Apr 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm #1257204
Money being one of the most versatile pieces of multiple use gear (and it is quite easy to burn, both figuratively and physically), prompted me to ponder about how we approach our gear investments:
What is the most you have paid per ounce of weight savings?
With that in mind, and assuming negligible performance changes, what do you think is the most you would pay or should prudently pay?
For Example, I have a faithful Primus canister stove that functions well and weighs precisely 4 oz. I recently purchased a Snow Peak LiteMax which weighs precisely 2 oz. and cost about $60.
Therefore, I paid approximately:
$30/oz. to lighten my pack a bit.
Of course if I pass on the Primus model on Gear Swap for $30, then I have a net sacrifice of only $15/oz.
As an aside: does anyone have a $ column on their gear lists?Apr 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm #1593287
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
"As an aside: does anyone have a $ column on their gear lists?"
Yes. I keep an eye on what I spend on gear. Weighing up the worth of a purchase in terms of reliability and weight loss is a subtle business.
I paid £150 for a WM Ultralite to replace a bag I got off Canadian ebay for £20. This saved me 8oz and gave me a warmer sleep in winter. Priceless.
I have been selling some gear on UK ebay recently. The £20 bag went for £57 Result! This reduced my upgrade from £20/oz to £10/oz.
:-)Apr 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm #1593300
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I don't look at it from the standpoint of $/oz. I look at $/%.
In other words, if I shift from a 16-ounce item to a 15-ounce item, that is a saving of only 1 ounce, or 6%. If I shift from a 2-ounce item to a 1-ounce item, that is the same ounce that is saved, but it is a 50% savings for that one item. As a general rule, the big three gear items are the heavy ones that are hard to shave many ounces from without paying through the nose. Sometimes I get the savings from one ounce on several small items.
–B.G.–Apr 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm #1593309
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
Yes, I must admit that I have a $ per oz in my gear spreadsheet that includes both the retail price and the price I paid. This is all in turn broken out by classification, ie, Big 4, Kitchen, Clothing worn vs clothing in pack, personal items, and firstaid.
Per oz, kitchen items have been the most due primarily to the cost of titanium pieces.Apr 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm #1593316
Probably the most significant was the conversion from tarptent to tarp/bivy. That was about a $400 for 1 lb weight savings or $25/ounce. But I also did it for convenience so I can customize my sleep arrangement as conditions dictate.Apr 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm #1593318
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I guess I am the exception. But my kids are gone, and am at the stage where I can finally afford any gear I want. So I just look at function and weight.Apr 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm #1593323
@tradjaLocale: Central Oregon
These are exactly the questions and analysis I'm running into in the final phases of unnecessarily tweaking my mostly-CDT gear for the PCT this year.
Our sleeping bags (a pair of WM DryLoft Antelopes) are 2lbs 10oz each, but we're not in a position to spend $740 ($370 x2) for a pair of Ultralights anyway. $740 to save 26oz would cost us $28.46/oz.
The best we've done so far: replaced our ClikStand proto (3.3oz) with a MYOG hardware cloth pot stand (0.7oz). 2.6oz saved for $3, or $1.15/oz.
Almost as good:
trusty Tyvek groundsheet: 7oz.
5oz saved for $8, or $1.60oz.
The other cost-efficient weight savings for this hike was replacing my 8.0oz ZRest (which needed replacing anyway) with a 3.5oz GG TorsoLight. $16/4.5oz saved is $3.55/oz.
CDT Marmot Precip: ~12oz.
~6oz saved for $15 = $2.50/oz. Also, I was tired of the poor, non-waterproof, non-breathable performance of the Precip so I had to do something about it anyway. As a bonus, the $15 included free pants that I will never use.
Replacing my trusty vintage Patagucc Puffball vest (8.1oz) with a BPL Cocoon Vest from the Gear Swap (5.5oz, $60) isn't nearly as good a payoff: $23.07 per oz saved, but the Cocoon is at least 2x as lofty as the packed-out Patty and was cheaper than buying the Montbell UL Parka I was lusting over.
