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#526 - 11/05/09 08:55 AM Lightest weight hiking gear
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
There have been some great improvements in backpacking gear just in the past several years. I bought a ZPacks backpack (7 oz) and enjoyed using it on two trips this summer. (I'll post a picture later.)

What kind of equipment have others used that helps lighten the load?

#531 - 11/05/09 10:24 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
DobeMom Offline

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 29
Loc: Palmdale, California
Since I was new to backpacking and could start fresh with new gear, I tried to go light whenever possible (but comfort and $$$ get in the way sometimes, crazy)

So, let's see. My pack isn't lightweight, got it last year as a large daypack but it actually was good enough for a 5-day trip to SEKI in Sept! It's last year's Marmot Diva 35 (35L, comfy but weighs 3 lbs 11 oz!).

New lightweight gear purchased this summer:
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 (tent + footprint + stakes: 2 lbs 9 oz)
Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20F bag (1 lb 13 oz)
Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus in Small (1 lb 1 oz) not light, but comfort here!
Montbell ultralight down vest (4 oz)
GoLite Ether wind shirt (4 oz)
Montbell stretch wind pants (4 oz)
JetBoil PCS (including full fuel canister: 1 lb 6 oz) not the lightest, but fast!
Bare Boxer (1.6 lbs)

All in all, I was able to keep my pack weight down to 32 lbs for a 5-day trip, including bear can, food, 1.5L of water, and my 2-lb camera and 1.5-lb tripod! Not ultralight, but I was comfortable, smile
My SmugMug Photos

#534 - 11/05/09 11:40 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
Bob R Offline

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
The formatting won't carry over, so I can't easily copy and paste here. But see the link to my Ultralight Pack, with a base weight of 5 1/2 lb. Add 2 lb food per day and the total weight for a weekend trip is 9 1/2 lb.

I also have what I call my Not-So-Ultralight Pack. The goal here is a little more comfort and preparedness, but to still adhere to saving weight as much as possible. It's just under 13 lb.

If I go with one or more others, they almost always want hot meals. So add a pound or a little less for your share of the stove/pot/fuel.

By the way, you should take all such lists as starting points--not as shopping lists. Choose your own pack, sleeping bag, pad, etc., thinking about how little can you get away with and still be reasonably comfortable and safe. Choose each item with care, using what's on my (or someone else's) list as suggestions. You'll end up with your own "Ultralight Pack," customized to your personal preferences and metabolism.

The point is to develop a mind set to focus on what you really need, not what is just nice to have along. You can save 10, 20, or more pounds if you can hone this attitude.

Edited: Lists now give weights to tenths of an ounce

#538 - 11/05/09 01:29 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Bob R]
Rod Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
I have the Gatewood Cape Rain Gear/Shelter It is a poncho and a shelter at 11 oz.
I love it for non-windy nights. Last year 2008 on Labor Day weekend it got up to 60-70 MPH at Trail Camp in the middle of the night. If I had known it was going to get so windy I could have found wind shelter and been OK with it.At winds above 40 MPH it just rattled and fell down repeatedly.
I also have a Carbon Fiber Bearikade bear canister which is the lightest approved one I could find.

I try to follow Bob R's lists (who is my pack light hero). I just can't seem to get my pack weight down as low as he does.26 lbs for 3 days 3 season is as low as I have gotten so far.That takes into account stuff I don't use but might need in case of sudden severe weather change or having to survive a few days due to injury.

Edited by Rod (11/05/09 01:31 PM)

#551 - 11/05/09 03:17 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Bob R]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob R wrote:
> The formatting won't carry over, so I can't easily copy and paste here.

Bob, do you mind if I posted the text from those two docs here with links to the original? (Actually, VersatileFred has better html skills than I, and could probably duplicate your table structure.)

#565 - 11/05/09 04:50 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: DobeMom]
Mike Condron Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
Don't overlook this hot idea!

How does one post a hot link?

Edited by Mike Condron (11/05/09 07:27 PM)

#597 - 11/06/09 05:01 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Mike Condron]
DUG Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 371
Loc: Wildomar
I'm sort of a gear junkie. I've purchased new packs for two different hikes this year. I don't always go for the lightest either. I have a bombproof Kelty daypack that I made even heavier by adding a thick, padded fullsized waist strap. I use this mainly when my back is sore or I hike with scouts. It can hold a bunch of weight and is super organized - something I need when I'm with scouts. I like REI packs too because they are lightweight and have that mesh back. I have some Camelbak packs (about 10) as well.

I try to keep it light when I can - tent? LOL thats for scout trips. On my hikes I use a 7 dollar emergency bivy and a trash bag. Next year I'm going with just the trash bag.

