It seems that some people cannot figure out how to lighten the load when backpacking. While this is totally subjective to the individual, I created this blog post detailing my load for a two night, 20 day hike in a couple of weeks. Yes, I have upgraded gear (no Cuben Fiber) and I’m using very common items found in the backpacking/hammock camping world.
Spoiler alert: with food and water I’ll be leaving the trailhead with 20.04 pounds on my back. I do have a food drop (in a car left at another trailhead for a bail-out if needed) that weighs 33.6 oz, but I could carry that easily from the start if needed.
This is my longest hike so far and it will take place at the end of June. Saying it will be warm is an understatement. I’m predicting hot and humid weather so I’m traveling about as light as I ever have. Hopefully packing light (but still having everything I need) will help the miles fly by.
Everything will be packed my ULA Ohm 2.0 that weighs 27.45 oz. Instead of the stock backpad insert, I use a blue foam pad from Wal-Mart that I traced the stock pad onto and cut out. This has multiple uses (back pad, sit pad, etc) and weighs 2.45 oz. I also hang a bandana from my strap to wipe the sweat from my face, soak in water to cool down, etc and it weighs 0.9 oz. For a pack liner, I use a trash compactor bag weighing in at 2.4 oz. I ALWAYS use the trash compactor bag – not only for rain, but there are a lot of water crossings where I hike in the Sipsey Wilderness and I like to keep my stuff dry. I consider all of the above items “backpack weight” and it totals 33.20 oz or 2.08 lbs.
In my “Shelter” category, I will be taking my Warbonnet Blackbird 1.1 SL with bishop bag, Dutch Clips, and Dutch Cinch Buckles that all weigh 21.9 oz. I’m taking my Hammock Gear 20 degree Burrow topquilt because it weighs several ounces less than my Army Surplus Poncho Liner at 16.5 oz. For my underquilt I’m using the Arrowhead Equipment 1 season Jarbridge weighing 15.5 oz. My Superfly will be making the trip with Mountaingoat Mesh Sleeves, Dutch continuous ridgeline, and Lawson Glowire for tie out in a Zpacks cuben fiber bishop bag. All of the tarp related items weigh a total of 23.85 as I have it rigged. The only item not listed are 8 titanium tarp stakes from Lawson equipment weighing a total of 2.45 oz in a stuff sack. That brings my Shelter weight to a total of 80.2 oz or 5.01 lbs. I’d love to lighten this, but cuben fiber is so dang expensive and a bug net is required during the summer in Alabama!
Next I’ll address my “Cook kit” weight. I have a fire rod and striker (1.4 oz) , cuben fiber stuff sack (0.2 oz), long handled titanium spoon (0.55 oz), aluminum flashing windscreen (0.5 oz), Zelph Fancee Feest wick stove (0.9 oz), Fancee Feest Simmer ring by Zelph (0.65 oz), full fuel bottle – about 4.5 fluid oz of denatured alcohol (4.10 oz), Imusa 10 cm mug (2.8 oz), Imusa lid from Zelph (0.3 0z) and a Refletix cozy. Total weight with fuel is 11.8 oz or 0.74 lbs.
For clothing, I’m not taking much as this can add a LOT of weight quickly. Cuben fiber stuff sack (0.25 oz), 1 spare synthetic boxer brief underwear (3.7 oz), and 1 spare set of Darn Tough socks (2.8 oz). I’m also taking synthetic shorts (4.4 oz) and a short sleeve synthetic top (5.4 oz) to have a dry set of clothes once I set up camp and for sleeping. Currently there are storms predicted, so I have my Golite Tumalo rain jacket listed at 12.0 oz, but may leave it out if the weather forecast clears. My Patagonia Nano Puff jacket (12.35 oz) is on the list but I’m considering leaving my Nanopuff at home – but I may appreciate it once I cool down from hiking and I use it as my pillow. Taking everything listed brings my clothing weight up to 40.90 oz or 2.56 lbs. By leaving both jackets at home, I’ll save 24.35 oz, but it will largely depend on the weather.
