weight to carry, remember our ancestors who hauled giant packs made of wood, steel or animal skins they killed. Maybe some of you are old enough to remember those days. For the average sized fellow a little conditioning makes pack weight less of an issue. If ultra light is your hobby thats fine, I question no ones choice in hobbies. Packing with kids I just resign myself to a huge pack. I'd rather cut fat, build muscle and save my money so I can afford to take my kids with me.

4:13 p.m. on August 16, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm new to this forum, hello everyone.

I think that other than eliminating extra weight from your gear and stuff, the most important thing to being light and mobile is:

1. Losing weight in you body like the last poster said. I don't have that option, I'm already light enough now. But I did lose 3 lbs (just from hiking) and it made a big difference!

2. How you pack your pack.

I'm one of those old-school backpackers, who started with an external frame pack in the 70's. But I have evolved with the times and always attempted to keep my gear light and minimal, with minimal purchases. When I finally decided to spend the bucks and overhaul my gear, I read the backpacking light books, surfed all the light gear sites, read the reviews, and tried out the lightest stuff. Most of it was too expensive for me and I never found a pack I liked, so I bought silnylon and made and designed a whole bunch of my stuff, including my pinnacle of obsessiveness, my backpack itself. It is designed for other women or anyone who wants the weight on the hips, and hates the pack pulling backwards on the shoulders. It has all the bells and whistles, can go as high volume as you could ever want, and weighs 1.5 lbs. I have also built my bivy, poncho, wood stoves, and doggy pack, poncho, and doggy sleeping bag/jacket. It's been fun, and satisfying.

But I invested in the sleeping bag: less than 2 lbs for a 15-degree bag, 850 fill down, at $300 on sale, with dwr for dew and tarp overspray. I sleep really cold, and need lots of warmth at night.

So I got down to the "ultralight"-defined 10 lbs baseweight (everything except food, water, and fuel, bear canister, and what you wear during the day). Since then, I have added weight, mostly to make better time efficiency, and add a few "luxuries". Like the wood stove takes a long time to use, so I bought the lightest snowpeak gas burner and the smallest fuel can lasted me over 6 days on my last trip, and I bring the wood stove as back-up. And I bring a little under a lb of fishing gear. Sometimes a liter of wine to share. I still double the use of my poncho as shelter. That saves me at least 1.5 lbs even with the lightest of solo tents. (In summer)

I'm up to about 12-15 lbs base weight depending if I take fishing gear and bear canister. Then I carry up to a liter of water (2 lbs), and AquaMira or Steripen to purify (included in base weight). A small can of fuel. And about 1.4 lbs of food per day. My last trip was 6 days and I walked away from the car with 24 lbs pack including a liter of water.

But really, the thing that seems to make the hugest difference in bp comfort and mobility is HOW YOU PACK YOUR PACK, and HOW YOU WEAR AND ADJUST YOUR PACK. I've been recently leading trips, and teaching folks about lightweight gear, and have had the opportunity to repack a few folks' packs for them, and show them how to properly adjust all those straps. And where the pack should sit on your waist and/or hips. Those that have welcomed that (it's amazing how many have refused), have been floored by how much difference it made. Their packs felt lighter, and road more comfortably, without ever removing an ounce of their gear.

There should be books about that, or at least a booklet. Is there one? Maybe I should write one. Oh wait, this post is so long it almost is one. Hee hee. When my pack is packed right, I can strap on the hip belt, and there is NO pulling back on the shoulder straps. With the tiniest forward lean, as if you're hiking uphill, I can take the shoulder straps OFF my arms and the pack doesn't fall backward. Other packs aren't quite this great, but they're a LOT better if properly packed. The weight sits on the hips over your center of gravity.

The key is to pack heavy items next to your back, and lower down, with lighter items away from your back. And to pack your pack with items pushing your pack out WIDTHwise and minimizing how far BACK items push the pack out. You don't want the pack to assume a cylindrical shape. You want it to be kinda wide and flat. And better a bit higher than sticking out behind your body. Closer to your body it can be, the better it will ride. If I have to use a bear canister, I fill half of it with dense food (widthwise), and the other half with something fluffy, like extra socks, or long johns, and pack the heavy half in the pack close to my back.

Two men I know weren't comfortable with their packs, and had unbuckled their hip belts and were carrying all the weight on their shoulders. After I adjusted their packs for them, and showed them where to ride their hips belts, and how to tighten and loosen the various cinch straps to pull the packs closer to their backs, they said it was like night and day.

Sorry for the long post, I hope this was helpful.

5:16 a.m. on August 17, 2010 (EDT)
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In Australia, I do 7-10 day stays in late Autumn (May) carrying 30kg/65lb and late Winter/Spring (August/September) carrying 15kg/33lb. I do gear drops at marked waypoints before the snow arrives and after the fire season to make the trips in Winter a bit easier and to allow for some other comforts if we want. We store enough gear to wait out bad weather or extend our stay a further week for two people if need be. Climbing and snowboarding in Winter needs a tonne of gear and a lot is for unexpected complications that we need to be prepared for as a small party of two people.

11:40 p.m. on August 20, 2010 (EDT)
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If 30 pounds seems like a lot of weight to carry, remember our ancestors who hauled giant packs made of wood, steel or animal skins they killed.

Hmmm, interesting analogy :) but I don't really think it applies. After all, our went trekking because they had to ... to find food ... or water ... or because they were driven out of their homelands .. or ...

We do it because we want to enjoy it :)

3:22 a.m. on August 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Just got back from a 15 day run through the Appalachians. my pack never went above 35 lbs. hmm probly averaging out a bit under 30 most of the time.

Weekenders can be a different story depending on the mileage and what I wanna haul in for the couple of days. maybe up to even 40-50

and sure, we all have certain luxuries we tend to allow to tip the scale a bit more. Then again I don't consider myself TOO much of an extreme 'ultra' light.

I believe that the best way to walk light is to make yourself lighter and stronger. Its much easier to loose five pounds of fat than to buy titanium/carbon fiber/down everything, not to mention cheaper.

...nice point

June 24, 2018
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