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16 lb Dilemma
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Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 14:49:10 MDT Print View

I have hit the stops on weight savings. My current base weight runs between 15 and 16 lbs and I am planning an 18 day JMT this summer with the longest segment being 9 days on one resupply.

With 2L of water and about one pound of food per day plus fuel, I will be just under 30 lbs worst case. Here is my dillemma: My pack, the GG Vapor Trail, is really not all that comfortable at it's upper limit of 30 lbs. If I change to my Osprey Aether 85 it will add 2.5 lbs but, it's rated for 40 lbs and you can't even feel 32 lbs in it.

My big items:
Vapor Trail - 37oz
BA SL1 w/titanium stakes 40.6oz
MH Phantom 32 - 23oz
Thermarest PL+ Reg - 24oz
Bearikade WE - 31.3oz

(That's almost 10 lbs right there)

Here is my gear list: http://www.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/forums/gear_lists/77c3d69b235d4f4a567f9eedcf29f5b3.pdf

Before you ask, "Why so much duct tape?"
I wrap the ball of each foot each morning with duct tape. It's the best second skin :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 15:02:04 MDT Print View

Laurence,

If a heavier pack makes the weight easier to carry, then use the heavier... it is not a weight contest.

Some things I would change:

- Tent: there are lighter options
- Pad: Neo Air
- Sit Pad (sit on your pack or log, or rock, etc.)
- Fleece Pillow Case (I got rid of mine a long time ago)
- Summit Pack (I would not carry one)
- Soap: Dr Bronner's very concentrated
- Deoderant: ?? (but bears might like it :)
- Towel: Bandana is multi-use
- Water and containers, much more than I would use on the JMT
- Camp shoes (I haven't used any for years)

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 15:02:47 MDT Print View

I didn't pull up your full gear list, but for the big items you list I wouldn't worry about the sleeping bag b/c you'd really have to go to a quilt or spend a lot of money to lower the weight and/or temp rating. Also, you are required to take the bear canister, so that weight is not really negotiable. That leaves:

(1) Vapor Trail - 37oz
(2) BA SL1 w/titanium stakes 40.6oz
(3) Thermarest PL+ Reg - 24oz

I'd focus on the shelter and sleeping pad first, but it would be up to you whether you could live with a tarp/bivy/headnet to really save weight. This would be a great trip to experiment, though, with the lower weight helping you on the ups and downs of the JMT.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 15:05:09 MDT Print View

Hi Laurence,

There is a lot of room in your current gear list to save some weight. If you are comfortable replacing some of your other items, I would keep the Vapor Trail which is quite a good lightweight pack and instead try to bring your carried weight down. Your shoulders and waist may do OK with a pack "rated to 40 lbs", but you still have to carry that 40 lbs up and down every pass and it won't do any favors to your knees, ankles or energy level at the end of the day.

Here are my suggestions:

Tent - replace the Big Agnes SL1 with a Tarptent Contrail. If you don't use hiking poles, you can add the optional front pole for a small weight penalty. You could sell your SL1 and recoup a large portion of the cost of the Contrail. This would save you a pound alone with equivalent bug and storm protection.

Sleeping Pad - Replace with a NeoAir for a 10 oz savings at equivalent warmth and comfort. Takes up a lot less space in your pack, too.

Sit pad and fleece pillow case - nix these to save 3.5 oz. In camp your Bearikade will make a fine chair. Or at a minimum, replace your sit pad with a 1/8" Thinlight of equivalent weight and use it to supplement your sleeping pad at night. Then you can use a lower R value pad than the Prolite Plus at the same warmth level.

Summit pack - not necessary on the JMT. Your vapor trail is light enough to serve this function anyway

Deodorant - Nix this... if yer stinky, you're doing something right. Also, there are plenty of lakes/creeks to jump in and wash off.

6L Water tank + 2 1L water bottles- no way will you ever need this much capacity on the JMT. 2L total would probably be fine. There is water available almost everywhere. You should try to only carry 1L at any point unless you know there will be a dry stretch.

Camp shoes- Nix these. With a lighter load, you won't feel the need to get out of your trail shoes at the end of the day.

Down booties- probably not necessary with your quality 32F bag and down pants/parka.

Extra underwear- nix this. Wash your worn pair out when you get to camp, and hang to dry. Will be dry by morning for next use.

Extra shirt and trunks- same story, nix these.


