How light is light enough?
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 Bill B (bill123) - MLife How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 12:02:25 MST I’ve enjoyed reading Jim’s pack weight poll. I haven’t done the math, but I suspect that the average pack weight from that thread is 7-8 lbs. So here’s my question. At what point does reducing pack weight stop being about practical weight reduction and start becoming an exercise in gram counting for gram counting’s sake. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in awe of people who take multi-day backpacking trips with a 5 lb (or lighter) pack. If you are reducing pack weight (and the amount of gear that you carry) to see how light you can go or to test your limits, that’s an admirable goal, but from a physiological standpoint, is there a difference between the amount of energy that you expend carrying an 8 lb pack vs. a 5 lb pack? Dan McHale, on his letter page brings up an excellent point. If you calculate the weight of your body, clothing and pack weight including consumables, the percentage difference of a few pounds is much less that 1%. Can your body really feel that at the end of a day?
 Ryan Faulkner (ryanf) - F Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal Re: How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 13:19:52 MST The point In my opinion, where it dosent make sense to try and reduce weight, is when your safety is compromised (not enough insulation/ protection from the elements, food.. ect.) It is important to go as light as possible, but still be prepared for the tripsome may argue, that the point is when comfort is sacrificed. for some this is more weight than others.When I first joined this website, I was obsessed with reducing my pack weight. I even made a list of full skin out weight under 5lbs. I cut down, shaved off everything I could. I destroyed a few thing, and compromised the function of others.I learned alot on how to reduce weight in these attempts, but also learned that it is not always worth it, and often, weight should not be my primary concern.I strive now to build my gearlists as light as possible, taking into consideration, the specific needs of each individual trip. I sacrifice some comfort, but usually not function.I usually carry 7-8lbs now compared to sub 5. but I feel much more prepared and comfortable because of it.Take a look at the lists from Ryan Jordan's long trips, and Skurka's thru hikes. they usually range from 7-9 lbs base weight. but they are much more complete, and durable than sub 5 lb lists used on weekend trips...Ultralight however is alot different than Ultrasimple. I still go sub 5 on occasion, but not because I cut the straps off all my gear so much that they no longer perform. Its because I just take the bare minimum, and dont cook.But this is only on overnight trips. for multiday, I make sure I am prepared, with a blend of ultralight, durable, and functional gear pieces
 Glenn Roberts (garkjr) - F Locale: Southwestern Ohio re: How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 13:31:00 MST As I recall, every edition of Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker had the same advice about pack weight:1. If you need something, take it.2. Strive to reduce the weight of everything you take to the extent possible.I didn't pull out my current copy to verify this (I vaguely recall that he may have added a 1a or 2a in the form of "try to get sensible double usage when possible" in CW4) - but he had it right for about 40 years, long before "ultralight" became a formal crusade.
 john flanagan (jackfl) - F Locale: New England re: How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 13:40:13 MST I think Ryan's experience is common. Like him, I obsessed, learned and then started to back off. I now find that I'm sliding back toward favoring comfort and have to reimpose some discipline about it. It provides ample opportunity for that other hobby - messing about with gear :~P
 David Passey (davidpassey) - F Locale: New York City Re: How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 13:51:29 MST I find it hard to get base weight down to 5lbs w/o seriously compromising (in my view) function and comfort. On the other hand, with today's light materials, base weights between 6 and 10lbs seem easily acheivable, and there's a lot of room within that band for individuals to budget the ounces to reflect their own strategies and preferences.For me, that's what makes gear planning fun--designing a perfect ultralight kit for a trip.
 Steven Evans (Steve_Evans) - MLife Locale: Canada Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 06:27:27 MST Yep, same here with the weight thingy. Mine is about 7-8 pounds and that is comfy for me. For 3 season, I have my system set straight, so unless the same piece of gear comes out that is lighter, it's staying at that weight. I do the bivy/tarp thing with a half quilt and down jacket. The only way I would want to lighten up is replacing my gear with lighter identical gear...but when I do the math, it doesn't add up. example - I have a tigoat bivy at 7.9 ounces. Am I going to spend 200-300 to save ~3 oz? Not likely. Same with my S2S Poncho/Tarp @ 10oz. Maybe I would go the MLD route, but with an 8 week wait and \$170, I'll stick it out (but man I want that poncho!).Winter gear is becoming more fun for me...only because there is so much more to it. And staying warm and having fun demands a little more.Simplicity is sometimes chosen over weight. I use a freestanding tent with my girlfriend and the winter - sometimes I find it difficult to pitch non-FS tents in some places and I just can't be bothered to spend the time to get branches, rocks, dig holes to help keep it up...I'm lazy at the end of the day.Really, as I pare my list down, the MYOG section appeals to me more and more...probably a lot of people in the same situation. Edited by Steve_Evans on 02/22/2008 06:32:38 MST.
