"Light" gear list to shoot for?
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(livingontheroad) - M
weight on 12/08/2013 15:23:33 MST Print View

I didnt say you should try to get to 10 lbs
I said its possible

To get somewhere significantly lower, you have to make a few significant changes

The categories are:

Pack
Shelter / groundsheet /stakes
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Clothing
Insulation clothing
Cooking
Bearcan
Water
Miscl., FAK, etc

Camera

Set yourself a target total
Split up the rest
You will have to decide where YOU want to reduce and what YOU are willing to concede to reach YOUR target. You dont yhave to reduce everything, but you do have to reduce SOMETHING. If you reduced everything, you could be at 10lbs.

When you eliminate all the categories, it gets kind of hard. Unless you carry a bunch of heavy miscl stuff you havent shared, you dont have anything open to cut.

Now if you ask" what shelters can I get that will be good and under 2.5 lbs?" You will get good answers you can use.

Or "what pack with a frame can I get that is less than 3 lbs and carries 30 well", you will also get good answers you can use.

Or "what is the lightest clothing I can get to meet x needs"



A big agnes flycreek UL2 would save 2 lbs
A ULA catalyst pack would save 2 lbs

4 lbs right off the bat. Those are your biggest savings you can get.

Edited by livingontheroad on 12/08/2013 15:46:14 MST.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
categories on 12/08/2013 15:51:12 MST Print View

I think I better understand what you're getting at. So far the pack, bear can, and camera are the only items I have not conceded on, and even some of those I am confident I will be able to lighten a bit.

The pack is 4.5 lbs, and I will be hacking away at webbing the moment it arrives. I hope to get it to right at the 4lb range.

The bear can I can either keep, or spend $200 and buy one that is about 4 oz lighter. I might make that change, however, the other stuff will probably be changed out first.

The camera is about 1/5 the weight of what I have been using up until now, and as small/ light as I am able to go and still get anywhere near the image quality I am hoping for. The tripod on the other hand, I am still looking at lighter alternatives.

Every other category on the list:
Shelter / groundsheet /stakes
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Clothing
Insulation clothing
Cooking
Water
Miscl., FAK, etc

...I am remaining open minded about. Of course I have logical reasons as well as emotional ones to want one thing over another, but I am not completely counting out anything yet. When I said that my clothing wasn't outrageous, I never meant that I wasn't willing to look into lighter alternatives. The sleeping pad and stove are about as light as anyone goes, including ultralighters, as far as I'm aware.

Again, I'll put up a thorough gear list for review, hopefully by this next weekend. It will include all the misc items as well. The elephant in the room as far as shelters are concerned is self-supporting vs trekking poles. I would like to try trekking poles again, but I am not optimistic. I used them a couple times before and found that they were cumbersome to use with a dog on lead, and I didn't notice any of the benefits for weight transfer that I hear people talking about. Maybe I was doing it wrong (always a big possibility:-), which is why I'd like to have another go at it.

Long story short, if I wasn't open to ideas, I wouldn't have posted here. So far it has been very constructive for me, and I appreciate it.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: categories on 12/08/2013 15:59:57 MST Print View

Although serious photographers often want to have their nicest tripod in use, you can save a lot of weight with a compromise here. I found a skimpy tripod with a pan/tilt head and QR at a Target store, and I have been carrying it for a couple of years now. It weighs 17 ounces. Since I mostly go after wildlife, this thing doesn't get used all that much, but if you are going after scenery, then that might do the trick. At least it is good for a "selfie."

The other good news is that since it is not an expensive tripod, you don't feel compelled to wrap it up in six ounces of packaging to protect it. I generally throw mine in a side pocket on my pack.

--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: categories on 12/08/2013 16:10:52 MST Print View

"The bear can I can either keep, or spend $200 and buy one that is about 4 oz lighter. I might make that change, however, the other stuff will probably be changed out first."

Have you considered the Bare Boxer Contender? It is not as efficient as any of the Bearikades (i.e. it is more oz/cu in than they are). However, consider:
* It is several ounces lighter than the Bearikade Scout
* It costs far less than a Bearikade
* It is less bulky that a Bearikade -- important for smaller packs

It might just about fit your targeted trip lengths -- it can hold about 3 days' food, and the food you will consume before the first night does not have to be in the bear can.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: categories on 12/08/2013 16:18:04 MST Print View

"The pack is 4.5 lbs, and I will be hacking away at webbing the moment it arrives. I hope to get it to right at the 4lb range."

4 lb is very heavy for a pack these days. Cutting off some webbing is minor. I have trouble believing you cannot find an adequately comfortable pack for substantially less weight than 4 lbs.

