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Base Weight poll...
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jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
year round base weights on 02/06/2008 19:51:48 MST Print View

Glad this thread was started, way too go Ryan! spent the last few years trying to carry the lightest load to get through whatever season I was out in. Experimented with SUL the past two summer’s and realized that sleeping was more important then the lightest pad available, since camping is only allowed in designated site’s in the national forest which I frequent, compacted soil or tent platforms seem to require a bit more cushioning, found sub 6lb to work best in two 1/2 month window up in this local with warmest early/mid summer temperatures. Pretty confident with the rest of the seasons now reaching lightest base safely carried year round.

Summer (June - mid Aug) 5lbs 10 oz
Temperature highs in upper 70’s lows in the low 40’s/mid 30’s

Spring-fall (April-May), (late Aug-November) 6-8lbs
Temperature highs 60’s lows in the 20’s

Winter (Dec-Mar.) 12-17lbs (highest weight would be carrying snowshoes, crampons, ice ax ,etc.)
temperature highs would be 30’s lows -10 below 0

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Base Weight poll... on 02/07/2008 01:32:53 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 01/22/2013 00:18:32 MST.

Ronald Cordell

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Base weights on 02/07/2008 08:13:33 MST Print View

This is a great topic, thanks Ryan.
I've always been a little confused by "base weight" that doesn't include consumables, and I don't have my gear weight spreadsheets here at work to calculate the base weights. But I *can* say that the most recent trip on the Art Loeb trail with a group of slower people I had a total weight (wet) of 26 pounds, including the tequila. That was for sub-freezing weather, so I took the Torso Lite pad, 20 deg bag, canister stove, Ti pot, tarp tent, water filter.

By the same token, I did a 7 day hike on the southern AT with no re-supply in May and came in at 24 pounds total (wet). That was with alcohol stove, Marmot Atom bag, Torso lite pad, Ti pot and spoon, tarp tent (26 oz), water filter.

Areas that I'd like to work on to drop more weight: poncho/tarp combo for 3-season, possibly a lighter pack, different water filter/purification. I currently use an Osprey Atmos 50 pack which is a delight but comes in at over 3 pounds. The lighter packs like the GoLite Jam or Jam 2 I don't find very comfortable on my shoulders and my back. Water is a problem in the southeast, especially the past couple of years, so having a filter that can pump/filter from a little puddle spring is a good thing. I can make improvements by combining the poncho/tarp and have been eyeing the Gatewood Cape or maybe I'll make my own.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Base Weight on 02/07/2008 08:46:33 MST Print View

I do all of my hiking in the western U.S. and want to be prepared for temperatures near freezing, at least in the mountains, all year around. This, plus the fact that I'm getting a little long in the tooth, adds a bit of comfort- and security-inducing weight to my pack.

I have a trip planned for the Grand Canyon this coming May. I anticipate fairly warm weather and I will be carrying a base weight a bit over 12 pounds including a book, binoculars, camera and Prolite 3 short mattress. I am also planning to hike the JMT in late summer. Here, there is the possibility of temps below freezing in the mornings and some chance of rain or snow/sleet. I'll take a bit more in the way of clothing for this trip and the base weight, again including binoculars, camera, book and mattress will be a bit over 14 pounds. This weight is without the required bear cannister; my base will be nearly 17 pounds with it.

I could cut out a bit of weight by using a tarp rather than a tarp-tent and by going to a UL pack rather than the 3 pound Golite Quest I use. But, I like the weatherproofness and bugproofness of a tarp tent and find that most of the really light packs ride like a beer keg with shoulder straps.

I have reached the age where I prefer to hike a bit shorter distances, carry a bit more weight and have a bit more comfort and security than is provided by a hankie-size tarp, bivy, and 45 degree quilt. So, my 3-season base weight ranges from about 12 pounds to about 17 pounds and I am quite happy with it.

Edited by Rincon on 02/07/2008 08:54:10 MST.

