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Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment on 02/23/2013 07:14:12 MST Print View

This is mostly to amuse myself.

Despite snowshoeing every weekend and sleeping outside during every major storm or deep freeze in the northeast, I'm still suffering from cabin fever. I just did a quick estimate and I think my skin-out summer backpacking weight is at about 12lbs, including the backpack and trekking poles and shoes. Everything. I've got to buy a scale to see how close all these manufacturers are, I suspect my actual weight varies by 1-3lbs...

Boreas Buttermilk 40: 21oz
Thermarest NeoAir X-therm Torso: 11oz
Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 45 Long: 24oz
Hennessy Hammock Ultralight: 31oz

Total big stuff: 87oz

Arcteryx Motus Long Sleeve Crew: 4.3oz
Arcteryx Phase Tights: 3.6oz
Mountain Hardwear Refueler Short 3.5oz
Smartwool Toe Socks 2pair: 4oz
Smartwool Hiking Socks: 3oz
Ibex Merino Wool Stretch Gloves: 2oz
Arcteryx Caliber Zip-neck Fleece: 10.9oz
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorak: 1.7oz
GoLite Paclite Rain Pants: 7oz
Patagonia Super Cell Rain Jacket: 13oz

Total clothing: 53oz

Vibram FF EL-X: 8.5oz
Brooks PureGrit 2: 10oz

Total shoes: 18.5oz

Leki Corklite Poles: 19.54oz
Sawyer Squeeze: 3oz
First Aid Kit: 3.5oz
Stuff Sacks (4L, 20L, eVent XS): 6.3oz
Misc. Estimated Weight: 5oz

Miscellaneous: 37.34oz

Total: 195.84oz (12.24lbs)

If I buy a stove, add 4.1oz for a hexagon Titanium Vargo wood stove and 4.2oz for an MSR Titanium Kettle. I'll also probably buy a sun hat and bug headnet for sanity.

Not bad!
Looking at my list, I could cut weight from the eVent compression sack, and from the fleece jacket. My C.A.M.P. puffy weighs 8.3oz and isn't warm when soaked, so that might be conditions-dependent. This all seems a little arbitrary since the weight of my camera gear, case, and the carabiners that secure it is almost exactly 2 more lbs.

If I don't count the clothes worn and the poles, my pack alone weighs 9.6lbs on a sunny day, 11.6lbs with camera gear.

Before you judge me, I work as a police dispatch on a quiet campus of 2,000 students, so I literally have nothing better to do than spreadsheet stuff.

Anyone else want to compare baseweights...? ;D

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Important Addendum on 02/23/2013 07:27:25 MST Print View

I forgot my precious, precious spork.


Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
gear lists on 02/23/2013 07:41:26 MST Print View

Max, I've got a 'job' that gives me of a lot of free time as well, which has lead to some pretty obsessive trip planning & gear-headery. Last summer I did a thorough study of the lightest foods for backpacking (cals,prot,fat,carbs & $ per oz). Yeah, it got pretty ridiculous.

But what your doing is not that ridiculous at all. Actually people do it all the time over in the gearlists forum. Check it out. Folks will give you feedback & suggestions on your list if you want. Or you can find out just how light some people's packs are on this forum & get seduced into spending a small fortune on lighter gear.


Edited by sgiachetti on 02/23/2013 07:49:36 MST.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment on 02/23/2013 08:44:17 MST Print View

I don't use gloves in nicer weather. Your raincoat is pretty heavy. Going for durability? I have a 4 oz. silnylon, Gram Wienie anorak, no longer made. Don't they make lighter hammocks? Or is that with all the hammocks parts?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment on 02/23/2013 08:46:59 MST Print View

You don't need fleece - heavy for the small amount of warmth

The only time it's useful is when hiking in cold temps, like 20 F, when just base layer and jacket aren't warm enough

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Thoughts on 02/23/2013 09:07:57 MST Print View

Ok, useful info. This is my list for backpacking around the northeast from April to September, assuming the occasional night on a summit, with a crosswind, and rain, yadda yadda. I know I had a fleece when I toured the northeast last summer and only used it 3 nights in 30. So I can probably ditch that.

