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A confession: I'm clueless about pack weight!

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    • A confession: I'm clueless about pack weight!

      ?( I've a confession to make. gif.010.gif

      I've never weighed my pack. I have no idea what my base weight is, either pack-only or From Skin Out.

      I do have a couple of spreadsheets listing gear, but I don't even have weights on them. They're packing lists, more than anything else, just to make sure I've not forgotten anything. They have headings like "overnight in deep winter," "day trip in shoulder season," and "multi-night trip in high summer."

      I do look at gear weight when I'm replacing an item. I usually need to go back and look up the specs of whatever I'm replacing to rediscover what it weighs, so that I can ask myself, "is the replacement lighter?" But that's about it.

      If I need something for safety, or really want something for comfort, or something is needed for my purpose on a trip, I bring it. There's a certain amount of equipment needed for map-making or photography, but sometimes that's why I'm going! Adjust to conditions. I wouldn't bring my saw unless I'm out to clear blowdown, because that'd be stupid. I wouldn't leave my microspikes at home at this time of year, because that'd be suicidal.

      I'm kind of slow, and don't like doing big miles, but that more relates to being just about sixty years old and to not being able to get in more than a couple hundred miles on trail a year, than it does to being overburdened. At least I think so. I'm usually pretty comfortable carrying my pack to the places that I want to go, as long as it's at my own pace.

      But then again, I'm not what you'd call a long-distance hiker. The longest trail I've thru-hiked is the 138-mile Northville-Placid Trail. I very seldom have a trip that's longer than 3-4 nights. But I've done a lot of those.

      All the time, I hear people on the hiking forums (particularly That Other Site) comparing the numbers, and saying things like, "if your base weight is over ## lbs, you're never going to make it," and asking for (or giving, sometimes entirely uninvited) gear shakedowns. But as far as I can tell, the long hikes that people are talking about are really chains of sections that are about the length of ones I already do routinely. I guess if you string a few such sections together, the decimal point of a 15.6-pound (or whatever) base weight must start shaking loose and eventually fall out. Or something.

      For what it's worth, I carry a Granite Gear Crown VC60, which seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of what I see out there. I find it embarrassingly roomy in high summer, and really rather too small for deep winter. And I don't think my gear is particularly denser than anyone else's. I, on the other hand, appear to be denser than they are, or I'd immediately grasp what this fascination with the weight number is all about!

      I must be missing something obvious. To be expected from a clueless weekender. Anyway, when someday I die out there, as some of the hiking pundits predict, you'll know what I failed to understand!
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      ?( I've a confession to make. gif.010.gif

      I've never weighed my pack. I have no idea what my base weight is, either pack-only or From Skin Out.

      I do have a couple of spreadsheets listing gear, but I don't even have weights on them. They're packing lists, more than anything else, just to make sure I've not forgotten anything. They have headings like "overnight in deep winter," "day trip in shoulder season," and "multi-night trip in high summer."

      I do look at gear weight when I'm replacing an item. I usually need to go back and look up the specs of whatever I'm replacing to rediscover what it weighs, so that I can ask myself, "is the replacement lighter?" But that's about it.

      If I need something for safety, or really want something for comfort, or something is needed for my purpose on a trip, I bring it. There's a certain amount of equipment needed for map-making or photography, but sometimes that's why I'm going! Adjust to conditions. I wouldn't bring my saw unless I'm out to clear blowdown, because that'd be stupid. I wouldn't leave my microspikes at home at this time of year, because that'd be suicidal.

      I'm kind of slow, and don't like doing big miles, but that more relates to being just about sixty years old and to not being able to get in more than a couple hundred miles on trail a year, than it does to being overburdened. At least I think so. I'm usually pretty comfortable carrying my pack to the places that I want to go, as long as it's at my own pace.

      But then again, I'm not what you'd call a long-distance hiker. The longest trail I've thru-hiked is the 138-mile Northville-Placid Trail. I very seldom have a trip that's longer than 3-4 nights. But I've done a lot of those.