 shawn weld (Spoon) - F Locale: NorthEast How light is light enough on 02/22/2008 06:56:53 MST I personally fall in the 7 to 9 pound range. I don't want to sacrifice a good night sleep. If I don't sleep well, I'm not hiking well. Still, if i could get my weight down without sacrificing, I would. For me it is an obsession. Sometimes I wonder if I'm more of a shopper than a hiker (I love gear). I often find myself spending lots of time and money trying to reduce my pack weight by a few ounces all while sitting at my computer putting on extra pounds reading the latest posts and eating handfuls of gorp.
 Mike Hinsley (ArchNemesis) Locale: England, UK How light is light enough on 02/22/2008 08:21:59 MST Dunno. At some point you realise you are chasing grams for the sake of grams rather than for comfort or endurance. I've started to add weight back into my pack - to increase load-carrying efficiency and to increase versatility. For example on the next trip into the hills I am quite likely to take a single-skin tent (DIY) and a pertex bivy and a micro-tarp. The extra weight will probably be 200g in total and will still be less than 1Kg for ALL of the shetler variations in total.But for that I can sleep comfortably under the stars in the hills if it is cold and windy and have a comfortable shelter if rain moves in.These days I dislike pitching a tent on a cloudless night but also in the hills you often need a windbreak and unless you've brought one with you you are stuck.There's also a point at which kit becomes quite fragile for the weight and that increases the risk on any trip into wilderness areas where a replacement might be difficult.I tend to use a cost-per-gramme principle. So once the big stuff is taken care of is it worth spending \$100 to save 50g? Or is it worth replacing Gridstop Dyneema with Spinnaker if the result is you cannot walk through a forest without sweating it? Edited by ArchNemesis on 02/22/2008 08:25:56 MST.
 Jonathan Ryan (Jkrew81) - F - M Locale: White Mtns Re: How light is light enough on 02/22/2008 08:32:37 MST I agree with the comments above. While hiking light and fast with less effort is great, I want a good night sleep, to eat well, bug protection and comfort in the knowlwdge that I can walk through the woods and not have to worry about my gear falling apart.
 Frank Perkins (fperkins) Locale: North East Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 12:56:36 MST Of the 9 posters, only 3 have gear lists posted. Come on guys, let me see this 6-7lb gear lists![Thanks Steve!] Edited by fperkins on 02/22/2008 13:58:57 MST.
 Steven Evans (Steve_Evans) - MLife Locale: Canada Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 13:15:20 MST My apologies Frank - My list is up now, I used that one for 5 days last year in Killarney Provincial Park (La Cloche Silhouette Trail). Quite a few items on there for 7-8 lbs.
 Frank Perkins (fperkins) Locale: North East Re: Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 14:02:21 MST Thanks Steve, I updated my post above. [offtopic]It takes a real man to admit to bring a pillow and a monocular! ;-)Hrm... you do have guts for going with the ARC A.T. quilt though... I wimped out and went with the Specialist (which I'm painfully waiting for)[/offtopic]
 Brian UL (MAYNARD76) Locale: New England Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 14:33:47 MST How light is light enough? answer:When we have an army of nanobots on a single eyebrow hair on stand by.When you get to your destination they are programed to anticipate that you have arrived and proceed to fly into the enviroment collecting molocules to build the perfect shelter according to local conditions and regulations.When your ready to break camp the next day they put the molocules back where they found them as if no one was there (LNT programing). Comming this fall: to meet the demands of our consumers we are offering a LNT software patch that will enable the nanobots to remove all traces you leave on the enviroment from footprints,skin cells, hair to carbondioxide exhaltations- Hike light!(nanobots now 15% lighter)
 Steven Evans (Steve_Evans) - MLife Locale: Canada Re: How light is light enough? on 02/22/2008 15:06:44 MST Frank, first off, LOL.Second...those are an example of the items that I choose to bring with me (monocular and the pillow) that boost my base weight but can easily be left behind. If I dropped those two items and my camera, for example, I would be over 1/2 pound lighter. But that pillow is pure enjoyment, and I enjoy snapping pics of my trip...and it only takes one time to see a bear/moose just a bit out of good sight to pick up the monocular. :)Nuna stuff is awesome - I had to wait 6 weeks too...painful indeed! Also, you have the best gearlist I've ever seen...with pics and explanations!