Jaiden .
(jaiden) - F
thoughts on base weight on 02/07/2008 09:04:03 MST Print View

My 2.5 season base is around 13-14 lb, and goes up to 17 in the winter. The other 1.5 seasons can be quite cold here.

packing: 2.5 lb (vapor trail and a fanny pack)
sleep system: 5lb (add 1 lb for winter) (hammock, JRB, pads)
clothes: 2.8lb (add 3 lb for winter)
Other stuff: 4.7 lb

I'd like to get down a couple pounds, but don't have much room without changing things that are important to me such as the Hammock, camera, cellphone and "survival" gear - Nothing is that heavy, but for example I carry a multitool AND a decent folder AND a mini swiss. Extra compass, extra LED light, multiple firestarters, stuff like that.

One thing I'd like to do is to get a larger poncho tarp (which doesn't exist) to use over the hammock. Either that or figure out a way to rig it that will keep me dry. This would save me 11 OZ. And if it won't rain, I save over a pound by losing my precip/reed combo.

How do I feel about it? Well, I'm here aren't I? I am interested in reducing weight, but not at the expense of comfort. I have no real interest in the bragging rights of SUL, but I do always have an eye on weight when I make purchases or add something to the packing list. I've learned a lot from you folks, but I think I choose a more moderate path.

I like the hammock. My new JRB quilt is very warm and lighter than my old synthetic bag, but we'll see if it's too warm this summer. I may hack up the synth bag into a quilt for warmer temps.

I've already spent a ton of money on gear, and hesitate to spend any more. Only something like a hypothetical 5x9.5' cat cut cuben poncho tarp could make my xmas list this year unless I win some money or something. I'm pretty happy with what I have overall, and for me a few ounces doesn't matter all that much.

bobby c
(bobbycartwright) - F

Locale: i don't need no stinkin badges!
base weight on 02/07/2008 10:07:25 MST Print View

Alot of my base weight, as with many others, is determined by two factors: cooking hot meals and temperature. If it's during the summer (here april thru early october) then I'm not cooking hot meals and my base weight is usually around 5-6 lbs. In the scant winters we have here in the Southeast, then I'm right around 8-9 lbs. Most of my gear is true UL gear, give an ounce or two, but alot of my gear is pretty comfortable and pretty darned cheap. I passed on some astronomically more expensive gear that would've only saved me a few ounces and bought the more middle of the road UL gear. Comfort is also a consideration. If it's going to be in the single digits, I'll bring along my 3/4 lb. fleece bag liner and an extra foam pad to be comfortable. I carry more food in the winter, especially coffee and hot chocolate which adds up. Hell, I even hiked up a whole pound of marshmallows over 3000' on my last trip just so my partner and I would have a good go of it around the campfire.
Being careful to select that which is only neccessary and needed during the trip allows for luxuries.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
confession time on 02/07/2008 15:12:55 MST Print View

i have never, ever, added up absolutely everything for a real base weight. i wonder if this is a gender difference, as i genuinely don't care if i'm carrying 11 lbs 5 oz or 12 lbs. i just carry the lightest i can, while still being functional for me.

so right now, if i was actually able to get out there without my kids, i'd be carrying roughly 12 lbs, of which at least 2 lbs is my pack. i'd like to play around with a frameless pack again, but right now just don't feel like coughing up the money for one and i usually carry more water than i'd like to in a frameless anyway. i have no aspirations to be SUL, because i'm just too cold-blooded and my round ol' woman hips don't like thin sleeping pads anymore. so at this point my only motivation for dropping more base weight is just so that i can carry more water.

right now, i would settle for just being able to backpack. i'd even carry a 15 lb base weight, if that somehow magically made me able to go...

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: confession time on 02/07/2008 15:20:18 MST Print View

>have never, ever, added up absolutely everything for a real >base weight. i wonder if this is a gender difference, as i >genuinely don't care if i'm carrying 11 lbs 5 oz or 12 lbs. i >just carry the lightest i can, while still being functional >for me.

Does not compute, system error. Danger danger!

Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
"Base Weight poll..." on 02/07/2008 15:31:10 MST Print View

My low base weight is irrelevant when I'm out 5-8 days as the food weight is just plain heavy. Add to that my tendency to carry too much water and I'm usually maxing out or overloading my Mariposa. For this reason I only ever weigh 'skin out weight' (pack, food, poles, water--everything).

