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Weight Credit for Multi-use Items?
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Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Weight Credit for Multi-use Items? on 05/18/2007 16:58:10 MDT Print View

On multi-use items, do you give the item a weight credit for the extra item left at home? Let me explain...

I always hike with trekking poles. When considering the weight of t poles, I categorize them as "Clothing-Worn," much like my hat or my gloves (I don't have them on all the time, but I still carry them).

Sometimes I use a tent, sometimes I use a tarp. The tarp uses the t poles for support. When using a tent, on the gear list the poles _add_ weight since they don't contribute to the shelter. When using a tarp, on the gear list the poles _don't_ add weight to the shelter since I'm carrying them anyway.

The weight of the total tent is only 25% heavier total tarp (tarp + ground cloth + bug protection), but if I account for the reuse of the t poles for the tarp (14.5 oz.), i.e., subtract their weight from the total weight of the tarp shelter system, the tent is about 90% heavier.

I hope I've explained it clearly; this "weight credit" issue when using a tarp has been nagging me.


Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Gear weight rules :-) on 05/18/2007 17:35:44 MDT Print View

Hi Simon,

I don't understand exactly but you'll see how I address this in my gear list (under my name next to this message). For poles, it's listed under "worn or in hands" and completely absent in the shelter dept. OR I'll put under tent support "use trekking poles" and put a zero weight.

Now, you bring up a finer point of what to list under clothing warn. I only put things in this dept. that I wear all of the time or almost all of the time. For instance I don't put a hat, windshirt, or gloves because they're rarely worn. But I do put trekking poles and my whistle/LED light because the poles are only out of my hands during short scrambles and the whistle/light is worn around my neck 100% of the time.

I've seen people put items in pockets as "worn" but I see that as a bit of a least for me. For instance, when I carry my camera in my pocket for 50% of the trip, it's still pack weight for me.

I started out trying to bend the rules to make a certain weight but then I realized that for me, it felt like "cheating". So now, I just call it as straight as seems honest for me and that means that only items worn or in hands all of the time get listed there.

I hope this makes sense. In the end, it doesn't matter a single bit. If you're carrying it, you're carrying it and base pack weight is just a fun game of solitaire anyway. I like playing with weights but if I "cheat to win", it's only that. Who cares anyway- I ALWAYS cheat at solitaire!

Like folks say around here, Hike your own hike. Good message- do it however you want!


Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Re: Gear weight rules :-) on 05/22/2007 10:52:19 MDT Print View

Well, I was just considering the tarp vs. tent question, and comparing solely the skin-out weight of either option, the weight is pretty close (within 8 oz.). I thought I could rationalize the tarp option by subtracting the weight of the t poles since they make part of the shelter... splitting hairs, I suppose.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Gear weight rules :-) on 05/22/2007 11:21:52 MDT Print View

Hey- splitting hairs is all a part of gear lists! If you use your poles all the time, that's definitely "clothing worn or carried" and they don't count as pack weight. A great way to get closer to a UL or SUL weight goal!

Best of luck Simon!

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: Gear weight rules :-) on 05/22/2007 11:48:49 MDT Print View

This is why weight is broken into base pack weight, consumable weight, weight-worn, and rolled up into skin-out weight.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Gear weight rules :-) on 05/22/2007 13:26:58 MDT Print View

Exactly James- the full skin out is the truest weight in a gear list. But so many folks look at pack weight and it's the typical reference point for SUL, UL, and LW backpacking classifications. That's why, like you, most do all 4 parts- base pack, consumable, worn (I do worn/carried) and skin-out.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Weight Credit for Multi-use Items? on 05/22/2007 20:27:11 MDT Print View

One way or another, everything is carried of course; so what would be the point of distinguishing between pack weight and worn/carried? I used to divide gear along those lines, but it changes from season to season, even hour by hour as the weather changes and you don or remove rain wear from your pack.
The only distinction I make now in my own list is total base weight (FSO), or consumables. One group of stuff you will still have at the end of your hike, one group of stuff you will not.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Weight Credit for Multi-use Items? on 05/23/2007 07:53:23 MDT Print View

I like to think of my kit as an integrated system rather than a collection of individual parts. For example the BushBuddy stove is good with the hammock because you know you are going to be camping around trees and the hammock tarp has enough clearance to cook. For poncho and bivy trips the ESBIT beer can stove is perfect. When you match the tools to the job it seems like the kit is customized for every trip. Maybe that is what they mean by HYOH.

Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Re: re:Weight Credit for Multi-use Items? on 05/23/2007 11:07:19 MDT Print View

"what would be the point of distinguishing between pack weight and worn/carried?"

Aside from the weight breakdown analysis, my list is also used as a checklist--going and coming. So if my sunglasses are "worn/carried" but it's 5 am and dark (so I won't actually need sunglasses) as I leave on a trip, I won't forget them. (I also, perhaps with far more micromamangement than necessary, have a column that is either "Find" or "Pack," which ensures that I find those items that would otherwise be forgotten at 5 am because they are everyday items: eyeglasses, some articles of clothing, lip balm, etc.)

I sometimes think I spend 4 hours farting around with my list for each hour I'm actually carrying the stuff on the list :-)