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Going from 15 to 10
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Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Going from 15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 16:25:49 MST Print View

Hey everyone, I've been browsing this forum for a while but this is my first post.

I started 2009 with a base weight of over 40 lbs, but when my wife and I began to plan a 5 day trip in April to Sequoia National Park, we invested in Golite Jams, lighter/smaller sleeping bags, and a Tarptent, and our UL journey had begun.

I'm now down to under 15 lbs, but I'd like to get my basic three season weight under 10. When I go backpacking with my wife, my weight will obviously be less, as we'll be splitting some gear.

I think it's pretty obvious that my biggest potential weight savings is with the sleeping bag. I'm saving up for something better and if anyone has a Golite Ultra 20 for under $150, please let me know. As for my other gear, I'm not quite sure where to start. I'd love to hear any suggestions.



Camera Camera - Canon Elph 780IS in case 8.10
Camera Gorillapod 1.60
Clothing Arc'teryx 100 wt Fleece 9.30
Clothing Beanie 4.60
Clothing Campmor Windbreaker/Shell 12.30
Clothing Gloves 2.80
Clothing Polypro Lightweight Long John Bottom 6.50
Clothing Polypro Lightweight Long John Top 6.20
Clothing Sleeping Socks (wool) 5.90
Cooking Alcohol Bottle ( 8 oz water bottle) 0.50
Cooking Bic lighter 0.50
Cooking Penny Alcohol Stove 1.00
Cooking Snowpeak 600 w/ mesh bag 3.00
Cooking Spork 0.60
Cooking Windscreen 0.40
Hydration Filter - Katadyn Hiker in Ziploc Bag 11.80
Hydration Platypus 1 Liter Bottle 1.20
Hydration Platypus 2 Liter Zip Bladder 5.70
Hygiene Sun Block / Bug Spray / Chapstick 9.50
Hygiene Toiletries 3.20
Hygiene Towel 1.40
Illumination Headlamp - Black Diamond Gizmo 1.60
Illumination Squeeze Light 0.50
Misc. Emergency Blanket 1.70
Misc. First Aid / Repair Kit 4.70
Misc. Leatherman Kick 5.20
Misc. Map & Compass 2.10
Misc. Notebook & 2 pens 2.20
Sleeping Bag - Slumberjack Super Guide (long) 40.40
Sleeping Pad - POE Ether Thermo 6 w/ sack (long) 22.30
Sleeping Tarptent Cloudburst 2 36.90
Storage Pack - Golite Jam2 (3100 ci) 22.00
Storage Trash Compactor Bag Pack Liner 2.20

Total Weight 237.90 ounces, 14.87 lbs

Edited by Knaight on 11/02/2009 16:27:39 MST.

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
savings on 11/02/2009 16:34:18 MST Print View

Here are some areas you can cut down on
Hydration Platypus 2 Liter Zip Bladder 5.70-why so heavy? My 2 liter hydration pack is only 3 ounces.

Hygiene Sun Block / Bug Spray / Chapstick 9.50- you can repackage these to bring only what you need for the trip

Hydration Filter - Katadyn Hiker in Ziploc Bag 11.80 can switch to tablets or the frontier pro.

Clothing Campmor Windbreaker/Shell 12.30 - if this is just for wind and not waterproof, you could save about 8 oz here

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: savings on 11/02/2009 16:41:37 MST Print View

Not sure why the bladder is so heavy, that's just what it came to when I weighed it. It's got that zip thing on top, which combined with the bladder & hose comes out to 5.7.

Any tips on how to repackage the sun block? I looked around Wal-mart for small containers, but couldn't really find anything. I agree that carrying a whole tube around is ridiculous, and it's probably costing me 5 or more oz.

I'm a little iffy on switching to tablets for two reasons: 1) The chemicals. 2) The price. I'm probably willing to be convinced, though. The weight savings would be pretty awesome. It's just hard to imagine spending $10 or more every single time I want to go out for those Aqua Mira tablets.

On the windbreaker, it's water resistant and has stood up to some pretty good rain, but it wouldn't be my item of choice in a huge storm. What gear would you recommend here? A 4 oz windbreaker sounds awesome...