You should postpone deciding on your pack; the best pack will depend on how much you can reduce the weight and bulk of the rest of your kit, so get that sorted first.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: categories on 12/08/2013 16:22:35 MST Print View

"The tripod on the other hand, I am still looking at lighter alternatives."

I have read that a surprisingly light tripod can be made a lot more stable by hanging some weight e.g. a filled water bag) from it as needed.

I defer to BG for all things camera. I'm sure he will know whether or not that is practical, but perhaps it can save weight on the tripod.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: categories on 12/08/2013 16:26:29 MST Print View

Not me.

In general, you don't need a mega-tripod unless you are shooting with a very heavy lens or camera. The exception might be for astrophotography.

--B.G.--

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
bear boxer on 12/08/2013 16:31:01 MST Print View

Thanks Robert, I had seen the Bear Boxers in photos before, but never knew they were lighter than a Bearikade. The price is not horrible on them either. I also like that they taper towards the ends. it would make them slightly easier to put in the pack than my BV, which is like packing a round peg in a square hole.

As for the weight on the bottom of the tripod, you're correct that it can help stabilize, if done properly. It can also cause a pendulum, so there is an art to it, but it is one way of making a lighter tripod more sturdy.

Bob, I was in San Jose Camera a week or so ago and saw some tripods (can't recall the brand), that also looked much lighter than my Giottos. At 1.9 lbs (not including the ball head), it's not outrageous for a tripod, but I'd sure like to improve on it. I don't even really have the requirement that it has to be as tall as me, like many people do. Especially for a landscape backpacking tripod, I don't mind squatting or kneeling to use it.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: "Light" gear list to shoot for? on 12/08/2013 16:32:58 MST Print View

3400 cubic inches is very big. Maybe you can get a smaller kirafu pack. You know when you get your weight down, pack fit and comfort is less important.

There really has to be a better solution for your bug issue than a 4.5 pound tent. Look at a mountain laurel designs, six moons designs, zpacks, tarp tent, (there is a lot more) you should be able to find something lighter to suit your needs, there are a huge amount of ultralight shelters out there.

The poncho liner is essentially a big blanket and even if it's made of high quality materials, it's not very warm for the weight or easy to keep drafts out. It probably wont keep you warm enough for the high sierras.
Your concerns about down are irrational for the sierras. The sierras are generally very dry. Get some kind of waterproof sack to store the bag. If you are really going to be using a 4.5 lb tent then how is your bag going to get wet? If you are really paranoid then get a 10 degree down bag/quilt for extra insurance if it gets a little damp.
Either way a synthetic quilt would be better than the woobie.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: a tripod on 12/08/2013 16:43:49 MST Print View

So, a tripod is 1.9 pounds plus a head?

The tripod from Target that I mentioned is 17.4 ounces including a head. However, it only rises to about 50 inches from ground level. I suppose that you could make this serve as a shelter support pole, but I won't go there.

--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
pack weight example on 12/08/2013 16:47:20 MST Print View

Just as one example:

If you can get your gear down to under 30# total weight, which most people on this forum would consider a very reasonable goal, then you could consider the ZPacks Arc Blast pack. I do not own one, but it all of the on-line comments I have seen are very favorable. It is quite roomy, carries 30# comfortably, more if you must (e.g. until you have eaten some food), and weighs only 17 oz.

That would be one way to save over 3# easily.

Edited by blean on 12/08/2013 16:48:07 MST.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
woobie on 12/08/2013 16:54:44 MST Print View

Thanks for the insight Justin. I do have a Kifaru Marauder and Express (both 1st Gen). At 2,500ci, thanks to all the MOLLE webbing and 1,000d cordura, the Marauder is no lighter than the Late Season. The Express, at 2,300 ci is just too small. I've tried fitting all my gear in there and it just doesn't cut it. By Kifaru standards, the Late Season gives really good bang for the buck as far as weight/ space ratio is concerned, while still being bombproof construction. We're talking a pack that could easily last me decades of almost daily hiking (if I were so lucky) ;-D

The Doobie (double version of the Woobie), did keep me toasty warm in the Sierras last summer, including above tree line, and in a non-4 season tent. But I agree that there are lighter and better alternatives out there for summer use. I am quite convinced now that sleep system is one of the items I'll be changing out. I think I can cut my sleep system weight close to half of what it is now with a bit of careful planning.

Bob, yeah my tripod is 1.9 lbs not including the ball head. My current ball head is the Manfrotto 494, which weighs .7 lb. I REALLY like the looks of the Gitzo GH 1780, since I really want a leveling head for panoramic shots. The weight is almost identical to my current head and it will have dual use supporting my DSLR and big lenses when not backpacking. The Manfrotto head only supports 6 or so pounds, and my 5DII and 70-200l would creep sometimes with it. The Gitzo, for the same weight, supports 22 lbs (which is a non-issue with my backpacking camera, which is 13 oz).