Out of that whole list, the only purchases are the NeoAir (10 oz savings) and the Contrail (16 oz savings) which can be offset by selling the SL1 and Prolite Plus. The rest of the items are things that you probably don't _really_ need. Remember, each one of those "comfort" items makes you LESS comfortable the entire time you're walking! I think you could easily get down to 12 lbs base weight with bear can this way. Then, with 1L of water and 1.5 lbs/day for 9 days, you are looking at 27.5 lbs starting weight and that will drop fast.

Andrew

albert barragan
(comaone) - F

Locale: PNW
my opinion... on 03/21/2011 15:12:31 MDT Print View

40.60 Tent Big Agnes SL1 with Titanium stakes and no stuff sack (you could save some weight by getting a lighter shelter...)
24.00 Pad Thermarest Reg ProlitePlus (way to heavy)
1.50 Luxury Sit Pad (not needed use your bear canister)
2.00 Luxury Fleece Pillow Case (not needed use unused clothes)
31.30
2.2 Misc Rik Sak Summit Pack (2.2) ?????
2.60Hygiene Non-Rinse Soap(seems heavy fr soap)
1.30HygieneDeodarant (no use for deodorant)
2.00HygieneTowel (too heavy)
3.20LightHeadlight(get a photon)
3.10Canteen (???? why a canteen???
6L Water Tank overnight processing container

With the above you could shave some weight, take the shelter, for 1 person, go to a tarp set up or tarptent shave 10-20oz.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: my opinion... on 03/21/2011 15:31:15 MDT Print View

Get some Leukotape and wrap your heel once

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
You listed the heavy stuff already, just replace 'em with the lightest options on 03/21/2011 17:00:57 MDT Print View

Granite Gear Vapor Trail ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- 24 oz max!

Big Agnes SL1 with Titanium stakes and no stuff sack ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- Get a tarp and save about 30 ounces

Thermarest Reg ProlitePlus ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- 9 oz MAX!

Trash bag pack cover ------ use as a pack LINER for 100% waterproofing.

3oz KlearWater -------- REPLACE with lighter option --------- Use aquamira drops repackaged in smaller bottles.

Headlight ----- REPLACE with lighter option ------- 1 oz MAX!

Firelite 900 Pocket Rocket (3) Plastic Case .9 ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- Get an alcohol system, make a fancy feast cat food stove and save a lot of weight.

_______________________________________________

NIX ------ Sit Pad (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ Fleece Pillow Case (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ Camp Shoes (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ One extra pair of synthetic underwear (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ Deodorant (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ Rik Sak Summit Pack (is this a joke?)

NIX ------ Plastic Cup for Hot Water

NIX ------ 6L Water Tank overnight processing container (this is ridiculous, you are NOT planning a trip in the Mojave!)

NIX ------ Towel

NIX ------ Toilet Paper

_______________________________________________

A) Use HYDROPEL on your feet and no need for duct tape.

B) If your pack is uncomfortable on the first few days, SO WHAT, it won't be that bad will it??? Shave weight every place possible.

C) NIX the rediculous "traditional" items, and replace the heavy ones with lighter options. You listed the heavy stuff, just get the lightest possible options as a replacment. EASY!

D) WHat are you planning for food weight?

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Good Suggestions on 03/21/2011 17:45:23 MDT Print View

"Granite Gear Vapor Trail ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- 24 oz max!"

Someone above suggested the Zpack. I see the ZPacks™ Dyneema X32 Gridstop - Will this handle a Bearikade WE?
==============================================================
"Big Agnes SL1 with Titanium stakes and no stuff sack ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- Get a tarp and save about 30 ounces"

I admit, as many have suggested, this is probably the place to save the most weight.
==============================================================
"Thermarest Reg ProlitePlus ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- 9 oz MAX!"

Comfort is important to me but I really don't trust a Neo Air for 18 days straight.
==============================================================

"Trash bag pack cover ------ use as a pack LINER for 100% waterproofing."

This would definately be a more reliable way of protecting my gear.
=============================================================


"3oz KlearWater -------- REPLACE with lighter option --------- Use aquamira drops repackaged in smaller bottles."

I could do this same thing with Klear Water. I need a total of 20-30 drops. You don't have to treat every water source either.
===========================================================



"Headlight ----- REPLACE with lighter option ------- 1 oz MAX!"

Someone suggested a lighter alternative above. I'll look into it.
=========================================================

"Firelite 900 Pocket Rocket (3) Plastic Case .9 ------ REPLACE with lighter option ------- Get an alcohol system, make a fancy feast cat food stove and save a lot of weight."

I don't see how this saves that much weight. Is the fuel that much lighter?
========================================================


_______________________________________________

NIX ------ Sit Pad (is this a joke?)