Every hike is different for me so every pack out is different as well. I can go up Whitney with 7 pounds (water included) in a fanny pack or end up carrying 40 pounds (mostly water) on a scout day hike...................................DUG

Edited by DUG (11/06/09 09:34 AM)

#605 - 11/06/09 09:31 AM The Ultralight Pack [Re: DUG]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is the text to Bob R's document from this link ( The Ultralight Pack ).  Note that if you can download and print Word documents, I recommend Bob's link.

Bob has a second list, The Not-So-Ultralite Pack as well. It's about 5 pounds heavier.

Edit: There is a newer, heavier version of this on page 3 of this thread ( link ).

The Ultralight Pack      
Updated May 5, 2010
By Bob Rockwell

Here is the list that guides me on Sierra Nevada climbing trips in the summer, and I have it handy every time I pack. I know that there are people who trim the edges off their map, drill holes in their spoon, and take the string off their tea bag; I applaud their philosophy but don't do such things myself.

Carry: lb oz

Pack, 3200 cu. in. (Blast 32 from 0 6.7

Sleeping bag (Marmot Atom 40 degree), with stuffsack 1 3.4
Pad, Cascade Designs NeoAir small, with stuffsack 0 9.5
Heat Sheets Emergency bivy bag, with stuffsack 0 3.6
Ground cloth: black garbage sack with sides split 0 1.9

Down vest (Western Mountaineering Flash) & stuffsack 0 5.5
Light polypro long underwear, top & bottom 1 0.0
DWR wind shirt (GoLite Ether), in Ziplock sack 0 3.4
Light polypro balaclava 0 2.0
Light fleece gloves 0 2.2

Headlamp (Petzl Tikka Plus), with extra batteries 0 3.9
First aid kit, Adventure Ultralite .5
with toothbrush & paste 0 6.8
Toilet paper-8 sheets per day; Wash & Dry-1 per day 0 0.9
Quart Gatorade jug canteen, carried empty 0 1.8
Topo map, whistle, signal mirror, compass,
in Ziplock sack 0 3.6

Base weight: 5 7.2
Food, 1 lb 8 oz per day plus packaging: 4 0

Total for a two-day weekend trip: 9 7.2

Fleece shirt
Hiking shorts
Tilley hat
Socks, and VBL
Lightweight Boots
Scree gaiters

Consider also:
Hiking poles
Mosquito repellent
Ice ax, light
Crampons, aluminum

These weights are as measured on a regulation US Postal Service scale, so differ a little from advertised. The things to wear add another 5 lbs or so that your feet feel. Below them are a few other items that are sometimes needed.

There is no tent.  And there is no provision for treating water, because virtually all High Sierra water is perfectly clean.

And no stove and cookset.  If you absolutely have to have hot meals, there are plenty of lightweight options out there. For example, the Firelight Esbit Wing Stove weighs only 0.4 oz, and two 0.5 oz fuel tabs will boil a quart of water. Add an aluminum or titanium mug/pot, and your total system weighs in at less than 4 ounces.

On longer trips I take my Six Moons Gatewood cape/tarp combo (12.3 oz), and leave the emergency bivy and GoLite shirt behind. Base weight increases to 5 lb 12.5 oz.

If I have to depend on snow for topping off my canteen, I take a wide-mouth polyethylene canteen instead of the Gatorade jug.  It adds 2 oz.

Finally, bear canisters are becoming required in many areas. I have a Bare Boxer Contender, weighing 1 lb 13.9 oz.  For more than a few days, you may have to pull a few tricks to make it do.

Unfortunately, I have my weaknesses.  Add a couple of sips of brandy per evening out.

Taking all of the above--stove/cookset, cape/tarp, canteen, canister, brandy--and total weight is only 12 pounds for a two-day trip.

The Blast 32 is comfortable up to about 20 pounds, but if need to take any technical gear, goodies to share, etc., you may want a more substantial one.  The Mountainsmith Ghost (no longer available) is about the same size as the Blast 32, but with a much more rugged suspension system. It adds 2 lb 3.7 oz.  There are, of course, many other choices out there.

Other substitutions are obviously possible, and I do it often.  However, I always have the scale handy. I didn't invent the saying, but I do abide by it:  "Watch the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves."

It should be clear that the 25 to 50 lb weekend packs so commonly seen have far more in them than is necessary.

Finally, I'm not at all fanatical about this.  But operating from a list like the above is useful for identifying what's truly essential for the trip, and realizing what's just "nice to have along."

Edited by Steve C (10/10/13 12:12 AM)

#606 - 11/06/09 09:39 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
Rod Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Thanks for posting that Steve. I have that printed up and it is in my equipment box. I will try to use this as my guideline. It seems so simple. Weather plays a big factor in what adds weight but this is about as streamlined as one can get. I got the Gateway Cape Shelter after seeing Bob R post this and I really love it.

