- Aug 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm #3486294
Current kit. Not winter. But cool mountains yes, or 3-season. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten feedback on this. Seems I should be able to do better.
This list doesn’t include the Bearikade Weekender (31.6 oz.) or the bug inner for the Haven 2 (14.4 oz). We don’t use those all that often.
I have a Bushbuddy Ultra and some sizes of Caldera Cones but haven’t been using them lately because we are encountering too many surprise burn bans.
My husband has had 3 back surgeries; while he can still backpack (yay!) I have to keep as much weight off him as I can. So I carry our shared stuff like kitchen, shelter, FAK, etc.
I used to have Gossamer Gear fixed carbon poles but they kept breaking.
I am 5′ 3-1/2″ and 118 lbs. so not very big. That limits what I can carry but also makes my clothing etc. smaller. Age 66. Not in a position to carry mostly on my shoulders, so no frameless and yes hip belt. My load usually doesn’t bother me much except when we are at Big Bend or Guadalupe Mts. and I need to carry 20 lbs of water instead of 2 lbs. of water. But I am seeing a time when I might need to take some more off my husband, not just shared items. Like, all the food or something.
We live in Austin so I don’t get much practice at cold, and consequently sleep *and* hike cold. Hence all the woolens etc.
This list really does include everything, even the minibiners and plastic bags and hair ties. The food weight is set at 1 lb per day dry because that’s about what I actually go through on our trips. If I ever get to go on a trip longer than 2 weeks maybe I’d have to increase that but not so far.
Not averse to spending money if it would help. Yes some stuff is pricey but backpacking is nowhere near as expensive as “normal” vacationing at resorts or cruises and stuff, and way more fun. And if an item is available from a REI vendor I can prodeal.
Thanks for your thoughts!Sep 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm #3493508
First of all, I would say this doesn’t seem like an excess of stuff, but you are looking for ways to save weight, so here goes…
The first thing I would do is taylor it to more specific conditions than: “Not winter. But cool mountains yes, or 3-season“.
Spring in Big Bend is very different from fall in the North Cascades. If your trip is less than a week, you can also look at the long term forecast and get an even more detailed picture of conditions.
Once you have narrowed down gear lists for specific conditions, you might be able to substitute more specialized equipment, rather than do it all stuff. This really applies to shelters a lot, but also clothing and packing. If you are doing a warm weather trip with less clothing, insulation and fuel you might also be able to use a smaller, lighter backpack.
You might even be able to lose clothing weight in colder weather, especially from your pack. For example, for tops, you currently have a tank top, a woven, long sleeve ‘bug’ shirt and a wind shirt, for 9 oz,in addition to a long sleeve base layer.. If you knew it would be cool all the time, you could go down to a long sleeve base layer and to a nano air light hoody, for the same weight but more warmth, better breathability and much better moisture management under a rain jacket. For bottoms, replacing the long underwear with down pants(same weight) would give you much more warmth.
For warm weather a lighter quilt seems like a good option to save some weight.
In dry conditions do you need dry sleep clothes? Base layers(especially wool) are heavy for their low warmth. For example mountain summer weather: warm days and cool nights. Swap the long sleeve wool shirt and windshirt (12.6 oz) for a MB Plasma down vest (2.8 oz). Swap the long underpants for down pants(same weight). Hike in your Ex Officio shirt, add the tank top underneath if breezy, rain jacket if very windy. In camp, the down vest will add much more warmth over your shirt and under your down jacket than the windshirt and long sleeve wool shirt, and be much more comfortable. The down pants will be MUCH warmer, than the long undies.
If your total pack weights are usually under 25 lbs, consider the Zpack Arcblast pack. Full frame and hip belt for about 22oz, depending on options.
A Neoair Xlite would offer more comfort and more warmth for the same weight as your Ridgerest.
A Zpacks Duplex “tarp only” would be about 11oz, plus the DCF soaks up less water the silnylon, so wet weight will be an even bigger improvement.Sep 27, 2017 at 8:43 am #3493562
Mary MBPL Member
I’m about the same size, and recommend the Zpack short/slim 20 deg sleeping bag – weighs about 17 ounces total. I love it. similar to a quilt (no hood), but it does have a zipper.Sep 28, 2017 at 2:55 am #3493659
To Tjaard and Mary:
Thank you both for looking at this and offering your thoughts. Your suggestions go, for me, in unfamiliar directions, so that is especially helpful.
