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Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further
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Tony L
Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 09:29:49 MDT Print View

I am new to lightweight backpacking and am yet to even take my first trip. I have done some traditional backpacking in the past--mostly 2-3 night trips. I have already returned most all of my traditional gear for lightweight options but I think there is more that I can do.

Where I will be hiking: primarily in the Colorado Rockies

Length: 1-7 day trips (possibly longer with resupplys)

Who do I hike with: I will be hiking in a group of 2-4 for most trips but do plan to do some solo trips as well

Here is screen shot of my list. Let me know if there is a better way to provide visibility to an Excel file on here. I cant find a way to attach a file (2nd post..)

Gear List

The 2nd column is for Mandatory or Optional. X=Mandatory and O=Optional.

My total Mandatory weight is at 12.46lbs and total Mandatory + Optional is 15.06 (pack not included because I haven't purchased one yet).

What can I do here to drop my weight further? Which things are absolutely dumb that I carry? I am new to this and have already cut my pack weight in half from last year.

Thank you

Edited by Luch0623 on 03/10/2014 09:32:15 MDT.

Stevie Patrick

Locale: Adirondacks
Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 09:52:50 MDT Print View

When solo you could easily switch to a smaller, lighter pot. Could probably knock off 4 ounces with a 550mL to 900mL capacity. My Toaks 900mL from LiteTrail without handles weighs 3.12 ounces in a cuben stuff sack. You could also switch to an alcohol or esbit setup if you're comfortable with that.

Definitely leave behind those optional items. Maybe replace the chair with a sit pad if you would like the extra cushion on breaks and in camp.

Plate isn't necessary if you're solo, just eat out of your pot, or cook directly into freezer bags.

Ditch the backup flashlight.

Ditch camp shoes.

That's mostly what stands out to me. But, your base isn't that bad right now without the optional items.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 10:14:09 MDT Print View

I agree with the above suggestions.

You could replace the tent with an $80 or so 8x10 silnylon tarp for a savings of about 1.5 lbs.

16 oz ziploc bowl is 0.9 oz and makes a great mug

Have you tried sleeping without a pillow? It's worth a try anyway. :)

The toiletries liquid kit seems like a good target to save a few ounces.

Do you need the iodine with the filter?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 10:22:10 MDT Print View

You can leave at home: plate, seat, aqua-mira or squeeze(no need for both),bucket, rain jacket or poncho(no need for both),camp shoes, dishwashing tool, light and extra batteries(unless I plan on night hiking, a small photon is enough).

You could easily go lighter:Waka waka(carry an extra battery instead; a single S4 charge lasts me several days; a second battery should be the most you need), rope(you can get much lighter line),gloves(light liners are good most of the seasons), first aid and toiletries kit are heavy(I typically only need a couple ounces for each, at most),light knife instead of a leatherman.

Maybe you can leave the inhaler and advair if you leave the smokes at home. Or maybe not; you know better than me. Or maybe its not worth it. Smokes are so personal and deeply ingrained.

Consider a light alky stove and lighter pot. Especially on short trips, alcohol or esbit shine on a weight basis.

Tony L
Thank you on 03/10/2014 10:26:08 MDT Print View

I don't think I will want to ditch the the few trips I went on last year we were caught in some really bad thunderstorms and I cant imagine how miserable it would have been without a tent. As I begin to get more comfortable backpacking maybe someday I will switch over to a tarp/bivy.

I will look into getting another ti pot for solo trips as well. I like the one you suggested as well. I also have never used an alcohol stove before so this would be new to me. I plan to go on an instructional lightweight trip next year when I have some more cash and I hope to learn more about alcohol and esbit stoves.

The chair may be hard for me to ditch because I have had spinal fusion surgery (hit a tree skiing...) so I have lower back problems that usually spike when sitting without a backrest. The a lite chair is great at just giving me a comfortable place to sit while cooking, reading, etc and helps my back relax. I am working on building up my core muscles more which will help with this as well.

I also am planning to get the mini sawyer which should save me a little weight. I can ditch the aqua mira on shorter trips for sure. I may just throw in a couple tabs instead.

