It is a nice Saturday afternoon here in the Phoenix area today...only about 110-112 degrees outside. This kind of weather really gets me amped for getting up to Montana this coming week and spending a few days in the Beartooth-Absoraka Wilderness. The forecast for Thur-Sun is High's of 70 and lows of 30...sheesh...can't wait!!!
Lightweight backpacking has been a goal of mine for several years. I think it began on a famous Zito brother week long camp out...packing 50-65 lbs for many miles in the Bitteroots or Beartooths...either way, I have been looking into it "obsessing" over it for a while now. Since today was a stay in the house or jump in the pool day...I got out the gear, weighed each peice and took some pictures. I have gone from 50-65 lb fully loaded pack for 3-6 days backpacking down to 22 lbs...here is how I did it. New gear for me is the REI-Flash pack and Big Agnes Tent. With these 2 peices of gear alone I saved 8lbs from my 4 seasons Sierra Designs tent and 5,700ci Dana Designs Pack. I bought a new stove (msr - pocket rocket... 3 0z $39) and just really went through all of the things I had been bringing backpacking. There was quite a bit I could live comfortably with out...some things that I already had that could be lightened...and some items that would cost too much...but that I would buy anyway :)
Food and water will vary for any backpacking trip but I find that if there is frequent water, why carry 100 oz with you at all times...drink ton's at each water stop and then fill your camel back 1/2 way full for the next stretch. Food can be all over the place for weight...I plan for about 10-16 ounces for food a day...mostly freeze dried, Cliff Bars, oatmeal, pancakes, trail mix, jerky...etc etc... Planning for the weather is also a big one. I found that my old Ski jacket weighs almost 3 lbs without a heavy fleece liner...the 12 oz Gortex rain shell with layers underneath should be fine for just about all 3 seasons camping. I learned the hard way with rain jackets...Gortex is the only way...Marmot Precip "fabric" and the other lower end brands will do good for about an hour in rain...then saturates.
Fully packed with the base gear and additional gear (12.5 lbs) ...minus fuel, camel back and food. It is just barely 1/2 full...so I guess the gear takes up about 1500 ci. Still plenty of room for everything I need...along with the video camera.
While perusing REI and trying to build up the nerve to pay 300 bones for a 3 lb tent...I was talking to one of the sales dudes. He said that he doesn't use a compression sack for his tent/rain fly...he just packs his mattress and compressed sleeping bag...then packs the tent/fly into all the loose areas. I found this to work great and takes better advantage of available space.
So yes, I am a gear nut and really enjoy getting outdoors. I tested this setup (without the new pack) on my Humphrey's peak over nighter and it worked great...(although, I did not bring enough warm clothes...) I have made a few adjustments and am just about ready to hit the trail once again in Montana :)
If you are buying gear...I recommend the following places. You can save a ton of cash on "slightly blemished" or discontinued colors...etc etc...fully functional gear