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Topic: lightening the load< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 3:24 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am still stuck in the 80's and 90's as far as my gear.  I tend to buy heavier, but very durable gear.   My pack is unacceptably heavy.  

What I hope to do is gradually replace gear as I need to with lighter stuff that still functions well and is durable.

I won't ever completely do away with the heavy hikers, they just feel right on my feet, but I know there are lots of places to make gains.

I just swapped my MSR dragonfly (which I still love) for a small alcohol stove for example.  

So, what I would like to know is where can AFFORDABLE weight savings be made.  

A few of the items that I use  

Pack either a Kelty Super Cirque or a Gregory Whitney, but I do use a Kelty Redwing for day hikes and overnight summer trips.

Tent:  Mostly an REI half dome, but I have used tarps.  I do not own a "nice" tarp.

Hiker Pro water filter

REI down 20* bag, the name of which slips my mind.  They are pretty optimistic in the rating.  Or a fleece bag for summer that was $14 at Bass Pro 10 years ago.  Works to 50* pretty darned well but bulky.

Thermarest from the 90's that was pretty light at the time.  Still a full length one and not as light as current offerings.

A mil-surplus (the real deal) goretex shell.  Durable but fairly heavy compared to the backpacking shells.

A lot of my gear is not a weight issue as much as a bulk issue.

So, where can weight savings be made at a reasonable cost?  I will never be a gram counter, but ounces are adding up.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 3:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Stop saying never.
frogg toggs ultralight rainsuit, 12oz total WalMart, $20.
Sawyer Squeeze or Mini. $20-30, 2 or 3oz.

You just saved ~2lb(maybe more if that GoreTex is no lighter than it was 20 years ago) for $40-50, and significant bulk.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 3:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Apart from leaving things home (free!), some of the biggest ounce per dollar savings is in shelters, sleeping pads, and backpacks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 4:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

+1 to big_load's post.

I'll add that big key is defining "AFFORDABLE."  What you consider to be affordable may be ridiculously expensive others and vice versa.  some folks here won't bat an eye at spending $400 or $500 for a sleeping bag, others won't spend over $100.

I would probably focus on tent and sleeping bag first, that and not carrying unnecessary items.  Once you get your gear downsized you won't need a heavy duty pack.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 4:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Jeff.

I was in the same boat for a while...weight wasn't a huge deal, bulk was....but I ended up w/some good stuff over the years


If you are looking for a good compressible bag let me know.

I have 2 three season bags I'd let go, high quality 750-800 down, low miles.

And I have two very good 2 person tents that are under 4 lbs for under $150 each...they'll last you for several years

Sierra Trading Post has good prices on lightweight packs as well


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 5:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Owen571 @ Jan. 02 2014, 3:41 pm)
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Stop saying never.
frogg toggs ultralight rainsuit, 12oz total WalMart, $20.
Sawyer Squeeze or Mini. $20-30, 2 or 3oz.

You just saved ~2lb(maybe more if that GoreTex is no lighter than it was 20 years ago) for $40-50, and significant bulk.

Will Frog Togs hold up?  Are they truly waterproof?

I have been reading about the squeeze, and I will read up more on it.  Thanks for the ideas.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 5:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Jan. 02 2014, 3:47 pm)
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Apart from leaving things home (free!), some of the biggest ounce per dollar savings is in shelters, sleeping pads, and backpacks.

I do overpack.  The pad I could see swapping out.  The tent, well, I like the designed a lot.  It has been a very durable piece, and I love the room, but with the footprint, I think it is in excess of 6lbs.  I am interested in an UL tent that would pitch with trekking poles.

Part of my reason for looking at this is that my wife and stepdaughter are just beginning to pack with me.  I am sure there will be things that will be added to my pack from theirs.

My Kelty is surprisingly light, the Whitney, that was a bad choice in packs, but it is REALLY comfortable.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(no_granola @ Jan. 02 2014, 4:27 pm)
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+1 to big_load's post.

I'll add that big key is defining "AFFORDABLE."  What you consider to be affordable may be ridiculously expensive others and vice versa.  some folks here won't bat an eye at spending $400 or $500 for a sleeping bag, others won't spend over $100.

I would probably focus on tent and sleeping bag first, that and not carrying unnecessary items.  Once you get your gear downsized you won't need a heavy duty pack.

Money is a factor, but I believe in buying good gear as well.  I can't afford, and don't need, the top of the line gear.  I do want quality that will last.  

