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My first sub 5 lb trip!
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: My first sub 6.5 lb trip! on 11/26/2008 20:54:30 MST Print View

Thanks for the posts everyone.
My membership ended yesterday...To be honest, I haven't been real interested in the member content lately and it has had me wondering if I should bother renewing.
It's posts like these that keep me interested in this community. Yes, I could chat here on the forums for free but I'll continue my support and renew today.

Thanks to everyone for posting here...I'm planning my first (hopefully) sub-6 trip as we speak. Good to see what others are using.

JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 02/10/2009 11:40:06 MST Print View

Nice thread Jamie.

Sub 5lb. is easy for most normal folk. However, when you are a bear like me at 6' 2" tall and 260 pounds it becomes more of a challenge. Everything right down to the tarp needs to be bigger and more material just makes everything heavier. My biggest problem is finding a super ultralight pack that actually fits my tall torso AND broad chest/shoulders. I've tried most of them including Z-Packs, SMD, and ULA.

My current pack weighs in at 3.5 lbs. empty so my current goal is to make everything else as light as I can. One of these days, I may send off this pack that actually fits me very well to Joe @ ZPacks and see if he can build me a custom blast back that has the same harness spacing and sizing.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sub 5 on 02/10/2009 11:42:10 MST Print View

I'm kind of surprised that ULA, SMD or GG can't build you a pack with the dimensions you need.

JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
Re: Sub 5 on 02/10/2009 11:57:58 MST Print View

"I'm kind of surprised that ULA, SMD or GG can't build you a pack with the dimensions you need"

I've contacted four manufacturers about this before after trying some of their standard packs: SMD, GG, MLD, and Fanatic Fringe. All said that custom packs would be difficult to build because of how their manufacturing processes are setup. I haven't tried asking Brian @ ULA but I have tried a couple of his packs and have the same problem.

With all these super UL packs, my biggest problem lies with the shoulder straps. They are too close together and need to be farther apart on the back of the pack. Unfortunately, this would likely require making a whole new pack from scratch as it would require larger back panel dimensions.

Edited by Tobit on 02/10/2009 12:03:11 MST.

Linda Vassallo

Locale: Eastbay
Re: My first sub 5lb trip! on 02/10/2009 12:42:47 MST Print View

JT Croteau
I'm 6' tall and weigh 210lb. Joe @ Zpacks built me a Blast32 with 4.5" spacing between the shoulder straps. The pack feels and fits much better IMHO, than my wife's Zpack that has the standard strap width. Hope this info is helpfull. I've hi-jacked my wifes membership to send my first post. Dave aka:East Bay Hiker's Hubby!

JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
Re: Re: My first sub 5lb trip! on 02/10/2009 12:50:22 MST Print View

Dave, thanks for the input. I actually emailed Joe @ ZPacks a little while ago. He's already replied and said he'd gladly build a pack based on the suspension of my heavy Gregory pack that fits me well.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Awesome photo documentation on 02/11/2009 17:00:48 MST Print View

Wow, this was a great thread. Loved the pictures.

I have a question about the tarp. I can see how it is light and provides a poncho in case of rain, so why not bring it to be prepared for the unexpected, but if there was no rain in the forecast, and you lived somewhere arid like I do, would you leave it home? Also, why even set it up if there is no rain?

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
My first sub 5 lb trip! on 02/11/2009 18:37:49 MST Print View

Hi Diane, As far as poncho tarps go, when to use etc. In my region of the country I am hiking in mountains that often create significantly different local climates then are observed in the region in general. Within just a few miles you can have rain or snow or wind or much colder temps then are experienced in the surrounding area. I'm mostly hiking in the mountains of NC and VA. In this region I would not suggest "trusting the local forcast" and not bringing shelter. Your area being arid might be entirely different. In this case I could envision bringing only a bivy sack and being fine.

Now as to why set it up even if you dont think it will reason is the word "think" you can never be sure until the night is past you that it wont rain. My poncho tarp setup takes me about 5 minutes to setup and another 3 minutes to put away. A tarp is not like a tent in that you dont have to spend all the time dealing with the "condensation wet" rain fly. So for a few minutes of work you have nothing to worry about after going to bed.

Next reason is (just my opinion) that sleeping under a tarp is slightly warmer then sleeping in the open air. Winds is blocked, he is radiated back down, etc. Even if it only gains you a few degrees its worth it.

Final reason, I gain some confidence by sleeping under a tarp when I am out in the woods alone. I have a little "home" to sleep in and it is nice. I suspect most traditional backpackers use tents not because they need them, but because they want something to hide in at night...get past this and serious weight can be saved.

Again the time investment to setup a tarp is only minutes so I always set mine up.


Edited by jshortt on 02/11/2009 19:35:01 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Thanks for your answer on 02/11/2009 20:18:40 MST Print View

Thanks for the answer.

Where I live I can be sure for about half the year that if there's no forecast for rain it's not going to rain.

I can understand the wanting a little house to hide in.

Ben P
(benp1) - F

Locale: London
great thread on 04/30/2010 09:41:16 MDT Print View

I just read this thread, its fantastic, thanks for sharing your experience!

