Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

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Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#1

Post by GregD » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:31 pm

What is a good weight for a light to ultralight pack?

My base load (less pack, trekking poles, and gps; and of course food and water) is currently about 11.5 lbs. Replacing my 2lb hammock with a ROBIC nylon one would reduce this to 10.5 lbs. or so. Except for the items listed, that includes everything I expect to use on the trips I expect to take (1 to 3 nights, 3 seasons, in Texas).

The big weight uncertainty for me is water. The base load includes a filter, but I'm expecting to frequently encounter warm temperatures and sometimes low availability of filterable water sources. While I am still working out my water strategies, I'm thinking I should typically plan for carrying 1 gallon of water when I'm topped off.

Considering all of that I'm guessing my typical load will range from maybe 19 to 24 lbs., plus pack.

My current pack is an Osprey Atmos 65, 4.4 lbs or so, very comfortable with 30 lbs. Far more space and weight capacity than I typically need.

I have seen UL rucksack style packs as light at 12 oz, but typically about 16 oz. My understanding is that they get uncomfortable for loads greater than 18 lbs or so. I'm thinking that I'll be pushing that limit frequently.

I see a lot of packs in the 32 to 42 oz. range. The packs I have seen on the lower end of this range often seem not much of a step up from a rucksack. On the other hand, the Osprey Exos is near the top of this weight range, but has a suspension every bit as sophisticated as my Atmos 65. It seems that there is an opportunity to drop 2 lbs - more or less - from my total load without loosing any comfort by going with a lighter pack in this weight range. It only costs money, right?

I'm not sure how much difference I will notice shaving off 2 lbs my total load by going with a different pack (3 lbs. if I also upgrade my hammock). My last trip was 16.6 miles in / 13.6 miles out on level ground. After about 10 miles my legs were pretty sore, and before I was done each day I was getting pretty grumpy. Next time I'm going to try a one or two hour break mid-day. I'd probably be much farther ahead dropping 10 lbs of body fat and exercising more between trips, but that isn't nearly as much fun as fussing over equipment.



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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#2

Post by Scuba » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:13 pm

Ok, first base weight is pack plus gear minus consumables (water and food). Defining LW vs ULW is difficult because everyone has a different view. MOST people will define ULW as anything below 10lbs and LW as below 20lbs. I personally try to shoot for around 15 because with food and water I will hit 20 or so, which to me is a real comfortable weight/gear ratio.

You can get a Zimmerbuilt pack weight around 32oz for $300 or so. The Hammock model a few of us have is very comfortable, has dedicated and separate spaces for your hammock, tarp and insulation, THEN a main compartment roomy enough to carry a ton of gear (about 35 or so liters).

I have been considering ways to cut my weight also and I am thinking of making the Cuben fiber tarp plunge (a 7 oz tarp is insane). With my new hammock that should be here next week, I cut my hammock weight in half.

Here are a few other places to cut weight:
- ditch the filter and switch to AquaMira 2 part system.
- alcohol stove instead of a canister type
- UL woodburner stove ( i love my emberlit ti Fireant)
- for water, I carry 2 20 oz bottles. Whenever i come to a water source, I suck down what I haven't already drank and replenish. a note here, I use my MSR Guardian filter so there isn't much out there I wont drink from, YMMV.
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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#3

Post by GregD » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:21 pm

I have already taken the Cuben fiber tarp plunge. Your new hammock clued me into the possibility of also cutting my hammock weight in half. Maybe I should just go for a Cuben fiber hammock. My cook kit is a 600ml Ti mug and Caldera cone w/alcohol stove.

I need to start actively managing my water; that will help me drop a bunch of weight, at least along most of the LSHT. My filter is an MSR AutoFlow gravity. At 10 oz, it is not the lightest, but not so heavy either. I haven't actually used it yet; I cached water near my destination and then packed in a lot of water. Last trip I had more than a gallon of water that made the round trip.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#4

Post by sarge » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:22 pm

The Zimmerbuilt Quick Step I just got weighs 11.5 ounces and, yah, its an open top ruck, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that (YMMV). If I combine it with my Ribz pack, I'll have everything I need for a three day trip and will still be around 20 pounds, skin out, less water and food---especially if night time temps stay above 75 or so. If they go below that, I'll need to bring some kind of UQ, but that's one reason I came up with that light "windbreaker" summer quilt.

