Am I the Only One?

Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain, right?
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FireInMyBones
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Am I the Only One?

#1

Post by FireInMyBones » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:37 am

I started with a 60# pack, then I moved to a 25# pack, then I moved to a 3# pack. I am now up to a 7-8# pack for most of the year. Am I the only one who has followed a progression like this?


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Re: Am I the Only One?

#2

Post by sarge » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:18 pm

Kind of a loaded question to ask a 62 year old guy who has been in the woods literally since he was in diapers---

Now, I'm assume that you're talking "total load" and not the pack itself.

I started during a time when nobody really weighed their packs unless you were looking for bragging rights of the machisimo type. It was what it was. The packs and tents were canvas, the food was canned, and the sleeping bags were Army Surplus wool or down. Going lighter meant going without. Back in those days, 40 to 60 pounds for a weekend was fairly normal.

What eventually became termed "Ultra Light" was a movement started in the 1970's that was somewhat controversial at the time as it was perceived by old timers as being dangerous. But the reality was that new materials hitting the market was making it possible to make clothing and gear lighter, and new methods of food preservation was making getting rid of a bunch of metal in you pack. The movement really took off in the 80's.

The idea was---and still is, IMHO---that one lightens one's load for the express purpose of enabling you to put in as many miles in one day as is possible. That's why, if you look at the historical trends of Thru Hike Attempts and completions on the major trails, the AT and Long Trails in particular, very few were being done in the years leading up to about 1980 where you see a drastic uptick to the levels we have today. To give an illustration of this, I have somewhere an article from the Rutland, VT newspaper from 1980 announcing the arrival of a young man who had hiked from Springer on his way to Katahdin----it was rare enough even back then that it could be considered news.

I really don't worry about my pack weight these days as all I'm doing is recreational backpacking of trips of known distance to a pre-determined campsite location. I've established a personal pack weight of +/- 30 pounds whether I'm doing a day hike or a week long trek. The difference is what is in the pack.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#3

Post by Roche » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:40 pm

That sounds right Bones. We start off with everything then lighten up. Next is to lighten up to the point of failure / discomfort, then add a few more essentials.

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Re: Am I the Only One?

#4

Post by FireInMyBones » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:46 am

sarge wrote:...
Now, I'm assume that you're talking "total load" and not the pack itself...
Correct.
Roche wrote:That sounds right Bones. We start off with everything then lighten up. Next is to lighten up to the point of failure / discomfort, then add a few more essentials.
That's about right.
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"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God..." 1 Peter 4:11

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Re: Am I the Only One?

#5

Post by HammockMama » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:00 am

Part of lightening up comes from "enlightenment." My parents took their 6 kids car camping. Mom and my sisters think I'm nuts to want to backpack and Mom actually said she thought it was time for me to give it up. (I'm retired from working, not life...)

So, I learned of backpacking when my oldest son was in Scouts and learned what his Troop did. What does that mean? Army surplus, propane tanks, steel stoves, lanterns, etc. In my 40's I was carrying a stainless steel cook kit, two propane tanks, a glass-globed lantern, big Swiss Army knife AND a Leatherman, plus a steel spin-on stove in a pack that weighed 6 pounds, empty. I must have been out of my mind!

Fast forward many years. Mariposa pack that weighs around a pound on its own, a down bag, beer can or Vienna sausage can pot and ti Esbit stove for a cook kit that weighs mere ounces. Fully loaded with a week's worth of "old fart meds," food, clothes, sleeping/cooking/first aid gear, and 3 liters of water, I think I weighed the pack at 30-31 pounds. Usually, I pack for about 3 days with not quite so much water, so the pack weighs much less.

Education and experience weigh nothing but can greatly reduce weight.

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Re: Am I the Only One?

#6

Post by Foresight » Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:11 am

I need a breakdown on the 3# pack, lol. I would have to say you win with that one, wow!

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Re: Am I the Only One?

