Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter?


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Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 19:04:31 MDT Print View

This has probably been brought up before, but here it goes.
If two or more people go backpacking together, not as couples, but as friends, would it not save a lot of weight to only bring one stove, one first aid kit, one filter or steripen, one pot perhaps,one repair kit ( if that is part of the kit) etc? Whenever I go with a group, we are all self sufficient, to the point that most people are even reluctant to take one up on some hot water, because we each have pretty much all we need. For solo hikers this obviously does not apply, but for the rest? For the cautious ones, that bring extra fuel, food and clothing , it would make sense to be self sufficient, in case of people splitting ways or someone getting hurt. But for those that bring exact fuel, exact food, no extra anything, counting on staying out only as long as planned, would it not be an extension of that to trust that the partners will cooperate just as much as weather and everything else? Does that break some code?
I like to bring all my own gear also, but sometimes I wonder.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 19:21:53 MDT Print View

Yes, but alot of people (me included, unless going with a hot babe) would rather be self sufficient and take their own gear.

Edited by jshann on 03/26/2011 19:22:36 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 19:32:16 MDT Print View

There are organized groups who do group backpack trips. We do them all the time. When a leader advertises a trip, it will be spelled out what will or will not be furnished by the group.

Sometimes we have a central commissary of all food and all cook gear. Sometimes the leader will list it as a "boiling water commissary" (which means that boiling water is furnished for all to use. The leader will arrange one or more stoves, pots, and whatever else. Sometimes it will be independent commissary.

In a few cases, there will be some loaner gear available, but not commonly.

--B.G.--

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 19:37:33 MDT Print View

Katharina, I just love your way of thinking. Every one of your posts makes me think or cock my head. It's delightful!

I think a lot of what you're talking about is cultural. Japanese when they go hiking together nearly always share everything. Their idea of privacy is different, too, and so they don't feel they have to hole up in a private shelter. I think that is actually how most of human existence has been. This new, "I'm a rugged individual" way of thinking is quite modern and probably wouldn't have worked in times past when people depended on one another for survival much more than they do (immediately visibly) today. If you read old accounts of people traveling in the wilderness, even in America, people shared a lot more space together than Americans do today. They were different back then. Personally one of the reasons I love the mountains so much is that they force you to take care of one another and to recognize the value of each of our lives, so sharing, to me, is only natural.

Thing is, when you only bring the barest minimum to get through it is difficult to share, unless you've planned everything together from the start. As a diabetic, for instance, I need to know precisely how much food I have and must carry an extra amount for emergencies, that I cannot share unless I am coming out of a walk and know that I will soon have food sources available. When I travel with others, though, even just friends, we will very often share a shelter, pot, stove, water bag.

The funny thing is it's the ultralight backpacking crowd that tend to be the most independent. Mountaineers, because of the necessity to keep things as light and simple as possible, will usually share quarters. I think this is another area that we as UL hikers could learn something about going even lighter... overcoming our personal zones of discomfort.

Interesting point is that Ray Jardin, with all his talk of each person carrying this certain amount of equipment almost never talked about solo set ups... all his accounts and advice is for a couple traveling together, with whom he shared almost everything. It makes you wonder what his set up would be like if he traveled alone. What would the weights be?

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
ok on 03/26/2011 19:38:05 MDT Print View

@John. Yes, that was the premise for my question. The question is why? and does it make sense? Is it a hormonal reason or is it justified in another way. Again, I am not criticizing it, as I bring my own gear, I just wonder if it is logical.

@Bob. I am referring to this more in the context of a few of us BPL people getting together for a trip.

added
@MIguel. That was one of my thoughts; is it cultural?

Thanks

Edited by Kat_P on 03/26/2011 19:39:26 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: ok on 03/26/2011 19:45:30 MDT Print View

"Bob. I am referring to this more in the context of a few of us BPL people getting together for a trip."

It is possible that there is insufficient critical mass.

--B.G.--

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 19:58:48 MDT Print View

As far as weight savings goes, its a fairly slim difference. I backpack with my fiancee most of the time. We share exactly 4 things:

1. first aid kit
2. filter
3. repair kit
4. shelter

Our stoves weigh less than an ounce each, so its just nice to be able to set up our own. Plus, they're designed for only boiling ~14 ounces of water.

Except for the shelter, the other stuff combined weighs less than 8 ounces. So, my solo kit is very comparable in weight to what I might carry while sharing items. If I were hiking with a friend, I'd have no problem sharing those same 4 items, but I wouldn't really mind either way. 8 ounces isn't going to break my back.

My final verdict.....no, sharing gear wouldn't really save me much weight at all.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Adding post to: "Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter?" on 03/26/2011 20:05:07 MDT Print View

Outside of BPL all my trips are like that. One pan, one stove, one bear can, one shelter, an appropriate number of water bottles, etc.

With BPL people the standard is to be self sufficient.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:12:07 MDT Print View

Travis, I will play devil's advocate here, mostly because of how I see people's lists being taken apart. So I will use similar language and critique.

You still bring two stoves , because " It is just nice to set up your own". It is nice.....to have a thicker pad, to bring baby wipes, to have extra socks, etc. That usually does not fly when looking at someone's list, and counting ounces.

"Except for shelter" you save 8 ounces. So, really there are 8 ounces, part of the weight of a shelter, and an extra stove. That amounts to some weight that some people pay a lot of money to shed.

"8 ounces isn't going to break your back". I agree fully. But that is what many of us say when we are told that we should shave weight and leave many items at home.

I personally bring a few items that others leave at home, so I am really just poking at you with the language and the philosophy that is applied to Gear Lists.


edited.
@Cameron. What makes the standard static?

