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Newbie to UL needs some help!
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Anna Woods
(quiltarama) - F
Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/10/2011 22:29:51 MDT Print View

I'm headed to the Colorado Trail in a few weeks, to backpack one segment for 5-6 days. I'm trying to figure out how to shave a few more pounds from my load.

This list is missing a few things -- I'll take 1 or 2 1 liter plastic disposable water bottles. There are a couple of bags labeled misc -- these have things like my small first aid kit, small package (20 count) of wet wipes, emergency blanket, cord to hang food bag, etc. I had to buy boots for this trip and I've bought a few other things -- Brasslite stove, a Big Dig trowel. My camera's not on the list yet and I'd like to get a chair kit to make my sleeping pad into a camp chair. I've got an Alite Monarch chair on my main list, but I think I'm going to return it to REI tomorrow. I bought it in the fall, haven't used it yet outside and I can't justify the 18 ounces to myself.

My clothing is all lumped together as one item. I've got a pair of convertible Mountain Hardwear Yuma pants, a pair of The North Face capris, 2 lightweight short sleeved shorts, 1 Mountain Hardwear Butter Zippity long sleeve shirt, pair of Gordini long undies, 3 pairs of undies, 2 sport bras, 2 pairs of hiking socks, 2 pairs of liners (I've tried to forego liners and it's been a disaster, so I'll eat the ounce or two here). I think that's all. Of course, I'll be wearing some of this.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/10/2011 22:44:23 MDT Print View

If you have only a few weeks, then there isn't much that we can suggest that you can act upon. You have a few pieces of high-weight there that you probably do not intend to change, and you mentioned that you are going to be adding more and more to your baseweight.

My suggestion would be for next time. Give some thought into the equipment early enough that you can change something, maybe try something new out, or maybe change again.

This time, for 5-6 days on the trail, you will survive just fine.


Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/10/2011 23:46:53 MDT Print View

You're not doing too bad, but since you asked, your first option is always to take less. For example:

- You could leave behind one or two of your three cookware items (mug, pot, and plate). Depending on cooking style you can use a just a midsize pot for all those purposes. Or you can share a pot with someone else when in a group, and just bring a mug and plate for your personal use.

- You could skip the Tevas (or reduce weight by switching to the lighter foam flip-flops they make). Incidentally, I found the need for 'camp' footwear was pretty much eliminated once I got my pack weight down enough to wear lighter boots or trail runners.

The other option is to replace items with lighter ones. This has be added benefit of lightening your wallet too! Two things come to mind in this arena:

- You could replace your 15 degree bag with a high quality 30 degree bag and save about a pound. Marmot Hydrogen would be an example. Since this is usually the most expensive backpacking item you own, you could always rent or borrow for any given trip. And since you show bringing a heavy down coat, you can wear that to bed to augment its warmth if you sleep cold, or you're camping at 14,000 feet, or somthing like that.

- Speaking of the down coat, you should be plenty toasty in that thing, assuming it is a relatively high quality version. I am with you though - that is one area where I "carry heavy" becuase I like having the extra warmth when resting, on a cold night, or if someone gets injured. Just know it won't do you a whole lot of good while hiking, becuase it's likely to become sweaty and damp fairly quickly. A synthetic vest may be just as useful, and almost a pound lighter.

In the end though, I will go back to that fact that you're not doing too bad. Maybe try it out the way you have listed, and make tweaks for next time based on your comfort and confidence.

Good luck!

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/11/2011 00:20:20 MDT Print View

Why do you need 3 bandanas? I get by with one just fine. What do you plan to use them for?

You said that you are bringing wetwipe type things? This is carrying needless water, use your bandana with some Dr. Bronner's (makes great toothpaste also) or campsuds.

Teva's are way to heavy. Use the insoles from some old shoes to make flip flops, or by some cheap walmart flipflops. I also agree though, that with a lighter pack, I don't use camp shoes.

For a down coat, 25.8oz is really a lot of weight. Western Mountaineering makes coats that will be at least as warm (if not possibly warmer) for much less weight. They are expensive though. Montbell makes even lighter down jackets.

Are you only taking one platypus? I don't know anything about the CO trail, and I know there are areas where I didn't need more then that. Consider using a lighter, cheap spring water water-bottle (cut the weight in half for free!)

Why a pot and a mug? Also, a rubberband will work instead of the stuffsack. Mesh is much heavier then you would think.

May be too late but 54oz for a pack is unacceptably heavy for me. This is your call though, with a lighter baseweight (and because it looks like you will only be taking water) you should be able to figure on food+water never exceeding ~10-12 lbs. Thus a lightweight pack such as the Gossamer Gear Mariposa, or some of the ULA packs will offer a lighter weight without any real loss of comfort.

