|My daughter at the trailhead.|
|My Mariposa backpack from Gossamer Gear, all packed and ready to go. 28 pounds (13 kg) total. |
Perfect for a daddy-daughter backpacking trip
|A pack seen recently out on the trail. |
At 28 lbs, my pack for two people won't set any UL records, but I guarantee that it's lighter than a lot of one person packs.
The first rule of pack weight reduction is weigh everything. You'd be surprised at what some things weigh. For example, I have a series of plastic bowls, all of about the same capacity. You'd think that they'd all weigh about the same. You'd be wrong. Much to my surprise, one of the bowls was nearly double the weight of the lightest in the bunch.
I'll post the actual gear list below. I'll post my general, high level gear list first, and then break down any pouches or bags into detail thereafter. But first, some general comments about reducing pack weight: Lightening up, at least in my experience, is a progression. Here are some stages that you may go through:
1. Focus at first on the "Big Three", that is your pack, shelter, and sleep gear. These three things typically are the heaviest things you'll carry as a backpacker. Each category in the big three should be kept to less than three pounds per person for lightweight backpacking and under two pounds per person for ultralight backpacking.
Tip: Always buy your pack last. Settle on your gear first, then buy a pack appropriate for that gear. Buy the pack first, and your gear may not fit, or, even worse, it may be too heavy. Non ultralight gear in an ultralight pack = misery on the trail.
Note that "big box" outdoors stores like REI operate based on volume. In other words, the big box outdoors stores only sell things that they think that they can sell a lot of. Such stores cater to the "average" backpacker. The average backpacker doesn't take the time to research specialty lightweight gear. If you want to lighten up, you have to think outside the proverbial box. You have to realize that what the big box stores carry is only a fraction of what gear is available and is often "mass market" gear, i.e. not the best gear, just gear that the big box stores think they can sell a lot of. More often than not, the best quality gear is not found at an REI type store. Certainly ultralight gear is not. So, if you want the convenience of REI, by all means avail yourself of it, but it will be far more difficult to find high quality UL gear. If you really want to lighten up, you need to move beyond the very limited universe of REI type stores.
|My daughter in a sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering, perhaps the best brand of sleeping bag available in the US.|
You won't find Western Mountaineering products in the "big box" outdoor stores.
3. After items over a pound, look at the quarter pounds
4. After the quarter pounds, look at the ounces (I'm still very much working on this one).
5. After the ounces, look at the grams (I'm not quite here yet).
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Ounces? Grams? Really? C'mon, Jim, you're just being obsessive. I mean that's just nuts. I need to loose pounds off my pack; an ounce or a few grams just isn't going to matter."
Well, it took me a while to really "get it" about ounces, so let me illustrate with a concrete example. Note that in my main gear list below that there are over 50 individual items enumerated. In fact, when you factor in the detailed listings of the pouches and such, there are over 70 items listed. Now, shave one ounce, yes just one measly ounce, off of each item. That's 70 ounces, which is just shy of four and a half pounds (two kilograms) total. While you'll never feel the difference between a pack that is one ounce different from another pack, I guarantee that you'll feel four and a half pounds. So, do you get it? You've got to shave ounces. Why? Because they add up. And, sure, you can't shave a full ounce off a one ounce item, but half ounces add up to whole ounces, and whole ounces add up to a whole lot. Colin Fletcher, the father of modern long distance backpacking, said it well, "take care of the ounces, and the pounds will take care of themselves."
So, those are my general, high level thoughts on how to methodically approach lightening up one's gear. The list itself is below. In Appendix II, I'll put my definition of the terms "lightweight", "ultralight", etc. Keep in mind that these are just my definitions. You're sure to see other definitions elsewhere. You'll note that I've spent a considerable amount of money on this gear, but that amount has been mitigated by a) careful shopping, b) buying used gear, and c) spreading out purchases over time. Some of the really expensive items are items that will last for years and are sized such that my daughter can use them for years to come.
And the real reason to do this? For the children. Well, and so we can still keep getting out there too, but there's nothing more I'd rather share with my daughter than time with her in nature.
