How light is light enough?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 09:46:22 MDT Print View

How light is light enough? I don't have a clear answer to this so I keep working to lighten things up without a clear goal in sight.

Prior to retiring I had a clear goal of how much money was enough. When I got there I retired.

Sooooo, I'd like to address this "how light is light enough" question so I'll know when I get there.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 09:49:50 MDT Print View

When you're happy and comfortable.

I'm plenty happy and comfortable with an 11 lb base weight. Sure, I could go lighter, but I enjoy my gear, and it serves me perfectly.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 10:06:52 MDT Print View

Varies with the person and generally comes to a stop at some level of dis-comfort and in-security. Clothing layers and sleeping pads usually identify the Spartans :) Durability, expense, and volume are other limiting factors. I diverge from SUL with first aid and other essentials--- the in-security thing. The tent vs. tarp quandary is usually a security issue: bugs and creepy-crawlies. Toy separation anxiety can creep in too: "put down that MP3 player, punk!"

And there are some hidden factors that need analysis in a gear list: overnight or thru-hike? Two weeks in August or 3 season? Solo or group?

You will know by a factor of "too": if you are too wet, too cold, too tired from lack of sleep, too hungry, too dirty, too scared, or too lost, you might need other options (or training).

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 10:50:32 MDT Print View

Daryl,

Dales rule of "too" is about the best way to put it that I have heard.

IME on the AT last June I hit my perfect "wet Pack weight".

Wet pack weight to me equals my base weight pack plus food for one week and 2.5 to 3 liters of water. Last June that totaled out for me at 25 pounds.

FWIW I use a tarp and bivy as my shelter. My sleep system is a MYOG top quilt, 3/4 ridgerest pad and a KookaBay pillow. The kitchen consisted of a Titan mini kettle, White Box Solo stove and 12 ounces of alcohol fuel in a Nalgene lexan flask. My pack was a MYOG pack weighing in at 10.5 ounces. Water bottles were Gatorade bottles and one 16 ounce size Nalgene in a shoulder strap carrier. I carried a Frontier Pro water filter and MicroPur tablets for water treatment.

Party On,

Newton

Edited by Newton on 03/14/2011 10:55:08 MDT.

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
how light on 03/14/2011 12:41:02 MDT Print View

For me, the stopping point was the money. Once I was around 10 pounds, the cost per ounce went way up. I have to have a pillow, gps, and clean socks to sleep in, so the only way to drop ounces was to go with an expensive tent or tarp. I looked a my friends 30 pound pack and told him I could drop 5 pounds off of it for the price of a gatorade bottle and 2 hours of time. My pack would cost hundreds of dollars to lose 1 or 2 pounds. Also, once I got down to 10 pounds, I really had no idea I even had a pack on except on steep climbs.
I think of it like walking around at work with a 3 or 4 ounce candy bar in your pocket. You don't think much of it, you don't feel slower, but if you tell a non backpacking coworker that you spent $150 to drop 3 0r 4 ounces, the laugh at you!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: how light on 03/14/2011 12:49:31 MDT Print View

Once you have that 10-pound base weight in your sights, you can lighten up the empty weight of a pack with the GG Murmur. It is good for a load up to 15 pounds.

After that, we are back to cutting the handle off our toothbrush again.

--B.G.--

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: how light on 03/14/2011 12:59:21 MDT Print View

Chris,

Like Dale said,"You will know by a factor of "too": if you are too wet, too cold, too tired from lack of sleep, too hungry, too dirty, too scared, or too lost..."

In your case it was a matter of too much $$$

I also ran into that limiting factor once my base weight got down to ten pounds. As I think back the $ factor was the reason that I got into MYOG. I wanted all the good and light stuff but I couldn't afford it. But I did own a sewing machine and a willingness to learn to make my own gear. MYOG is how I got to the 10 pound base weight.

Even with MYOG now it is the cost of the lighter materials that are limiting me again.

When the wallet becomes too light your pack is light enough.;-)

Party On,

Newton

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
when yr happy and you know it clap yr hands !!! on 03/14/2011 13:25:53 MDT Print View

whatever weight allows you to have fun .... no point having a 5 lb base if yr unhappy and suffering, unless you have a certain goal in mind you wanna do ... and thats yr definition of fun ...

and doesnt cost too many benjis !!!

