Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry
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Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/26/2013 23:45:48 MDT Print View

I am heading to Glacier National Park for a 4 day 3 night hike over Labor day weekend and currently my pack with all my gear and food weighs 36.4lbs once you throw in water you add another 4lbs. I would really like to shed some weight but I am having a hard time seeing where to shed the weight. I recently purchased all new gear as I hadn't bought any in over 10 years (I'm 33 and hand't bought new gear since I was 20) so I am not looking to purchase anything. I am erring on the side of caution in my packing because the weather in Glacier can change at a moments notice and it can snow year round. So I do not want to be caught unprepared. Here is what I have packed

Osprey Atmos 65 pack
Feathered friends sleeping bag 20 degree as it can drop into the mid 20's even in August
Big agnos copper spur UL1 tent, stakes and rain fly
REI Stratus sleeping pad
MSR miniworks water filter - Hoping to carry as little water as possible and pump as I go throughout the day. The trails we will be on have numerous water sources.
GSI pinnacle dualist cookset
Nalgene canteen collapsible
small bag of toiletries (sunscreen, deet, chapstick)
small bag of firestarting materials (lighter, tinder, matches)
Lightweight Northface rain gear (jacket and pants)
Mid layer ultralight Northface jacket - Nano puff equivalent as far as I have researched
Two pairs of wool socks
One extra shirt, pants, underwear
First aid kit
Sunglasses
Compass
Leatherman wave
Mora Knife
Black Diamond spot headlamp
Two carabiners
25ft of paracord (mandatory)
Stuff sack containing 9 lbs of food
Glock 40 in a hip holster - For Bears


Thats everything. I pulled out some toiletries, traded out some food for higher calorie lower weight items and I pulled out my Montbell ultralight fleece. I would love to shed some weight on the food but I have a recently discovered stomach condition that prevents me from eating read meat, fatty or acidic foods, dairy, chocolate, nuts and all sorts of other things one would normally bring on a hike so I am stuck eating vegan foods which increases the weight substantially to maintain the necessary caloric intake. I know I will lose 2lbs a day in food but I would like to shed some other pack weight before my trip begins and I could really use some "expert" advice because I don't know what else I can leave behind without compromising comfort or safety.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 00:26:53 MDT Print View

Ditch the filter. Hiking in the Rockies, I assume you won't be dealing with nasty water. Filtering it would be pointless. There are much lighter option like iodine tabs, aquamira, or the steripen that will make your water safe to drink. I find that filters are only necessary for scummy ponds and stagnant water which rarely exist in mountainous areas

Glock 40 - I'm not an anti-gun guy at all, but seriously don't bring this. You are not heading into grizzly territory (I think). Black bears and grizzly bears are completely different animals. Carrying a firearm for black bears is just silly. For grizzlies - then something to defend yourself would be a good idea.

Choose the mora or the leatherman, that's too much weight in metal tools.

You don't need extra pants and a shirt. Your spare clothing will get dirty and smelly anyways so it won't help much. Some long underwear and a light shirt to change into for sleeping would be good. If you wash your shirt and pants in the evening they should be dry in the morning. Regular daily washing will keep your hiking clothes from getting too nasty.

If you can eat fish, enjoy fishing, and will have time in the evenings to fish then fishing is a good way to knock a little weight off your food bag.

You should weigh your gear and post a more complete list. I can't tell why you are at 36lbs from your list, seems really high.

Edited by justin_baker on 08/27/2013 00:30:00 MDT.

Jason Guerricabeitia
(BasqueJ88) - M
need more info on 08/27/2013 01:57:22 MDT Print View

In order to get more helpful responses, you should list the gear weights, and specify things like whats in your first aid-kid, how much sunscreen are you carrying, a whole bottle or a small amount in an alternate container. Knowing these things will make it easy to recognize where you are carrying too much.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 05:59:30 MDT Print View

Osprey Atmos 65 pack: Way too heavy at 3.5-4 pounds. No UL pack should weigh more than 16oz.

Feathered friends sleeping bag 20 degree as it can drop into the mid 20's even in August: Good

Big agnos copper spur UL1 tent, stakes and rain fly: I would use a 9x9 tarp at <14oz.

REI Stratus sleeping pad: 24oz? WOW! NeoAir is only 12-13oz. A NightLite torso pad is only 10oz.

