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Looking to go lighter still
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Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: ROCK! on 09/17/2012 23:08:36 MDT Print View


Thanks for the tip on the Climb On!. My only concern with that is if some of the ingredients used in that (and thus my hands) would be attractive to the critters. Don't want to wake up to a marmot licking my hands. ;O)

My pack, I believe is quite water resistant also. I'm sure I'll find a solution that will work perfectly. This may just be a decision based more on pack design.

As far as the backup stove goes, the one I have is pretty much just a glorified piece of aluminum foil.



Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Some ideas/questions about your list on 09/18/2012 00:10:10 MDT Print View

-What is BA stuff?

Bathroom stuff - Toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, mini trial size floss, chapstick, etc.

-Do you need a SAK-Swisscard? You have a knife
I bought the SAK-Swisscard primarily for the scissors in it. Was $7 + S&H for the scissors or $14 shipped for the whole card from Amazon. Additionally, the Mora Classic 2/0 + SAK-Swisscard was designed to replace the 4.4oz Leatherman Juice S2 I used to carry. Now I have a more functional knife I can beat on if needed, that I can grip more comfortably and have dropped the overall weight of the package while loosing out on pliers...oh well. I'll have to see if the rest of the stuff in the Swisscard is really of any use for backpacking.

-Do you need the packcover with all the drybags? (This is were environmental assessment comes in)

This is still in debate (in my head).

-You list a long sleeve as worn. since it's synthetic, leave the second one home, the first one will be dry enough to wear at bed time, if it's soaked, go bare skinned in your down jacket or quilt. Again, this is conditions dependent.

The second LS is actually a very effective thermal layer. I use this when it gets super cold and and I am on the move. The tight fit design and fabric do a great job keeping you warm while keeping you dry, very quickly, so moisture doesn't linger and chill. Additionally, I tend to sleep in the set and adjust my temp via socks, then cap, then additional layers. Both the Nike tops and bottoms are super snug to the skin fit. Lastly, I would definitely not want to be sleeping in my hiking pants at the end of the day. I see plenty of mud out in CO.

-Do you really need liner socks? With modern wool socks most people don't.

I have found that they help a lot in keeping my feet a lot drier in my Gore-tex boots. Ironic, eh?

-If you do need liner socks, ditch the second pair. Wash your liner and wool socks at night and let them dry while you sleep in a clean pair of wool socks.

Roger! Again, this is the kind of stuff I need people telling me. I'm very inventive and logical, but not always practical.

-Do you really need tall mid weight socks? In warm weather a thinner sock is less warm. (Conditions?)

Yup, conditions apply here. Hot hot in the sun days and chilly nights.

-What is the 50' Spectra for?

Carrying it for repairs, first aid, replacement for the compression lines on my pack, if I wanted to setup my water filter as a gravity system, extra guy lines if needed, water bladder shower (when we hike down south and it's days in the 90s), need to temporarily hitch the dog for any reason, etc.

-Do you really need the Skrink bag(conditions dependent) In warm weather, with synthetic insulation in the pad, isn't blowing by mouth ok? Would save 6 oz.

This is truly a luxury that I choose to spoil myself with. Honestly, the last ting I want to do at the end of a day is blow up my pad and pillow by mouth. Additionally, I don't feel the moisture from my breath will help anything out over time. At the same time, my hot breath does not allow me to adjust my pad immediately because, as the hot air from my breath cools, the pad gets softer. I run my pad super low pressure, so this tends to have me tapping my hip to the ground when I'm on my side.

-Why do you need a spare stove? Cartridge stoves rarely break. If it does, make a campfire or eat cold food and hike out.

I think this may just move to a separate JMT trip equipment list and exist my shorter trip base gear list.

-What's a Snozzle?

Here, I'll let Ted @ Exped explain that one. It's easier to see it's purpose demonstrated, rather than trying to write it out. I use this both on my sleeping pad and pillow.
Exped Schnozzle

-I use my stake bag as a rock sack.

Gold! Keep'em coming! I already have a tougher thickness cuben fiber tent stake bag, so that works out perfect.

-Is your Hadron hooded? If so, you have a lot of head stuff for warm weather: Bucket hat, rain hood, wind shirt hood, down hood, fleece hat, buff. (again conditions dependent)

Yes. The Hadron is on it's way to me, so once I receive it, the fleece hat may be taking an exit.

-no stakes?

The stakes are with the tent weight...I presume. I will have to see once I get the TarpTent Moment.

- No MAP?

Map weight is variable depending on where I'm going. There's a good chunk of CO that I will never need a map for.