It seems like so many folks show lower base weights including things I wouldn’t need like fat air pads or chairs. Looking for why, I come up with:
—They can carry frameless packs at much higher pack weights and no hip belt
—They go no-stove
—They have super-thin sleeping bags or quilts, *and*
—They don’t get cold.
(When I first read Ray Jardine back in the late 90’s that was my first impression. That guy apparently doesn’t get cold!)
My clothing setup wasn’t really on my radar screen, though, so it is helpful that you draw attention to that. I guess that is where I “pack my fears” as we all typically do. I never heard of down pants for hiking in cool conditions. Hardly heard of them at all except maybe for something skiers and mountaineers use. At a weight comparable to the midweight wool long underwear I expect down would be warmer. But would it be too warm for hiking? I don’t have any other long pants on my current list (except for the rain pants)—just the skirt that I wear the wool leggings underneath if it’s too chilly or windy. Think in terms of how many people just bring shorts and leggings, except that shorts and pants give me seam chafe so I switched to the skirt. Then if it rains or gets too cold even for that, on go the rain pants.
Even with no rain in the forecast I never trust it not to rain. But yes if the forecast is warm and dry I would probably leave the long sleeve wool baselayer shirt out, and I do have a couple of somewhat lighter sleeping bags I could substitute (REI Kilo Flash at 19 oz which is good to maybe 60 deg. and a REI Flash at 27 oz which might take me down to 45 deg or so). Being that I chill easily, and also am from Austin where we never get any practice at cold, I have to add 10-15 degrees at least, to any bag rating.
The MB vest looks interesting; I hadn’t seen that before. If it works better than the wool shirt, that’s worth a look. Whether I want both the wind shirt and the rain jacket is a perennial dilemma, and the subject of many debates over the years on this forum. I do take both, and often wear the windshirt during rest breaks or if a chill wind picks up, when the big ballooney rain jacket feels like overkill.
“If you knew it would be cool all the time, you could go down to a long sleeve base layer and to a nano air light hoody, for the same weight but more warmth, better breathability and much better moisture management under a rain jacket” So the suggestion here is to replace the tank, the woven shirt, the windshirt, and the Puffy, with a nano puff air jacket to go with the midweight wool shirt? (In women’s they don’t seem to offer a hoody.) That is lighter but would worry that the wool shirt would still be too warm to hike in. Maybe I don’t trust that it will stay that cool all the time, I don’t know. Maybe I need to experiment a lot more. That would entail a lot more experimental short trips. (Hmmm..not a bad idea at all.)
On switching to a quilt or a hoodless bag, I’ve thought about that sometimes. Usually, if I’ve not mistakenly brought a too-warm bag, I am wearing pretty much everything at least on the colder nights, including anything with a hood plus the knit beanie *and* the sleeping bag hood. Usually not the rain suit although sometimes I spread that on the outside of my sleeping bag if the shelter is drafty. I guess this is just something I won’t find out without getting one and trying it. Too bad the smaller quilt sizes hardly ever come up in gear swap.
I could prodeal a short neoair xlite for a pretty good price. I’ve just always shied away from air pads because of the possibility of a leak in the middle of a trip. The ridgerest is pretty much indestructible. But yes the xlite should be warmer, if the ratings are accurate. Which might let me bring a lighter bag.
The Arc Blast is the only framed pack I’ve seen that is lighter than the 2014 Mariposa. And with the ridgerest I don’t have any other use for the GG sit pad other than its structural role in the pack. (Even the smaller framed GG packs—the current ones—don’t weight any less than the pack I have.)
The Duplex tarp looks interesting. I should probably have bought the DCF (then Cuben) Haven 2 back when it was offered, but even though yes I could come up with the price it kind of made me hyperventilate. The Zpacks looks like the closest equivalent currently.
Thank you again for your ideas!
MinaSep 29, 2017 at 2:53 am #3493836
John RowanBPL Member
I own a pair of down pants, but would never hike in them (I’d roast almost instantly), and I rarely take them with me- usually they’re just a way to boost the rating on my bag or a luxury item if it’s going to be chilly and I’m going to be spending longer than normal in camp.
More generally, there’s plenty of avenues to drop a chunk of weight- you could do about a pound with a different bag/quilt without sacrificing warmth, although that’s an expensive change.
