November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Not a question of ounces, but of space
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kellen Holt
(ikellen) - F
Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 01:05:52 MST Print View


I have long debated as to whether or not to lay down the small amount to join this place, and I can safely say now that it was worth it. However, I have a dilemna/question that the wonderful articles here couldn't help me solve, so I'm hoping my fellow ultralighters can. I started out carrying 30 lbs for just an overnighter, excluding comsumables, but now I am down to a weight that I am very happy with. Excluding comsumables and what I'm wearing, I'm carring 9.6lbs on my back. Even when I started thinking about trimming some weight, I didn't think I could get this low, but it did happen. Obviously, my big three helped - I started with a 5-lb pack, a 6-lb tent, and a 4-lb sleeping back. Now, I glide through the trails with a 2lb pack, a 2lb sleeping bag, and an 11oz tarp for shelter.

Now for my problem. My ultralighted-ness is great, but my pack is simply running out of room! I use my 3/4 Thermarest Ridgerest as a psuedo-frame, and then everything goes inside of that. I use a GoLite speed pack. I carry no luxuries, just my bag, stove, clothes (base layer, balaclava, extra pair of socks), food and water. the pack isn't bulging, but it's pretty full on an overnighter, and I'm worried that when I go on a few week long sierra trips later this summer that my pack won't be able to fit everything. Any tips/solutions?

Love this site, hope the members are just as cool!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 02:11:41 MST Print View

some suggestions:

1) 2lb bag: didn't mention temp range or bag shape (mummy, semi-rectangular, rectangular), but since volume is an issue , i'm guessing it's either a semi-rectangular/rect. bag or a synth. bag (unless you're talking very cold temps, then down bags can take up some vol. too). while synth has some advantages (and so do down bags), compressibility is NOT one of them. switch to a down bag. down, w/o taking any other precautions (i'll defer to my more experienced colleagues on this matter) should work well for you, especially for short cold treks (1-2nights) and longer warm weather ones. check the Montbell SuperStretch bags (synth = BurrowBags; down = DownHugger). I'm assuming you don't mind using a mummy bag. Some recent converts, and non-UL co-workers hate mummy bags - too confining they say. That's where the Montbell SuperStretch system comes into play. Read up on them; you might like to try one. If unsure of the Montbell SuperStretch system, i'd recommend buying an inexpensive warm weather bag (SuperStretch BurrowBag#7, NOT the U.L. BurrowBag b/c it's NOT a SuperStretch - at least not last year's model). If you like it, then spend the bucks for the proper temp range SuperStretchDownHugger. BTW the SSBB#7 weighs 26.4oz in regular length, IIRC. It's a 37-50deg F bag. If you wear your two layers of clothes and a top insulating layer in it, 37deg F should be doable and even 5 deg lower, so 32deg F, if your metabolism is up to it. the down version (SSDH#7) has the same temp specs, but weighs ~17oz in the regular length (fits only up to 5' 10"). all the Montbell bags also come in a long length. you can find lighter bags out there, but they will be cut tighter and make a deeper cut into your wallet.

2) new gear: w/o seeing a detailed gear list, i can't give much help about smaller sized gear.

3) pack: limited to the info in your post, i'll "shotgun" some pack solutions for you.
a) GossamerGear Mariposa - larger pack and it will also save you ~16oz in weight. also, the pad CAN (not must, but very highly recommended) go on the outside in the external pad pocket designed for this purpose (you'll need to switch pads - don't worry, the GossamerGear NightLight pads are very inexpensive). If a torso-length pad (typically ~30" in length) is a bit too austere for your curent stage of UL development (if so, don't worry, you'll get there), you could use two torso length Nightlight pads and still be several ounces lighter than your current pad. of course, one of the two NightLight torso-length pads would be in the external pad pocket and the other inside of the pack (~7.4oz combined weight for both pads). The light weight materials used in the Mariposa pack are not up to heavy bushwacking. The Mariposa also has two removeable carbon fiber internal stays if you need to carry heavier weight, though many people just leave them in even if carrying lighter loads.
b) GoLite Gust:since you like GoLite packs (they're very good packs) or you need a more robust fabric (e.g. for bushwacking), try the GoLite Gust pack. The small size is larger than your current pack, but the medium size is cavernous/voluminous. also, the Gust weighs ~11-12oz less than your current pack. it has a spectra/dyneema ripstop grid woven into the pack material.