Edited by f8less on 09/18/2012 11:01:24 MDT.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Missing items? on 09/18/2012 00:23:04 MDT Print View


Usually just a few cards and some cash thrown in a ziploc bag.

Cell phone

Just on the JMT for GPS, backup maps, compass, books and other long rain wait-out entertainment. In CO, my phones never tends to work where it would be useful. If I go down south or up to MI, I'm usually with someone else and the phone stays in the auto.


Usually just my iPhone. I video document my times at certain points to calculate my pace later on, with reminder views and animal cameos. For the JMT, I know I'm going to want a more substantial camera.

Car key

In CO, I usually hitch where ever I need to go or someone drops me off and I give them a 2 hour window in which to randomly pick when to meet up with me on a certain day.

Edited by f8less on 09/18/2012 00:24:34 MDT.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Get experience doing things differently on 09/18/2012 06:30:30 MDT Print View

Try a weekend trip doing things totally outside of your comfort zone. Do it when the weather forecast isn't too extreme, stay on trails you know, and make it a relatively easy trip. Leave entire categories on your list at home: ditch the emergency equipment, repair equipment, fire and cooking stuff, water purification, and everything in your general equipment category except your pack and maybe an opsack.

It'll give you a whole different perspective when you are considering what you really need. You can get opinions from strangers on the internet, but until you try some things yourself, you'll really never really get it. Leave the trowel, knife, first aid kit--the whole thing, and all cooking gear in your car or at home. Take a $5 tarp from Home Depot (not light, but just to get a feel for tarping) and some braided mason's line for guylines. Hydrate your potatoes, cous cous, or oatmeal with no stove. Or better yet, just eat stuff that doesn't need hydrating (Snickers or Cliff Bars, veggies, cheese, salami, bagels, crackers, peanut butter, etc). Don't treat your water or just use a couple drops of unscented bleach per liter. Tank up at water sources and then don't hike with more than 16 oz or a bare minimum of water. Bring only the quick drying clothes that you hike in plus one insulation piece for camp, no extra clothing. Maybe bring a cheap driducks rain jacket and no rain pants. Either that or the umbrella, but not both. Or leave both at home and just use the tarp to wrap up in to wait out a short storm--if the forecast is good, you probably won't even have any rain anyway. Get into the mindset that folks have been walking around outdoors for thousands of years without 90% of the stuff on your list, and just for kicks, see how minimalist you can go.

The point is, once you've actually experienced doing things this way, your perspective of what you really need becomes based on first hand experience. And you are less likely to believe that you need something when you really don't--it'll make you more honest with yourself. After a trip like this, you can then judiciously decide to add select things back into your pack rather than the much more painful task of trying to remove them.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Missing items? on 09/18/2012 07:03:26 MDT Print View

"-Do you really need liner socks? With modern wool socks most people don't.

I have found that they help a lot in keeping my feet a lot drier in my Gore-tex boots. Ironic, eh?"

that is because the gore-tex is holding the moisture of your feet sweating IN

going to a non-goretex trail shoe will decrease the weight on your feet and you will be dryer over all. non-goretex dries faster and keeps your feet cooler. your shoes will get wet goretex or not, having them dry faster is what you want.

(i break this rule because the gore-tex versions of my shoes fit me better than the non.. go figure, i accept the downsides for fit, but my next shoes will be different and non-goretex)

also, you keep switching from "regular trips to JMT trip.." make up your mind.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Missing items? on 09/18/2012 10:25:52 MDT Print View


The Gore-Tex shoes definitely have their perks and their downfalls. The Merrels I have are the only thing I found thus far that fit my ultra wide front foot, narrow heel.

Regarding my answering Tjaard's questions as to why I didn't have a cell phone and camera in my gear list, I'm not really seeing how answering his questions and just stating that those items will be in my gear list for my JMT trip, and that I don't normally carry such things makes me indecisive. I'm still working on all my base gear and not asking anything about additional gear for the JMT. I was merely answering his question in detail.

FYI, I do not have any "regular" trips, as I don't have the privilege of having anywhere I can regularly go on a whim that is truly "the outdoors" living near Chicago. The closest thing to real outdoors near here it about 6 hours away. All my trips require significant travel to places that vary wildly in conditions. California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan (UP and Mainland), Southern Illinois, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South "regular", but still working on my "regular base gear". Nothing has changed.


Edited by f8less on 09/18/2012 10:26:53 MDT.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Get experience doing things differently on 09/18/2012 10:38:05 MDT Print View


I actually plan on doing something like this in late October/Early November down in southern Illinois. It's funny you posted this last night, as I was thinking to myself, "What if this whole situation was reversed and I had nothing?". "Things" (or gear in this case) definitely help in some ways, hinder in others. Though in most cases, it is a double edged sword. Happiness and comfort are definitely a choice, and "things" definitely take away from that through responsibility to assets and the resulting stress we put upon ourselves through making our lives more complex.

