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Base Weight poll...
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 16:48:39 MST Print View

I'm interested in seeing what everyone's attitudes are as far as lightweight, UL, and SUL. It seems like most of the people who post their gear lists are under 10 lbs, and a lot of the "talk" is about reaching SUL. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that many people on this site are fine with a base weight that isn't "technically" UL; it works for them and they have an enjoyable time hiking.

First, list your current average 3-season base weight, including things you ACTUALLY end up taking (camera, book to read, etc). (This is what you actually own, not what you hope to own next month when you get that well-deserved raise).

Second, list the base weight that you would like to someday reach; the base weight you will feel satisfied with and be happy.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I currently hover around 8 to 8.5 lbs.

I would like to eventually reach 5lbs 11oz. (My first REI pack weighed that much - I want to be able to say my entire setup weighs as much as my first backpack alone did).

Edited by splproductions on 02/05/2008 16:50:34 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 17:36:31 MST Print View

Well, for true 3 season, ie- into late October here when I bring my Kinsman pullover, camera, and warm hat, my base weight comes in at 5.88 lbs.
For the majority of the time (any time its above 40* before bed time) I drop the Kinsman and switch out the fleece hat for a Smartwool beanie and come in at 5.17 lbs.
I can drop my weight to around 4 lbs for summer hikes if I leave behind my camera and cell phone and go no cook. I've only done this a handful of times though because the warm food is worth the extra 3 oz for my cook set to me.
I'm currently very happy with that range. I've also got a handful of 'luxury' items that I may throw in here or there, but they generally don't add too much weight. I could definitely go lighter but not all the time, some things are just nice to have along.

Adam

Edited by aroth87 on 02/05/2008 17:37:28 MST.

Derek Cox
(derekcox) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 18:10:28 MST Print View

around 6.5 lbs i'd guess. on paper its about 6.1. im satisfied with this weight. i dont plan on spending a ton or skimping on anything to get it a little lower. between 5 and 8 pounds i really cant tell much of a difference, especially once food and water is thrown in as well.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 18:25:09 MST Print View

IMO, it is difficult to compare two peoples "three season" base weight. The variables of size, metabolism, and of course geographic location are all significant. And of course the more hard-core among us take a minimal number of items, not even bringing the essentials.
I would suggest posting a "function" list (20'F bag, stove, base layer, insulation layer, shell layer, etc..) Then let people post their corresponding "item" list (Montbell #2, caldera cone, wool1, cocoon jacket&pants, precip jacket&pants, etc..)

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 18:25:32 MST Print View

Like most, I have a number of lists depending on where and when I am going, but as an example, I did the La Cloche Silhouette trail (5 days) last year at 7.8 lbs. I can go lower, but that is really comfortable for me. To replace some of my key equipment, such as my poncho/tarp and bivy, for lighter stuff would mean some serious cash. I spend a lot of my time working on the simplicity of my 3 season pack now. Trying to reduce the amount of stuff I bring.

However, I am still working (very hard) at getting my winter weight down. I'm at about 15 lbs right now, and dropping fast...still waiting for that sub 1# 4-season freestanding tent and 6 oz winter bag. ;)

Good thread...after reading Bretts comments, that's a very good idea - and will allow for an easier comparison.. Ryan, set the conditions!

Edited by Steve_Evans on 02/05/2008 18:28:41 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 18:46:45 MST Print View

3 day trips...

4lb 11oz base; 10lb full when I am going fast, light and no bear canister

9lb 14oz base; 16lb 12oz full normal 3 season trips, above freezing, no bear canister

11lb 6oz base; 18 lb 5oz worst case 3 seasons with lows down to 20F and need to carry a bear canister

I will sometimes do SUL trips when I am TRYING to be super minimalist... but I don't normally do this because I haven't been able to sleep comfortably 100% of the time. With the release of the BA Clearview I might use my fast/light setup on a significantly larger number of trips provided I don't need a bear can. In this case my base weight would climb to 5lb 4oz or so.

I have found that carrying 10lbs is "better" than carrying 20lbs from a sense of "freedom", but my endurance doesn't seem to be impacted until I am somewhere between 25-30lbs. For the last couple of years I have mostly not changed gear to lower my weight. Gear changes have been mostly to make things faster / simpler / easier. My "normal" base has gone up a slight bit because I am trying to simply decisions about what to pack so I can just grab my pack and go rather than worrying if I have the exact load for the conditions I expect.

