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ultralight anyone?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by clarthom, May 10, 2011.

  1. clarthom

    clarthom oregon Member

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    so I think I'm putting this in survival because some times backpacking is just trying to survive.

    Today I took a hard look at my backpacking gear and I have decided to go ultralight. When I say ultralight I mean I will cut my gear down to bare essentials and lighten my load for an outdoor experience less interrupted by a heavy pack.

    My goal is to get two weeks worth of gear into a 50-55L pack and keep it under 25lbs. This will include my boots. actually I'm going to ditch the boots and just use a light pair of cross trainers.

    My main concerns will be Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cookware, and water. these are some of the heaviest items but also the most important so I will need to get creative on how to cut weight from these items.

    Does anyone else do ultralight/minimalist backpacking? If so I could use some suggestions for getting started.

  2. Keys1971

    Keys1971 Oregon City Active Member

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    This may not help, but in the military I packed a two military ponchos to act as my shelter, and a roll of 550 cord. If I was in your shoes, I would leave the sleeping pad behind. Keys1971.
  3. clarthom

    clarthom oregon Member

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    well the pad is the only thing really between me and the cold, hard, wet ground, and on a 2 week trip it is good to get plenty of restful sleep. I do however plan to buy a lighter and more compact pad. As for the shelter, I thought about tarping but it would only work in the summers and only then if it isn't windy. plus i think my one man tent weighs about the same as a tarp large enough to be used for shelter.

    550cord is definitely a life saver though, I never go into the woods without it.
  4. nubus

    nubus Guest

    Depending on where you plan to go and how far away from civilization I would keep my boots over cross trainers. If this indeed for use and not "what if" there is only so far I go before the loss of weight becomes a risk in safety IMO. If water is plentiful along the trail and then you don't need to possess too much at one time and there are some really light filters available now. I can cook pretty much anything in a 600ml titanium camp cup which is my bowl, plate, etc. I usually only carry a pot when cooking for two or more. Cooking fuel for two weeks is probably only feasible as fluid fuel. An MSR International or similar is a good super light stove. I like the train of thought though. You got me thinking about "lightening up" as well. Of course the best way to lighten my backpacking load out doesn't involve my pack!
  5. Kaltbluter

    Kaltbluter Eugene Member 2015 Volunteer

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    You could always go with a bivy sack instead of a tent. As far as pads go, Exped and Thermarest both make ultalight sleeping pads that pack to about the size of a liter bottle.

    There's not much you can do about water. The last hike I went on had lots of water sources so I took two 32oz containers but only kept one full most of the time. I used a Katadyn hiker filter. Which weighs 11 ounces and works pretty fast.

    As far as cooking goes, one decent sized cup is all you really need.
  6. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Just bought the Ultra Light weight sleeping pad (1 lb), 40 deg down bag (1 lb) Carbon Fiber trekking Poles (1 lb), I have a bivy sack (1.5 lbs) and lightweight stove. Looking to get the lightweight down jacket very soon. Ceramic water filter on board (bit heavier than some but good down to everything but virus I think. Survival knive (1.5 lb) flint, lightweight head lamp. What else do I need: Oh Yeah, My P99c for the 2 legged animals that might be lurking and dangerous ( 2.5 lb) My boots are always on when awake so I don't count them as weight.
  7. ars

    ars Salem, or Member

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    Check out the backpacking forums. They have forums dedicated to ultralight gadgets and reviews. If you are gonna go that route definitely do some trial runs
  8. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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  9. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    The downside of UL backpacking gear is durability. You sacrifice alot of wear by buying the ultralight stuff, you also pay a big price jump to shave a few ounces. You'll save alot more weight just learning to do more with less stuff.

    I've had some bad times with trail "shoes" My feet never felt as secure or supported as they do in a good set of boots. That being said IMHO save money on the gear and blow all your cash on the best fitting boots (and pack) your money can buy.
  10. miletwo

    miletwo Gresham, Oregon Member

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    I have been UL for the last 3 years now. On the boots issue, you'd be surprised how little foot protection you need when you're not loaded to 50 +. The way to start is to make an inventory of everything you need and weigh it. Start out replacing the heaviest items first (tent, pack, sleep, kitchen), then from there start trimming in each area. Like another poster said, I use only a 700ML cup and and an alcohol stove in summer to cook with or a whisperlite in winter. Also, don't get tricked into thinking one weight all year long. You defnitely need more/heavier gear in winter.