It could be dropped but it is nice occasionally. Someone suggested the bear canister though. Good idea.
===============================================
NIX ------ Fleece Pillow Case (is this a joke?)

This is actually a thermarest stuff sack with a fleece liner so it doubles in functionality.
===============================================

NIX ------ Camp Shoes (is this a joke?)

I admit, these are virtually worthless anyway. I should just switch to trail runners... but that is a different thread...
===============================================

NIX ------ One extra pair of synthetic underwear (is this a joke?)
I am too lazy to wash these every night or even every other night.
===============================================

NIX ------ Deodorant (is this a joke?)
Very light but not necessary I guess.
===============================================

NIX ------ Rik Sak Summit Pack (is this a joke?)
I just bought this and it will come in really handy not having to dump my pack out each time I do a summit detour. Can you imagine dumping your pack out at Trail Crest?
===============================================

NIX ------ Plastic Cup for Hot Water
Don't you drink coffee? I already abandoned the coffee cup.
===============================================


NIX ------ 6L Water Tank overnight processing container (this is ridiculous, you are NOT planning a trip in the Mojave!)

You do not carry water in this. It is only used to process water overnight with your chlorine dioxide based water purifier. Again I am thinking about dropping the whole thing and maybe taking a few drops of purifier only for specific water sources. That will probably save 4-5 oz.
===============================================


NIX ------ Towel
Maybe. Or at least cut it down even further.
===============================================

NIX ------ Toilet Paper
Mike, I am not there yet... sorry.
===============================================
_______________________________________________

A) Use HYDROPEL on your feet and no need for duct tape.
I'll have to get some of this and try it out.

B) If your pack is uncomfortable on the first few days, SO WHAT, it won't be that bad will it??? Shave weight every place possible.
This is a really good point. The weight will drop below 30 lbs very quickly.


C) NIX the rediculous "traditional" items, and replace the heavy ones with lighter options. You listed the heavy stuff, just get the lightest possible options as a replacment. EASY!

D) WHat are you planning for food weight?
About 1 lb/day. I know this seems low to some but has worked for me in the past.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 18:08:09 MDT Print View

Laurence,

I understand your apprehension regarding the NeoAir's durability.

Easy solution is to add a 1/8" pad underneath for protection. Voila! better comfort with great durability. I always groomed my site prior to getting a Neo, so it's no different now. I don't like thorns!

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Zpack Dynemma x32 (3200 cu in) on 03/21/2011 18:08:15 MDT Print View

Does anyone have any experience with this pack and a full bear canister? The pack weighs less than 13oz.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 19:30:55 MDT Print View

Nix:

Sit Pad

Pillow Case – use your silnylon sleeping bag stuffsack filled with your extra clothes

RikSak – Or perhaps use it as your sleeping bag stuff sack instead to justify the weight.

Deodorant

Windshield - use rocks, natural cover?

Cup – can you not drink coffee out of your pot?

6L water tank – alternate between water bottles if you need to wait on treatemtn

Camp Shoes – and yes, do yourself a favor and switch to trail runners. You will not regret it!

Mont-Bell Down Pants – do you really need these in the summer?

Goosefeet – Do you really need these in the summer?

Underwear – Get wool to avoid stink

Extra Shirt

Trunks





Keep:

Phanotm 32

Bearikade

Trash Bag – only use it as a liner

First Aid

Sunscreen – repackage?

Soap – definitely repackage!

Toothbrush – perhaps go to baking powder instead of paste?

Jungle Juice: repackage?

TP – Sorry Mike!

Cookpot

Pocket Rocket – do you really need the case?

Spoon
KlearWater – I would use Aquamira but this will work too, repackage?

Dri Ducks

Mont- Bell Down Parka – I admit I am a little torn on this one. I think you could do without, but I would take it as insurance, and it makes a great pillow.

Beanie

Gloves


Replace:

Pack - This would probably be the last item I would replace, but you could go lighter on your pack. I wouldn’t do this until you have lightened up your pack a bit though.

Shelter - The SL1 is a nice shelter, but way too heavy for UL backpacking. You might look at a TT Contrail, Moment, or Rainbow if you like the “tent” feel, or you could go to a tarp and bivy set up for even more weight savings. Personally, I like shaped tarps that provide good enough protection to where a bivy is only needed for bugs.

Sleeping Pad - The Prolite Plus seems like a really heavy pad for summer in the Sierras. Question #1 is can you sleep on a CC Foam pad like a Ridgerest?

Duct Tape - Leukotape P sticks better and lasts a lot longer in my experience than duct tape

Towel - Replace your towel with a do it all 1.2oz bandana

Headlamp - Not that your headlamp is bad, but you can go lighter if wanted.