I fear the "nightmare scenario" and am wondering if I should bring a down vest or a fleece vest or something, anything, to complement my 45º bag for a serious adventure. Thoughts?

As for the hammock, Hennessy has a slightly lighter one but it comes at the cost of durability.

As for the raincoat, I had one Marmot Super Mica fail on me during a trip so I bought a slightly thicker Paclite one for durability. You can say it's durability, the better answer is I use it for going to class, going backpacking, snowshoeing, biking, etc. so it goes through the wringer. I could cut 5oz there but it's a nice coat.

As for the gearlist forum, I've posted there before but I thought I'd open it up here because it's A) nonspecific to a trip, B) slightly thought-experimental, and C) more about the idea of a base weight / skin out than the actual items. Though item conversation is inevitable so maybe I should have moved it....

diego dean
Hammock on 02/23/2013 09:35:28 MST Print View

Have you seen the Darien UL Hammock? Comes with straps, suspension, bug net, at 14.5 oz. and ready to hang.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Darien has no rain fly. on 02/23/2013 09:51:37 MST Print View

My hammock probably weighs about that if I leave the rainfly at home, but I need the rainfly. The Darien UL Hammock might even weigh more than my hennessy, since it has big zippers instead of a small velcro slit. Regardless, I expect my hennessy to last me another decade so I'm not buying another hammock soon.

Maybe a tent. Can't always hang!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Thoughts on 02/23/2013 10:36:47 MST Print View

"I fear the "nightmare scenario" and am wondering if I should bring a down vest or a fleece vest or something, anything, to complement my 45º bag for a serious adventure. Thoughts?"

For the same weight as fleece, get a synthetic or down vest or jacket. That will provide much more warmth. Down more warmth for the weight, but more vulnerable to wet.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Vest on 02/23/2013 12:11:49 MST Print View

Probably will. Thanks Jerry!

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment on 02/23/2013 12:31:06 MST Print View

>> You don't need fleece - heavy for the small amount of warmth <<

Just to provide a different perspective... I totally disagree with Jerry. Over the years I have tried all the the alternate options to try to cut the weight of carrying a fleece and my 100 wt fleece (9 oz) is one of my most used clothing items.

It's more than just about weight, the fleece handles moisture well (can wear it in light rain), breathes well, is durable (good bushwhacking garment), and doesn't make me cry when sparks from a fire burn holes in it (it's cheap compared to my down/wind top alternatives).

I sleep in mine all the time and can hike in it in cool weather without turning into a sweat ball.

Don't lose the fleece if it works for you.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Ugh, decisions! on 02/23/2013 12:33:25 MST Print View

I wish I had some comparable warmth/weight ratio for fleece VS down. I love fleece, but I also feel warm in down. Problem is, I treat my down jacket like a human infant; it's very fragile, it occasionally loses feathers (annoying) and it's useless while wet.

So, all the reasons I love fleece seem to be either A) not enough to justify the weight and bulk or B) fulfilled by down.

I think... I think I will still use a fleece vest, if I can find a good one under 10 ounces. Any suggestions?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Ugh, decisions! on 02/23/2013 12:41:13 MST Print View

Max, what pieces do you have that occasionally looses feathers? And what is "occasionally"?

I've got an EE quilt, Marmot puffy, down mitts and hood, down booties, and an EB down vest.