As mentioned above, clothing is an option as well, but that’s more dependent on preference and probably an area where “need” and “want” have more equal value. (I carried nothing redundant for a 750-mile PCT section this year, and while I appreciated the weight savings, I was certainly a little envious when my friends had something cleanish to change into in town.) I’ve taken my clothing setup comfortably anywhere from 30-100 degrees and been comfortable, although there’s the assumption that I’m not going to be just sitting around for hours if it’s freezing- I’ll either be hiking or in my bag. What I carry can be found here if you’re curious- https://lighterpack.com/r/c8stmz
Aside from some other places where you could throw a lot of cash to save a little weight (pack, shelter), you’re definitely at the point where a lot of the weight savings are going to come from what you don’t pack, rather than how light individual items are. For that stuff, it’s typically easier to do shakedown trips and really get a sense of what you use and don’t use.Sep 29, 2017 at 10:51 am #3493880
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
Hi Mina: I’m wondering how you’re weighing individual items, because this is something that can affect the totals on your spreadsheet.
For instance, there is a safety pin and a Fisher space pen, each listed as 0.1oz, which is 2.35g, and I would hazard a guess that the safety pin weighs less than 0.1oz and that the pen weighs a bit more.
In the running total, all of these little overages and deficits might average out to produce an accurate figure, or they might not; I have not done an experiment to test this theory. However, it could be that listing a bunch of small items with slight overages is somewhat inflating your base weight, which means it isn’t quite as heavy as the spreadsheet suggests.
Two approaches that might address this (perhaps imagined!) issue are to 1) get a more accurate scale with at least 1g resolution, or preferably 0.1g resolution if you want to include a lot of very small items on your list, or 2) to measure “sub-units” of assembled items that you might carry together, such as I do with medicines/toilitries/FAK/repair that all go into one ditty bag that gets weighed and put on the list as one item. By doing this, a 0.1oz error would not affect the total nearly as much. If you use your spreadsheet as a packing list, it might be advisable to keep a separate, more detailed, list for that purpose. Personally, I don’t use a packing list at all and simply replenish consumables such as medicine, toothpaste and foot care tapes, etc, as part of the packing process.
To me it seems that you have your kit pretty well dialed in for your and your husband’s personal needs and as far as any improvements I can only chime in with previous comments about tuning the clothing system for actual conditions.Sep 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm #3493947
Bob’s point about weighing small items is great. I would caution about the scale though, display resolution is NOT the same as measuring accuracy. If you truly want 0.1 g accuracy, you’l have to get a tiny scale, like for chemical use or coins etc.
I would simply do as Bob suggest and weigh complete sets. Or, weigh multiples,i.e. Weigh 20 safety pins, then divide that number by 20 to get the individual weight.Sep 29, 2017 at 7:15 pm #3493963
“It seems like so many folks show lower base weights including things I wouldn’t need like fat air pads or chairs. Looking for why, I come up with:
—They can carry frameless packs at much higher pack weights and no hip belt
—They go no-stove
—They don’t get cold.”
Which is why trying to use someone else’s list is not a good idea!
“My clothing setup wasn’t really on my radar screen, though, so it is helpful that you draw attention to that. I guess that is where I “pack my fears” as we all typically do. I never heard of down pants for hiking in cool conditions. Hardly heard of them at all except maybe for something skiers and mountaineers use. But would it be too warm for hiking? I don’t have any other long pants on my current list (except for the rain pants)—just the skirt that I wear the wool leggings underneath if it’s too chilly or windy.”
No, sorry, not down pants for hiking. I had assumed the long underwear was for sleeping/campwear. Many people do use them for backpacking, but almost never while moving. Andrew Skurka suggest bringing down pants if temps are going to be below 35 F or so.
“Think in terms of how many people just bring shorts and leggings, except that shorts and pants give me seam chafe so I switched to the skirt. Then if it rains or gets too cold even for that, on go the rain pants”
If that is the case, also interesting to check out knee warmers for warmer weather where you just want something to keep the knees warm in a breeze or under rain pants:
“Even with no rain in the forecast I never trust it not to rain.”
Absolutely agree. I was not suggesting to leave the rain gear behind(especially since you have a super light option). But there is a difference between expecting it to rain a lot and be damp and cool the rest of the time versus expecting it to rain briefly or not at all and be warm and dry the rest of the time. In the latter case, a lightweight rain jacket might be sufficient, for the former you’d want a full suit with good coverage and materials, a fleece/nano air layer for under the rain jacket, long underwear or pants under the rain pants, rainmits and dry sleep clothes.
