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What I learned from two Heavyweights
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Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/17/2012 14:50:34 MDT Print View

Over the weeknd I went hiking with a couple "heavyweight" backpackers. One guy was 56 and said his pack weighed 9 lbs empty, 65 lbs loaded. The other was 62 and using borrowed gear, his pack was around 50 lbs loaded. One guy had 2 Jetboil systems with him and a MSR Wisperlite. I had to convince him the 3 stoves was too much for 2 nights in the woods. He agreed and left one in the car. The best part about the trip is I got to use some really cool gear and didnt' have to carry it. I've decided that I am going to add some weight to my kit, for convience and confort.

Below are the things I'm going to add:

1. Jetboil Ti Sol - The French Press accessory alone makes it worth the weight.
2. Sea To Summit shower bag - I didn't really use as a shower, but it was nice to be able to wash my hands a few times
3. 5'x8' Silnylon Tarp - I already have it, I rhink I'll carry it next time if its raining to use as a porch for my Wild Oasis.
4. Pack it Gourmet Food - The best food I've ever had on teh trail

These items shouldn't increase my kit by more than 1 lb or so. I think the increased weight is worth it. I should easily still be sub 10 lbs or so.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/17/2012 15:03:40 MDT Print View

None of those items seem excessive. You have to take food, so that weight won't go up much. You need a stove unless going cookless and the Sol Ti is about as good as it gets for a integrated canister stove. A 5x7 Sil tarp should only add 7-8 ounces. The shower . . . well, why not.

Just curious, what reasons were given for 3 stoves? I can see the justification for an extra fuel canister (even if not needed) but 3 stoves carried by one person?!?

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/17/2012 16:29:43 MDT Print View

I often carry an extra kilo or so, mainly a warmer sleeping bag and decent insulation and rain gear.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/17/2012 16:31:32 MDT Print View

When we did family hikes with our daughter, I rigged a 5x8 sil tarp over the door of our Rainshadow. That was great -- it gave us a huge porch for cooking and gear storage and just hanging out.

I already carry a 1 liter platy with a squirt top -- I wonder if I can drill holes in a regular platy lid and make my own shower bag?

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Heavyweights on 05/17/2012 17:47:58 MDT Print View

"The best part about the trip is I got to use some really cool gear and didnt' have to carry it."

Some of my friends have given up on backpacking all together and ride in by horseback. The wrangler just leaves their stuff right where they want it.

Last trip was pretty nice. I had a 12lb. fully loaded pack with all my food. I was able to cook with a Coleman 2 burner stove, wear waders while using my Tenkara, used 2 gallon jugs, and had camp chairs jut to name a few items. I then hiked out with most of my food. Even got to see 2 bear on the way out. Not bad.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Washing up on 05/17/2012 20:03:08 MDT Print View

One of the many reasons I like my gravity filter (an MSR AutoFlow) is because I hang it when I stop for something and when I get to camp; I use it to wash my hands just like you described. 9 oz for water treatment, hydration bladder, wash station, pillow, and dry camping water carrier, not to mention the water tastes like water. It's heavy compared to AM, but I can't express how much I like it. Absolutely worth the weight. My point is that if you're adding the weight of a single use item like a shower, what's the weight difference for moving to a gravity filter instead?

Edit to add that I'd like to know why the guy carried three stoves for two nights.

Edited by j.j.81 on 05/17/2012 20:05:00 MDT.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/18/2012 07:54:32 MDT Print View

What I learned from backpacking with heavyweights:

Find new friends that aren't.

I went on a 3 night trip with a friend, my wife's co-worker's husband last summer.

He has a lot of hunting and 'camping' experience but showed up to the trailhead in a cotton sweatshirt and Carhartt canvas pants. In the truck went an overfilled 90L pack, sleeping pad on the outside. After a 4hr 6mile hike we decide to stop and camp.We find a spot that looks good and he unpacks a 12lb 3person 4-season dome tent from Cabelas, a 10x10 blue poly tarp for a ground sheet, and egg-crate foam to go under his Thermarest. Then he throws down a 0F bag. In August. It got down to 43*F at night.
To cook with he brought a quart of white gas to fuel his whisperlite, and not only a pot, but an 8-in frying pan.
I'd estimate his pack weighed 60lb.

The crazy part is that he chose the location, and suggested an area for camping that was about 3 more miles further, but we literally ran out of time and stopped at 6miles.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Amen, ,bring the bacon! on 05/18/2012 09:20:13 MDT Print View

See, guys like the fella Dan's hiking with, RULE. In addition to the skillet, they'll carry 2lb of bacon and other such great things. Old school loonies with bacon?

Come right along fellas. Want to try some chia seeds? Trade me for a piece of that meat? Ha ha ha!!!