      All the time, I hear people on the hiking forums (particularly That Other Site) comparing the numbers, and saying things like, "if your base weight is over ## lbs, you're never going to make it," and asking for (or giving, sometimes entirely uninvited) gear shakedowns. But as far as I can tell, the long hikes that people are talking about are really chains of sections that are about the length of ones I already do routinely. I guess if you string a few such sections together, the decimal point of a 15.6-pound (or whatever) base weight must start shaking loose and eventually fall out. Or something.

      For what it's worth, I carry a Granite Gear Crown VC60, which seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of what I see out there. I find it embarrassingly roomy in high summer, and really rather too small for deep winter. And I don't think my gear is particularly denser than anyone else's. I, on the other hand, appear to be denser than they are, or I'd immediately grasp what this fascination with the weight number is all about!

      I must be missing something obvious. To be expected from a clueless weekender. Anyway, when someday I die out there, as some of the hiking pundits predict, you'll know what I failed to understand!
      I've never weighed my gear either. I take what my experience and predicted weather conditions tells me is necessary to stay safe and reasonably comfortable.

      Lest we forget.....



      SSgt Ray Rangel - USAF
      SrA Elizabeth Loncki - USAF
      PFC Adam Harris - USA
      MSgt Eden Pearl - USMC
    • OzJacko wrote:

      I weighed my pack about 5 times on the AT.
      About the same the rest of the time. But it's enough to know what figure I am happy with.
      It's anything below 15kg.
      I know what weight I'm happy with as soon as I lift it. In winter, I'm always unhappy with the weight. Then again, I think that my traction gear might just outweigh my summer base weight. That stuff is heavy.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • I purposely bought a 75 liter pack, and knew it would be heavy, so that I have room to carry some of our dog's stuff in winter. In the past I've actually carried 3 sleeping bags, 1 for the dog and 2 for me. Now that I have a real winter sleeping bag we'll have to see how things work out.
    • max.patch wrote:

      SarcasmTheElf wrote:

      Drybones wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I with my pack on the bathroom scale. I feel.....
      Sit down and do some reading and drop a quick pound.
      I've weighed myself before and after. It's never a full pound. :S
      try again after colonoscopy prep. :)
      Some of the dumber Kids these days try to use the word "fleet" to mean cool. I tell them to it is already a slang term for something else :cursing:
      >>>Advertise here! Affordable rates and no long term contracts. Send a PM for more details!<<<
    • I've never have been a gram weenie. I have weighed my pack a few times. When purchasing new gear I do look at weight. I am willing to spend some extra money to reduce weight, like down bag vs a synthetic one. Yet I have a hard time spending really big money to knock a few more ounces off it.

      I also don't fit in lightweight category since I will cook some. On a long distance hike I see food as one of my rewards. With cowboy Coffee & normally oatmeal for breakfast & a hot dinner, not FB cooking I still prefer liquid fuel stove. With a personal preference of 5-7 days between resupply I found it works best for me.

      For me I want to be out in the woods, not stopping in every town. If hiking with a partner & sharing gear, food will become more gourmet. Alone it is a bit more mundane but still substantial. I learned on my thru of the AT how important it is.

      Something I find interesting. With the net & more info & video redily available. Gear in general has become lighter. Baseweight of hikers is lighter than 30 yers ago. COMPLETION PERCENTAGE & TIME IT TAKES TO HIKE THE AT IS STILL PRETTY MUCH THE SAME.
    • i never really cared as long as my full weight with food and water was less than 35 pounds. however, as a person stationed at the start whose main duty is to make sure LNT principle #1, Plan and Prepare, has been adhered to. If someone weighs their pack and it's over 40 pounds, I ask them how they feel about their weight. If they say anything about it being heavy or bothersome, I offer to do a shakedown with them. Actually there's a video of one of them I did here...all 15 mins of it. :)
      Luxury items equal comfort and enjoyment. I wouldn't have enjoyed the journey as an ultralighter nor would my body have appreciated a helluva lot more weight. Gotta find your own line of comfort.



