Jul 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm #1224177
What scales do you all use to weigh your gear?
I went to try to find scales today online and realized I hadn't the slightest idea what I was looking for.
Also, if anyone has a scale for sale, I'm interested. :-)Jul 18, 2007 at 12:09 pm #1395788
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I like to use a digital scale with the following features:
1. Weighs items as light as a fractional ounce.
2. Weighs up to 30 lbs in increments of 0.1 ounce
My pack rarely weighs more than 30 lbs — and in any case, I have a digital bathroom scale for items 25 lbs and over.
The best and cheapest place to buy digital scales is on Ebay. Search for "digital scale" and you'll see tons of choices. Read about starting weight and incremental weights — and take into account shipping cost.
On Ebay, search for item no. 320138815846 for the model I got.Jul 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm #1395790
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I just have a "Good Cook" food scale from Wal-Mart. It weighs in 1/8 oz or 2 gram increments and has a capacity of 5 lbs. I usually just weigh all of my individual items and put them in a spreadsheet or gear calculator program and add up the total pack weight that way, instead of weighing the fully loaded pack.
Its relatively cheap I believe and can be found in the kitchen items section of your local Wal-Mart. I have wished for a more accurate scale sometimes, but really, how much of a difference is 1 gram going to make? (Besides a more expensive scale.)
AdamJul 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm #1395795
I use an Escali 11 lb. digital scale that measures in increments of .1 oz. or 1 g.
Web link for specs only, you can get this scale from many sources.
I prefer 1 gram precision over a scale that can weigh several dozen pounds. Cheaper scales that measure more than say 10 lbs. or so are often inaccurate at higher weights—if you need max. weight, research and splurge a bit.
I, too, use a spreadsheet to arrive at total weight. You might want to check out the award winning spreadsheet of Meir Gottleib's to help organize your gear closet—-it has it's own!
It's brilliant and how I keep track of my gear ( and backcountry pantry). You can download it from the link. Fairly easy learning curve, particularly if you already know Excel.Jul 18, 2007 at 2:01 pm #1395799
Walmart food scale…I believe it was $30 a few years ago. Weighs in 1g increments, up to 5 pounds. Make sure the scale has a big enough footprint to put some of the bigger stuff on. The little digital "pot" scales are great, but you can't fit a tent or sleeping bag on it without it drooping over the sides onto the floor/counter…or so I've heard.Jul 18, 2007 at 2:16 pm #1395800
The trick with the smaller scales to weigh a large object is to use the tare function of the scale to weigh a large bowl, basket or an elevated platform (you still need to be able to see the display) which would hold a tent or whatever. The tare function allows you to "zero" the scale to obtain the net weight of the object to be weighed. Necessity is the mother and father of invention.Jul 18, 2007 at 2:39 pm #1395809
Kevin, agreed. The tare function is useful for the bigger gear, especially on the smaller scales. I use it on my scale which probably measures about 4"x4". However, i had a smaller (ie. maybe 2"x3") scale a few years back and found it a little bit of a pain for bigger stuff…main problem – the bowl I put on it prior to "tare" function would eat up some of it's total weighable weight (make sense?). Weighable weight=Max weight-bowl. Just something to look out for if you are really taking a look at your scale buying.
If i were to buy again – and spend some money, i would look for a digital hanging scale. "Seems" it would be easier to weigh stuff like backpacks and the such.Jul 18, 2007 at 2:46 pm #1395813
I'll probably be stricken from the rolls of BPL-dom for mentioning this but lately I just tare out an empty plastic storage container and toss my pack in. If it looks close to what I feel is acceptable for the trip, I call it good. I've got a spreadsheet with (mostly) accurate weight measurements but nowadays I usually just use it as a packing checklist. For fine tuning or new equipment, I still weigh the occasional item.Jul 18, 2007 at 3:03 pm #1395816
That works, too. :-)>Jul 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm #1395820
@mitchellkeilLocale: Deep in the OC
I would go with the wisdom of buying a digital scale with sub-1oz precision and max of 5 lbs weighing capacity that will switch between metric and English.