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: when yr happy and you know it clap yr hands !!! on 03/14/2011 14:30:05 MDT Print View

I will not be satisfied until I can store all of the things I need to live indefinitely (with no expenses other than food) in my pockets without it looking ridiculous.

I figure if eastern ascetic wanderers can do it with a couple old sheets and blankets, surely with all our western technology we can manage a scenario with a bit more comfort and convenience!

For now I'm stuck with this silly ol' backpack...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 14:36:16 MDT Print View

When you're happy and comfortable.

+1

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 14:47:44 MDT Print View

"When you're happy and comfortable."

+2. And a corollary: Either you're comfy or you're not. Judge for yourself and don't keep looking at other people's packs!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"How light is light enough?" on 03/14/2011 17:44:27 MDT Print View

When the weight of the pack and the contents within fade into the background of your backcountry experiences.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
All Good Thoughts on 03/14/2011 17:47:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the good ideas. I'm reading every one.

Daryl

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: "How light is light enough?" on 03/14/2011 17:50:13 MDT Print View

"When the weight of the pack and the contents within fade into the background of your backcountry experiences."

Well said, Eugene!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
How light is light enough? on 03/14/2011 18:10:32 MDT Print View

"When the weight of the pack and the contents within fade into the background of your backcountry experiences."

Which will depend highly on your level of fitness and strength.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Light enough. on 03/22/2011 15:39:58 MDT Print View

Light enough is when the pack load is not overly intrusive into my experience. I went from 30 pound base to 16 and it was like heaven. Then I dropped a few more and it was a nice improvement. Now I can't justify the co$t or reduction in comfort/convenience to drop more weight. My base is now about 13 plus bear can.

I like stopping 3x each day to boil up a hot drink, so I like my Jetboil. I could save 4 oz. by buying the new model, but it isn't worth $120. I could save 10 oz by going to an UL alcohol kit, but it wouldn't be so convenient. My bag is 30 oz and I could be comfortable to the same temp with a 20 oz model, but it isn't worth $300+. My bivy is heavy but paid for. Etc, etc, etc.

That's part of why I don't spend so much time on BPL- I'm pretty satisfied with my kit as long as I'm not tempted by y'all.

This year I'm working on getting stronger and leaner before hiking season. I've dropped 6 pounds in the last month while adding muscle. Especially nice is that I now have some budding muscles on top of my shoulders which should make carrying a pack nicer.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Light enough. on 03/22/2011 17:59:51 MDT Print View

"This year I'm working on getting stronger and leaner before hiking season. I've dropped 6 pounds in the last month while adding muscle. Especially nice is that I now have some budding muscles on top of my shoulders which should make carrying a pack nicer."

Sound reasoning, Jim. You've gotten far and away most of the benefit that can be had from lightening your gear. Now, the rest is up to you in every sense of the phrase, and you're on it. The one other area so far unmentioned is lightening up your food. If you haven't already looked at that, it might be worth investigating.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How light is light enough? on 03/22/2011 18:17:35 MDT Print View

In the old days, it didn't bother me too much whether I was carrying 15, 20, or 25 pounds of load. When you are young, it really doesn't matter much.

Then twenty years ago I did a trip where I really had to go for broke (UL-wise). Due to the route difficulty and the uncontrollable weight from other factors, the basics for four days had to go to a minimum. Food weight was about three pounds (for four days). All of my lightweight tricks learned had to be applied in earnest.

Did it, and the trip was a success.

The strange part was that the total load was the heaviest that I have ever carried in my life, about 47% of my body weight.

So, I say: practice it while you're young.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
It's light enough when..... on 03/22/2011 18:20:01 MDT Print View

other factors are more important than weight. For some it could be comfort, money or other factors. Case in point..... I'm am down to a 8lb base weight for my PCT thru. The last two items I added illustrate my point. The first was my POE ether pad weighing in at 14 oz. I could go much lighter but a good night sleep is worth the extra ozs. The second was the replacement of my Jam2 with a MLD Burn. Today I added 3 oz to the pack with bottle pockets. Why? Hiking efficiency (not stopping) is MUCH more important on my PCT hike than 3 oz. At my base weight I rarely even consider that I'm wearing a pack. That's my light enough!

Edited by gg-man on 03/22/2011 19:13:06 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: How light is light enough? on 03/22/2011 20:17:44 MDT Print View

"Which will depend highly on your level of fitness and strength."

Or your ability to sublimate pain into ecstasy. ;)