The alcohol stove was a no brainer, but I do like to actually cook, so that might be an adjustment.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 5:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wcolucci @ Jan. 02 2014, 4:45 pm)
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Jeff.

I was in the same boat for a while...weight wasn't a huge deal, bulk was....but I ended up w/some good stuff over the years


If you are looking for a good compressible bag let me know.

I have 2 three season bags I'd let go, high quality 750-800 down, low miles.

And I have two very good 2 person tents that are under 4 lbs for under $150 each...they'll last you for several years

Sierra Trading Post has good prices on lightweight packs as well

Thanks, the bags especially would be of interest.  

I used to live in Cheyenne.  Stopping by Sierra Trading Post was like letting a kid lose in a candy store.  I love that store.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 6:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In your position, the first thing I would replace would be your pad, not only because of the weight savings, but because of the huge comfort upgrade modern air pads offer over those older thermarests.  Depending on the temps you'll be using it in, you could get a relatively inexpensive BA aircore.  If you camp in colder temps, look into neoairs or expeds.  Next I'd upgrade the tent, which will save you a lot of weight.  You have many options here, but if you use trekking poles, I'd look into a pole supported shelter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 7:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I still use my Mil-Surplus rain shell. That said, even my winter weight is down under 35 lbs on the worst day (and that includes bottled beer and a flask of Whiskey).

I will echo the comments in regards to shelter as a great place to start. I don't have a shelter I use over 3 lbs anymore and have more room and just as weather worthy for mid-winter excursions on Mt. Hood. My 5 man cost $210 shipped. I think "the full boat version is currently $299 on Golite (they don't sell just the tarp anymore).

I'm somewhat of a penny pincher because I have to feed a family of six but I've figured out how to think outside the box and it's worked incredibly well for me. I'm still using a LandsEnd down parka that I picked up for $25 shipped (Thanks again Sarbar). Getting a system together that works for you with less bells and whistles is been the best thing I've done.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 8:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since I am a long day hiker I can attest pack weight is the big one.  I went to a REI flash 22.  It easily carries all the classic "10 essentials" (which if have paired down) and all my clothing I might need.  I took time and bought quality ultra lightweight, packable clothing..  with out food, water and clothing my total day pack weight is like 3lbs.  I know you said you love your heavy boots, but if you do switch a nice, wuality pair of trail runners is the way to go.  Many good brands out there..  I have a pair of Merrell Proterra's (Thanks for x-mas gift wifey!).  there REALLY light.  I also have a pair of Merrell MOab's that I have used for a couple years and they are even like 1lb for the pair.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 8:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, and the hard part is deciding what you actually need and what you actually "think" you need.  I figure if after 3 long outting you don't touch it - leave out it next time.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 8:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jeffDVM @ Jan. 02 2014, 4:22 pm)
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Will Frog Togs hold up?  Are they truly waterproof?

Yes, they're waterproof. No, they won't hold up to any offtrail use where they will be exposed to much wear or punctures, but for trail hiking they are fine.
 
Agree with Trinity about the pad being a good place to save weight on a budget. You might easily save another pound there, depending on what pad you have.
Like others said, the shelter and sleeping bag are the big ones, but usually the most $$$, too.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2014, 8:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you use typical 80s and 90s gear -- you should be able to find lots of opportunities for weight and space savings -- without much (if any) sacrifice in performance/safety.

Google various UL hiking sites.  A couple of general pointers:

1.  Before shopping for gear pieces, one fantastic first step is to take a good hard look at all your existing gear pieces.  Are there things you haul habitually that are actually little used or even never used in the field?  Any piece you can leave at home is a 100% space and weight saving!

2.  Look at all the gear pieces you deem necessary.  Which ones can do multiple duty so more pieces can be left at home?

3.  Of all the remaining pieces that must be carried... look at lighter weight equivalents.  You may find many UL pieces actually cheaper than their regular (heavier) counterpart!  Swapping a white gas stove for an alcohol stove is a great UL move - if the latter fits your cooking needs.  Obvious areas to look at are:  shelter, bag (see below), pad and clothing.  But don't overlook the small stuff -- particularly if you are still using heavy blade, headlight, filter, etc.

4.  The one big exception is sleeping bag.  A warm, UL bag is expensive!  But this is also where you can gain the most space and weight saving!  Whatever warmth you require, I highly recommend buying the highest fill power goose down bag you can afford -- or wait and save up if you have to.  A high quality goose down bag will last you for years and years.