    You'll be surprised once you get started how far down you can get your gear. I did 5 days around Mt. Hood last year with under 20lbs and didn't feel like I was missing anything.
  11. clarthom

    clarthom oregon Member

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    this is the angle i was coming from with the boots, if my gear only weighs 20-25 lbs, then i won't need the extra support of the heavy boots. also, For cooking i have a MSR stove and i just use my stainless container for cooking/eating.

    I have a nice water filter but it takes up a bit of room, I was thinking about trying tablets...anyone had experience with water tabs?
  12. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    I have a word document that has my minimal list - it is a 2 day list - Comes out about 13 lbs without food and 21 lbs with food ( Did not include boots as part of weight). But do not knowe how to attach. So If you can tell me how to attach it ( It is in a table format) I will attach it or send me an email I can attach the document.

    If you are really going minalmist - might ditch the stove and just focus on firestarters. Water - I do not trust the tablets - but do on on line search on articles. Most use a good filter or steripen.

    I will try to convert it from a form table and post it later.
  13. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    This might give you a thought process

    Ultralight Backpacking Checklist - ( assuming Summertime Over nighter)

    Number after description are Two day weight ( ounces).

    At the end - there is a list of trade offs. Assumes you are wearing shoes

    Basic 2 Day Pack List:
    Granite Gear Vapor Trail Pack 3600 cc (60L) 39 oz
    Granite Gear Pack Rain Cover 4 Oz
    Homemade foam sitting pad 1 Oz

    Home made plastic Sheet 6 oz
    Marmot Hydrogen ( +30 bag) 26 oz
    Cascade Designs Fleece Pillow 1 oz
    Thermolite Prolite3 - short 14 oz
    Mombasa Mosquito Screen 7 oz
    Integral Designs 8x10 Sil tarp + titanium stakes 17 oz
    ( Build Lean To - Use hiking poles to support the tarp for a lean to.)

    Snowpeak stove + GSI Minimalist Pot 13 oz
    Measuring Cup, Titanium Spoon and plastic knife 2 OZ
    Steripen or chlorine Dioxide tabs 5 Oz
    Pre filter 5 Oz
    40 ft parachute cord 3 Oz
    110 gram fuel cartridge * 6 Oz
    2 collapsible water proof Bottles ( filled)* 74 Oz
    Food ( 12 oz per meal or 2.5 lbs/day)* 48 Oz

    CLOTHING - Depends on the environment
    Or Zealot Jacket and Go Lite Reed Pants 14 Oz
    REI Power Stretch Pull over 11 OZ
    Light weight fleece cap 2 Oz
    Patagonia Silk Underwear 11 Oz
    Patagonia Puffball vest 8 Oz
    Small pack towel 2 Oz
    Two bandanas 2 Oz

    Two photon micro lights 1 Oz
    Cutter mosquito repellant 1 Oz
    Sunblock and lip baum 2 Oz
    Toothbrush, paste floss , ACT 2 oz
    TP + Trowel ( Snow stakes with 6 holes) 3 Oz
    Matches in water proof case + BIC Lighter small 1 Oz
    Sunglasses ( Smith Serpico) 3 Oz
    First Aid Kit 4 Oz
    Compass, Whistlw, Map 5 Oz
    OR Helium Ditty Bag Set, Sea to summit 2L Bag 1 Oz

    Weight less consumables: Approx 13 lbs 8 oz
    Weight with food, water, fuel): Approx 21 lbs 8 Oz

    (TWO DAY List)

    Swaps, Add On’s, different weather ( + or - Delta weight change)

    GoLite Oddessy Backpack - 5800 CC (95L) +19 OZ
    Big Agness Seedhouse SL-1 Tent ( Drop Tarp) +23 OZ
    Marmot Helium (+15 Bag) ( Drop other bag) + 9 Oz
    Thermarest Prolite - long ( Drop prolite) + 11OZ
    Jet Boil + Lexan Bowel - (drop other stove) + 6 Oz
    Patagonia Down Vest ( Drop Puffball) + 7 Oz
    MSR Hyperflow ( Keep tabs, drop Steripen) + 5 Oz
    GSI Fair Share Mug + 3 Oz
    (Drop lexan bowl and titanium mug)
    REI Rain cover ( drop other) + 1 Oz
    Large Towel ( Drop small) + 2 Oz
    Or Windblocker fleece cap

