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Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
On water weight on 08/09/2009 12:33:33 MDT Print View

I also think water is a personal choice for how much one carries.

While it is the heaviest thing in your pack, it is also one of the most important things you can carry.

2L isn't that much really. I am willing to carry that much just so I have it. If you are a water guzzler or tend to overheat, by all means carry it! If you are a lucky water sipper who seems to get by on nothing, well....1L might be enough.

As well, it depends on the heat, humidity and water sources. If water is a mile apart, not such a big issue. But when you add in a couple miles and a 2 or 3K gain in open sun, water becomes more important.

So before you carry less water, do check out the water sources carefully.

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
Good! on 08/09/2009 12:42:19 MDT Print View

Those are two very sound posts, one needs to always consider the variables in where/what one is doing, BEFORE making gear choices.

I will go alone into the most remote places in Canada and have for decades. I WILL NOT compromise my safety and endanger SAR crews by being poorly equipped and I ALWAYS carry water, often 2 liters or more.

If/when I have some spare $$$$$, I would love to have Dan McHale build me my dream pack of Dyneema and this would weigh considerably less than the Mystery Ranch packs I now find so satisfactory....BUT, the dollars involved would also pay for a part of my flight into where I intend to spend a solo month next year, so.........

"Horses for courses", IMHO.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/09/2009 14:05:10 MDT Print View

I really respect your insight and experience--your posts have been very helpful on a number of topics.

But I'm not so sure about this:

"Remember, this is a lightweigh camping forum. With that in mind, the 37 oz backpack is not a lightweight item. It is a "traditional" item."

I own a >37 oz pack (Osprey 58), purchased partly based on the "highly recommended" rating from this magazine, and other recommendations on these forums. Obviously it is not an ultralight pack, but BPL seems to consider it lightweight. Perhaps there is an internal debate amongst BPL staffers as to what defines "lightweight"--if so, that's fine, but I would like to know about it, rather than have one or two staffers make statements which seem to contradict the magazine's position.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/09/2009 22:07:09 MDT Print View

When I post on the BPL forums I'm typically posting my own personal thoughts and opinions, not necessarily those of BPL. If an individual wants my opinion on how to save weight and they have a 37 oz. pack I'm going to suggest they try a frameless pack. This isn't because I don't like the Vapor Trail (I love Granite Gear and have and still do own dozens of their products). Also, this isn't because I want someone to purchase something made by the company I work for (Granite Gear makes their stuff in China as well by the way). I also happen to own two packs from ULA made right here in the good ol' USA. If someone wants advice on how to save weight from their gear list I'm going to provide my opinions. I don't see why others would argue against it - they should instead provide their own opinions regarding the OPs questions.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/10/2009 02:35:37 MDT Print View

"Thanks for the input Sam. I'm certainly still in the process of reducing weight so some of my gear is just not up to snuff. It'll happen, but over time. I do worry about water crossing when the temps can be down around freezing. I'm certainly not trudging through in my trail runners and then standing around camp while my toes freeze. I like the ability to get back into something dry, but maybe I'm just a pansy."

Hello David,
A solution to your problem which is lighter than crocs is goretex socks. I use non-goretex running shoes and carry goretex socks. I can cross a cold stream in just my shoes and then put on my socks and waterproof socks to keep my socks dry. For short trips in camp goretex socks can be used as slippers.

Are you all carrying 2 person tents and stoves? If not why not allocate some weight to your friends

Edited by Derekoak on 08/10/2009 02:41:30 MDT.

David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
Re: Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/10/2009 05:25:48 MDT Print View

Wow, this is the thread that just wont quit. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. There seems to be a lot of discussion on what constitutes "lightweight". Maybe someone could write an article with a table that present the acceptable weights for all pieces of gear so there wont be any more misunderstanding. Personally I don't care. I know that many of the principles of lightweight backpacking appeal to me and I love that I'm able to learn about them from the incredibly experienced people on this site. However, the point of my backpacking trips is to experience the wonderful outdoors and have a great time doing it. If I need to carry a 37oz pack to do that, then it's ok with me. Of course, the more I learn, the less I need to carry. So inevitably my overall weights will continue to go down.