MSR miniworks water filter - Hoping to carry as little water as possible and pump as I go throughout the day. The trails we will be on have numerous water sources.:
Bring 2-.5L gatoraid bottles and a 2L platty (for night treatments) and a 4oz steripen and two small bottles of AM with a DEET cup from Bens DEET. I often use the AM as backup, and only use the steripen, leaving dirty water in the platty. I empty it in the morning so I only carry about 1L max during the day. Depends on water sources.

GSI pinnacle dualist cookset: Replace with a grease pot (3.8oz,) cup (1.6oz) and spoon.

Nalgene canteen collapsible: Don't use it. Platty above.
small bag of toiletries (sunscreen, deet, chapstick): Cloths for sun screen (hat, long sleeve shirt, pants) I use deet. Chapstick I do not use. I bring Toilet Paper.

small bag of firestarting materials (lighter, tinder, matches): Drop it. BIC lighter, 1/4 fire starting stick for rain.

Lightweight Northface rain gear (jacket and pants): Drop the pants. They get torn up anyway. Pants should be nylon (quick dry.)

Mid layer ultralight Northface jacket - Nano puff equivalent as far as I have researched: Good

Two pairs of wool socks: One on you, one for sleeping.

One extra shirt, pants, underwear: Long Johns set (pants and shirt) Drop the underwear.

First aid kit: Drop it. 5' of duct tape, a piece of bandana makes a good emergency kit. Anything more than a cut or scrape means leaving the trail. A few(3-4) alcohol pads make good firestarters in a pinch.

Sunglasses: Use a wide brimmed hat. Also works as a pot cozy. Sunglasses only in winter.

Compass: A light, good one. Check the needles on them. Often a three dollar compas will be good.

Leatherman wave: Drop it.
Mora Knife: Drop it. I use a Gerber LST for everything.

Black Diamond spot headlamp: Petzel E+Light, spare batteries. I usually bring a small Impulse for around camp. I have hiked over 12 hours in the dark with the E+light.

Two carabiners: ??
25ft of paracord (mandatory): ?? Use 2mm Spectra. Often this is arborist line. I bring one NiteIze X-Small ti dual-clip. 50' of line and clip weigh less than 25' of paracord. OR, use 50' of bow string. 10 pounds of food will not usually cut into a branch for hangs. I split mine into a 35' section and a lighter weight 20' section. Use loop-to-loop connections to join them. Heavier line (3mm) is used for up to 20# of food.

Stuff sack containing 9 lbs of food: Food is always a problem. At 9# it weighs more than my entire rest of the pack/gear does.

Glock 40 in a hip holster - For Bears ???????? Never used one.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 07:35:24 MDT Print View

Osprey Atmos 65 pack: overkill.

Feathered friends sleeping bag 20 degree as it can drop into the mid 20's even in August: nice choice

Big agnos copper spur UL1 tent, stakes and rain fly: how about leaving the tent behind and go fast pitch with just the fly and a ground sheet?

REI Stratus sleeping pad: WAY too heavy for a pad. Neo air, exped, heck closed cell foam! This could be an expensive swap if you can't do a foam pad

MSR miniworks water filter - Hoping to carry as little water as possible and pump as I go throughout the day. The trails we will be on have numerous water sources.: go with aqua Mira or even a sawyer squeeze (can be had pretty cheaply) to save nearly a pound

GSI pinnacle dualist cookset: why such a big pot? Can get much lighter and more compact for not too much cash

Nalgene canteen collapsible: just go with a platy or smartwater bottles.

small bag of toiletries (sunscreen, deet, chapstick): make sure to repackage into smaller containers. I need Chapstick too....

small bag of firestarting materials (lighter, tinder, matches): mini bic and some matches. No need for tinder...

Lightweight Northface rain gear (jacket and pants): ditch the pants.

Mid layer ultralight Northface jacket - Nano puff equivalent as far as I have researched: good call

Two pairs of wool socks: one for sleeping, one for walking.

One extra shirt, pants, underwear: you are only gone for 4 days. No need...but not a bad idea to have something light and dry to change into for sleeping

First aid kit
Sunglasses
Compass
Leatherman wave: why the leatherman AND the knife? Pick one,
Mora Knife
Black Diamond spot headlamp
Two carabiners
25ft of paracord (mandatory): why paracord? Way lighter options like spectra

Stuff sack containing 9 lbs of food
Glock 40 in a hip holster - For Bears : not a gun hater, but bear spray has been proven to be safer and more effective. If you aren't in grizzly country don't bother with either.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 07:42:01 MDT Print View

Justin and James have great suggestions.