Instead of bringing a sleeping bag stuffsack, just stuff it into the bottom of the pack. Contrary to prevailing beliefs, stuffing a bag into the bottom actually takes up less space.

Why are you separating misc in silnylon bag and misc in mesh bag? Throw them all in one. Also, a breakdown of what is in each of these might be nice.

Happy Trails!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
feedback / insights on 07/11/2011 08:01:52 MDT Print View

Feedback / Insights

Please - Update you list with EVERY single item noted as an accurate datta point!

What?!?!? You have a 54 ounce pack listed?!?!?!? Yikes, that is ridiculously heavy. There are PLENTY of options at under 16 ounces!!!

19 ounces in Tevas? Is this a joke? If you are hiking in running shoes, these are totally un-needed. NIX 'em.

In you list, you have CLOTHING - WEARING noted at 1.30 pounds. My question, what does that mean?

You also have listed CLOTHING - VARIOUS noted at 4 pounds, we'll need some more exacting info here too.

Also - you have a list and a verbal description in our post where you say: "This list is missing a few things." My advice, add those things to the list, so folks trying to help can have a more accurate idea of what you are actually planning to take. Add the weight of the clothing carried, and create a list of CLOTHING WORN too.

You wrote that you'll carry: "2 pairs of hiking socks, 2 pairs of liners (I've tried to forego liners and it's been a disaster, so I'll eat the ounce or two here)." --------------- My advice, NIX the socks, and use ONLY the liners. It works great for me.

Rain pants could be NIXED entirely.

A 25 ounce DOWN COAT is extremely heavy. I would find a lighter alternative.

You have a VERY heavy sleeping bag too, way too warm fro the trip needs.

I do NOT see these items:
- first aid it
- sun block
- soap
- sun hat
- warm hat
- headlamp
Visit my list for an example of a way to truly look at the data.
Note that I've listed *every* single item I'll carry.

LINK to my on-line LIST:

Edited by mikeclelland on 07/11/2011 08:02:30 MDT.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/11/2011 11:17:37 MDT Print View

A few thoughts:

If I read your list and post correctly (and I second Mike C!'s suggestion to make list more detailed, both for us and for you), your packed "clothing" weight is very heavy at 7.98#. Leave redundant items behind (extra pants, socks, shirts, underwear, Tevas) and you'll cut that a lot. As others have said, if the down jacket is quality, it's way too warm (and thus heavier than needed). I just got a Montbell Down Inner, ~6.5 oz for $155, but before that used beanie, baselayer, fleece and rainjacket combo and was good to around freezing (I do run warm, though). My pullover fleece weighed ~11 oz, and prob. cost $20--a cheap way to save weight over your current down jacket, until you can get an ideal summer insulation piece. My total packed clothing weight is less than 2#, by way of example. I don't know the CT, but my clothing system works for me hiking summers in mountains of PNW and Idaho.

Your bag could be a lot lighter, but if it were me, and I was trying to shave pounds, I'd get a different pack and stick with the bag for now. Here's my reasoning: A high quality, do-most-anything bag (WM Ultralite, for example) will run $350 or more and weigh ~29 oz. That saves you 13 oz. You could save more weigh with a quilt or summer-weight bag, but that will take experimenting to see if it's right for you, and your trip is coming up soon.

By contrast, you could find a pack with the same volume as your current one (ULA Ohm, for example--I don't own one, but have heard great things), and less than half the weight (~23 oz for Ohm, stripped). Say, $150-175 for a pack, and weight savings of maybe 32 oz--more, if you go frameless.

By leaving stuff behind (esp. clothing), and replacing your pack, you could drop 5-6#, for $200 or less.

Edited by DavidDrake on 07/11/2011 11:24:35 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/11/2011 16:43:53 MDT Print View

Doesnt look too bad but....

Your big 4 is too heavy.
With a gatewood cape and light pad under 5#.
Right now your big 4 is at about 7.4#
Z-lite pad okay
Gatewood cape okay
Net tent okay

Swap out the sleeping bag for a golite ultra 20 quilt or the like and save 20 oz
Swap out the Pack for a Miraposa or the like and save 30 oz
Go to Quest and buy titanium stakes and save 2 oz
A dri ducks raincoat is 6 oz and cheap and saves 5 oz.
You should be able to find a down or synthetic coat at around 16 oz and that save 10 oz.

Total saved about 67 oz or a bit over 4#.

Anna Woods
(quiltarama) - F
Thanks! on 07/11/2011 20:49:54 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I guess in my original subject, maybe I shouldn't have used the UL abbreviation. I'd like to get my base weight down to 14-15 pounds. I know I've got some heavy equipment still. I swapped out my 5 pound tent for the Serenity/Gatewood combo and I swapped out my heavier stove for an alcohol stove. Unfortunately, I have a very bad left ankle which means I have to wear high boots, even if I'm just on a day hike with water and snack. I live in Texas, so my need for a down coat lasts about 5 minutes, so I know my coat isn't high quality. I'll see if a fleece and a long sleeved wool shirt might keep me just as warm with less weight and for less $$. I'm going to look at a lighter pack option too. I really want a quilt because I'm also a hammock camper, but the one I'm interested in has been on backorder for ages.

