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Author Topic: Pack weight...advice  (Read 12156 times)

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Alphagoose

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Pack weight...advice
« on: October 22, 2015, 08:44:10 PM »

As I mentioned in an earlier post...I am planning on a thru hike of the sheltowee trail. I have no prior experience as far as overnighting it. To be perfectly honest, this is probably a little too much of a hike when you factor in the fact that I am about fifty pounds overweight. Oh well. Go big or go home eh? Anyway, I am going through with the hike. I just weighed my pack, and with everything I need to go at least seven days at a time...my pack weighs exactly 50 pounds. I have shed as much as I feel comfortable. Can I get some opinions on a 50 pound pack? Is this somewhat middle ground? If I meet ten other experienced hikers along the trail, who are also doing a thru hike...if I were to weigh everyone's pack...will mine likely be the heaviest? Or just average? I realize this is a question without a definitive answer, and the pack weight is somewhat relative to the size of the hiker. I would just like opinions on your personal preferences. What would your pack weigh if you were the one doing this hike?
Thanks for the help...AG
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wsp_scott

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2015, 09:11:10 PM »

I have never done a thru hike and never done a trip longer than 5 nights, so take that into consideration. With that said, if I was hiking in the summer or early fall, my pack would weigh no more than 30 pounds for 7 days/6 nights. I would figure ~1.5 pounds of food per day and I would not plan on carrying much water (no dry camps if possible) hopefully never more than 2 liters.

Does your 50 pounds include food and water? Clothes? All the little things that quickly add up?

It would be helpful if you posted your gear (with weights), someone might have some suggestions for you. It is probably possible to shed some more weight without impinging too much on comfort. I'll happily provide some suggestions.

Also, if you are going to end up carrying 50 pounds, you need to start practicing well ahead of time.
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Mark W

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2015, 09:39:03 PM »

I'll try to comment at length in the future, but I would suggest that you really give full consideration to what you're planning and the weight of your gear and your physical conditioning. You should make sure you're able to enjoy the trip -- not merely survive it.

The following is one of my favorite quotes about backpacking/the outdoors and worth taking to heart:

"We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
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Bazinga

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2015, 06:29:25 AM »

I'm a day hiker (and a woman), but a 50lb pack seems awful heavy.  I guess it's whatever you're used to.  I would try a mile or two hike with your full pack & see how it feels. 
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genes

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 08:43:57 AM »

50 lbs is way too heavy.  I know of no one who carries 50 lbs on backpacking trips.  I haven't through hiked the ST but have been on many extended backpacking trips over the last 35 years.  Pack weight in the winter months is always heavier because of winter clothing, heavier sleeping bag, stove fuel, additional food and possibly a heavier tent.  My winter packs usually weigh about 30-35 lbs, total.  For summer and fall packing, I try to stay in the under 30 lb range.   Water is one of the heaviest things you will be carrying and fortunately water resupply on the ST is normally not an issue.

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Gene

Alphagoose

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 09:49:53 AM »

Wow.. thanks a lot. I weighed my clothes and not including what I have on...they weigh 6.1 pounds. My food weighs 7.0 pounds. My sleep bag along with my tent weigh 10.3. This is an obsessive- compulsive's nightmare. (Combing through my gear trying to shed weight) lol..I have a camp axe that weighs 2.1 pounds. Its getting the cut. I got a couple cans of cook fuel. Perhaps I will cut my fuel in half, then resupply. This evening when I get in I will lay everything out and try to shed some more weight. Thanks again
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KYhiker40

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 02:56:41 PM »

Tent + sleeping bag = 10 lbs.  How much does your pack itself weigh when empty?  These are the "big 3" in backpacking that make up the bulk of your weight.  With some details we might be able to find ways to trim some pounds in this area.

