Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » 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 Print View

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 Print View

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 trip

some 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 Print View

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 Print View

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 - M

Locale: New York City
Re: How light is light enough? on 02/21/2008 13:51:29 MST Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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 Print View

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!

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
your goals on 02/22/2008 17:07:28 MST Print View

It depends on your goals.

If you just want to walk longer and farther, it's technically a waste of time to do more than read Beyond Backpacking and then go down to REI and pick out the lightest stuff you imagine you can get away with. (WTF??)

Yah I said it. Here's what I mean:

Lots of people here have spent 1000+ hours getting their base weights from 15lbs - 5lbs. If they'd spent those hours in the gym, they'd walk farther faster with less difficulty and more safety -- and have more fun doing it.

But the point is that it's not necessarily about walking farther faster with less difficulty and having more fun. For a lot of people it's mental gymnastics, escapism, and a hobby. And you can't quantify the value of those things. Ask a model railroader how much railroad is enough!

The real cost in time and money of dropping your base weight would never stand a comparison to the benefit received on your 5 or 10 (or 2) trips a year. But the real benefit, as any hobbyist knows, is intangible.

Brian

PS for older folks, the injured, people walking thousands of miles, and people with medical conditions it's definitely worth 1000 hours to go from 15lbs to 5. There are lots of specific cases, but this thread is speaking in generalities...

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Light Enough on 02/23/2008 00:06:12 MST Print View

Folks simply put....HIKE YOUR ON HIKE. If you want to bring something, that is your busines. If you don't then that is your business. The most important thing is just to get out and enjoy yourself. Decompress and get back to nature. Some of the repsonses on this thread that I have read made me wince and some made me laugh. People, do you own thing, and don't question others motives

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: How light is light enough? on 02/26/2008 10:01:52 MST Print View

I would recommend testing this out for yourself. Yeah, I know I'm the HEAVY WEIGHT guy from the weight poll, but I actually mess around with lighter weights during my training to keep the strain down on my knees. I do a lot of training where I walk on local trails with one of my packs with various amounts of weight in it. Usually I vary the weight from 18 - 35 lbs. I have found at 18 lbs that there is not a huge difference between 18 lbs and not carrying anything. I have found that the difference between 18 lbs and 30 lbs seems to be fairly significant though. So like I said, try it out for yourself. It's obviously going to vary widely between people based on phycsical condition, age, etc.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
How light is enough? on 02/27/2008 09:47:07 MST Print View

>>> I have found at 18 lbs that there is not a huge difference between 18 lbs and not carrying anything.

I'm not going to say you are wrong on this, I'm not you so how would I know? But Roman Dial's article is interesting:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/calculating_range_in_lightweight_backpacking.html

His experience is a lot different. He shows that for him, every pound he drops below 20lbs or so, it increases his daily mileage exponentially. Dropping a pound off at 10lbs increases his mileage incredibly. Check it out.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
How light is light enough? on 02/27/2008 11:00:15 MST Print View

Ryan, that article of Roman's looks like the kind of information that I was looking for.

Personally, my pack weight is around 10 lbs. However, it includes a 2 3/4 lb pack that I'll never get rid of and
1 1/2 lbs of gear that make my solo trips more palatable to my family.

I don't have any long distance hiking plans in the near future (if ever) and I end my hiking days with plenty of energy to spare. So, for the time being I have little motivation to lower my pack weight significantly.

Thanks for all of your responses!

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: How light is enough? on 02/27/2008 11:14:49 MST Print View

Yeah, after going out this morning with 18 lbs on and feeling a little beat right now you are probably right. So I'll just stick to my "try it for yourself" advice. One could do a controlled experiment where one tries different weights and does the same trail to see what the different weights feel like, and how speed and distance is affected.

I'll be sort of doing this over the next few months. I have set up a training schedule for myself for a long trip I have planned this summer. In order to get in shape I plan to start carrying one of my packs with weight in it. I will start with 18 lbs and slowly over several weeks ramp up to 33 lbs (this is my estimated starting full load weight for the trip).

At any rate, I'll check out the linked article. Thanks.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Whatever you're comfortable with on 02/27/2008 12:27:22 MST Print View

As others have stated before it's all about your hike.

