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5lbs with a few caveats... can it be done?
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
5lbs with a few caveats... can it be done? on 06/05/2008 10:03:09 MDT Print View

I have recently revamped my shelter system. I am saddened by it, but I felt I needed to to keep backpacking fun for me.

I sold my tarp and bivy, and bought an SL2 (might return and get an SL1). This might crush my hopes and dreams of doing actual 5lb trips.

My question: Can 5 lbs be acheived with 1) A double walled tent, and 2) A rugged backpackpack (no silnylon, cuben, etc). Assume summer conditions (lows 40 or above) with possibility of rain.

I can get around 5.6lbs, but that is sacrificing a lot in the way of cooking, comfort, etc. And I haven't actually backpacked with this gear list - it is just a possibility with the gear I have.

Edited by splproductions on 06/05/2008 10:03:57 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
My hypothetical list... on 06/05/2008 10:11:01 MDT Print View

9.5 - GoLite Ion (the only piece I don't have)
0.0 - No pack cover, use poncho

50.0 - SL2
1.8 - Stakes (6)

11.2 - Nunatak ArcAT
7.2 - MB Down Inner jacket
3.0 - 1/4" Thinlight, torso length

0.0 - No cooking
0.4 - Spork (for cold bag meals)

1.5 - Dr.Bronners Soap (to wash socks), Sunscreen, Toothbrush

2.0 - Topo Maps

3.7 - Houdini
5.0 - SilCape
2.0 - Smartwool Adrenaline socks

5.0 - First-Aid/Survival kit (includes compass)

That is 6.4 lbs (102 ounces). Any thoughts, problems, ideas? If I used an SL1, that would drop about 8 oz off, making it 5.9lbs.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: 5lbs with a few caveats... can it be done? on 06/05/2008 10:16:04 MDT Print View


Just remember, there is nothing magical about 5 lbs. 5 lbs is just an arbitrary number.

I personally can't achieve a 5 lb baseweight (and enjoy the experience) for several reasons:

Don't like to hike in my baselayers (which I use for sleeping)

Can't sleep on a foam mat.

Need a good pillow.

Carry a cell phone and camera (notice you often don't see these listed in spreadsheets)

It might also help if you elaborate on your reason for selling the tarp and bivy. If it's because you just don't get along with a bivy (which is the case for me), Take a look at the gatewood cape. You don't need to use a bivy with that shelter, plus you have the dual use for raingear. That will dramatically cut your weight. If you have an issue with bugs, You can use a gatewood cape/serenity bugnet combination, 18 oz for shelter, and raingear.


Edited by DanG on 06/05/2008 10:53:40 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/05/2008 10:57:15 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 20:39:33 MST.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Reasons for dropping the tent/bivy... on 06/05/2008 11:48:48 MDT Print View

I actually like sleeping in a bivy, all zipped up and "closed-in" feeling. No problems there. The bugs don't bother me (unless it's extreme mosquitos - but I don't encounter that often). My issue is with the tarp set up not being free-standing. If I am backpacking with someone else, which I usually am, I can't/don't want to continue hiking to find a place where I can stake a tarp down or use natural features. I hike in Southern Utah a lot, and half the terrain in straight sandstone. I can't pitch on that, but my friends/family can. I can't pitch on loose sand, despite my "sand stakes". I could spend a long time rigging something up, but I'd rather just put a tent up. In Utah, a water source often will dictate camp selection, and I can't have my cake (water) and eat it too (have nice ground or trees to stake to). Much of the time there is no such thing as a tree.

Well, there's my beef. From what I've read, it seems that all of the TarpTents are not free-standing. Is that correct? Do I have a lighter option for a free-standing tent - single or double?

As far as the "magic number 5", I realize it's arbitrary. I guess it just keeps me in line so my pack doesn't end up being 20lbs. If I constantly shoot for 5, I might end up at 6, or 7, etc, which is fine.

Edited by splproductions on 06/05/2008 12:02:01 MDT.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Freestanding TarpTent on 06/05/2008 12:14:59 MDT Print View

Regarding freestanding tarptents, the only ones I know of are Henry Shires' Rainbow and Double Rainbow. They can be used either staked or freestanding (with trekking poles). It is pretty nifty. At 40 ounces, the Double Rainbow is a heck of a lot lighter than the SL2 (and even the SL1), but there are certainly pros and cons to each.

Edited by delvxe on 06/05/2008 12:17:44 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Double Rainbow... on 06/05/2008 12:31:46 MDT Print View

Hey Terry,

I just spent some time reading a thread about the Double Rainbow and whether or not it should be classified as "free-standing", etc. The only problem I find for me is I don't use trekking poles - which is the way it becomes free-standing. I don't know if I can really get much lighter than an SL2 or SL1 (I debate between the two because the SL1 just seems so tight). Maybe I could order a BigSky tent! :)

Edited by splproductions on 06/05/2008 12:32:22 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: 5lbs with a few caveats... can it be done? on 06/05/2008 12:56:44 MDT Print View

6 lbs is nothing to be ashamed of for sure! But I can definitely relate to wanting to hit that magic 5 lbs mark.

I've found that on the rare occasions I do hike with others, I throw in a few extras that add weight for convenience's sake. Larger, less fiddly tarp, titanium mug and Supercat instead of Heine/tealight, more durable pack, etc. The people I go with are usually traditional backpackers, so I don't gain anything by being able to hike 25 or 30 miles since they aren't going to keep up. I'd rather add a little weight and hike a little slower with them than fly into camp and spend a few hours waiting for them.

If you have gear that you are happy with and come in at 5.01 lbs, then so be it. No reason to make unwanted sacrifices for some arbitrary milestone. You're doing much better than most hikers if you're carrying only 6 lbs.



Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Double Rainbow... on 06/05/2008 13:03:06 MDT Print View


Golite Utopia 1, freestanding tarp, at just over 2 lbs. Can use one of those with your bivy or a light groundcloth.

Those Big Agnes tents are pretty light, If rain is not a problem you don't need the fly and it would be a light setup. I'm not familiar with those tents, you might be able to set them up fly only, which would be light, but You probably need to stake out the vestibule.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Double Rainbow... on 06/05/2008 13:23:22 MDT Print View

Also take a look at the MSR Hubba Hubba, here.

Same area, but two doors and vestibules makes it a very utilitarian tent at about under 4.5 pounds, depending on model. I don't even wake up when my wife takes a walk at 2 am.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
6lbs... on 06/05/2008 18:00:09 MDT Print View


I should clarify that I am not actually doing trips at 6lbs - or at least haven't yet. I really don't know if I care to make the sacrifice that it takes - sleeping with only a Thinlight pad can really take a toll on me. So... I bring the POE Ether Thermo (1lb), and I usually bring a camera (fairly heavy at over 8oz), I usually bring a GPS... you get the point. It adds up fast.

It looks like an actual trip - with the things I know I would actually throw in my pack - I would be at 9.2 lbs. That's with a GPS, camera, and an inflatable pad.


That Utopia 1 is worth a closer look. I had forgotten about their new shelter line-up. Thanks!

Edited by splproductions on 06/05/2008 18:02:28 MDT.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: 6lbs.../Utopia 1 pictures on 06/05/2008 21:07:42 MDT Print View

I've never seen that the Utopia 1 in person but this blog post has the best pictures I've seen of that shelter, they give a good idea of what it's like: