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Base Weight poll...
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David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
base weight poll on 03/30/2008 11:38:40 MDT Print View

Since I only backpack with my wife this is our pack weight w/o
consumables. It does include camera and an ursack. My wife's
pack weight at the start of a 7 day trip in the mountains is
11# 2oz and mine is 11#3oz and I will carry the fuel and aprx
25% more food. Considering that 3 years ago we were at about 35# each with consumables we are pretty happy. Also since we
are older and usually travel 7-11 miles a day this is probably
where we will end up at.

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Base Weight poll on 03/30/2008 13:34:00 MDT Print View

Last summer my 10 lb baseweight included a Pinnacle pack with a Black Diamond 2 lb 10 oz tent, and a 16 oz rain jacket and two fleeces. This winter I have switched out my gear for a poncho/ tarp, a Thru-hiker Kinsman jacket, a Jam2 pack and a pepsi can stove. I have also switched out a lot of miscellaneous things like stuff sacks and have been cutting off tags and switching out cords on my 2 lb 10 oz sleeping bag. I'm still planning on making a bivy and a quilt. So right now I'm at about 7-8 lbs, and if I get the new quilt/ bivy I hope to get a pound and a half less than that.

Gerald Hutchinson
(BR360) - F
Base Weight - Varies By Seasons and Reasons on 04/07/2008 12:30:46 MDT Print View

Interesting thread. Thanks for starting it Ryan.

I live in the Southeast and camp in the Blue Ridge and Great Smokies, at altitudes from 1500 ft to almost 7000 ft. I adapt my rig almost every trip, and overall weight varies roughly from 9 to 15 lbs. I am very satisfied with my rig.

Always carry : rain gear, camera (Canon SD 800 or Nikon D70, depending), small AM/FM radio with earbud, trek poles (for tarp & tripod). No filter, but chem treatment. Backup dry (sleeping) clothes. Sundry small essentials.

Pack: GG Vapor Trail. I love this pack! very comfortable!

I avoid synthetic warming clothes, using wool and silk as base and mid-layer. Prefer down vests, jackets, & bags.

Season: Spring and Fall. Expect weather + temps to 20 dF.
Reason: General rig for up to 4 nights solo.
Weight: 11.6 lbs.
Gear: siltarp, 20dF down bag, short self-inflating pad, extra warm clothes, cartridge stove + ti mug, headlamp for night hiking.
Comment: I don't really experience much difference between my summer and spring-fall rigs on my back (~2.5 lbs diff.) But I do need different gear. I would like to try hamocking > 20dF, but I'd need more gear (underquilt), and right now it is not a priority.

Season: Summer. Possible Rain, temp no lower than 35dF.
Reason: Solo hammock camping for up to 4 nights.
Weight: 9.2 lbs.
Gear: HH hammock, siltarp, 35 dF down bag/quilt, alcohol stove + ti mug.
Comments: Although the hammock is a bit heavier, I get a great night of bug-free comfortable sleep, which is more important to me than shaving a couple of lbs. Always have to be ready for a afternoon &/or evening downpour, as thunderstorms occur maybe 1 in 3 days.

Season: Summer. Possible Rain, temp no lower than 35dF.
Reason: Hypothetical 36-hour speed-trek.
Weight: 6.0
Gear: 40 dF synthetic quilt, tarp, short blue pad, no change of clothes exc. socks. Sweater & cap. (I've gotten hypothermic in the Georgia mountains in August, & never want to repeat that again.)

John Sixbey
(Wolfeye) - F
my fat load on 04/22/2008 11:11:48 MDT Print View

I've never measured my base weight. I know that once I get ALL of my gear - camping equipment, food, revolver(I hike in Alaska), water, etc., it weighs between 27-32 lbs for a 6 day trip. Full pack weight is what makes sense to me since that's what my back feels.

I think the main variable in weight is the food I pack, as I only do multi-day hikes during 3 seasons and below 10,000'. I'm still learning how to lighten my load, and each year I try to re-evaluate what I pack as well as replace a few items with lighter options. I'd like to get that weight down to a predictable 24-25 lbs.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Base Weight on 05/05/2008 18:19:06 MDT Print View

I just put together a pack for our 12 day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. They have a way to do things, such as dedicated sleeping clothing, no tarps, no soda can stoves, etc. That includes the extra heavy white gas stove and cannister I have for at 12.0 oz and a camera and fishing pole.

I got my base weight to 9.45 lbs. I'm quite happy with that. I hear the food is heavy but we get resupplied every 4 days. I'll get my kids to carry the 2 quart pot they want us to have and the 10 x 12 tarp.

I gave a little presentation to the crew about Lightweight methods and one of the comments was "that guy is serious". They have no idea. If I was that serious I would probably have a sub 5 lb. pack!

My main goal is to get the other adult leaders as light as possible so the trip doesn't go sour due to bad knees and all other problems heavy packs can create. We'll see.

Albert K.
(archer) - F

Locale: Northeastern U.S.
It Depends on 05/13/2008 09:49:53 MDT Print View

Like most, my base weight depends on where I'm going and what I'd doing.

