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My first sub 5 lb trip!
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Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/27/2008 18:11:31 MDT Print View

Well I completed my first sub 5 pound trip (4 lbs 15 oz) this weekend. I spent 2.5 days in the Pisgah National forest covering 40.2 miles. Less than a year ago I started with gear that weighed around 27 lbs.... took it to 14 lbs then to 12 lbs then to 8.5 lbs. I admit that the previous weights will cover colder temps, but I did handle a 38 degree night just fine. Flying down the trails was a blast. The things I have learned from this forum have been invaluable.

Many Thanks, Jamie

Packing Up

On the Trail


Edited by jshortt on 05/27/2008 19:29:10 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/27/2008 18:53:21 MDT Print View

Congrats! Impressive accomplishment getting there from 27 in less than a year.

I've recently gone to 6 lb. I will go for sub 5 probably next month. That'll be about two years for me to have done so.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/27/2008 19:46:54 MDT Print View


Congratulations on your milestone!!!!

What else did you carry on the 5lb trip? Again, congrats and I miss that part of the country.


Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
5 lb Items on 05/27/2008 20:30:15 MDT Print View

Todd, What you see in the first pic is everything I used. To my right in a montbell thermal sheet (14.5oz zippered down quilt) and sleeping pad. I supplimented this with a Montbell UL down jacket (worn), the pack is a golite ion (9 oz). All other gear is in the two stuff sacks. The gray one contains food, cooking items (gram weenie stove, ti cup, etc) and personal items. The green stuff sack contains a montbell dri-tech bivy, a golite poncho tarp, stakes/line, extra socks, and a golite windshirt. Here are pics showing the details....

Shelter and Clothes




Food - 1 day example (some was already eaten - 21 oz/day)

Personal Care Items

Stowed items (ready to pack)

Pack pad

Pack bag
load bag

Pack jacket

Pack shelter & clothing (one stuff sack)

Pack personal items, kitchen, food & water (one stuff sack & one platy)


Edited by jshortt on 05/27/2008 20:32:54 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 05/27/2008 20:51:13 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 20:20:23 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/27/2008 20:57:14 MDT Print View

Jamie -

Your detailed photos are an excellent example of how a sub-five list is a real possibility for short trips like yours. How was your level of comfort having gotten out and lived it?

- Sam

Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/28/2008 00:08:24 MDT Print View

Wow, you've descended fast from 27 lbs! And it looks like you had a great time. There's only one thing I didn't see on the pictures... your camera!:) Did you include it in the baseweight?

Paul Foreman
(fish3006) - F
Congratulations on your success ... on 05/28/2008 08:58:26 MDT Print View

I have two Ions, one in "grease" like yours and one in green. The "L" size sure does fit well.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Congratulations on your success ... on 05/28/2008 09:25:39 MDT Print View

Great! Did your weight include water/food???

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/28/2008 15:56:36 MDT Print View

Hey James,
Congratulations on getting down to that weight.
After this, getting any lighter is just a matter of obsession.
Doesn't look like you are there yet?

I would like to point out that with a Cuben tarp and pack you could drop another pound with the same comfort.
It does loose some reliability though.

Your gear is amazingly easy and has the ability to show just how anyone can do it.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
My first sub 5 lb trip on 05/28/2008 18:33:27 MDT Print View

Wow thanks for all the replies and support.

Sam - on comfort...I would say I was extremely comfortable. The only mistake I made was to drop my 1.5 oz fleece cap at the last minute. The weather called for nights in the 50's. I know better then trust weather for local conditions in the mountains. 38 degrees on the first night in a hoodless bag = cold head. I have learned that an insulated hat is an amazing piece of gear for regulating body temp. I almost dropped the down jacket, that would have been a huge mistake. The only other comfort item I missed was not having much for a pillow. Usually my raingear in a stuff sack makes decent pillow. I did stuff my ion with leaves the second night and this actually worked surprisingly well.

Rick, I must come clean on 2 items not counted in base weight. These were the GPS (4.3 oz) and camera (3.35 oz). I did not include them because never did they go into my pack. They stayed in the pockets of my shorts. I did include every thing else you saw as it went into pack...even the rather useless cell phone (wife requirement) and the 2 oz backpacker book.

