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I got a scale! Officially a weight weenie. Have questions...
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P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
I got a scale! Officially a weight weenie. Have questions... on 02/15/2012 20:11:35 MST Print View

How do you guys (and gals) weight your sleeping bag, pack, and other items that aren't "solid" (base layers, down jackets) so to speak? Do you ball them up? Compress them? Put something in the pack so it stands up?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Weighing bulky items on 02/15/2012 20:21:51 MST Print View

If you have a "tare" function on your scale, it's easy: put a cookie sheet on your scale and push "tare" to bring the weight back to zero. Then put your bulky item on the cookie sheet. If you don't have a "tare" function, weigh the cookie sheet alone, put your bulky item on top and weigh the two together, then subtract the weight of the cookie sheet.

For a sleeping bag, put it in its stuff sack and do the above; then weigh the stuff sack and subtract it from the total. My scale won't hold the "tare" setting long enough for me to get the bag into the stuff sack!

Of course the cookie sheet needs to be clean--you don't want your gear to smell of cookies and attract varmints! Bake the cookies after you're through weighing your gear! :-)

Darren M.

Locale: West
Small Box on 02/15/2012 20:25:14 MST Print View

Hi Paul, welcome to the point of no return... :-)

I use a small cardboard shipping box (appox. 10"x10") with the sides taped upright. I then zero the scale with the box on top and then the items fit inside the box to get their weight. I'm sure there are more sophisticated ways but this works for me.


Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Small Box on 02/15/2012 20:31:56 MST Print View


"welcome to the point of no return"

I'm laughing as I write this. That's the funniest thing I've heard all day and I can really relate to it.

I think the toothbrush thread proves your point.


Edited by lyrad1 on 02/15/2012 20:32:44 MST.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: Weighing bulky items on 02/15/2012 20:44:56 MST Print View

Yes, it does have a tare button. I just got it today and haven't read the book about it. Now I know what that button is for! Have a great night on the forums. I've got stuff to weigh. Too bad I threw away all the stuff I chopped off my Pinnacle. It would have been nice to know how much weight I saved. (Wow, never thought those words would come out of my know what I mean).

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: I got a scale! Officially a weight weenie. Have questions... on 02/15/2012 20:48:16 MST Print View

Got a digital bathroom scale? Weigh yourself, then again carrying whichever bulky item. Easiest for confirming total pack weight too. :)

Timm DeSalis
(timmy_toes) - F

Locale: philly
wait on 02/15/2012 22:32:24 MST Print View

i often find myself wanting to bring my scale with me whenever i shop. one day i hope it will be the norm!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: wait on 02/15/2012 23:49:14 MST Print View

>"bring my scale with me whenever"

ULers and drug dealers - people who absolutely, positively, need to measure to a fraction of a gram.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: wait on 02/16/2012 00:23:02 MST Print View

You're right David. I'm convinced the DEA will arrest me one day. Between carrying blocks and bags filled with climber's chalk, making my own energy drink powders, and weighing all my gear and miscellaneous stove parts my kitchen resembles a meth lab.

It's going to get even worse as I start some biology experiments using multiple bio-reactors...

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Grams on 02/16/2012 06:39:09 MST Print View

I am resisting re-weighing all my stuff in grams vs ounces. Right now I am on ounces, I think in ounces and pounds but grams is so much more accurate. I think when you get to that point and you start wondering 'well is the toothbrush .2 or .3 ounces?' so you switch to grams, I think that means you have become a 'gram weenie'. Have fun.

Arlo Gittings
(proticon) - F
Re: Re: wait on 02/16/2012 07:04:47 MST Print View

>>"bring my scale with me whenever"

> ULers and drug dealers - people who absolutely, positively, need to measure to a fraction of a gram.

and coffee geeks, I get grief for carrying a jeweler's gram-scale and a hand grinder to the office.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: wait on 02/16/2012 08:43:52 MST Print View

"i often find myself wanting to bring my scale with me whenever i shop. one day i hope it will be the norm!"

I think in some ways UL hikers are behind weight weenie cyclists. It is actually not unheard of for a guy to bring a scale into his local bike shop and weigh all their inner tubes or a sampling of tires to pick the lightest ones. Tires and tubes actually have a pretty large sample variation. Two of the same tires can sometimes have a more than 40g weight discrepancy.


John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Scale on 02/16/2012 09:00:49 MST Print View

I take my scale to the bike shop and outdoor shops. They pretend to be interested, but I am sure they think I am nuts. They take my money all the same.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Hahah on 02/16/2012 09:09:30 MST Print View

I was laughing at the cyclist comment, because I've owned a gram scale for years that I use on cycling gear, even though I don't use the UL stuff (too big for it). I use it to weigh mess kits, utensils, water bottles, and larger items in a box (tared out) etc... so instructive!