Lowest hanging fruit: drop the carabiners, one knife, and especially the Glock. It's not enough gun for grizzlies and weighs more (31 ounces, loaded, plus holster plus belt or heavier pants) than pepper spray (11 or 15 ounces plus 1.3 ounce holster and which statistically is more likely to improve your outcome). Or note that there have been no fatal bear attacks in Glacier for 15 years now (versus 4 trauma deaths, mostly from falls in one month this summer and drowning is even more of a risk, on average, than falls). Making noise is your best defense against bears.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 07:50:21 MDT Print View

Forget the Glock--you'll stand out like a sore thumb, and turn off most of the other hikers. The rangers will probably ask you about it. Take bear spray, and know how to use it. Like Jen mentioned, bear spray is more effective (and lighter) than a gun.

25' of paracord for your food hang isn't enough. Take 50', as some of the food hang poles are 15' up there.

What's your route, by the way? If we know which campsites you'll be staying at, and what trails you'll be on, we might have more advice on what to take with you.

Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Lightweight gear on 08/27/2013 08:26:49 MDT Print View

I appreciate all the responses but as I said I am not looking to purchase any additional gear except maybe the lighter pad. I bought what I could afford and am in no way interested in going ultralight at this time as I can't justify the cost. I just want to shed a few pounds or so if I can. Do you guys really think it advisable to sleep with just a tarp when it can drop into the twenties and snow or there can be severe thunderstorms with microbursts? Also the Rangers at Glacier told me over the phone that they have had bear problems this year. We will have bear spray which is our first line of defense if that doesn't work that is why I have the Glock and my buddy has a 357 which I can definitely leave behind with reservations of course. They also said they have problems with salt seeking animals getting into camp and running off with or destroying any clothing that is salt stained. One more reason to have a closed tent. I have a snow peak titanium cookset that is ultralight but its tiny about the size of a coffee mug and the meals I am bringing aren't in bags that you can cook them in so I need a bigger pot to boil water in and then dump in the meals. It's a limitation that makes me upset but what can one do about a health problem? It is what it is. I've read good things about the sawyer but on the flipside I have heard they have a high failure rate and I don't want to be left in the lurch with a broken filter and as I said I am not looking to purchase any additional gear I just want to lighten what I have. I am wearing quick dry pants so I can see leaving the rain pants behind. I'd never heard of spectra I will have to see if I can find some before I fly out on Thursday. I think I can definitely cut my firestarting material weight and knife weight down and only take one carabiner that I need for my stuff sack I have to hang every night with the food. They don't have bear boxes. Which should I ditch the leatherman or the Mora? I think the leatherman would be more useful but we are on well established trails not in the middle of nowhere. I'll ditch the extra pants and bring some light running shorts that I can swim in/sleep in since we plan on jumping in the lakes. I spent 10 years in the Navy and I've seen some crazy crap happen at the oddest of moments so I find it hard to justify leaving a first aid kit behind. I am bringing a wide brimmed hat so I can probably ditch the sunglasses as well.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 08:29:30 MDT Print View

If you're "hoping to carry as little water as possible and pump as I go throughout the day" you don't need to carry 4 pounds (2 liters) of water. Maybe none or 1/2 liter. Depending on how many water sources there are. Water or soda bottles weigh 1 ounce.

2 pounds of food per day? Make sure you're not carrying extra food (beyond a little extra for emergency)

Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 08:46:48 MDT Print View

Ok so I just pulled out 2.5lbs of gear and I am seriously contemplating the neo air as I can just pop into REI and buy one today or tomorrow. Any recommendations for a cookset that is light but big enough to dump an entire dehydrated meal into? Also I forgot I am carrying a platypus hydration system. I only plan on carrying 4lbs of water a day and either pumping at lunch time and or in the evening. I am hiking from Many Glacier to Elizabeth lake then onto Gable Creek campground and up into Canada for a day. Then the reverse. I spoke with the Rangers and they told me there are enough water sources along this route (lakes, rivers streams) that they themselves only bring 32 ounces of water and just pump as needed.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Hmmm on 08/27/2013 08:51:10 MDT Print View

The problem I see with your kit is that your safety margin is WAY too high and therefore your kit is heavy. Obviously, there is a lot of gear where you can go lighter but this will take time and $$$.