Worst case scenario is 14.4 lbs. That's what I'll be carrying to Philmont this summer for a 12 day trek, with expected temps ranging from 30 degrees to 90 degrees, F. Because I have some weak hikers, have to follow BSA rules, and want to take great pictures, I have more than a few questionable items, including:

a 36 oz, 12 person crew medical kit,
a 12 oz. camera,
a 4 oz. writing kit - Journal, glasses, lead pencil

For warmer temp, shorter trips, I typically run about 4 lbs lighter (10.3 lbs).

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Base Weight on 05/27/2008 13:29:43 MDT Print View

There are so many facters to this question. Seasonal, geagraphical, personal cumfort level-ie sleeping pad and bag. In 3 season if not fishing and not in bear country I can average 9 and half pounds. Add fishing and a required bear canister and looking at maybe 12 to 15 lbs. Was Andrew Skurka required to bring a bear canister in Yosemite and Glacier? It was not on any of his gear list. Just wondering?

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
old thread, but..... on 07/27/2009 20:03:41 MDT Print View

After a relatively long hiatus, my wife and I are back into the backpacking scene. Far from die hard ultra lighters, we have boughten into the principles that a lighter pack means less wear and tear on the body, allows you to go farther, gets you into places you might not dare w/ a heavy pack and just simply more fun :)

After some trimming and prioritization (and buying some new equipment :)) my three season base weight is in the 12 lb range, my wife's in the ten lb range. It's my goal to get mine under 10 and my wife's under 8- we'll see.

Definitely a far cry from yesteryear where my pack would be bulging at the seams and over the 50 # mark regularly!

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Reviving old Base Weight Poll thread on 07/28/2009 11:18:00 MDT Print View

Since everyone's pack evolves over time this might be a thread that goes on forever!

My recent summer + shoulder season base weight has dropped from about 15 lbs a few years ago, when I discovered BPL, to under 11 lbs.

Further decrease would involve replacing my Golite Trek at 2lbs 2 oz with something like a Golite Pinnacle or Jam2, something I will not do until the Trek is worn out. And it is holding up so well this might take some time, if ever. Also could take fewer clothes, but I like having spare, clean, dry clothes. Also could spend a lot of money to buy lighter versions of all my clothing, but these too still have a lot of life in them (although I'm about to sew some new UL vests and jackets to replace fleece). I could give up on my umbrella, but I love my umbrella. Could replace my short Prolite 3 but my old body seems to really need serious foam under me. I could go on...

The upshot is it is unlikely I'll get my base weight much below 10 lbs, mainly due to expense or personal preference.

And, I admit it: I don't care!

Do I have to resign from BPL now?

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Base Weight poll... on 07/28/2009 12:08:00 MDT Print View

"Do I have to resign from BPL now?"

Not as far as this heavy loading hammocker is concerned. I'm in the same boat, and I do think a few clean dry clothing items make for a better experience in a warm and humid environment. I whittled off some weight last fall, last winter, and this spring, and now all I can do to make a significant difference is replace my pack, bag, tarp, and clothes. All of them have lots of life in them.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Base Weight poll... on 07/28/2009 14:24:12 MDT Print View

For 3 season hikes of up to 5 days I use a 3 lb base. Once the hike gets into longer range I almost automatically jump close to the 5 lb range with a slightly heavier pack along with some extra options and clothes. I have a month long hike beginning in less than two weeks and have a base of 6.75 pounds (this time am hammocking all the way which added an additional 20 ounces).

Edited by Quoddy on 07/29/2009 05:41:40 MDT.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Re: Re: Base Weight poll... on 07/28/2009 14:39:16 MDT Print View

"For 3 season hikes of up to 5 days I use a 3 lb base."

Nice list, Quoddy. What kind of water bottles are you using? Your stove seems kinda heavy though. :)

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Base Weight poll... on 07/28/2009 16:42:17 MDT Print View

11.5 lbs to 12 lbs for 3 Season, including camera, extra batteries, and 12 oz canister of MSR fuel.

I count the fuel because what else am I going to use with the pocket rocket? (I know they make 4 oz fuel canisters vs. the 8 oz ones, but I have a stack load of 8 oz from a store going out of business).

If I ditched the camera (which I would never do) and the fuel, maybe I would have UL 10 lb or lower bragging rights.

Right now, I am just looking to see what gear works for me vs. just saving weight.


John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Stove and Bottles on 07/29/2009 05:39:26 MDT Print View

Tom... I figure that you were probably joking about the 2.7oz stove, but I actually do use a very lightweight alcohol stove on hikes of up to 3 days. I just find that the canister begins to have benefits on my normal, longer, hikes. Since I usually carry the TiJet, it was the one I listed with my gear.

The bottles are two 20oz generic drink bottles that I've had for quite awhile. They are so thin, and the caps are so light, that I have to take extra care with them. I haven't found others that are quite as light or I'd have replaced them by now.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Base weight preferences on 07/30/2009 10:55:51 MDT Print View

The base weights I'm working with are for anticipated lows around freezing with wet weather and for 10 days to 2 weeks without resupply. I'm currently hovering around an actual 10 pound base, with a few projects in the works that should easily get me to about 8 pounds. I tend to emphasize comfort and warmth, so although I could shed at least another 1.5 pounds from that 8 pound base, I probably won't. (Unless it's for an overnight or weekend trip.)