For me once I get below 20 pounds or so I don't notice the weight. Yeah some other guy on this site posted an article that show's how he hiked more miles for every pound of weight he dropped. Well that's him not me.

Like another poster has said physical fitness and conditioning will go a long way in determining how long and fast you hike in a day. Just because you pack is lighter doesn’t mean you'll hike farther or faster.

It comes down to what you're comfortable with.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
nevermind on 02/27/2008 23:58:27 MST Print View

N/M .. I could just as soon comment on another gun thread

Edited by uberkatzen on 02/28/2008 00:05:33 MST.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: nevermind on 02/28/2008 09:31:23 MST Print View

I believe you're confusing BackpackingLight with Backpacker.com.

Off with you now, shoo!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Stop Complicating Things! on 02/28/2008 10:35:05 MST Print View

Those of you who haul heavier packs are way too materialistic and need to get a life.

Those of you who carry lighter packs are just gram weenies and need to get a life.

My system rocks! :)

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Stop Complicating Things on 02/28/2008 10:37:50 MST Print View

OK

I will bite

Your system is?

And why is it better than something else?

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Stop Complicating Things on 02/28/2008 10:40:48 MST Print View

And I like the Caldera cone
:-)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Stop Complicating Things on 02/28/2008 10:43:57 MST Print View

Heh heh, sort of ruins it if I have to explain...

It's just my way of saying "use whatever system is best for YOU". Learn and adapt and perfect your gear system as you go, but beyond that, comparing weights becomes increasingly meaningless...

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
one two, one two, and through and through on 02/28/2008 10:49:55 MST Print View

....his vorpal blade went snicker, snack.

And with that, Ben strikes the troll dead.

EDIT: But he didn't grow up playing D&D, so he forgot how they regenerate. Not that I would admit to something like playing D&D. That's fer nerds. Unlike this hobby. Cause meeting another BPL'er at a Starbucks with a show n' tell box of akly stoves is cool. HA!

Edited by uberkatzen on 02/28/2008 10:57:12 MST.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Don't discount Roman on 02/28/2008 10:55:52 MST Print View

The article was basically about caloric expenditure vs. weight carried vs. distance covered. Less weight=less caloric expenditure for given mileage. It's simple biochemistry, and it applies to EVERYONE, whether the effect is conscious or not.

And that "guy" who wrote the article did complete a little unsupported walk across the Artic, so he knows thing or two about this subject.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Don't discount your own experince on 02/28/2008 12:23:14 MST Print View

I never discounted Roamn.

I know the subject matter of his article applies to everyone. It's pretty hard to be an insulin dependant diabetic for 20 years without learning a thing or two about nutrition and energy expenditure as it relates to backpacking. Roamn’s article is very informative, well written, and is presented in a format specifically for us backpackers. The subject matter he deals with however is nothing new.

I never said that the 'guy' didn't know what he was taking about; it’s just that I don't care, nor do I need to. The system that I have works for ME and I know exactly how it will affect MY metabolism, speed, mileage, and blood glucose.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Don't discount your own experince on 02/28/2008 13:51:14 MST Print View

It can be useful to take the "shape" of Roman's conclusions and calibrate them to your own experience.

I camped with Chad and some others last weekend and I'd have to expect that his tall muscular frame will react to one less pound differently than Sam H's tall lean frame.

An even more dramatic contrast would be with Kat. She easily had the smallest pack in the crew and has a goal of cutting that weight and volume in half! Aiming for a 15 miles/day SHT thru hike I bet she would notice the difference between 15 and 14 lbs in her pack by the end of the day. That has nothing to do with gender, Sarah:-) ... other "compact" folks I've compared notes with have reported the same.

Such a foreign world that is to me (being compact) :-)

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Jim got it! on 02/28/2008 14:10:01 MST Print View

Thanks Jim! That's what I was trying to get at!

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Body frame... on 02/28/2008 17:05:52 MST Print View

That's a good point about a pound not making a whole lot of difference on a frame like Chad's. (I can tell from your pic you are built like an ox). On the other hand, I'm built like a green bean.

One thought I have (I'm not trying to argue here - just throwing thoughts around) is that no matter how much I go to the gym, I can't work out my knee joints, or my skeletal frame. A heavier pack takes a heavier toll on joints, etc, which no amount of exercising can prevent. I remember going on hikes with a 50 lb pack and having my shoulders aching, and I don't think this would have changed had I been a "buff" dude.

