Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Trying to lighten- proposed 16 pound gear list
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Trying to lighten- proposed 16 pound gear list on 06/30/2008 17:32:24 MDT Print View

7/6/08: See edits below marked "EDIT", "DELETED" or "ADDED"

Stop laughing. 16 may sound high but my old base weight was typically more like 30 pounds. I have lots of gear but it's mostly circa 1980-1995.

I'm getting back into backpacking after an 8 year hiatus. Took a short trip last week with the family (wife, 7 year old daughter & 5 year old son) and my pack started out at 52 pounds. On top of that I carried my daughter's 8 pounds and son's 4 pounds most of the trip. Good news is that I was very happy with Montrail Continental Divides even with that much weight.

Trying to lighten up for a 220 mile hike on the JMT in August I thought a bit about what is needed and not then put a bunch of gear on the scale. Here's what I came up with- requiring more new purchases than I was hoping.

Please take a look and comment. Gear list is for a 15 day hike of the John Muir Trail in August. Some undecided issues remain. I was going for 15 pounds base but it looks like 16 at this point.

43 year old, southern California

Ounces, Description, H=Have B=Buy, $ Cost to Buy
PACK: My old packs are both over 6 pounds so something new is required.

31.00 Pack SMD Starlight w/ stays B $200
1.00 Water bottle carrier On shoulder strap B $5
2.00 Rain protection Plastic bag liner B $1

34.00 Ounces $206
2.13 Pounds
SHELTER: I predict any rain will be afternoon thunderstorms.
18.00 Tent Early Winters Gore-Tex Bivy H
Groundcloth None
28.00 Sleeping bag Moonstone H
27.00 Pad Thermarest LE H

73.00 Ounces $0
4.56 Pounds
COOKING: Current options are MSR XGK, Svea 123, Bluet Gaz.
EDIT 7/6: I may go with a canister stove instead of alcohol.
2.00 Stove Caldera Cone B $35
5.00 Pot .9 liter or so pot B $15
1.00 Plastic cup B $1
0.25 Lexan spoon H
1.00 Knife H
0.75 Lighter bic B $1
0.50 Stuff sack B $5
0.75 Fuel bottle Plastic bottle, for alcohol B $4

11.25 Ounces $61
0.70 Pounds
BEAR CAN: Already have the Garcia.
43.00 Ounces Bear Can Garcia Machine H
2.69 Pounds
17.00 Rain parka Marmot Precip Adventurer H
3.00 Rain skirt ULA H
7.00 Thermal shirt Early Winters Fuzzy shirt (light fleece) 7 oz H
DELETED 7/6: 4.00 Balaclava Black wool snood H
ADDED 7/6: 1.5 oz. Balaclava light gray.
0.00 Gloves none
2.63 Socks, spare_1 3/4 crew Smartwool H
2.00 Socks, spare_2 Rhoner light trekking H
DELETED 7/6: 6.00 Sun Bug Shirt option_1 Ex Officio long sleeve Buzz Off Crew Antimicrobial Dri-Release 85% poly, 15% cotton. 6 oz estimated. B $22
DELETED 7/6: 0.00 Sun Bug Shirt option_2 Ex Officio Baja +Sawyer Permethrin 9.5 oz (leave behind?) H
8.00 Pants Ex Officio (Sawyer Permethrin) Maybe substitute Rail Riders vented? H

EDIT 7/6: Was 49.63 Ounces, saved 8.5 oz.
41.13 Ounces
WATER: I'm going to drink untreated water except where suspect.
3.00 Bottle Empty water bottles 27 oz x 2 H
1.00 Purification tablets ClO2 (suspect water only) B $10

4.00 Ounces $10
0.25 Pounds
0.50 Stuff sack Aloksak B $3
0.50 Toothbrush H
1.00 Toothpaste Crest mini-tube H
EDIT 7/6: 0.5 oz. (WAS 2.00) Deodorant Small Crystal stick H
0.50 Soap Small vial H
2.00 Toilet paper & ziplock bag H
1.00 Baby Wipes Dried, in ziploc w/ TP H
0.00 Pack towel Bandana, worn H
1.25 Insect repellent 1 oz 100% DEET B $5
EDIT 7/6: 2.5 Sunscreen 2 oz. (WAS 4 oz.) H
1.50 Bug head net H