Thanks again!

Anna Woods
(quiltarama) - F
DriDucks on 07/11/2011 21:32:31 MDT Print View

I thought I'd take a look at these. The reviews I read indicate these run pretty big. I'm 5'1" -- I think the small could be a tent for me, from what I read. Can anyone confirm that these would be huge on me? I love what I read about breathability. I love a raincoat over an umbrella as a general rule, but I hate the un-breathability of the waterproofness.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Thanks! on 07/11/2011 22:33:48 MDT Print View

Fleece will be heavy and bulky but cheap at the salvation army.
Same with wool, but both are nice otherwise.

I would go for something like a thermawrap jacket or thermawrap Parka if you need a hood. I have seen a lot of sales on womens gear lately so if you shop it your can probably find a good deal. They run tight on me. Maybe try spadout.

If you want to stick with down which would be lighter you could go with a montbell inner down jacket. I think they weigh 7 oz.

Best way to get into a quilt is to make one.
Down is a PIA but climashield is easy to work with.

You can order Climashield insulation and M90 from thru hiker.

A 45dF quilt (2.5 oz CS) with M90 should weigh about 12-14oz depending on the size.

A 25dF quilt (5 oz CS) with M90 should weigh about 18-19oz.

I am just finishing one and its coming in at 13 oz, draw string with a zippered footbox so you can open it up. Drawstring at the top with snaps on the corners. I wanted to try a zipper, but might go back to velcro.

Not sure you could stuff everything into a Golite Jam II, but they are pretty light
and you can find them used for cheap.

As far as driducks, size seems a big on the big side to me.

Edited by tammons on 07/11/2011 22:35:39 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Thanks! on 07/11/2011 23:15:31 MDT Print View

Okay, so what you are really targeting is LW (lightweight). No problem. Every ounce you reduce from a heavy weight pack is that much more pleasurable on the trail - particularly with a bad ankle. I have the gear and knowledge to get down into the true UL range for my trips, and I have done so numerous times, but more often than not I elect to bring a little more or heavier gear. Sometimes that's because I am carrying group gear, other times it's because I opt for the convenience and comfort of a couple heavier items, but in the end it's what you find comfortable and pleasurable.

You've gotten a lot of good suggestions that can take you down to whatever range your budget, interest, and schedule allows. Sounds like you're on the right track. Have fun!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/12/2011 11:00:06 MDT Print View

PM sent

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: Re: Newbie to UL needs some help! on 07/12/2011 12:35:27 MDT Print View

You have a lot of redundant clothing there. I take only the amount of clothing that I would wear all at one time in the worst possible conditions. The only change of clothing I take is an extra pair of socks.

Specifically--you list two pair of pants, one of which is convertible, and two pair of shorts. Since the convertible pants can be either long pants or shorts, that's all you need! I suspect that's a pound of unneeded weight right there. You have several pair of panties and sports bras. I get along fine with one of each. Should I need to rinse out the panties, I do so. Since they're synthetic (Ex-Officio), they dry on my body in less than an hour. If that doesn't work for you, then one extra pair of panties is enough--you can wear one while the other is drying. My change of clothes stays in the car at the trailhead to wear while driving home. So do the moist towelettes for cleanup before putting on the clean clothes. Out on the trail, everyone else is grubby and smelly; nobody will notice if you are.

Unlike MikeC! I'm not against TP; in fact I have a couple of medical conditions that require its use. (I also don't believe in tearing up plant life, especially at high altitudes where it takes a long time to grow). Instead, I pack out every scrap. I've found that pieces of paper towel are far more absorbent and don't fall apart like TP. To replace those wet wipes, wet a small square of paper towel and use that. You can let the used piece dry before bagging it. That way you're not carrying around a lot of unnecessary--and heavy--moisture.

Edited by hikinggranny on 07/12/2011 12:37:12 MDT.

Anna Woods
(quiltarama) - F
Thanks! on 07/13/2011 06:21:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments Mary. I realize now I have a typo in my original post. I wrote 2 lightweight short sleeved SHORTS, not SHIRTS. Whoops! Those really are shirts, not shorts. One to wear the first three days, one to wear the last 2.5 days. I'm going to cut down to 2 pairs of undies, 1 sport bra (you're right -- I can't see myself bothering to change that partway through the week) and leave the wipes behind. I'd actually already thought about that. I can just wet my bandana.