Here goes with my first post to a BPL forum!!
As a prelude to bigger things in the not terribly distant future (such as a mid-summer
week- long backpack in the Kings Canyon backcountry via one of the nasty eastside passes
with no quota issues) I decided to just take off on an overnight backpack and see how well
I could do reducing my weight.
The game is/was to see how light I could get without spending any money and working
with gear I already have.
The hike was in the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson. I started Saturday
around 3:30 in the afternoon, and hurried to hike the 5 miles (and 3000 feet up)
to my chosen camp by sunset (and just made it). The next day I climbed to the top
of Mount Wrightson and returned to my vehicle, the overall loop being about 14.5
miles with 4300 feet of elevation gain (and loss). Daytime temperatures were
60-70 degrees and quite windy (this was March 28 and 29 of 2009). Nighttime
temperatures dropped to 35 degrees, with a stout wind (near 30 miles per hour).
My pack weighed 18 pounds and 5 ounces (293 ounces) at the end of the trip.
Here is my list, followed by my own analysis and comments, but I am just
getting started in this, so don't hold back! I am trying to change my way
of thinking first, and will make some strategic gear purchases once I learn
enough to try to do them right.
42 oz - Dana Design "Bomb Pack" (1800 cubic inches)
52 oz - Marmot Pinnacle Long 15 degree down bag (800 cubic inches stuffed)
30 oz - Thermarest Trail Comfort regular (20x72) pad.
16 oz - Mountain Hardware Bivy Sack.
4 oz - 2 mil polyester ground sheet.
22 oz - Jet Boil stove and cannister
13 oz - Guardian Sweetwater filter
12 oz - Patagonia R1 Hoody
11 oz - Patagonia Wool 4 pants
9 oz - Patagonia R0.5 zip
9 oz - Patagonia Down vest
3 oz - Patagonia Houdini shell
2 oz - Empty 2 liter water bottle
8 oz - Two Camelback "performance" bottles
10 oz - Two apples
26 oz - Food (1 pound gorp, 10 ounces cous cous).
1 oz - Extra socks
1 oz - Hat
14 oz - Extra food, never eaten. (3 energy bars and 3 gels)
8 oz - small binoculars, never used.
21 oz - odds and ends (knife, flashlight, thermometer, lighter, spoon ...)
Notice that the itemized list includes the 36 ounces of food eaten.
The apples were nice!
I was just warm enough in the 15 degree bag, inside the bivy bag,
wearing the Wool 4 pants and the R 0.5 layer and the R1 hoody both.
I tried removing the R 0.5 in the middle of the night,
but could not get cozy and comfortable enough to get back to sleep.
But this is just me, I have always been an anomalously cold sleeper.
Based on this, I should add 20 degrees to any bags rating and plan on wearing
thermals at that temperature. I would not have had a comfortable night
carrying any lighter sleeping bag.
Yes I do like Patagonia gear. During the warmest part of the day I was wearing
just a pair of Patagonia Ultra shorts and a silkweight T-shirt. That Houdini
shell is a fantastic piece of gear, more bang per ounce than anything else I own.
Footwear was a pair of pretty badly trashed Salomon trail running shoes,
that are too far gone to keep using for serious hiking anymore.
Almost every piece of gear was used and appreciated. I never did peek through the
binoculars, nor did I carry a camera as I often would. I did have almost a pound
of extra food, but I don't feel entirely bad about that. The gorp was a last minute
impulse buy (and a good one!). I was carrying a set of trekking poles to try them out,
but don't expect to make them a permanent addition.
The water filter enabled me to pull water out of springs on two occasions, allowing
me to travel with a small water load most of the time, so the integrated product
of miles and water load was reduced thanks to the pump. The water in the springs
looked good, but would have been very hard to collect without the pump.
The above totals do not include water, which varied through the hike with a maximum
of 3 liters (about 6 pounds or 96 ounces) being carried
just before making camp the first night.
The camelback bottles are heavy for what they do, the capacity of the pair is 44 ounces,
whereas the 2 liter soda bottle carries 64 ounces with 2 ounces of weight.