The Quest For A Lighter Pack Weight

It has been a long time since I was part of the backpacking, hiking, and camping community. Actually, it was way back when I was a boyscout i was able to do the backpacking, hiking, and camping thing, but that was a good loooong while ago. One thing I did remember though, was how darn heavy my backpack always was. I’m sure at that age I was trying to pack everything but the kitchen sink, and knew nothing of what was needed vs what was not needed. Fast forward a handful of years (20ish to be precise), welcome internet, forums, message boards, and many progressive companies forging ahead in the lightweight backpacking arena, and here I am. I feel like a beginner, but I am learning little by little.

Over the last few years I had purchased a lightweight tent, backpack, and sleeping bag for motorcycling and camping trips, which are included in my gear list. But there were many things that I either didn’t have, or if I had them, they were simply too heavy to bring along on backpacking, hiking, or camping trip. So to help myself along with this, I have started to keep track of the things that I have found that will work for ME (not necessarily everyone else). Remember – Hike your own hike. So like I said, this is a list of things that will work for me, with a goal of a sub 25 pound backpack weight without water. Eventually, I would like to get my backpack down around the sub 20 pound mark, only carrying minimal water when I have the Katadyn water purification system.

Edit 8/29/2011 – I found this website today while researching lighter tents/shelters for my pack, and it had a blurb at the top, describing the different levels of backpacking, by total pack weight.

Lightweight = 12-20 pounds, Ultralight = 6-11 pounds, Super-ultralight = 5 pounds or less. A sub 10 pound pack weight should be achievable to nearly any average-sized person willing to exercise reasonable judgment during realistic temperatures and predictable environments. Information on this blog is my personal opinion (albeit heavily researched at times) and you should not try anything I do without consulting with a professional.

Now I am not sure how close I am to any of that, but then again, it’s pretty expensive to tackle it all at once. Also, people have different needs, wants, etc, and experiment with different things based on the results. This is by no means a comprehensive guide or anything close to that. It is simply my online spot to catalog a bit of research and testing that may help to lower my personal backpack weight by a few pounds. Soooo…. On to the growing and ever-changing gear list:

* Have item
*** Thinking about trying the item


Pack System: Total weight: 55oz.      Shelter System: Total weight: 38.18oz.      Sleep System: Total weight: 69oz.      Cook System: Total weight: 14.6oz.       System: Total weight: oz.      Total Pack Weight: oz’s / lb’s.      ***Items not included in total weight, as they are worn items, or not always brought along

Image Description / Link Weight Product Notes / Ramblings / Etc
Z40 Backpack (Large 42 Liters) 55oz This is not truly an “ultralight” pack, rather more of a lightweight pack. There are many packs that are lighter, but the Z40 has a good set of comfort features that I enjoy. I may look into an Osprey Exos bpack next, but it will need to be just as comfortable.
LightHeartGear SoLong-6 27oz Quote from LightHeartGear website
“LightHeart Tents are hiking pole supported shelters utilizing our patent pending support system. This allows the user to enjoy the full head room height of the tent, keeps the poles out of the way of the entry door, and maximizes space while minimizing weight. Poles are inside the tent to protect them from the elements and night critters that like to chew on them. For those who do not use hiking poles, we have adjustable aluminum tent poles which fold down to only 11 inches long. Our tents are generously sized for the number of intended inhabitants – one person will find a solo tent roomy and two people will find a duo spacious.”
Adjustable Aluminum Tent Poles 8.5oz / pair Adjustable aluminum tent poles
Extend from 48.25″ to 52.25″
Carbon Fiber Awning Pole 1oz Carbon Fiber Awning Pole
Supports the Awning or Wedge. 4 sections – fold down to 11 inches. Non adjustable – 38.25″
Titanium Stakes 1.68oz for 8 Titanium Tent Stakes
6 inch length. Weigh 6 grams each.
Eureka! Cheyenne Bag (long) 34×84 44oz Again, not the lightest item, but it was a bag I had previously purchased for motorcycle trips. Will probably look into a lighter bag soon.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker Pad (large) 25×77 25oz
mKettle 13oz, 18oz capacity
mKettle Ti Stand 1oz Titanium Pot Stand for mKettle
Titanium Spork – Green .6oz Titanium Spork
REI Sahara Long-Sleeve T-Shirt 4oz
***REI Sahara Short-Sleeve T-Shirt 4oz
***Cabela’s Ultimate 6″ Lightweight Mini-Crew Wool Socks 2oz x2 pair
Backpackers Panty
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice x2
6oz dry wt
4 x The Original Clif Bar 2.4oz per bar
Good ole maple & brown sugar oatmeal .035oz per packet
Starbucks VIA Coffee .5oz per packet
5 in 1 Survival Aid 1oz | 4.5×1″ tube
Coghlan’s Emergency Tinder 1oz
***Rain Poncho 8oz
Hiker PRO Water Filter 11oz
Micropur Purification Tablets .9oz per 30pack
Tikka 2 LED Headlamp 2.86oz 3xAAA bats/40lumens/120hrs
Can also get a rechargeable battery , not included
Nano Towel .9oz 18×23
?***Pack Stool 14oz 13x17open / 2x23folded
4″ Lockback Knife 3oz 4″closed simple folding knife
***Survival Paracord Bracelet 1oz Unties to provide 8 – 10 ft. of paracord that could come in handy in an emergency.
Platypus 1L/34oz SoftBottle .9oz