Sooner or later throughout a protracted hike, the dialog inevitably turns to backpacking gear. How a lot (or how little) it weighs, how a lot it prices, and why it’s the greatest (or worst) gear on the market.  And naturally, irrespective of how light-weight any specific piece of apparatus you might have, another person has one thing that weighs much less.

After my part hike final yr, I noticed I wanted to shed some pounds. My pack, when totally laden with meals and water weighed about 42 lbs(!) on the trailhead.

Add 2 1/2 liters of water and you’ve got 42 lbs

Hikers give attention to the “massive three” – the tent, the sleep system (sleeping bag, mattress), and the backpack.  However I’d additionally add a fourth class: concern  Invariably one provides issues to mitigate some side of the hike that one fears. It might be chilly, so that you pack further garments. It might be starvation, so that you add extra meals. Mosquitoes, so add nets & repellent. Or discomfort, so add a chair, or further thick sleeping pad.


I really like my again backpack. It’s a 48 liter Osprey Kestrel, that may carry 42 lbs with out an excessive amount of discomfort, it’s straightforward to arrange and is compact pushing the middle of gravity near your again. Adore it, however it weight 3 1/2 lbs. So it needed to be relegated to weekend journeys.  Discovering a backpack alternative was the toughest a part of the load loss endeavor. Not solely is there an enormous array of producers, some also have a entire subset of customizations. To complicate issues even additional, many of those backpacks will not be offered by way of brick and mortar shops, so there isn’t any affordable approach of testing the backpacks earlier than buying.  So you find yourself trawling by way of blogs and opinions making an attempt to determine which to buy.  The method has a little bit of a rooster and egg side as nicely, because the carrying weight of some packs could be very restricted, so that you don’t actually know what are actual choices till you determine how little weight you want, which is partially pushed by the load of the backpack.

I used to be tempted (briefly) to fully embrace the ultra-light life-style and go together with a frameless vest pack, however determined that must wait till the following spherical of downsizing as I couldn’t ensure I’d get my pack weight beneath 25 lbs.  One other issue is worth. The worth vary for a light-weight again is large. From sub-200 to over $400. After a lot to and fro-ing I settled on the Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50.  It is available in three lengths, relying on the size of your backbone, might be transformed to a frameless pack, and features a removeable sitpad that features as a structural factor of the pack.  At 32 oz (for the Giant) it’s light-weight, and with a listing worth of $255, is on the low finish of the ultra-light storage gear packs.  And weighs 1 1/2 lbs lower than the Osprey.


I had already changed my tent the earlier yr, relegating the roomier 5 1/2 lbs Marmot tent to weekend journeys and changed it with a Nemo Hornet 2P.  I had briefly thought of a climbing pole suspended tent system, however in the end figured the comparatively small quantity of weight saved didn’t fairly make up for the truth that the Nemo Hornet is semi-freestanding, permitting you to maneuver it round after it’s erected to seek out the perfect place to place it.  It has held up nicely, however I’ve not utilized in heavy rain or wind.  At 36 oz it saves 3 1/4 lbs off the Marmot.  And it truly suits two folks, albeit two individuals who know one another very nicely.

Fully empty cirque, aside from untold billions of mosquitoes

Sleeping System

I consider I invented to sleeping quilt earlier than it was a factor.  For years I slept mendacity on my mattress and used my sleeping bag as a comforter.  My sleeping baggage through the years have all been rated for zero levels, or colder, as I do snow camp, and by no means thought of getting a sleeping bag only for the summer time or shoulder seasons. My newest bag was a zero diploma 800 fill energy bag from Hyke and Byke that weighs 3 lbs 6 oz, however too heavy and heat for lengthy summer time climbing.  Shopping for a light-weight sleeping bag has among the identical issues as shopping for a light-weight backpack. There are loads of small producers, however only a few of those baggage are offered by way of shops the place you possibly can decide them up and really feel them. Once more, a lot studying of the opinions and blogs was required earlier than I settled on the Moondance 25 from Featherstone. It’s rated for 25 levels, 850 fill energy, and weighs 1 lbs 11 oz (Lengthy/Huge) and for $230 will not be tremendous costly.

I had an off-brand air mattress that I bought on Amazon for $30, years in the past, and it has labored nicely for snow tenting, cowboy tenting, and hanging out in camp.  And at 1 1/2 lbs, it wasn’t too heavy both.  It was changed with a Thermarest NeoAir XLite (not the NXT mannequin) which, at 1 lbs, shaved one other 1/2 pound of weight.


The fears I packed for final yr have been mosquitoes and luxury. The mosquito weight penalty wasn’t massive (1/2 lbs possibly), a head web and a repellent system powered by an isobutane canister. The consolation add-on was extra vital.  A light-weight-weight camp chair (11 oz) and a complete further set of garments for camp added at the very least one other pound.  These will all be ditched aside from the top web.

Cook dinner System

I additionally changed my Optimus FE cook dinner set that weight 16 oz (with out gas) and may boil a pint of water with 3 grams of gas, or about 30 quarts of water on one 8 oz fuel canister.  It’s tremendous compact as every part suits contained in the pot. It is a nice answer for tenting in heat climate, however sucks whether it is beneath freezing. I don’t know precisely what the load saving was, however I think 1/2 lbs or extra.  This technique has been changed with a Toaks 650 ml pot, a titanium Esbit stable gas burner, and a titanium windscreen. This technique, with stable gas for every week (cooking as soon as a day), weighs about 6 oz, saving greater than a pound and costing $60.


The price of this weight reduction routine can be vital. The record worth for the tent was over $400, the quilt, $230, the backpack, $255, the air mattress, $200, the cook dinner system, $100, or nearly $1200 complete.  That is the place planning a very long time forward is your good friend. Begin within the low season and search for coupons and gross sales. Some merchandise get discontinued to make approach for a brand new mannequin that’s by and huge not a lot completely different from what’s being changed.

I lucked out on the tent when I discovered a store within the mid-west that was promoting the Nemo Hornet for $180.  Featherstone sells sleeping baggage with beauty flaws for $50 off recommend retail worth. These baggage are usually not obtainable through the peak climbing season, however can be found within the winter time. For me I saved extra by shopping for it new on-line from a vendor that was promoting it $20 beneath retail worth plus they’d a 20% off coupon. The Thermarest NeoAir XLite had been discontinued (changed with the NXT), so I used to be in a position to get mine for lower than $100.  I discovered my backpack on eBay in unused situation for $175.  All in all I ended spending about $700 to lose about 7 lbs 2 oz of weight, or about $100 a pound.

The takeaway right here is to plan your gear purchases as far upfront as you possibly can for vital financial savings, and do as a lot analysis and studying to seek out the product that most closely fits your wants.



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