Ok, I’m taking the plunge.
This is my first post and my first attempt at lightening my load so be kind!
Sorry for the ‘book’, I do have a question at the end if you want to skip my introductions!
Up until last year my base weight would have been around 50 lbs. Not really sure since I never weighed it!
I have done a lot of short trips over the years and a couple of weeklong trips.
As I started to plan an upcoming weeklong trip to SEKI (Rae Lakes Loop with side trips to Charlotte Lake and East Lake), I decided to try to get my pack weight down.
Starting at the first of this year, I replaced most of my gear with ‘lightweight’ versions.
Pack: Old External frame --> Osprey Aether 70
Bag: 5 LB Down --> 3 LB Big Agnes +15 Lost Ranger
Tent: 6 LB 2 person --> 4.5 LB REI Quarter Dome T2
Also bought a ton of other gear including a 'lightweight' camp chair, lightweight clothes including Primaloft Jacket and a Fleece Jacket.
I was feeling pretty good. My base weight (although I didn’t call it that) was down to about 35 LBS.
I wasn’t sure what else to do. I had just spent a bundle on the lightest gear available, so I must be near the limit for comfortable and safe backpacking, right?
I knew there were fringe extremists called Ultra-Light who probably ate grubs and bark beetles and had hiked so many miles their feet were solid callous so could hike barefoot, all in the name of bragging rights to some silly sub 10 LB base weight. But there are extremists in any sport so I wasn’t interested.
Then I made a HUGE mistake. I found BPL. I joined after a week or so, and have been reading the articles and forums for WEEKS.
Guess what, there are much lighter alternatives that what I had JUST BOUGHT! Finding this resource for going lighter is taxing my wife’s limits on her support of my hobby/obsession (my term/her term). Does everyone get hooked into this as much as I am???
Safety for me was defined in packing for every conceivable scenario (be prepared!) and comfort was having a base camp that I could relax in.
You all had me start to question these foundational premises. I really wanted to bring that ‘lightweight’ camp chair. You made me weigh the ‘cost’ of carrying that chair for 48 hours of hiking versus the 2 hours I would realistically be sitting in it.
OK, so there are ‘normal’ people who somehow manage to carry light loads and still are comfortable and safe. (still think some of you are fringe though!)
I realized that being comfortable for the miles and miles of hiking would also make the entire trip more enjoyable so perhaps I needed to see how you did this…
I found that I didn’t need to carry a 4 season load in the summer, and I could do without a lot of the little things that REALLY add up.
Based on your many helpful posts and articles, I have been working feverishly on getting my base weight down. I leave on my trip in 3 days so I am out of time, but am happy to say my base weight is now down to 22 lbs for a 7 day trip in the Sierras in July. I know that for a lot of you this is more than you would carry for a total pack weight, but I am at my limit for cutting (for now!) and out of money as well, so I will have to give this a try next week and re-evaluate and lighten up based on what I learn.
Here are the major changes I made in the last 2 weeks!
Pack: Still the Oprey Aether 70. Have been looking at the Exos but need to get my weight down further.
Bag: Picked up the Montbell SS UL 30
Tent: Just got my Contrail yesterday. (Thanks Henry for the FAST shipment and late night emails) Seam sealed it last night and an excited about giving this a try!!!
Lots of other smaller changes as well, from ground covers to rain gear etc.
I’ll post my gear list and ask for ideas once I get back and digest my experience from my first foray into ‘somewhat light weight’ territory.
This is a long way of introducing myself and saying thanks to everyone and BPL for all the help.
I do have one question (for now) and would appreciate advice.
Given the trip will be next week for 7 days, in the Sierras with camps at 10,500 feet and a max elevation of about 12,000 feet, can I go with this for upper body?
Looks like the expected temps will not go below 32, but I don’t want to be unsafe either.
I had planned on bringing a Primaloft Jacket at 17 oz, but really would like to leave it behind, and can’t afford to replace it just yet…
Driducks Rain suit 10.5
REI Woodland Fleece Jacket 13.5
Silk LS shirt 3.8
RailRiders Eco-Mesh LS Shirt 7.2
Patagonia Capilene 2 tee 5.3
I know I can wear all of the above if needed for layers and warmth. Will it be enough?