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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: Mostly laundry on 11/08/2012 22:10:43 MST Print View

I feel like I am going to show up to a group hike with traditional backpackers some day and the group leader is going to think I don't know what I am doing based on the size of my pack. And then I am going to be forced to pull everything out of my pack and show that I do, in fact, have the proper gear. And he will still look at me all befuddled.

I really think that the biggest obstacle to packing light for beginner backpackers are massive, cheap sleeping bags.

The weirdest packing job I ever saw was in Big Sur a couple weekends ago. Some guy had a very small backpack (the kind that mountain bikers use) and strapped to the bottom was a massive, at least 3 foot long tube stuff stack. I have no idea what was in that. I felt bad for his poor shoulders.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Mostly laundry on 11/08/2012 22:14:33 MST Print View

Hike solo and no one will ever question your pack -- we'll, maybe you will.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Exaggerated Pack Weights??? on 11/08/2012 22:25:16 MST Print View

4779
Back in the Day and big learning curve.. WOW!

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/08/2012 22:27:31 MST Print View

When i was much younger I went with uncle Wayne on backpacking trips in the Sierra with friends.
We usually had a frozen Tri Tip steak for the first night out.
Just before we left one time he asked if beans would be good with our steak.
I said "sure"!
Then he loaded a 1 gallon can of backed beans into the top of my pack and said "Good, you can carry them."

Anyhow, here are a few pictures of impressive loads I have seen carried on trails.
More power to these people.. as long as i don't have to carry it!
."How far to the lake?"
."What no axe?.. oh wait.. there it is."
.The pack used on Mt Washington New Hampshire around the observatory.
.The "wear the pack backwards for easier access to the beer" approach
.Yes, this is me circa 2004. I was a heavy trucker too.
.
This last photo is me from 2004.
Seems only fair to lampoon myself as well.
My old Dana Designs pack weighed more empty than my entire base weight now.
.Clearly this sign was intended for "ultralighter" crossing only... look at the tiny packs!
.
Ultralighter crossing only? I mean, look at the tiny packs!

Scott Pickard
(gon2srf)

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/09/2012 14:36:56 MST Print View

The guy with boxes!!!! Great thread that is getting me through a rough day at work.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/09/2012 17:04:47 MST Print View

That load with boxes is typical of re-supply for remote staff operations. Some of those youngsters haul in 100 pound loads of fresh food and supplies. OUCH!

Scott Pickard
(gon2srf)

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/09/2012 19:02:11 MST Print View

Lol. Thought he was just being resourceful.

Doug Wolfe
(Wolfie2nd) - F
@ Roger Caffin on 11/15/2012 04:52:23 MST Print View

Dude no matter how you look at it there's no light weight way to do any alpine mountaineering. Everything about it is heavy rope,pro,crampons an axe.
But its still fun : )

Edited by Wolfie2nd on 11/15/2012 04:56:33 MST.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Exaggerated pack weights???? on 11/18/2012 09:31:56 MST Print View

Easy -- the wrong stuff and too much of it. Fifteen years ago I was thrilled when I was able to get my base weight below 50 pounds. Seriously. For a weekend trip, I would have 48 pounds of base gear and a tiny 5-pound food bag. I weighed all this stuff, so it was accurate.

That included a 4.5 pound solo tent (which won a Backpacker Editor's Choice award and was three pounds lighter than my old solo tent.) It included a 2.5 pound Goretex shell, another 1.5 pounds of Goretex rain pants, a complete 200-wt fleece set, top and bottom, with nylon panels to keep the pack straps from shredding the fleece. All that was totally necessary to survive mild Eastern fall weather that might actually get below freezing! Probably another 4 pounds. A two pound stove and a 3-4 pound kitchen. A coated nylon 9x9 foot tarp for the kitchen, 2.5 pounds. A change of clothing for every day on the trail. A 4-pound synthetic 20-F bag that packed to the size of a large watermelon. A giant Thermarest. Multiple repair kits for everything - mattress, stove, pack. A giant fixed blade knife, plus a multitool. A military entrenching tool (seriously.) Extra batteries. A 2+ pound first aid kit. Binoculars. Heavy p+s camera along with spare batteries and film. All of this was carried in a Gregory pack that weighed almost seven pounds, plus I needed another pound+ of optional external pockets.