5.  Resist the temptation to buy lighter/smaller backpack until you've swapped out other gear pieces.  Once you have settled down on your swaps, you will be in a better position to select the right pack to house your new gear.  More is not better - it's simply just heavier.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 10:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks to all for the information.

There are lots of things to consider, and it helps to have input from others.  

The current bag that I use is fairly light already, and I am not sure that I am willing to spend the kind of money needed to get something lighter for a similar temperature range.

The pad is absolutely doable.

The tent will be a huge savings in weight, and hopefully in bulk.

I need to reassess the kitchen as well.  The stove swap helps a lot, but I need to look at cooking habits and items that I need vs want in cooking.  (The old Backpacker and the pot for it need to go away).

So how do most here handle coffee?  I like a cup in the morning, but have never found any real decent instant.  I drink it for the flavor and the warmth in the morning.  I love the smell of it brewing as well.  

Bulk is a lot of my issue.  My clothing is not terribly compressible, the tent is pretty bulky, that Thermarest, even though it was one of the best options at the time, takes a good chunk of pack space.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 10:50 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jeffDVM @ Jan. 03 2014, 10:12 am)
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So how do most here handle coffee?  I like a cup in the morning, but have never found any real decent instant.  I drink it for the flavor and the warmth in the morning.  I love the smell of it brewing as well.  

I have been known to carry a Snowpeak titanium coffee press as a luxury item, but usually I just drink Starbucks VIA.  Not great, but good enough.  The press is wonderful, if you're willing to schlep the extra weight and bulk.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 10:50 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Some folks swear by Via , a Starbucks product, others just swear at it.  I know people who use a french press cup , all in one type of thing.  Then, there are the melitta users.  This one comes in red or black.  Cheap, and makes fresh coffee easily.  All you need to do is boil water with your new alcohol stove.  

IMO, the Via is the lightest choice, with the melitta coming in second.  With the melitta or the french press, you would need to bring your own coffee and filters, and deal with the trash.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 10:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been using the Folgers lately.  Seems a little funky.  Seems to have a tad of froth or something, unlike the Starbucks.  Not sure if I like it or not, but it's a lot cheaper than Starbucks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Owen571 @ Jan. 02 2014, 8:37 pm)
QUOTE

(jeffDVM @ Jan. 02 2014, 4:22 pm)
QUOTE
Will Frog Togs hold up?  Are they truly waterproof?

Yes, they're waterproof. No, they won't hold up to any offtrail use where they will be exposed to much wear or punctures, but for trail hiking they are fine.
 
Agree with Trinity about the pad being a good place to save weight on a budget. You might easily save another pound there, depending on what pad you have.
Like others said, the shelter and sleeping bag are the big ones, but usually the most $$$, too.

They don't leak at the area where the pack straps rub?  That was one of my concerns with them.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 11:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(reubenstump @ Jan. 03 2014, 7:56 am)
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I've been using the Folgers lately.  Seems a little funky.  Seems to have a tad of froth or something, unlike the Starbucks.  Not sure if I like it or not, but it's a lot cheaper than Starbucks.

+1

I tried the Charbucks but just can't stand them. I went back to using Folgers Singles (brew in a bag). The flavor is quite tolerable to me but I don't like French Roast or other strong flavors.

My kitchen consists of an REI double wall plastic mug, One of my sporks, my alcohol stove, a wind screen,  and a Evernew Ti pot.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 11:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have been carrying a super light aluminum, but again bulky, perk pot that doubles as a water boiling pan.  After perking coffee in it, the water does have a funky taste when used in other things.

I tried a funny little loose tea gizmo and grounds, but the circulation through the grounds was not enough to make a decent cup.  The little Folgers singles are pretty wimpy too.  

I will try the Starbucks as long as it does not have the trademark Starbucks burned flavor.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 11:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Taster's Choice has different singles like the Vias, if those suit your taste better. I'm another who has gone back to the Folger's singles when I want coffee, though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 11:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Missed this.

(jeffDVM @ Jan. 03 2014, 10:03 am)
QUOTE
They don't leak at the area where the pack straps rub?  That was one of my concerns with them.

