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Topic: How much would you spend to lighten your load?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 7:31 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have been considering ways to lighten my basic pack weight.  Of course there is always leaving things out of the pack, but that can only go so far.  There are some items we have to have.  And when it gets down to those necessary items, the decision come down to getting something lighter in weight.  Usually, but not always, that means more expensive replacements.  If not outright more expensive, at least it means buying more which is costly, like buying a new light weight quilt or sleeping bag. new backpack, etc.

What I have been considering is how much am I willing to spend for how much weight loss in pack weight.  Some items the weight difference is not great but the accumulated weight difference of several items can be significant.  Just as an example, how much would you be willing to spend for an accumulated five pound loss in basic pack weight.  

To further complicate things, what if what you save in weight is more delicate or bothersome in use.  For instance a ZPacks Hexamid tent might save a tremendous amount of weight but it has a larger total footprint (space needed to properly erect) and is more difficult to put up, especially in windy conditions.  It is also more of a hassle to get into and out of than say a Tarptent Notch.

Anyway, just looking to start a discussion and look at all the different aspects of the choices.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 7:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pack goats. They carry your load, eat just about anything and leave much the same droppings as deer. Plus using does gives you fresh milk.
:p


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Me don't like goats enough to live with them on the trail. Same for llamas and horses.

Rumi

PS:  Livestock is a significant investment.  I could get all new ultralight gear for the cost of owning and caring for stock.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

REI gear is really heavy. Maybe stop supporting enormous corporations.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sherpas.  Worth every dollar.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As we age, this becomes quite the quandary.  If a person can afford $1000, it is only choosing which gear to buy.  If that number is significantly less, the choices become tougher.  Each $ must be balanced against what it does to allow an older gent to do more back country travel.   I might need to look into that sherpa thing.  Hire someone like Mike to haul half of my gear, so I can still not keep up with them. 

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I live my big agnes synthetic bag, but going to a down bag with the same temperature rating would save me a pound of pack weight at a price of $400.  That's more than I am willing to pay.

I've decided I would rather lose that 5 pounds by getting in better shape, which pays other dividends as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 8:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Sep. 28 2013, 5:22 pm)
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I've decided I would rather lose that 5 pounds by getting in better shape, which pays other dividends as well.

I've decided 15 pounds lighter in personal weight is my goal. I may only have 10 more pounds to go, I haven't weighed myself lately.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 9:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We spent more the I will confess over the years after we started BPing with our boys.  But we probably dropped ten pounds out of the spousal pack and five or so out of mine, even before the boys started carrying more.  Changed tents, bags, pads, and packs.  Totally worth it even if we hadn't been able to afford it, because the heavier packs were killing us.  Part of it, too  was needing more compact gear, because whether it went in our packs or the boys', bulk was (and is) a huge problem.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 9:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rebecca, the first time I seriously contemplated lightening up was after a trip with my two boys when they were young.  I carried a huge load back then and carried all the food, fuel, and shelters for us three.  The boys only carried their sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and clothes.  I realized then it was crazy taking all the extra stuff like a camp stool.  My initial lightening efforts was all about leaving stuff home, which I still am in the process of doing.  haha  Anyway, now finding equivalent but lighter items is important.  Bulk is also a huge consideration.

I am hoping to reduce my base weight to near 12 pounds or less. Some items I will not do without, such as a pillow. But i can buy or make a lighter pillow.  I have this goal and it will take me a while to reach it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 9:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've gone to the "think outside the box" method more than cost although my last winter tent wasn't "cheap". I'm down quite a bit on my big four because of it. Adding bug netting to the bottom of my Golite Shangr-La 5 vs. use a full net was a great idea that worked. I use individual "bathtub" floors vs the large floor that comes with the shelter. I use a down +40 bag along with my clothes for temps down to 0 with great success.

Heck, I think my rainshell is probably my "heaviest" gear at the moment and now that I've discovered Neverwet, I'll probably replace that with something much lighter and just hit it with Neverwet instead. At $20 a shot, it ain't cheap...but I spend almost $15 a year in waterproofing sprays anyway.

In the end, I've been surprised at how much I'm willing to spend on specific gear....once I convince myself it's worth it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 9:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I guess I'd be willing to spend several hundred dollars.  It's hard to put specific amount on it.  But the caveat is that it's going to have to be a period of time.  I'm not about to go out and spend $500.00 in one pop. I'm gradually working on it now.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 11:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Sep. 28 2013, 5:31 pm)
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. . . Just as an example, how much would you be willing to spend for an accumulated five pound loss in basic pack weight? . . .

Five pounds is just how much I have reduced my cold-weather pack weight in the last few years — strictly by gear purchases. I did that by purchasing three items: tent, down sleeping bag, and backpack. I purchased each from REI, and each is REI brand. That was not by design. It was because REI offerred the best deal and best product for my needs.

I spent in the neighborhood of $700 over about three years and don't regret any of the purchases. And I certainly won't be returning any of them.

