When it’s raining outside and you are too wimpy to go backpacking in it, you go through your gear, weighing everything in preparation for the obligatory gear checklist. And of course, the picture of your possessions in the House on Your Back. On the gear spectrum, I tend to fall near the ultralight folks but I am willing to make compromises for comfort and convenience and I readily admit this list is somewhat flexible. I own no Cuban fiber. But just for kicks, I did cut the handle off my tooth brush and I have been known to trim the borders off my maps.
The Big Three – 6.3 lb.
I am very pleased with how the big three (pack, tent, sleeping bag) ended up. My ULA Catalyst is roomy for the bear can but I took out the plastic back support saving a pound. I made the investment in a Western Mountaineering down bag and it was a good one. I’m not yet convinced quilts have that much of an advantage, at least not enough to invest in one to save about 6 oz. The one compromise was the tent over a tarp. Ease of setup and built in bug protection carried the day. The REI Quarter Dome one came in at only 2 lb. 2 oz. amking it the secound heaviest piece of gear. I am still debating over my sleeping pad. The Ridgerest is light but my old bones sure appreciate a self-inflatable. That would add about 6 oz.
The Kitchen – 3.8 lb.
Here is where I will find out if anyone reads this stuff. I DON’T GET THE ALCOHOL STOVES!!! Check my previous article where I did a performance test between my super light and reliable MSR Pocket Rocket and my homemade alcohol stove. My conclusion was whatever few oz. you spend on a stove/canister more than compensates for the amount of time… and fuel… it takes to heat water with alcohol. The bear can is the obscene weight hog here at 2 lb 11 oz. The rest of the kitchen is 1.1 lb.
The Closet – 3.9 lb.
I guess the biggest question here is whether to take the set of long johns. They weigh almost a pound. I like sleeping in them, even in the summer because they keep my bag clean. I could save a half pound by using just the tee shirt and leaving the top. The rain gear serves as wind protection. The pants may get left home though since I tend to wear long pants hiking. I don’t really need long johns AND rain pants for warmth.
Misc. – 1.5 lb.
The biggest weight here is my first aid kit at just over a pound. It contains first aid stuff, personal grooming, sunscreen, Vitamin I (ibuprofen), fire starter, duct tape etc. I could shave an ounce or three here but I’m pretty good.
Camera Gear – 3.4 lb
This is my biggest debate over weight. I love my Sony Alpha 6300 mirrorless camera. It takes most of the pictures you see in this blog. The iPhone does a great job and served me well in the Grand Canyon two years ago. Plus they now make some pretty cool lenses for it that are reasonably priced. My total base pack weight is 20 lb. so 3.4 lb. is a significant portion – almost 20%. I really don’t have to decide until I hit the trailhead, which is probably when I’ll make it.
Plus, leaving the Sony at home would challenge me to shed one more pound to get to 15 lb base pack weight, which, with a bear can, would impress most any thru hiker on the PCT.
TOTAL BASE PACK WEIGHT: 19.99 lbs
That is all…