Edited by lollygag on 02/07/2008 15:38:40 MST.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Gender differences... on 02/07/2008 16:49:36 MST Print View

Frank, thanks for the laugh.

Colleen, maybe it is a gender difference. I've tried to help my wife pack before and it drives her nuts. I've learned to just back off, but I used to walk over to her pack and say "What? What are you bringing this for? Do you know how much this weighs?!" Or "You're bringing this whole bottle? You could empty a fraction of that into one of my BPL droppers and save x ounces!"

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Baseweight-good thread on 02/07/2008 18:27:08 MST Print View

Since I hike in a region that is renowned for having 4 seasons in one day, my base weight fluctuates very little. Usually around 5.5-6 kilos.

I agree with linsey-for anything from a week onwards, the food and water are what kill me, so skin-out is a more realistic end game for me. As a guidleline for a weekend trip, It will be from 11-13 kilos including food, water, clothes, boots, poles etc...Add around an extra 600-700g per day for longer trips (food + fuel+extra sunscreen, insect repellant, toilet paper blah blah).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Baseweight-good thread on 02/08/2008 02:22:04 MST Print View

> Since I hike in a region that is renowned for having 4 seasons in one day
And several cycles of that in a day too, if the satellite pics I have been seeing are anything to go by recently! Here in Sydney it is being just wet.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Gender differences... on 02/08/2008 10:05:34 MST Print View

yes, good one Frank.

Ryan, don't get me wrong. i don't carry a full bottle when a few drops will do. i just don't always weight it so i know exactly how many ounces/grams i've shaved off. i do own a scale, i have weighed almost everything i carry, i even used a spreadsheet once and tried to care about calculating my total weight down to the half-onces. but i realized that mostly i didn't care. my pack got light, it made me happy, i didn't need to sweat the grams.

but i think just for the sake of knowing, i should find out what i would be carrying now. it's been a long time since i bothered.

John Mowery
(Mow) - F

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Base Weight on 02/13/2008 21:28:21 MST Print View

When traveling in very remote country and fishing:
When traveling in not so remote country and not fishing:

I would feel comfortable taking either kit down to the mid 20's although I'd expect to sleep cold.

Joseph Williams
(deadogdancing) - F

Locale: SW England
reduce the bulk... on 02/15/2008 17:30:46 MST Print View

My baseweight is 8.5-9lbs almost all the time. I am completely happy with the weight, but would like to reduce the bulk- my little MLD zip feels a bit stuffed most of the time, and can be hard to organize. Once my sleeping bag is smaller (either by modification or replacement) my pack will be a well-functioning unit at a weight I can carry without fuss.

Then I start my diet- it's a joke cutting all this weight from my pack and still being overweight myself!

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Base Weight poll... on 02/21/2008 11:17:03 MST Print View

Alright, everybody sit down for this one I don't want you to pass out when you read this and hit your head on something. My base weight fluctuates between 18-25 lbs depending on the season. I usually try to keep the total weight down below 35 lbs as much as possible.

What the heck are you carrying is probably your next question. Well, I suspect my extra weight comes from my McHale pack, Katadyn Hiker filter, tent (either Tarptent DR or Hilleberg Akto), pillow, Thermarest 3/4 Prolite 4, camera and camp shoes (Tevas...yeah, yeah I know I don't need that robust of a camp shoe).

I have gone out at a base weight as low as about 16 lbs, and I just decided that I like having some of my "luxurious" stuff with me. So instead of spending inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how to shave weight, I decided to invest that time in exercising. That seems to have equalized things where I can still hike a decent distance with the extra weight. I am still refining things though, and hopefully I can eventually cut out a few pounds of stuff.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Base Weight Poll on 02/21/2008 11:38:23 MST Print View

This is a fascinating thread and I appreciate the thoughtful responses and candor. My base weight fluctuates depending on the specific trip.

This past summer I had a great weekend trip in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon and my base weight was about 5.5 pounds. I am planning a base weight in the neighborhood of 4.9 pounds for my projected Wonderland Trail circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier this summer. The main difference is that I brought my BPL TorsoLite and a full length 1/8" GG ThinLight on the Eagle Cap trip since it was just a weekend and I was trying out my new quilt and bivy combination. On the Wonderland Trail I am looking at high mileage days on what can be a rough trail and am going with half the ThinLight and a GG NightLight as well as a poncho/tarp versus a Spin tarp and rainwear.

