Mar 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1235194
Here goes with my first post to a BPL forum!!
As a prelude to bigger things in the not terribly distant future (such as a mid-summer
week- long backpack in the Kings Canyon backcountry via one of the nasty eastside passes
with no quota issues) I decided to just take off on an overnight backpack and see how well
I could do reducing my weight.
The game is/was to see how light I could get without spending any money and working
with gear I already have.
The hike was in the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson. I started Saturday
around 3:30 in the afternoon, and hurried to hike the 5 miles (and 3000 feet up)
to my chosen camp by sunset (and just made it). The next day I climbed to the top
of Mount Wrightson and returned to my vehicle, the overall loop being about 14.5
miles with 4300 feet of elevation gain (and loss). Daytime temperatures were
60-70 degrees and quite windy (this was March 28 and 29 of 2009). Nighttime
temperatures dropped to 35 degrees, with a stout wind (near 30 miles per hour).
My pack weighed 18 pounds and 5 ounces (293 ounces) at the end of the trip.
Here is my list, followed by my own analysis and comments, but I am just
getting started in this, so don't hold back! I am trying to change my way
of thinking first, and will make some strategic gear purchases once I learn
enough to try to do them right.
42 oz – Dana Design "Bomb Pack" (1800 cubic inches)
52 oz – Marmot Pinnacle Long 15 degree down bag (800 cubic inches stuffed)
30 oz – Thermarest Trail Comfort regular (20×72) pad.
16 oz – Mountain Hardware Bivy Sack.
4 oz – 2 mil polyester ground sheet.
22 oz – Jet Boil stove and cannister
13 oz – Guardian Sweetwater filter
12 oz – Patagonia R1 Hoody
11 oz – Patagonia Wool 4 pants
9 oz – Patagonia R0.5 zip
9 oz – Patagonia Down vest
3 oz – Patagonia Houdini shell
2 oz – Empty 2 liter water bottle
8 oz – Two Camelback "performance" bottles
10 oz – Two apples
26 oz – Food (1 pound gorp, 10 ounces cous cous).
1 oz – Extra socks
1 oz – Hat
14 oz – Extra food, never eaten. (3 energy bars and 3 gels)
8 oz – small binoculars, never used.
21 oz – odds and ends (knife, flashlight, thermometer, lighter, spoon …)
Notice that the itemized list includes the 36 ounces of food eaten.
The apples were nice!
I was just warm enough in the 15 degree bag, inside the bivy bag,
wearing the Wool 4 pants and the R 0.5 layer and the R1 hoody both.
I tried removing the R 0.5 in the middle of the night,
but could not get cozy and comfortable enough to get back to sleep.
But this is just me, I have always been an anomalously cold sleeper.
Based on this, I should add 20 degrees to any bags rating and plan on wearing
thermals at that temperature. I would not have had a comfortable night
carrying any lighter sleeping bag.
Yes I do like Patagonia gear. During the warmest part of the day I was wearing
just a pair of Patagonia Ultra shorts and a silkweight T-shirt. That Houdini
shell is a fantastic piece of gear, more bang per ounce than anything else I own.
Footwear was a pair of pretty badly trashed Salomon trail running shoes,
that are too far gone to keep using for serious hiking anymore.
Almost every piece of gear was used and appreciated. I never did peek through the
binoculars, nor did I carry a camera as I often would. I did have almost a pound
of extra food, but I don't feel entirely bad about that. The gorp was a last minute
impulse buy (and a good one!). I was carrying a set of trekking poles to try them out,
but don't expect to make them a permanent addition.
The water filter enabled me to pull water out of springs on two occasions, allowing
me to travel with a small water load most of the time, so the integrated product
of miles and water load was reduced thanks to the pump. The water in the springs
looked good, but would have been very hard to collect without the pump.
The above totals do not include water, which varied through the hike with a maximum
of 3 liters (about 6 pounds or 96 ounces) being carried
just before making camp the first night.
The camelback bottles are heavy for what they do, the capacity of the pair is 44 ounces,
whereas the 2 liter soda bottle carries 64 ounces with 2 ounces of weight.Mar 30, 2009 at 7:05 pm #1489933
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Thomas, if you are looking at not spending any money there is not much I can say, but over time you will need to replace most of your stuff so when you do here are my comments with no malice intended:
42 oz – Dana Design "Bomb Pack" (1800 cubic inches)— You can get a pack that weighs half this much for the amount the Dana can carry. There are numerous options, read the forums
52 oz – Marmot Pinnacle Long 15 degree down bag (800 cubic inches stuffed)— A Marmot Helium weighs 1/3 pound lighter then this bag or the WM Ultralite, for the same warmth (I own both and have the same temperature issue as you and have now problems down to 15* with either bag. I can even wear less clothing at 35*)
30 oz – Thermarest Trail Comfort regular (20×72) pad.— If this is a comfort thing I would look at the new NeoAir when it comes out. Don’t try a BA AirCore (Inslutate or not) because of your heat issues you will freeze at any temperature below 40*. Any other options will probably weigh the same or more, again if it is a comfort issue- if not you can go a lot lighter i.e. CCF or other
16 oz – Mountain Hardware Bivy Sack.— You can cut this by more then half here too. . If WP/B isn’t an issue Equinox makes one at 5.6 oz, there are others. If WP/B is an issue Look into a UL tarp to go with your new UL bivy, you will need rain protection sometime even in Arizona
4 oz – 2 mil polyester ground sheet.— This seems to heavy, I have 4 mil sheets that weigh 4.5 oz., maybe yours is to big?