|My daughter and I, Memorial Day Weekend 2015|
Appendix I: Daddy - Daughter Two Person Gear List (Base Weight Only)
So, without further ado, here is my gear list:
Daddy - Daughter Two Person Gear List (Base Weight Only)
May 2015, Day time high 65F/18C, Overnight low 35F/2C
|1||Clothing||Patagonia down hoodie sweater (for temps < 40F/5C)*||473||16.7||1.0|
|2||Clothing||Child's WPB Shell Jacket1||238||8.4||0.5|
|3||Clothing||Child's Down Jacket1||230||8.1||0.5|
|4||Clothing||Child's clothing, assorted. (sweats, socks, hat, mittens)||210||7.4||0.5|
|5||Clothing||Long john top (Capilene 2)||175||6.2||0.4|
|6||Clothing||Long john bottom (Capilene 2)||170||6.0||0.4|
|7||Clothing||Flip flops (To air out feet; I struggle with athlete's foot)||134||4.7||0.3|
|8||Clothing||Golite wind pants||120||4.2||0.3|
|9||Clothing||Fleece glove/mittens (flip top, probably a weight penalty)*||100||3.5||0.2|
|10||Clothing||Montane wind shirt2||95||3.4||0.2|
|11||Clothing||Ghost Whisperer shell2||73||2.6||0.2|
|12||Clothing||socks, 1 pair, midweight||68||2.4||0.1|
|15||Clothing||Down hoodie sweater stuff sack4||20||0.7||0.0|
|16||Hydration||Steri Pen with batteries||123||4.3||0.3|
|17||Hydration||4 x Platypus bladder 1L||100||3.5||0.2|
|18||Hydration||Spare batteries (2 x CR123) for Steri Pen||34||1.2||0.1|
|19||Hydration||Plastic "basin" (for Steri Pen treatment)||18||0.6||0.0|
|20||Kitchen||Trail Designs Ti-Tri Stove set up & 1.3 L Evernew UL Ti Pot*||248||8.7||0.5|
|21||Kitchen||2 x Plastic bowl (~45g ea) & 2 x Al spoon (~10 g ea)||110||3.9||0.2|
|22||Kitchen||Titanium Sierra cup/measuring cup||43||1.5||0.1|
|23||Kitchen||4 fl oz (125 ml) alcohol bottle||23||0.8||0.1|
|24||Misc||AMK Optimist First Aid Kit (FAK) + 1 x roller gauze||244||8.6||0.5|
|25||Misc||Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)||196||6.9||0.4|
|26||Misc||Potty kit (TP + hand sanitizer)||136||4.8||0.3|
|27||Misc||Map (topographic) and Isuka roll-up map case6*||111||3.9||0.2|
|28||Misc||Glasses (distance only; used Fresnel lens for reading)||109||3.8||0.2|
|29||Misc||Misc Ziploc (chapstick, meds, matches, sewing kit, crazy glue, duct tape, tenacious tape)7||105||3.7||0.2|
|30||Misc||BP Bag (Cordage, Liquid soap, Thermarest patch kit, ear plugs)||100||3.5||0.2|
|31||Misc||Petzl Tikka headlamp5||96||3.4||0.2|
|32||Misc||Pouch (sunscreen, fire steel, tripod) Tripod weight, see below||74||2.6||0.2|
|33||Misc||Mammut S-Flex headlamp||49||1.7||0.1|
|34||Misc||2 Person Dental Hygiene Kit (brushes, paste, and floss)||45||1.6||0.1|
|35||Misc||Snow/sand stake (used as trowel and as tent stake)||35||1.2||0.1|
|36||Misc||Petzl Tikka headlamp case5||31||1.1||0.1|
|37||Misc||Mammut S-Flex headlamp case||28||1.0||0.1|
|38||Misc||Child's stuffed animal8||20||0.7||0.0|
|39||Misc||Wilderness Permit in plastic Ziploc||18||0.6||0.0|
|40||Misc||Ziploc as used diaper bag (carried inside trash bag)||9||0.3||0.0|
|42||Pack||Gossamer Gear Mariposa, Large*||884||31.2||1.9|
|43||Pack||Child carrier, front||560||19.8||1.2|
|44||Pack||Nylofume bag (as water proof liner)||30||1.1||0.1|
|45||Photo||Camera with 1 battery||250||8.8||0.6|
|48||Shelter||Stratospire I tarp tent with bug net inner (used for 2 ppl)||1000||35.3||2.2|
|49||Shelter||Tyvek ground sheet10||130||4.6||0.3|
|50||Shelter||8 x "V" Al stakes (could save 1.5 oz with Ti stakes)||100||3.5||0.2|
|51||Sleep||Western Mountaineering Summerlite 6'0" sleeping bag*||580||20.5||1.3|
|52||Sleep||Western Mountaineering Summerlite 5'6" sleeping bag||530||18.7||1.2|
|53||Sleep||NeoAir original 3/4 pad & stuff sack||300||10.6||0.7|
|54||Sleep||NeoAir X-Lite 3/4 pad & stuff sack*||240||8.5||0.5|
|55||Sleep||Dry bag, 10L (holds both sleeping bags)||77||2.7||0.2|
|56||Sleep||NeoAir Pillow & stuff sack||60||2.1||0.1|
1 Of course lighter (and more expensive) options exist
2 Do I really need a windshirt and a shell both?
3 Was not really adequate for the temperatures
4 Tried using large Ziploc, but kept popping open.
5 Second headlamp is my old one. Used by child.
6 Definitely a luxury item. Works REALLY well.
7 Maybe I could eliminate one form of tape.
8 If you're a parent, you know EXACTLY why. 20g well spent.
9 I've dropped and ruined some good cameras. Stays.
10 Could switch to Polycro. Not sure Polycro protects as well.
* A favorite piece of gear
TOTALS BY CATEGORY
|Details of Miscellaneous Pouch|
|Misc||Sunscreen (bottle 5g, sunscreen 23g)||28||1.0||0.1|
|Misc||Gossamer Gear pouch||23||0.8||0.1|
Nothing glaring here, but I could use a Ziploc instead of a pouch
|Details of Potty Kit|
|Misc||Purell Hand Sanitizer, 2 fl oz bottle2, 1/2 full||46||1.6||0.1|
|Misc||Gossamer Gear pouch||24||0.8||0.1|
1 Didn't carry enough; we ran out
2 This could be reduced in weight
|Details of Miscellaneous Ziploc|
|Details of BP Bag|
|Misc||Thermarest patch kit||50||1.8||0.1|
|Misc||Nylon Cord, 200 lbs test, ~ 25 feet||23||0.8||0.1|
|Misc||Dacron fishing line, 100 lbs test, ~25 feet||6||0.2||0.0|
|Kids in nature: A voyage of discovery.|
The following are my definition of the terms "lightweight", "ultralight", etc. Keep in mind that these are just my definitions. Other people will have definitions that vary to one degree or another. These weights are for an individual travelling solo his or her own gear. For shared gear, divide the total weight by the number of persons sharing the gear.
|Base weight less than the pounds shown|
|Moderate||Lightweight||Ultralight (UL)||SuperUltralight (SUL)||Extreme Ultra Light (XUL)|
Base weight less than the kilograms shown
Extreme Ultra Light (XUL)