In all that stuff, I might notice 2-3 feathers pop out in a season.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Down shirt on 02/23/2013 12:41:16 MST Print View

I can't recall the name of the Mont Bell down shirt I got, it isn't called a shirt, but is about as thin and light. Coming in at 7oz, that was all I needed last August on my yearly Sierra vacation for my outer wear. I had my WM down vest but did not need it. The MB shirt looks pretty thin, so I was pretty skeptical, but I gave it a shot. At least one morning according to my Zip-o-gauge was 29F-30F and I was warm, so I have lightened my bp weight a little more.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Down Jacket on 02/23/2013 12:46:46 MST Print View

C.A.M.P. Men's ED Slim down sweater. Loses about 2-4 feathers per 6 hours spent in it. Tried rolling it around in the dryer with some tennis balls to break the feathers, as well as just wearing it a lot, but they're still poking through. Waste of money. I would reccomend people avoid it, if you could even still find any. Not even that light- 9oz.

If I replace it, I'm probably going to go with something like a MH Ghost Whisperer, I like that company and have had good luck with their stuff.

But, I wouldn't bring a Ghost Whisperer on a summer trip. Early spring to late fall, sure.

I am looking at the Patagonia R1 Vest, 9oz for some decent fleece and no extras. 50 bucks on sale. However, I might cave and just get the full R1 Hoodie and leave my gloves and hat at home.

Part of me is reminding myself that the likely scenario is that I just use my Arcteryx fleece, eat the 2 oz, and call it a day...

Edited by mdilthey on 02/23/2013 12:48:00 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Down Jacket on 02/23/2013 12:57:13 MST Print View

Huh. Bummer about your coat!

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Yep. on 02/23/2013 13:00:42 MST Print View

For every piece of gear I don't like, there's three or four that I love. Gotta play to win!

My Sh!t List:

Columbia Omnidry Fleece
Marmot Super Mica Raincoat
C.A.M.P. Men's ED Slim
Injinji Coolmax Toe Socks
Princeton Tec Byte Headlamp


Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Summits on 02/23/2013 13:11:40 MST Print View

What's your plan for camping on summits in NE. I'm thinking many with the wind conditions you describe are going to be treeless, so can you rig the hammock to rocks?

Also I would add some insulation or carry a heavier sleeping bag. Dunno if a 45 degree bag would cut it for those conditions.

Of course most of the mountains I'm thinking of in the Whites are off limits for camping above treeline anyway.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Summits on 02/23/2013 13:32:21 MST Print View

Last year I did a little LNT "stealth" camping without cooking on a couple of summits in NH, VT, and my own backyard, Mt. Greylock. Some mountains are pretty low, like Glastenbury, and there's plenty of strong non-alpine trees to hang from.

The one summit I was on that was bare rock was whatever mountain "Hurricane Mountain Road" is on in NH. Never could find the name, but I didn't look that hard. We slept on bare rock out in the open, since it was late august there were no bugs. It was beautiful, life-changing, euphoric, and a lot of other strong adjectives. It was also 42º.

There is the distinct possibility that I'll spend a lot of time near the shore, like on World's End in Hingham, MA and other east coast dwellings. In those areas, the ocean means it can hit 40 or 50 without a stretch, so I need to be prepared.

Final thought: my 45º bag will be fine with an insulating piece for my core. If you've seen any of my winter posts, I guess I'm a bit of a masochist and have no problem roughin' it. Type II fun!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/23/2013 13:34:28 MST.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Summer Backpacking Weight Experiment on 02/23/2013 14:38:08 MST Print View

on the LT i went with a smartwool sweater(8.6oz) instead of down to avoid the wetness issue. I wore it to bed over my Icebreaker 200 long sleeve many times with my 45-50* syth. quilt. Wool is also naturally fire resistant ;)

I suggest putting all your gear into GearGrams and be able to mix and match. There is stuff on your list missing... water bottles.. dirty water bags for Sawyer, phone, etc. To get a realistic view of what you have you need to count it all. I think baseweight is the easiest way to deal with that. No reason to count the weight of your shoes on your feet and clothes you will wear 90% of the time.

i hear you on the cabin fever.. do you have snowshoes? i might be doing Carrigain as a day hike one of these days.