Almost everything you will weigh will be less than 5 lbs. With the possible exception of your total food weight and maybe your boots and or tent. But these can be parcelled out into smaller elements to get the total weight.
The key to getting on top of the weight issue is to have a program that will allow you to enter all of the weighed items into it. Here you can then make informed choices about what to take or not and the weight consequences. I use the remarkably easy to use calculator found here:
Chris has a great customizable calculator and you can save multiple trips as separate files.Jul 18, 2007 at 3:49 pm #1395823
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
The gear calc that Mitchell linked to is the one I use. I tried a handful of the ones from the BPL contest and they are great and full featured but… I prefer the simplicity of the one from Chris. It is super simple to set up and with a little coaxing it works fine in Ubuntu (in case anyone was worried about compatibility with Linux :)). Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
AdamJul 18, 2007 at 4:12 pm #1395828
@pecosLocale: baba yaga's porch
I use a salter model 3001 kitchen scale. its accurate to one gram or 1/8oz and max 5lbs or 2kg. It has a huge almost 6" scale surface, a tar function, and my favorite, an off button. I usually only weigh a few things and then put it away and an off button saves me batteries, or at least makes me think im saving them.Jul 18, 2007 at 7:07 pm #1395845
@mad777Locale: South Florida
I use this $30 one from Staples Office supply. It's commonly available at others or the internet.
Pelouze® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital Scales
Max. capacity is 5 lbs. and it will measure down to 0.1 oz or 1 gram.
I really don't care about the weight of 1+/- gram when weighing my tent but, I'm about to make a down vest and I need to measure very small quantities of down for stuffing each baffle. So now I'm glad I have it! Here is a link.Jul 18, 2007 at 7:37 pm #1395849
Sharon, I recommend two scales.
The first, a small unit with a basket or tray for holding piles of stuff or floppy items. It should have a maximum weight capacity higher than the weight of your heaviest item (maybe your backpack or tent?) A commercial digital kitchen scale with a bowl for holding stuff works for me.
The second scale could be your bathroom scale or similar high capacity scale for checking your 'From Skin Out' weight. Stand on it wearing your pack, and then subtract your body weight.
If you are standing there in the store facing a shelf full of choices, put an item on each; if one scale gives an anomolous reading, exclude it from your consideration, it is inaccurate. That technique works well for thermometers, compasses, barometers, etc..
Accuracy is the correctness of the scale, precision is the number of digits it reads out. My bathroom scale requires me to input my geographical location (once of course) so it can compensate for anomolies in gravitational pull! But then it only reads out to the nearest 100 grams.. I find that odd.Jul 18, 2007 at 8:49 pm #1395864
Gravatational Anomaly compensation but only accurate to 100g.? Sounds like you got that scale from the Japanese equivalent of The Sharper Image. :-DJul 19, 2007 at 5:39 am #1395897
Check out http://www.oldwillknottscales.com.
They have a ton of digital scales at reasonable prices, plus they always seem to have some on sale. Right now you can get a My Weigh 300-Z with a weighing capacity of 300g and 0.1g precision for $10.
FWIW, I use the following scale:
JohnJul 19, 2007 at 10:04 am #1395922
@mitchellkeilLocale: Deep in the OC
If people in Japan have to worry about gravitational anomolies when weighing in then there is something seriously wrong with body awareness there. One might almost believe Japan has been reading too many issues of People Magazine! I know one can spend thousands on toilet seats that heat, wash and rinse then blow dry your bumm, but really….!Jul 19, 2007 at 11:38 am #1395936
I had forgot to click "Watch" for this thread and was beginning to get depressed that I wasn't receiving email notices about there being any replies :-D
Needn't have worried. I'll definitely check this info out!Jul 19, 2007 at 11:51 am #1395939
I never have seen so many scales in my life, as there are at http://www.oldwillknottscales.com
And very reasonable prices. Thank you SO much for that link.