You can also trim some clothing weight.  You just don't need that much clothing.  Only take clothing items that you can multitask with.  For example, your rain jacket doubles as a windbreaker for unexpected cool weather.  You only need 1 spare pair of socks & underwear, washing them in a gallon zip lock bag and drying on your pack as you hike.  You need very little spare clothing other than this.

Take a look at your clothing layering system.  For me, the only difference in fall and winter hiking is that I include my Patagonia Down Jacket in the winter.  I also wear my rain jacket as an outer layer frequently in the winter in the cool early morning hours.  Short sleeve base layer, long sleeve polyester or wool, down jacket, fleece jacket, rain jacket.  I had this exact setup in my bag last night with the exception of the down jacket and it won't change in winter.

Watch your food.  You want to get 120 calories per ounce of food.  You can't afford food weight.

All the add on items are something to look at for sure.  How many light sources are your bringing?  What sort of fire starter?  What's in that emergency kit/first aid kit? What about "bath/personal" items?  (are you wasting lbs with deodorant, etc?)

In my opinion you need to shed 20 pounds off that pack.  I wanted to say 25, but I'm considering that your "big 3" are heavier than normal.

Personally, I would expect to carry about 20 lbs plus food & water.  Maybe 22 pounds if you carry luxury items like an iPod. 



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hungrybear

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 04:28:00 PM »

My pack for a one or two night trip is usually right at 30 pounds with everything (Food, fuel, clothes, tent, Sleeping bag)  When I did the longer three night trip in the Roan Highlands, I think the extra food weight bumped me up to 35 pounds or so.

KYHiker40 is exactly right to focus on the big three items because it is really easy to shed some weight there.  Tent, Sleeping bag, and Pack.  My 20 degree Cosmic Kelty sleeping bag was only $130. It replaced my old military surplus sleeping bag and saved me a staggering 5 pounds.

I would also recommend weighing everything and making a list. My gear is constantly being tweaked.  Part of the the process is just trial and error; learning what works for YOU. 

You might enjoy the trip more in the long run if you do a couple of shorter 15 mile weekend trips to get your "trail legs" and to help square away your gear.

Here is my gear list I made a while back in case it helps someone....

http://files.meetup.com/12832512/CHADS_GEAR_LIST.pdf
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Alphagoose

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2015, 09:41:21 PM »

Thanks...
Okay. The big three----my pack is a kelty redcloud 90.............5 lbs, 9oz
                                       Sleep bag is marmot trestles 30...........3 lb, 3oz
                                       My tent is a eureka midori.....................5 lb, 9oz
The total of my big three is 14 pounds, 5 ounces. As far as clothing I had first off, the clothes on my body, and in my pack I have 3 spare pair of wool socks, an extra pair of pants, a fleece sweater, tobogan, and two pair of underwear (boxers), along with top and bottom long underwear and my down jacket. I have minimal toiletries. A small bar of soap, half used small tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush that I sawed in half to save weight. My fire kit contains a 6 pack of SOL fire starters. (They are very light) I have some cheap academy sports brand firestarters that are much heavier. I have nearly a dozen of those and two BIC lighters. I shed some weight earlier by dropping the amount of duct tape by about 90 percent. I stripped batteries, and two small cans of sterno and a ball of trot line. In total I knocked off right around 4 pounds. My pack is 46.2 pounds right now. As far as flashlights, I have two small clip lights that could hook on your shirt pocket an a solar (ultralight) tent light. I cut my 4(AA) cell last week. Its bright but crazy heavy. I appreciate the advice. I am going to cut some clothing. I still haven't cut my estwing hatchet. Its 2.1 pounds. I will if necessary, but its a last resort.
Thanks again guys and gals
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Captain Blue

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2015, 10:18:57 PM »

You'll enjoy the hike much more if you go with a lighter pack. You still have many pounds to shed. There is an old adage that goes ... Less On Is Good .... More On is, well, Moron. I thru hiked the Sheltowee Trace in 2012. I don't recall going a whole week between resupply points. Resupply more often if you can. Mail unneeded gear home while in town resupplying.
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hungrybear

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2015, 10:33:01 PM »

I have an osprey aether 60 Liter pack.  I found that if I un-clipped the top pocket and left it at the house, it would save me a half a pound and it also encouraged me to pack less.  My Osprey is comfortable and I like it but there are much lighter options out there like a ULA OHM or a used GoLight Jam. 