Water's the problem in this part of TX. Sources that looked good in April are dry as a bone in June. Filter or treat as often as possible, and carry as much as your paranoia might deem. I learned a lesson about that about a year ago-----

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#5

Post by Idaho Hanger » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:56 am

I for one have been happy with my new Exos. No trips yet, but about 20 miles now walking the dogs with base pack plus water, about 17 pounds. I did notice a difference going from an osprey Volt (3lbs,13oz) to the Exos. It's very comfortable and the mesh back panel is priceless. It's one of the reasons I went with that bag, passed on the atmos due to weight. My base gear (as is yours) is plenty light enough to meet the 20-40lb rating given by osprey. I put 25lbs of sandbags in it at rei and walked around for about 20 minutes and it felt good. Also did a couple miles around the house with my winter gear and 3L of water (23lbs or so) and it feels good. I think it's the only pack in its weight class that has that robust of a suspension. With Rei's return policy and Osprey's warranty I figured it was a pretty safe gamble. Removeable lid is nice to shave another 4oz. It's just not a good option if you like lots of pockets and compartments.

Just my 2 cents. The Zimmerbuilt hammock packs look amazing too. That was on my list but I hate getting a sweaty back and Zimmerbuilt didn't have a 20% off coupon with a $70 dividend... Maybe next year.
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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#6

Post by GregD » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:46 am

I looked at the Exos last night at REI and compared it to the Atmos. The packs are very similar except the Exos is noticeably lighter with lighter-weight fabric, and no zipper opening at the bottom of the bag. I may get one the next time I have a 20% off coupon.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#7

Post by GoatHanger » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:07 pm

I would have rather gotten an Exos, but I simply didn't research enough before getting my Atmos 50. A friend let me try his on, and I immediately ordered one online from REI. Also used a dividend, 20% off coupon, and money from the sale of my ULA Catalyst last year. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the Atmos. I just would have gone lighter if I knew I had that option with the same suspension. That mesh back panel is a most wonderful thing! The way it blends into the hips in one piece... oh man. It's like it's hugging me every time I put it on. My other big pack is a Gregory Baltoro 75, so overall, I'm used to a heavy (yet VERY comfortable) pack.

I also have an REI Traverse 30. Talk about a sweaty back. Or don't. Best thing about a pack that gives you a really sweaty back though, is that instant rush of coolness you feel when you take it off and expose your back to the open air in your soaked shirt. Oh yeah!

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#8

Post by Mophead » Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:30 pm

I have the exos (the older version at least) and it is a very nice light pack with very sturdy frame support.

One thing, though , is the atmos will adjust to fit larger torso sizes. At 6'4" I feel like I'm right on the verge of not fitting the exos and not having it transfer the weight properly. Sounds like it worked for you though if you tried it on with weight in it.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#9

Post by GregD » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:28 am

GoatHanger wrote:I would have rather gotten an Exos, but I simply didn't research enough before getting my Atmos 50.
Me too. The lid and sleeping pad straps can be removed to save about 6 or 7 ounces off the Atmos; every little bit helps I guess.

The big weight on my back is water because I've been carrying all the water for my trip from the start. I got a 3L Platypus hydration reservoir and added a Sawyer quick-connect kit so I can plug into my reservoir tube with either the bite valve assembly or my gravity filter. I added a bite valve cover over the filter's adapter to avoid - or at least reduce - contamination when that gets stuffed back in my pack. With this setup I think I can quickly refill while on the trail, so I'll only be carrying at most 3L. Chemical treatment is even lighter and probably easier but the idea of filtering out the bad stuff makes me feel better.

I stopped using a hydration reservoir because refilling was a hassle and because the bite valve can leak. Then I realized my Camelback bite valve assembly has a built-in shutoff valve, so with that and the quick-connect kit I'm hoping to like the new arrangement much better.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#10

Post by GoatHanger » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:17 am

Yeah, I'll probably take the lid off for my next trip. So far though, I've only used that pack in winter, so it's been stuffed full every time. Won't need as much with warmer weather, so I'll have the chance to remove it.