check the ReaderReviews for comments on both of these packs. oddly, the Mariposa pack, even though int. frame capable, is listed under the Frameless Pack Review Section (as is the Gust pack).
c) SixMoonDesigns StarLite pack: external pad pocket. optional (only $10 extra), removeable internal stays. robust fabric with dyneema rip-stop grid. carries heavier loads better than the other two packs. 23-28oz empty pack wt, depending upon whether or not you are using the optional, removeable internal stays.

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 03:13:16 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:09:40 MST Print View

My dad has a Mariposia, it is a great pack.

PJ Said:

"you'll need to switch pads" this is known of most gossamer gear packs, that the flimsy inflatable pads wont stay in the pad pocket, but my dad uses a 3/4 thermarest, and it has never been a problem for him, it must be because it has a frame

but anyway, dont worry about getting a new pad if you get the mariposia

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:15:50 MST Print View

Kellen and RyanF,

The 3/4 Thermarest RidgeRest (RyanF, always appreciate your input; please re-read Kellen's original post. Ryan, I made a similar error, in reverse, ~15-18mos ago in a Post I made. I had never heard of the non-ProLite inflatable Thermarest pads, and assumed it was a RidgeRest that another poster in that Thread was referring to.)pad is NOT inflatable. It is probably too long to fit in the pad pocket of a Mariposa. It can be used as a cylinder inside the Mariposa, but it will occupy some pack volume in that case. Besides the GossamerGear NightLight "scored" 3-section torso pad, you can also use either 6 or 8 section Thermarest Z-rest (Z-lite??? i forget the name) pads in the external pad pocket of the Mariposa pack. The "Z" pads loose their shape after a few to many uses and are not quite as warm, IME, as the NightLight pads. However, when new, the "Z" pads are nearly as warm. Go with your preference.

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 04:19:49 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:26:20 MST Print View

Thanks Paul, I missed The "RidgeRest"

But I have a 3/4 Ridge Rest, and cut it down to the size of the Nightlight, it fits in my dads pack as well, so unless you dont want to cut your pad, you still dont have to get a new one :-)

P.S. Paul, how do you make the print Bold or underlined in your posts?
I just got back from skiing, and have to get caught up on what has happend here while I was gone :-)


Edited by ryanf on 01/17/2006 04:30:26 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:30:17 MST Print View

HTML markup tags.

remove ALL SIX exclamation points in the following lines to make the "markup" tags actually work. I needed to put them in or the "effect" that the tags produce and not the "markup" would be displayed.

<!u> underline <!/u>
<!b> bold <!/b>
<!em> italics (emphasized) <!/em>

got to go, for now. back in a few hours if you have more questions.

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 04:31:55 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:31:59 MST Print View


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 04:32:31 MST Print View

clever young man, you are!!!

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
A couple of thoughts on 01/17/2006 04:40:58 MST Print View

My first thought was also, "What pack is he using?" There are, as PJ said, at least two excellent packs out there: the Mariposa (my current favorite) and the Starlite. Both manufacturers (Gossamer Gear and Six Moon Designs) also have other packs that (at least in GG case) are larger.

The only caveat with the Six Moon Design packs is fit; I couldn't find one with a long enough torso.

It is entirely possible to use a Thermarest as a frame in the Mariposa; you simply inflate it so it's a little more rigid.

As far as the Thermarest, have you tried cutting it down? I've not yet gotten comfortable with the 30" minimalist pads that many use. But I've found a few inches longer comfortable, and 40" as much as I need. (If you want to experiment, get a full-length Z-lite and cut it into a 6-section and 8-section piece - I'm using the 6-section now, and the 8-section is about 40" long. You can cut a full-length Thermarest the same way.)

Other thoughts:

1) What's your kitchen like? You may be able to save a pound or more by reducing the number and size of pots you carry. Also, depending on the length of the trip, a canister stove might be more appropriate. For example, I have a Snow Peak Gigapower stove; the stove, small canister, spork, lighter, and a Handiwipe all fit inside it. Not only is it lighter than my alcohol stove with a pint of fuel, but it's also more compact.