I really enjoy having a spliff after a long days hike so I don't think the smoking gear is going anywhere...I would have to bring the advair and inhaler regardless of whether or not I smoke.

Thank you for the feedback!

Edited by Luch0623 on 03/10/2014 10:32:42 MDT.

Larry Swearingen
(Larry_Swearingen) - M

Locale: NE Indiana
Chair ? on 03/10/2014 10:52:20 MDT Print View

I understand about the desitability of having something to lean
back against.
Maybe try what the old timer Colin Fletcher used to do.
Prop your pack back against his staff for a chair back.
2 trekking poles would probably work better and be more stable.
Then just lean back against the pack like a chair back.


Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further" on 03/10/2014 11:31:08 MDT Print View

I do think it's interesting that you have smoking gear and then two types of medicine to combat the resulting asthma. Looks like a sign, to me.

The chair is a big optional item. Perhaps consider cutting a small piece of foam and carrying it with you to use as a topper for a log or a rock?

I agree with the other responder that said your pot is rather large. I use a 750mL pot when soloing and it's more than adequate for my needs (all I do is rehydrate a meal and make coffe, tho).

Why do you need a bucket?

Your bandana can double up for cleaning your dishes.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 11:55:14 MDT Print View

Good for wanting to get out and enjoy the Colorado outdoors. Some great hiking there.

It would also help to know what your worn/carry list is including footwear.

Like the others said, camp shoes are not necessary if you are wearing trail runners or other lightweight footwear.

The chair is another obvious way to save weight, but as you said, with back problems this is a personal decision and you need to do what's best for you. If your trips include a lot of camp time that would make a difference.

If you could find a way to do without the camp shoes and chair you save over 2 1/2 pounds. The rest is just saving ounces.

Windshirt, rain jacket AND poncho? Seems like some of this is redundant.

Consider adding 2 columns to your spreadsheet: a "why" and an "other options".
That will help you spot areas to adjust.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 12:00:03 MDT Print View

Here's what I see in the list (most of it mentioned above by others):

1. Double Rainbow is on the heavy side for solo use, but ok if it is shared-weight. You mention going with others but not whether that weight is to be shared.

2. Snowpeak 1.4L: this is a large pot for solo, but again maybe ok if shared-weight.

3. Aqua Mira: really don't need with the Sawyer; you could always take a small dropper of chlorine bleach if you felt like you needed the backup where you hike (probably not necessary in CO or really most of the U.S.).

4. Sawyer Squeeze: the 7.5 oz weight seems high, unless you are including the weights of all parts of your water system (like bladders, etc.). A squeeze by itself should be around 3-4 if I remember correctly.

5. ALite Chair: only you can decide if this is really wanted or not, but leaving this behind would be good. A small sitpad and a rock or log to lean against will work.

6. Folding Bucket w/ case: think about what you use this for, you probably don't need this. If you do want a little bit of water for cleaning up in camp, think about the lower half of a cut-up bladder, which can also be used as a water scoop (much easier than submerging a bottle or bladder into a water source).

7. Plate: just eat from your pot, a ziploc bag or a ziploc plastic bowl.

8. "Smoking Gear": I mean this only as a straight question, not a lecture, but does it make sense to smoke when you need a inhaler/advair? It seems like smoking would exacerbate airway problems.

9. 50 ft rope: is this for the bear bag? If not, just take a few short (like 3' foot sections) and a few longer (like 6' - 10' foot sections) if you feel like you need "emergency" rope. Most emergency uses would be for guyline or gear repair, rather than needing 50' of rope.

10. Poncho: you already are carrying a Mica rain jacket.

11. Camp shoes: for short trips, you really don't need camp shoes if you are using lightweight running shoes/trail shoes.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 03/10/2014 12:14:13 MDT Print View

Well I'll skip the obvious ones and just go with the cordage. Paracord is heavy and bulky and serious overkill for pitching a tent, hanging a food bag, or tying a clothesline. When I think of paracord, I think of bowie knives, molle webbing, and an AR-15 chambered in .223 or 5.56. Unless you plan on needing 550 pounds of holding strength, switch it out to something like braided mason line. It's cheap, packs well and can carry twice as much for half the weight. There's other kinds of really awesome lightweight cordage out there, but it's spendy and not necessary.