#7

Post by brianb2 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:15 am

I never made it down to 3lbs, but I did the same. Bottomed out at 7lbs just see if I could. Mostly hover between 10-15 now depending on how well I'm eating. Cooling off again, going to be fun fine tuning for the cool weather.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#8

Post by SGT Rock » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:37 pm

I often find myself bottoming out and then gaining. I think that is perfectly natural and is the right way to do it, even Andew Skurka feels the same way about sometimes finding your gear is too light: http://andrewskurka.com/2012/stupid-lig ... or-better/

I think the internet produces a ideal of the lightest list. I also think there are the competitive types that like to "win" the lightest packing list award. But what I have found is that I want gear that is efficient for how I like to setup, tear down, cook, poop, or whatever. So I may find a really light pot like a HKC but it isn't efficient for how I cook so I bounce back to what works better. I may find that a certain suspension is lighter, but the set up is complicated and I don't like going through the extra work to save 0.8 ounces so I go back heavier. You get the picture.

Now I like to consider my packing lists more of a "snapshot-in-time". I find sometimes that I look back at a list from a couple of years ago and see where I went through an evolution and ended up back where I started from. One of my favorite packing lists is a comparison list where I have a snapshot-in-time of what I was carrying on my thru-hike attempt when I walked out of Damascus, VA and it is set up to compare against what I am carrying now. It is interesting to look at to me anyway LOL.

I also have added a category to my packing list of "Stuff for this hike" which are the things I might carry on a specific hike but are not in my core gear. Stuff like a tenkara kit, some light trail maintenance tools for wilderness areas, recharging gear for multi-week trips, etc.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#9

Post by brianb2 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:18 pm

Good write up. Never thought about listing out location specific stuff. I've noticed I'm not good at making lists. I've made one or two and mostly look at them to not forget to bring something. I've got a bad habit of leaving something laying on a side table near where I was packing my bag.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#10

Post by SGT Rock » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:23 pm

brianb2 wrote:Good write up. Never thought about listing out location specific stuff. I've noticed I'm not good at making lists. I've made one or two and mostly look at them to not forget to bring something. I've got a bad habit of leaving something laying on a side table near where I was packing my bag.
It may be my Army training leaking in, but when I come home I pretty much go straight to doing laundry and dishes with my gear, then repack stuff except for quilt. When I get ready for any hike I totally unpack everything and go through it with a PCI checklist made from my packing list. I also make my sons do the same thing. I am sure they think dad is nuts, but we do end up pointing and laughing at other hikers that forget the simple stuff. Maybe someday they will realize dad isn't as stupid as he seems.

I'll also say my packing list is probably one of the most complicated Excel spreadsheet packing lists you will ever see. It went from a simple list in 1997 to what it is today with multiple tables, equations, if-then statements, and sheets feeding data to other sheets. I can usually predict to 0.02 pounds what my pack will weigh at the start.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#11

Post by brianb2 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:39 pm

SGT Rock wrote: I am sure they think dad is nuts, but we do end up pointing and laughing at other hikers that forget the simple stuff.
Good Points. I leave my stuff in storage bins and hang my down stuff. I may need to adopt your discipline and approach. It's a rainy weekend here, maybe I'll carve out some time to pre-load my pack to see how I like it.

Leaving random stuff at home has been kind of comical. Last time I left my alchy stove at home, so I made small fires the whole weekend. Another time no headlamp, so I had to use my backup which actually worked well enough to warrant being considered a backup. So while I don't intentionally leave stuff at home, it hasn't caused me much of an issue yet and has taught me a thing or two.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#12

Post by SGT Rock » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:44 pm

I know what you mean about raining. I had a good hike and fishing trip planned that was supposed to start today. But there is 7" of rain forecasted for where we were going, and on Slickrock Creek that can be deadly. So now I sit here posting instead of hiking. I hope to salvage some of the trip if the weather pulls out early on Sunday.

Until then maybe I'll sleep in the back yard to test the things I planned to work on this trip.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#13

Post by brianb2 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:25 pm

Funny, I thought about sleeping out this weekend as well. We're expecting wind and rain.. always a good time to test gear.
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Re: Am I the Only One?

#14

Post by Foresight » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:29 pm

14" was the latest forecast for here. I think I'll hibernate and watch football.


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Re: Am I the Only One?

#15

Post by SGT Rock » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:47 pm

I like that idea. I'll probably do the same.
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