Weighing gear?
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Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 13:00:02 MDT Print View

What scales do you all use to weigh your gear?

I went to try to find scales today online and realized I hadn't the slightest idea what I was looking for.

Also, if anyone has a scale for sale, I'm interested. :-)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 13:09:24 MDT Print View

I like to use a digital scale with the following features:

1. Weighs items as light as a fractional ounce.
2. Weighs up to 30 lbs in increments of 0.1 ounce

My pack rarely weighs more than 30 lbs -- and in any case, I have a digital bathroom scale for items 25 lbs and over.

The best and cheapest place to buy digital scales is on Ebay. Search for "digital scale" and you'll see tons of choices. Read about starting weight and incremental weights -- and take into account shipping cost.

On Ebay, search for item no. 320138815846 for the model I got.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 13:45:59 MDT Print View

I just have a "Good Cook" food scale from Wal-Mart. It weighs in 1/8 oz or 2 gram increments and has a capacity of 5 lbs. I usually just weigh all of my individual items and put them in a spreadsheet or gear calculator program and add up the total pack weight that way, instead of weighing the fully loaded pack.
Its relatively cheap I believe and can be found in the kitchen items section of your local Wal-Mart. I have wished for a more accurate scale sometimes, but really, how much of a difference is 1 gram going to make? (Besides a more expensive scale.)


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
A Weighty Subject on 07/18/2007 14:37:30 MDT Print View

I use an Escali 11 lb. digital scale that measures in increments of .1 oz. or 1 g.
Web link for specs only, you can get this scale from many sources.

I prefer 1 gram precision over a scale that can weigh several dozen pounds. Cheaper scales that measure more than say 10 lbs. or so are often inaccurate at higher weights---if you need max. weight, research and splurge a bit.

I, too, use a spreadsheet to arrive at total weight. You might want to check out the award winning spreadsheet of Meir Gottleib's to help organize your gear closet----it has it's own!

It's brilliant and how I keep track of my gear ( and backcountry pantry). You can download it from the link. Fairly easy learning curve, particularly if you already know Excel.

Edited by kdesign on 07/18/2007 14:42:17 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Weight a minute! on 07/18/2007 15:01:57 MDT Print View

Walmart food scale...I believe it was $30 a few years ago. Weighs in 1g increments, up to 5 pounds. Make sure the scale has a big enough footprint to put some of the bigger stuff on. The little digital "pot" scales are great, but you can't fit a tent or sleeping bag on it without it drooping over the sides onto the floor/counter...or so I've heard.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Why Weight for Worrywarts? on 07/18/2007 15:16:06 MDT Print View

The trick with the smaller scales to weigh a large object is to use the tare function of the scale to weigh a large bowl, basket or an elevated platform (you still need to be able to see the display) which would hold a tent or whatever. The tare function allows you to "zero" the scale to obtain the net weight of the object to be weighed. Necessity is the mother and father of invention.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Weighable weight? on 07/18/2007 15:39:51 MDT Print View

Kevin, agreed. The tare function is useful for the bigger gear, especially on the smaller scales. I use it on my scale which probably measures about 4"x4". However, i had a smaller (ie. maybe 2"x3") scale a few years back and found it a little bit of a pain for bigger stuff...main problem - the bowl I put on it prior to "tare" function would eat up some of it's total weighable weight (make sense?). Weighable weight=Max weight-bowl. Just something to look out for if you are really taking a look at your scale buying.
If i were to buy again - and spend some money, i would look for a digital hanging scale. "Seems" it would be easier to weigh stuff like backpacks and the such.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Weight not, want not on 07/18/2007 15:46:55 MDT Print View

I'll probably be stricken from the rolls of BPL-dom for mentioning this but lately I just tare out an empty plastic storage container and toss my pack in. If it looks close to what I feel is acceptable for the trip, I call it good. I've got a spreadsheet with (mostly) accurate weight measurements but nowadays I usually just use it as a packing checklist. For fine tuning or new equipment, I still weigh the occasional item.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Weigh not, lest you be weighed (huh?) on 07/18/2007 16:03:13 MDT Print View

That works, too. :-)>

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 16:31:58 MDT Print View

I would go with the wisdom of buying a digital scale with sub-1oz precision and max of 5 lbs weighing capacity that will switch between metric and English.

Almost everything you will weigh will be less than 5 lbs. With the possible exception of your total food weight and maybe your boots and or tent. But these can be parcelled out into smaller elements to get the total weight.

