Pack Weight

I haven’t been out on a serious hiking trip yet this season, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to prepare.  With the addition of my new gear, I’ve put more thought into my overall pack-weight recently.  I was astounded by the weight Ray Jardine carried on his thru-hikes–an unfathomably low 8 1/2 lbs sans food and water.  He hiked with his wife, so they were able to share some of their gear.

Here’s a rough outline of my current gear:

  • Pack 73 liter capacity:  5lbs 4 oz
  • 45 degree sleeping bag: 1 lb 3 oz
  • 2 man tent: 3lb 6 oz
  • Tent footprint: 8 oz
  • Knife: 2.8 oz
  • Stove:  2 oz
  • 2 person cookset and pot: 17.8 oz
  • Camera: 4.4 oz
  • Headlamp: 3.1 oz
  • Water purifier: 14 oz

Total Weight: 13 lbs 1.2 oz

Edit: I forgot about my sleeping pad which weighs 27 oz, and brings the total to 14 lbs 12.2 oz.

This doesn’t include a few variables like fuel, first aid, rope, stuff sacks, clothes, a journal, or maps, but I think its fairly representative of my base pack weight without food or water.  I don’t have scales that can measure in ounces so you’ll have to cut me some slack. While this isn’t 8.5 lbs, it’s not bad, considering I’d be able to share some of that gear if I was with someone.

The first thing I noticed is that my pack alone weighs more than any other item I put in it, and that it’s close to 1/2 my total weight.  This is probably an issue, and while I don’t think I have a bad pack, I immediately went and removed the “lid” from the top, figuring I don’t need the extra space when my pack is so large, and I could shave a good couple ounces.  The lid on my Osprey pack is meant to be removable and used as a lumbar pack, so it’s sturdy and has its own foam padding inside.  I’ve never used it as a lumbar pack–nor do I plan to.

I might also try the pack as a day pack and remove the hip belt to see how that feels, though I’m not sure it weighs enough to really be worth removing.

I’m not planning to start counting ounces, and cutting inches of canvas straps from my pack–yet, but it’s nice to have a reference for how much gear I’ll be hauling around, and to think twice about whether an item is really essential.

While Jardine’s pack-weight might seem a little extreme, it’s certainly an interesting approach to backpacking, and his mileages (he quotes averages over 25 every day of every thru-hike) prove that even if you’re strong enough to carry a huge pack, maybe less is what you need to get where you’re going.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *