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How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume?
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Zachary Crane
(zcrane) - F

Locale: Midwest, USA
How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume? on 10/23/2009 18:15:29 MDT Print View

NOTE: Sorry, I just realized this isn't the best section for such a post. Moderators, please move as you see fit. My apologies.

When looking at gear, does the size of something ever trump your weight guidelines?

For example, I'm looking for a cup. I see two decent options - REI Ti Ware Sierra Cup (1.6 oz) or the Sea To Summit X-Mug (2.4 oz). This isn't a very good example, because a) a cup isn't 100% necessary and b) either one would fit in a pot (I think), but you get the idea. Anyways - the X-Mug weight slightly more, but it collapses to a flat object, only .5 inches thick.

So, I'm sure you kind of get the idea. Does the size of something ever influence your decision more than weight?

Edited by zcrane on 10/23/2009 18:20:44 MDT.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
"How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume?" on 10/23/2009 19:56:06 MDT Print View

I sometimes take an x-small thermarest prolite 3 mattress instead of a short CCF pad. The decision is only party based on packing volume/convenience though, because the prolite is also more comfortable for me. But if I'm trying to go really light I stick with the CCF.

I can't think of anything else where I would carry a heavier version just due to packing size. Although I could see carrying something like a titanium pot instead of a beer can pot because you can pack the titanium anywhere without worrying about crushing it. I still prefer the tin can though.

For me, once I neared UL base weight, packing volume became less an issue than it had when I carried traditional gear. Now that I'm approaching SUL base weight, it's rarely an issue at all for me.

I'm guessing SUL hikers that get out often for trips of 5 or more days between resupply start battling volume issues due to food.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Rarely on 10/26/2009 23:56:29 MDT Print View

Yeah I second the above poster. Volume rarely trumps weight. As you move towards lighter gear it naturally gets more compact so volume isn't really a concern. The only time I would opt for the more compact item is if the weight and function are pretty much identical. The only item that I don't really like the bulk of is a full sized closed cell pad like a RidgeRest. Those are a bit bulky and I might carry an extra ounce or two to avoid this.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume on 10/27/2009 14:00:06 MDT Print View

I bring a larger-than-absolutely-needed pack for this and other reasons. Thus I never have to choose to carry a heavier item over one that is lighter but bulkier.

Also, the larger pack allows me to place rehydrating food and other delicate items (e.g. crackers) at the top of the pack where it won't get crushed (and possibly spill all over everything).

Yes, my pack weighs a few ounces more. But since I use the same pack for all trips (can't afford to own many different packs for all the different conditions and trip lengths), I'm destined to carry a larger-than-needed pack on most trips, anyway.

Edited by ewolin on 10/27/2009 14:00:47 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Weight vs Volume on 10/28/2009 09:33:51 MDT Print View

Use the smallest (and this usually means) the lightest options you can find.

Use skills to minimize the size (and thus, the weight) of items.

I see too many people with giant 4-liter water bladders in places with a lot of water. (these have a purpose in southern arizona, not in northern washington).

If you are in a quandry, take the SMALLER (lower volume) option. The energy you save by having a lighter item might come into play when you need to THINK of a efficient way to use that smaller item. And it is okay to THINK in the mountains.

I need to stop for water more often is OKAY. I need to have two cups of coffee because my mug is so small is OKAY. I need to find a very sheltered and flat sleeping spot because my sleeping bag is so small - this is all OKAY.

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Clever packing & planning on 10/28/2009 10:23:38 MDT Print View

With my 45L pack I am inclined to take way to much junk. My 13L pack forces me to plan ahead. It has also inspired me to start making my own gear like my sleeping pads, stuff sacks, pop can stoves, and soon a tent. I don't know why but I like the idea of having a pack this size because most would think your on a day hike.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume? on 10/28/2009 15:02:06 MDT Print View

Large volume can allow you to pack down and synthetic clothing at less compression. This can be good for them.

Large volume also lets you carry several loaves of fresh French bread and cheese without destroying it ... :-)

It's the weight which really counts.


b hitchcock
(slowoldandcold) - F
weight v volume on 10/28/2009 15:22:01 MDT Print View

hi roger ----whats your idea of large volume? ---regards from uk

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: weight v volume on 10/28/2009 17:07:37 MDT Print View

Hi Slowoldandcold...

> -whats your idea of large volume?
Leading question, ennit? :-)

I don't think any special volume is 'large' per se. My point was rather that the focus should be on the weight of your pack, and if the pack you have is a bit larger than needed, well, no matter.

It's when your pack is too small that there is trouble, with things tied on the outside. Here in Oz that is a sure way of having the (external) stuff lost or trashed in the scrub.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Weight vs Volume on 11/09/2009 14:25:05 MST Print View

>I see too many people with giant 4-liter water bladders in places with a lot of water. (these have a purpose in southern arizona, not in northern washington).

Mike, point taken. However, many of us cannot afford multiple pieces of gear that serve the same purpose. So, if someone needed a water bladder and could only afford one, it may make perfect sense to some people to purchase a larger bladder that could accommodate them in dryer climates, as well as areas where water is plentiful. Small weight penalty? Sure. But if we all could afford everything we could ever want, this wouldn't be an issue. I also do realize that empty soda bottles are free and are often used instead of bladders. However, I don't think that negates my point.

Sorry if this sounded like a b**chy post! Just presenting the flip side :)

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
"How Do You Handle Weight vs Volume?" on 11/09/2009 16:09:31 MST Print View

The smaller item takes up less space allowing for a smaller/lighter pack.

Sleeping pads seem to be the only time volume might be more important than weight. To a point anyway.