Feb 5, 2007 at 5:43 pm #1221658
This is one post I considered doing anonymously, it's that embarrassing. Anyway, it turns out the clothing is the last area of my gear list that I haven't gone ultralight yet. In fact, it is downright heavy. I need some help with it, and with the psychology of taking less clothing. I'll show the list as it stands with brutal honesty, then explain a few items. All weights are in ounces and this is supposed to be for 3 seasons (actually, spring and fall where I'm at, I'd take much less in summer).
Performance Bike Wind Jacket – 9.7
Windpants (Walmart with liner removed, may be wearing instead of shorts) – 8.6
Thermals (Tops and Bottoms) – 14.0
REI Gossamer Vest – 9.5
Golite Poncho – 10
Balaclava – 1.9
Fleece gloves – 1.8
Cotton Bandanas – 2.1
Walmart Headnet – 0.7
Coolmax hat – 1.9
Thick Wool Sleeping Socks – 3.4
Total Carried: 63.6
Underwear/Base Layer (Tops and Bottoms) – 8.3
Walmart polyester exercise shirt – 6.9
Shorts ~ 6
Light Wool Socks ~ 2
Total Worn ~ 23
It's painful to write but I guess the first step to changing is admitting there's a problem. Obviously some of the packed gear will probably be worn (hat, pants, etc.). I use a bivy to sleep in and I have a Montbell Super Stretch Down Hugger #3 bag. I'd like to be able to push the 32 F rating down into the low 20's with my clothing. I realize the thermals and base layers are really heavy, but I view them as essential in reaching that goal and also to keep the bag clean. So go ahead, rip it apart. I'd like to know a couple of things. First, what do I need to stop carrying? Second, where should I start spending my money to get the most bang for my buck? Even now I realize that this gear won't even keep me very warm in camp (unless I put it all on at the same time), since the REI vest is pretty light.Feb 5, 2007 at 6:31 pm #1377257
Adam RothermichBPL Member
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Just some thoughts I had while viewing your list. I'm no expert and I don't have tons of experience but I'll offer my opinions.
Right off the bat I would swap the Wind Jacket for something lighter, like a Liberty Ridge kit (if you can/want to sew). A 3 oz windshirt will save you almost 7 oz. I sewed one and find it to be great. It was my first sewing project, and it was a little difficult and isn't perfect, but its functional and that's what counts.
I don't know how 'heavy' (warmth wise) your thermals are, but a pair of Patagonia or Smartwool base layers will save a few oz.
There are lighter alternatives to the REI vest, but its not overly heavy. If it works stick with it, unless you have the funds to buy more gear, which is always fun :).
If you're using the poncho as your shelter then keep it, again unless you have money to spend since there are lighter poncho-tarps out there. If it is just rainwear then switch it our for a pair of Dri-Ducks or similar.
Everything else doesn't look too bad though there are always lighter replacements.
I live in Missouri, so my idea of 3 season may be different than yours, but it never gets below frezing here until about late October and is warmed back up by mid-March. At the beginning and end of the season I will bring along a light pair of long underwear, extra pair of socks, thin liner gloves, and a fleece hat w/ drop down face mask. I also have a pair of zip-off pants and bring the legs. I will be wearing shorts, a wicking shirt, base layer top and pant legs if its really chilly, and my windshirt while hiking. I'll also bring along a Primaloft pullover if its supposed to be too cold, to wear at rest stops and in camp.
All of this may be irrelevant depending of your 3 season conditions though. Missouri is pretty mild (most of the time) and you may experience much colder temps.
AdamFeb 5, 2007 at 6:49 pm #1377259
Eric, like you, I have trouble with the psychological aspect of going out with less clothing mass. After all, the number one reason hikers perish is from exposure. You always read things like: "..he evidently was not planning to stay the night because when the snow melted in spring and his body was found, it was clad only in a light nylon windbreaker.."
But seriously, I suggest going out for evening walks now in the winter to test the warmth of various clothing combinations and to gain confidence in them. This has been a great way to learn about fabrics, moisture transport, etc for me. I started walking here in my down jacket; now I go in a wool-1 long-arm zip top, nylon windshirt, watch cap, and gloves (and pants of course). I learned insulating your torso is little use if you are loosing heat from head and hands.
So for the most bang for the buck? Id start with dual-use items..
1. A merino base layer, top and bottoms. These changed my comfort level dramatically and I wear the bottoms every day.
2. Synthetic high-loft jacket such as Montbell Thermawrap, Patagonia Micro Puff, or a sports-store inexpensive version. This also is useful around town.
Your list is actually a great example of how to start out with economical gear.. and its better than the cotton stuff I started hiking in!
I suggest reviewing the clothing lists of those who have posted them at their profiles. My overnight list good to 20'F is:
Wool-1 top, bottoms, socks, glove liners, and watch cap
REI Summit convertible pants
Fleece 100 zip top or
Fleece 200 zip top or
Montbell Thermawrap jacket
Montbell light alpine down jacket (below 20'F)
Montbell Thermawrap pants (below 20'F)
Wind/light rain layer:
TheNorthFace DIAD jacket(replaced multiple heavy jackets!)
Montbell UL wind pants
Vapor barrier layer:
Marmot Ion full zip
Heavy rain layer:
Columbia full-zip goretex pants
I got almost everything here at steep discount and you can too; watch steepandcheap.com, and use froogle.com to scour the internet daily for closeouts.
Let us know what you decide on?Feb 5, 2007 at 7:23 pm #1377261
Your clothing list looks fairly reasonable to me, but as mentioned earlier, it depends somewhat on where you are backpacking.
Other than lightening the wind jacket as mentioned, you might consider using fleece socks for sleeping instead of wool, which would save a little bit. Of course, then you lose the versatility of using them for a spare hiking pair, so it may not be worth it.
If it's cold enough to need a balaclava, I generally don't find any need for a bandana, and it sounds like you might be carrying two. If you really need a bandana, you might consider taking only one – or if your bandana is 2.1 oz for one, get a lighter one. Same for the headnet – if it's cold enough for a balaclava the bugs aren't out.
As mentioned, if the poncho is just rain gear, you could replace it with something lighter. You could save some weight by replacing the wind jacket and wind pants and poncho with a decent waterproof breathable jacket and pants that would also be useful for extra insulation if the need arose.
Other than that, for most spring/fall conditions around my part of the country, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking much less than what you have.Feb 5, 2007 at 7:41 pm #1377263
You could ditch the gloves and use the sleeping socks as mittens. Take a couple of safety pins and the socks also turn into a head band.
2.1oz for a bandana seems high. I have one cut in half diagonally that weighs .5 oz.Feb 5, 2007 at 7:57 pm #1377266
Richard NisleyBPL Member
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Vapor barrier layer:
Marmot Ion full zip
Made me laugh out loud… very funny how that was slipped in with all of the conventional suggestions.Feb 5, 2007 at 9:10 pm #1377270
..I found a use for it after all! Definitely an 'inside' joke here at BPL.
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