Nov 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm #1281634
I was reading on Ryan Jordan's site a post about simplicity and at one point it questions the reader on how many items are in their pack: "What if you limited the number of items you carried in your pack to 50? 20? How about 10?"
I've been pursuing simplicity for the past year or so, but never added the number of items that I carry, so I added it up:
I normally carry 38 items.
4 main items (Quilt, Pad, Shelter, Pack)
3 Stuff Sacks
2 bottles (1 water, 1 fuel)
8 items of clothing (rain jkt, rain pants, down vest, spare shirt, 1 under wear, 1 socks, bug net, beanie)
4 piece cookset (pot, cone, stove, spoon)
8 health/hygene items (first aid kit, toothbrush, deoderant, toilet paper, hydropel, water tabs, soap, deet)
6 misc gear (bear bag cord, duct tape, fire sparker, lighter, knife, map)
3 electronic items (headlamp, camera, backup squeeze light)
Perhaps the sweet spot is around 30-50 items. It seems to me that getting the total too low might start to have a negative affect on trip quality/simplicity. For example, if I left behind my stuff sack that holds all my small items, I would have a harder time finding stuff. It wouldn't really be a simpler trip if I had to dump out my pack every time in needed to find something. Conversely, if you're carrying 80 items then you'd also have the similar problem of difficulty keeping track of all your stuff and again the pack might get dumped out to search for something.
I know compared to how I hiked a few years ago, I carry far less items and it's much easier to keep track of everything and setup/take down camp, which boosts efficiency….so I'm pretty happy at 38.Nov 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #1799271
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
For 3 seasons mine is around 40 items, sometimes 4 or 5 more.Nov 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm #1799273
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Viewing a gear list from a different angle seems like a worthy exercise; this is a good idea, Dan.
Also, I agree with: "I carry far less items and it's much easier to keep track of everything and setup/take down camp, which boosts efficiency." I carry a small square of tyvek where I put all small items so I can always see and find something I need. However, (besides the big 4 items and clothing) there really isn't a lot of stuff that needs organizing. Much less stressful than packing up the "garage sale" that camp used to be.Nov 7, 2011 at 6:53 am #1799323
But don't you have to count every single item in the first aid kit? If we are going to count, we have to count every item?Nov 7, 2011 at 6:59 am #1799326
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
Moderate weather 34 or so items, (weight) a couple ounces over 2 pounds.
Top row Left to Right:
Pertex Quantum / Cuben Bivy with the Climashield Combat Liner attached.
Cuben Poncho/Tarp with 6 Ti tent stakes and guylines made from 1/16" Yale Cordage "Pulse" line.
Next row: Left to Right:
Black Kilt/Shell for Balloon Bed and bag of Balloons.
Shop Towels cut for TP with my Ti Trowel and BMW small bottle of Dr Bronner's soap (brown cap).
Under Shop Towels are my Micropur MP 1 Purifier Tablets.
Platy 1 Liter water bottles (2).
Cuben Pack modified with sternum straps.
Cuben Booties with spare pair of socks laying on top. Socks were used for padding in my shoulder straps.
Next row Left to Right:
12 oz Diet Coke can used to eat Dry Food from and my home made Ti long handle spoon. The spoon handle is pointing to my Food Bag.
Zip lock with my Blister/Wound care stuff, Blistex and Tooth brush.
Zip lock next to my gloves has my Matches, Esbit tablet, Firestarting kit, Chemical heat packs.
BMW Possumdown gloves.
Wool Watch cap.
GG Pack liner.
Climashield Combat Toe Cozy's.
1- Everything is laying on my GG Polycryo Ground Cloth.
2- Counted as in my pack but attached to a belt loop on my pants is my Photon LED and small Swiss Army Knife. The knife got left off my gear list and weighs 0.72 oz. I have added it to the gear list as in the pack.
3- The whistle is hiding on the pack and didn't show up in the picture.
32.0Nov 7, 2011 at 10:32 am #1799382
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
For 3 season (30 degree lows) I've got 40 items – that's if I break hygene stuff down to individual components, but count first aid as 1 item. Also doesn't count the stuff I'm normally wearing.Nov 7, 2011 at 11:32 am #1799398
"But don't you have to count every single item in the first aid kit? If we are going to count, we have to count every item?"
There's certainly a lot of semantics/grey areas that could be argued either way. Ultimately I don't think it really matters which way it's done, as long as people are comparing apples to apples.
A first aid kit is sort of a collection of smaller items, but so is my shelter (stakes, fly, inner etc) so it's a discretionary call. I personally didn't count the items in my first aid kit because (1) I almost never open it so it feels like one item and (2) going into detail like this would obscure the bigger picture. The guy with the simple gear list but 20 band-aids in their first aid kit would appear to have a far more complex kit that someone carrying 2 band-aids but otherwise has way more gear items.Nov 7, 2011 at 11:46 am #1799403
New to the site and new to hiking! This was helpful. Thanks!Nov 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm #1801140
My count was 39 – 1st aid as one item.
Maybe it is just approaching senility, but I like to minimise the number of items I need to account for as I pack, so I tend to use a few stuff sacs despite the weight penalty. While this adds about 100g of stuff sacs, I don't need a rain cover. I get my gear into 6 or 7 stuff sacs – bright, different colours so I can identify which stuff sac is which. I also prefer all gear to be in the pack other than 1 litre of water and navigation bits.
So packing is a two stage process. Pack everything into the appropriate stuff sac, If the stuff sac doesn't fill to the right place I know I have missed something, then put them in the pack. This way I only account of less than 10 items per stuff sac and leaves me dealing with large brightly coloured items – much harder to misplace.
8 litre dry bag for the quilt, mat and silk inner
8 litre dry bag for dry clothes
Stuff sac for wet, dirty clothes – depends on trip
Small stuffsac for stove, pot, canister, spoon, cutting board, lighter
Food bag – on long trips this becomes 2 stuff sacs
Ditty bag – first aid & repair, spare batteries etc.
Net inner in own stuff sac with pegs
Gatewood Cape – has stuff sac built in
GPS, map, knife, compass, camera, monocle live in a hip belt/shoulder strap pockets
Clothing removed as the day warms up just gets shoved in the bag.
While I start with 39 items (more than I can easily keep track of) I end up with only 12-14 items I need to keep track of as I pack up.Nov 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm #1801855
I always number the items in my spreadsheets. Just something I've always done. And now for my number: 31.
The number does include the first aid kit and survival items in one convenient place. Does this mean that my base weight is lighter than most, no way! I’m around 14.5 lbs but my BA Fly Creek UL3 and GoLite Quest are a bit on the heavy side. Though I often just wind up being the guy with the bear canister and so I don’t even have a tent in my pack. I’m currently working to lower my base a bit more but looking at how many total items I/you are carrying is a very relevant topic. Having multi-use items in your gear helps to lower the number in your pack. Great topic.Nov 15, 2011 at 6:59 am #1801958
Your item/packed base weight ratio.
31 items/14.5 pounds = 2.14
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