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What is “base weight”?


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  • #1261121
    Luke Moffat
    BPL Member

    @alaska_lanche

    Ok stupid question here. But what all is included when talking your base weight?? Thanks for putting up with my ignorance.

    #1628611
    Cayenne Redmonk
    BPL Member

    @redmonk

    Locale: Greater California Ecosystem

    After a trip, stop by the post office and weigh your pack. That is your base weight.

    #1628612
    Travis Leanna
    BPL Member

    @t-l

    Locale: Wisconsin

    Base weight is everything you're carrying, minus food, fuel, and water. These are usually referred to as "consumables," and their weight decreases/varies as the trip progresses.

    There is also skin-out weight, which means the weight of everything you're carrying AND wearing.

    #1628615
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    This assumes that all of your consumables are gone. All water bottles are empty, all food is eaten, and all fuel is burned. All you have would be your basic gear and some empty containers.

    –B.G.–

    #1628619
    Luke Moffat
    BPL Member

    @alaska_lanche

    Thanks guys, so I am right to include the weight of my pack in the base weight right?? Just looking at packs to potentially buy and some base their comfort weight ratings off of base weight so its kinda confusing in that regard.

    #1628620
    Red Fox
    BPL Member

    @red_fox

    Base Weight + Consumables = Total Pack Weight.

    I find that total pack weight is just as important as base weight. You should try to aim for bringing just enough food and fuel for the trip rather than bring way more than you need. You should have a margin of safety by bringing a little extra. However, as you gain more experience, I believe you can afford to have a lower margin of safety, IMO.

    -Sid

    #1628731
    Jamie Shortt
    BPL Member

    @jshortt

    Locale: North Carolina

    Luke, Yes the weight of the pack is included in the base weight. Be careful to see what the description refers to…sometimes a pack will be described as perfect for those who have lowered based weights below 8 lbs. While others will refer to fully loaded…i.e. comfortable to 20 lbs.

    Considering both weight measures is important. For example my max pack weight is something I rarely hit and only for a short period of time so I dont need a pack that is perfectly comfortable at the max weight. For me this is usually the first day out at the end of the day when I am camping at a site that is miles from water. In this case around 3:00pm I will load up 3 liters of water and have several days of food&fuel. This amounts to 6 lbs gear + 6 lbs water + 4 lbs food or 16 lbs total pack weight. I use simple packs with no frame, no hip belt and no sternum strap weighing under 10 oz. This type of pack pushes my comfort at 16 lbs, but easily handled for 3 or 4 hours.

    My pack will most often weigh about 10 to 12 lbs depending on how much water and food I am currently carrying. Lastly I know that my pack will always have at mimimum of 6 lbs in it (sometime 4 lbs in summer)…this is my base weight at end of a trip (out of food, fuel, and water).

    So putting this all together my pack needs to be extremely comfortable with 6lbs, fairly comfortable up to 12 lbs, and tolerable at 20 lbs. A pack under 1 lb can easily do this.

    Jamie

    #1628736
    Travis Leanna
    BPL Member

    @t-l

    Locale: Wisconsin

    Generally, and there are certainly exceptions to the rule, but most frameless packs are usually touted as being comfortable up to 20 lbs. The uber-light ones will be less. Some say up to 25 lbs.

    So, even if a pack says that it can handle loads of 50 lbs, it most likely will NOT be comfortable! Your heavier framed packs can comfortably carry the heavier loads.

    #1628764
    Luke Moffat
    BPL Member

    @alaska_lanche

    So currently with my GG vapor trail my base weight is just under 12 pounds (yeah I know not the lightest, but leaps and bounds from where I was). I eat pretty good while I am out and figure roughly 1.5 pounds of food/day and between 1-2 liters of water. So my base weight (12 pounds) plus food and fuel for 3 days (5 pounds), and 2 liters of water (4 pounds) puts me about 21 pounds total pack weight right??

    Just wondering if I could get by with something like a MLD Burn, Prophet or the like and save about another pound to pound and a half??

    #1628773
    Mike W
    BPL Member

    @skopeo

    Locale: British Columbia

    #1628785
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Luke Moffett wrote, "So currently with my GG vapor trail my base weight is just under 12 pounds (yeah I know not the lightest, but leaps and bounds from where I was)"

    Nothing wrong with a 12 pound base weight. The thing is being conscious of the weight of your gear and the honest rationale for what you included, that you have control over what you use. If you want to play the game of sub 5 pound kits, more power to you, but you can haul what works for you.

    I'm in about the same spot. My tent-and-warm-sleeping-bag base weight is more like 14 pounds and my tarp-n-50F-bag kit is 9 pounds. My pack is 26 ounces, so I might cut some weight with an uberlight pack. I don't know if I want to bother with the cut in comfort and durability to save a pound. I'm feeling "there" for now.

    #1628797
    Kevin Lutz
    Member

    @mtntrailrunner

    I think that skin out weight is more realistic/accurate than base weight. What about hiking poles? They are usually not carried in the pack but their weight is significant. Personally I carry a lot of stuff in my pockets. Camera, GPS, knife etc. All of that adds up. On short warm trips I'm wearing most of the clothes that I bring along. They add no weight to my pack.

    So……..there are a lot of items not carried in my pack that add up to a significant amount of weight. My legs have to support this stuff whether it's in my pack or not. That can really skew my base weight numbers.

    #1629182
    Ryan Longmire
    BPL Member

    @longmire

    Locale: Tejas

    I kind of have the opposite opinion of skin-out weight. Every day I wear clothing and shoes much heavier than what I hike in, and my pockets are normally full of keys and phones and knife and wallet and etc. My body is used to carrying all that on a daily basis.

    That said, I have a spreadsheet with the weight of nearly every article of outdoors clothing I own. We are funny creatures. :)

    #1629184
    Hiking Malto
    BPL Member

    @gg-man

    Ryan,
    Is the kid included in base weight?

    #1629196
    Ryan Longmire
    BPL Member

    @longmire

    Locale: Tejas

    Yes, I guess, since he isn't consumable. I put him in the "luxury item" category. :)

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