Thanks again!

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
Maybe..... on 08/10/2009 07:11:12 MDT Print View

...the more I learn, the less I need to carry...

Well, no, this is not always the case, no offence to anyone intended here.

The amount or weight you ...need to a result of what you are going to do, how long you will be doing it and where you will be doing it. The gear and supplies one requires for a week's hike, solo, over "The Earl Grey Pass" in S.E.B.C. or up the Kechika River in northwestern B.C. are quite different and tend to weigh more than what one would use for a trek of equal length in southern Cali. or along the AT, for example.

We have an old "lifesaving trail" here in B.C., the "West Coast Trail" and it is hugely popular with both B.C.ers and tourist backpackers. Some jog this trail and carry absolutely minimal gear....BUT, there are LOTS (by BC standards) of people and even a CCG Light Station there, so, you will have help if you are injured.

In most of B.C. and even more so in Canada's northern regions, vast, harsh, empty and no place to take chances, you will never see another person on a week's solo hike and you NEED to be able to survive an accident with what is in your pack....hence, it will weigh more.

So, I think that one cannot really state that such and such is too heavy or should never be carried, UNTIL, one considers the specific situation concerned. It is better to carry a 30 lb. pack as I usually do for 3-5 day jaunts and have everything you need, rather than cut it to 17 lbs. and not have an item or two that might well keep you alive until help reaches you, should an emergency situation happen.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
bear spray a must on 08/10/2009 08:52:21 MDT Print View


I'm late posting on bear spray because I was camping in the Slough Creek area of Yellowstone Park, just south of the Absarokas. In four days our group saw twelve bears, most of them uncomfortably near the trail. Slough is generally flat; on a "normal" Beartooth or Absaroka trail it would have been very easy to have come upon one (or two - most were a mother with cub)very suddenly. Everyone should carry it, as Mike says on an easily accessible holster.

September usually has the best weather for backpacking the Beartooth-Absaroka area but also greatly increased traffic, with many stock parties. You might also check Montana's hunting regulations to see if you will be competing with hunters (and outfitters) when you will be there. If so consider some bright colors for safety's sake.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/10/2009 08:57:02 MDT Print View

Wow - this thread has a life of it's own.

I made a comment in this thread about a 37 ounce pack being a "traditional" piece of gear, and NOT lightweight. That is all me, my personal opinion, and I didn't dwell on it before I added it to the forum.

This thread got started at the same time as a thread on the GoLite JAM2.


There was a lot of back and forth as people noted just what they were cutting off to get their pack even lighter. I really get into this kind of discussion, I find it exciting and inspiring. (and fun!) I got a brand new GoLite JAM pack from 26 ounces down to 19 ounces, and I enjoyed every beautiful snip of the scissors. I'll be taking this 19 oz pack into the northern rockies for 6-days next week. That's a 18 ounce savings over the 37 ounce pack in the gear list on this thread. Is that a big deal? Not really, but I just think it's FUN to figure out a tidy way to shave off those ounces.

= = =

Now, I enjoy going thru these gear lists. People ask for advice, and I chime in. I also like giving BOLD advice. I've found that the benefits of a light pack are hugely rewarding for me personally. And it seems like I play the role of the zealot.

What is the better style of pack weight reduction? Shaving a little off here and there, and reducing weight over a long time frame? Or, being bold, and truly re-thinking the paradigm? No good answer here, but I have had only good experiences from aggressively trying to lighten my load.

= = =

I'll add that I am very familiar with the Beartooth terrain, and camping in the northern rockies. I have done a LOT of trips around here longer than 6-days, so I feel well suited to share my insights. I teach advanced lightweight camping for two different schools. And I have taken total beginner campers out into the northern Rockies with the back-pack weighting under 25 ounces. For me - I find this experience is hugely rewarding.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/10/2009 09:51:38 MDT Print View

Mike and Sam - I think I can with confidence say on behalf of the collective membership, that we appreciate your posts and inputs for obvious reasons. I have scoured over both of your personal websites several times for UL and SUL tidbits to help my own approach. This is why I continue to be a member (for the past 3 years) and why these types of discussions are healthy for the forum.