--Mark

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 18:49:09 MST Print View

--MO, it is difficult to compare two peoples "three season" base weight. The variables of size, metabolism, and of course geographic location are all significant. And of course the more hard-core among us take a minimal number of items, not even bringing the essentials.--

Brett has a really good point. Where I hike, 3 season hardly ever gets below freezing, so I can carry an 18 oz down quilt and be perfectly comfortable. Also, water is fairly easy to come by and I rarely carry more than two 1 L bottles. Someone hiking in drier regions may have a lot more weight in water containers than I do. I also don't need pants except for the very early and late parts of the season. All of this helps me get away with carrying a lot less weight than a lot of people would feel comfortable with in their area.
Just because a Midwesterner like me could probably get away with a couple of water bottles and some food stuffed in his pockets for a summer trip doesn't mean you could do that somewhere where the weather is unpredictable.

Adam

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Base Weight poll on 02/05/2008 19:26:45 MST Print View

Lightweight in pretty much all climes and places. About 12 in a southeastern summer (late April through early October) thru 18 or 19 (Winter in snow in the Smokies high-country). I was close to 18 base on the JMT this summer - bear cannister.......

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Comparing base weight... on 02/05/2008 21:07:51 MST Print View

Brett, I knew when starting this post that we really wouldn't be able to compare apples to apples, and your point is well stated. I was going to add some criteria and ways of displaying your weight so we get a better comparison standard, but it got complicated and I just decided to let it be as is.

I didn't mean for this to be a "competition" by any means. I almost find the commentary about the base weight more interesting than the actual number of lbs.

-- Derek: "between 5 and 8 pounds i really cant tell much of a difference, especially once food and water is thrown in as well."
--- Adam: "I'm currently very happy with that range. I've also got a handful of 'luxury' items that I may throw in here or there... I could definitely go lighter but not all the time, some things are just nice to have along."
--- Steven: "I can go lower, but that is really comfortable for me."

That's what I find interesting. More along the lines of what you feel happy at.

But... just so it is somewhat equal, by "average 3-season", I was thinking no technical climbing, no need to bring ice axes and crampons, etc. If you fit on the extreme end of the spectrum (Southern US versus Alaskan Range) then specify that in your post.

Thanks for your support at the polls this Super Tuesday.

Edited by splproductions on 02/05/2008 21:08:29 MST.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 22:21:03 MST Print View

For when its not going to go below freezing at night:

7.5-8 pounds is normal
variables are the weather, which can make me add weight or lighten up a little more. I sometimes bring tools for practicing primitive skills that will add a little weight as well. I will add that I like some durability and hate to baby gear. I also like a somewhat minamalist aproach and dont want to think about my gear too much, but defiantly think a lot of thought needs to go into it. Its all a balance I guess.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 02/07/2008 00:25:50 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/05/2008 22:47:15 MST Print View

Mine range between 8-12 lbs. -- veering lighter on harder hikes and heavier on easier routes.

Mike Hinsley
(ArchNemesis)

Locale: England, UK
Base weight poll.... on 02/06/2008 05:42:32 MST Print View

My personal base weight varies between 8 and 12lb depending on weather and terrain.

I've kinda decided that the kit I have is now sensible both in durability and weight for the conditions I can expect.

Instead, I've started to look at ways of carrying that load more comfortably and more naturally so that things like my CoG are not much affected and that muscles get to work in the most natural way.

I've kinda concluded that if the luggage weight increases by 4oz or so and results in a perceived pack-weight reduction of say 4lb then that's worth a lot more than trying to spend money to reduce pack weight further.

Once you've got a short list of light functional kit it's difficult to pare it down without significant side-effects.

For exaple, my normal walking does involve scrambling over rocks and going through forests. These are both things that will rip apart SUL packs so I go for a lighter pack that's more resistant to these things.

My winter sleeping bag is twice the weight of my summer one and so get packed when the weather justifies it.