Socks – take an extra pair, but get lighter socks to go with your new trail runners..

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
pack on 03/21/2011 20:42:56 MDT Print View

^ I agree pack needs to be the last item purchased, based on your expected weight (including food & water) and volume

you can save weight on a pack, but doesn't do much good if the weight savings aren't through your entire kit and you end up w/ a pack that's very light, but very uncomfortable

lots of good advice here, I wish Mike C wouldn't beat around the bush and just be more straightforward w/ his suggestions :D

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: pack on 03/21/2011 22:11:22 MDT Print View

+1 Mike Re: Mike C!

He just cuts and pastes his answers! ;) I love it!

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/21/2011 22:55:02 MDT Print View

Isn't the simple answer just using the Aether 85? Keep all the stuff you want, don't blow a ton of cash, and hike your own hike. There isn't a "less weight wins competition" on the trail. If you are comfortable, are having a good time, and can shoulder the weight, use the Aether. It'll give you room to pack a boat as well. :)

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
16 lb Dilemma on 03/22/2011 05:51:49 MDT Print View

NIX: Vapor Trail - 37oz Replace with G4(17oz) or Mariposa Plus(23oz)
NIX: BA SL1 w/titanium stakes 40.6oz Tarp/Bug Bivy (~15-20oz)
Keep MH Phantom 32 - 23oz
Nix: Thermarest PL+ Reg - 24oz Night Lite short for pack (~5-7oz)
Keep Bearikade WE - 31.3oz Gotta have, will fit (barely, into a Miniposa, soo...)
Origonal weight: 155.9oz or ~9.75lb New weight: 91.3oz or ~5.75lb

Light: e+light, ~1oz

2.00 Luxury Fleece Pillow Case (Any stuff sack, really, you get used to anything.)
1.50 Rain Trash bag pack cover
1.50 First Aid Bandaids, Aspirin, Ibuprofin
1.40 First Aid Sun Block
3.00 First Aid Duct tape (maybe about 10 days worth) (Have you tried thick socks?)
2.60 Hygiene Non-Rinse Soap (1.5oz Dr Bonners repackaged?? Drop to wash, splash with drinking water.)
1.0 Hygiene Bandana
0.5 Hygiene Toothbrush (Toothpaste is not needed for less than a month.)
1.00 Repellant Jungle Juice
2.00 TP Toilet Paper (Ignore Mike, I would rather use it, too.)
1.00 Light E+Light
3.09 Pot Firelite 900
3.90 Stove Pocket Rocket
0.90 Sheild Titanium Stove Shield
0.60 Spoon Long Handled Titanium Spoon
0.70 Cup Plastic Cup for Hot Water (???)
2.20 Bottle 2 GatorAid Bottles
2.50 Bottle 2 1-Liter Water Bottles
(Lighter weight, less water, travel faster, more distance...)
1.00 Purify KlearWater
5.80 Rain Rain Shell DriDucks (Jacket Only)
9.50 Insulation Montbell Down Inner Parka (Smartwool mids are lighter...not as warm)
8.00 Insulation Montbell Down Inner Pants
2.60 UW Synthetic (Rinse, wear to dry, 1 set only, you might be wearing those.)
5.40 Socks three pair of Smartwool socks (Heavy weight, drop a lot of duct tape, 1 pair gets rinsed, one is on your feet, one is dried or can be used as gloves.)
1.80 Beanie Colorado Avalance beanie
5.10 Xtra Shirt Merino wool short sleeve (??not sure on this, Long sleeves would be better. Light weight base layer.)
4.40 Trunks Nylon Green Trunks (Convertible long pants, but I do more forest travel.)

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Good Suggestions on 03/22/2011 08:04:43 MDT Print View

Laurence,
it's all about your personal style. It sounds like you appreciate to have some luxuries and a reasonably comfortable camp experience. I make the following suggestions based on that assumption. I wholeheartedly agree with Mike about the things referred to as jokes, aside from TP and a plastic cup. Cookpot coffee requires too much cleaning. I suppose you could replace a stuff sack with your summit pack if you want to carry it, as already suggested. I would disagree with other things. You aren't making a gear kit for Skurka after all.

Pack- the Vapor Trail is a wonderful and comfortable pack. I think it would be a good choice for this trip. You will likely be carrying a bit more than 1lb per day of food, or at least want to by the end. Your body needs a reasonably sustainable level of calories to keep up your energy, focus, and metabolism for that long. 18 days straight on the trail is far different than a long weekend. I don't know your history, but if you've never done a stretch that long and demanding before on 1 lb rations, consider adding some food. It may make your trip much happier than dropping 5 lbs of pack weight ever could.

