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!!