I don't carry a trekking pole very often but when I do its a Leki Ti one. I include it in my base weight. When I take a pole I'm expecting to be using it in terrain that is hostile to carbon - rough n rocky - and so the extra weight (200g cpw 100g) is justified for me by the strength and durability. On average it's still less than carrying Carbon all the time...

Edited by ArchNemesis on 02/06/2008 06:06:36 MST.

Paul Wozniak
(PaulW)

Locale: Midwest
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/06/2008 09:03:29 MST Print View

Ryan,

I too am very interested to see what others aspire to. I applaud the SULers and hope to use some of their innovations down the road, but don't aspire to SUL myself. My base wt of 8.5 lbs for my 3-5 day Midwest trips down to 35F is very satisfactory for me. My goal is to stay below 9 lbs.

I'm now interested in simplification and bushwhacking durability. Wish list: Lighter tarp but large enough to Bushbuddy under. Steripen. I want a light-luxurious-35F pad solution (oh, for a comfortable bed. help!). I have an idea for a bivy-(rain/wind)transformer-mosquito shelter (warm/buggy). Sort of a big baggy bivy that pops up into an airy bug-free nest with a view.

My real-life list is below, I don't carry a book or a camera. Hope it formats well but I didn't know how to attach a spreadsheet.

Paul

GEAR WT. PACK WT.

PACK Jam2 21.0
ttl 21.0 21.0

HOME compactor bag 1.0
quilt, Speer 20.0
pad 6.0
bivy 6.0
tarp 16.0
ttl 49.0 49.0

WORN smartwool crew 8.0
boxers 3.0
pants, EMS 12.0
socks, thin 2.0
Inov8 Flyroc 26.0
hat, crusher 3.0
watch/compass 2.0
glasses 2.0
ttl 58.0 0

CLOSET Thermawrap UL 9.0
windcoat 5.0
long johns 7.0
socks, sleep 2.0
Rain Cape, ID 5.0
balaclava 1.0
ttl 29.0 29.0

ALL-IN-ONE KIT
Lite Tripper 1.5
Victorinox 1.0
lighter 1.0
tinder 1.0
spoon 0.5
salt 0.5
soap 1.0
toothbrush 0.5
med container 0.5
Rx 0.5
aspir./antihist 0.5
Micropur tabs 1.0
repair contnr 0.5
spare compass 0.5
spare lamp 0.5
matches 0.5
spare tinder 0.5
needle / thread 0.0
duct tape 1.0
stakes x 8 2.0
cord 1.0
tackle 2.0
lic,cash,credit 1.0
ttl 19.0 19.0

HARNESS lamp/clip 1.0
bandana 1.0
map 1.0
ttl 3.0 3.0

PANTRY Bag w/ cord 1.0
Bushbuddy UL 5.0
Trek 900 3.5
lid,Trek 900 1.5
stove sack 0.5
bowl,orikasa 1.5
food 1.75 lbs/day variable
garbage sack 0.0
ttl 13.0 13.0

WATER 2L platy 1.0
powerade bottle 1.0
water variable
ttl 2.0 2.0

grand ttl 136

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Base weight vs cost on 02/06/2008 11:23:14 MST Print View

Although I aspire to a sub-10 lb base weight, I would have to spend a lot to replace existing equipment, and I suspect a number of people feel the same way (especially if you are talking about 3-5 people's worth of gear!). Stuff I can make myself inexpensively has or will get replaced, but I can't make everything.

Some of our equipment was purchased when we understood about lightweight techniques, but not UL, and as the stuff is not too heavy and still perfectly servicable, it will remain in use for a while. E.g. all our packs weigh between 2 and 3 pounds, and these will only be replaced when they wear out. Same for our sleeping bags, all within 1.5 to 2 lb range. I did make an alpine-upgrade two-person RayWay synthetic quilt, though, for about 1 lb 11 oz per person if I recall.

Other stuff seems to be non-negotiable, at least with some members of the family (e.g. very comfy 1.5 in thick Thermarest pads).

So, despite silnylon tarps (I made them), titanium cookware, very light gas stoves (we like to cook), etc, our base weights for three-season still come in around 12-14 lbs. And they will for a while (unless I win the lottery...except that I've never purchased a ticket...).

Edited by ewolin on 02/06/2008 11:24:02 MST.

shawn weld
(Spoon) - F

Locale: NorthEast
Base Weight on 02/06/2008 11:41:50 MST Print View

My wife would kill me if she found me weighing all my gear (so I must rely on everyone else's gram obsessions). I'm guessing my Jam2, Squall2, Marmot Pounder and BA pad (luxury item) weigh around 6 pounds. Because I ran out of cash, I'm now focusing on getting lighter by dropping a few pounds of bodyfat. Instead of shortening my already light spoon and cutting off the unweighable (is that a word?)tag on my 3oz shirt I could save hundreds of dollars and lug less weight by just getting my bodyfat down (goal 12 - 15%, currently about 18%). I'm an idiot (just so you know).

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/06/2008 12:11:54 MST Print View

Ryan wrote: "I'm interested in seeing what everyone's attitudes are as far as lightweight, UL, and SUL. It seems like most of the people who post their gear lists are under 10 lbs, and a lot of the "talk" is about reaching SUL. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that many people on this site are fine with a base weight that isn't "technically" UL; it works for them and they have an enjoyable time hiking.

First, list your current average 3-season base weight, including things you ACTUALLY end up taking (camera, book to read, etc). (This is what you actually own, not what you hope to own next month when you get that well-deserved raise).

Second, list the base weight that you would like to someday reach; the base weight you will feel satisfied with and be happy....."

I think you are right about how people approach UL base weights and IMHO, what is important is that you now have a choice-- you can find equipment to get weights down to incredibly low levels, or you can dial in where your are comfortable with the weight, cost, durability and safety of the kit you use. I also assume that many will swap out heavier items with lighter when they wear out.

I do think there is some speculative list-making, just to see what can be done and it's a healthy exercise, sharing and comparing with others here. As with anything on the web, you never know what is real or fantasy--- caveat emptor!

My three season base weigh is 12 pounds and that does not include camera, radio, books, etc. For mid-summer I can get down to ten pounds. That is light enough for me and gives me the comfort and weather coverage I want.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Base Weight on 02/06/2008 13:53:43 MST Print View

3 season weights--

On my haunts in Texas: 2.1 pounds
In colder spots: 3.4 pounds

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Base Weight on 02/06/2008 17:13:11 MST Print View

"I didn't mean for this to be a "competition" by any means. I almost find the commentary about the base weight more interesting than the actual number of lbs."

For sure, it is good to just see general comments about the gear lists and weights. The funny thing is, my friends who browse the site, but don't practice the faith, can't believe how light the pack weights are :)

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
Re: Base Weight on 02/06/2008 17:26:34 MST Print View

>3 season weights--

> On my haunts in Texas: 2.1 pounds
> In colder spots: 3.4 pounds

I'm calling shanningans, unless it's for a day hike....

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Base Weight on 02/06/2008 18:14:18 MST Print View

My current SUL list is about 3.5 but this is only for minimalist solo outings and serious distance endeavours. If I'm trying for some personal record or I want to have the most minimal setup to focus on the experience of walking, I use that gear. Not shenanagins- that's a quilt, cuben pack, cuben poncho tarp, cuben bivy, cocoon jacket, camera, etc. but no stove. Some of the gear on my latest list is gear left to buy for summer but if I only add up what I currently have, it's still less than 4.

Everything beyond this varies a lot. When hiking with friends, I tend to carry 7-8 pounds (Tarptent, eVent jacket, downmat pad, quilt, cocoon top and bottom, alcohol stove, single ti kettle, good tequila, etc).

For winter, it's more like 12-15.

When carrying my son, it's a team effort and I carry about 35-40 pounds total. But that's food and my kid too- and he's getting heavier every day!

I really have two hobbies- gear and backpacking. I really enjoy the minimal side of backpacking- especially solo- and that's where SUL comes in. But when going for the enjoyment of backpacking with friends or family rather than a physical event, I put in what I want and don't weigh everything. These days, I know my gear well enough that the choices made are what's best for the trip, not a weight goal. The only gear list that I look at much is my SUL list and that's used on about 25% of my trips.

Great conversation. SUL is a certain focus at a certain time of year. But Backpacking is about experience, not scales. UL and SUL backpacking, after the gear is selected and packed, is about an enhanced experience and new possibilites due to less weight that you have to carry.