Attempting to go ultralight.

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Birdman, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Okay, maybe not ultra light, but considerably lighter.

    I typically carry a lot of heavy, and bulky gear. When heading out for 3 days, I'm packed to about 45lbs in a Kelty Tioga 5500(90L). On the other hand my day kits are bare bones. I need to hit middle ground.
    So now I want to put together a kit based off of my Watershed Animas pack.
    https://www.drybags.com/product/animas/
    I've had this pack for about a year and have never used it. I packed it full of towels and other junk the other day and it's quite comfortable for a frameless pack. I'm thinking if i can keep my weight around 15-20lbs before water it'll work out fine. It's a 40L pack, so can hold a decent amount of gear.
    I'm also trying to only use gear that's fairly quick into use as well. No wood stoves and such.
    Gear list so far:
    Animas pack (37.6oz)
    6x10 Etowah tarp (18oz)
    Thermarest Ridgerest pad (14oz)
    Jungle blanket (25oz)
    Sea to Summit pillow (2.8oz)
    MSR Pocket Rocket 2 (2.6oz)
    Toaks 550 pot (3.5oz)
    Titanium chop sticks (0.4oz)
    So as of right now, I'm at 6.5lbs.
    I'll update this as I go. I might actually like lightweight business :p

    ETA: This is a 3 season kit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  2. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    IDK how old you are, but everyone will eventually go down this path as you age... up into my early 40s, i could still hump 40-45 lbs all day up and down hills for 15 miles or so... at some point in my mid 40s, i started looking at lightening things up because things started to hurt and didn't unhurt overnight like they used to.

    I went full blown ultralight, realized i'd hit what might be called "stupid-light", and then slowly returned to what i am happy with. I drew the line at cold meals, not packing raingear or puffy layers because of a good weather forecast, an aluminum foil pot lid, dehydrated toothpaste, no tools, and cuban fiber. That to me was 'too light'.

    You're on the right track. Throw in some extra socks, a hat, a puffy layer, poncho, and a small pouch full of possibles (fire, navigation, First Aid, hygiene, water treatment) and a good knife and you're still going to be in the 10lb range... add food and water and it's still going to be under 20lbs for a weekend... WAY easier to schlep than 40lbs. I seem to run about 25lbs, all told, but my sleeping bag and tarp are a bit heavier than your jungle blanket, and i really like my norlund hatchet.

    "light but right" was the old buzzword.
     
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  3. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    I'm 35, but have had 2 knee surgeries on my right knee. I favor that leg so in turn, its slowly making my hip wonky.
    The heavy pack is starting to get old!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  4. Gruntinhusaybah

    Gruntinhusaybah Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    @Birdman its been my experience that frameless packs are at the upper limit of their comfort at about 15/20lbs

    Also, the jungle blanket is cold for its weight and bulk. The jungle blanket was only good to me at 45 and above at BEST. Whereas my woobies have been down into the 30s

    If you have some spare cash layin around check our enlightened equipment for a tarp.

    I also prefer an alcohol stoves for my use, high elevation messes with the pocket rocket type stoves, but if you’re under 10k they’re great!

    Smartwater or Gatorade bottles make great backpacking canteens. They’re light, cheap and durable.

    Keep us posted! Lighter is better if you’re puttin miles in!
     
  5. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    A sheet of the plastic window film (largest size) is 1-oz and is quite strong. It is a great ground cloth for under your tarp. I also add a contractor bag in my pack as a liner to keep everything dry in storms. This bag can serve in a lot of emergency situations. I would also add rain gear, and an insulation layer. Hygiene kit and first aid kit can be minimal. Should be able to stay well below 20# all said and done.
     
  6. martin9700

    martin9700 Tracker

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    Consider a quilt too, lightweight, down so very packable. Enlightened equipment, UGC Outdoor, Katabatic, etc. They can be pricey but nice.
     
  7. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    Went down the ultra light rabbit hole in my mid 40’s, some trips were not enjoyable due to my gear choices. In my late 50’s now and have come to a point that weight / comfort has to balance out to make a trip enjoyable. I use ultra light stuff now to allow me to carry other comfort items.