#608 - 11/06/09 10:40 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Rod]
melville1955 Offline

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 5
Loc: p-town, CA
YES, I found Bob's same treatis on lightweight hiking on the internet or the WPSMB back in the spring, and used several of his ideas (and some of mine, and others) in getting my nominal overnight pack weight down from mid 40's to just 22 lbs.

I found his checklist so valuable, that I copied the idea, only mine has several choices for most of the items. Now when I do my night before packing at home, it is very easy to run down the list, and get the most efficient setup for the given trip (weather, partners, etc).

#630 - 11/06/09 08:04 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: melville1955]
hypoxic Zombie Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 7
Loc: SD ca.
Yup Bobs list RULES! grin
My Webshots:

#646 - 11/07/09 06:53 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: hypoxic Zombie]
Mike Condron Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
This is a little test to see if I have loading a picture down pat.
This spoon was found at Ostrander Lake a week ago. I guess jettisoning gear turns out to be the best way to go light.

It works.

#648 - 11/07/09 07:58 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Mike Condron]
hikehigh Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 28
Loc: 20.12345 -101.12345
poking holes in your spoon!!! I like to pack smart and as light as possible, but I draw the line at poking holes in my utensils!
Day Hiking Mt. Whitney

#652 - 11/07/09 08:22 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Mike Condron]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
Congrats Mike, on the successful picture post!

I wonder just how much weight those holes saved.

#663 - 11/07/09 09:32 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
Mike Condron Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA

#783 - 11/13/09 01:19 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Mike Condron]
SanDi_carole Offline

Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 32
Loc: San Diego
Hey Ranger Bob;

Regarding your evening beverage, have you checked out the new platypus wine bags? They're lighter than a flask and compressible. And they don't break as easily when you accidentally sit on them or fall over on your pack.. not that I would do that or anything..

normally they are $13 each, but amazon has a 4 pk for $28 platypus wine bags

#1392 - 12/20/09 12:27 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
RoguePhotonic Offline

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Has anyone tried cutting weight with the quilt idea? I was planning to buy this cuben fiber quilt but since it's more delicate and my standard sleeping bag was tore up from a bear I need something more durable for all around use right now.

I'm going to try and get away with using this 2.2 ounce pad, I sleep on the floor at home also so actual padding has never been an issue for me in the back country, I sleep just fine but I am concerned about the insulation factor with only an 1/8 inch thick pad, i'll probably buy it and give it some test runs and if it's insufficient i'll go with the 3/8's versin which still cuts it down to 6.6 ounces.

#1393 - 12/20/09 12:47 PM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA
The issue with the cuben fiber is it's abrasion resistance is low. My cuben-fiber pack got a few holes on just two backpack trips. I used seam sealer to close the holes.

And with a quilt, the fiber is prevents water and air from getting through. So if you try sleeping with it, you're bound to get covered with moisture condensation.

I like my pack, but I think I'd pass on the quilt.

#5815 - 07/07/10 09:18 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: Steve C]
Happy Birthday JWolf24601 Offline

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 14
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
I realize I am ressurecting an old post, but I have been dreaming bout this stuff for weeks now.

My pack weight is down to about 30# at the moment, not terrible, but if I win the lottery while I am on Mt. Whitney this weekend I will be ordering this setup...

Zpack Blast 32                                 7.1oz $190
Tarptent Sublite 18.5oz $179
MontBell UL SS DH #3 Long 24.0oz $299
ThermaRest NeoAir Reg 14.0oz $149
MSR Titan Kettle 4.0oz $ 59
Monatauk Gnat Stove 1.6oz $ 49
black garbage sack with sides split 1.9oz
MontBell Ex Light Jacket XL 6.2oz $165
Light polypro long underwear bottom 8.0oz
DriDuck Rainsuit 12.0oz
Light polypro balaclava 2.0oz
Light fleece gloves 2.2oz
Petzl e+LITE Headlamp 1.0oz $ 29
Adventure Medical UL .3 First-Aid (customized) 3.0oz
Toiletry Kit 3.0oz
Quart Gatorade jug canteen, carried empty 1.8oz
Topo map, whistle, signal mirror, compass, 3.6oz
in Ziplock sack

Total Packweight (minus fuel/food) 7lb 1.9oz

Titanium Goat Adj, poles 7.2oz $130

That's my preferences for luxury & lightweight
It's just over the next hill...

#5823 - 07/07/10 11:11 AM Re: Lightest weight hiking gear [Re: JWolf24601]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7926
Loc: Fresno, CA

It would be interesting to see the price of each of those items tallied up, too.

Good luck in the lottery. grin

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