Never before have I ever spent that much on gear. I'm in the habit of being very frugal. But this time I decided it would be worth it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 11:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The copay on a knee replacement and the dollar amount of  months of physical therapy, taking off work as needed.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 11:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Sep. 28 2013, 8:23 pm)
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Never before have I ever spent that much on gear. I'm in the habit of being very frugal. But this time I decided it would be worth it.

Me too!  Rarely have I bought something without having a need, either because I don't have it for a niche or a piece of gear needs replacing due to wear-n-tear.  Hope that makes sense.

Anyway, like Jer, I would be replacing some gear pieces gradually.  But the intent is to reduce weight while retaining functionality.  New solo tent, 3 season quilt, 3 season backpack, and maybe a few odds and ends.  The hardest for me to justify is the quilt.  I have a nice lightweight 30* bag which is in good shape but i like quilts better.  I could reduce a bit of weight and get a warmer quilt. If I give the sleeping bag to my oldest son ... well then I will need something new.  haha

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 28 2013, 11:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It depends on how much weight I'm going to save, and if the gear will meet the requirements of what I like on the trail. I've been talking about that Stratospire 2, but I wouldn't mind spending even more if I found a better solution for me that weighed the same or less. I have a really hard time finding packs that fit me, and a REALLY hard time finding light packs that fit me, so I'd spend money there as well.

Since my husband and I don't have kids, we've got some discretionary income to spend on hobbies. My days on the trail are hard to come by (not that everyone else's aren't as well) so I don't mind spending $$$$$ on even one piece if it is perfect for me.


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(RumiDude @ Sep. 28 2013, 11:51 pm)
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If I give the sleeping bag to my oldest son ... well then I will need something new.  haha

Rumi

Hey, I too, find that an excellent way to justify new gear for myself.  I see it as a win win situation.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 6:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It depends not only on how much weight you want to drop but what your starting and ending weight are on the continuum. It will be a lot cheaper to drop 5 lbs if you are starting from a 25 lb base weight than if you are starting from 15 lbs.

Focus on pack, shelter, bag/quilt, and pad as the largest items that you probably will get the biggest weight savings bang for the buck. I shaved about 5 lbs off those 4 items alone and spent about $700, base weight now as low as 12 lbs for summer weekend trips.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 9:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since my backpacking career is rapidly coming to an end as I age and my body breaks down, I'll spend whatever it takes.  For the first time, our group discussed alternatives to bping, mostly because of me.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 9:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My base weight is around 11-12lb now and it was closer to 20lb three years ago.  Shaving the first 5lb was easy, just re-thought my gear list and took off clothes I didn't need, gizmos like the extra tent light, stripped down my first aid kit, etc.  The next 5lb did require some money, probably over $1,000 when all was said and done BUT I only purchased two major things without worrying about price/sales, my Feathered Friends sleeping bag (Christmas present) and my ULA Circuit pack.  Those two things account for $600 alone.  Everything else, I made myself (rain gear, tarps, stuff sacks), bought used, diligently waited for sales, took advantage of coupons, whatever it took.

Then, I figure I probably spent another $1,000 expanding the kit for when my son hikes with me.  I splurged this year and bought a cuben Trailstar for the two of us.

Now, if I'm honest and consider clothes and shoes (not necessarily about lightening weight) and the "mistakes" (i.e. purchases that didn't work and sold off for a loss), I'm sure there's at least another $1,000 for the last few years.  There's gotta be close $100 in pillows alone. :/

So, maybe $3K for 10lb... which comes out to $18.75 per ounce (which actually sounds better than I expected...)


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 9:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Sep. 29 2013, 7:24 am)
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... The next 5lb did require some money, probably over $1,000 when all was said and done BUT I only purchased two major things without worrying about price/sales, my Feathered Friends sleeping bag (Christmas present) and my ULA Circuit pack.  Those two things account for $600 alone.  Everything else, I made myself (rain gear, tarps, stuff sacks), bought used, diligently waited for sales, took advantage of coupons, whatever it took.

Then, I figure I probably spent another $1,000 expanding the kit for when my son hikes with me.  I splurged this year and bought a cuben Trailstar for the two of us.

Now, if I'm honest and consider clothes and shoes (not necessarily about lightening weight) and the "mistakes" (i.e. purchases that didn't work and sold off for a loss), I'm sure there's at least another $1,000 for the last few years.  There's gotta be close $100 in pillows alone. :/

So, maybe $3K for 10lb... which comes out to $18.75 per ounce (which actually sounds better than I expected...)

Due to a knee injury, I just spent $300 a couple weeks ago on a Zpacks "ArcBlast" carbon frame pack at 18 oz.  Not sure I can take on trips when the temps are below freezing for any length of time.  

Might look at another $600 for a new shelter combo to bring that to a pound; picking up Andrew Shurka's gear book, I might hold off on ultralight stuff sacks as the weight savings/$ is negligible, unless they need replacing.

Of course it is partially offset against selling trad gear on eBay, UL gear on BPL.  Figure if I'm not going to use it, someone with better knees can...


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 11:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm hearing some sad tales about knees.  That is my main problem as well, especially my right knee.  Much of the knee damage is a result of a poor choice of parents, i.e. my genes. But I helped the decline by wreckless downhill skiing, trail running, pushing big gears cycling, and general physical abuse like jumping out of trees, etc.

