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[Q] How to lighten my old pack with scouts
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Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
[Q] How to lighten my old pack (to be used with Boy Scouts) on 12/21/2009 12:13:40 MST Print View


I'm new to this forum and really getting a lot of great info. I've been backpacking since my scouting days in the '70s. In the mid-90s, I bought an EMS internal frame pack that served me well on US and European excursions and now will be used with my son on his scouting trips. The problem is that is is heavy: Almost 7lbs. empty. I'd like to take steps to lighten it and would be interested in anyone's experience in taking older equipment and making it lighter by stripping off or altering internals. I don't want to buy a new pack because this one fits me very well. Suggestions welcome! Thanks.

Edited by BRnPA on 12/21/2009 12:14:35 MST.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: [Q] How to lighten my old pack (to be used with Boy Scouts) on 12/21/2009 13:53:20 MST Print View

Welcome Bill!

To start, remove excess straps & / or lengths of straps that you don't use. Then replace zipper pulls, etc w/lighter cord. Remove accessory pockets and hydration sleeves that can't be improvised elsewhere. If your pack uses a frame sheet, see if a lighter sheet can be found or improvised w/stuff lying around the house.

I'm sure better, more in-depth ideas will follow, but I hope this helps.

You said you love this pack, but if you truly want to go lighter, consider lightening everything else 1st, THEN buying a truly light pack. We can provide input if you post a gear list.


Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How to lighten my old pack with scouts on 12/21/2009 19:32:57 MST Print View

Dear Bill,

I started out like you, loath to give up my bombproof Everest-quality Gregory Snow Creek, the pack I carried up and down many mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, etc. I loved that pack, but it weighed almost six pounds!

Finally I realized I just had to go "cold turkey" and replace it with a modern, lightweight pack. I'll admit it was difficult to do this, but once I got past this big step it was much easier to replace other old, heavy stuff with lightweight equipment.

One thing that helped was is fairly easy to get perfectly good used equipment for way less than list price.

So my advice, Bill, is to bite the bullet and give up your old pack, as difficult as that seems new. You can easily shed over five pounds this way!

I recommend a Golite Jam or Pinnacle as a replacement, if you can get your total loads down to their comfort range, but there are many other perfectly good alternatives.

Good luck.

Bill Poett
( - F

Locale: Santa Barbara
"[Q] How to lighten my old pack with scouts" on 12/21/2009 19:50:42 MST Print View


For years I was in love with my bomb proof 7 lb Arterx pack. Today my entire 3 season kit weighs less and I am traveling in much greater comfort. Enjoy the process and remember dump the big stuff first and the isn't much "stuff" bigger than a 7 lb pack.



Acronym Esq
( - F

Locale: TX
Re: [Q] How to lighten my old pack (to be used with Boy Scouts) on 12/28/2009 15:41:49 MST Print View

+1 "dump the big stuff first and the isn't much "stuff" bigger than a 7 lb pack."

I know that's not the answer you wanna hear. I've been where you are.

If you want a reason to keep using your cast iron backpack, here it is: Get an UL/LW pack only after you have reduced the rest of your base weight. UL/LW packs generally can't handle more than 40 lbs total pack weight, so the backpack should be one of the last things you lighten up.

acronym 12/28/2009 4:37 PM

Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Packing Lighter on 02/01/2010 08:15:03 MST Print View

Thanks for the information guys! Looks like I'll be looking for a lighter pack. :)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: [Q] How to lighten my old pack (to be used with Boy Scouts) on 02/01/2010 10:50:10 MST Print View


I went from 4 lbs 13 ozs to 9.7 ozs by following these steps.

1.) Eliminate doubles.

2.) Substitute lighter weight alternative equipment that is equal in performance. e.g. gatorade bottle instead of nalgene style hard bottle.

3.) Measure your "packed volume" by putting everything that goes in the pack into a cardboard box as neatly as possible. Measure your length, width and height in inches. Multiply L" x W" x H" to = necessary pack volume.

4.) Add a little wiggle room in the pack volume for extra food or the like depending on the particular trip conditions.

5.) Sew your own SUL pack following the instructions in Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight Part 4 - Pack by Jay Ham on BPL's website.

homemade lightweight pack

I used a tarp, polyester shirts, and some 3/8" closed cell foam for this project. Some webbing style accessory straps straps provided what I needed for the shoulder straps. Quest Outfitters provided the rest.

I'll never go back to a "traditional pack" again.

Party On ! 2010


Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Been there, done that on 02/02/2010 12:40:22 MST Print View

Wow. I remember the first trip I took with my kids troop. I borrowed a 7lb. pack that was really neat. It had a beautiful hip belt, pockets, straps, space, heavy fabric, etc. I think I went out with about 60 lbs. on that trip. Loved the trip. Hated the weight.

My first purchase was a "light" pack. Gregory Z55. I cut straps off, removed the lid and had a 3 lb. pack. There went 4 lbs.! I also got a lighter sleeping bag. Went from 4.4 lbs. to 2.2 lbs.

Then I discovered BPL. By the time I went to Philmont I had a 20 oz. pack, 1 lb 3 oz sleeping bag and a 18 oz tent. Total base weight, including troop gear for Philmont, was 11.5 lbs.

The journey is worth it. Hiking lighter is much more enjoyable. Go for the pack first. It's the most obvious.

Bill Rose
(BRnPA) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
[Q] How to lighten my old pack with scouts on 02/24/2010 07:26:41 MST Print View

Thanks for all your comments. I was thinking about picking up a lighter pack like the Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10, but that's tipping the scale at 4 lbs. I'll look into getting the wife to help on sewing something light that fits well!