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Here's 45oz on 11/02/2009 16:45:11 MST Print View

Here's a start.
1) Your jam2 can be stripped down to about a pound. (-6oz)
2) You can switch out sleeping pads and use a ridgerest short and use the pad folded up as the frame for your pack (-13)
3) Switch out your leatherman for a lightweight blade (-4)
4) Replace your SB with a golite UL20 (18oz) or similiar. It will at least handle three season in sierra. (-22)

Grand Total -45oz for about $200.

But, you have to add in the beloved bear canister so you gain your weight right back. Also, you can fit the above setup with a large bearvault in a jam2 with room to spare.

Gordon Towne
(gordontowne) - MLife

Locale: New England
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 16:52:48 MST Print View

I'll agree- the thing that stands out the most for me (aside from the sleeping bag that you've already pointed out) is the Campmor shell. If you are looking for something waterproof here you can save about six ounces by picking up a relatively inexpensive Driducks rainsuit.

If it were me, I might consider consolidating the Platypus 1 liter bottle and 2 liter bladder for one 3 liter Platypus Hoser. You could save a few ounces there.

Since you don't specify the contents of your first aid or toiletries kit, I can't really comment, but you might be able to make some cuts there as well.

Hope this helps!

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Great advice so far! on 11/02/2009 17:21:18 MST Print View

I should clarify. I took the Sequoia NP trip this past April, and that's when I started getting into UL. I've done about 10 trips since with my new gear and have been slowly paring it down and adding to it. The alcohol stove is one of the best new editions that was added in August. Saved a couple pounds between that and the Snow Peak.

Some great ideas here:

-Surprised I haven't stripped down my Jam2 yet. I'll definitely do that.

-How durable are Driducks? I do a fair bit of bushwhacking.

-Consolidating into a 3 liter Platypus bladder does make some sense, but I like having the 1 liter bottle for pouring water and for blowing up as a pillow at night. I'll have to consider this one, though.

-Definitely going to switch to a lighter knife, but I'd like something with pliers. Any recommendations?

-How warm is a ridgerest? Almost every night I've spent out this year was below 40 degrees. The Ether Thermo 6 has been good to me.

-The toiletries are as basic as it gets. Light toothbrush broken in half, very small bottle of Purell, 1 oz of Dr. Bonners.

-First Aid/repair kit is pretty basic as well. A few bandaids and alcohol wipes, a few ibuprofin, a gauze pad, tweezers, duct tape, single-use neosporin, needle, thread, super glue, small bit of bug mesh, small bit of nylon patch. The one thing I've thought about losing is an ace bandage. Never used it, but it does seem like a good item to carry and doesn't weigh too much.

Thanks for everyone's help thus far!

Edited by Knaight on 11/02/2009 17:22:33 MST.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Going from 15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 17:22:10 MST Print View

In addition to the things already posted, I'd suggest considering going from two sleeping bags to a two person quilt - expensive, but it will cut your sleeping bag weights in half and, afterall, it is your wife. If you can sleep on the short ridgerest pads, you'll also save a lot of weight there (or splurge on short NeoAirs). You should be able to cut the beanie and glove weights in half as well. I went from a filter to tablets about three years ago and never looked back - huge weight reduction. I would also consider leaving the emergency blanket at home.

If you pack food carefully, you should only need one bear cannister for the two of you for a 5 day trip.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 17:24:50 MST Print View

I think once I get a good quilt I'll leave the emergency blanket at home, but my current bag offers terrible insulation and there's a legitimate concern that I might need that foil wonder at some point.

We have the bear keg right now and were able to do all five days no problem with it. Even our toiletries and 8 oz bottle of bourbon fit.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Camera Case on 11/02/2009 17:26:04 MST Print View

How heavy is that camera case? I have the same camera as you and as I recall it weighs about 4.5oz loaded with a card and battery. Since yours weighs 8.1oz with the case, you must have a heavy case. I made a case/sleeve for mine out of bubble wrap and packing tape that weighs 0.25oz and protects it very well.

You might want to replace that Leatherman with something much lighter. The Buck Hartsook UL Knife is about 0.5oz and it does everything I need it to.

One thing to consider is replacing the Jam with something lighter. If you go with a SUL pack like the Zpacks Blast or MLD Revelation you'll shave a full pound off your baseweight for really no loss in functionality since you are already using a frameless pack. The only catch is that you need to be a bit more careful with them, but the potential weight savings are huge and 1.5oz cuben is decently durable stuff supposedly. People do PCT Thru-hikes with these packs and spend hundreds of days on the trail with them and they still aren't totally worn out. If you did this plus got a GoLite Ultra 20 quilt you'd be getting close to your 10 lbs goal. The Ultra 20's should be going on sale at a lot of places soon since they are being replaced for the 2010 model year.