On bladders... I have a Platypus 3L, but haven't used it in the Atmos yet. In both the Gregory and REI packs, I was discouraged from using it because it made the water warm because it was against my back inside the pack. I'd be taking a drink and it would be nice and cool, until I had drank what was in the tube, then suck in warm water as it made its way from the warm bladder. Blech. Hopefully the AG suspension will prevent that. I'll give it a shot.

Overall though, I generally don't do more than 10 miles a day anyway, so I'm not very pack weight conscious. I mostly day hike, and do about 20-30 miles a week. I carry between 10-30lbs... I'm the pack mule when family comes along. When backpacking, about 6-12 miles or so, and pack weight is determined by temperature, and length of trip. I try to only carry enough water for distance between sources. The springs through the MD sections of the AT usually flow pretty good, so I don't carry much.

That will all change if I ever get the chance to thru the AT though. Weight will be one of my top concerns.

I do try to make an effort toward a lighter base weight, but I've never actually weighed my pack. That's probably sacrilege to some.
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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#11

Post by Scuba » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:54 am

Having reliable water sources does make it a lot easier. The MD and top half of the VA AT sections have tons of reliable water sources, or did back in the 80s when I was tramping around that area. What part of MD are you in?
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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#12

Post by GoatHanger » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:15 pm

I'm in Harford County, Aberdeen specifically. My day hiking is done at Susquehanna State Park, and most backpacking trips are VA, MD, and PA.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#13

Post by Scuba » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:21 pm

AHHH. I used to live in Emmitsburg, in Frederick County. 10 minute drive to Pen Mar and the AT.
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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#14

Post by GoatHanger » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:46 am

Wow, that would be really convenient to live that close. I wouldn't need shuttles anymore. The logistics would be so much simpler.

I'm doing a quick out and back from Gathland to Weverton Cliffs in a couple weeks. Staying near the Ed Garvey shelter. I would like to try and reduce my pack weight then, just to start to make a regular practice of it... but, my mom is coming along on her first backpacking trip, so I'll be part pack mule again.

Next solo trip though, I'll make more of an effort.

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Re: Weight budget for a light-to-ultralight pack

#15

Post by Polkster13 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:16 pm

I have the Osprey Exos 48 Large (old style). I moved from an Exos 58 Medium as the medium didn't fit me well. The shoulder straps were too short as I have a long torso, 19.5". Now the 48 Large pack's shoulder straps are fine but the waist belt is a little too big as I have a 32" waist. I wish I could change the hip belt out, but it is built into this pack. I have been using a 3L CamelBak hydration sleeve in my pack with aa added quick-connect close to the bite valve. I have a Katadyn pump-water filter with a quick connect on it that I use to fill the bag so I don't have to remove it from my pack.

The issues I found using this setup on the LSHT this past Spring Break week were two-fold.

First, with everything in the pack it put pressure on the water sleeve and it is very hard to tell if the sleeve was actually full without pulling it out (one time I thought I had a lot more water than I actually did). Second, again the pressure on the sleeve caused the water to leak out of the bite valve when not in use and caused me to loose a lot of water. I have since learned to turn the bite valve off when not in use (which is then a pain to have to turn on and off each time I get a drink).

I could put the sleeve between the back of the backpack and the mesh and this should alleviate these issues. However, during really warm weather, my body heat is going to heat up the water which will not be very pleasant to drink.

I am seriously considering dumping the hydration sleeve and go to just thin plastic water bottles attached to the outside of my pack's mesh pockets. I will be able to see exactly how much water I have, I will be less likely to loose water and it will free up space inside my pack for other things (which may or may not be a good thing).

I am also seriously considering a new pack because of the waist belt issue. I am looking into the ULA OHM 2.0 backpack as a replacement. I am going backpacking again this weekend on the LSHT and I am going to try some other things out with my current pack to see if I can get it dialed in. If not, then I will be selling my Osprey pack and a new pack will be my next purchase.

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