EDIT 7/6: 9.75 Ounces, was 13.25 Ounces $8

0.50 Stuff sack Aloksak B $3
0.25 Antihistimine 4 H
0.50 Ibuprophen 36 H
0.25 Imodium 4 H
DELETED 7/6: 0.75 Lighter Spare B $1
1.00 Storm matches In plastic match safe H
0.50 Bandages 12 bandaids, 6 butterflies, 4 4x4s H
0.75 Ace bandage 2" H
1.00 Blister care Hydropel 1/2 tube B $20
2.00 Blister care Assortment Moleskin H
1.00 Blister care Leukotape B $15
1.00 Rope 1/8" cord H
0.25 Sewing kit H

EDIT 7/6: 9.0 Ounces, was 9.75 Ounces $39

3.00 Headlamp Black Diamond LED H
EDIT 7/6: 5 oz Camera (swapped with wife's camera. Was 10.00 Camera With battery H )
0.50 Car Key Subaru H
3.00 Navigation Maps JMT Map Pack in ziploc H
1.00 Navigation Compass B

EDIT 7/6: 12.50 Ounces was 17.50.
EDIT 7/6: 14.1 Pounds, saved 1.8 from 15.96 Pounds

36.00 Shoes Montrail Cont. Div. w/custom orthotics H
4.00 Shorts Running B $15
2.00 Underwear Duo-Dry Antimicrobial H
5.00 T-Shirt Icebreaker 140 H
3.00 Socks Smartwool 3/4 crew light trek H
DELETED 6.00 Hat Ultimate Hat H
ADDED 2.9 Hat mesh top alpine hat.
1.00 Bandana Blue H
2.00 Sunglasses H
Trekking poles No
0.25 Chapstick H
0.50 Whistle H

EDIT: 56.65 was 59.75 Ounces 0.00 $15

EDIT 7/6: 17.61 Pounds Was:19.70 Pounds

2.00 Fuel 2 oz. alcohol per day B
24.00 Food & Packaging 1.5 pounds per day B
X 7
182.00 7 Days Food & Fuel
27.00 Water 1 Bottle full

209.00 Ounces 0.00 $0
13.06 Pounds
EDIT 7/6: 27.1 Was:29.02 Pounds TOTAL PACK WEIGHT FOR WEEK
EDIT 7/6: 30.7 Was:32.76 Pounds TOTAL SKIN OUT WEIGHT FOR WEEK

EDIT 7/6 NOTE: Saved 2.0 pounds from fairly minor tweaking of gear list.

$361 Cost for new gear in this list. Donations accepted!

Edited by jimqpublic on 07/06/2008 09:26:47 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
16 Pound Gear List on 06/30/2008 18:22:04 MDT Print View

Can I suggest the Six Moon Desgins Gatewood Cape? It weighs in at 11 ounces and will double as a tarp and rain protection. Between your jacket and biy that is 34 ounces. Remember every once counts.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: 16 Pound Gear List on 06/30/2008 19:17:47 MDT Print View

Bill's 16 pound gear list:

Normal Sub 5 Pound Gear List-5 lb.
Camera stuff - 5 lb.
Laptop Computer with DVD Movies and extra battery - 6 lb.
16 pounds

This is in fun.

You have done a lot better than my first try at lowering my gear list.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
16 lb gear list on 06/30/2008 19:28:11 MDT Print View

The extra clothes, the Thermarest and the Bivy account for 6 lbs.

Dump the extra clothes for a pair of zipoffs and a insulated jacket only, switch to a gatewood cape with no bivy, and go to a foam pad.

You've reduced your weight by over 4 lbs .... then you can carry a lighter pack than the starlight, like a Maraposa for half the weight ... saving another lb.

... That takes you to 11 lbs right off the bat.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
More to leave out on 07/01/2008 00:39:34 MDT Print View

Wondering if you really need the balaclava for the JMT in August, but I'm not familiar with temps in that area, so maybe you do. If so, I'd think you'd also need at least a light pair of gloves? I can't imagine needing a balaclava but not gloves.

