Jun 21, 2007 at 9:02 am #1223780Heather Pisani-KristlMember
@p-kLocale: San Diego
My husband and I just got back from our first backpacking trip – 3 days in NH's White Mountains, from Crawford Notch to the Old Bridle Path, via Mts. Garfield and Lafayette. It was awesome; we're totally hooked. But I'm not a large or muscular person (under 5 feet tall, under 110 lbs.), and I've got to work on my pack weight. I need opinions re: if I should buy a lighter pack or refine what I put in it. Here's what I brought, by ounces, with the things that I am changing/eliminating:
Deuter ACT Lite 35+10SL 56.00 (head rail removed). I love the suspension on this pack, and I needed every bit of it. That's why I hesitate to buy a lighter pack right now. But the framesheet is heavy and there are a lot of zippers/compartments on it, so someone convince me that I can find an equally comfortable LW pack…
Ditty bag 0.25
First aid kit 2.00 (for both of us)
Frontier H20 filter straw (emergency) 0.50
Knife: mini paint scraper 0.0 (in 1st aid kit)
Lanyard, mini compass & whistle 0.75
Survival blanket 1.75
Doug Ritter Survival kit 3.5 (compass & whistle worn)
Oven bag for packing 0.38
Hat, black acrylic knit 1.38
Jacket, Primaloft 14.75 (LL Bean Kids, no hood)
Shorts, Salomon poly microfiber 3.13
Long underwear bottoms 5.88 (lw polyester)
Long underwear top 5.00 (lw polyester)
Mittens, windproof fleece 2.25
Pants, rain 6.13(Red Ledge TL)
Rain poncho, plastic 7.13
Windbreaker, Sierra Designs 6.75
Socks, 1 pr. Smartwool crew 1.63
Socks, sleeping, 1 pr. 1.75
Underpants, 1 pr. 0.75
Track pants, Adidas poly-nylon 8.25
Hat, cotton bucket 2.75
Merrell Reflex trail runners, gel insole 27.25/pair
Socks, Smartwool crew, 1 pr. 1.63
Duofold technical T-shirt, SS 4.25
Bear-bagging line 2.00
Carabiner .25 (for bear bag)
Esbit folding stove 3.13 (REPLACE?)
4 Esbit tabs, wrapped 1.52
Foil windscreen cut from AL tray 1.00 (REPLACE)
Imusa AL grease pot w/lid 8.25 (REPLACE)
2 sporks, Light My Fire (both of ours) 0.50
Waterproof matches, box 0.25
Ziploc (to store stove/fuel) 0.13
Black mesh bag 0.50
Batteries, 2 spare AAA 0.75
Breath drops for brushing 0.12 (ELIMINATE)
Eyeglass case 1.75
Sunglasses .75 Insect repellent mini-spray 1.63
Lip balm, SPF 15 0.13
Maglite, AAA 1.63
microfiber cloth 0.25
Purell 0.75 Soap, Dr. B's 0.12 (dropper bottle)
Sunscreen 1.13 (Coppertone stick SPF30)
Shop towel/TP in Ziplocs 1.25
Food & Water (husband carried Aqua Mira & most food)
Water, soda bottle liter 37.63
Water, Propel bottle 26.50
Map in Ziploc 0.63
Silva compass 0.75
(husband carried 5# Eureka tent!)
6-mil plastic groundsheet 14.25 (ELIMINATE, use E-blanket instead)
13-gal trash bag for stuff sack 0.63
Campmor 20-deg down mummy 37.00
Thermarest Z-lite, 8 sections 8.00
Water-wing pillow 1.25
Base weight: 217.6 (13.6 lbs.)
with food & H2O: 307.11 (19.19 lbs.)
FSO: 353.5 (22.09 lbs.)
Some purchases I've considered, besides the backpack, are: Shires or SMD tarptent (doesn't help my weight, but would help Joe's), Platy bottles instead of soda bottles, lighter summer sleeping arrangement (bag is comfortable as quilt, too hot when zipped). Other suggestions?Jun 21, 2007 at 10:19 am #1392941Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I compliment you on such a compact set of gear, just starting out. You've put a good deal of thought into it. Deuter packs are certainly comfortable; I tested the ACT Lite 50+10 for BGT. I'm impressed you're able to get everything into the smaller 35.
However, as you've noted it's a heavy pack, especially for a compact model, and presents the greatest opportunity for trimming weight. Ditching the groundsheet eliminates nearly a pound, and unless you're camping on really rough surfaces is unneeded anyway. You can also consider lighter, more compact alternatives to your sleeping bag, at least for summer–a time to whittle away at your clothing list too (although there are no major offenders there). You'll probably want to replace the plastic poncho at some point–they're pretty miserable to use, and tear easily.