“But yes, if the forecast is warm and dry I would probably leave the long sleeve wool baselayer shirt out”
The reasons to bring sleep clothes are either for prolonged wet, damp weather, or as extra warmth for camp and sleeping. In case of the latter, wool base layers are simply heavy for the amount of warmth they provide, so leaving them behind and adding (some of) that weight back as down fill, will get you more bang for your ounce.
“I do have a couple of somewhat lighter sleeping bags I could substitute I have to add 10-15 degrees at least, to any bag rating.”
Agreed, sleeping bag ratings are only an idea. You need to bring what’s warm enough for YOU. I simply meant that with warmer clothes, you might be able to get away with a lighter bag. Also, that in warmer weather you certainly would. I sleep cold too, but when it’s 60F inside my tent I don’t need a warm bag ;-)
“The MB vest looks interesting” I have never used it, and there are many other ultralight down vests too. It was just a quick example. As far as “If it works better than the wool shirt” I was assuming you wore the wool shirt in camp and to sleep, to add extra warmth to your down jacket or windshirt. A down vest certainly “works better” in as much as, it’s warmer than a shirt.
“Whether I want both the wind shirt and the rain jacket is a perennial dilemma, and the subject of many debates over the years on this forum. I do take both, and often wear the windshirt during rest breaks or if a chill wind picks up, when the big ballooney rain jacket feels like overkill” I almost always bring both as well (but it’s an XL, with hood at only 2.5 oz), and Ryan Jordan has made a compelling case for one too. I meant that if conditions were specific, you might not need to bring it. My thought was there was more overlap in use between a woven hiking shirt and a windshirt.
“ So the suggestion here is to replace the tank, the woven shirt, the windshirt,
and the Puffy, with a Nano Air Light Hoody to go with the midweight wool shirt?” Yes. If it was consistently cold, the midweight shirt would be your minimum to hike in. Cool windy mornings you would hike in the shirt + Hoody. Still bring the down jacket for camp.
“That is lighter but would worry that the wool shirt would still be too warm to hike in. Maybe I don’t trust that it will stay that cool all the time.”
Well it depends on your definition of cold, and indeed how stable the weather remains. But in that case, simply replace the midweight shirt with a lightweight zip neck base layer. Those are comfy even in quite warm weather. Andrew Skurka put’s it this way: Select a base layer that will be comfortable during your highest exertion in the warmest weather you expect.
“In women’s they don’t seem to offer a hoody.” Sorry,not the ‘regular” Nano-Air, the Nano Air light:
The regular Nano Air would be far to warm to hike in, even in cold (not frigid) weather.
Maybe you cold give description of how you use the clothing you have listed, that would help clarify it for yourself as well as us? (And avoid assumptions like mine about the long johns)
“On switching to a quilt”
Only for warmer weather. In an open shelter like yours for a cold sleeper, a mummy bag is a warmer option.
“The Arc Blast is the only framed pack I’ve seen that is lighter than the 2014 Mariposa. And with the ridgerest I don’t have any other use for the GG sit pad other than its structural role in the pack. (Even the smaller framed GG packs—the current ones—don’t weight any less than the pack I have.) – I should probably have bought the DCF Haven 2 back when it was offered, but even though yes I could come up with the price it kind of made me hyperventilate. The Zpacks looks like the closest equivalent currently.”