Osprey Atmos 65 pack - This is a lot of pack. You can save a lot of weight here. Look for something around 26 oz or under. Check out Gossamer Gear packs.
Feathered friends sleeping bag 20 degree as it can drop into the mid 20's even in August - This is fine. I'm not familiar with this bag but FF makes good light bags.
Big agnos copper spur UL1 tent, stakes and rain fly - I'm not familiar with this tent, but having an additional rain fly makes me suspicious that it is too heavy.
REI Stratus sleeping pad - There are much lighter (e.g. NeoAir). You can easily cut this weight in half or more.
MSR miniworks water filter - Again, much lighter options such as Steripen, Sawyer Squeeze, tablet (blech). I always carry a backup.
GSI pinnacle dualist cookset - Look at alcohol and esbit stoves such as what you might find at traildesigns.com. I have a JetBoil Sol Ti which, while not UL, is a great compromise.
Nalgene canteen collapsible - too heavy. I use Smart Water bottles and platypus bottle (for camp)
small bag of toiletries (sunscreen, deet, chapstick) - watch this stuff as the weight can add up. Put small amounts of sunscreen, lotions, Dr. Broners (which doubles as toothpaste) in tiny squeeze bottles. Dity bags conceal a lot of weight that can be minimized.
small bag of firestarting materials (lighter, tinder, matches) - mini bic and some cottonballs dipped in Vaseline
Lightweight Northface rain gear (jacket and pants) - Personally, I haven't found NorthFace gear to be very light. Though my information may be outdated.
Mid layer ultralight Northface jacket - layering is good. For this layer you are looking for a target weight under 8oz.
Two pairs of wool socks - 1 extra pair
One extra shirt, pants, underwear - drop the extra pants, though I carry extra shorts.
First aid kit - keep this down to the bare minimum. Most first aid kits are overkill. This is a very subjective subject.
Sunglasses
Compass - will you be off trail? Is the trail system Byzantine? Otherwise drop it. If you MUST have a compass get something very light.
Leatherman wave - drop it. See knife.
Mora Knife - Mora are great knives but what are your plans for knife? building a shelter? fishing? batoning wood? I would say that most people use knives to cut cord, food packaging, etc. A Swiss Army classic is a staple of the UL backpacker though there are many other options.
Black Diamond spot headlamp - heavy. Unless you are going to be hiking at night, go with a small photon light.
Two carabiners - 1 mini light carabiner for your food bag
25ft of paracord (mandatory) - 50ft of spectra cord.
Stuff sack containing 9 lbs of food - 9ft sounds right, though you could probably get this to 8 for 4 days.
Glock 40 in a hip holster - For Bears - not enough gun. Pepper spray.

Good luck!

Edited by smarchet on 08/27/2013 08:54:14 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 08:54:07 MDT Print View

If you carried 32 ounces of water that would save 2 pounds

I normally carry 1 pound

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:05:37 MDT Print View

Sawyer Squeeze works great; drops or tabs are cheap and light too.

I would have no concerns about using a good tarp in your conditions, but if you don't yet have experience or skill with a tarp, you might stick with the familiar tent.

Two or three ounces of first aid gear is enough.

Several level-headed guys with lots of grizzly experience have likely given you the best advice you will find; I would listen to their advice on that issue.

You can put your meals in zip freezer bags and cook in those if you want to cook in a bag. Cheaper than buying a new pot.

That seems like a lot of food, too, if you are taking calorie-dense food.

Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:11:44 MDT Print View

Ok I can see dropping the leatherman for a swiss army knife (which I already have) again not looking to go out 2 days before my trip and throw down $$$ on lighter gear, except maybe the sleeping pad. We are using an MSR dragonfly stove for cooking which thankfully I am not carrying it or the fuel. My buddy and his wife are lucky they have two people to split gear up between. I however just have myself. The Northface mid layer I have only weighs 6 ounces. The compass I have can't weight more than an ounce or two. The food being at 9lbs is a bit overweight but as I said I have dietary restrictions that if I don't follow will severely impact my health and I have done my best to find the lightest, highest calorie food that I can eat. Luckily I will lose 2 pounds a day in that department. The first aid kit is quite freaking heavy but as I said 10 years in the military I have seen too many injuries happen in a flash to not want to carry it. Also the weather is supposed to be mid 70's during the day and low 40's at night. A week ago it said it was going to be in the 50's for the high and about 26 at night so thats why I have the Hummingbird nano feathered friends bag because the weather can change in an instant up there but it only weighs 14 ounces so I am not complaining about that. Also the Big Agnes tent is 2lbs 6oz and I have never used a tarp so I will be sticking with that for now.

