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Backpacker Going Lightweight
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Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Backpacker Going Lightweight on 05/07/2010 08:32:37 MDT Print View

Last year my backpack (with food, fuel, etc...) weighed 36.5 lbs for 4 night/5 day trip. This year we are doing a 5 night/6 day trip, and this is what this gear is based off of.

I would appreciate your comments in how I can lighten up my load!

So first, let me explain the details you need:

1) All the trips I do this year will be in Montana. The Bob Marshall, Beartooths and the Bitter Root range are the different areas I will be backpacking from June-September. Temperatures range from lower 90's to lower 30's (at night).

2) I will not be hiking solo. I will at least be with one other person, if not 2-5 other people. I'm hoping to cut my weight even more by sharing gear.

Here is my gear list:

Here are a few comments/questions I have that go along with this:

1) I had bought the rei flash backpack last month (from rei). I can still take it back, which at this point I am considering going to the jam backpack ( ) since my pack weight will be lighter....but I also considered taking out the frame from the flash backpack and minimize the weight of the pack that way (get it down to 30-35 ounces). What do you think?

One concern I have with the Jam backpack is if I will be able to use my z-light pad for support in it, and still have room. I cut my regular z-light pad in half and will use it as a torso pad.

2) I just bought the tent and I am not 100% sure on this weight because I haven't received it yet. The same goes for the filter and purification tabs.

3) As I consider myself a lightweight backpacker, I am not ultra lightweight. Maybe in the upcoming years I might consider going to a tarp, but I definitely like my tent for now. :)

4) I've been scrutinizing this list for the last 3 months. But I'm open to additional weight savings. I did just convert from a 14 ounce katadyn pump to a frontier pro with purification tablets.

5) I'm bringing the GPS because we potentially could be doing a lot of bushwacking. I'm bringing the video camera to document my adventures. :)

With the electronics, I would like to get my base pack weight at least down to 12 lbs. What can I do?

Also, if you live in the area or would like to go on any backpacking trips with me, let me know!


Edited by chrisroane on 05/07/2010 09:13:23 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Backpacker Going Lightweight on 05/07/2010 08:48:15 MDT Print View

A Six Moon Designs Starlite pack would save you about a pound, and it's a great pack - plenty of room for bigger loads. Separate 'compartment' to put your z-pad in for support.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Backpacker Going Lightweight on 05/07/2010 08:49:43 MDT Print View

I love my Jam2 and my son used one with a z-light. Why don't you get one from REI and try packing it up? Leave the tags on both packs and take one back. My only knock on the newer Jam packs is the weight increase with the back panel. The older ones were simple and many of us have them cut down to under a lb.

You may want to post a WTB on Gear swap for a Jam2 as well. You may luck out and get an older model or a newer if thats what you prefer at a lower cost than new. If you are in the middle of lightening up then this pack may be a middle step vs. the end point.

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Re: Backpacker Going Lightweight on 05/07/2010 08:53:22 MDT Print View

-There are lighter packs out there, unfortunately I have no experience with the Flash or Jam packs and thus cannot comment.

FWIW, I use Gossamer Gear's G4, weighs in at 16.5oz, designed to be used with the Z-lite and carry 30lbs. So you could easily save a full pound or so by switching packs.

-How many stuff sacks are you carrying, and what are they storing? You could save weight by losing these.

-Nix the sleeping bag dry-sack and just stuff your bag into the bottom of your pack. The pack liner is fully waterproof. If you don't trust the pack liner, then nix that instead. Either-way, save around 3oz.

-I know that I would need at least a down or mid-wt fleece jacket to be comfortable down to your expected lows. You may considering adding an additional insulation layer.

-Do you need 3L of water storing capacity? I am not familer with your location, but you could save weight here by A) Nixing the hose and/or B) Purchasing a 2L Platy. Save 2.7oz

-Nix the firesteel. Just go with a mini-bic and matches. Save 2oz.

-Nix the GPS and GPS batteries. Learn how to use a map and compass. Save 10oz.

-Nix the watershoes. Save 2oz
-Not sure about your area, but is bear spray nessecary? Nix and save 12oz

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
Never mind. on 05/07/2010 09:11:55 MDT Print View

Never mind you obviously know how to insert and embedded link or you are lightning quick in picking up new skills. I expect it is the former and not the latter since I noticed that you are a programmer. Funny my clickable didn't even come up right and then you made your gear list clickable before I could edit my clickable. LOL. Anyway thanks for making the clickable link to your gear list. Doing so may increase your response. I detest needless cutting and pasting.

Anyways given your criteria and goals your rig seems to be really solid. I hate to add weight to anyone's pack but I must ask do you carry even a tiny dropper of concentrated soap like Dr. Bronner's? If not what is your M/O for cleaning self and cooking gear? I would be curious to know and can probably learn something here if you don't carry any soap. Maybe you cook in bags and don't actually dirty your pot?

Edited by frankenfeet on 05/07/2010 09:29:56 MDT.

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: Never mind. on 05/07/2010 09:26:56 MDT Print View

lol, yeah I wasn't sure if they allowed html or not in the post. So it is now clickable.