As the flashlight guy, I have to chide you on the maglite and batteries. A button cell LED light will equal the performance at a fraction of the weight–or at least change to a single-AAA cell LED flashlight to eliminate the need for spare batteries.
If you need a frame-style pack peruse our reviews and others', noting weights and volumes. You can easily trim a pound or more, but I'd caution you to try before you buy to verify fit and support. I like the new Osprey Talon series for what they deliver at a reasonable weight and price. There are many others, of course.
The last bit is to look at your tent and consider lighter options. Ultimately, your husband will thank you :-)Jun 21, 2007 at 10:46 am #1392945EndoftheTrailBPL Member
The order of things (IMHO):
1. Leave out unnecessary items (within reason, of couse, when it comes to "safety").
2. Prune the rest, keeping 'multiple use' in mind.
3. Replace needed gear with lighter/more compact versions as appropriate.
4. After you've determined #1-3 and have 'stablized' your gear, then shop for a pack that will fit your criteria regarding fit/comfort, load volume/weight, and pack features.Jun 21, 2007 at 10:51 am #1392947Brian ULMember
@maynard76Locale: New England
Thats an impressive list for a newbie!
I carried like 50-60lbs on my first overnighters.
A lot of stuff will be a personal choice, and each item can be a lot of research in its self. I would first of all decide what conditions and trip length you want your kit to handle? One of the biggest mistakes new backpackers make is buying a do-it-all kit. That was a problem I had to overcome, prepare for what you will realisticly be using it for and not what you wish you will use it for.
Example: if you will be doing weeked summer hikes 90% of the time than you can really zone in on what you need for those conditions and dont buy a kit because you "could" use it for a thru-hike or do a winter trip with it!Jun 21, 2007 at 11:09 am #1392950Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Something else: do you typically carry nearly two quarts of water, or is that a maximum possible amount? If you're not walking far between water sources, try just collecting and carrying as much as you need.Jun 21, 2007 at 12:58 pm #1392966Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Working on lowering your base weight and a more compact kit is an on-going endevour. You have an excellent start too. There are many lighter packs, but all have Spartan suspension systems and you found the compromise in packs: suspension=weight.
You are carrying a fair proportion of your body weight. My base load is near identical to yours, but I weigh twice what you do. Being male, I probably have a larger ratio of upper body mass and strength, so a 20 pound pack doesn't seem to be as much to me and I'm not relying on the suspension to the degree that you might (I use a Golite Jam).
I would look for a "woman specific" pack like the Granite Gear Vapor Ki (http://www.rei.com/product/734346). These packs are narrower through the shoulders and wider in the hips and come in shorter lengths. I'm hoping that a better fit will make up for a simpler suspension system. The real goal with the suspension is to get the weight transferred to your hips comfortably and with good stability. From there it's just getting a pack with enough volume to carry the bulk of your gear as well as the weight– and features like hydration sleeve, external pockets, etc.Jun 21, 2007 at 1:36 pm #1392972Jason BrinkmanBPL Member
Wow, you're very much on the right track.
I think you are at the point were a lighter sleeping bag (or quilt) would be very worthwhile – especially if you are willing to wear your jacket to bed. A down summer bag for someone your size could easily weigh less than a pound. You mentioned that your 20 degree bag is too warm, so maybe a 30 to 40 degree bag and the jacket would be a better option. It will also be significantly smaller.
I am a huge person compared to you, so I can't very well comment on your pack comfort. However, I found recently that packs with much less significant suspension could still be quite comfortable for me. I use light frame stays in my Mariposa Plus, but the belt and shoulder straps don't have much padding – they are just wide to distribute the load. This is supremely comfortable with 20 pound total loads for me, and the Mariposa+ weighs 2 pounds less than the Deuter ACT. You could try a Gossamer Gear Miniposa – similar size to your Deuter and very light with carbon fiber stays (and you can try it for 30 days risk free).
You have a lot of items in your carried clothing and emergency categories, but no one major weight offender. But… to get significantly lighter, it's a game of ounces, so don't overlook these.Jun 21, 2007 at 2:19 pm #1392978Denis HazlewoodBPL Member
@redleaderLocale: LuxuryLite Luke on the Llano Azul
You've started on the right track, something that took me years to learn.
Is the food you list at 25.38 ounces for both of you for three days? If so I wish I could cut my food weight that much. Even if that's only the weight of your own food it's less than half of the ounces per day I typically carry.