Remember, the wilderness is a nasty, brutish place where only the prepared can possibly survive....

Getting the pack weight down was a process of getting more experience and learning from other hikers. My three season base weight is now around 13-14 pounds depending on whether I am solo or with my wife. Makes the trips a lot more pleasant....

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Pack weights on 11/18/2012 10:20:32 MST Print View

Back in the day (from the 1970s through about 2008) I regularly weighed my full pack. If it weighed 45lbs or less, I thought I was carrying a light pack. Over 50lbs was normal.

Thank God for BPL!

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
nope on 11/19/2012 18:06:31 MST Print View

Packs at Philmont scout ranch go on the scale before leaving.
The average is 45-55 lbs
With only 3 days food at a time.
Philmont does require some extra stuff, but most newbs would bring more on their own anyway without the guidance they give.

I have a friend who told me he worked on getting his pack wt down and got excited once when he weighed his pack and it only weighed 23 lbs,.... then he realized he didnt have any food or water yet.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Recurring theme on 11/25/2012 14:34:00 MST Print View

This thread is a recurring theme on BPL, for good reason. I am one of those people who started with a heavy pack, 40+ lbs, for a weekend trip as a middle schooler, but now my baseweight is at 8.5ish lbs. I fully credit my weight loss to BPL, not so much for changing my ways, but showing me other ways and gear.

I never packed extra clothes or shoes, but I had a white gas stove for August, full set of nesting pots instead of just one (I did use them all though), 7 lbs pack, 1.5 sleeping pad (which I still have and use 15 years later), fairly full FAK, multiple full water bottles, etc. It added up, and yes I weighed the pack on the bathroom scale. At the time, my dad had a 60 lbs pack because he "needed" two bucket sinks, camp shoes, a change of clothes, a towel for washing up, and so on.

We got that gear and the subsequent heavy packs by reading Backpacker mag and going to REI for help. Both well meaning resources, but heavy minded. BPL was the resource I wanted all those years ago. The last trip I went on with my dad was the first time he didn't say he was going to have a lighter pack next time, and we didn't wish for anything either.

I'm conflicted when I see these threads about heavier packs because on one hand, I've been there and now I've "seen the light," as it's been said. I, too, cringe at towering packs for two nights. Hell, I cringe when I see two people each with their own stove and cookset nowadays. But it's this seemingly enlightened attitude and looking down at people with heavy packs that has killed the reputation of ultralight backpacking recently. Skurka doesn't use the word "ultralight" anymore because of the elitist connotation associated with it.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if these people with 40, 50, 60, 100 lbs packs are happy, I don't care about their packs and am happy to share the woods. If they wish there was a lighter way, I'd show them what I've learned from BPL. At first, I was pretty snotty about my baseweight when it dropped, but now I keep my mouth shut and just enjoy the hiking. I think I'm probably much more fun to be around now too.

-Jeff

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Recurring theme on 11/25/2012 15:18:54 MST Print View

There is plenty of pushback from the "other side" too. many folks with packs that size still consider people with smaller packs to be unprepared and uncomfortable.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Recurring theme on 11/25/2012 23:37:47 MST Print View

Just posted a trip report where I used all my old gear. The gear list might surprise you.

Click Here

James Skeen
(andyskeen)

Locale: Upstate NY/Ft. Collins, CO
Weight vs. Comfort on 12/12/2012 14:26:48 MST Print View

Having carried 80-100lbs on my back for weeks on end, I know the value of having a light pack.

And, having experienced terrible weather of all kinds, in the same apparel, I know that being comfortable is something I will never willingly compromise.

Nor will I opt for a cold meal over hot food. I'll always have a stove and fuel, if I can help it.