Is this sound logic?

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Body Frame on 02/28/2008 22:08:33 MST Print View

I imagine increased muscle mass, in addition to increased strength and endurance, probably provides a nice bit of padding as well. I say imagine because I'm a string bean myself! I just don't know if I could ever eat enough to feed those big muscles. In fact that's my biggest barrier right now to knocking down some really high mileage days: I don't have the appetite keep my energy levels up, so after a certain point, I just crash. :(

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
How light is light enough? on 02/28/2008 22:20:01 MST Print View

On a side note - Frank Perkins, your gearlist solution rules.

Back on topic I'll simply say that I find joy in changing a number in my gear spreadsheet to an even slightly smaller one. I, however take greater joy in changing the "brand name" cell from a brand name to "homemade". And I take even greater joy than either of those in putting on my pack and going for a walk in the woods.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Body frame... on 02/29/2008 08:38:41 MST Print View

Oh I completely agree about reducing pack weight whenever possible! I love to have lightweight, multi use gear!

On a side note a certain degree of skeletal / muscular strength will help reduce overuse injuries and prevent sore joints to a point. While it is easier to reduce you pack weight I’ve found it more beneficial to increase my level of physical fitness so I can pound out those miles without discomfort.

For me and my build once I get my pack down to 20 pounds or so I don't notice a drastic increase in miles or a reduction in fatigue compared to a 15 pound pack. I've spoken with orthopedic doctor regarding pack weight and its effects on joints, particularly the knees. For my body size, build, and level of physical fitness (6'-2", 235 pounds) reducing my pack weight below 18 pounds won’t reduce the stress on my knees. Basically for me once my pack weight gets down to 18 pounds there is no difference regarding the stress my knees than if I where not carrying a pack. Please keep in mind that the 18 pound pack guideline weigh is for ME when I’m physically fit, and uninjured.

The moral of the story is that each of us needs to figure out where their comfort range is. No single blanket statement regarding pack weight can or should be applied to everyone.

A prime example of this is that many people carry 2 pounds of food per day. Myself I carry 2.5 to 3 pounds of food per day (5,000 to 6,000 calories). I won’t go into the math but this is the minimum amount of food I need to eat to maintain my energy levels and pace for a typical 6 hours of hiking with a 24 pound pack (base weight and consumables).

Edited by chadnsc on 02/29/2008 08:40:26 MST.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Big Hamster. . . on 02/29/2008 08:54:21 MST Print View

Oh, I'm not built like an ox, more like a big gerbil. Excuse me, I have to get back on the wheel. :)

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Body Frame on 02/29/2008 09:37:06 MST Print View

One problem I've noticed on longer days, I get some soreness in my shoulders at about the 18 lb point. It's not mileage based, but time based, ie usually after 8 hours or so with the pack on.

So does anyone have any reccomendations on some shoulder/upper back exercises to help with this? I really think a little more muscle will help with this problem. Plus, I'd look better at the beach! And my Mom would quit trying to feed me everytime she sees me!

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Here you go. on 02/29/2008 10:08:10 MST Print View

Well to achieve a proper gerbil build. . .

Seriously, try doing upright rows and front, side, and rear shoulder extensions. All of the above exercises are done with dumbbells. Check out the web for examples of these exercises.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Looking at the math... on 03/02/2008 19:11:09 MST Print View

I've always known this, it just didn't hit me real hard until tonight when I did some math.

My bw for lows in the 40's-50's right now is aroung 7.5lbs. I've been seriously considering a few changes (which would cost $$$$) to drop two more pounds off. I would also be sacrificing some comfort to my back. When you look at the math:

2lbs off my baseweight is a 26% weight savings! But...

For a weekend trip where I am hiking all day long, bringing 2lbs of food a day, and carrying an average of 64oz of water (I often hike in very dry climates), my total pack weight with my 7.5lb bw is 16.5lbs. If I drop 2lbs off, that is a 12% weight savings.

For a week long trip, bringing 2lbs of food a day, carrying an average of 64oz water, dropping 2lbs is a 7% weight savings.

In fact, if one of us hit SUB ZERO and went on that weekend trip with me and left EVERY SINGLE OUNCE OF GEAR behind and just brought food and water, they are only 29% lighter.