Carry on.Jun 21, 2007 at 5:13 pm #1392995Heather Pisani-KristlMember
@p-kLocale: San Diego
Your replies are very encouraging. I'm just trying to go light right away, with the help of this website & book, Don Ladigin's book, Ray Jardine's, etc., but without the experience of the 50-lb. pack. Though I'm afraid I just need to go on the Stairmaster/weightlifting bench instead of paring my gear. My husband notes that if I do that, he can get his pack weight down to 10# and give me the rest!
Rick, I think I read your Deuter review when I was looking at packs (before I found BPL). I like the look & features of the Osprey Talons but heard some caveats about the durability of the hardware; also not sure about torso length and reduced pack capacity. I'll look at the flashlight situation. Maglites seemed so revolutionary after the massive 4 D-cell, knock-the-intruder-over-the-head gray plastic flashlight I grew up with, but time marches on. Regarding H2O, I read somewhere that one should carry 2L, so I did. That touches on experience, though — a more knowledgeable backpacker than I would realize that there is plenty of water in the NH mountains during the averagespringtime.
Brian, you're right on the money. I DID buy the 20-degree bag because I thought, "oh, I'll be able to use this all year 'round." Then I found myself hanging out of it to stay comfortable during temps when I was actually most likely to go hiking (not when it's 20 degrees and the woodstove is roaring).
Denis, no, that was a little more than a day's worth of food for me; Joe carried the rest. I teased him relentlessly about the 14oz. bag of nuts that he brought, but by day 2, I was digging right in. We'll skip the oatmeal next time, though.
Thanks for all the suggestions!Jun 21, 2007 at 8:12 pm #1393011Brett .Member
Your original question was change the pack or tweak it? Do both, depending on your budget. You are about the same height as my GF, and the Granite Gear Vapor Ki(short frame) is a very comfortable pack with a tepex(plastic) internal frame. It transfers weight to the hips and has very cushy waist and shoulder straps. 2lb2oz compared to your current 3/7, thats more than a lb lighter for probably no loss in comfort. It has no lid, but does have two large side pouches near the top of the pack.
– No filter straw; are you really going to suck water from a stream? Coffee filter the water into your soda bottles, then drop in a micropur. I have all the platypus, but like the rigidity of pop bottles, easy to get in and out of the pack. If you have the pack volume for a full bottle, carrying the empty is no problem. Multiple smaller bottles is good for redundancy. One for cooking, one for drinking, one currently being treated with micropur. Ive had platypus, evernew, and camelbak types all leak, but soda bottles designed for pressurized liquids have NEVER leaked on me.
– Change the jacket for the Montbell Thermawrap. Well respected on this site, and less than 1/2 the weight of your current jacket.
– Replace both the poncho and windbreaker with one Marmot Precip, Montbell Peak shell, or on a budget, the RedLedge Thunderlight parka. If you like the windbreaker concept (usually called a windshirt these days), get a light patagonia Houdini, or similar.
– Replace the maglight with a Fenix L0D Cree or for longer trips, a Petzl Zipka. The Zipka gives 120hrs+ at med. and can clip almost anywhere.
– Replace cotton hat with a nylon cap; thus it can serve as a DWR rain shell. Cotton dries too slowly.
– Esbits ok, but consider going with an integrated TrailDesigns Caldera Cone/alcohol stove and the Titanium pot it is designed for. 900ml or 1400ml should be the right size for full meals for two. The Cone is an integrated pot support and wind screen. Very handy. Its the most convenient way to cook with alcohol. Until you do that, replace your 3oz esbit tray with a wire mesh tray and a cylinder of gutter guard to hold your pot. Wait a month or so and the new AntiGravityGear 3-cup cookset with integrated caldera cone/cone protector (ziploc cup) will be out. A little small, but an amazing kit!
– Get a real drybag for your down. The best performance/weight ratio are the SealLine Stormsacks. Truly waterproof at water pressures you would encounter while hiking, unlike for example, the SeaToSummit bags. See BPL review on this subject if you want details.
– If the 20' bag is too much, I recommend a 1 lb Montbell #7 zipperless alpine bag, 725fp down, $120 from an outlet in Japan (I can hook you up). Or buy a #7 or #5 online. You can use the integrated drawstring on the last baffle to stuff the end of the bag inside, cinch it tight, and create a 'short' bag. The interior baffles will gently remove excess air (less to heat). Remarkably warm; I used a #7 at 30'F.
More suggestions later if you want… I realize this is expensive gear. Look around your home, ebay is your friend.. I finance everything by selling things I dont use. Strangely, selling things off is part of a lightweight 'lifestyle'. The less you want, the more you have. So get gear which serves multiple purposes, and maybe can be used in your off-trail life as well.
See my gear list at my profile if you are interested.
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