If you want something more well made then the DriDucks but at the same weight, consider the North Face Triumph Anorak. I'm drooling over this myself.

Water tablets are great. I used AquaTabs ( and they cost $8 for 50 tablets which makes 50 L of water. So that's about $0.16 per liter. Not too bad. I find the taste to be not bad at all. Definately not worse that drinking treated tap water from a municipal water system. Sure there is a very faint taste, but at 1.2g for 10 tablets the weight savings are huge. You could treat about 25 liters of water on one ounce worth.

Edited by dandydan on 11/02/2009 18:20:55 MST.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 17:37:11 MST Print View

"I'm a little iffy on switching to tablets for two reasons: 1) The chemicals"

chlorine dioxide is the same chemical found in tap water, that is to say if you ever take a hot shower you are definately ingesting more clo2 in one ten-minute shower than you would by treating a weekend's trip worth.
the inhalation of steam-borne clo2 is going straight to your bloodstream as well.

unless, you have a filter on your showerhead :)

John Roan
(JRoan) - MLife

Locale: Vegas
Re: Re: savings on 11/02/2009 18:38:17 MST Print View

"Any tips on how to repackage the sun block? I looked around Wal-mart for small containers, but couldn't really find anything. I agree that carrying a whole tube around is ridiculous, and it's probably costing me 5 or more oz."

I purchased a ton of mini dropper bottles from here...

...they are very reasonably priced, but I can't vouch for their customer service. There was a problem with a part of my order, and it took allot of requests on my part to get it fixed. Still, I haven't found another place to buy this cheap, so I would probably buy from them again.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
15 to 10 on 11/02/2009 22:55:21 MST Print View

I think the biggest thing you have to do to get down to 10 lbs is begin to eliminate gear carried. Take note of the items you don't use on each trip and begin leaving more and more things at home each time. This has helped me lose those last couple of lbs. One thing that also helps me as I refine my gearlist is looking at some of the really lightweight gear lists posted on the forums (the sub-5 lists are fun to look at) and identify the things that you are carrying that others are not and then eliminate them. It's fun and you learn a lot in the process. With that said, the easiest areas to lose weight IMHO appears to be in your sleep system and in repackaging all liquid disposables into mini dropper bottles. Best of luck!

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Wow. on 11/03/2009 05:50:39 MST Print View

I'm definitely glad I posted this. Thanks everyone for the huge list of suggestions. I've got tons of food for thought now, as well as a few more questions.

It seems like my biggest areas of opportunity aside from my bag are the pad, windbreaker/shell, and filter. I could potentially save 1.5 lbs or more for around $50, which is excellent.

PAD - After doing a bit of quick research, it looks like along with my 13 oz, I'd be dropping about 4 points in R value, which seems pretty significant. I know everyone sleeps differently, but what are the lowest temperatures you've taken a Ridgerest to comfortably? Also, my feet tend to get cold when I use shorter pads. Do you guys just prop them up on your pack or something?

WINDBREAKER/RAIN - The DriDucks have definitely got me interested. Like I said, I do some bushwhacking here and there. Has anyone had problems with the DriDucks ripping under similar conditions? If it's a rare problem, they're inexpensive and I've always got duct tape and super glue, so it shouldn't be an issue. If it's a regular problem, I'll probably want to save up for something more durable.

FILTER/TABLETS -The Frontier Pro looked tempting until I saw that it only filters down to 3 microns. It'd probably keep me safe, but I'm still not sure I'd trust it. The main tablet sources people use seem to be Aquamira, MicroPur, and the previously mentioned Aquatabs. The argument about Chlorine Dioxide makes sense and the prices of MicroPur and Aquatabs seem to be reasonable enough to make me consider switching. One question, though: Sometimes I hike in areas where the only water sources are muddy or tannin-rich. I can get pretty good water out of those using my filter, but does anyone actually use tablets in situations like this? Or do you bring along a filter at those times?