    Gear Add – On’s:
    Bear Vault - ( If required by law) + 40 Oz
    Platypus 500 ml drink flask (Empty) + 18 Oz
    Extra T shirt , underwear, and socks + 14 Oz
    Crocs camp shoes +( Creek crossings) + 13 Oz
    Thermarest Camp chair + 10 Oz
    Ex Officio Amphi shorts + 10 OZ
    BD Orbit Latern ( Short daylight only) + 5 OZ
    Ankle Gaiters + 4 oz
    Camp Suds and wash basin + 4 Oz
    Sea to Summmit ultra sil day pack + 3 Oz
    Seattle Sports water pail + 3 OZ
    Tikka Lamp - (Short Daylight only) + 3 Oz
    REI Gloves + 3 Oz
    Camp Socks?/ + 2 OZ
    Salt Pepper Sugar + 2 OZ
    Mosquito Head Net + 2 Oz
    Sea to Sumit food bag for food + 2 Oz
    Steripen spare batteries + 1 OZ

    110 gram cartridge ( 3/5/7) day trip + 6/12/12 OZ
    More food
  14. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    Oh yeah - You will rethink not taking some personal items like a tooth brush and soap / towel . Just depends on how long you can live with out it

    As a followup to the list
    I have done three extended trips - 10 days or more.
    The region and what you plan to do has a lot to define what you take.
    Are you being active and hiking or are you setting up a camp

    Reason Food and Water is your biggest weight and volume issue

    12 days in Wind River Wilderness
    Purpose – Hiking and Climbing
    Definitely went with a heavier sleeping bag.
    Needed on average 3800 cal per day due to hiking activity – still lost 12 lbs
    About every third day we clean clothes and rehydrated
    All food was dried – Definitel took up a lot of volume and weight.
    Water was abundant ( only 2 water bottles)
    I brought a stove along for section I was above timberline. But cooked on open fire where possible.

    10 Days in Sonoran Desert
    Purpose: Live off land and Hike
    Usually tried to keep 1 – 2 gal of water with me
    Probably lost 20 lbs
    Less food -
    Cooked without a stove
    Light weight gear
    Traveling on 5 of 10 days

    10 Days in New Mexico Mountains
    Purpose – Hiking
    Needed heavier sleeping bag
    Probably 3 qts of water
    Again about 3800 cal /day.
    Brought stove for periods where no firewood
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  15. RichardWi11iams

    RichardWi11iams Vancouver, WA New Member

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    For shelter I have to recommend NEMO. They make the best tents available and have some great weight saving options and features.
  16. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    Nemo is a good tent- I have one - 2 man tent is about good enough for 1 1/2 people.
    But by the time you add a footprint , Rain cover , stakes, poles - the weight can add up.

    If you use your hiking poles as tent poles - you can just use a Sil Net Tarp and build a lean to. or what ever configuration you want.

    Ultimately you could just get a Bivy sack - but they do not breath that well.
  17. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Anybody tried hexamine fuel tablets instead of a stove? There is a surplus store near me that sells the military version in a foil pouch for something like 5 for a dollar. Looks like an Alkaseltzer tablet and burns really hot. A handful of them probably wouldn't weigh an ounce.
  18. Felt Lizard

    Felt Lizard The great NW Member

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    Yes. Excellent pack and on my back.

    Stove? The Titanium Goat system.
  19. miletwo

    miletwo Gresham, Oregon Member

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    Yuck. I would recommend a gravity feed system if you want a filter, otherwise a UV pen is pretty dang light and still kills everything including crypto. Tablets are gross.
  20. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    I agree - I forgot how it tasted.
    That is why I have both a Steripen and Filter system - I choose what I use based on the planned trip. Same with chlorox - Tried that once

    The lighter weight option is to boil on a wood fire all your water - just need fire
    ( Of course if you are using a stove - it will take quite a bit of fuel)

    Steripen is a nice option - plus they are smaller and lighter. Make sure you get a prefilter for you water bottle.