Mar 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm #1286874
For many years, now, I've been keeping an Excel spreadsheet, which contains a list of all of my outdoor gear and its weight data. Needless to say, it's an outdated method for calculating my loaded backpack weight. So, from time to time, I had searched the web, looking to see if someone had developed an easier online method, perhaps using a vast, up-to-date database of popular outdoor products. Unfortunately, the only results I ever found were, basically, similar spreadsheet templates, in which I still, always, needed to enter my own gear data. I got tired of looking, so I decided to develop such an online pack-weight calculator of my own.
It's far from complete, but it's fairly presentable and ready for some testing. So, I'd really appreciate anyone who'd be willing to test it and offer me some feedback. This site and its service is completely free to everyone, and I hope it serves as a valuable tool in the backpacking community. Here you go: http://www.weighmygear.com/Mar 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #1851329
John S.BPL Member
Spreadsheets outdated? Nah, they are the best way. Nobody should be taking your word for the weight of their gear, but weighing everything for themselves. Good luck.Mar 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm #1851332
Chris WBPL Member
I'm with John. There's far too much variance in even a single item in a single size from a single manufacturer for an app with predetermined weights to make sense.Mar 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm #1851341
Ken T.BPL Member
Shoot mine is still on paper. Looks like you put a lot of work into that site. No MLD products listed. No quilts, and a lot of things we carry around here will have to be added.
I'll stick to my notebook, and my own scale.Mar 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm #1851349
Many thanks for your feedback. Surely, I agree with what you say to some degree. That's why the system still allows you to enter your own weight variations, or to enter your own homemade gear altogether. In that respect, it's exactly the same as a spreadsheet. But one benefit over a spreadsheet is that your saved lists can be accessed from any web-connected computer anywhere, as well as cleanly shared and printed in checklist format.
Also, and this obviously doesn't go for you, but for entry-level folks, I'd hope that this app can, at least, serve as a reasonable checklist to follow. If you think I'm missing anything at all, please, let me know, and I'd be happy to add it. That goes for individual gear items or entire categories.Mar 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm #1851351
Travis LeannaBPL Member
It's a good looking site. Well done!
But as others have noted, there are a lot of things missing that many of us use here. It's also difficult with this crowd because there are a lot of gear pieces we make ourselves, from mug lids to shelters. While I see you can add your own items and weights, if you've been making and/or weighing your items, chances are everything is set up in a spreadsheet already. No need to transfer the information to a website.
This may be useful to traditional backpackers though.
Good luck on your website. I hope it goes well!Mar 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm #1851358
Thanks for your comments, Travis. Yes, perhaps I did introduce this to the wrong audience here. As you may have noticed on the site, we equally cater to climbers, mountaineers, backcountry skiers and, as you mentioned, more traditional backpackers. We're running similar tests in each of those markets, as well. Thanks for your support here, though.
Also, Travis, in response to "there are a lot of things missing that many of us use here", if you would like to provide me with a list of, say, 5 – 10 of the smaller, independent manufacturers which might be included among those missing things, we'll get them added right away. Just yesterday, our staff added about a 100 new items from 5 manufacturers upon request of a user. So, feel free, if you'd like.Mar 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm #1851361
Travis LeannaBPL Member
If you spend some time on this site, you may learn some things that will help your website, including info about new and cottage gear manufacturers.
Edit: I see we posted at the same time.
Enlightened Equipment quilts
Mountain Laurel Designs
Six Moon Designs
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
and more….Mar 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm #1855077
there is also geargrams.com. Here is one I came across that is a good example of the finished product of the site. http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=6043Mar 17, 2012 at 4:51 am #1855113
Martin Van LaarhovenBPL Member
Okay, so I'm kinda new to this site and to thinking about weight when I hike. I am THRILLED to read that other people use spreadsheets! I thought I was a little on the crazy side for doing it. (My wife says, "Just pack your pack and put it on a scale and you'll know how much it weighs".) Anyway, my issue is the list of items (as has already been addressed). I tried the site, which I think is a cool idea, but had to list my own pack (Granite Gear Vaopr Trail), my bag (REI Sub-Kilo 20) and my hammock (Warbonnet Blackbird). I have already done that on my own but even if I hadn't I would need to to use the sheet. At this point I stopped because it kinda lost the fun factor as I couldn't find what I carried. Good luck
vtrekMar 17, 2012 at 5:11 am #1855116
A good idea!