I only wish that some day I can FULLY live up to the ideals I hold in my head. Sometimes this is hard in the society we live in today...especially when you are in IT. reason I'm slowly transitioning away from it and into a career that fits these ideals.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Looking to go lighter still on 09/18/2012 12:31:06 MDT Print View

Ken, I suggest you give up the idea of a "one size fits all" gear list. I have several lists depending on conditions. One gear list most definitely does not fit all trips!

I have three main conditions under which I backpack, and my gear list varies accordingly:
--Cascades summer (nights 35-45 F,days 60s to upper 80s,possible rain,often wet brush)
--Rockies above timberline summer (nights 20-35 F,days 35-80,daily thunderstorms,possible snow)
--Cascades fall-spring (nights 15-35 F, days 40-65, extended rain, probable snow, wet brush)

Winter isn't included because I don't backpack in the winter (can't stand to be cooped up in the tent during the long nights). I also don't backpack in really hot weather because it's too hard on my dog. Of course there are other places I backpack, but I usually just do minor tweaks on these three sets of conditions.

Some of the gear is the same for all, but especially the clothing layers vary. Other variations include whether or not I'll be fishing, fire restrictions, length of daylight and the frequency of water sources where I'm going.

Of course, if you're really good with spreadsheet software, you can set up a single list that will display/print only what is applicable to the trip conditions you set.

For purposes of this weight reduction exercise here on the forum, I suggest you pick one single long trip, research the conditions and set your list up specifically for that trip. Since you're planning the JMT next year, I'd use that one. It's also a trip that many folks here have done and about which they can advise you. Having the single specific list will make things far less confusing for those trying to advise you. You can then easily tweak that list for other trips.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Ken I am not you r boss ;-) on 09/18/2012 12:51:26 MDT Print View

When I said no wallet car keys etc. You don't have to answer and explain! :-)

I just meant, that perhaps you forgot to list them in your gearlist.

If you take them along, they need to be weighted and put on the list, if not, then they don't get listed, that's all.

As far as conditions goes, I just meant you need to asses them so you can make sure you have adequate equipment, but no unnecessary. That should tell you why you picked a certain shelter based on campsite style and conditions, or what navi equipment to take based on trail markings etc.
I meant YOU need to list this and analyze your list with it, it doesn't matter to me :-)

Read Andrew Skurka's book, it has a very good explanation of this and shows it applied to gear list design.

Edited by Tjaard on 09/18/2012 12:54:15 MDT.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Got it on 09/18/2012 19:47:07 MDT Print View

Mary and Tjaard

Thanks for the tips. I never really thought of going at a gear list in more of a database fashion rather than a spreadsheet and classifying gear according to conditions. Should make picking only what I need (and nothing I don't) for a particular trip. Looks like I've got a bit of work ahead of me.

...and Tjaard...NEVER! ;O)


michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
advice on 09/18/2012 19:51:46 MDT Print View

What I do is tell myself how many hours/minutes/seconds i'm going to be using that paticular item; compared to how many hours lugging it around in the hot sun or blistering cold.

If you decide that its worth it find the lightest version of that item, if you have to, sell old gear to get that item.

Edited by M.L on 09/18/2012 19:52:36 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Got it on 09/18/2012 20:09:56 MDT Print View lets you make a master list and then you can drag items to individual trip lists.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Looking to go lighter still on 09/18/2012 20:58:54 MDT Print View

A few random ideas:

For your next few trips: As soon as you get home (while unpacking), list every single item that you did NOT use during the trip. One way of doing this is to put a piece of masking tape on each item when you pack for the trip, removing it when you use the item (yes, you'll be packing out a big wad of masking tape!). At home, take the items that still have the masking tape on them and set them aside. The items you didn't use are very strong candidates for items to leave home next time. You can do this for back yard "trips" (a good way to test lighter gear or going without those unused items.

You have a lot of weight in stuff sacks; consider going the pack liner route and leaving the stuff sacks behind. A 2 mil trash compactor bag weighs a lot less than a bunch of stuff sacks and will give your pack a waterproof lining. Just be sure you get unscented ones (most supermarket trash compactor bags are scented; try the hardware store instead). Some folks use that Exped Schnozzle bag you have as a pack liner. I haven't yet seen the Schnozzle so can't comment personally, but the more multiple use gear you have, the more weight you'll save. For organizations, zippered sandwich bags are a lot lighter than stuff sacks and you can see through them.

