[pct-l] Weight

Eric Lee saintgimp at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 20 16:25:38 CDT 2009

Andrew wrote:
I'm curious to how much your packs weigh with everything in it minus food
and water. I have taken a few things out to get the weight down. A few
things I have weigh more than I would like them but its about comfort. Like
my sleeping bag - Its good to -20C but weighs a bit more. I might get rid of
some of my luxuries ... but that includes my camera and such small
electronic things. I don't really wanna give those up.

Here are my rules of backpacking gear (worth exactly what you paid for

*First* rule of choosing gear: pack what works for you and/or what you can
afford.  Lots of people have thru-hiked with 35-pound packs before.  It's
just heavy, that's all.  You can do it if you want to and if your body can
stand it.

*Second* rule of choosing gear: for every person, there exists a sweet spot
where the combination of gear you have is the best combination to get you to
your destination; where either adding or removing gear would reduce the odds
of you getting to your goal.  However, that sweet spot is different for
every person.

*Third* rule of choosing gear: the sweet spot for most people is usually in
the 10-20 pound range.  Exceptions abound on either side, of course, but if
you're wondering if you're already close to your optimum point with 35
pounds . . . you're probably not.

*Fourth* rule of choosing gear: costs to obtain gear usually go up rapidly
as you get close to your sweet spot, either in terms of money or time or
both.  If you can't afford to absolutely nail your sweet spot, don't stress
over it.  Just do the best you can then get out there and hike.

Specific comments:

You could cut your tent weight by more than half by choosing a single-wall
tent designed for long-distance hiking.  You don't have to give up
bug-proofness or weather-proofness.  Look at the Tarptent Rainbow, among

You could cut your pack weight by more than half by choosing a smaller,
lighter pack.  You don't have to give up a proper suspension system if you
don't want to.  Of course, that assumes that you are first able to tame your
other gear so you don't need such a big, heavy pack.  Look at the Granite
Gear Vapor Trail, among others.

You could cut your sleeping bag weight by more than half by choosing a
high-quality down bag.  Unfortunately, they tend to be very expensive.  Look
at the Marmot Hydrogen or Helium, among others.

You could cut your cooking kit weight by more than half by using a single
pot and a homemade alcohol stove or a small cannister stove such as the Snow
Peak Gigapower stove, among others.

You could probably cut your clothing weight significantly if you carefully
consider ways to mix and match items to cover a wide range of conditions
rather than having a purpose-built item for every single condition.  I
notice you referred to Goretex "shells" (plural).  Do you really need more
than one?  There are likely lighter weight (but more expensive) versions of
whatever you have, as well, but you didn't go into detail.

Do you really need sandals?  You might be better served to find footwear
that doesn't make you want to rip them off your feet as soon as you stop.
If you have comfortable footwear in the first place, sandals are probably


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