Then again, there was one time where the only thing I felt comfortable doing was boiling...
EXTREMELY tannin-rich water

As far as repackaging liquids goes...I assume you all bring 100% deet and use it sparingly in order to save on weight, right? How much of it seems to do the trick for an overnight? For a week? How much sunscreen do you bring?

As far as eliminating entire gear pieces by seeing what I don't use and browsing this forum, that's actually what I've been doing for the last month. On my last trip, I used everything but the emergency blanket and squeeze light. I will probably ditch the emergency blanket once I get a better quilt, but the squeeze light seems worth its .5 oz just in case my headlamp batteries die or I lose the thing. I probably can pare down my first aid kit and repair kit a bit more than I already have. I've found that I carry far more duct tape than I'll use on a trip, and I already mentioned that ace bandage. Definitely worth another look.

Again, thanks to everyone for their help! I carried 22 lbs w/ food & water for my last trip and it was amazing. The idea of getting that down to 17 or even 15 is awesome.

Edit: Dan, my friend's got my scale right now so I can't weigh it, but as I recall the camera itself was 5.7 or 5.9 oz with the battery and SD card. Maybe I have a heavier version? The case is fairly lightweight (~2 oz?) and pretty much bombproof. I need that, because I dropped my last camera off a firetower... (It still takes great pictures, but the screen is broken).

Edited by Knaight on 11/03/2009 05:53:57 MST.

Steven Inge
(tnis0612) - F
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/03/2009 06:01:58 MST Print View

A lot of Mountain Hardware beanies are ~1oz. That's a pretty quick weight savings!..not sure what beanie you are using but I love the ones from mountain hardware. I have the micro dome but had trouble deciding on it.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Beanie on 11/03/2009 06:08:57 MST Print View

Ha, I'm using a Burton beanie that sent me for free earlier this year when I placed a large order. I've considered getting a lightweight balaclava as well. Obviously, I can save weight in this department no matter what I do.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/03/2009 08:39:00 MST Print View

If you are using this as an insulation layer rather than a active layer you could replace the Arc’teryx 100wt fleece with a Mont-Bell UL Down Inner Jacket. It would give you more warmth with a weight savings of 2.1oz

You can save a lot of weight on that beanie. I don’t know how warm of a beanie you need but you can get the very warm(i.e. too warm to hike in) Integral Designs Primalid that weighs in at 2oz, that’s a weight savings of 2.6oz

That Campmor Shell is quite heavy. Assuming you need rain and wind protection for on trail use you could go with a Dri Ducks Jacket (4.7oz) or for a more durable off-trail jacket Marmot Essence (7oz). At the very least you will save 5.3oz

I also notice you are not carrying rain pants? Perhaps they are not needed where you hike normally.

You could save a bit of weight on those sleeping socks. You might look at Integral Designs Hot Socks that weigh in at 4.5oz and are probably warmer. That would be a savings of 1.4oz

There is a lot of weight that can be saved by replacing the Katadyn Hiker. I had a Pur Hiker I used for years, and it was a great filter, but ultimately too heavy. I use Aquamira Drops now and repackage them in Gossamer Gear Mini Dropper Bottles and the whole set weighs 1oz and is more than enough for a week long hike. Most of the water I drink is from springs, but if you get into some really nasty water regularly, a lot of people combine the drops with the Aquamira Frontier Pro filter (2oz). Worst case weight savings of 8.8oz

The Platypus Zip Bladder is heavier than it needs to be. You could replace it with a non zip model bottle (1.3oz) for a savings of 4.4oz

Repackage the Sunblock, Bug Spray to save some weight there. I don’t carry sunblock (I hike in the green tunnel), but imagine that 1oz is plenty for most trips, and half an ounce of deet is enough for a week even during the height of bug season. Weight savings approximately 7oz

Unless you have a specific use for the emergency blanket, I would drop it. Weight savings 1.7oz

I would replace the Leatherman with a light knife like the Spyderco Ladybug or the Classic Mini Swiss Army Knife (both 0.6oz) Weight Savings 4.6oz

Wow at the sleeping bag! It isn’t a cheap place to save weight, but a ton of weight can be saved here. That looks to be a 30* bag, so you might look at the Western Mountaineering Summerlite (if you are slim), Western Mountaineering Megalite (if you are not real slim), Marmot Hydrogen, or try a quilt like the Golite Ultra 20. I have the Summerlite and have been happy with it, and am not trying the Golite Ultra 20 myself. Weight Savings 16.4 oz (based on the Megalite)