The big problem with pack covers is that they do NOT protect the contents of your pack from getting wet. In a heavy rain, water will run down between the pack and your back and soak into the back of your pack. If you slip and fall in during a dicey stream ford (I have!), that pack cover will definitely not keep your vital insulating stuff (clothing and sleeping bag) dry! That's why a pack liner with watertight closure (twist the top into a "candy cane" and tie it tightly) is far better!

As for clothing, my practice is to take only the clothing I would wear ALL AT ONE TIME in the worst conditions I could expect for the specific trip. It's amazing how warm I am (and I'm a "cold" person!) even sitting around in the most horrible weather if I layer my rain gear over my base layer, hiking shirt and pants, puffy jacket and warm hat. The only extra item I take is a change of socks. (Pardon the caps, but there's no way to bold or italicize stuff around here.)

I hope you're also looking at various lightweight gear lists, on this site and others. If you haven't been, I can give you some links that I've used. You of course have to alter them to fit your own circumstances, but they can give you lots of ideas--they did me!

Edit, later: If you're willing to fork over the $25 for a year's BPL membership, it's (IMHO) well worth it to read some of the really good articles in the archives that have gear lists for specific conditions (for instance, there are several related to backpacking in prolonged cold rain). If you want to do this, I can give you links (I have them all bookmarked, so it will be easy to do).

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/18/2012 23:54:57 MDT.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Honey I Shrunk My Gear on 09/19/2012 12:06:54 MDT Print View

Got my FAK down to 4.7oz from the prior shrink down to 6.5oz:

Includes, Bandages (different sizes) gauze pads, narrow medical tape roll, sterile suture and thread, Wal-dryl, Immodium, Ibprophin, Tylenol Rapid Release, Generic Allergy Meds, Sudaphed, Tick Remover/Lifter w/ Tiny 5X Magnifying Glass, Tweezers, Scissors, Tiny Emory Board, Mole Skin, Antiseptic Wipes, Neosporin, and I believe that is everything. Anyone see anything obvious missing, recommendations?

Also got my Bag of Misc (Sun block, Soap, Chapstick, DEET, Hand Sanitizer, Toothbrush, etc.) down from 10+oz to 5.3oz. Found some great tiny little lunchbox condiment bottles at the Japanese grocery store. Should be able to get this a little lighter still with a lighter toothbrush and making some dried toothpaste dots. If anyone has any other tips regarding stuff like this, fire away please.

Also reconsidering my cooking setup and have a plan for an ESBIT setup that should weigh in right about at an ounce (without fuel). Right now my target is less than 1.5oz, and will hopefully be able to get 2 - 2 cup boils out of each 0.5oz cube in most conditions.


Edited by f8less on 09/19/2012 12:13:41 MDT.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Pack covers on 09/19/2012 12:16:21 MDT Print View

Many people on this thread have posted against pack covers. I personally don't use them either for the reason stated before:

-You need to pull them out and put them on, a hassle and sometimes you delay to long.
-If it rains long and hard, water get's in from the backpanel.
-They can flap in the wind
-Once on, you can't (easily) stow or grab items on the outside of your pack(trekking poles, rain gear, waterbottles, etc)

But, they are not without merit.Some people do use them, including Ryan Jordan(see bivy article pic or his article on spring hiking). They have the following benefits:

-Pack and pockets don't absorb water, keeping it lighter.
-Pack and attached items stay dry when you put it down in mud or snow.
-Items in outside pockets stay dry

So, I just wanted to point out, pack covers are not a bad choice per se, they just have pros and cons like everything else, and need to be evaluated in light of the expected conditions.

Edited by Tjaard on 09/19/2012 12:19:06 MDT.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Pack covers on 09/19/2012 12:31:27 MDT Print View

Understood. I kinda have a preference to them just to keep the stuff in my stretch pockets dry, keep the pack from getting heavier, keep everything from getting muddy (and in turn my rear) if I set the pack down. I keep my cover in a stretch pocket right next to my rain if I'm getting my rain jacket out anyway...

Additionally, most often than not if it's raining, then I'm using my GoLite umbrella and have it stuck into my pack strap. This then covers not only my head but the entire top of my pack. I just started using an umbrella this year and cannot even begin to tell you all the perks and uses for it...and envy from others on the trail. I can't explain how nice it is to hike in the rain for 3.5 hours with your hood off of your head, still be able to take pictures, not constantly be subjected to Chinese water torture, do your business while staying dry and even just being able to sit under it's cover while eating or making a meal.