    As stated above the addition of a good goose down quilt ( I have 40 degree and zero degree ) adds to my comfort with no weight disadvantage compared to a much heaver sleeping bag system or trying to get comfortable under a woobie. Although I do like my HPG Mountain Serape as an additional insulation layer / great coat.

    I went down the ultra light pack route as well, still use the ULA circuit for long distance trips where weight is somewhat important and I have a resupply every couple of days but for most trips these days I use a HPG pack like the Lindy or UTE. Both are heavy compared to the ULA but the additional weight is offset by some other gear in the ultra light category. The HPG packs seem to provide much more comfort for me and are more stable with a slightly heaver load out.

    I dumped the tarp as a primary shelter option this year, went with a light weight Hammock set up or a light weight tent like the Tarptent or MSR Hubba single person. These days I like the no bug / semi dry sleeping concept vs the more manly tarp set up that I suffered through in my younger years.

    As for cook kits, sometimes down and dirty works fine ( I am really liking the MSR wind burner set up ) others I want to actually cook and will make adjustments to allow for a stove with more capability. One of my most used cook set ups is the Trangia 27, light weight with full cooking capability, down side is it is bulky but it fits into the HPG pack just fine.

    Bottom line just find you balance of weight and comfort and just roll with it... Hike your own Hike.
     
  8. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Looking good so far. I'm not sure I'd go frameless with my pack. My current pack is 36oz, which could probably be trimmed down a bit if I wanted. Anyway it has a frame, hipbelt and so on but otherwise is pretty bare bones. Point being it's possible to find a lighter pack with a frame if you find it necessary.

    You could drop weight on the stove by switching to the cheaper BRS titanium at .9oz and under $20. Or going with an alcohol stove. Mine is .5 oz with a .4 oz fuel bottle so pretty freaking light and no cold food.

    I'm with @Gruntinhusaybah on the jungle blanket. I don't chance it with my sleep system anymore. Couple of cold nights finally drilled that into my head. I wish I had sucked it up in the first place and picked up a decent quilt. I'm taking my new EE Enigma out for it's first trip tomorrow. If I could do it over again I'd have picked up a good quilt to start with. For budget options check out the Hammock Gear Econ line and UGQ Bandit. For what they are both are cheap and far lighter than bags at higher prices.

    IMO anyone who has spent a decent amount of time camping out or backpacking or whatever should be able to go pretty light pretty easily. At that point we've all learned what we need out there and what we don't. Leaving the crap you don't need behind is a big part of cutting weight. The rest is just picking up light but effective and quality gear for the big three. Shelter, Sleep System, Backpack. Seems like you are well on your way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  9. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Appreciate the tips.
    I've used the jungle blanket, and was quite comfortable down down in to the low 40's. The woobie I had wasn't near as warm. I'll look into a quilt if I start using this kit in colder weather.
     
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  10. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    This is the key!
     
  11. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Scout

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    Going light is great. When your pack weighs in like a heavy dayhiking pack it makes backpacking more enjoyable.

    One place you can really lose comfort though is not having enough insulation. Its october and with cold weather coming the jungle blanket isn't going to be a good all night solution. I carry a woobie a when I go these days and its great around the fire or sitting on top of the sleeping bag, but you'll need a bag to go out in the winter.
    https://www.amazon.com/Chinook-Ever...ocphy=1013012&hvtargid=pla-315750803015&psc=1
    Another item I've fallen in love with is the thermarest neo air. 2.5" thick air mattress is light enough to carry but I can sleep on my side and wake up feeling like I slept in bed even though I am definitely not 23 years old anymore.
    My neoair is the venture model I think,...its cheaper than a lot of the neoair air matresses the R-value is slightly lower, and its slightly heavier, but in practice its been pretty good to me. Its about 1.5 lbs and I've stayed warm on it on a 28 degree night and several in the thirties without a second pad underneath.
     