Edited by Glenn64 on 03/10/2014 12:39:12 MDT.

Tony L
Thank you on 03/10/2014 12:32:41 MDT Print View

I really appreciate all of the suggestions and advice from everyone--this is helping me a lot.

I do plan to wear trail running shoes so I will ditch the camp shoes (I have only ever hiked in hiking boots so I may take them on my first trip just to see how it goes).

Can we just ignore the 'smoking stuff' for now. I obviously know that my health would be better with out it but I have had terrible asthma since I was born and I have only been smoking pot for a few years and my asthma has not gotten any worse. So lets just pretend that's not even on my list :) I do appreciate the heath concerns but I will make that decision outside of this forum. The weight of my smoking stuff with both inhalers is still less than some peoples alcohol they bring...and I don't drink.

I bought the double rainbow because I often backpack with one other friend. And most of the friends that will go with me are not too into backpacking so they don't even have tents or if they do it is like 6lbs. I bring a double tent so we can share it. SOmeday, I may look at adding a solo tent if I begin to do more solo trips. I am always the one who is persuading my friends to come with me so most of these people aren't as prepared as I am.

The 7.45 for the sawyer includes med and small bag, syringe and ziplock bag. I hope to replace this with a mini sawyer when I get my REI dividends.

I will also ditch the poncho and aqua mira.

I do really like the bucket especially when camping with 3-4 people. here in Colorado you have to camp 100+ feet from any source of water so the 10 liter bucket really comes in handy. This allows us to fill it one time once we make camp and then have enough water for dinner, breakfast, and drinking for the whole night and morning. The bucket is filled with 'dirty' water and then we just filter it up at camp. It allows us to not have to return to our water source if we don't want to. On solo trips I would not bring this bucket.

I will also try bringing some kind of seat pad that I could prop against a log or rock as a back rest. I just haven't done this before and my alite chair is amazing and I love it.

Im not the type of hiker who hikes until nightfall and then goes into their tent. I like to make camp mid-late afternoon and then hang out and explore the area for a few hours before nightfall. So I can be in that chair for sometime just hanging out enjoying the views. It is hard for me to enjoy a view when my back is in constant pain...the chair really helps with this.

Thanks again

Edited by Luch0623 on 03/10/2014 12:37:07 MDT.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Thank you on 03/10/2014 12:46:47 MDT Print View

Just remember to hike your own hike man. These are all just suggestions and not rules. Some people will tell you to leave the bucket, while they don't include stuff like that on their "list" because it's a "community weight" since everybody uses it. Don't get too hung up on the numbers. You're conscious and aware of the weights you're carrying so you're miles ahead of most already. From here on out, just enjoy the ride. You've already done all the hard work and the only way you could make more weight savings than you've already done is to simply stay home. So congratulations and welcome to the real ;)

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Thank you on 03/10/2014 14:25:56 MDT Print View

I echo what Glen said. As long as you have a reason for whatever you are taking that's all that matters.

You have a decent gear list, much lighter than most traditional backpackers. Just go enjoy the hikes.

Then post some trip reports. :)

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
gear list on 03/11/2014 20:42:18 MDT Print View

Ditch the bucket and walk to the stream, 100ft is nothing, bucket is dead weight most of the time. Fill up water bottles at the stream for camp

Replace paracord with specra cord, 50ft can come in under an ounce.

Try using a alcohol stove. Make a cat can stove, cheap and works.

Ditch the plate, dishwashing tool and only use a spoon. Ditch the mug and use a Styrofoam cup or a minute rice microwave 8oz rice cup to drink the morning coffee from. Try freezer bag cooking, easy and low cleanup.

Try out the Swiss Army classic knife. Lots of utility for less then a ounce.

loose the pillow and use a stuff sack filled with extra clothes.

