Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack on 06/17/2010 11:35:02 MDT Print View

I need to work on lightening up. I, like probably most beginning backpackers, went to REI and bought the stuff I did not have and hit the trail. I knew nothing about UL backpacking or that people could actully go out in the woods for 5 days with 10 pounds on their backs. My pack has typically been weighing 35 pounds or so for a 2 night trip. I know, I know, I am working on getting that down. I have bought a scale and started weighing things. My pack itself, is super heavy, so I would like to take a look at my gear and figure out where I can make changes and what pack to buy. I have been looking at some of the GoLite options recently and just need some guidance.


1 ) Are you SOLO camping, or part of a TEAM?

I always backpack with at least one other person, it is typically my wife, but in some cases its with a larger group of my buddies.

2 ) WHERE will you be camping?

We typically camp in areas in, and around, Monteagle, TN, GSMNP, North Carolina, and North Alabama/Georgia. However, we have plans to take some more frequent trips out west. So, I am trying to generalize my gear as much as I can, because we do not want to have a 400 dollar piece of gear that we use 1 time every other year.

3 ) What type of WEATHER do you expect?

We generally backpack in weather anywhere from lows in the high 20s, to highs in the 100s. I know it is super broad, I would say 75% of our backpacking is lows in the high 50s, with highs in the mid to high 70s.

4 ) How LONG is your proposed trip?

75% of our trips are 2-3 nights. We do take longer trips, our longest was 6 nights, and we are trying to get a 7 night grand canyon trip together at some point.

Some notes about the gear. My wife and I share a lot of gear. We split the tent up, we only take one sleeping bag because it zips out flat like a quilt. In the real hot weather we do not even take a sleeping bag and just take our sleeping pads and a 10 ounce sheet.

You will notice that you do not see tent poles or stakes. My wife usually carries those. You also do not see Rain Pants, which I typically do not carry unless there is a significant chance of rain. Also, on the boots, my Moab Ventilator Mids sole is coming off after only about 30 miles or so of use. I plan to return them and am looking at the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras. The thermarest stuff sack pillow is a luxury item, although it does double as a clothing stuff sack. As far as the stove and other cooking gear, my wife carries that so it is not on the list either. If you do not see an item that is a necessity, let me know, but most likely if it is not on here my wife carries it.

Here is my list and thanks in advance!

Edited by Ultralite on 06/17/2010 11:36:28 MDT.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack" on 06/17/2010 12:28:23 MDT Print View

Hi! Just a few suggestions for some easy weight reduction without sacrificing comfort or safety :)

Footwear - Camp Camp Shoes - Target Croc Knockoffs (RL) 9.60

You could probably leave these or find a lighter solution, such as flip-flops.
Weight savings if dropped: 9.6oz.

Clothing - Base Layer - Underwear REI Midweight MTS Boxer Briefs (RL) 3.50
Clothing - Base Layer - Shirts REI Tech Shirt (RL) 6.25

I think that both an extra pair of pants and extra underwear is overkill, esp. for only 2-3 nights.
Weight savings if dropped: 9.75

Shelters - Double Wall Tents REI Quarter Dome T3 - Tent and Rainfly 50.00
Stuff Sacks Compression Sack - Dark Red - (Tent and Rainfly) 2.63

Shelter for 2 people summer? You might try an Equinox 8'x10' tarp (14oz, perhaps 20 with guylines, stakes, and groundsheet), and there will be no need for even a stuff sack. Used properly tarps can be far more comfortable than tents, esp. in humid conditions.
Weight savings if replaced with tarp: 32.63oz!

Backpacks - Internal Frame Gregory Baltoro (RL) 89.00

Definetly some big possible savings here. You might look at the Golite Pinnacle (2lbs, 1oz; Volume: 4392in3/72L, $175.00) and your rain cover is a bit heavy but no need to replace it if your pack is about that volume.

Weight savings if replaced with Golite Pinnacle, 56oz!

Clips and Straps Niteize S-Biner #4 (2) 2.25

Perhaps just take one, and it's purpose to bearbagging. Weight savings: 1.125oz.

Water Bladder Camelbak Water Bladder - 3L (RL) 8.63

I have one of these too, and I used to use it. But a whole 1/2lbs. just for your water container? I like Aquafina wide mouth 1L bottles now. Platypus bottles are also an UL inexpensive alternative. And if you still want a hydration bladder system, you can get a Platy™ Bottle 2L ($13, 1.3oz.) and combine it with a Platypus Drink Tube Kit ($13, 2oz.)
Weight savings if replaced with Platypus system: 5.33oz

Tools Gerber Hand Saw 6.75
not needed.
Weight savings: 6.75oz.

