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Weighing gear?
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Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Scales on 07/22/2007 08:53:34 MDT Print View

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

PelouzeĀ® 5-lb. General-Purpose Digital Scales."

Pelouze 5-lb gets my vote also.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
5-pounds mostly good enough on 07/23/2007 12:00:35 MDT Print View

Ditto on the "five pound digital gives grams and ounces" type of scale. But ... there are rare occurances when I wish I had a scale that did more than five pounds. Weighing my food bag at the start of the trip (and end of trip sometimes) is one case.

When I got my scale I wanted to know how accurate it was --- no point in having "to one gram" accuracy if it's false. I found a bunch of crisp like-new quarters, and you can look up the precise weight of a new quarter online. That was plenty close for me.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Weighing gear?heck no ... on 07/27/2007 20:43:11 MDT Print View

I have now decided to stop weighing packs, gear & equipment, and misc. bicycle things.
Now I just weigh myself which becomes quite entertaining to the family and kicks off several miles of incomprehensible muttering.
Yep, that was me up in the Olympics, the wandering mutterer.

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F - MLife

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Scales on 07/28/2007 05:14:27 MDT Print View

I also use a digital scale. What is truly to go to a place like Gander Mt. and get a fish hook scale and just before you put foot on the trail is to weigh everyones pack. I was so far below everybody that it back fired. One of our group hurt both his knees and guess who carried the extra weight to lighten his load.

Edited by jrowling on 07/28/2007 05:16:35 MDT.

Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Trail head weighing on 07/28/2007 06:50:11 MDT Print View

Ha! I had the same thought - to bring a scale that's portable to the trail head on group trips so that people could weigh their packs...

My thought, though, was that you could use it to make people bring less. If they knew how much their packs actually weighed, you could try to talk them in to leaving some things behind BEFORE you start out.

That would have been enormously useful on my first backpacking trip ever. I went out on a "beginners" trip with a "seasoned" backpacker from my outdoor adventure club to learn the ropes. I didn't have hardly ANY of my own gear and so I borrowed a lot of his gear. Thank goodness I had at least some of my own - the tent he had intended us to bring was a 12 lb two-person tent (no, I'm not kidding), and he was all cheerful about it - "It's much more manageable when you split the load - only 6 lbs each!" HA! My MSR Hubba Hubba was a little better at 4 lbs, which I thought at the time was "lightweight" (I now own a Tarptent Cloudburst 2, at 2 lbs 6 oz).

Needless to say I ended up carrying a pack that weighed about 40 lbs (lots of it was "group" gear, plus I was carrying unnecessary stuff, that being my first time, my idea of "lightweight" was not exactly solid). All the while he insisted that my pack wasn't much heavier than 25 lbs.

'Course, then he weighed it when he got home. It was nearly at 40 lbs even without my clothing or other gear in it... I'm 5'4" and weigh 115 lbs, mind you.

I converted to UL packing.

Moral of the story: trail-head weighing can be a very good thing. Some people have NO concept of how much things weigh. Sometimes base weight can't be reduced, if you're with someone who already packs minimally, but just has "heavy" gear, for example. But there was a lot we could have left behind, and a scale would have come in mighty handy to demonstrate to the "seasoned" packer that we REALLY needed to ditch some stuff. It was his word against mine that the pack was way too heavy, and I was new - so I sort of deferred. I assumed he knew what he was talking about, and I didn't want to be a sissy...

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Trail head weighing: More for fun on 07/28/2007 08:46:51 MDT Print View

It might generally be too late if you are at the trailhead with hiking partners. Granted most newbies are open to all kinds of suggestions, but most people new or not think pretty hard about what they want with them while in the woods...and a last minute change forced by a weigh-in might be stressful for some people. Do your "educating" prior to leaving if at all possible.

I do however think that scales at the trail head are a rather amusing way to "compete" with fellow hikers.

Charles Bilz
(denalijoe) - F

Locale: California
RE: Weighing Gear on 07/28/2007 10:48:18 MDT Print View

In my Boy Scout Troop we do a monthly backpack trip and have actively practiced a go lite philosphy. At the meeting prior to the trip we have everyone (adults to) bring their packs to the meeting for a gear check and weigh-in. You would be surprised at what some of the boys, and adults, show up with. Mothers being mother's insist their boys bring at least 3 of everything they think they will need. Some of the adult are not much better. Eleven year old boys weighing less than 100 lbs. showing up with packs in excess of 40 lbs. and some of the adults with packs hovering around 50+.

We then go through a lengthy pruning process to the boys gear to get it down to at least 1/4 of their body weight. Then listen to the mothers claim their boys will die out on the trip because they are not perpared.

Our total weight goal for the younger boys is 1/4 of thir body weight and 1/3 of their body weight for the older boys. Adults can bring what ever they want, but msot of us are in the 30-35 lb. range, with a few hard core at the 40-50 lb range. They are usually the last ones into camp and the slowest hikers, even on our short 5 to 7 mile overnight hikes.

I too started out with a 40 to 50 lb pack but litterly died on long hikes carrying that load. Now my pack weighs no more than 30 lbs.

Eleminating unneeded gear and weighing packs before we leave has made for less complaining and more enjoyable hikes.

Edited by denalijoe on 07/28/2007 11:23:20 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Re: Trail head weighing: More for fun on 07/28/2007 11:56:22 MDT Print View

I don't think that trailhead weighing is just for bragging rights or fun, nor to make any frantic last minute gear changes. Well, maybe some of the more blatant ones; I once hiked with a fellow that carried a big cast iron frying pan, pulled whole potatos out of his pack, a big package of bacon ... I might have tried to talk him out of that had the scale turned up something alarming.

For me it's a good reality check --- if the weight is very far off what my spreadsheet predicted, then it's something to think about post-trip. A right-at-the-end-of-trip weighing is of course helpful too, along with an estimate of how much water was in/on the pack before and after.

If my wife and I are on a trip together and the weights are too disparate, then maybe a little more "communal gear" makes its way onto my pack.

I don't have a hook-scale; sounds like something fun, but rather than buying something new I toss in a square of 3/4" plywood and a bathroom scale. The plywood gives a sufficiently flat and stable base for the scale to sit on at the trailhead.

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F - MLife

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Hi Everyone! Communal gear. on 07/28/2007 15:06:58 MDT Print View

Boy, I love this forum. I mainly hike the AT. Our hking group knows how much of a fanatic I am. So it is all done in jest. I fish also. of my buds are going to buy a TarpTent Contrail and Jam2 and another one a MontBell SS #3.
The other liked the Montbell Parka. All because of the BPL forum. A wealth of knowledge.

Edited by jrowling on 07/28/2007 15:11:25 MDT.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Trail head weighing: More for fun on 07/28/2007 16:16:42 MDT Print View


I totally understand where you are coming from. The term "fun" only means...whatever the result, don't rely on this to be the time when you perform a reality check. If you are going to coach someone who is new, give them the opportunity to learn early. If you have a veteran hiker friend who likes to bring heavy stuff...he might grow tired of you and that "stupid scale" if you insist he jump on it every time he goes to a trail head with you.

As the boyscout leader pointed out, the time to get real about what you need and what it feels like to haul half your body weight up a mountain is before you get in the car to leave. And if you get to the trail head and your wife has a way heavier pack than you do, and you frequent this site, then I hesitate to think what state your marriage is in! (kidding of course)

Charles Bilz
(denalijoe) - F

Locale: California
RE: Weighing Gear on 07/28/2007 22:30:30 MDT Print View

I let my wife carry the cast iron skillet.

Edited by denalijoe on 07/29/2007 11:38:56 MDT.