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: My first sub 5 lb trip! on 09/26/2010 22:16:48 MDT Print View

Inspired by Jamie's work and years of trial, I have got my gear down to 5.2 pounds with gear that is comfortable and works for me 3 seasons in Australia. I wanted a tent, not a bivy and a comfortable mattress and pillow as a base for my gear, because I am getting older and being comfortable at night rates up there with carrying a light pack!. Other gear had to be simple, and extra components eliminated where possible. Clothing worn was BPL Pants, Patagonia wool 1 top and inov8 Terroc's I was also wearing TNF Triumph, but swap this for a Montane Aero if the weather is looking better. fsf
Golite Ion Pack - hip belt removed.
top layer of packing
Top - phone TP spares & first aid, Then food, water containers and cook kit
Next layer of packing WM flight vest (sometimes swap with Patagonia nano pullover) pole for The One ( I only use 1 trekking pole) POE ether elite 2/3 exped inflatable pillow, and high density foam mat for sit mat and under feet at night.
Next layer - Nunatak Ghost no stuff sack

Below this layer is the one in a stuff sack, with pegs and polycro groundcloth. I use a stuff sack for The One because it is often damp when I pack it first thing in the morning. Because space is valuable in the Ion everything else is stuffed in directly, this also helps with simplicity as there are a couple less stuff sacks to keep track of.
Cook kit is kept in a zpacks cuben stuff sack, only to keep the esbit goo off everything else.iooiu
Caldera Cone (cut down in length), Esbit and trapper mug are the basis of the cook kit. A cut down water bottle stops any crushing of the cone and serves as a place to store the spare peices when the stove is being used - total weight with 6 esbits is 110grams
Stove, esbits, matches are kept in water tight container.
Stove is based on the Gram cracker, is just a bent piece of titanium foil. I have replaced the foil in the pic with ti foil for longevity.
A piece of silicone egg ring serves as a pot lifter (I don't carry gloves all year) No problems getting a boil with one small esbit tab

The kit could be made lighter especially by leaving the pole at home and using a branch, but the simplicity of having everything I need in the pack, makes up for the weight - and at around 5 pounds for a shelter with a comfy bed, I can live with that!

Edited by bretthartwig on 09/27/2010 02:01:14 MDT.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Nice job on 09/26/2010 23:56:10 MDT Print View

Nice kit Brett! We can always use more Ion content around here. I noticed yours is one with the Recycled Material badge on it... did anyone ever figure out what the story is with those? If not I may shoot Golite an e-mail about it.

Are you carrying 3 liters of water in the Ion? I find the lack of water and food capacity to be the greatest challenge when packing these packs and have resorted to strapping bottles to the shoulder straps. I also bought a 1 liter platy specifically for use in the ion.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Nice job on 09/27/2010 00:17:35 MDT Print View

It is an ion from , they had a limited number built after it was discontinued - great service arrived in a week. I can fit 3 litres inside it, I went for a normal water bottle as it is a bit easier to stuff in the pack when the pack is full. I also went for low volume items like the ether elite, I think it frees up a bit more space.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Thanks but... on 09/27/2010 02:45:32 MDT Print View

Strangely I just found the source myself not two minutes before coming back into this thread and seeing your link! Thanks anyway though.

I use a Thermarest Prolite Short in mine. Works fine and takes up less space than a CFM pad from calculations. Maybe it's about time that I post my gear list up.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
nice job indeed on 09/29/2010 07:43:38 MDT Print View

Brett- great job :) I haven't broken into the 5's yet w/ my Ion, but am in the 6's- so I'm getting darn close

James Morrison
(simonmorrison23) - F

Locale: Southshore
hey on 09/29/2010 21:34:48 MDT Print View

hello guys, i am new to the forums! i love the outdoors and i do trips more often now since i found a great work schedule, so i have the weekends off for mountain climbing, trekking and mountain biking.

hope i can encounter you guys in the wild!


John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Jamie on 12/06/2013 20:23:39 MST Print View

I just wanted to say that 5 years later I still go back and reference this thread for a gear list. I share it with other people I go backpacking with to try and inspire them to go light on their packing lists.

It's been so useful!

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Jamie on 12/07/2013 08:19:01 MST Print View

Thanks so much for those kind words.

I'm reminded of one of the most profound conversations I have had. Two years ago I was being shuttled to Roan Mountain by Bob Peoples. I had no idea how incredible and meaningful this man's contributions are to the lives of thru-hikers struggling to make it across the AT. Bob was talking about trail work and a recent shelter construction he was obviously proud of. I shared how appreciative I was of him and those who worked the AT making a trail that truly a pleasure to hike. "You guys deserve a BIG thanks!"

Here is the profound part. In complete sincerity Bob turned to me and said "no it is you who deserve the thanks...see if you did not use the trails that I build my life would have no meaning...I would be doing all this for thank you".

When times are challenging like they are now...I am so rewarded to hear someone has used something I posted.


todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Jamie on 12/07/2013 11:24:44 MST Print View

Well, Jamie, to that end:

I, too, reference this thread often. I enjoy it and try to not kick myself for not being able to sleep on a short CCF pad!!!

Thanks man!