Next I’ll address what I call “Tools/Misc.” The Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS with batteries and tie on cord (so I don’t lose it) is 4.95 oz. I use this mostly for tracking, but I like to have it with me JUST IN CASE. Of course I take a compass (1.7 oz) and a map (1.85 oz) as well as my primary means of navigation. I take a camera that’s a bit heavy, but it’s waterproof and shockproof – the Olympus TG-1 weighing 8.1 oz. My Princeton Tec Remix headlamp with batteries weighs 3.0 oz. I also pack a 32″ Amsteel dogbone that I mostly use to hang my pack. The dogbone weighs 0.35 oz with a small metal s biner. Although I treat my clothes with Permitherin, I have a small container of bug spray weighing 1.15 oz to treat any trouble spots. I have an AcuRite thermometer that weighs 1.25 oz and my luxury item is a DIY Jerry Chair (thanks Secret Santa!) that I can use for a pack cover, but it is mostly used to sit around camp and have some back support. The Jerry Chair weighs 4 oz. That brings my total Tools/Misc weight to 26.35 oz or 1.65 lbs.
What I consider “HBA” or “Health and Beauty Aids” consists of a small first aid kit weighing 3.0 oz, lip balm (0.4 oz) because my lips always seem to get chapped, a keyring that has a small back up light, whistle, and tick key for a total weight of 0.9 oz, my “poop kit” consisting of wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in a ziplock bag. The total weight on the poop kit is 1.6 oz. Finally, I have a small bag holding a small toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, a small container of dental floss, a small section of a camp towel, a small container of Dr. Bonners peppermint soap, a small container of powder (because sometimes you REALLY need it) and a small container of deodorant. The weight of my personal cleaning supplies is 4.5 oz. The total weight of all HBA items is 10.40 oz or 0.65 lbs.
For water, I carry an old Gatorade bottle (1.65 oz) and the Sawyer Squeeze with container that I covered in a previous blog post. The filter including the container, flush syringe, and 32 fluid oz bag weighs 8.1 oz. I plan on using the additional 32 oz bag to carry water between water sources in addition to the Gatorade bottle. I plan on carrying 64 fluid oz of water. Total water/filter weight is 73.75 oz or 4.61 lbs. This weight will drop rapidly as I hike and drink water.
All that is left is food. I will be using the Ursack Minor (rodent proof) food bag weighing 5.10 oz. My food for Friday night to Saturday afternoon weighs 38.9 oz. We’ll have a car parked close to our camping spot for Saturday night, so I’ll pick up my Saturday night/Sunday food as we pass by. That total weight is 33.6 oz. Leaving the trailhead Friday afternoon, I’ll be carrying a total weight of 44.0 oz for food/food storage. Of course, this weight will decrease as I eat each meal/snack.
Backpack 33.20 oz or 2.08 lbs
Shelter 80.20 oz or 5.01 lbs
Cooking 11.80 oz or 0.74 lbs
Clothes 40.90 oz or 2.56 lbs
Tools/Misc 26.35 oz or 1.65 lbs
HBA 10.40 oz or 0.65 lbs
Water 73.75 oz or 4.61 lbs
Food 44.00 oz or 2.75 lbs
That brings my total weight leaving the trailhead as 20.04 lbs. Not too shabby in my opinion….
Not included in this is things I consider “worn.” This would be my Merino short sleeve shirt (6.05 oz), Columbia zip off pants (10.15 oz), Cinch Buckle Belt (1.9 oz), synthetic boxer brief underwear (3.7 oz), Darn Tough Wool socks (2.8 oz), hiking shoes (Moab Ventilators – 37.35 oz), Gerber Evo knife (1.85 0z), watch (Casio G Shock – 2.15 oz), my “summer hat” 2.55 oz, and my Komperdell trekking poles (19.0 oz). That is a total weight of 87.50 oz or 5.47 lbs.
If you would like to count the “skin out” weight, it would be my pack weight of 20.04 lbs plus “worn” items weighing 5.47 lbs for a total carried weight of 25.51 lbs.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.
I’ll see you between the trees…