Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Light weight backpacking

I'm not sure when it happened. I'm sure over the course of last years Appalachian Trail thru hike I certainly enjoyed a light pack. I remember hiking from Tinker Cliffs to Daleville with 1/2 a days food, with a wonderfully empty my pack!

That pack looks small, but that's the 58L, I soon got a 44L and still had room in it.
Since getting back I've only been backpacking once - a fact which I plan on remedying - and on that trip to Massanutten I took the top flap off the Osprey Talon 44 and still had room.
Over the course of the last few months I've made a few low cost purchases to reduce weight. I refuse to pay $100's per ounce to lighten my pack by grams. I refuse to count grams. I don't have that kind of disposable income for one thing, and even if I did I would rather buy plane tickets with that money! That being said, you can later call me a gram weanie for the few ounces I am saving!

Black Diamond tarp shelter prior to hammock hanging. After it looks similar, but for the hammock under it!

I replaced my carabiners for a lighter pair. The other ones that came with my old hammock are heavy. They clunked and weighed the whole setup down. I don't have a postal scale, but I probably saved 8 oz or something to the new climbing 'beaners I purchased. I used part of a gift card I got for Christmas so the net cost of this purchase was $0!

My hair weighed too much and wasn't dual use so I cut it off
Next I purchased a Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down Blanket. It's basically a down blanket with a foot box completely eliminating the zipper, bottom of the 'sleeping bag'. My winter bag (the Grouse Mountain) doesn't have stuffing on the bottom to eliminate weight, this goes a step further and totally eliminate the zipper, hood, bottom of the bag. It is rated for 35 degrees but the reviews say more like 45 degree. I figure since drafts can happen and you aren't building the encapsulated layer of body heat it is more a spring/summer/fall bag. But it is only just over a pound - a full TWO pounds lighter, and much less bulkier than the Grouse Mountain. I used the remaining gift card and my dividends and bought the Alpine Down Blanket for $40 with an in-store pickup so I incur no shipping charges. Not a bad cost to reduce my bag by 2 pounds!

Going through the 'Lemon Squeezer' with my pack on - a testament to how small it got!

I weighed my gear as I was packing for this upcoming weekend hiking in southern Massanutten and my base weight is 11 pounds 12 ounces. Add 2 liters of water and a couple days of food and it'll still be under 20 lbs. That's impressive. And I don't feel like I am doing with out. I don't feel like I'm skimping or cutting corners. I have all the essentials, plus a pillow, first aid, camera, extra battery. I don't know when exactly it happened but I'm bordering on UL.

Descending Big K with day packs, not carrying all that jazz up a hill and back down!
For the trip coming up I could plan on going without a stove as well, try out the "cold" method. I would leave home the aluminum cup, MSR Pocket Rocket, fuel, and cooking utensil. This would save another pound and a half or two. I plan on having a campfire, over which I could easily roast some summer sausage. My biggest regret with this would not be having coffee in the morning or Sleepy Time Tea in the evening. For a weekend of roughing it I suppose I could forgo these small pleasures, but on any kind of thru the pleasure of something warm out-weighs (pun intended!) the extra weight.
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