Thanks for the responses so far! This has given me a few things to think about.

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
A couple thoughts. on 05/07/2010 09:46:34 MDT Print View

Also any toothpaste or baking soda for the old teeth and gums or do you just brush without them? Maybe you are trying to avoid soap and toothpaste since you will be in Grizz territory I think. Some people do just brush without any paste and avoid soap like the plague.

I would leave the firesteel behind unless you are really, really, practiced at using it to start fires.

If you are taking a GPS and a map and compass you could save significant weight by leaving the GPS at home. Eh, forget it I just remembered the bushwacking thing.

Maybe you could let us know what clothing will be worn, and what gear if any will be carried on your person. It is kind of hard to evaluate your clothing system since we don't know what you will be wearing.

I think you have advanced into the belly of the beast at this point. You seem to have exorcised the majority of your weight demons with great success in the last year. At this point it will become exponentially harder to realize further weight savings. Willingness to go without some luxuries and trying new gear and techniques (like nixing the electronics/fishing gear and going with a tarp for example) will really have to start figuring in to your game plan if you want to drop more weight out of the pack. You will have so search your soul and decide on your own if you want to start making these types of concessions though. Don't forget to celebrate your elimination of 12.5 lbs out of your base weight! You did an awesome job already! Fight the good fight for the love of ightweight though. It is worth it.

Edited by frankenfeet on 05/07/2010 10:39:03 MDT.

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: A couple thoughts. on 05/07/2010 11:03:20 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the input!

Douglass...I have had my eye on these packs, but I don't think they would be able to have one done in type this year. Maybe next year.

Greg...I'm seriously considering the Jam2 pack. I agree in that this pack does look like a good middle ground between ultralight and where I was at.


- The Gosmamer Gear G4 looks enticing. Would it be simple to use a bladder/hose with this pack on the trail?

- I am using stuff sacks with my stove and other items, so I will see what I can do to minimize these.

- I read in an article that in a worst case scenario, you don't want to get your down bag and insulation layer wet. So I provided two barriers: the compactor bag and the dry bag. But this is making me think whether or not I need the compactor bag.

- In the five years past that I have been backpacking, I have done fine with just a rain coat and a a t-shirt (with a sleeping bag). I typically don't stay up too late when it gets really cold, and the extra insulation/base layer I am bringing would layer with the shirt and rain/wind jacket to provide extra warmth in the mornings/evenings. I do have an 8 oz fleece top I can bring if I think it is going to be really cold in June or September.

- I like to have a lot of water in camp easily accessible, and have the ability to drink on the trail easily. On the trail I will not have the platy 3L full, but it will be full in camp. I compared this in taking bottles or not taking the hose, but the weight savings is negligible.

- I probably don't need the firesteel. I guess the Man vs Wild show makes me want to use one though. :)

- The GPS is a new purchase this year. Last year we had a bad experience missing a concealed junction on the trail by 1.5 miles. The map and compass are only for backup, but I probably will have someone else carry them.

- The water shoes are for creek crossings and to wear in camp. Last year I was taking crocs, and those were half a pound. So going this route saves a lot of weight!

- There are grizzly and black bears in this area. I'm really not comfortable not taking the bear spray, but I don't think everyone in the group needs to carry it.


- I did forget to add something for sanitation. I was considering bringing some hand sanitizer, but the soap you mention may be better. However, the hand sanitizer would also be backup as a firestarter.

Even when I do cooking in a pan/pot, I have found that with non stick cookware, I really don't need to do much scrubbing and rinsing out is good enough. So I wouldn't bring the soap for that.

- Last year I brought whisps that are pretty light, but this year I am just going to bring a tooth brush without any soap or toothpaste and see how that goes.

- I'm taking out the firesteel.

- I'm kind of freaked out enough by doing bushwhacking, and the GPS will make my wife feel better at home. :)

As far as clothing that I am wearing on me...

- Full brim hat (OR brand).

- Loose fitting, wicking, button up t-shirt (Northface). This fits over my base layer if I need the extra warmth. (9 oz)

- I just bought a pair of pantagonia cargo/hiking pants. These pair are a little thicker than what I was using before, so they should provide more warmth and be more durable. This weight includes the weight of the attached belt. (20 oz)

- I also just bought a pair of northface trail runners that weigh in at 2 lbs for the pair. I only save about 1/2 pound from my hiking shoes, but I feel 5 lbs lighter!

- Sunglasses with case: 2oz

One thing that I forgot to mention is that I'm hoping to use wood fire with the caldera as my main fuel source. The esbit would be for backup if it is really wet.

I also find that I don't need sunscreen if I do a good job with getting enough sun before the trip. The hat and clothing I have would provide enough protection if I did get burned, though.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: A couple thoughts. on 05/07/2010 11:19:33 MDT Print View


The SMD Starlites are usually in stock -- you generally get them within a week or two at the very most.



Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Water on 05/07/2010 11:30:05 MDT Print View

I only see the 3 liter Platy. I am not a fan of having all of my water in one source. I like to take one or two 1 Liter Platys and always have a 1 liter bottle to drink out of. The one I have been using for the past few seasons is a large mouth soda bottle. With this type of system I can reach back to my side pocket (GG Mariposa Plus) grab it, drink, and put it back in. Having water broken down into smaller units gives you options. If you hike in areas where water sources are known and close you shouldn't have to carry any more than 1 liter at a time. Remember, 4 liters is about 8 lbs.

I did see you are using chlorine dioxide along with a Frontier Pro. I typically just take the chlorine dioxide, however, if I were to use the Frontier Pro I would just take household bleach to save a lot of money.

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: Re: Re: A couple thoughts. on 05/07/2010 12:32:53 MDT Print View

Thanks Douglas! After looking at the backpack and looking at reviews, I went ahead and ordered the StarLite. I will return the rei flash to REI.

Scott...I may take a light 1L water bottle as a backup water holder, but I really don't see any problems using the 3L all the time. I get the capacity that I want in camp, and I can hold 1L or so when I am on the trail. But I could be in a bind if the 3L leaks....

As far as using household bleach...can you give me more details in what you would use (quantity and brand)? I'm assuming it would be liquid, but I'm kind of nervous in testing this out...

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 13:37:54 MDT Print View


There are a number of posts relating to water treatment. Some are advocating using household bleach (chlorine) in CONJUCTION with a filter like the Frontier Pro. Find posts by Benjamin Tang. He is the one that is personally using such a system.

I hike in the Sierras. Plentiful water and most of the time you can pick good sources. I have been using Chlorine Dioxide tablets for awhile now and would only use bleach along with the above system.

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 14:33:12 MDT Print View

Thanks Scott for the info. I found the info. For anyone else who is interested, here is what I found:

1. Scoop water and pass through a pre-filter into two 1L platy bottles.

2. Add 6 drops of chlorine (buy 1 gallon of household bleach at dollar store) per liter and wait 30 minutes

3. Suck water through Frontier Pro: bottle-->tubing-->FP filter. I attach the filter to my shoulder strap for easy access. I drink water using its bite valve.

4. At camp, I have a 3L platy to hold water, which I treat with chlorine.

Here are instructions for creating a pre-filter:

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 14:47:46 MDT Print View

For specific amounts of bleach that are needed, I found this info from the EPA website:

"Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers. "

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 14:56:56 MDT Print View

Hi Chris:

From my haphazard research, there is no hard and fast rule for the exact quantity of bleach to use. Your EPA source specifies just 2 drops per quart (8 per gallon). The American Red Cross specifies more -- 16 drops per gallon (or 4 drops per quart). I have seen other sites specifying 6 drops per quart!

Which is why I normally write 4-6 drops per quart. And if you will be drinking water through your Frontier Pro filter (which will remove traces of chlorine) -- then you can go with the higher dosage without adverse effect.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 14:58:56 MDT Print View

Chris, you will notice some variation in the amount of bleach recommended and also the contact time. It is all quite variable.

If you thought that you had raw water that was high-risk, or if you weren't sure, you might increase both slightly. It is hard to seriously overdo it with bleach. If you get it way too strong, it will taste rotten. If that happens, just boil it a bit and some of the excess chlorine will boil out.

If you were treating water at night in camp, you can leave it in contact overnight, so you might reduce the concentration or amount of bleach.

If you want to be safer, treat it with bleach and then apply another method, such as a filter or boiling, since different methods work better on different risks.

For camp use, I use a gravity filter (2 oz.).

Choose your poison.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 15:01:55 MDT Print View

Bob, what 2oz gravity setup do you use?

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Water Treatment on 05/07/2010 15:59:30 MDT Print View

Gardia is my main concern and the frontier filter should catch that. I'll probably use the chlorine with around 4-6 drops for each 1L just to be safe, and wait at least 15-30 minutes.

This is great info!

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Water Treatment on 05/09/2010 00:18:29 MDT Print View

Chris, if you are concerned with quantites etc then just take some MicroPur-- yes it is more expensive than household bleech, but that is a tradeoff only you can decide.

30L worth of MicroPur weighs 0.9oz on my scale. One tablet per litre. This, IMOH is just far simpler than guessing the drops. Something I am willing to pay the cost for.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Water Treatment on 05/09/2010 11:56:35 MDT Print View

It's more than guessing the drops -- although 4-6 drops per liter isn't difficult to "guess". The far greater concern is chlorine dioxide's treatment time: 30 minutes for water at room temp. all the way to 4 hours for water that's near freezing.

Relying solely on chemicals to kill everything often means inordinately long treatment time -- a false sense of security unless water is left to treat overnight.

Relying solely on mechanics to block everything, however, often means a heavy/bulky purifier.

For me, a combo system that relies on chemicals to kill just the tiny stuff and relying on mechanics to block just the big stuff is a good compromise that results in a "do it all" system with both reasonable wait time (no more than 30 minutes) and very little bulk and weight (just 2 oz.).

Edited by ben2world on 05/09/2010 12:00:27 MDT.