Two pounds is a lot of weight for a hatchet.  I have found that at the end of a long day hiking, I often don't feel like gathering fire-wood.  When I do, I almost always have been able to get by with wood that I can break by hand or against the ground. 
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Alphagoose

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2015, 11:01:42 PM »

I am thinking that my fire kit is an area that can be cut. I don't have scales to weigh sub-2lbs, but what type of fire kits are you guys taking? Perhaps I am overdoing it..
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KYhiker40

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2015, 07:43:25 AM »

For fire I carry a zip lock bag of dryer lint, a pack of matches, and a lighter.  If I'm expecting wet weather I will gather small dry sticks from rock shelters or overhangs along my hike.  If necessary I can use my pocket knife to strip the outer wet bark.  My fire kit probably weighs less than 1 oz.

Your pack & tent are the big issues contributing to the weight total.  Looking online, the tent's "pack weight" is listed at 4 lb 14 oz.  If you are carrying a gear loft or a footprint, I'd ditch those items and save weight.  You can use a trimmed down garbage bag or painters cloth as a footprint for 1/2 the ounces of a commercially purchased foot print.  I'm not sure what types of tent stakes you are using, but you can purchase ultralight stakes for very little money if it helps.  Also look at the carry bag for the tent.  If you replace the original carry bag with a stuff sack it'll probably save you 3 or 4 oz.  All those ounces add up quick.  Keep in mind the phrase "ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain!"

The Kelty Redcloud 90 is a heavy pack for sure and 90 liters is more room than you'll need for sure. The top lid is removable, so ditch it to save a few more ounces and resist the temptation of extra gear.  There are front pockets on the hip belt for quick access to gear while hiking, so the top lid convenience becomes less of a consideration anyhow.

On the hatchet, you won't want it.  I have one, have taken it on a few trips and also regretted having the weight.  That's 2 pounds you can easily save.

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wsp_scott

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2015, 10:02:06 AM »

Don't take the hatchet, it is too heavy and if you end up with a >30 pound pack you will be too tired to build a fire  :)  You will enjoy your trip a lot more if you have a much lighter pack.

If you really want something to process firewood get this http://www.amazon.com/Coghlans-8400-Sierra-Saw/dp/B000LC2PO6/ it weighs less than 1/2 pound

Why sterno? If you just want to be able to start a fire, something like Esbit is easy http://www.amazon.com/Esbit-Degree-Smokeless-Backpacking-Camping/dp/B0000WR6W8

It would be even easier (lighter) to not plan on having a fire at all.

You say your food weighs 7 pounds, for how many days? Most people average about 1.2 - 1.5  pounds of food a day and that is if they really work at cutting weight. 7 pounds of "normal" food would be enough calories for ~3 days of hiking.

You should spend a little time reading some of the forums at backpackinglight.com and the posts at sectionhiker.com
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Alphagoose

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Re: Pack weight...advice
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2015, 08:57:03 PM »

Thanks for the great info. People are even looking my equipment up themselves. I appreciate the effort. Okay I now feel a little more at ease with cutting my fire kit. And you guys have convinced me...the hatchet is staying home. I been really busy and getting in after dark lately...so I haven't had time to comb through my pack and make those changes...but as soon as I do I will post the new pack weight. The sterno is staying home as well. I thought about it a lot lately and I do understand the point many of you made. The whole point of this is for it to be enjoyable. The comforts of home aren't what makes it enjoyable...but perhaps the absence of those will help me better appreciate the actual "hike" itself. Thanks again.
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