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Shower on 05/18/2012 13:21:10 MDT Print View

I have that shower. I've only taken it twice and don't plan on using it much. I used it once to test and once when I knew I was going to finish the day early on a really hard and hot hike on an overnight. It was well with the weight that day. I already carry a 1.5 oz camp water bag and the shower is 4.35 oz. So it only costs me an extra 2.85 oz to have a shower. Since I have a CC Ti-Tri I use mostly in wood mode, I have an limitless supply of hot water.

I have a friend who I haven't backpacked with (we work together and one of us has to stay in communication range) but is a REALLY strong hiker. I keep trying to convince him to lower his pack weight but he says he's so much stronger than the people he goes with, the extra weight slows him down to their speed. (Kind of a governor for hiking instead of for an engine.) And yes, he carries a skillet for breakfast. He recently started having neck issues so I think he's about to change his tune.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Heavyweight on 05/18/2012 14:19:21 MDT Print View

"Just curious, what reasons were given for 3 stoves? I can see the justification for an extra fuel canister (even if not needed) but 3 stoves carried by one person?!?"

My guess is he took the "two is one, one is none" theory and ran with it. ;-)

On a serious note, I like hearing stories about guys who pack like this because then my 6 or 9 lb tent and titanium skillet don't seem excessive at all. Haha. The important thing though, is that they are getting out there and doing it. If they do it long enough they'll see that lighter weight is more comfortable.

To equate it to SAR experience, when you first start, you carry everything but the kitchen sink. A BVM and O2 bottle, C-collar, survival gear to include 4 flashlights, 2 knives, and 3 compases, etc. Then after a few searches the pendulum swings to the opposite direction and you go out with too little survival or medical gear. Sooner or later you find that happy medium balance, where you have enough gear to be comfortable and effective, but not so much that you're carrying around excess weight.

In my limited backpacking experience, I'm trying to do it a little more effectively than I have in the past. I started heavy and I'm gradually toning down weight and gear until I get it right, as opposed to the knee jerk reaction of going to the other extreme.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Heavyweight on 05/18/2012 14:46:38 MDT Print View

>" opposed to the knee jerk reaction of going to the other extreme."

What you say makes sense, Doug. I just don't think being dangerously light is at all common in backpacking. I have yet to read a documented account of a backpacker (as opposed to dayhiker) who went too light for conditions and required SAR or substantial help from others. (Doesn't mean there isn't such) Let alone a documented account of an ultralighter who died from carrying too little (rumor of which I've read on one or more traditional backpacking sites).

By contrast, I know of at least one case where too much weight (and subsequent injury) was a likely contributing factor in bad decisions/disappearance/death.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Heavyweight on 05/18/2012 15:09:09 MDT Print View

Good point David, and I'm sure you're right. I didn't make it clear, but I was more referring to comfort than actual danger. In other words the, "rats...if only I'd brought that I would have been happier" type thoughts. I look at it this way, the hiking part of the event will be much more enjoyable with an ultralight pack and gear. The camping portion will be more enjoyable and comfortable with a llama. Hahaha. That is the balance I was referring to.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 05/18/2012 15:10:02 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Selective Memory on 05/19/2012 08:17:40 MDT Print View

I prefer to go light-ish, but I can't remember a single incident ever of someone being injured or suffering terrible trauma because their sleeping bag was too heavy, their four stoves and cast iron skillet were too robust or their Coleman wall tent didn't hold up on Annapurna.

I did hear about that ultralighter fella who dun got stuck outdoors for like 127 hours.

Pure Science.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
127 Hours on 05/19/2012 11:09:00 MDT Print View

Never seen the Danny Boyle film. Read Aron Ralston's book a couple years before the film came out. IIRC, going light had little to do with his situation--it was high-risk canyoneering while intentionally telling no one where he was or when he'd return. No PLB, but also no indication he didn't take one to save ounces.

With regard to the rest of my post: I think it was pretty carefully worded, drew no sweeping conclusions, and didn't mention Annapurna or Coleman products.

Not sure what "Pure Science" means.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/20/2012 10:17:42 MDT Print View

The real concept that is core to UL hiking and what you have illustrated here is that you have complete control over the content and weight of your kit, escaping the idea that you *must* have 50 pounds of stuff to be safe and comfortable. I like the idea that I can take *one* item that isn't UL if the rest of my kit is as light as I can get it. Where we get in trouble is adding a little of this and a little of that and ounces become pounds. You can see a lot of lists and discussions where a book or a chair or a more luxurious sleeping pad pops up in an otherwise UL kit.

What in the world was the guy going to do with THREE stoves?

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: What I learned from two Heavyweights on 05/20/2012 14:03:29 MDT Print View

3 stoves is crazy alright, I did mention earlier I often carry an extra pound or two in extra kit sleeping and clothing but if I do the rest of kit will be lw/Ul.