2) How much clothing do you take? Is it fleece, or more compressible insulation? If you carry changes of underwear, try hiking shorts with a built-in mesh liner - no undies needed.

3) What method of water treatment do you use? Aqua Mira takes up less space than a filter. (I'm not thoroughly converted to Aqua Mira yet.) If you want a filter, consider the Katadyn Mini Filter; it only weighs 8 ounces, is very compact, and is field cleanable (no space lost to an extra element.)

Hope this helps.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 07:45:28 MST Print View

In my opinion the last thing you need is a new pack. You have a volume issue (or possibly packing issue) that needs to be resolved. You could put the sleeping pad on the outside of the pack.

I would get a Gossamer Gear Nightlight torso length and put that against your back folded up. Then also work on the volumes of your food and other gear.

With a 10 pound base weight this should be easily attainable.

Edited by jshann on 01/17/2006 07:47:25 MST.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Consider Your Longest Trip.... on 01/17/2006 08:24:23 MST Print View

And start there. Most gear you need for one night (assuming you do not forego cooking) will be the same for multi-night trips. You are traveling in the summer in the Sierra, so additional clothing is not a concern. So unless you plan to load in cameras or other "superfulous" gear...then food is the only variable. If you find you want to go out for 7 nights, and need 20 ounces of dried food per day...there is a good chance you will need a larger pack. Obviously the pack can probably handle a total load weight of 9.5 lbs of gear plus 9 lbs of food easily, but you're going to be hard pressed to get it all into 2500 cu in. (and I am only guessing at the I am not familiar with the pack).
Because I do not want to own multiple packs anymore, the volume question was the biggest for me. Which pack size would offer the most versatility without being too small or grossly oversized for my trips. I typically go out anywhere from 1 to 5 nights. A 2 pound pack that carries up to 3500 cu in. seemed to be the happy medium. I will get rid of the 4800 cu in. pack as well as th 2100 cu in. Both are fine, but generally on the extreme side of how much they load.
Just my 2 cents.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 08:58:13 MST Print View

I agree with the other suggestions here.

-Switching to a down bag could help if you haven't already.
-Consider trimming the sleeping pad. Chopping the Ridgerest from 47" to 36" will save you about 125ci [about 1/2-1 days worth of food for me]. You could also trim the width of the pad. I do well with one about 17-18" wide. The pad could also be stored outside in those straps or under the top strap--that would give you a whole 400-500ci.
-Think about larger stuff sacks for the soft goods. Too-small stuff sacks will turn into 'bricks' when full. I like mine a bit larger and a little soft, so they can squeeze together and fill in the cracks more easily.
-Not sure what's in your kitchen, but that's a good place to get a smaller pot if needed.
-You can put those all those wonderful pockets on the Speed to good use. Think about storing your shelter outside. Maybe also your water treatment stuff, raingear, cookware.
-If you use the hydration bladder inside, you'll lose a good bit of volume. Moving the bladder to an outside pocket or just switching over to bottles could help.
-Clothing is another volume thief.

If you can give a typical gear list, I'm sure there will be some more ideas for you.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Embedding Formats and Links on 01/17/2006 10:19:25 MST Print View


Let's see if I can do those clever tricks you wrote above:


So far, so good. Now, pray tell, how do I embed an URL link?

Edited by ben2world on 01/17/2006 10:24:24 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Embedding Formats and Links on 01/17/2006 11:21:29 MST Print View


sorry for the delay in responding. didn't see your Post listed in the "New Posts" when i logged into BPL. Only noticed it, like on my fifth visit to "New Posts". Perhaps i was still "blinded" from flashing LEDs in my eyes (cf. another Post in another Thread made a few minutes ago.)

ok. again, remove the two exclamation points to make it work

<!a href="">BPL home page<!/a>

note the space b/t the first "a" (the "anchor tag" as it's called) and the "h" of the "href". also, note the opening and closing dbl-quotes around the URL. note the closing ">" before the TEXT that you want displayed for the hyper-link.

is this clear? any other questions?