Total Weight Savings: 121.185oz, or 7.57lbs!!!
almost 8lbs off total base weight with minimal cost and no loss of comfort or safety!
Hope that helps :)

Happy hiking!!!

Edited by edude on 06/17/2010 12:34:25 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
suggestions on 06/17/2010 12:37:07 MDT Print View

Everyone has their own hiking style, so all of the following is just my opinion.

I'd ditch the gigantic camelback and bring 2 half-liter water bottles of the type that bottled water is stored in. (This is assuming you're not hiking in the desert, etc.) Some myths about dehydration: Replacing the camelback with water bottles gives about -7 oz.

Swap hiking boots for running shoes, -6 oz.

Ditch trekking poles, -6 oz.

No crocs, -10 oz.

Instead of a pillow, just put clothing in a stuff sack, -3 oz.

Replace inflatable pads with closed-cell torso pads, -20 oz.

Replace tent with 5x8 silnylon tarp, -43 oz.

Replace Gregory backpack with lightweight pack (e.g., Gossamer Gear), -73 oz.

Unless major rain is a high probability, replace backpack cover with trash compacter bag used as pack liner, -4 oz

Swap rain jackets for lighter driducks, -6 oz.

Ditch headlamp unless you're really in the habit of hiking before dawn or after all the light is gone. Replace flashlight with tiny Photon Freedom keyfob light. -2 oz

Redo first-aid kit, eliminating unnecessary items and repacking other items in ziplock bags. -6 oz

Eliminate towel and use spare clothes instead. -2 oz

Replace toothpaste with baking soda, and chop off end of toothbrush, -2 oz

Ditch hand saw, which isn't really compatible with leave-no-trace, -6 oz

Total reduction: 12.25 lb.

The real low-hanging fruit here is the Gregory pack itself.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: suggestions on 06/17/2010 12:41:09 MDT Print View

"Unless major rain is a high probability, replace backpack cover with trash compacter bag used as pack liner, -4 oz"

Actually, a contractor bag properly closed will keep your gear 100% dry but the same can't be said of a pack cover. And when crossing major streams where a dunking is possible, a contractor bag will keep your gear dry. A pack cover will be useless.

Edited by ben2world on 06/17/2010 12:43:22 MDT.

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Tent and Pack on 06/17/2010 12:48:10 MDT Print View

I knew I would leave something out of my long winded post! Ok regarding the tent. My wife has one condition when we go backpacking, that we take all reasonable precautions against bugs (especially ticks). Where we hike, they are everywhere in the warmer months. The reason we have this tent is the bug netting. If we were to go to one of the options you all have listed here, what are some options to keep the bugs out at night?

In regards to the pack, I know it is too heavy, based on my gear, can you guys recommend any specific packs that would be a good option? How about the GoLite Pinnacle?

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Tent and Pack on 06/17/2010 12:59:40 MDT Print View

Re bugs, I don't think the tent will help much against ticks, since you typically get ticks on you by brushing against bushes on the trail. Effective precautions include wearing long pants, tucking pant legs into your socks, and wearing light-colored clothing so that you can more easily see them and pick them off.

Mosquitoes generally won't get on you during the day because you're moving, and won't be an issue late at night because they become inactive when it's cold. In the evening, a head-net can be good. You can also camp far from water, which is a good idea anyway if you want to avoid the crowd experience in over-impacted waterside areas. I will admit to having slept in my car rather than outside on Tuesday night to avoid bugs. I wanted to go to sleep at 8, and didn't want to wait for the cold to make the bugs go away. I had a head-net, but it's still really annoying to have the darn things buzzing around your head and keeping you from sleeping.

Re packs, I've been very happy with my Gossamer gear G4. Main disadvantage is that a Garcia bear canister doesn't fit sideways.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack" on 06/17/2010 13:04:32 MDT Print View

Regarding bugs, never fear! This can attach to the bottom of your tarp.

About the pack:
check out some reviews for the Golite Pinnacle:

The Golite Pinnacle was just a good example, I can't personally endorse it because I don't own one. The Golite Jam2(Golite) is also another pack with a good reputation.

I'll try to get you some more links.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack" on 06/17/2010 13:17:05 MDT Print View

REI Flash 50 Pack:
REI Flash 65 Pack:
Golite Jam:
Golite Peak:

just a few examples of lightweight packs with large capacity.

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Packs - Frameless... on 06/17/2010 13:49:03 MDT Print View

Frameless somewhat worries me for when we take the longer trips. Would it be beneficial to go with something like a ULA catalyst or Circuit? Or any other Ultra Light Internal Frame Pack?

