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Ultra-light but not ultra-precise
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Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Ultra-light but not ultra-precise on 03/07/2014 13:28:58 MST Print View

Why I stopped counting ounces with my gear…at least precisely.


Ultra-light but not ultra-precise

Edited by PaulMags on 03/07/2014 13:29:58 MST.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Ultra-light but not ultra-precise on 03/07/2014 14:24:57 MST Print View

Good article Paul.

I enjoy your blog. :)

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Nirvana on 03/07/2014 15:21:20 MST Print View

I also am in the same state. I know what works and could care less what a scale says. It is actually quite liberating. I am glad to have gone through the gram weenie days. Without it, the extra weight would have mattered. More important to me lately is to see how far I can push my optimized three season gear with minor additions. This enough to keep the creative juices flowing on concepts such as multiuse.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ultra-light but not ultra-precise on 03/08/2014 11:01:23 MST Print View

Good article.

For decades I rarely weighed my gear... why would I? If I needed it, I had to take it. When I did weight my pack I would put it on, step on a scale, take off the pack, step back on the scale, and then do the math.

I probably would not have ever bought a scale to weigh gear, but I do have a postal scale that I need to use to weigh large envelopes and packages -- driving to the post office wastes money and gas.

When I went from a paper gear list to Excel years ago, I didn't weigh anything. After I joined BPL I added weights to the spreadsheet. But as it was previously, once I pack my gear it weighs what it weighs.

I have stopped publishing gear lists with weights. I don't see the point.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Ultra-light but not ultra-precise on 03/08/2014 12:01:10 MST Print View

"I have stopped publishing gear lists with weights. I don't see the point."

As a novice I found gear lists very valuable. Although I had heard of "astoundingly light" base weights I needed to see a list with weights to believe it. Then I was able to see that across several lists for "three seasons, mountains", I could shave some weight here and there.

As I experimented to learn what worked for me, I refined the gear list examinations until I settled into something my current kit. Lists help cut the superfluous and hone the remainder.

Now my gear lists is used to be sure everything gets in the pack.

I still appreciated a quick look at list for the area I'm heading to, just as a sanity check.

So, Thanks to All who still take the time to post a list.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
gear lists on 03/08/2014 16:19:48 MST Print View

It is funny.

I can see where you are coming from that gear lists are valuable. Certainly valuable for a person starting out. They can see just what works and does not. I know it helped me "back in the day".

But there seems to be a trend that less and less people are interested in posting a gear list.

The people posting gear lists now may not have the most experience and/or have a specialized skill set or goal (thru-hiking the AT for example).

This is just a general observation and obviously does not apply to everyone or all situations.

What does this mean? Dunno. :)

But I think it is worth noting.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: gear lists on 03/08/2014 17:00:44 MST Print View

I've already openly admitted to being a newcomer on the lightened load scene, so I hold no quams about being a newbie. I've only had a digital kitchen scale for a couple years now, and am still in the "new-toy" phase with it. Even so, as I start becoming more in tune with particular weights, I'm starting to see dimishing returns. I now know how much a mini-bic, or various pocketknives weigh, and can judge the weight of a cook pot in the store with a fair degree of relative accuracy. So anyway, a couple things I'd like to add...

A scale is a valuable training tool to start off, and a handy referance tool in the future.

Then there's the "list"...

I find it a bit strange, that everywhere I read, the ULer's (if I may use a label) are trying to promote, justify, defend and basically sell the idea that less is more. Great concept and I wholeheartedly agree. But then they turn around and chatter amongst themselves about the "good ol' boy club" and speak of the newbies in the third person. I have to admit that at times it feels a bit unwelcoming. Instead of being "freed" of excess weight, worry, and confines, it feels as if I've entered a covenant of restictions and scrutiny from board members. In short, the antithesis of "less is more". All you "old hands" don't need to publish your lists to impress each other, but for those that encourage others into going light, it's kind of your obligation as a promoter the way I see it.

I realize not everyone is on some kind of crusade to convert the world, and I'm not singling anyone out or anything. Many are probably just weekenders like me. I also apologize if I come across a bit harsh, but it's just a little trend that I've noticed and this fine, well-balanced article has brought it to the forefront of my attention.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: gear lists on 03/08/2014 17:26:15 MST Print View

I don't publish any gear list, although I keep my current ones handy on my computer. The reason is clear to me. Arbitrarily, I have set 10 pounds as my maximum base weight, but that includes a bear canister. Exactly which bear canister I take depends on the duration of the next proposed trip. I can't even remember the last time that I did a trip without any bear canister, maybe 15 years ago.

The reason why I watch it all so closely is that I have a tendency to get gear inflation. I may be content with 10 pounds today, but every month or two some new piece of backpacking gear or photo gear will appear on the horizon. If I add four ounces here and six ounces there, then pretty soon I've blown my weight budget. I am constantly looking for ways to cut weight and stay on budget. If I did not monitor my gear lists so closely, then I would blossom up to 15 pounds base in an instant.

So, annually or more often I cut down on some of the heavier items, if possible. As I get older by a year, I attempt to cut my overall carried weight by one pound. That pound may come from my base weight, consumables weight, or my camera gear weight (since photography is a high priority).

Besides, I no longer do very much winter ski backpacking, so the winter season is the time for me to do all of this gear management indoors. By the time that summer arrives, I have to have everything all stripped down and ready to roll.


Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Ultra-light but not ultra-precise on 03/12/2014 22:01:14 MDT Print View

Watch the weight and complexity creep tho. At Point Reyes, messing around with a new system, an elderly hiker had a daypack-sized load and ukulele strapped to passed by. Even a "ray-way" silnylon pack would be more complex than his appeared. I know he overnighter since he p&j played the ukulele the afternoon before but could spot his camp (up in the forests at Sky where I like to dry my gear after wildcat or coast). Reyes had plenty of water and almost summer temps but the compactness of the kit got me thinking