Only need one flash light, unless you walk at night.

Small neoAir would save you about 4oz. Use your backpack under your feet for padding.

Most of all...have fun!

Edited by grinder on 03/11/2014 20:44:00 MDT.

James Volk
(H2Oboy007) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
A couple of thoughts... on 04/18/2014 10:17:26 MDT Print View

Since you've had a lot of advise already, I'll just offer a few items to consider...

Use the Sawyer Filter and a UL Stuff Sack and make your own gravity filter instead of a bucket. This way you can fill the bag, walk back to camp, and pull filtered water whenever you want. You can use whatever size SilNylon or Cuben Stuff Sack you want/have. I made one that holds 6L and it is feather light. It is also incredibly convenient. In the mornings I take the remainder, drink my fill, and fill up a bottle and then hit the trail. A good video that shows this is at

Really think about what you need for cooking kit and utensils. I would take a look at the SnowPeak 600 to use as a Mug and Pot. You can find good lids out there to fit it. Such as the Carbon Fiber Lid (#4 I believe) offered at Ruta Locura, or a host of Aluminum lids. You can even use foil.

A good compromise on stoves is the TATO Gear AB-13 Hybrid. It is an Alcohol stove with a remote bottle.

I would also suggest investing in Mike Clelland's book Ultralight Backpackin' Tips...
It's a good read that may change the way you look at things. I believe the most important thing you carry into the brush is the knowledge in your head.

Good luck. Have fun.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: A couple of thoughts... on 04/18/2014 10:35:21 MDT Print View

Sawyer Squeeze is 3 ounces

If you're 7 days or less you don't need to backwash - make sure and backwash a few days before your trip and run some clear water through it to make sure it's not clogged

Then you don't need iodine. It's unlikely that Squeeze will fail. If so, just find the cleanest water you can or heat it to sanitize.

1 liter soda bottle weighs 1.2 ounce, makes a good dirty water bottle to squeeze from. You can also use it to carry water.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Suggestions on how I can lighten my pack further on 04/18/2014 11:18:58 MDT Print View

I would just like to make the suggestion that you worry less about your weight.

If you are new to UL backpacking, just forget about all of this nonsense and just keep getting out and hiking.

The more you hike the more YOU will realize what YOU do not need - and you won't need us telling you how to lighten YOUR gear list.

Yeah its fun to have others look and share on your gear list, but only experience will tell you what you need and do not need.

Get out there and hike and let the weight issue resolve itself.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Trimming on 04/18/2014 13:10:54 MDT Print View

It is all a judgement call, but things I'd consider changing are:
1. Lose the ti pot and use the cup.
2. Take aquamira or the filter. If the filter, consider the new Sawyer mini.
3. A chair? Really, I can't imagine taking one. I never considered that even 40-50 years ago when I packed very heavy.
4. Plate? I most often don't take one, but if you do you can do better than 4.2 oz.
5. Take an extra one gallon ziploc and skip the bucket.
6. Skip the spare light.
7. Skip the Waka Waka stuff
8. Skip the monocular
9. If the MLD bear bag has cord skip the 50' of parachute cord.
10. Do you really need the camp shoes?
11. I won't go over the clothing because it needs to fit the weather and evaluated as a system, but do you really need the rain jacket and the wind shirt and the down jacket. I'd say pick two that suit the conditions you expect.

Dan Dru
(Dandru) - F

Locale: Down Under
Let experience be your teacher on 04/18/2014 13:52:34 MDT Print View

Experience is your best teacher, get out into the wilds with a notebook and start writing down points of improvement. Try to experience inclement weather, then you'll realize what's needed.

Scroll down to third picture for a chair option.

I've got an Alite chair but the new Helinox Ground Chair is 550 grams.

Jason Mahler
(jrmahler) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Hammock on 04/22/2014 14:46:57 MDT Print View

Instead of the chair, bring a hammock. I believe a grand trunk nano 7 with dyneema whoopie slings is under a pound and maybe in the 10oz range. Can't remember for certain.