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: "Need to Lighten Up/Choosing Pack" on 06/17/2010 13:52:30 MDT Print View

Your pack should weigh less than 2 lb.
Preferrably less than 1.5 lbs.

if you're going to replace your heavy Gregory, don't just go half way.

Golite packs have gotten a lot heavier in the last 2 years.
(more bells and whistles).

My pack weighs 1-lb 2-oz.
it is a modified Golite Gust (no longer made, but first generation Pinnacle).

Determine if you will ever carry a bear cannister, then get the smallest, lightest pack that will do this.

Joel Waddell
(TenderPaw) - F

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Golite Pinnacle on 06/17/2010 15:04:43 MDT Print View

Just used mine for the first time and it good to go!!
Dropped my 7 pound northface pack and save around 5 pounds.

If you move fast theres one for sale on the gear swap.

Better hurry..... $75.00

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Pinnacle on 06/17/2010 15:27:43 MDT Print View

For the same weight as the Pinnacle, although a little smaller but more feature rich, have a look at the ULA Circuit. It has an UL frame and is much better at load transfer.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Packs - Frameless... on 06/17/2010 16:35:47 MDT Print View

"Frameless somewhat worries me for when we take the longer trips."
Actually a frameless pack works best when it's full. You get problems when it's *not* as full, because then it's not being kept rigid by the stuff packed inside. The typical solution when it's not full is to leave the sleeping bag out of its stuff sack. Sometimes you'll find that when you arrange your gear in a frameless pack in a certain way, it slumps to the side or pokes you in the back. Then you just have to figure out a better way of arranging the stuff. IMO it's an example of a trade-off of weight versus skill and time (skill of knowing how to pack it, time required to get it packed in a way that works).

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Lots of Great Suggestions on 06/18/2010 08:22:59 MDT Print View

I have lots of great suggestions to lighten up. Thanks for that. I have a thread in the Gear forum to ask for shelter and pack recommendations. I sold my Gregory Baltoro and My Quarter Dome T3 locally to a co-worker today so I am ready to start shopping for a new tent and pack! I am also going to REI today to try on some Trail Runners. So I should be able to drop close to 6 pounds with just these changes. Then I obviously have a lot more I can work on as well.

Here is my thread for shelter/pack suggestions. Thanks all.

Andrew Mazibrada
(cohenfain) - F

Locale: UK and Western Europe
New Pack on 06/22/2010 14:50:43 MDT Print View

Gossamer Gear Gorilla - 696g, internal (removeable) frame, durable, comfortable, 45 litre pack. Great mesh pockets and customisable bungee cord loops so you can put bungee cord wherever you want on the pack. It's a really great pack.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: New Pack on 06/22/2010 15:27:51 MDT Print View

I have always been perplexed why the Gorilla sells so well. The Mapriposa Plus has more capacity by 13L, weighs less, and has a msx load rating of 30lbs versus 35lbs. I have never seen a Gorilla, but it seems to be very similar to the Mariposa Plus. However the material of the Gorilla is more robust, which is probably why it is rated to carry a higher load. I am sure someone can provide feedback on why the would choose a Gorilla over the Mariposa Plus.

I guess that is the fun, so many options.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Gorilla on 06/23/2010 09:55:54 MDT Print View

Re the Gorilla, I can see using it for something like canyoneering, where you're scraping your pack against rocks a lot. The other GG packs are meant to be replaced fairly often. Some people might prefer to have a pack that will last forever. What I do have a hard time imagining is what a person could carry that would weigh 35 lb and fit in 46 liters. Depleted uranium?

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: New Pack on 06/23/2010 10:48:20 MDT Print View

I chose the Gorilla for the extra durability. Big enough but the extra durablity makes the difference imo. It compares in size more to the miniposa which is much lighter.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: New Pack on 06/23/2010 11:15:13 MDT Print View

Durability is definitely an important consideration. I just had to order a new Murmur, because bushwacking did some damage to it. I do try to be careful with these UL packs, but sometimes it doesn't work.

Mike Feldman
(MikeF) - M

Locale: SE USA
Gorilla works here on 06/23/2010 12:28:59 MDT Print View

Likewise I like the durabilty of the GG Gorilla in SE USA.. If I need more volume for say winter trip, or longer spring/summer/fall trip I use a ULA Circuit, which for me is a very comfortable fairly large volume pack. On shelters and desire to have what appears be fully enclosed, look at single wall tents. I really like my TT Rainbow, and Contrail. Good luck to you and your wife in lightening up..