MHW Down Jacket: 25oz.
WM Flight 10.5oz, $140
$14.73/oz saved. Hmmm, it seemed so much better than that at the time. Perhaps it was the absolute amount of weight saved, or how much she likes the new jacket.
This type of analysis is what keeps me from coughing up $15 for a Ti spoon or $70 for windpants that are 3oz lighter than my $4 thrift-store Nike wind pants. I'll be keeping en eye on this thread for last minute bang-for-the-buck ideas.Apr 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm #1593326
I'm an exception with you Nick. I don't really consider price at all (which is why I have a Raku….), I just get what I want that I believe will make my backpacking more enjoyable. Or, sometimes, I just get something to try it out, then sell it if I don't think it fits with my backpacking style.Apr 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm #1593330
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
"trusty Tyvek groundsheet: 7oz.
5oz saved for $8, or $1.60oz."
I vary groundsheet choice depending on conditions. Sometimes it's a 2.5oz adventure medical heat sheet. Sometimes it's a 7oz poncho which means I leave the 1lb 2oz event jacket at home.Apr 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm #1593339
One of my hopes in starting this thread is to see some examples posted, especially for people transitioning to UL, of some of the ways we all think and the decisions ultimately made towards reduction in weight, weighed by funds.
@doug + Nick, you make me want to start a gear shop! Really, I'm somewhere in between. At this stage in life, I have to consider the funds, but for some things, the cost is much less of a factor – especially when your life is on the line while at altitude, etc. To me, less weight + high quality = ability to move more quickly while doing things more efficiently in less time = more safety.
@john, it looks like swapping to a lighter sleeping pad can be a very cost-effective weight reduction strategy.
Another factor I consider is to whom do I want my money to go to. I often find purchasing used gear a very pleasant and mutually beneficial community building experience. Similarly, if I am able to support local (US) cottage industry entrepreneurs with my purchases, I am willing to pay more for something than I otherwise might. In fact, I think that, although the sum of words in this sentence are perhaps disqualifying this portion of the paragraph from it's own UL status at this point, the simple direct supply chain of maker to end-user is an ideal application of ultralight philosophy implemented in daily life.Apr 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm #1593344
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
One thing I have not seen mentioned is expected lifespan. That can be due to a number of things, such as product quality, deliberate factoring is sturdiness choices, evolving technology will soon obsolete it, etc.
I am more willing to pay up for something that I expect to last many years than for something with a very short lifetime.
— MVApr 1, 2010 at 6:03 pm #1593366
Good point, Bob.
Another factor that causes me to spend a bit more sometimes, is if I have reason to think the availability of any particularly quality item may become scarce. I think Doug is with me on this one – mr. back-up gear.
Also, I like to have gear to lend to friends. I just purchased a sleeping bag today, because it was a great bag, from a fine retailer and a good deal, but had it shipped to my brother because it will save him about 2 lbs and be warmer than his current bag. $5/oz. for sleeping bag seems excellent to me!
So far, Roger is the only one who can claim to have saved an ounce for a pound.Apr 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm #1593376
My best weigh savings per dollar was buying a Z1 off BPL. I went from a ~37 oz Vapor Trail to a ~3 oz Z1 for about $60 (or whatever it was). Probably less than $2 per ounce, maybe closer to $1.Apr 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm #1593408
Especially when there are a number of items on my upgrade list, I use $/oz to help prioritize the purchase order.