So, 30lbs or so is probably the lowest I'd go for a multi-day trip in which I'd see real terrain and weather.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
nice commentary on 12/22/2012 00:19:00 MST Print View

Jeff wrote, "I'm conflicted when I see these threads about heavier packs because on one hand, I've been there and now I've "seen the light," as it's been said. I, too, cringe at towering packs for two nights. Hell, I cringe when I see two people each with their own stove and cookset nowadays. But it's this seemingly enlightened attitude and looking down at people with heavy packs that has killed the reputation of ultralight backpacking recently. Skurka doesn't use the word "ultralight" anymore because of the elitist connotation associated with it.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if these people with 40, 50, 60, 100 lbs packs are happy, I don't care about their packs and am happy to share the woods. If they wish there was a lighter way, I'd show them what I've learned from BPL. At first, I was pretty snotty about my baseweight when it dropped, but now I keep my mouth shut and just enjoy the hiking. I think I'm probably much more fun to be around now too."

It's nice to see posts like this here. For myself, i never did the ultra heavy thing, though i have definitely carried unecessary gear, and still occasionally do to a lesser extent i think.

I've been lurking here for awhile before i joined. There is a lot of great stuff to learn here, and i like that sometimes i feel a bit like an idiot or rather a bit ignorant when reading some of the threads here (anodizing aluminum!)--keeps me humble and makes me realize i have a lot to learn. But i have noted a sort of attitude of elitism here sometimes.

Also, as i've gotten more into UL type thinking, gear, and planning--i've noticed it has increased my "monkey mind chatter" which is something that i like being in nature to tone down (i also meditate to help with that). It's almost ironic. I'm constantly thinking about the next best and lightest thing, how to modify this, or modify that, etc, etc. I deliberately have to take a conscious step back sometimes because i have a slightly OCD type personality.

I've seen people take the ultralight thing to a religious zealotry level at worst and obsessiveness on the lesser end. I could see myself getting to the latter at least, and that's not where i want to be. Does anyone really need to cut holes out of their toothbrush? How would that increase your comfort level?

I guess i'm turned off by extremism, having been extremist in the past. I don't don't judge individuals for it though, whether they carry a super heavy pack or SXUL pack, but to me both are kind of missing the point if they focus too much on the gear. What i really want to do is get more into bushcrafting and using what's in nature already. Serves two purposes, gets you more light, but also tunes you into nature more. When i grow up, i want to be like Cody Lundin.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Going UL on 12/22/2012 11:19:34 MST Print View

I, too, lurked a lot before I joined, then started asking a lot of questions (thanks everyone!). I am so happy I found this site, and that I've learned so much about how to actually enjoy backpacking instead of making it an endurance test.

Unfortunately...now I'm just mad that I can't stop thinking about how to lighten my pack, carry smaller, lighter stuff, modify what I have, wear better clothes...
You guys are cleaning out my bank account with all this talk of cuben and titanium and eVent and merino and possumdown (down from possums???!!!). I love you for it, but gear swap and STP and Backcountry.com 20% off and The Clymb - ARGH - I just can't resist!!!!

Who needs to pay the mortgage when I could be sleeping on a BA SL Q-core in a Palisades quilt under a cuben tarp wearing down booties and merino leggings and a black rock gear down hat and a cap4 hoody??

;)

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Builders level on 12/22/2012 12:24:00 MST Print View

Not to rain on any parade of slammin that guy, which I agree, his stuff is ridiculous.

But I nerdily studied that pic and I think its a Stanley SharkTooth saw. There is a little taper to it and... a saw is slightly more useful in the woods than a level. He may be dumb, but he's not stupid.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Builders level on 12/22/2012 13:46:14 MST Print View

I think you're right on the saw vs a level. I feel so much better about in now ;)

Was it George Bernard Shaw that said, "what a shame to waste youth upon the young"?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 12/22/2012 14:33:27 MST Print View

Awesome posts Justin and jen.

If you can pay the mortgage AND sleep under a cuben hexamid you will have beaten life, that's all I can say :)