Lose the deodorant crystal. You will likely swear all over, and you will stink regardless of whether you apply deodorant or not.

There's another 6 oz.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
16 lb gear list on 07/01/2008 01:29:50 MDT Print View

Take a really close look at your FIRST-AID KIT. I'm sure you could cut that in half - Think simple wound care and meds only. GOODLUCK

Tony Fleming
(TonyFleming) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Some things to look at on 07/01/2008 04:38:31 MDT Print View

I've recently been trying to lighten up as well. I'm at the point now where I'm starting to look at the price per ounce to replace an item. Some of the things I had been looking at are not the most cost effective things to change. This has made me look at replacing other items I had not thought of. You also have to evaluate your hiking style and see if changing to a different way of doing things to eliminate a piece of gear is a better way to go.

In addition to the items mentioned above (especially first aid), here are some items on your list that stand out to me:

43.00 Ounces Bear Can Garcia Machine (replace)
4.50 Sunscreen 4 oz. (1 oz tube)
2.00 Deodorant Small Crystal stick (0.5 oz or drop it)


Edited by TonyFleming on 07/01/2008 04:42:55 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 07/01/2008 10:44:27 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/12/2015 15:35:26 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Eating at my comfort zone! on 07/01/2008 13:53:29 MDT Print View

Unfortunately money is a pressing concern.

Sleeping bag/bivy:
I would love to get a new bag but I don't see that happening this year. My 28 oz. liner bag requires the bivy and balaclava for me to be comfortable down to the frosty temps that hit 10,000 feet in late August. Since I need the bivy for warmth there's not much point in a tarp. I also like the speed, ease, and flexibility of setting up/breaking camp with a bivy. Maybe next year...

I will experiment with my Ridge Rest to see if I can tolerate a foam pad. Otherwise the Thermarest is coming as my luxury item.

The Marmot jacket and ULA rain skirt were impulse buys. I didn't expect the jacket to be so heavy, but it's still way, way lighter than my old one.
I'll consider substituting my 5 oz. windshirt and a superlight poncho.

I'm going to drop the long pants, long sleeve shirt, and third pair of socks. Head net stays as long as I'm sleeping out.

First aid, toiletries:
I can cut a little but I want a class-A blister care kit. I'll drop the deodorant down to 1/4 ounce, take only 2 oz. sunscreen (2 more in my resupply), and cut the handle off my toothbrush.
Regarding compass I know it is seldom needed in the high Sierra but one near death experience in a blizzard caused me to promise myself I'd always carry one.

Bear can is required and the only significantly lighter option is over $200.
I'll drop the spare lighter since I have matches as backup. My cooking plan is 12 oz. hot water for midmorning coffee and 20 oz. for dinner/soup. 2 oz. alcohol per day may be excessive; I'm doing a second family trip in a few weeks to sort that out- truly I'm still undecided between a cannister and the Caldera Cone.

With the bear can and plans to use the pack on family trips I had homed in on the Starlight. There aren't many that appear to work well with a horizontal bear can.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 07/01/2008 16:18:03 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/12/2015 15:43:41 MDT.

Dylan Taylor
(nevadas) - F

Locale: California Coast
2 cents on 07/05/2008 23:34:42 MDT Print View

you really need gloves. thats an essential. wind and rain without gloves, early morning or evening-- thats no fun. lose a lot of heat and energy.

and, it seems a balaclava in summer is too much-- plus weighing in at 4 ounces... it has to be winter weight too.

i agree with the above post. you have too much extra clothing too. dont need that.

cook system seems solid.

your sleep system weighs a lot; a lighter bag and pad at some point. my buddy wont go to foam, but he has back problems. i gave up the air based sleep pads when i went light and have never gone back.

last note:


but dont use that soap your packing near, in, or around it.

Edited by nevadas on 07/05/2008 23:39:01 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Proposed 16 lb gear list now 14. on 07/06/2008 09:37:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the comments. I did some tweaking and cut 2 pounds from the list. See the original post with marked edits.