I will definitely be giving up some comfort here. However, the trade-off is that not carrying another 1/2 to 3/4 pound for 20 miles per day with many ups and downs is significant to my success. I am happy to replace the TorsoLite with two Tylenol PM!

Edited by idahomtman on 02/21/2008 11:39:24 MST.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Base Weight for last weekend... on 03/27/2008 03:48:12 MDT Print View

For Our last hike in the Snowy Mountains our base weights averaged a smidge over 10 lbs each.
(including fuel but not food/water).

I say 'averaged' cos I carry the hardware/gear and my fiance carries mostly food. This brings her start weight almost up to my total weight. Then her pack keeps getting lighter as the walk continues.

For this hike we packed for 3+ seasons, temps down to freezing at night, possibility of blizzard, but no snow on ground (a similar "4 seasons in one day" climate to that mentioned earlier).

Basic gear list:
Europa tarp tent, light thermarests, down bags, esbit stove with sheild and big pot to share, golite gust packs(volumes compressed right down), Sweetwater minifilter, Breathable Waterproof shell tops and bottoms etc. Nothing mindblowing.
We both wear trail runners and are fairly fit/strong.

We could go a couple of pounds lighter with more money (or MYOG time, tools and materials) or less comfort.
I wouldn't really change our 'style' of gear or camping but $$$ etc would allow a replacement of item for item with lighter gear.

Sure a kilo or 2 less would always be nice but this is a good sweetspot weight for us - anything lighter would be a bonus. This base weight at 6500' with lots of up/down hill still left me with a spring in my step after the day of hiking.

When I hike with fiance it has to be a balance of fun, comfort and light packs.

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
Base weight poll on 03/29/2008 18:02:20 MDT Print View

Let's see, summer time, no bear cannister - 9 pounds, 10.5 with small bear cannister. Spring and Fall 11 pounds without cannister.
Weight for multi-day AT hikes (maps, handbook pages for section) is about 9.5 pounds. Includes my small digital camera and small journal and a viena sausage can for dipping water from small springs. I am quite happy with a 9 to 11 pound base weight. I can and occasionally do go down to 7 pounds when I want to make a lot of miles over a weekend hike. This sure beats my first forays into backpacking with a 23 pound base weight. Yikes!

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Base weight poll on 03/29/2008 23:55:11 MDT Print View

Last year my base weight ranged up to 12 pounds for extended trips (more than 3 days). The list posted on my profile is an actual list from last summer. I probably got as low as 8 or 9 for some weekend outings, especially when I didn't cook.

Over the winter I have made a few gear changes, and I plan to be consistently under a 10 pound base weight this year with gear I have already acquired. I doubt I will touch SUL in the near future, but then I really have no desire to get there.

I have enjoyed lightweight backpacking. A base weight under 15 pounds is very pleasant for someone my size (6'4"/240+) who started out with very heavy traditional loads. I am finding that UL is even more enjoyable, although continued reductions in weight add little additional comfort for me - they really only add stamina at the end of the day.

My real goal right now is a simple and efficient system. I strive for a very clean, low volume pack with a high degree of functionality (fast and easy) and reasonable durability. I value things that can be set up and torn down quickly, or even better, accessed on the fly.

Some great points that have been made here. I like what Doug said about really having two hobbies - gear and backpacking. I actually have several more, but gear and backpacking (separately) seem the most relevant here.

In terms of my gear hobby - I like playing with stuff, figuring out how it works, figuring out how to make it work better, finding a way to make it lighter or smaller, etc. My wife says last week..."You got another BOX today. What did you order this time - don't you already have everything?". To which I reply..."No one can have everything, new stuff comes out all the time!" But now I'm thinking..."Geez, how am I going to tell her about those new BPL STIX Poles that are due to ship next month? I already have three other pairs!".

Edited by jbrinkmanboi on 03/29/2008 23:57:29 MDT.