And thanks everyone else for letting me know what to look for!
I'm thinking about this one:
It's a food scale, but seems to have a reasonably sized weighing platform, a decent max weight (6.6 lbs), .1 oz resolution, AND it has the nutritional info stored in it for over 800 foods… That might be useful for preparing trail meals, and then do dual duty as my gear scale too…
Whatcha think?Jul 22, 2007 at 7:28 am #1396166
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Another vote for the very simple and inexpensive PELOUZE postal scale.
Pelouze® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital ScalesJul 22, 2007 at 7:53 am #1396168
"Another vote for the very simple and inexpensive PELOUZE postal scale.
Pelouze® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital Scales."
Pelouze 5-lb gets my vote also.Jul 23, 2007 at 11:00 am #1396243
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Ditto on the "five pound digital gives grams and ounces" type of scale. But … there are rare occurances when I wish I had a scale that did more than five pounds. Weighing my food bag at the start of the trip (and end of trip sometimes) is one case.
When I got my scale I wanted to know how accurate it was — no point in having "to one gram" accuracy if it's false. I found a bunch of crisp like-new quarters, and you can look up the precise weight of a new quarter online. That was plenty close for me.Jul 27, 2007 at 7:43 pm #1396676
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I have now decided to stop weighing packs, gear & equipment, and misc. bicycle things.
Now I just weigh myself which becomes quite entertaining to the family and kicks off several miles of incomprehensible muttering.
Yep, that was me up in the Olympics, the wandering mutterer.Jul 28, 2007 at 4:14 am #1396697
John Rowling IIParticipant
@jrowlingLocale: Great Lakes Area
I also use a digital scale. What is truly fun…is to go to a place like Gander Mt. and get a fish hook scale and just before you put foot on the trail is to weigh everyones pack. I was so far below everybody that it back fired. One of our group hurt both his knees and guess who carried the extra weight to lighten his load.Jul 28, 2007 at 5:50 am #1396702
Ha! I had the same thought – to bring a scale that's portable to the trail head on group trips so that people could weigh their packs…
My thought, though, was that you could use it to make people bring less. If they knew how much their packs actually weighed, you could try to talk them in to leaving some things behind BEFORE you start out.
That would have been enormously useful on my first backpacking trip ever. I went out on a "beginners" trip with a "seasoned" backpacker from my outdoor adventure club to learn the ropes. I didn't have hardly ANY of my own gear and so I borrowed a lot of his gear. Thank goodness I had at least some of my own – the tent he had intended us to bring was a 12 lb two-person tent (no, I'm not kidding), and he was all cheerful about it – "It's much more manageable when you split the load – only 6 lbs each!" HA! My MSR Hubba Hubba was a little better at 4 lbs, which I thought at the time was "lightweight" (I now own a Tarptent Cloudburst 2, at 2 lbs 6 oz).
Needless to say I ended up carrying a pack that weighed about 40 lbs (lots of it was "group" gear, plus I was carrying unnecessary stuff, that being my first time, my idea of "lightweight" was not exactly solid). All the while he insisted that my pack wasn't much heavier than 25 lbs.
'Course, then he weighed it when he got home. It was nearly at 40 lbs even without my clothing or other gear in it… I'm 5'4" and weigh 115 lbs, mind you.
I converted to UL packing.
Moral of the story: trail-head weighing can be a very good thing. Some people have NO concept of how much things weigh. Sometimes base weight can't be reduced, if you're with someone who already packs minimally, but just has "heavy" gear, for example. But there was a lot we could have left behind, and a scale would have come in mighty handy to demonstrate to the "seasoned" packer that we REALLY needed to ditch some stuff. It was his word against mine that the pack was way too heavy, and I was new – so I sort of deferred. I assumed he knew what he was talking about, and I didn't want to be a sissy…
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