      Video

      youtube.com/watch?v=uoru-f4EJ9s
      www.appalachiantrailclarity.com - Life on the A.T.

      Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
    • Oh, yeah. I'd say that between about 2008 and 2013 I lost about 10 lb of pack weight and 40 lb of Kevin, and the combination made hiking a lot more pleasant. It's hard to say what made the bigger difference. But there's a big 'about' in there since neither pack nor Kevin is often on a scale.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • twistwrist wrote:

      i never really cared as long as my full weight with food and water was less than 35 pounds. however, as a person stationed at the start whose main duty is to make sure LNT principle #1, Plan and Prepare, has been adhered to. If someone weighs their pack and it's over 40 pounds, I ask them how they feel about their weight. If they say anything about it being heavy or bothersome, I offer to do a shakedown with them. Actually there's a video of one of them I did here...all 15 mins of it. :)
      Luxury items equal comfort and enjoyment. I wouldn't have enjoyed the journey as an ultralighter nor would my body have appreciated a helluva lot more weight. Gotta find your own line of comfort.



      Video

      youtube.com/watch?v=uoru-f4EJ9s
      I'm compfy with 35lbs. Don't mind more if it's food weight. To me HYOH is finding what works for yourself. Social media is both blessing & a curse. Lots of good info out there, once you sort through all the blogs of those that never finish. I remember on couple a few yeaars ago; Facebook page nine months in advance with constant gear updates. trail journal account with planning...quit trail at Suches...not what they thought the trail would be. I guess their research never reached the point of trying it for a weekend or two.

      Pack weight has little to do with sucess, Gear matched to your abilities & comfort levels will. I do it all wrong & it works for me.
    • Da Wolf wrote:

      i pack my pack with what i want and haul it. no weighing necessary. gotta be an idiot to buy a postal scale
      When I first made the transition from day hiking to backpacking I bought 2 "fish" scales. One is 0-5 pounds to weigh individual items and the other 0-50 pounds to weigh the fully loaded pack. I haven't used either in years. When buying new gear I consider the weight but besides that, not too much. Without even thinking I know we always carry too much food, I could drop a good amount of weight there. We always finish with plenty of food in our bag.
    • escapee wrote:

      rafe wrote:

      I'm down to about 25 lbs. total pack weight including 3-4 days of food and a liter or two of water. Wish I knew how to do that 25 years ago. It makes a difference.
      rafe, can you send me your gear list? (or anyone with pack weight of 20-25 lbs for 3-4 days) ?
      Here is a good lighter weight but reasonable packing list that should average to a little under 25lbs. This was put together by the former of Mountain Crossings outfitters.
      >>>Advertise here! Affordable rates and no long term contracts. Send a PM for more details!<<<
    • escapee wrote:

      rafe wrote:

      I'm down to about 25 lbs. total pack weight including 3-4 days of food and a liter or two of water. Wish I knew how to do that 25 years ago. It makes a difference.
      rafe, can you send me your gear list? (or anyone with pack weight of 20-25 lbs for 3-4 days) ?
      escapee, here's my list:

      GearList.pdf
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • I believe it's very important for a beginning hiker to know what each piece weighs and how it affects the total...too many folks give up hiking because of the weight, once you've been around for a while it doesn't matter, you get used to carrying a load and just take what you need...once a hiker is seasoned that 1/5 of whiskey doesn't seem that heavy any longer.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • Drybones wrote:

      I believe it's very important for a beginning hiker to know what each piece weighs and how it affects the total...too many folks give up hiking because of the weight, once you've been around for a while it doesn't matter, you get used to carrying a load and just take what you need...once a hiker is seasoned that 1/5 of whiskey doesn't seem that heavy any longer.
      I did leave the bourbon off my list- but that's a consumable. :D
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • Anything over 40 pounds gets uncomfortable, but I may go over 40 pounds to go a week without resupply. I will walk slower with the extra weight. If I had only 1 meal left, I would eat it and walk a marathon if needed to resupply, but I always seem to wind up with an extra day of food.