My comment(s) were not directed as any sort of attack but instead to illicite discussion around generalizations. I don't use a Vapor Trail so this is not in any way a defence of the pack.

Traditional backpacking information is full of generalizations. For example, freestanding tents are more stable, hipbelt tensioners are required, high ankle leather boots are essential for the backcountry, etc. What we need on this forum, especially from the BPL staff, are specifics around the recommendations. You both mention "personal opinion" (thanks for the links to the gear lists Sam) but why is 37oz too heavy for a 'framed' pack? If it is in consideration of all of the gear on the OP's list then this should be part of the discussion. If it is just 'heavy' because, I would like to know why.

In any event, lets leave this side track alone and I apologize to Dave (CamperDave) for the digression.


Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Bold advice from BPL staffers? Keep it coming! on 08/10/2009 10:29:23 MDT Print View

Mike wrote:

>Now, I enjoy going thru these gear lists. People ask for advice, and I chime in. I also like giving BOLD advice. I've found that the benefits of a light pack are hugely rewarding for me personally. And it seems like I play the role of the zealot.

Please keep doing it! Sam too! Constant envelope pushing and challenging of accepted norms are what make light backpacking, BPL, and its community exciting!

David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
Re: Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/10/2009 10:36:58 MDT Print View

"In any event, lets leave this side track alone and I apologize to Dave (CamperDave) for the digression."

Don't worry about me. I'm new to this site and it can be a bit intimidating at times. Call me a loser but I feel some sense of pride that somehow it was "my" thread that got a good discussion going. :-)


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list - Lightweight Backpacking (WS1-LWB)-3 Day on 08/10/2009 12:03:52 MDT Print View

The comment about the pack weight isn't much different than a requirement that the "Footwear" for the "Lightweight Backpacking (WS1-LWB) 3-Day" has a "Max Weight" of 28 ounces.

My Northface Light Hiking footwear weigh 30 ounces a pair. Better than that high weight my strange feet like the way they fit. Would I give them up for something 2 ounces lighter that hurt my feet, I don't think so.

Give me a total weigh not to exceed and I expect I could shave 1/3 of the weight off your total.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Advice from the pros on 08/11/2009 09:04:24 MDT Print View

Mike and Sam (and others!) -

Do keep it coming. Earning a living makes me at best an infrequent backpacker, and I welcome whatever advice you true outdoorsmen provide.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/11/2009 12:38:14 MDT Print View

A few comments, then I promise to get back to the OP...

Mike, I just want to say "Thanks" for your greater introspection lately. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like you've put... if not more thought, then more reasoning behind your thoughts in recent posts. It just feels like you've been more open and sharing of why you say things. The additional insight is great, and it makes it "easier" to read things than straight-blunt "No, you're wrong" stuff. It is good to re-think the paradigm. So, seriously, thanks. And you're right, ultimately this stuff is about FUN.

The reason I called out the "a 37 oz backpack is too heavy for backpacking" comment Sam made and the "traditional weight" comment isn't because I have an issue with anyone expressing their opinion, or even because I disagree, but because it was such a blanket statement. One of the things I most value about BPL is its relative objectivity. Broad sweeping generalizations like that fly in the face of reason, rationale, and balanced appraisal. I try to keep things tempered. There's a difference between helping someone save weight and making blanket, "always true" statements. If Sam still has "dozens" of Granite Gear products and ULA, then I find it hard to believe that even he finds those "too heavy for backpacking." It all depends on the circumstances.

The "traditional" thing caught my ire because there's no way a two-pound pack is a "traditional" or, to borrow from farming, "conventional" weight pack. It's just false given the things available on the market. I do appreciate and encourage challenging the paradigm, but I try really hard to keep it real. That said, some of you may recall a pack I've mentioned in earlier threads... an old Gerry pack, around 60 or 70 liters, a bunch of zippers, framed but super basic suspension, leather patches... in short, a 30-year old pack that weighs a hair over 2 pounds. Interesting.

For the record, yeah, I'd shoot for a pack around 2 pounds or less... just not if it doesn't fit as well. I'm completely enamored with the ULA Ohm, framed and 21 ounces. The packs I'm "building" now (boy, when you're learning to make them they sure come out ugly!) are all framed and 24 ounces or less. My base is under 10 pounds.

