So, I did what I usually do when I'm trying to figure out a problem: I made a list.
I listed every single item I would usually carry on a backpacking trip. I weighed each of those items on my little kitchen scale that's accurate to 0.05 oz. And I totaled up the weights.
Not including any clothing worn on my body, not including any consumables (food, water, fuel), not including variable weights (maps)...
...my base pack weight would be 32.65 pounds. Remember, that's before 2 x 2 lb liters of water and 2-3 lbs of food per day. If I didn't change what I was carrying, I could conceivably end up with a ~45 lb pack. That's approximately 35% of my body weight.
No wonder backpacking hurts. My pack needed a serious diet.
|huuuge packs in the boundary waters... (it's mostly sleeping bag, shhhh)|
Fast forward 2 months and around $150.
My base pack weight is now 14.51 pounds, assuming it's not winter AND I don't need to carry a bear can AND I'm going to be slightly colder than usual. Not ultralight, but a huge improvement for very little investment.
I cut down my pack weight by considering every single thing I used to carry and asking the following questions, in order:
- Is this necessary? (med kit = yes, inflatable pillow = no)
- Can something already in the pack perform the same function? (e.g. bandana = filter for water floaties)
- Can I carry less, repackage, or literally cut off the bits I don't use? (e.g. bye bye, toothbrush handle)
- If not, can I make another DIY version that's lighter? (introducing the cat can stove!)
- If not, can I find a commercial version that is within my (very small) budget? (only my tent stakes and hammock pad made it this far down the list)
|i still have that scar on my leg, too...|
|yes, that is actually my backpacking pack. plus blue sleeping pad, seen standing on floor|