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  12. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    I've been eyeballing some air mattresses, but learned a long time ago, they can zap the heat from you. I'm a back sleeper, and the ridgerest is comfortable to me. If I was a side sleeper, probably not. 2.8 R-value, and it cant go flat haha. Good compromise of weight/warmth/comfortability.

    One thing I'd like to add, is a fry pan. What's a good lightweight fry pan? I cant pass up frying fresh fish on the trail.
     
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  13. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Scout

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    I have a 10 in gsi frying pan with a folding handle. Its not the very lightest but it has enough size to cook real food lol. those "cook kits" 4 in "frying pan can barely fry a single egg.

    As far as air mattresses go I had a cheap conventional air mattress when I was young too. It had basically no R-value and was heavy and I ditched it.
    Thermarests neoair is different it does insulate unlike other air matresses with decent weights.
    You're right about the weight side of it, nothing beats closed cell foam on weight and cost, but there are tons of ultra lighters out there that carry a thermarest neoaair because of the comfort. Some of those ultralighters are pretty nerdy about their base weights and still take the hit for a neoair.
    Comfort is personal, if you like the ridge rest and its comfortable then its good.
    In fact having a ridge rest would be good as a second pad for winter camping in subfreezing temperatures even if you do get a neoair. so the closed cell foam pad is a solid thing to have.
     
  14. MrKnobbie

    MrKnobbie Scout Bushclass I

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    Watching this. Im looking at packs right now bc that's a heavy item on gear that needs to fit just right.
     
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  15. HMT

    HMT Tracker

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    If you are a Costco member, and on a tight budget, you might check and see if your store has the packable down throws in stock. These can be converted to a quilt pretty easily. Lots of how-to videos out there on it. I bought a few a week ago to convert into quilts for my various setups to save weight over my previous bags/etc.
     
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  16. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    if you find some holes/needs for your kit- I would definitely look at used first- places like backpackinglight.com has a plethora of slightly used high end bits for a significant discount over new

    you could easily shave some weight with your tarp and with a 40-ish degree quilt, but the easiest/cheapest method is simply to leave stuff home (clothing tends to be the number one violator) and down sizing stuff like sunscreen, toiletries, etc
     
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  17. justinspicher

    justinspicher Scout

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    My opinion on this isn’t about lighter gear as much as multi-purpose gear. I’m still in the process of getting this right.

    To start with, I drop a puffy and a rain jacket. Instead I’m carrying an HPG serape and a GoLite poncho. I have an insulating layer, sleeping bag, poncho and shelter in two pieces of gear. Both are probably not my first choice for a multi day excursion into the Backcountry during the winter, but day trips I think they will suffice.

    I’m still working on the cook kit, I haven’t found what I really like better: jetboil or a MSR pocket rocket with a vargo.

    Right now for most of my day trips I’m around 20lbs and in a mystery ranch longbow pack, that’s nothing.

    Good luck in your continued search and refinement.
     
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  18. oldpinecricker

    oldpinecricker Guide

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    image.jpeg Ok, I've showed this setup before. It's around 13 lbs all up with water, but w/o food.

    I'm running an HPG waxed Tarahumara as my pack.
    Integral Designs sleeping bags 20* and 40* bags.
    Sea To Summit ultralight pad
    Integral Designs Sil Shelter and bug liner (optional)
    Stanley water bottle
    MSR groundhog stakes in the white canvas sack with gorilla tape


    Tools:
    Fixed blade BCNW
    Bacho Laplander saw
    Original Leatherman
    Flashlight

    Belt kit in old ammo pouch:
    Fire kit
    Old timer pen knife
    More cordage
    Headlamp
    Ammo for 22lr and 454 casull. This is optional and subjective depending where I'm at in Idaho and Montana.

    The only item not present in the pic is my Esbit stove and fuel tabs (homemade)
     
  19. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    The two I've used are a titanium plate, or a wide bottomed pot. I put foil over my plate this weekend heating up some sausage for easy clean up. Aluminum works much better do to it's more even heat distribution but either will do as far as getting the job done. I've used my Stanco Grease pot to fry up bacon before, and recently saw Dixie from homemade wanderlust fry up some fresh trout along the CDT in the same pot. Point being don't dismiss the pot. I might switch back to mine and add hot lips so it can serve quadruple duty as a Pot, Bowel, Pan, and Mug.