...even makes a great awning on my BA Fly Creek UL 2, allowing me to keep my vestibule open in the rain and remedying BA's design flaw.

Edited by f8less on 09/19/2012 12:32:55 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Pack covers on 09/19/2012 12:59:17 MDT Print View

Re: FAK etc.. do you know how to suture? Do you think you could do it on yourself? i can't and probably couldn't i'd leave it. steri strips are lighter, easier to use, painless.

skip the soap and skip the DEET unless you expect major bugs... seems like you will wear a long sleeve most of the time anyway either for sun or for cold.

if you have a tick lifter what do you need tweezers for? if you have knife what do you need scissors for?

so you have a rain jacket, umbrella and pack cover... why? having a pack cover because you want to put your pack down in the mud is silly.. just... don't do that?

if you are psyched on Esbit why not just do 100% esbit and skip the canister.

little crap adds up.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Pack covers on 09/19/2012 13:22:06 MDT Print View

Ahh yes, Steri strips and a small tube of super glue are in there too. Forgot about those. Yes, I have stitched my finger and my forearm back up. My mother taught me how to do this. I guess it all depends on ones tolerance for pain. In my mind, pain is only as bad as you make it, and it's not like it lasts more than a few seconds. Every piercing I have, I've also done myself. :O)

All the liquids (sunscreen, DEET, soap, and hand sanitiser) total only 1.8 oz. in their respective bottles. I don't even think the soap in it's dropper is 0.3oz. The tiny bottles of sunblock and hand sanitizer are probably the bulk of this weight.

Scissors are a whopping 0.2 oz and will be used to cut mole skin, finger or toe nails, and for medical needs (trim loose flap of skin, suturing, etc.). I'm actually very impressed with the SAK Swisscard scissors. They're TINY, but are no joke.

Tweezers are for suturing and removing and debris from wounds (or even slivers). You don't want to be fingering something you're repeatedly sticking though a cut. Great way to get an infection right off the bat.

I don't believe having a pack cover as ground protection was my only reason...

That is the plan for the ESBIT. The stove setup needs to be built before I can swap it out. ;O) Gotta wait for some titanium sheet to come in.

Edited by f8less on 09/19/2012 13:26:49 MDT.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
... on 09/26/2012 01:18:07 MDT Print View

Hi Ken,

It looks like you're getting a lot of great ideas here. I would advise you to take it a new piece of gear, play with it at home, take it on a trip (or two or three) see if you like it. Take notes about what you like and what you don't like. Make adjustments when you get home. Then repeat until you're happy with all your gear.

Mary made a great suggestion when she said to mark all your unused gear with tape and then catalog it when you get home. You might be surprised at what you bring and don't actually need or use.

I found that while I started out with a goal of getting lighter and lighter, what I was really seeking was simplicity. Less gear usually weighs less but for me it's more about not hauling around a bunch of crap. If I can get my whole cook set (pot, windscreen, esbit holder, spoon, cozy) down by one or two less pieces and it makes the set up and break down a little easier...that's much more of a success to me then shaving off an extra ounce. And I'm not necessarily talking about only bringing the bare necessities because I bring a kindle and a full length, wide neoair xlite. I allow myself those things because I sleep considerably better on a wider pad and I love to read. When I sit down and start looking at gear, weight is one consideration but SIMPLICITY is the main thing.

Anyways, no concrete ideas...just my thoughts on the whole process.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Looking to go lighter still on 09/26/2012 09:12:00 MDT Print View

"You have a lot of weight in stuff sacks; consider going the pack liner route and leaving the stuff sacks behind."

I agree with this. In fact, having a lot of stuff sacks kind of shows you may have too much "stuff" to put in those sacks. I have hiking partners that also like to take stuff sacks and I find them to be limiting. In the morning everything has to go in a stuff sack and it takes time. Typically, in the summer, I only have one stuff sack and it's for my clothes. My first aid and ditty bag just go in a few small Ziplocks which are then placed in one larger Ziploc which I place on the outside of my pack.

When I get up in the morning I loosely stuff my sleeping bag and clothes bag in the pack in a liner. I close the liner and then put my tarp set up and stove in next. Then the bear canister. That's it. No stuff sacks needed for anything else. Simplicity is what I have learned from experience and from many, many suggestions on this site. It's real easy to pack in the morning and get going.

As far as clothing, in the summer in the Sierra I just take one extra long shirt, Dri Ducks, one extra socks, and one extra underwear for my trips along with a lightweight down jacket/sweater.

You have received a lot of great suggestions. Go out and try it out. Go without some of the stuff you feel you have to have and see how you do. Simplify, simplify.