I am intrigued by your thought of using a tripod as a shelter support. One of the hassles of trekking poles (2), was that the one in my left hand kept getting tangled with my dog's leash. If I used a tripod for one side of the shelter and only carried a single trekking pole...hmmm (the wheels are turning)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: bear boxer on 12/08/2013 16:54:54 MST Print View

The small Bear Boxer is fine if you are doing only two or three nights out, but its volume isn't big enough for more. Mine weighs about 26 ounces, and it fits into almost any small backpack. It makes sense for me only if it is a short trip and my total load is only 15 pounds or something. Then I can take my smallest backpack that is sub-9 ounces empty.

However, I think we are talking about longer trips, more food, etc., so really quickly you get out of the Bear Boxer range and into a Bear Vault range. Then immediately you are into a larger pack, etc. It's all a vicious cycle.

--B.G.--

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: bear boxer on 12/08/2013 17:00:17 MST Print View

Bob,

Agreed.

The OP said 3-4 day trips, which I take to mean up to 3 nights ("What I'd like to hear from you folks, is what is a good weight I should be aiming for to get me into the "light" (as opposed to UL) category for say a 3 or 4 day trip in the high Sierras?").

Since he does not need to put the first day's food in the canister that means all he needs to put in there is day 2, day 3, and day 4 (breakfast and lunch).

Shouldn't that fit in a Contender?

Edited by blean on 12/08/2013 17:01:56 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: bear boxer on 12/08/2013 17:06:48 MST Print View

The Bear Boxer Contender, I think, is the little one of 275 cubic inches.

The volume of backpacker food is all over the place, but I generally start thinking with 100 cubic inches per day. Plus, the OP is carrying dog food, so that adds more volume required. Now, if he could train the dog to forage for ground squirrels and such, he could cut back some of that requirement. In general, domestic dogs are not as good at that as a wild predator would be.

--B.G.--

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
bear container on 12/08/2013 17:07:37 MST Print View

Robert and Bob, let me add more clarification on the food issue. 4 days is the longest trip I am packing for, so that makes three nights. I am not a lunch eater...in fact, I rarely eat breakfast. Due to odd work schedules for the past 20 years, I am accustomed to only eating one "meal" per day (I know, super unhealthy). I snack at other times. What offsets the size of my meals, are the two cups per day (obviously half that on the first and last days) of dog food. Now I am considering freeze dried kibble if I get her used to it before hand, so that will save on weight, but not much on bulk I'm afraid. Based on that, what do you guys think about the Bear Boxer vs the BV450?

Hahaha, I laughed at the last comment on foraging for squirrels. You're thinking too small...my second to last trip she nearly got us venison for dinner. If it was up to her she would eat all her meals out...but I think that gets frowned on in National Forests.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 12/08/2013 17:12:00 MST.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: bear boxer on 12/08/2013 17:10:23 MST Print View

Sounds like we agree that the human food would fit, at least if he is careful.

I did forget about the dog food, though. Given that, a Bearikade Scout probably is the lightest choice for the specified trip length.

Doug,

Your best bet is to get a container at home -- plastic container, cardboard box, whatever. Cut it down or mark where the bear can volume comes and try packing your food (including dog food) to see what is realistic for you.

Edited by blean on 12/08/2013 17:13:55 MST.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Dog food bulk on 12/08/2013 17:24:20 MST Print View

I don't suppose you could get your dog to go for dog food soup?

Seriously, part of getting light is taking care of the weight. Bulk is important, too -- it can have a surprising effect on weight, such as requiring a larger pack or a larger bear can. If you could powder the dried dog food it would pack a lot smaller (and might enable a smaller bear can). See whether powdered dog food would enable the Contender for you.

Who knows? Your dog may just lap up dog food soup.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: woobie on 12/08/2013 17:33:14 MST Print View

Once you get a lighter tent I bet you could fit everything in the express, in that case you would have good short trip and long trip packs.

For something in between I would recommend a ULA pack, maybe the circuit. They are ultralight packs that aren't made with ultralight materials, not as durable as a kirafu but much more durable than many other packs.

I would recommend looking at the enlightened equipment synthetic quilts. You should be able to find something that you like in your price range.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: pack weight example on 12/08/2013 18:24:31 MST Print View

Re: Arc Blast...
we'll everyone is different, but the Arc Blast seems uncomfortable to me at about 25 lb.
My view is 25lb max form a comfort point of view...
but it's really better at about 22 or 23 lb...


Billy