The key to getting on top of the weight issue is to have a program that will allow you to enter all of the weighed items into it. Here you can then make informed choices about what to take or not and the weight consequences. I use the remarkably easy to use calculator found here:


Chris has a great customizable calculator and you can save multiple trips as separate files.

Edited by mitchellkeil on 07/18/2007 16:32:37 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 16:49:34 MDT Print View

The gear calc that Mitchell linked to is the one I use. I tried a handful of the ones from the BPL contest and they are great and full featured but... I prefer the simplicity of the one from Chris. It is super simple to set up and with a little coaxing it works fine in Ubuntu (in case anyone was worried about compatibility with Linux :)). Different strokes for different folks I suppose.


Edited by aroth87 on 07/18/2007 17:04:26 MDT.

chris Mcfarland

Locale: baba yaga's porch
re: weighing gear on 07/18/2007 17:12:16 MDT Print View

I use a salter model 3001 kitchen scale. its accurate to one gram or 1/8oz and max 5lbs or 2kg. It has a huge almost 6" scale surface, a tar function, and my favorite, an off button. I usually only weigh a few things and then put it away and an off button saves me batteries, or at least makes me think im saving them.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Weighing gear? on 07/18/2007 20:07:47 MDT Print View

I use this $30 one from Staples Office supply. It's commonly available at others or the internet.

PelouzeĀ® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital Scales

Max. capacity is 5 lbs. and it will measure down to 0.1 oz or 1 gram.

I really don't care about the weight of 1+/- gram when weighing my tent but, I'm about to make a down vest and I need to measure very small quantities of down for stuffing each baffle. So now I'm glad I have it! Here is a link.


Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Weighing gear?precision vs accuracy on 07/18/2007 20:37:10 MDT Print View

Sharon, I recommend two scales.
The first, a small unit with a basket or tray for holding piles of stuff or floppy items. It should have a maximum weight capacity higher than the weight of your heaviest item (maybe your backpack or tent?) A commercial digital kitchen scale with a bowl for holding stuff works for me.

The second scale could be your bathroom scale or similar high capacity scale for checking your 'From Skin Out' weight. Stand on it wearing your pack, and then subtract your body weight.

If you are standing there in the store facing a shelf full of choices, put an item on each; if one scale gives an anomolous reading, exclude it from your consideration, it is inaccurate. That technique works well for thermometers, compasses, barometers, etc..

Accuracy is the correctness of the scale, precision is the number of digits it reads out. My bathroom scale requires me to input my geographical location (once of course) so it can compensate for anomolies in gravitational pull! But then it only reads out to the nearest 100 grams.. I find that odd.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Techno-Gimmicks----Pulling the Scales from one's eyes. on 07/18/2007 21:49:53 MDT Print View

Gravatational Anomaly compensation but only accurate to 100g.? Sounds like you got that scale from the Japanese equivalent of The Sharper Image. :-D

John Schafer
(jdshiker) - F
Old Will Knot Scales on 07/19/2007 06:39:32 MDT Print View

Check out http://www.oldwillknottscales.com.

They have a ton of digital scales at reasonable prices, plus they always seem to have some on sale. Right now you can get a My Weigh 300-Z with a weighing capacity of 300g and 0.1g precision for $10.

FWIW, I use the following scale:



Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Weighing gear?precision vs accuracy on 07/19/2007 11:04:01 MDT Print View

If people in Japan have to worry about gravitational anomolies when weighing in then there is something seriously wrong with body awareness there. One might almost believe Japan has been reading too many issues of People Magazine! I know one can spend thousands on toilet seats that heat, wash and rinse then blow dry your bumm, but really....!

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
great info on scales! on 07/19/2007 12:38:16 MDT Print View

Thanks all!

I had forgot to click "Watch" for this thread and was beginning to get depressed that I wasn't receiving email notices about there being any replies :-D

Needn't have worried. I'll definitely check this info out!

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Scale Heaven on 07/19/2007 12:51:48 MDT Print View

I never have seen so many scales in my life, as there are at http://www.oldwillknottscales.com

And very reasonable prices. Thank you SO much for that link.

And thanks everyone else for letting me know what to look for!

I'm thinking about this one:

It's a food scale, but seems to have a reasonably sized weighing platform, a decent max weight (6.6 lbs), .1 oz resolution, AND it has the nutritional info stored in it for over 800 foods... That might be useful for preparing trail meals, and then do dual duty as my gear scale too...

Whatcha think?

Edited by cowboisgirl on 07/19/2007 13:02:43 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Weighing gear? on 07/22/2007 08:28:20 MDT Print View

Another vote for the very simple and inexpensive PELOUZE postal scale.

PelouzeĀ® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital Scales