22 oz – Jet Boil stove and canister— This is way to HEAVY, especially for an overnighter. For no money at all you can make a pop can stove- it’s a much better way to go. If you don’t want to make it yourself they are cheap to buy. Look into the caldera cone – I think it is the best
13 oz – Guardian Sweetwater filter— You got water from springs! Use aquaMira (repackaged) or their tablets. Or look into a Steripen if you want to spend some money.
12 oz – Patagonia R1 Hoody— Yes
11 oz – Patagonia Wool 4 pants—- Yes
9 oz – Patagonia R0.5 zip— Yes
9 oz – Patagonia Down vest— Yes
3 oz – Patagonia Houdini shell— Great
2 oz – Empty 2 liter water bottle— Use this, and dump the camel back bottles!
8 oz – Two Camelback "performance" bottles— leave these home or sell them
10 oz – Two apples— Great for a short trip and worth the weight
26 oz – Food (1 pound gorp, 10 ounces cous cous).— I can’t eat that much gorp in a 24 hour period YMMV
1 oz – Extra socks— Yes
1 oz – Hat— Yes
14 oz – Extra food, never eaten. (3 energy bars and 3 gels)— For 3 meals the 26 oz above is plenty, this is just dead weight, maybe keep 1 energy bar for an emergency- you can go a long time without the need for food
8 oz – small binoculars, never used.— switch for the camera
21 oz – odds and ends (knife, flashlight, thermometer, lighter, spoon …)— 1.3 lbs for this stuff? Try- Knike .7 oz, flashlight .9 oz, lighter .7 oz, thermometer, why? First aid 2.5 oz. spoon, plastic .5 oz total= 5.3 oz you can save a pound here.Mar 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm #1489954
Thanks Tad, I am reading and re-reading your comments.
One thing – I am not never gonna spend money. I just want to see how far I can go before I start spending money, then buy the most strategic things.
This might sound crazy, but I am right on the edge of buying a Gossamer Gear murmur pack. Same capacity (and then some) as my ancient Dana for 2 pounds less. That would drop my load to 16 pounds, and with some other trimming (and the weather is soon going to jump to much warmer), and at any event I would be within the 20 pound capacity of the Murmur.
I'll need something else for that week long Sierra trip (I think), and I see doing some sewing and buying one of Ray Jardines tarp kits in my future …. but I am keeping my mind open. Thanks for the time to look my stuff over!Mar 31, 2009 at 4:11 pm #1490159
I searched BPL (and Google) and am still mystified. Best thing I came up with is World Professional Bullriding, but that doesn't seem quite right.Mar 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm #1490161
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Waterproof / breathable.Mar 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm #1490215
Got it! Like a generic expression for Gore-Tex.
Thanks.Apr 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm #1490557
@mn-backpackerLocale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Like a generic expression for Gore-Tex.
Except some may argue the B part with Gore-Tex. :)Apr 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm #1490559
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"Like a generic expression for Gore-Tex."
No! Currently, breathability is defined by eVENT and MontBell.
Goretex had a good thing 30+ years ago but hasn't done much lately — except for mostly marketing hype.Apr 2, 2009 at 6:44 am #1490633
@tippymcstaggerLocale: North Texas
New pack sheds a lot of weight for very little money. Have you considered the really simple stuffsack w/straps types?
I am hesitant to retire any decent down bag, unless you have a project for the down. (I like to get all I can out of the animals I use. Also any gains will be expensive.)
Try sleeping on foam, at least under feet.
Clothing selection could be lighter. Try to move away from fleece and thick base layers. If you can stay reasonably dry, all warmth can be puffy over ultra-thin base.
Do you need a groundcloth under a bivy? Your other question of bivy versus tarp concerns style rather than weight.Apr 3, 2009 at 10:54 am #1490987
I am inches .. seconds away from placing an order for a Gossamer Gear Miniposa. That would cut 2 pounds from this load and bring it down to 16 pounds. And I have to agree with Jeremy that I am hard pressed to replace that 3 pound Marmot Pinnacle any time soon – it has been slept in less than a dozen nights I would say. I do need to find out what I can get away with pad-wise and still get a decent sleep. I will probably order a torso length night-lite with the miniposa and experiment. The next thing to address would (I think) be the stove and cooking system, but you guys should be feeling free to be telling me!
As weather warms up here in Arizona, I can eliminate a lot of gear warmth wise, but for a trip in the High Sierra, I have been in barely freezing temperatures, even in late July, so the same bag and warm gear will probably go along with me there.
I look at this post as the weight to beat on the next trip.
I would like to get my base weight down to closer to 10 pounds, add 10 pounds of food, and do a 6 day trip in the Sierra this summer with a 22 pound pack. Get an Ursack and avoid canister manditory areas ……. The Miniposa would get me down to 16, and there are maybe 2 pounds of junk I could just do without, then I am at 14 pondering next steps.Apr 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm #1491034
Miniposa is a great choice for packs, possibly the Murmur would be a canidate as well.That would be an additional 7 oz's of savings. IMO a lighter sleeping bag or quilt should be next on the list for ya, 52 oz is definetly a little on the heavier end. Go for a bag/quilt from thats in the 1-1.75 lb range and add a UL insulated jacket like the Montbell UL Down Inner, or the Thermawrap. You could definetly swap the Jetboil for an alchohol sove, check out Andrew Skurka's cat food can stove on you tube. It"s incredibly easy to make, easy to use, and SUL! Pair it with a 500ml-900ml titanium pot(Firelite,Evernew)and your set!
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