Remember that most folks are just trying to get lighter and are not "gram weenies" that cut straps off or spend hours debating how to save a gram off of an alcohol stove. Also many of us realizing that living on the bottom of the weight scale may not be the best neighborhood for them, a slight increase in weight may add up to much more durability, comfort, and safety for an "average" hiker. As a Boy Scout leader I have seen many hard lessons learned from being to far on either site of light weight in backpacking.
Best of luck to you.
MichaelMar 17, 2012 at 8:56 am #1855164
Sorry for this delayed reply. Thanks a bunch for the brand suggestions — we'll be sure to get them added asap.Mar 17, 2012 at 9:16 am #1855172
Thanks for your comment. I've certainly heard of geargrams, but honestly, I've never used it. I can't even try it, unless I register, which I think is uncool.
Anyway, the final generated list looks nice, but I do have a couple of questions about how one would get to that point:
– Is the app also connected to a database, which can be used to simply click on items to be added to the final list? Or does a user need to enter all of their gear data manually?
– If the site is database-driven, can users contribute to the database?
Thanks again!Mar 17, 2012 at 9:23 am #1855176
Sorry to hear much of your gear isn't listed yet. However, our database is constantly growing. We launched this test version with 6000 items just last week (we thought a decent start), but we're aiming to add an additional 15000 items (yes, 15000) in the next 12 months, alone.
Also, if you haven't already read this, our database is also community-contributed, and we're receiving about 50 new member-submitted items each day! So, I encourage you to join and add your own gear, so the rest of the community can also benefit.
If not, I'm very confident that your gear will, eventually, get added one way or another, either by our staff or another member, so please check back from time to time.
Thanks!Mar 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm #1855259
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
Well, there's been a lot of negative feedback so far, so I'd just like to say that I really like it! I like how the items in your list are listed with grams, ounces and pounds.
One issue I noticed, is in the tent area, you can only add one item. What if you have a tarp, AND and inner net? For example, if someone had a zpacks hexamid solo, AND solo bug shelter, they can't enter both. You need to be able to enter multiple items under a heading.
Also, what about accessories like extended beaks and such?
Some manufactures to add:
*Driducks rain gear
*petzle e+liteMar 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1855260
Thanks for your feedback!
To address your concern, we'll add a second space for "Tent" within the overnight checklists — makes sense.
Regarding the new brands you suggested, we'll definitely add them to our "to do" list.
Thanks, again, for your feedback — it's how we'll improve.Mar 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm #1855346
you should look at the spreadsheet enough that you know every item in your packs weight by heart. Then you will set goals for yourself.
then you start scheming on how to cut your base wt by trimming a tad here and bit there.
Trim the bandana = -0.25 oz
use sticks for just 2 low stress stakes = -.46 oz
shorten cuffs on gloves = -.2 oz
cut tags off stuff = -.2 oz
get rid of 2 1-gal ziplocks = -.6 oz
get rid of cuben stake stuffsak = -0.2 oz
get rid of cuben clothes bag,just keep with sleeping bag = -.4 oz
less sunscreen = -.2 oz
less bug dope = -.2 oz
and before you know it, you will cut another 1/4 lb off your already hopefully low basewt.Mar 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm #1856324
I'm assuming you used the manufactures suggested weights?Mar 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm #1856345
Approximately 80 – 90% of the weights are from the manufacturers. The remaining items were personally weighed by someone on our staff. Of course, there are the member-submitted items, too.
The answers to other frequently asked questions can be found by going to this page:
… and then click the "FAQs" button.Mar 20, 2012 at 12:50 am #1856419
I've had just a few minutes to glance at your spreadsheet tool and have seen things I think are great and things that could make it even more useful. Since I'm trying to hit the hay, for now I'll mention just one:
It seems like when people add their own gear pieces, these items all eventually go into the big master list for community access.
It would be helpful to have some function allowing people to NOT add their gear to the community list, but still have it in their own personal lists.
Maybe this option already exists, in which case, sorry and disregard the rest of this post!
One reason the above function would be useful is that a lot of people here make their own gear, or make modifications to commercial gear, to the point that it's the only item of its kind. You would not want these pieces of gear listed on the community site, because they would very quickly clutter it up, and would not be useful to anyone but their owner. Yet, this site is only useful to these folks if they can put their unique gear on their own personal lists.