What I don't have, but want, is a digital hanging scale.

This past weekend, we used a sprung, fishing hang scale suspended from my bike work stand to let guys weigh their packs before a short trip. Some were stoked to find that, with all water and patrol gear they were under the "magic 25" (true UL'er just shuddered and winced)and others were carrying what might alternatively be termed either "old school weights" or "obscene weight"... Base Weight, shmase-wate...I care about Carry Weight and the hanging scale is great for checking that. I just want something more accurate than a "100lb" fishing scale.

Edited by EBasil on 02/16/2012 09:10:21 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
I got a scale! on 02/16/2012 11:52:37 MST Print View

My scale goes with me in my purse every time I go in search of backpacking gear. The REI clerks hate me!

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Large items on 02/16/2012 12:02:20 MST Print View

If the item your weighing is capable of being compressed, rolled-up, stuffed, etc., weigh. Then weigh the item used to compress and subtract the difference. I like the bathroom scale idea for big stuff -- definitely loose some accuracy but I guess if its that big you can probably wave the ~ (approx.) at it and get the idea of what it will weigh.

Like everyone has already commented, congrats on the new DOC (drug of choice). If you're not hiking sitting around cutting stuff off and counting up the savings is one of my favorite 'rainy day' activities.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Hahah on 02/16/2012 12:05:18 MST Print View

I do have a digital hanging scale. Got it at walmart years ago. It's pretty crappy, but gets the job done close enough for my needs. For the record, my Santa Cruz Blur XC comes it at right around 25lbs which I consider respectable for a bike that is very durable, doesn't need constant attention and replacement of flimsy parts, and supports a 200lb rider.

It's fun to think about getting it down to the 21-22lb mark, but that would cost thousands of dollars (maybe) and I don't want to sacrifice durability. Especially considering I'm gearing it up for bikepacking so it'll need to be able to carry an additional 20 - 25lbs, and maybe more depending on water load, and distance between resupply points. Right now my weak link are my brakes. Back when I was 185lbs (getting there again!) they were adequate, but now at my current 210lbs they are a bit weak. They'd be scary on a steep hill with even more weight.

For the Mojave desert backpacking I want to do, natural spring water is unreliable as they dry up from time to time, and I have heard of other desert bike packers who drive out and hide caches of water at pre-determined locations, hoping they aren't found and used for target practice. For those who have never done it, jugs full of water are very entertaining to shoot at. It's probably the closest thing to explosive targets you can legally shoot in Ca.

Back to the digital fish scale- it's fun to weigh people's bikes because they are ALWAYS (well, almost always) a pound or two heavier than they think. I had a buddy who's XC hardtail weighed almost 30lbs.

sorry for the thread derail...

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Caching water "derailer" on 02/16/2012 13:21:12 MST Print View

>"I have heard of other desert bike packers who drive out and hide caches of water at pre-determined locations"

I do this on training hikes for my death marches (40-50 miles in a day). I'll stash water bottles or Kern's fruit juice/nectar in an aluminum can (might as well get more calories), stuff like that - under a rock, log or tucked up under a footbridge. It's always there when I come back - I only leave totally un-smellable stuff.

Rather than gallon jugs in the desert, I'd leave 2-liter reused soda bottles. They are sturdier and aren't as wide so it would be easier to put them under a rock. Or individual 12-ounce cans (soda, mineral water - heck, light beer) could go in a shallower hole. If you have a consistent rule (say, 10 feet due north of a marker or one arm span to trail-right of the marker), you could then make a rock pile or rock circle or tie a tiny bit of flagging tape on a creosote branch to mark the location without giving it away. But please replace everything to its original state afterwards.

If you toss an iodine tablet in the water bottle, you'll combat any biological funkiness that can develop in warm climates. Not that it could be infectious, just funky, green or musty after a week in the heat.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: I got a scale! on 02/16/2012 14:14:01 MST Print View

"My scale goes with me in my purse every time I go in search of backpacking gear. The REI clerks hate me!"

Years ago the REI stores had a big table with a scale on it, in the center of the store. Now if you ask to use a scale, they look at you like you are an alien from a distant galaxy... maybe we are?

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: I got a scale! on 02/16/2012 14:56:09 MST Print View

My REI still has a scale, in the climbing section. But then again my local store has always been a bit more "dedicated." Probably because there are two stores in the Phoenix area, one is located in the northern and more affluent part of town. The other, and my local store, is located closer to the college campus and routinely has "bums" patronizing the fine establishment. A year's worth of soap, or a cam? The decision is pretty clear.