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 11:24:36 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Embedding Formats and Links on 01/17/2006 11:27:38 MST Print View

Let's see if it works:


It works! Thanks, Paul! Now, I just need to remember this!

Umm sorry, Kellen, for hijacking your post. OK, back to looking at more compact gear...

Edited by ben2world on 01/17/2006 11:31:43 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Embedding Formats and Links on 01/17/2006 11:32:54 MST Print View


remember you can always use the "View Source" or "View Page Source" drop-down menu choice to view the HTML markup used on a web page. Or, in Mozilla Firefox (not sure about other Browsers), you can highlight a portion of a webpage, and then using your secondary mouse button on Windows (and what? ...option/apple/control or some keyboard key and the mouse button on an Apple system) select the "View Selection Source" menu choice on the context-sensitive shortcut menu to see the HTML markup for the portion that you have selected.

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 11:44:42 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 11:33:46 MST Print View


you're right, there's probably no need for another pack. i'm unfamiliar with the GoLite pack mentioned (other than reading about it), but given its Mfr stated volume, you're right. There's no reason why all won't fit in the, what?....~3000+ cu in of total pack volume? - including some few days of food.

(RavenUL) - F
Re: Re: Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 14:12:39 MST Print View

Based on the rough gear list thrown out, and the weights mentioned, Im really suprised that its so bulky it maxs the GoLite.... however many materials are really bulky for the weight. Foam, fleece, etc, and the only way to fix that problem is get more compressible fill, a bigger pack, or both.

However, dont forget the old adage, "no matter what size pack you have, you WILL fill it to capacity".

David Spellman
(dspellman) - F
Re: Not a question of ounces, but of space on 01/17/2006 16:47:39 MST Print View

My big volume items were the sleeping bag, shelter (not in your case), pad and clothing.

Moving from a synthetic quilt to a down version made a huge difference. The Arc Alpinist wads up into a grapefruit if you need it to.

I then switched to a Virga tarptent from a Stephenson 2R (about a third the volume).

The pad goes on the outside of the pack in a pad pocket or in a roll on top of the pack. The ridgeRest inside is a LOT of volume. A Gossamer Gear NightLight is MORE volume, but lighter, so it goes on the outside of the pack in a roll (the Mariposa has a "Y" strap that's handy for this on top of the pack). But the Gossamer Gear torso pad folds up and fits in the pad pocket next to my back. Mike Maurer has made this setup work on the G6 (which has no pad pocket) as well, where he's used shock cord to place the torso pad between his back and the pack. If you need a bit more insulation, the thinlight weighs 2 ounces and adds a tiny roll to your pack.

Clothing took some doing (I'm an XXL on top), but a down insulation layer replacing a synthetic one does wonders, and if you're carrying fleece, by all means get something more compressible.

The whole kitchen fits into a 700 ml snowpeak pot. Except for fuel (alcohol), which rides in a Platypus L'il Nipper.

Kellen Holt
(ikellen) - F
hmm... on 01/17/2006 18:44:00 MST Print View

Wow, thanks for the awesome response. Let me give some more details to help other responses.

I do have a down bag, specifically an REI Sub-kilo (20deg F, 2lbs~). In terms of clothing, I usually hike with a poly tee and a pair of zip-off pants. In my clothing stuff sack, I carry a golite L/S zip top, a pair of REI powerstretch tights, an extra pair of socks, and sometimes a 100 weight fleece crew. I carry a down jacket when its going to be 32 or below, but most times if I'm not moving for long periods, I get myself in my sleeping bag.

I was looking at the pack today, and I think I could use the many mesh pockets on the outside. I already carry my golite ether windshirt in one pocket, and my Sierra Designs Rain Parka in another, but I think I could get more gear in those pockets.

I already have some ideas of how to help my own situation. I carry a standard water filter, but I think the combo of the mini-hiker and some aqua mira, or just the aqua-mira would help. I think I might be able to get my sleeping bag in a smaller stuff sack, and I think this will help the most. Right now I have it in a GoLite medium stuff sack. Any suggestions on an ultralight stuff sack a tad smaller than this?