Again, the only reason I suggested those is that you have specific needs to go super low with weight. It’s a lot of money for a small weight savings and no functional increase really. But that’s the point you are at: diminishing returns and high hanging fruit ;-)Sep 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm #3494106
@tjaard: Good question, how I use clothing. Even in summer, conditions can vary a lot during a single mountain trip. Example: July, eastern Weminuche, Rainbow Loop from Fourmile TH to West Fork TH. Hiking garb beginning at lower elevation is woven nylon shirt, nylon skirt, cape hat, wool crew socks, trail runners. Hot? The woven sleeves roll up. Need more sun protection? Roll sleeves down again. If it’s windy and chilly for a while (comes with mountain afternoon sprinkles) add microweight wool tank underneath woven. Then maybe windshirt at rest stops. Afternoon rain, enough to matter? Rain jacket and, if temperature drops a lot with the storm, wool leggings. Still hiking. Evening in camp: Add puffy either under or over windshirt. Switch cape hat for knit hat. Rain clothes only if actually raining. Overnight, probably wearing everything except the ls wool shirt/rain suit/shoes, inside sleeping bag. By the time we got to higher elevation near the Divide, we ran into hail and strong cold wind going through high passes, I was hiking in everything including the ls wool shirt, except not the puffy. Kept the ls wool shirt on overnight too. Then the rough weather passed and on the way down I was back to hiking in the basic assembly plus the leggings until we got back to lower elevations again. There was one trip to Big Bend in December when up in the Chisos it stayed cold (for me—not below freezing, not wet) all day and I kept the ls wool shirt on pretty much throughout the trip even when hiking. Plus a much heavier down jacket at night in camp. (That was some years ago; my cold fears have moderated some; I still have that thick down jacket in case I decide to go somewhere that has real winter.) So as you can see some parts of the clothing assembly don’t get used every day, just for that one or two days when the weather gets rough. Another example: JMT in July. Our first time out there. JMT forums said no need to worry about rain in summer Sierra. Brought DriDucks full suit anyway. 5 days in, near Purple Lake to Cascade area, 2 days of solid cold rain, hail (awesome to watch hail hitting the lake surfaces!)—Glad for that full rain suit and long underwear. We kept hiking through the weather, because it was more fun than huddling in camp early like everyone else. No one else was out except for the trail-building crew; they went fishing and waved happily to us across the meadow in the hail. I’ve never had rain mitts but I usually pull my rain jacket sleeves down around my hands if they are getting cold and wet. DriDucks sleeves are long enough on me to do that.
@john Rowan—My woven shirt is like yours. But it seems to make a big difference to me, below about 60 deg F, to have at least the wool tank underneath it. If on your trip you were on a mountain part of the PCT, I would have been too cold without a layer underneath the woven.
@ Bob—I use that little Pelouze SP5 postage scale they sell at the office supply places. When I get a chance I’ll take your suggestion and weigh smaller items in categories to reduce rounding error, and see if that makes a difference.
All: I am giving some more thought to how I can get by with less or thinner or lighter (nano) clothing; your suggestions are very helpful. I’ll look up what Patagonia has listed to prodeal that hoody. Other potential places to save weight: ~ 8 oz by replacing Haven with Duplex Tarp. ~~ 9 oz by replacing Mariposa with Arc Blast. And whatever I can find in a lighter sleeping bag that’s warm enough for whatever the trip needs. High hanging fruit is right. I do have a much longer gear list in a google spreadsheet, that has all the various options I already own, with weights so I don’t have to re-weigh everything each time. As noted I do have some lighter sleeping bag options, they are just a lot less warm, so it depends on the trip.
I really appreciate all the careful thought you all have put into helping me think this through.Sep 30, 2017 at 9:29 pm #3494133
John RowanBPL Member
@Mina- the one thing that’s really struck me about this discussion so far is that what you’re carrying definitely seems to work very well for you, and it really seems like most of the stuff you’re carrying is getting used, and, more importantly, is benefiting your trips.
In thinking about things a bit more, one possibility that might be worth considering, in light of your stated goals above (which seem to be thinking forward to a time when you’ll need to carry either significantly more food weight or some similar portion of your husband’s pack) is possibly actually looking into a pack which is more suited to carrying the heavier loads you’re contemplating. The weight increase of, say, a ULA Catalyst or something with a serious suspension wouldn’t be huge, and the increase in carrying comfort with heavier loads could be dramatic. Depending on how much extra weight you ultimately wind up taking on, you might ultimately find that the better-carrying pack gives you better comfort than trying to offset an extra 6 pounds of food (just throwing a number out here) with dropping a pound or two off of your kit, especially if the lighter pack doesn’t carry the weight as well.
By way of example, on the PCT in 2015, I was stunned to find that I’d been carrying 35 pounds in my ULA Circuit at one point in the Sierra- it felt like nothing when I was carrying it. In contrast, on the PCT in 2017, when I very temporarily had maybe 22-25 pounds in my MLD Burn during a long water carry, I felt like I was dragging a sack of bricks around. Obviously it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to the packs you’re contemplating (and I was loading a frameless pack beyond spec), but my general point is that, at a certain total pack weight, the support of a more supportive pack is very much worth the weight penalty.Oct 1, 2017 at 11:16 pm #3494298
@john. You know, it’s been a while that I’ve been winnowing my backpacking kit and routines to get by with less, and the process continues. But you (and others) have perceptively identified some of the places where I seem to be reaching functional limits, at least for me. The Mariposa is surprisingly comfortable for its weight, and most of the time with my current kit the load is light enough that it doesn’t bother me on the trail. The pack is rated to 35 lbs. but I hardly ever have that much. I have carried it at 43 lbs. with a 20 lb water carry, winter gear, a Bearikade Weekender, and 2 people worth of food for 4 days. Not comfortable but doable since water weight doesn’t last. However, I do happen to have in my closet a 2006 (Frankle) ULA Catalyst that I used to use before I figured out all the things I didn’t need on the trail. It weighs about a pound more than the Mariposa. And the hip belt is probably the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. It would have handled the bigger load better. So I think you are onto something there. Most of the time now my load isn’t that heavy but as noted that is what I am seeing in our future if we are to keep backpacking as we very much want to do.
