Hey Folks! I'm new here, but it looks like a fun community. I'm hoping you can help me out with a littel advice...
Obviously, the goal here is to bring down my packed weight, but I have certain requirements/restrictions I need to meet (some self-imposed, some based on Scouting requirements or principles).
Situation: I'm heading to Philmont with my scout troop for a 75-miler in Summer of 2012 (10 days on trail). Warming up with a series of 15 to 60 milers over the next 18 months (including 60 miles on the AT in summer of 2011).
Background: Active Boy Scout Leader. Male. 5'10". Backpacking for more than 20 years. Generally pretty frugal. Back injury left me relatively sedentary three years ago. I did 50 miles at Boundary Waters this year, but had to rely on others to portage canoes. At one point, I was up to 310 pounds. Two surgeries later, I'm finally up and moving and dropping the weight. Down to 270 pounds, with 50 more pounds to go to meet Philmont health requirements.
Concerns (in order): Comfort - even if I get to 220lbs, I'm still "wide-framed" and need to sleep comfortably (easy on the back). Value - catching up from medical bills and two brief spells of disability doesn't leave a lot of "fun money". I can't afford to buy gear specifically for a single event. Durability - whatever I buy has to last at least 75 camp nights and 300 trail miles.
Current Gear (prefaced weight in ounces):
86 Backpack & cover (Jansport Carson 90, 5500ci, external frame)
59 Sleeping Bag (Alps Mountaineering Clearwater 20 deg - Wide)
24 Sleeping Pad (Pacific Outdoor 72x20 insulated air mattress)
74 Tent (Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2.0, 90"x60" + 2 vestibules)
10 Groundcloth (Fitted footprint)
04 Stakes and guy-lines (10 sturdy aluminum stakes, Triptease guy-lines)
04 Personal Mess kit (REI 12oz cup, REI bowl, lexan spoon)
10 Hydration Bladder (3 liter Camelbak Omega bladder)
08 Underwear (packed) (2 pair Starter poly boxer briefs)
08 Socks (packed) (2 pair Smartwool mid-crew hikers)
20 Pants (packed) (Alpine Design convertible pants)
06 Shirt (packed) (Coolmax T-shirt)
08 Sleep Clothes (Shorts/light socks)
20 Insulation Layer (Fleece hoodie)
16 Rain Gear (Frogg Toggs Trail Pack)
03 Headlamp/Flashlight (Princeton Tec Spot)
04 First Aid Kit (Home-made, carried in pocket)
06 Survival Kit (Just-in-case stuff, carried in pocket)
06 Misc. Gear (Lighter, matches, lip balm, sewing kit, duct tape, spare cord)
08 Toiletries (TP, Toothbrush & paste, camp suds, small camp towel)
16 Backup/camp shoes (Generic Crocs)
32 Stool/Camp seat (Cabela's 4-leg camp stool)
28 Trekking Poles (Alps Mountaineering w/anti-shock tip)
04 Lanyard (Triptease with whistle/compass/therm, Photon X light, pocket knife)
464 Total Ounces (29.0 pounds) - Does not include clothes worn.
Note that these weights are rounded off to the nearest ounce. I'm not a gram-wheenie, so that's about as accurate as I need to be. If something saves less than an ounce, it better be dirt cheap.
I only do three-season backpacking. I'm generally happy with my gear, and can pack it for a 6-day, 50-miler with no problems. I am not an "ultralight" backpacker or "fastpacker", and don't have any intention of being so. I very rarely do more than 10 miles in a day, and always at a pace slow enough that kids can keep up, so light weight and the ability to move fast generally takes a back seat to in-camp comfort, cost, and durability. Still, given my current gear list below, if I wanted to lighten my load, how/where would I get the most bang for my $300?
Pack limits: Must be able to carry 60 pounds and 4500 cubic inches, regardless of my own gear (it's a contingency thing). Must transfer weight to hips very well (doon't need more back issues).
Sleeping bag limits: Prefer wide bag, but can get by with standard if cut right (wide shoulders, moderately wide hips).
Sleeping mat limits: Would like to go to a wide mat (I'm wide-framed and re-adjust/roll frequently). Current "insulated" mat really doesn't add any insulating value, but is very comfy above 40 degrees.
Tent limits: Must be fully enclosed, free-standing, and have at least an 86"x48" foot-print (small 2-man tent). Good in heavy rain, driving winds, and a light snow. Because I frequently re-adjust, roll, and snore like a chainsaw, I do not share a tent.
Stool/chair: Gotta have one. Too old and broken to be sitting on the ground.
All my backpacking is done "crew" style (never fewer than 5 people), so crew gear like stoves, fuel, cook kit, large first aid kit, bear bags, water purifier, dining fly, etc. is intentionally left off this list. My portion of that stuff usually runs about 4 pounds, plus another 12-15 pounds for food and water.
Your turn. Where would you start?