Edited by Kat_P on 03/26/2011 20:13:39 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:36:16 MDT Print View

"That amounts to some weight that some people pay a lot of money to shed.

"'8 ounces isn't going to break your back'...But that is what many of us say when we are told that we should shave weight and leave many items at home."


I thought of this type of critique while posting my original, and this being BPL, you are right to pick apart my comments ! :) And my original post wasn't meant to rip on your logic in any way. I was just using it to determine my own personal assessment of the posed question.

This might be a bit against the true ultralight philosophy, and I'm speaking only of myself with these next comments. My base weight, while not uber-miniscule, is one that I'm very happy with. I'd have to start dropping some serious cash and change some of my techniques to lose much more weight. So for me, I've gotten to a point where I can have some fudge room of around a pound, and its no biggie.

Now, here's the conundrum: If I stuck with the mentality of what I just wrote before I became lightweight, then I'd have never gotten there in the first place! Catch-22!

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:38:42 MDT Print View

@Travis. Fair enough.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:43:58 MDT Print View

Why not do a potential 4-5 person gear list including the sharing concept.

Add it up.

Then compare it to solo times 4 or 5.

With 2-3 people I'd guess little savings, but over four maybe it makes it worth while.

Do a 10 person list using sharing. See if there is a really big difference.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:44:25 MDT Print View

I am interested to see what comes out of the discussion. I'm sure there are people who have some great ideas and techniques with sharing gear vs solo trips.

P.S.....nice hats by the way over on Gear Deals!

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 20:58:54 MDT Print View

Also just like when you start with the big four (pack, pad, bag, shelter) for individual lighter packs...

to really make a difference in a group, i'd say sharing shelter would be biggest gain

assuming each would have their own pad, bag and maybe everybody doesn't need a pack

image six people and four packs - rotate the packs so two people don't carry a pack

1/3 of the time you are packless

Now that would be worthwhile IMO

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Groups on 03/26/2011 21:06:11 MDT Print View

I think that when we see traditional backpackers, with some huge packs, they often share gear, and still carry all that. So the difference between traditional and Light backpacking would be even bigger with shared gear.









ps.Travis, thanks for the hat mention

Edited by Kat_P on 03/26/2011 21:07:46 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 21:12:43 MDT Print View

Hey Kat I would be willing to try it with you next time. Make sense to me.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: ok on 03/26/2011 21:17:21 MDT Print View

For me it is mostly how I learned. I learned the self sufficient way and would have a hard time wanting to rely on others for my shelter or cooking except maybe for winter trips. My early winter trips we shared shelter and stoves mainly because I didn't have a four season tent or a white gas stove (what they recommended at the time). For that reason, I may never do a commissary backpacking trip such as Sierra Club national trips.

Do commissary trips lead to more food borne illness or viral spread?

Edited by jshann on 03/26/2011 21:18:54 MDT.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: OH & AK
Re: Speaking of light; wouldn't sharing gear make our packs much lighter? on 03/26/2011 21:25:09 MDT Print View

Sharing gear can make a difference but not always. For example, 12 people including myself are going on a two week trip this summer. Shared gear includes 6.5lb tents, an MSR white gas stove, Jetboil group stove, and splitting up the food. Due to logistical reasons for the trip, pack weights are expected to be 35-45lbs. Now, my solo double wall tent weighs 3lbs and my cookset weighs slightly less than 1lb with two weeks of fuel for myself. Shared group gear splitting up loads ended up being 3.5-3.75lbs, not much lighter than if I used my own solo setup.

My base weight is coming in to around 24lbs with group gear. If I were able to use my solo lightweight kit all the way, it would only be about 15lbs for this trip. Going UL allows people to go lighter and independent but it does not work out well on group trips. Even with shared gear my total pack weight will be more than it has ever been.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
2-3 vs 4-5 on 03/26/2011 21:32:46 MDT Print View

I'm not sure how much difference this will make either way. Once you go over 2 or 3 in a group, you really need to start changing things out. I can't realistically run a canister top stove when I'm out with my wife and two kids. It's just not stable enough to balance a big pot (3L). This refers to the stove arms AND the base. So I have to take a remote. From memory, it weighs the same as three of my canister tops. I save a bit on the fuel gross weight, by using a larger cylinder. For an eight day trip we used two 450g canisters. (1oz pppd) Gross weight was 1358g, compared to four 8oz canisters at 1420g.

The 3L pot is only 240g but it's too large to eat out of, so we carry four bowls at 63g, 492g total, or 123g each. Alone I carry just my MSR ti-kettle at 127g and eat out of it, or FBC.

A shelter may or may not allow some weight saving, depending on what people use individually, and what someone can offer for four. Big 'mids are really space to weight efficient, but so is a Hexamid.

If I'm in a group of four or less friends, we'll often share one shelter and cook gear, since I have them. A large group, we'll mix it up with pairing up and singles. Normally sharing a cookpot means sharing a shelter, but not always vice versa. Not really sure why, it just works out this way.

I am looking forward to trying my new ShangriLa6 with 6-7 people in however.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: ok on 03/26/2011 21:33:06 MDT Print View

John, I will again apply the same language and philosophy used in Gear Lists .

"It's mostly how I learned" woud not really fly for anything else, when it comes to shedding weight from ones list.

"would have a hard time..." also would not fly as a reason.

"Do commissary trips lead to more food borne illness or viral spread?". That is something to consider.

Look, I am a woman that takes pride, to a fault really, to be somewhat self sufficient. My reasons may be different than the men here, nonetheless, I understand that drive. I am just challenging what is either a "standard" or a rule, or one of the last ideas we hang on to, even if weight wise it would make sense.


Ken, I am just waiting for a smartass comment. ; ). Makes sense to me too.

Edited by Kat_P on 03/26/2011 22:03:21 MDT.