Sven, My food was 21.5 oz per day (times 2 days), but I did not pack any for the last 1/2 day knowing that I would have a bit left over from each day. For water I always start with 32 oz then drink down to 0 and refill to 32. I use cl tabs so I try to wait 30 minutes before drinking. The sources I used should have been vary safe and water was extremely plentiful. Full pack including food for 2.5 days and 32 oz water weighed just under 10 lbs at the start.

Aaron, Cuben is a great thought. That would be the next level in weight and $. I do have to say if anyone wants to experiment the golite Ion and golite poncho are not the absolute lightest but they are close, perform well, at a hard to beat price...both for under < $100. I do want to put a plug in for the Montbell Dry-Tech bivy. It is a waterproof breathable bivy that after 2 trips... 4 nights (22, 34, 38, 48 degrees) has had zero condensation inside. I wake up completely dry. It is under 100 bucks and weighs under 7 oz.

Again thanks all, Jamie

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/28/2008 18:49:36 MDT Print View

Sven, One other item to note. The small bottle in the food picture contains 1.5 oz of Everclear. I take 1.5 oz per day and was drinking it in the photo by the fire (mixed with lemon flavor drink mix).

Sam, If there was any question about comfort the everclear removes all memory of any discomfort :)

Last thing. My hike was solo all pictures are taken with my camera mounted on my hiking staff if they are self pictures.


Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
James' first sub 5lb trip on 05/28/2008 19:11:20 MDT Print View

James-just inspirational. I am nowhere near sub 5lb yet. But given how you have done it, and the fantastic pics, I will splurge on some more gear and have a crack at it soon.

I think you can be forgiven for the GPS and Camera misnomers if the wife is demanding you take a cell-phone...she obv impaired your judgement!

But yeah, wow! Well done, and great pics...prob the most useful SUL post ive seen on the site (for me)!

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: James' first sub 5lb trip on 05/28/2008 21:26:31 MDT Print View

I completely agree with Adam. This post more than any other I've seen on this site makes me want to go for (and feel confident doing) a sub 5lb base weight (the pictures help a lot).

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: James' first sub 5lb trip on 05/29/2008 05:45:14 MDT Print View

Awesome post, I am going for my first sub6 in a few weeks and will post as well. Great to see what our peers are doing...

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: James' first sub 5lb trip on 05/29/2008 06:23:40 MDT Print View

James has raised the bar with the 'Visual Gear List'. Seeing is believing : ) Will be nice to see how we all 'show and tell' for our upcoming trips. Like Adam said - inspirational! The pictures really add tremendous value.

I recommend that the James post be bumped up to BPL front page article. This is our shared vision. To get lighter and share our knowledge regardless of our experience. For example, I still run into backpackers that have over 20 years of experience, but they are still pretty much are carrying same type of load. Then there's James who goes from 27 to sub5 in a year and inspires us. BPL listen please.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Re:"My first sub 5 lb trip!" on 05/29/2008 08:02:15 MDT Print View

Awesome. I agree your thread should be made into a link from the homepage; something like 'pictorial example of an actual overnight 5lb hike'

I was especially impressed with your choices of relatively inexpensive, yet good quality, light weight gear. For example the ION's suitablity in size and form factor for your sleeping mat, and your hike in general. I think you should post a packing list, and I expect it will be widely emulated.

A comment on terminology.. I think you had about a 5 lb base pack weight. Total base weight as I've seen it discussed at BPL includes everything worn or carried which is not consumable. But wow, I'm just nit-picking because I'm jealous.. good job!

Edited by Brett1234 on 05/29/2008 08:02:57 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 05/29/2008 08:58:41 MDT Print View

I keep coming back to this thread to look at what you did. Nice job! You've inspired me to actually get out there and try it that light. Would be wonderful to see an album page with people posting their gear lists and photos of sub 5-lb trips. The photos, as others have said, make all the difference in giving people confidence that it actually works!

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re:"My first sub 5 lb trip!" on 05/29/2008 12:44:17 MDT Print View

I re-read Ryan's SUL article from 2003 (link on main page).

His definition...

Base Weight is herein defined as the dry weight of gear and nonconsumable supplies in your pack, excluding clothing worn,
items normally carried (like trekking poles), and food, fuel, and water.

Agree with Miguel that we should have an album of the visual gear lists for sub5 over the next couple of months. I plan to give it a shot next month and will do similar post.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Camera on sub 5 lb trip on 05/29/2008 13:12:42 MDT Print View

James - what brand and model is your 3.35 oz camera?