I also like to flip the question, and find something in the house that equals the weight savings and ask myself if someone paid me $???, would I be willing to carry this backpacking. When money is a bit tighter, sometimes I back off the purchase after doing this.Apr 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm #1593919
The most I've paid is ~$40/oz and I only approach this level when:
1) The only significant drawback is the cost
2) I really want it
For gear that has no significant downside besides cost (ie. 800fp down vs. 600fp down) then I'm willing to pay a lot more per ounce saved than for gear that requires heavy compromise. There are a lot of ways to save weight (durability, multi-use, doing with less, money etc) and spending money for more expensive gear (cuben, 800fp down etc) can be one of the best in the long term. Sacrificing durability never leaves me feeling that great. I pretty much toasted a pair of 4oz BPL Thorofare pants over 3 days in March due to conditions that wouldn't have fazed my 12oz heavier nylon ones. I'm glad I only paid $5 or so per ounce saved for that switch.Apr 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm #1594132
@notuLocale: Central Washington
Yep. On my gear list I have a couple of different pages dedicated to different pack set ups. Including a “SUL Goal” pack. On this page I have my current set up with heavier items replaced with lighter items I do not yet own. On the right hand side of the page is the “cost per oz”. Which has the dollar amount of each ounce saved over the item currently being used. It has helped a lot. Because of this I know that a Spectralite stuff sack would cost me $90.00 an ounce saved and a Nunatak Shaka Down Sweater would be $97.84 an ounce saved. The best $/oz savings on my list is two pairs of Patagonia Active Sport Briefs at a savings of $29.00 an ounce (money well spent).Apr 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm #1594284
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"One thing I have not seen mentioned is expected lifespan."
Absolutely!! Many UL items like packs are only expected (by the manufacturers) to last a season.Apr 5, 2010 at 9:13 am #1594391
@notuLocale: Central Washington
Good point. I use a slightly heavier pack for that reason. But I don't know how I could quantify that into a usable/accurate number. Most manufactures don’t have their gears life expectance posted. I could see putting down one year for a SUL pack. But what about Ti tent stakes? I would have no idea; they last forever unless you bend one.
If anybody has a system for this I would be interested in looking at it.Apr 5, 2010 at 9:30 am #1594399
Trail miles/$ = lifespan efficiency.
My best is probably a pair of my Smartwool Adrenaline Mini crews, which have been with me since early 2008 and each have half of 2,000+ miles of running and my hiking since that time. They're starting to die in select spots, but the padding is still very good.Apr 5, 2010 at 9:37 am #1594402
@matt – that is impressive sock life! What's your method of longevity? Do you only wash them once a lunar cycle?Apr 5, 2010 at 9:52 am #1594408
Let's evaluate the MLD Duomid as an example, since many have it in both models…there is about a $50/ounce difference between the Silnylon and Cuben version – is it worth it?
16 oz. in SilNylon @ $205
12 oz. in Cuben @ $405
The SilNylon would be more durable in terms of abrasion, while the Cuben is probably a bit stronger and more easily patched. The utility is fairly equal, but the longevity would probably go to the SilNylon, although most people probably baby their Cuben gear to a greater degree, because of the cost. The cuben fabric stretches less and I would prefer it if cost were not an issue, unless I was expecting heavy snow.
For me, this would be a tough decision and would likely ultimately come down to cost and whether or not I could lighten something else at $10/oz. and potentially loose more ounces in the process.Apr 5, 2010 at 10:06 am #1594413
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
I find the $/oz is most useful for folks when they are first lightening their loads and have lots of changes to make especially the big 3. It helps them prioritize when they have lots of decisions to make.
When you get into fine tuning decisions like the cuben vs. silnylon example then that number doesn't really make any sense as one is deciding on a piece of equipments individual merits.
I do keep a separate spreadsheet with potential changes I am thinking of making a do the $/oz and % reduction numbers but usually decide on which piece of gear I like best for some other reason. Almost all my new wants are in the $30+/oz area as they number of oz. to be lost are few.Apr 5, 2010 at 10:16 am #1594418
Good points Alex. A lot of people are scared of spending a lot of money when first switching over to UL, however, I think we have demonstrated that often, the most cost effective moves are made early on.
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