Specifically, I carry a midweight wool top and a warm but light down jacket... I don't need both for warmth, but like the flexibility afforded me by the system. Likewise, I carry a pair of midweight wool tights that I could easily leave at home, but I absolutely love slipping into them at the end of a long, cool, wet day. I carry two spare pair of underwear and 2 spare socks; for a shorter trip I could easily drop one, if not both, of the spare underwear and a pair of socks. (If I dropped all the things mentioned, it would save 1 pound 15.7 oz, or 31.7 oz.)

I'm intrigued by what people count as base weight or not; in my mind, it's anything non-consumable in the pack. So it would include fuel container but not fuel, for example. In my case, there are some items that are always on my person--ie, my survival kit and knife--so I don't include them in my base weight. Both are minimalistic but highly functional, combined add 9 ounces to the FSO weight (about 4 oz kit, 3.5 oz knife, 1.5 oz sheath). Since those items are never in my pack, I think it would be absurd to count them as "pack weight."

Trekking poles could be a different matter; in my case, they've historically spent at least 1/2 the time strapped on the pack, so they should probably count as pack weight. I've switched to LT4s and am going to try using them full time. We'll see...

Edited by 4quietwoods on 07/30/2009 10:58:29 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Base weight preferences on 07/30/2009 11:16:16 MDT Print View

I'm intrigued by what people count as base weight or not; in my mind, it's anything non-consumable in the pack. So it would include fuel container but not fuel, for example. In my case, there are some items that are always on my person--ie, my survival kit and knife--so I don't include them in my base weight. Both are minimalistic but highly functional, combined add 9 ounces to the FSO weight (about 4 oz kit, 3.5 oz knife, 1.5 oz sheath). Since those items are never in my pack, I think it would be absurd to count them as "pack weight."

I'm sure if I looked around enough, there's probably a debate on BPL about base weight vs skin-out weight, so all please forgive me for going over already trod ground. Either one, you still probably don't count food/water, as that varies based on trip.

Right now, I'd probably be in the camp of skin-out is more accurate measure than pack base weight. I have a 2lb DSLR that never goes in my pack. But what's the difference between in my pack and around my neck? Either way, I'm lugging it along. I also carry the 3.5 oz tripod in my pants pocket, yet I count it in my base weight because it always starts out in my pack. Should/is base weight be anything that is not-worn clothing? (since US and other countries laws generally dictate we have to wear clothes hiking whether we want to or not) - even in the Alps now) Where. as Brad points out, what we carry in our pockets varies from person to person?

Do we look at pack base weight instead of skin-out because there *is* a difference when you're carrying it on your shoulders vs in your pockets?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Base weight preferences on 07/30/2009 13:47:27 MDT Print View

I think the significant point in semantics here is the differentiation between "base weight" and "base pack weight." Given that our chosen sport is generally referred to as "backpacking," I choose to error toward the side of backpack weight. It's the weight of the pack and stuff in it (that won't change weight, ie food). As I say these things I realize we're headed dangerously close to the precipice of chaff... As James pointed out, his tripod starts out in his pack, therefore he counts it as pack weight. I do believe that there's a difference in the weight of a loaded pack on your shoulders and having some weight displaced elsewhere on your body. The items in my pockets, for example, don't have a direct effect on my shoulders and spine.

Along with reported pack weight, something I've been thinking about more lately is reported shelter weight. In other words, I've always thought of the weight of my whole shelter... but I generally split the shelter with whoever I'm traveling with. So when you list your base pack weight list, are you reporting the full weight of your shelter, even though you're only carrying half of it?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Base weight preferences on 07/30/2009 13:54:40 MDT Print View

In regards to shelter, a lot of my trips are duo with my girlfriend so we share a Scarp 2. I carry the pole and stakes and she carries the body/fly. I list the actual weight of items carried for us rather than split it down the middle. I make up for the difference by carrying our quilt, kitchen, water treatment, etc.

Edited by simplespirit on 07/30/2009 13:55:11 MDT.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Base weight preferences on 07/30/2009 14:17:15 MDT Print View

I agree that your "backpack base weight" should include everything in your backpack plus items your lugging along such as a camera or items in your pocket. The purpose of SUL is to lighten your entire load and you're only cheating yourself if you discount items that you are carrying that are not in your backpack.

I also don't fault anyone for having heavy equipment because they don't want to invest 100 bucks to make item X 12 ounces to Item Y 4 ounces. However, what you could do is challenge your list and remove unneeded items like camp shoes, spare clothing, etc.

Michael Neal
(michaeltn2) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
convenience rules on 08/06/2009 11:12:07 MDT Print View

13-15lbs, I mostly try to balance weight and convenience of use, plus the law of dimishing returns does not justify paying the money for the "lightest" gear.