    Edit: found the video, starts around 9 minutes.

     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  20. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  21. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    [QUOTE="Birdman, post: 4060556, member: 63751”] One thing I'd like to add, is a fry pan. What's a good lightweight fry pan? I cant pass up frying fresh fish on the trail.[/QUOTE]

    I have this set of pans that I take out in the field when I want to cook for more than myself, the pans are truly non stick ( I use them at home as well) and the coating is tuff. They actually recommend that you use the Rada Serverspoon to clean the pans. I also use the Rada at home as well.

    Weight is good at around a pound for the entire set that will allow for frying and baking in the field. I like them so much that I bought the Expedition set for home use.

    https://frybake.com/products/full-alpine-fry-bake-set-package/
     
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  22. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine Supporter

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    You should check out sawyer water filters, I recommend the squeeze but it looks like they just came out with a new one I haven't seen yet.

    As far as a fry pan check out evernew ti, the make wide bottom cook pots that can double as a fry pan. That or just carry tin foil and start a small fire if you plan to catch and keep.

    Also, speaking of going fast check out one of these. I highly recommend one ;)http://www.qiwiz.net/trowels.html


    Last but not least make sure to add a fak/ repair kit. UL gear is not indestructible and a few small repair items can go a long way.
     
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  23. Bronco68

    Bronco68 Scout

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    :D
    I’m a late 50’s guy who got into the UL gear in my middle 40’s as well. I found the lack of ventilation on the frameless packs to not be worth the effort, and went with a well ventilated Osprey Atmos 50, and ditched a few ounces of redundant nonessential gear to make up the difference. Much more comfortable, and still 25 lbs wet for 3 days fishing in the Sierras. :D
    Are you still planning on carrying your shotgun as well???
     
  24. grey mouse

    grey mouse Scout

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    Your going about it the right way. Start with the essential basic gear that you own. Look at it and ask yourself if there is something better and lighter that is within your budget. Replace if you want to. Add the additional items such as FAK, toiletries, etc... as needed with the same process. Once you have the "necessary gear" then you can focus on the luxury stuff. At some point you'll find your happy medium between "light enough" and "comfortable".

    Don't focus too heavily on the weight (as in actual numbers). Focus on the journey. A pack weight of "x" pounds means little if your miserable in the end no matter what the number. I go to the woods to cook and eat well...to cheat on my diet. A decent set of cookware and real food are my favorite. Mind you I won't carry cast iron but a good Svea 123 or the Trangia 25-21 and a filet mignon steak with real sour cream and chives mashed potatoes or baked beans (bourbon) make a cold rainy night all the better. If you can go stoveless and enjoy your time aloft then that's great.
     
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  25. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Trangia makes a simple light weight pan that’s large enough to fry a trout.

    I researched pans to death a couple years ago and it’s the one I settled on.

    It doesn’t have any other use to me so I consider it part of my fishing kit.

    It needs olive oil, and a small spatula so it’s a kit. I love fried trout so its worth the weight but if I don’t catch any fish like on my last trip I regret the weight!

    If I’m not planning on fishing I don’t bring it.
     
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  26. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Probably a single shot. I dont go out in the woods too often without a shotgun or a fishing pole.
     
  27. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    I still have my Kelty Tioga from the 70s... a great old pack.

    +1 in the quilt recommendations. I think very highly of the Hammock Gear quilts. I have the Econ 20 and just ordered the Premium 0.

    Probably the best backpacking investment I’ve made is the ThermaRest NeoAir Xlite. Super comfortable and warm. It totally changed the experience of sleeping on the ground. If you’re not big it makes sense to go with the women’s model: it’s lighter and for some reason has a higher R value (3.9 vs 3.2). I’m 5’9” and it’s fine.

    A twig stove has also been a really good blend of convenience/performance and light weight. I got the BushBox LF but would go with the Varga Hexagon if I were doing it again.
     

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