That's my one thought for now! Best of luck!Mar 20, 2012 at 7:54 am #1856505
Thanks for taking the time to offer your feedback. Actually, what you're suggesting is already an option, although, admittedly, perhaps the way it works is not super clear. The option is not controlled by a single checkbox, per se, but how a user enters his/her own personal gear.
See, each piece of user-submitted gear goes through a manual review/approval process. Typically, it is very obvious to us which pieces of gear are meant to be approved vs. which gear is clearly a personal item.
For example, we often get user-entries like "My clothes bag", "Home-made tent", etc. We simply don't approve these items for the community database, but allow them to remain in the user's own list.
However, we do try to approve customized gear entries under 2 conditions: 1. The customization has been clarified, and 2. the customization is fairly common.
I hope this addresses your concerns. Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks again!Mar 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm #1856924
Great, David, thanks for the clarification.
One thing I think could be great about your site is that, now that you've added lot of the cottage manufacturers' gear, the site can help introduce folks to the concept of lightweight backpacking, or to a more accessible style of backpacking than they were expecting.
Imagine a newbie or someone who's looking to replace their old gear. They want to buy the basics, and are doing some online research; the internet brings them to weighmygear, and they start putting together a hypothetical list, basically a "wish list". Let's say they're looking at stoves. The stove they've probably heard about is Whisperlite, so they pull up the stove list to find it, and peruse the other stoves, and they notice this thing called an Esbit stove that weighs less than 1/2 ounce. They looking up Esbit, and in the process will probably find out about alcohol stoves, that they can easily make their own stove out of a cat food can, and their own cookpot out of a beer can, maybe even sleep under a poncho. And they'd thought they were going to have to pay $100 – 150 for cooking gear alone.
Even if they don't go the cooking-gear-made-out-of-cans route, an introduction to this philosophy could make a big difference for people who are eager to "get out there" and thought they were going to have to save up a huge chunk of cash first. And it can save them having to haul around the weight equivalent of a mid-sized dog on their back.
Of course, people can find out about these philosophies elsewhere too. But by putting lots of the gear options in the same place in an interactive way, the weighmygear site could be one effective way to make that introduction.Mar 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm #1856932
You hit the nail square on the head, Emily. Using this app as a pre-purchase descision-making tool, based upon gear weights, was one of our primary intents. Thanks for bringing it to the surface more in this forum!Mar 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm #1857276
Just FYI, we added that 2nd "Tent / Shelter" slot in both our "Backpacking/Trekking" and "Mountaineering/Expedition" checklists. Thanks for the great suggestion!Apr 6, 2012 at 9:03 am #1864355
Thanks to all of you have taken the time to offer your feedback during our Alpha Testing period, over the past several weeks. We listened carefully, and we acted on much of that feedback. One of the biggest criticisms here in the BPL forum was/is the lack of cottage manufacturers' equipment. Certainly, neglecting those manufacturers was never our intention. It simply takes time to enter hundreds-to-thousands of pieces of gear into our database. With that in mind, just over the past 2 weeks, we've entered nearly-complete product lines (about 500 new items) from several cottage manufacturers, including:
Six Moon Designs
Mountain Laurel Designs
This adds to our list of existing gear lines by ZPacks, TarpTent, ULA Equipment and Lightheart Gear. And within the next two weeks, we plan on entering several hundred more items by Hyperlite Mountain Gear, BearPaw and Black Rock Gear, just to name a few. We're proud to represent all of these cottage manufacturers!
I'll also point out that the usage of the WeighMyGear app is not necessarily limited to weighing the gear you already own. As many people have mentioned, nothing replaces the act of actually packing your pack and weighing it directly on a scale. But what about the gear you don't own yet? What about your "wish list" of gear? Using this app, you can quickly and easily see the weight-effects on your pack by those pieces you can't directly weigh. As Emily B. noted in a few posts above, this app can be a terrific decision-making tool when you're in the market for a new piece of gear, enabling you to compare relative weight-effects of various equipment with just a few clicks of your mouse, before you spend a dime.
Aside from continually adding new gear to the database, our Alpha Testing stage has also revealed a few programming bugs, which have now been fixed. So, WeighMyGear is now more stable, again, thanks to all of you who've participated. We're now entering our Beta Testing phase, and we'll be announcing the app to a larger audience. For this, we've also given the site a new look.
We hope you all continue to follow and use WeighMyGear.com. It will only become more robust and more useful, and we will always continue to listen to feedback and suggestions on how to improve.
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