To the OP: No amount of convincing could make me believe you need two headlamps. Ditch one. (And here's where I come across all blunt and "rude" like I used to think Mike C was being... but he was just trying to be efficient, like the pack lists...) Paracord, you probably don't need two mini-biners. Seems like a lot of hand sani. The sleeping bag is good, but still over two pounds. Big investment to make a change, but switching to a WM Ultralite could save you about a half pound. I used to think I needed a 15-20 degree bag for three-season use, but have found that a good, conservatively rated 30-35 degree bag is good for just about all but winter. (Especially if you wear some clothes to bed.) Point being, you could easily drop your bag weight to 16-20 ounces. Generic briefs? That scares me a little. Please tell us you're not wearing cotton. You have a quarter pound in TP and baby wipes. Ouch! I can't remember the last time I carried TP. Actually went "public" with that on a local TV interview about backpacking and reducing our footprint. They seemed to be fascinated with the concept. But using leaves is a simple deal. I love wet ones! I'll admit that on some long trips I've pack a few baby wipes as a luxury. But I do mean a few wipes, and it's only been on a few trips. If you insist, limit yourself to a Luxury .5-1 ounce. Lastly, I'm not a bladder person, but since I can carry a 1-L bottle for about 1.5 oz, 3.5 oz seems "really" heavy for a 3.5oz bladder. Could you use a bigger bladder and ditch the other bottle?

Incidentally, it could be worth checking out an Ohm or Circuit, maybe a Mariposa Plus... it'd save you nearly a pound, but add a frame and, to me, add comfort while saving weight. I'd also consider switching to spectra line, could save you another couple ounces easy. Your first aid kit might be perfectly reasonable, but take a real hard look at it and the rest of your gear, and see if you have any multi-use items you could take out of that kit. For example, a re-used plastic baggie is great for wound irrigation and could replace an irrigation syringe if you had one. I'd consider switching to toothpowder instead of toothpaste... cut 90% of that weight potentially.

I'd consider your not-crocs and GPS luxuries. It's a personal decision. Neither are really necessary. It'd be an easy way to cut nearly a pound out of your pack. But if one or both brings great pleasure to your life, by all means keep one or both of the items.


Edited by 4quietwoods on 08/11/2009 12:54:13 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Beartooth Wilderness 6-day list on 08/11/2009 15:54:03 MDT Print View

A 37-oz backpack isn't necessary for a six day trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Please don't mistake a specific comment made about a specific trip as a blanket statement.

Perhaps I need to be more specific and mention my opinions and suggestions in this thread were devoted to the questions raised in this thread.

Henry Blake
(Dragon) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Bandanas? on 08/14/2009 20:34:02 MDT Print View

Reading this thread took me alot longer than I ever expected (after going to some of the other links mentioned). but eventually I felt like most everything got said. Except I never saw anyone question two (2) bandanas. One should suffice I should think, although I don't personally see the need for any at all. Enjoy your trip, and tell us a bit about it when you return. Also, whether you're leaving anything home next time that you took along with this time.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
unbearable lightness of being on 09/20/2009 14:32:04 MDT Print View

If all a person has is a 'heavy' 2 lb.,5 oz pack for their 6 day Marshall trip ( sounds heavier listed as 37 oz ), are they supposed to run out and buy a lighter pack? I'm wondering what the negative effects of going with the 2 lb., 5 oz pack would be (this of course is not heavy at all). Many people get lighter packs and gain nothing but tormenting discomfort. I'm thinking the negative effects might be so minor that a person could use that weight pack forever and and a day. I can understand the unbearable crushing psychological weight, however, if one of my buddies on the trip had a 31 oz pack. The 'heavy' pack may be unnecessary but is it necessary to change it? Is the tipping point physical need? I don't think so.

Also, the OP admitts to never backpacking out west, never for more than 3 days and considers himself inexperienced. This seems to go unheard by the some here. Besides, a few extra items of clothing can sure help make a better pillow. I'm impressed by the overall rationality I see in this thread

Edited by wildlife on 09/20/2009 18:51:36 MDT.