Don't know. I haven't had occasion to wear my pack with the jacket on for an extended time, only the poncho.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For coffee, I have tried them all and it just wasn't the same, so I have gone with instant coffee mixed 2:1 with instant hot chocolate and add less than the 1 of instant creamer. I use 2 tablespoons to a 16 oz. mug of hot water. It is tolerable, at least as good as via or the bag things. This mixture can be measured and carried in a small baggie.  If you use the single serving bags remember they are for an 8 oz cup not 16 oz mug, so use 2. At home I drink hot strong black brewed coffee.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 2:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FWIW I do the starbucks vias, best cost/weight/cleanup/flavor combo I have found.

not great, but it does the job

My kitchen varies, but can be as little as alcohol stove and grease pot to a full white gas stove that simmers, 3 pots, cutting board and measuring cup set depending upon the trip.

I just hate to try to cook fish over an alcohol stove in an uncoated pot, anywhere with a burn ban.

Funny part, the longer the trip, the more intricate the kitchen.  I refuse to have ramen based lunchs for more than 3 days :-)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 2:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(booyah @ Jan. 03 2014, 2:20 pm)
QUOTE
FWIW I do the starbucks vias, best cost/weight/cleanup/flavor combo I have found.

not great, but it does the job

My kitchen varies, but can be as little as alcohol stove and grease pot to a full white gas stove that simmers, 3 pots, cutting board and measuring cup set depending upon the trip.

I just hate to try to cook fish over an alcohol stove in an uncoated pot, anywhere with a burn ban.

Funny part, the longer the trip, the more intricate the kitchen.  I refuse to have ramen based lunchs for more than 3 days :-)

I am with you on the ramen.  I ate enough of that when broke and in school to last a while.

Winter is a great time for cooking since so much can be carried without concern of it going bad.  Decent summer meals are the hard part for me.  

I don't mind the simple stuff for a few days, but man, real fried eggs and coffee sure hit the spot on any cool morning.

I still like the bakepaker gizmo, but bulk and weight say no.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 3:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jeffDVM @ Jan. 03 2014, 10:12 am)
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So how do most here handle coffee?

I make drip coffee at home (as in boil the water and pour over freshly ground coffee in a paper filter and cone) and do the same when backpacking or camping.  I use an MSR "MugMate" filter (less than an ounce) and just make the coffee directly into my mug.

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr....product
(The "wings" are designed to support the filter over a mug but I've found it more convenient to snip one of them off so that it can be stored inside my mug.  I've never used the "lid".)


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 4:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We went through a pretty major weight reduction a few years ago, when we started to do longer hikes with our boys (but they still couldn't begin to carry their share).  

The easy ones:
--chemicals instead of a water filter
--alky stove and FBC cooking instead of two pots and the Whisperlite.  Also the lightest plastic bowls I could find.
--better and lighter rain gear (we had pretty old gore-tex, heavy and bulky, like yours).
--tents.  We gave up on the Trail Dome and have worked our way to the pricey but light and comfy BA Copper Spur (and the Jack Rabbit for the boys, because we decided that they could now carry the extra 8 oz. for $100).
--the sleeping pads.  Those had actually gotten heavier, until the new air pads came out.  I had an Insulmat I liked, very light and a little insulated, but it vanished after one trip, so we use the NeoAir.  Since we are short, we use the 3/4 length and put our packs under what of the feet stick off the end.

Coffee: I'm the only coffee drinker, so I have to keep it light.  For a long time I used this: http://www.rei.com/product....e-maker (and still use it car-camping, where we had to do a similar bulk-reduction when we traded the Outback for a Prius).  I have since switched to Via, which (unlike other instants) doesn't make me start drinking tea halfway through a week.  Trader Joe's makes an equally good instant, not in packets, but much cheaper, and I really should start taking a container of that instead.

My coffee secret: Nido.  No fake creamer crap.  Use Nido whole-milk powder.  

I have also continued refining the food, lighter and lighter.  Part of that was realizing that the DH and I were finishing pack trips weighing, if anything, more than when we started, so I decided we could just handle smaller portions :)  The boys keep eating more, but it's actually lighter as they become more able to reliably eat what they liked last time, and I don't have to pack as many extra bars and stuff to make sure they don't starve.


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bigsilk Search for posts by this member.
A different kind of rebel...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2014, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

My tent and sleeping bag go into an 8L and 12L compression sack to become 20L. I now have 30 liters for everything else. If it's not so much weight but bulk, consider them. I know people advise to stuffing sleeping bags and tents into the bottom of your pack, but I'll never get the space savings by jamming stuff on top of it. My bag still fits in the bottom, and I pack things around it. I'd rather have my sleeping bag in a waterproof silny compression sack than subject to whatever.

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