Yes, I am determined to stay as fit as possible so that I can continue backpacking as long as possible. Helping to lighten the load will help achieve that goal as well.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another option is to have your gear packed in and do hiking from that point.  It is a good way to get in further and stay out longer.  This can be done in a variety of ways to suit the situation and location.  Some examples of transportation include, horses, llamas, goats, airplanes, snowmobiles and boats.  Hiring someone to pack your gear seems like an excellent choice, especially for those that only do a few trips each year and want to maximize their experience.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 12:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's it exactly, Rumi.  My knees are fine, but my hips have issues (oddly enough, since it was knees my Mom had to have replaced).  My husband's knees give him trouble from time to time, and he's pushing 60.  So even while we move more weight to our boys, I toy with aspects of UL gear.  Right now, aside for contemplating a quilt (more for comfort than weight), I'm not planning any big changes.  But if I can set out for a week at under 30lbs, it makes a huge difference.

In all honesty, in the last couple of years the biggest change has been to take--and eat--less food.  If we lose a few pounds over the course of a week, just as well ;).   That won't work as well when we tackle the JMT.  I can probably do three weeks of weight loss, but frankly the DH doesn't have that kind of body fat.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 29 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well the most expensive backpacking gear isn't really an issue for this person so for the last couple decades have bought whatever.   Just a few years ago my 70+ pound pack loads were getting too unpleasant so reduced weight by maybe 10% by buying latest lightweight gear and doing a top down analysis of all my gear weights.  Carrying a 60 to 60 pound pack is considerably less painful than a 70 to 75 pound pack.

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(TigerFan @ Sep. 29 2013, 9:24 am)
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I'm sure there's at least another $1,000 for the last few years.  There's gotta be close $100 in pillows alone. :/

When possible, I stuff my jacket in a stuff sack and use that as a pillow.  Want a firm pillow?  Get a small stuff sack and jam the jacket in tight.  Soft pillow?  Same jacket, larger stuff sack.

I'm a side sleeper and find that a pillow helps me sleep better.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 12:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm an older mom with little kids.  I'm also a pretty small person, and there is a limit to what I can reasonably carry even in good shape.  My girls are 4 and 6 right now, so I'm really looking forward to real backpacking trips with them soon, maybe even next year.  They are both tiny little girls and will probably not be able to carry more than their own clothing and snacks, and perhaps sleeping bag for the older one. It's becoming clear to us that we're probably going to have to spend some money to reduce pack weight and bulk if these family trips are going to happen.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 12:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Good: Going from a pump filter to AquaMira. Saved about a pound, cost 14.99 for enough to last a few years.
The Bad: Large but heavy-six pounds-Sierra Designs Meteor to a Tarptent, about $200 and two pounds, savings of four pounds, but can't sit up properly in extended rain.
The Ugly: Synthetic summer bag, almost four pounds to a Marmot Hydrogen-the older model with the half zipper, a wraithlike 1 pound 4 oz., and toasty as all get out. But ran me $360 ten years ago. Honorable mention goes to my Western Mountaineering Antelope winter bag, most I ever spent on one piece of gear at $400 in 2002, still going strong after a decade plus, warmer than it's official 5 degree rating at 2 pounds 12 ounces. I note with satisfaction and a shiver of dread that replacing it today would run about $550.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 8:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have spent a lot, but over a long period of time.
I went through this whole process of really rethinking what I carry. I went from packing for two, and a VERY comfortable camp, back to solo hiking with only the barest necessities, finally somewhere in the middle.
I'm very happy with the load, I am well prepared, and still have a nice setup for spending the night.
I've read and tried many ultralight books & suggestions, adopted some, and couldn't tolerate others, and that is kind of what drove my decisions.
Once I decided what I needed (type of sleeping bag for instance) I just saved for it,  waited for a sale then bought it.
I spent a small fortune for my sleeping bag (A Valandre Mirage) and it was worth it, Cut my pack weight by about 3 lbs. Same with switching to a Tarptent. But I wouldn't think of paying big bucks for a titanium pot/stove setup when there's a difference of a couple of ounces from the aluminum one I've used for years.
Law of diminishing returns I guess.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 30 2013, 9:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(reubenstump @ Sep. 29 2013, 7:39 pm)
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(TigerFan @ Sep. 29 2013, 9:24 am)
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I'm sure there's at least another $1,000 for the last few years.  There's gotta be close $100 in pillows alone. :/

When possible, I stuff my jacket in a stuff sack and use that as a pillow.  Want a firm pillow?  Get a small stuff sack and jam the jacket in tight.  Soft pillow?  Same jacket, larger stuff sack.

Ironically enough, part of my UL upgrade was buying the Montbell UL down inner jacket which is great in that it only weighs 5.7oz but being a short woman means that there's not enough jacket to make a whole pillow.  I'm a side sleeper and like a med-firm pillow... my jacket in its stuff sack is about the size of a softball.  :D   I've since made a "hybrid" pillow; a couple of ounces of stuffing with a pocket to supplement it with my jacket or other clothes.  Works well.

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