For several other things:
Shelter- the TT Rainbow can be free standing if that's important and pretty light. Something else from TT or Six Moons Designs could also meet your needs and style for under 24 ounces.
Pad- a torso length inflatable (prolite?) with your pack under your feet. The VT has that nice memory foam!
Stove- you could save a few ounces with alcohol, but its not a must. I've had Pocket Rocket lust a few times when alcohol stove meals didn't quite turn out right. Practice at home cooking real trail meals and making coffee a few times in the yard before you decide on it. The weight savings comes from the can used for MSR fuel and a few from the stove. 5 or 6 total oz. saved. The Jim Woods Supercat is a great model.
Headlamp- I would say keep yours. It's so irritating not having sufficient light for something.
Clothes- you want some leg covering. i suppose the down pants would be fine, but the thought of hot skin on nylon is unappealing. some 4-5 oz long johns could do the trick since you have a nice sleeping bag. instead of an extra SS shirt, maybe a silk weight LS shirt for the same reason. i would be miserable with clammy nylon stuck anywhere while sleeping. YMMV.

Good luck with your trip. If you ditch all your gear and go with Cuben stuff, that would be fun too. Just be sure to post before and after pics of your pack!

-David

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/22/2011 10:54:27 MDT Print View

Laurence,

That's a good light weight list. Going from there to UL is where you're getting into the YMMV zone on a lot of gear choices.

Easy choices (for me, anyway):
* SHELTER - a TT Sublite Sil or Contrail will save a pound on shelter with little or no loss of "sense of enclosure" ... even better with a tarp if that can be your thing.
* PAD - a neoair short will save 15oz, and you get to keep your sit pad because it'll go under your lower legs at night (see below about lower R-value)
* MISC - others have already suggested dropping deoderant, 6L water tank and pillow case (use your summit pack) as a pillow case
* SLEEPING - with the kind of insulated clothing you are bringing I have taken a 40*F quilt down into the mid 20's (YMMV on that) and I also got by with the neoair's R-Value (more YMMV)... quilt saves about a pound over the sleeping bag

The above save about 3 pounds.

That gets you to the item with the most YMMV, the pack. There's easily a pound to be saved there. I'm fine with a Granite Gear Virga with that amount of weight ... but I'm not about to tell anyone what pack they'll find comfortable. A lighter pack is certainly worth trying though. Good effective pack compression is a key factor in light packs carrying loads well.

edit: DITTO on comments about getting by with 1 pound food per day, especially later in the trip. Mike Clelland's recent article about food is worth reading. It'll depend some on how much reserves your body is carrying when you start. But even with ample body reserves, hiking is easier if you aren't relying TOO much on depleting body fat for fuel (and a bad idea if you don't have the fat to deplete).

Edited by jcolten on 03/22/2011 11:02:41 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: 16 lb Dilemma on 03/22/2011 15:20:35 MDT Print View

Laurence - First off I can't think of anywhere on the JMT that you'd need to carry 2 liters of water, unless you walk very slowly or just want to have lunch or camp at a waterless spot. 1/2 liter is more like it. One pound of food per day - do you have experience on longer trips (10 days plus) with that amount? I know that wouldn't work for me - I'm about 160 lbs - except for the first few days when my appetite hasn't kicked in yet.
as to the list:
tent - lots of lighter options
pad - neoAir, baby! - see the reviews here on BPL for a guy who used one for a CDT thru-hike
Pillow case - this has to go, or at least replace it with a fleece hat so it can do double duty
No summit pack - just use you regular pack and empty it out.
Deodorant - Really? unless you are hiking with your wife and she demands it, leave it at home.
A single 1-liter bottle is all you need. I took a single 24-oz bottle on the JMT.
No down booties.
No spare undies - just rinse 'em out.
No xtra shirt - ditto
Green trunks - unless you hike in long pants and these are your only shorts, skip it.

Or you could blow off all our suggestions and just go with what you got. Guess what - you'll still have a great time!

One suggestion on the pack choice - do a long dayhike with each pack loaded to what you expect your max weight to be, and compare how you feel at the end of the days.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
What does YMMV mean??? on 03/22/2011 18:00:56 MDT Print View

What does YMMV mean???

(I should probably know this)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What does YMMV mean??? on 03/22/2011 18:02:54 MDT Print View

Mike, YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary, the standard auto commercial disclaimer about super fuel economy. It is not just another TLA.

--B.G.--