((( Granted I never ever bring 2 pounds of food a day, but you get the point )))

The other thing to consider is that, yes, the pack will get lighter as your hike goes, and the percent of weight savings will increase (i.e. you will notice the drop in baseweight more significantly by the end of the hike), but the more the weight savings increases, the less you need it. In other words, I needed the weight off my shoulders when it was 25 pounds, not 8 pounds!

Edited by splproductions on 03/02/2008 19:25:42 MST.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Looking at the math... on 03/02/2008 23:19:19 MST Print View

Quote: "For a weekend trip where I am hiking all day long, bringing 2lbs of food a day, and carrying an average of 64oz of water (I often hike in very dry climates), my total pack weight with my 7.5lb bw is 16.5lbs. If I drop 2lbs off, that is a 12% weight savings."


It gets even worse if you calculate it as a percentage of your total weight. If you're 150 lbs, for example, dropping 2 pounds from a weekend load is a 1.2% savings. If you're 180 like me, dropping even 4 pounds from a weekend pack becomes equivalent to going for *one* extra long training walk during the week before the trip. Given that dropping 4 pounds can easily take 100 hours of research and testing and/or cost a grand in new gear, (at the lower base weights,) sometimes it is actually preferable to just do the extra work on my body instead.

And there are of course other fringe benefits and dividends to working on your fitness as your *primary* method of improving your trips and being a gram weenie second.

But I'm a guy who works with computers 40-75 hours a week, usually dayhikes 1-3 weekends a month, spends lots of time doing stuff his girlfriend likes, and never does the Arctic 1000: People like Ryan, Roman, Andy Skurka, Bill Fornshell, and that guy who yo-yoed the CDT alone in one season are a whole other kettle of fish. Those people hone their fitness and diet to the absolute bleeding edge of what their personal physiology is capable of. From there on in, the only place to improve performance (and range and fun) is to delve into changing out their 9-ounce bivy for a 6-ounce bivy or their 6-ounce bivy for a 4-ounce bivy.

I used to spend hours and hours obsessing about how to make tiny changes to my kit and style, but I've changed that strategy. I now read the articles and forums here casually to try to cherry-pick gear and techniques that are direct substitutes for what I'm doing now and what's aging in my kit. My CiloGear pack is coming in the mail just as my old pack is starting to look like I stole it from a homeless person, and my OWare pyramid saved me 3 pounds and quite a few bucks over buying a winter tent for trips this year. Next up is a double quilt from Jacks R Better for me and my gf -- but maybe in a year or two.

In the meantime, I hike the Grouse Grind in the summer and the Hollyburn Mountain trail in the winter, and the effect on my trips has been the equivalent of dropping my baseweight to a negative number!!

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 03:47:46 MST Print View

>....his vorpal blade went snicker, snack.
>
>And with that, Ben strikes the troll dead.

xyzzy

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 08:23:37 MST Print View

Apparently he didn't strike it very dead huh?

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Re: Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 08:38:38 MST Print View

plugh

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: Re: Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 11:58:06 MST Print View

>Apparently he didn't strike it very dead huh?

you are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 12:03:10 MST Print View

Well then I will bring out my enchanted .01 ounce mystical GPS / Altimeter / Thermometer / Natural Male Enhancer and use it to find my way outa here!

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Re: Re: one two, one two, and through and through on 03/03/2008 12:05:41 MST Print View

>you are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike

... I attack the darkness!!...

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Adventure on 03/03/2008 12:10:46 MST Print View

[dropping_out_of_character]
By way of explanation, what Michael and I are referring to is lingo from a very early game in the history of computers called "Adventure"....probably before many of you were born. It would be difficult to explain because with modern software and games most people think of things completely differently than we did back then with only text based I/O. Nevertheless, when dinosaurs like us bump into one another, and realize we have found a kindred spirit, we start talking in phrases that most find non-sensical. Sorry for the diversion!
[/dropping_out_of_character]

THERE IS A THREATENING LITTLE DWARF IN THE ROOM WITH YOU!

Edited by randlindsly on 03/03/2008 12:26:40 MST.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
I will . . . on 03/03/2008 12:51:51 MST Print View

Eek! A short bearded person!

I will bash the little bugger with my +2 beer stein! Take that you diminutive drunk!