Thank you all for helping me think!Oct 8, 2017 at 11:27 pm #3495559
So. This afternoon I packed up the two packs. The Catalyst and the Mariposa. I used duplicate/similar gear and clothing items, weighed out to be balanced. And put in the Bearikade Weekenders (31 oz) with 6 lbs of food in each one. Each pack got a gallon of water. More than we would carry if there’s water on the land of course, but we often have to carry that much or more on Texas trips. I wanted to test the packs with my regular gear, because real gear packed in the actual way does seem to carry differently than the pillows, cat litter, and books I normally load my pack with when practicing for a trip. Stood on the scale with each pack on in turn. Subtracting my own weight, the Catalyst was 29 lbs. and the Mariposa was 28 lbs. Consistent with the 13 oz difference in the weights of the packs empty, considering that weighing them full required standing on the bathroom scale, which only registers 1 lb. increments. Then I went out and walked the dog for 1 mile with each pack in turn. Catalyst first. Then Mariposa. At this weight at least, for me the Mariposa was definitely more comfortable. I remember why I switched to it. Yes its hipbelt is thinner and I can feel it on my hipbones more, but overall it just seems to wrap me better and ride easier. The Catalyst feels more rigid and the harness doesn’t hug as smoothly. Experimenting time is used up for today, but the next step is to add weight. The Mariposa is supposed to carry up to about 35 lbs., the Catalyst more, although I don’t remember what it said when I bought it. Maybe 45 or 50. I would not normally have to shoulder that much even if I need to start carrying all of Robert’s food, except of course when we need 3 days of water like at Big Bend or Guadalupe. That puts me over 40 lbs. if I also take the bear can which the Parks are starting to recommend we do. So I’ve left them packed up and maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll add more food to simulate carrying 2 people worth, and more water to make it like a Big Bend trip. Run it up to exceed the Mariposa capacity, and then see if it feels worse than the Catalyst. Stay tuned!
P. S. Oh and I put all those little items in one bag and weighed that on the postage scale. Counting the bag, the aggregate came in .4 oz lighter than the sum of all the separate items weights on the same postage scale. So you all were right about the scale rounding error. Not that half an ounce is going to feel different on my back, but useful to know.Oct 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm #3496117
Second part of pack test yesterday afternoon. Switched the full 2L Platypus in each pack for a full 2.5 gallon REI watersack. This put the Catalyst at 42 lbs and the Mariposa at 41 lbs on the bathroom scale. Walked the same 1 mile in each, Catalyst first. At the new loads, both packs were considerably less comfortable to carry, not surprisingly. Catalyst gave a little bit more load transfer to my hips. But it felt stiff and awkward. When I switched, the Mariposa wrapped me smoothly and while heavy, and a little more on my shoulders, I would still choose it even though it is only rated to 35 lbs. Fortunately, when that kind of water weight on a trip is needed, it doesn’t last since you lose as much as 8 lbs of it the first full day out. It should be noted that both of these packs have frames and hipbelts. With a base weight of 11 or 13 lbs (bear can) including shared gear for two people, and a possible future of carrying more than one person worth of food, I don’t see any backpacking situations in which a frameless pack would be relevant.
I could maybe knock off about 1.5 lbs of base weight by spending about $1,000 on higher-end gear. Another .5 lb or so could be achieved by going no-cook, but that wouldn’t make me very popular in the family. Less high-hanging fruit might be found in continuing to investigate some of the above suggestions for staying warm with less clothing, and even more by paying extra close attention to not carelessly bringing too much food, which still happens sometimes on our trips. Also there is some potential to hone my husband’s kit (not described in this thread) to keep him comfortable without me taking more, but that is another project with its own challenges. He is cooperative and helpful but doesn’t always understand the technical stuff. He is the artist (musician) and abstract policy analyst. The technical weeds are not his thing. : )
Thanks to you all for your help!
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