Most of the savings were simple. Saved 3 oz by picking up a hat for $5 that will be much cooler than my old hat. Plan to switch cameras with my wife and save 5 oz. Simply deleted the extra shirt for 6 oz.

The 2 pair of spare socks and multiple foot care items are worth it if I need them. I did a three day trip with the family a couple weeks back and my feet were fine. Mileage was low and the trip was short; for the longer trip I think insurance is good.

I agree that the sleeping system is too heavy. I should have bought the BMW quilt here on Backpacking Light when it was on sale last week. I took a nap the other day on my Ridge Rest- it was fine for an hour on a hardwood floor but I have concerns about all night on rocky soil.

Finally, on water treatment. Other than the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite, I plan to generally drink untreated water.


Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Proposed 16 lb gear list now 14. on 07/06/2008 11:59:30 MDT Print View

"Finally, on water treatment. Other than the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite, I plan to generally drink untreated water."

I know it's your colon and your decision, but why not treat water? A little preventive care can keep you from a month or more of gastrointestinal suffering.

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Ouch my aching back and hips... on 07/06/2008 14:15:12 MDT Print View

I agree that the sleeping system is too heavy. I should have bought the BMW quilt here on Backpacking Light when it was on sale last week. I took a nap the other day on my Ridge Rest- it was fine for an hour on a hardwood floor but I have concerns about all night on rocky soil.

Hi Jim,
I would have the same concern...for two or three days problem. There are no places to find soft turf that I saw...mostly hard dirt and rock.
My boys had l bs 4 oz Therm-a-rest pads and I had my BA air pad...they would of gladly traded with me. Even those 1" pads Therm-a-Rest Pro 3 was not want you would call a great nights sleep.

Each to there own...but sometimes the extra pound makes the difference of just why you are out there to begin with.
I know I like to enjoy myself and have a good time.

Then again you could carry the extra weight in say Wild Turkey and you would not feel the hard ground at all lol :)

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Pads on 07/06/2008 15:05:21 MDT Print View


Sorry the snow cut you guys short.

My wife has a 7/8" (so- called 1") Thermarest. I think it's worthless for side sleeping. To me the Ridge Rest is more comfortable.

I find 1-1/2" Thermarest marginal for side sleeping. My 1-7/8" Thermarest LE is super cozy and lets hips, knees, and shoulders nicely sink in. It is 27 ounces though.


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Water Treatment... on 07/06/2008 21:20:56 MDT Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/26/2015 11:15:42 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Not UL but about 17. on 07/31/2008 14:42:04 MDT Print View

My pack is pretty much together for my JMT hike. It didn't hit 16, according to my bathroom scale it's 17.

Note it does include a 43 ounce bear can. Theoretically I was looking at about 12 pounds not including the bear can. My comfort level got compromised though. I added my 3 pound sleeping bag, Jetboil stove, and some assorted doo-dads which upped the weight.

One interesting thing is I bought the Six Moon Designs Starlight. I was concerned that this pack, being half the volume of my Lowe Expedition, would be a tight fit. Not at all- even with the bear can my gear is swimming around. This will be good for family trips where I carry my kids' extra gear.

I want to thank everyone for providing input. I'm pretty happy with cutting my base weight from 30+ pounds down to 17. Loaded with a week's food I'll start out less than I used to end a trip with.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Not UL but about 17. on 07/31/2008 15:57:40 MDT Print View

> I'm pretty happy with cutting my base weight from 30+ pounds down to 17.
Just as a thought: go with this, and don't try to lower it any more. Do a few trips with this weight, get used to this lighter gear, and then look again. Trying to stage a huge reduction in a single go is probably not even smart.

It probably does bear repeating (many times!): going UL does require both skill and experience. Fortunately, neither has any weight. :-)

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Not UL but about 17. on 07/31/2008 16:15:56 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger.

I like to think that my techniques are pretty good. Much of the weight has just been excess stuff, redundancy, etc.

For next year I'll look at the sleeping system. I figure with an infusion of money I can cut 3 pounds from pad and bag.