      At 5'11", 40 pounds is more than 25% of my ideal body weight, but I have the legs for it. Adding in excess body weight probably puts the total above 1/3 of my ideal weight.

      I think I could get my pack weight down by substituting a warmer sleeping bag for clothing I only wear at night.
      I am human and I need to be loved - just like everybody else does
    • escapee wrote:

      rafe wrote:

      I'm down to about 25 lbs. total pack weight including 3-4 days of food and a liter or two of water. Wish I knew how to do that 25 years ago. It makes a difference.
      rafe, can you send me your gear list? (or anyone with pack weight of 20-25 lbs for 3-4 days) ?
      Comfortably Light
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Da Wolf wrote:

      nobody should "shakedown" anybody. just because one hiked the trail does not mean they're an expert
      I don't know, I was thrilled to receive a shakedown before I started. It didn't mean I had to heed their advice, but it was good to hear it from someone with more experience than I had at the time.
      It's not something I push, but it is something I offer. Up front I let folks know that this is one person's perspective, they need to take or leave my advice as they will figure it out for themselves along the way. However, being one who sees the gear people throw around on the approach trail, I do think shakedowns done correctly to those who want to learn (like I did) have value if done correctly. And one word I would never use to describe myself in anything is "expert". I prefer the term, "permanoob" with ideas to share and so much to learn!
      www.appalachiantrailclarity.com - Life on the A.T.

      Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
    • Watch at least the first minute and 6 seconds to hear my disclaimer I tell everyone who is interested in one of my backpack shakedowns. ;) I didn't even realize this kid's dad was videoing until about halfway through. lol!

      Video

      youtube.com/watch?v=uoru-f4EJ9s
      www.appalachiantrailclarity.com - Life on the A.T.

      Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
    • jimmyjam wrote:

      Drybones wrote:

      I believe it's very important for a beginning hiker to know what each piece weighs and how it affects the total...too many folks give up hiking because of the weight, once you've been around for a while it doesn't matter, you get used to carrying a load and just take what you need...once a hiker is seasoned that 1/5 of whiskey doesn't seem that heavy any longer.
      I did leave the bourbon off my list- but that's a consumable. :D
      It certainly is.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • twistwrist wrote:

      Da Wolf wrote:

      nobody should "shakedown" anybody. just because one hiked the trail does not mean they're an expert
      I don't know, I was thrilled to receive a shakedown before I started. It didn't mean I had to heed their advice, but it was good to hear it from someone with more experience than I had at the time.It's not something I push, but it is something I offer. Up front I let folks know that this is one person's perspective, they need to take or leave my advice as they will figure it out for themselves along the way. However, being one who sees the gear people throw around on the approach trail, I do think shakedowns done correctly to those who want to learn (like I did) have value if done correctly. And one word I would never use to describe myself in anything is "expert". I prefer the term, "permanoob" with ideas to share and so much to learn!
      i watched the video and there is absolutely nothing there to complain about. i thot you did a good job. and i guarantee the hiker is in 7th heaven having dropped 11 pounds! wolf's schtict is to drop a turd and move on. don't pay him any attention.

      question - the hiker was fortunate that his parents were there to take the stuff he decided to leave behind. how about the hiker who gets there via a shuttler? are you set up to return gear via ups like mountain crossings or does the hiker have to wait til they hit suches (first p.o.) or mountain crossings to take advantage of your suggestions?

      btw, the first things i got rid of was my water carrier and a candle lantern. i don't know if they even make candle lanterns anymore. i haven't seen one in years.
      2,000 miler