Edited by antitrust311 on 08/28/2013 08:02:43 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:20:44 MDT Print View

The only dry stretch you'll have is early on, when you ascend to the Ptarmigan tunnel and then drop down to Elizabeth Lake. There are plenty of water sources from Elizabeth Lake to Gable Creek and half way up to the Chief Mountain TH.

I'm curious about that day in Canada. Canadian customs isn't keen on people bringing firearms into their country. Another reason to leave the guns in your car.

You are flying up to Montana, right? So you'll be buying your bear spray up there. When you leave, give the (probably unused) spray to a ranger as a tip, since you can't carry it on the plane.

Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:31:06 MDT Print View

My buddy lives in Helena so he has the bear spray as you can't take it on the plane. I decided to swap out the dualist for the snowpeak cookset and I swapped the leatherman out with a swiss army knife. So now I am down to a fully packed pack at 32lbs. So I shed 4.5 pounds with the recommendations so far. Swapping to the neo air would only allow me to shed another 6 ounces which I don't know that I want to do spend $$ for 6 ounces. I could probably lose another pound by going with a lighter first aid kit but that makes me very nervous. I can see leaving the gun behind but I was not including that in my pack weight. I would love a lighter pack but not going to happen right now, maybe in the spring when I am hiking the AT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Re: Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:32:23 MDT Print View

I hope I never see the day where I wish I carried a serious first aid kit. Take a hard look at your first aid kit and ask yourself; in a pinch, could I use X in my kit as a replacement? Is there something else I can carry that will do the job of X and Y in my first aid kit? For example, a bandana, duct tape and a small bottle of super glue can go a LONG WAY and your get the utility of using these items for other things! For example, a bandana is a great tool for prefiltering water! You get the idea. Bring out that inner-MacGyver! Also, first aid kits tend to have a lot of redundancy. Do you seriously need 30 bandages in 10 different types? I think that many people would be surprised how much they can cut from their FA kit without sacrificing safety.

Apologize if I'm preaching to the choir.

UL always requires a tradeoff mentality and a lot of creativity.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
grats on 08/27/2013 09:39:42 MDT Print View

By the way, the Swiss Army knife I recommended was the little mini Classic with the blade, scissors and file. Most Swiss Army knives can pack on the ounces! :)

Grats! Shedding 5 lb is HUGE. At this point, most of your weight gains will require new gear. For a 4-day trip, getting your final weight under 20 lb will feel great! You'll notice a huge difference in how much your enjoy your trip.

Beside your FA kit, take a look at your diddy back for more things to cut. You'd be surprised how much that crap can add up! Be thrifty! Check out usplastics.com. There you can buy small bottles to store small amounts of lotions, soap, etc.

Getting your food weight down is an art. Remove excess packaging. Invest in a nice dehydrator (recommend the Excalibur) and learn the art of dehydrated cooking!

Take a careful look at your maps and see how numerous your water sources are. People often carry more water than they need. I prefer to pack less water and filter as I go.

Edited by smarchet on 08/27/2013 09:45:11 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:41:49 MDT Print View

Your primary options for weight reduction are: 1. buy new, lighter replacement gear, or 2. take less stuff. It sounds like you really want to go with option #2. If you are carrying a first aid kit that weighs more than a pound, that is an easy reduction. You can pit together your own in a ziplock for just a few ounces. The other easy reduction is to look at your other stuff in bottles or tubes; repackage it into very small containers. You only need 4 days worth. You can cut more weight there than you would guess.

Heath Poulter
(antitrust311) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Looking to shed some pack weight in a hurry on 08/27/2013 09:54:03 MDT Print View

I've already repackaged all the foods that I can so there ins't any wiggle room there and other than bagged tuna and tortillas everything else I am bringing is dehydrated. I am bringing about 1/2 days extra food just in case. I just weighed my first aid kit and it weighs 2.3lbs!!! Holy cow. I am removing a bunch of stuff from it. I cut my toiletries down to the bare minimum as well. I don't really know where else to shed weight except to get a new pack and I can't afford that right now.