For 30* weather, you could replace that Ether Thermo mat with a CC Foam Mat like the Gossamer Gear NiteLight , Thermarest ZLite, or Thermarest RidgeRest if you can sleep on them (they will not be as comfortable). You could also try the NeoAir, It “should” be able to go down to freezing. Weight savings 6.3oz

Total Weight Savings 3lbs 12.4oz

Edited by Mocs123 on 11/03/2009 11:03:48 MST.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Knife with pliers, and shell on 11/03/2009 09:57:47 MST Print View

You can shave a couple of ounces and still have a knife w/ pliers if you grab a leatherman p4 (2 ounces). Scour ebay for a great deal on a used one

Also, if you are look for just a windshell, check on montane slipstream (4oz) or a TNF hydrogen (3 oz), or golite wisp (3 oz ) The wisp and the slipstream are the most affordable and can be found for $40-50 online

if you want one with a hood you can get a golite ether (4 oz), patagonia houdini (4.3 oz) or Marmot Ion ( 5 oz) Marmot ion is most affordable and can be found for $30-40

Personally, I prefer a waterproof shell that can do double duty as a windshell. Lightweight options include Marmot Mica and Essence (7 oz) $100 online, or TNF triumph (5oz), $125 online. Marmot is more breathable though

Hope this helps!

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Beanie on 11/03/2009 10:12:25 MST Print View

I would recommend keeping your pad. Having that much comfort is pretty great, and its not terribly heavy. Maybe get a 1/2 length walmart eggcrate pad for when your feeling frisky, but i wouldnt make a pad a big priority.
A solo shelter system could cut a pound if you are by yourself. Consider a light tarp/bivy.
This guy can make you an UL inexpensive quilt to your specs saving over a pound.
A filter is a pretty personal thing, but you probably wouldnt regret switching there.
Try not to let getting a certain 'goal' weight get in the way of having a pleasant experience. 11 or 12 lbs is a great place to be, especially with a full length air mattress and a filter. Overall, you have a great list

Edited by willspower3 on 11/03/2009 10:13:54 MST.

Spruce Goose
(SpruceGoose) - F

Locale: New England
Going from 15 to 10 on 11/03/2009 10:21:21 MST Print View

>>...I do some bushwhacking here and there. Has anyone had problems with the DriDucks ripping under similar conditions?<<

If you're talking about off trail travel in the higher elevations of the Whites, Adirondacks, or Catskills, then I wouldn't recommend Driducks, due to durability issues. If you're just talking lower elevation stuff among the hardwoods, then you can probably make due...but bring tape.

>>Sometimes I hike in areas where the only water sources are muddy or tannin-rich. I can get pretty good water out of those using my filter, but does anyone actually use tablets in situations like this?<<

Tannin brown/yellow water isn't a problem. I drink it all the time. If you're pulling water from a swamp or a mud puddle, you can "filter" floaties through a bandana or something similar before treating.

>>PAD - I know everyone sleeps differently, but what are the lowest temperatures you've taken a Ridgerest to comfortably?<<

Around freezing. If you're into winter backpacking, you probably want 2 different pads. One for 3 season and one for winter. For 3 season, I use a 3/4 length Ridgerest and my Jam under my feet.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Going from 15 to 10 on 11/03/2009 11:40:58 MST Print View

Ultra 20s are on sale now and then. I just got one.

Nothing really looks that bad, but you could...

The numbers are weight saved...
From what I got these changes add up to 6.2#

Lighter Camera - 4oz
Lighter beanie - 2oz
Lighter Windbreaker/Shell or a driducks top - 6oz
Use tablets for water - 11oz
Skip the bladder and get another platy - 4oz
Hygiene Sun Block / Bug Spray / Chapstick
You can do this in about 5 oz - 4.5 oz
Skip the leatherman - 5oz
Sleeping Bag - Ultra 20 - 20
Sleeping Pad - Small neoair on a blue pad - 8oz
8x10 sil Tarp and a tyvek bivy - 16oz
Cuben Pack (4oz) - 18oz
Cuben Pack Liner - 1 oz

Where is your rain hat spare socks etc ??
Seems like a few things are missing.

Edited by tammons on 11/03/2009 11:48:47 MST.