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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
 
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Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
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Default How to go lighter

Hello,

Just weighed my pack for an overnight winter trip the other day up Burke. Weighed in at 40 lbs including food and water. I was wondering if I could lighten this up for the West Coast Trail (don't think I'll get in this year, but maybe next. My body will be weaker because I'll be heading off to university and thus won't be able to go hiking every weekend like I can now). My sleeping bag is the MEC Phoenix Hybrid -12 (http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-633/m...10+50130+50880) and my tent is the Tarptent Double Rainbow (http://www.tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html). I'm still choosing my pack. Given that shelter, sleep systems and packs are the three big things to lighten up, I thought I'd start with those. My sleeping pad is a Therm-A-Rest Trekker from a few years ago (20 oz I think, but I'm not willing to give that up and reduce comfort to save weight), and I have an MSR Pocket Rocket.

For the West Coast Trail, I was thinking of taking two sets of base layers (so when one starts to smell I can use the other, but also in case one gets wet) and a fleece. When I use either of the base layers in conjunction with the fleece, I'm good to about 10 C. I think for that reason, I can lighten up on the sleeping bag and just wear my insulation to bed. I'm also looking for a good pack.

I do have experience in the backcountry, as I've done kayaking in Sechelt Inlet for 3 nights, I canoed the Bowron Lakes, and did 2 nights winter camping at Manning Park, but that was two years ago. I've been back into frequent hiking for the past year and want to make the West Coast Trail, and all summer camping endeavours, more comfortable, which I think I can do by eliminating weight while still maintaining some comfort. Any advice welcome.

Thanks,

Colin

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin4567 View Post
Hello,

Just weighed my pack for an overnight winter trip the other day up Burke. Weighed in at 40 lbs including food and water. I was wondering if I could lighten this up for the West Coast Trail (don't think I'll get in this year, but maybe next. My body will be weaker because I'll be heading off to university and thus won't be able to go hiking every weekend like I can now). My sleeping bag is the MEC Phoenix Hybrid -12 (http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-633/m...10+50130+50880) and my tent is the Tarptent Double Rainbow (http://www.tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html). I'm still choosing my pack. Given that shelter, sleep systems and packs are the three big things to lighten up, I thought I'd start with those. My sleeping pad is a Therm-A-Rest Trekker from a few years ago (20 oz I think, but I'm not willing to give that up and reduce comfort to save weight), and I have an MSR Pocket Rocket.

For the West Coast Trail, I was thinking of taking two sets of base layers (so when one starts to smell I can use the other, but also in case one gets wet) and a fleece. When I use either of the base layers in conjunction with the fleece, I'm good to about 10 C. I think for that reason, I can lighten up on the sleeping bag and just wear my insulation to bed. I'm also looking for a good pack.

I do have experience in the backcountry, as I've done kayaking in Sechelt Inlet for 3 nights, I canoed the Bowron Lakes, and did 2 nights winter camping at Manning Park, but that was two years ago. I've been back into frequent hiking for the past year and want to make the West Coast Trail, and all summer camping endeavours, more comfortable, which I think I can do by eliminating weight while still maintaining some comfort. Any advice welcome.

Thanks,

Colin

Take a look at the Thermarest NeoAir line. My Xtherm weighs in at 15oz and the Xlite is 13oz. I haven't had any issues with comfort.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to put in that mine is a NeoAir trekker. The Xtherm is out of my price range, but I'll look at the Xlite and see how that fits in. Thanks!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin4567 View Post
Hello,

I was thinking of taking two sets of base layers (so when one starts to smell I can use the other, but also in case one gets wet)
That is what I did, with an important variation:

1 baselayer for sleep, 1 for hiking. No exceptions!

I would rinse myself and the hiking baselayer off in FRESH water, dry it as best I could before turning in (best method was just putting it on again and letting my body heat dry it, but only when it was nice and not too windy out), climb into my nice, dry, and clean(ish) baselayer for sleeping, then I'd pull on the damp, smelly hiking baselayer in the morning.

If you can, weigh every single thing you're taking (or at least lay them all out). Then have a hard look at each item and see if you really, really need it, or can swap it out for something lighter at least.

You'll be surprised how much weight and bulk you can cut this way.

And yes, you'll have much greater flexibility having wearable insulation instead of a bulkier sleeping bag.

Who needs a signature? Mine is always: Last edited by dougz; Today at 03:27 PM

Last edited by dougz; 04-08-2015 at 03:48 PM.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks dougz! Yeah, I think I'm of that mentality too. Added like 7 pounds of weight this overnight trip just adding in more stuff. Thanks!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Would anyone be able to recommend products that fit the previously outlined needs? I think I will go with the NeoAir Xlite, though!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:53 PM
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Looks like the major ones you already have, or will have (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking system), and you won't know what pack to get until you see how much room you'll need (like I say, lay it all out, then see what packs will fit it all in and are comfortable.. There is a recent thread on packs that goes over all this, have a look).

What items did you need reccomendations on?

Food and water are major, weight wise..

So have a look at how many calories you'll need on your trips (there are sites and formulas where you can calculate this), add a bit of buffer, and then look for the most calorie-dense and light foods you can get to meet this (oats, quinoa, peanut M&M's, etc, etc) and no more!

Same for water. Have a look at your hiking route and see where you are sure of re-upping on your water, so you only need to be carrying a liter or so at any given time.

Who needs a signature? Mine is always: Last edited by dougz; Today at 03:27 PM

Last edited by dougz; 04-08-2015 at 04:08 PM.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:53 PM
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A puffy jacket is usually lighter and warmer and packs smaller than fleece.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 04:03 PM
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A few years ago we were discussing new gear and how it's getting significantly lighter...

... and how it costs more. The rule of thumb at the time was ~ $200 per pound lost of pack weight.

The current cutting edge seems to be cuben fiber.

A few recommendations:

http://www.zpacks.com/quilts.shtml
http://www.cilogear.com/
https://www.hyperlitemountaingear.com/
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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A puffy jacket is usually lighter and warmer and packs smaller than fleece.
Yeah, I bought an Atom LT, but I want to take one jacket for both camp and hiking, and the fleece is wayyyyy more versatile than the Atom (I overheat in the Atom in anything over like 0 C when hiking).


General question: What's a good summer sleeping bag that's light? I think I'd be good with a bag with a rating of 0-5 degrees, somewhere in there.

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 08:25 PM
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Weighing your gear is a good start, one thing that helped me is giving my gear list to a friend who'd already done the west coast trail, and he made suggestions on what I'd need to replace or could leave out completely.

Here is my planned gear list (WCT didn't work out this year, doing Nootka island instead) to give you an idea, and I definitely recommend GearGrams for organizing your pack. This list includes everything I'm wearing, but you can see a breakdown at the top of pack weight vs worn weight. It also includes enough cooking gear, fuel, and tent space for 2 people, I could cut down a little if I was solo.

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=22654
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lythe View Post
Weighing your gear is a good start, one thing that helped me is giving my gear list to a friend who'd already done the west coast trail, and he made suggestions on what I'd need to replace or could leave out completely.

Here is my planned gear list (WCT didn't work out this year, doing Nootka island instead) to give you an idea, and I definitely recommend GearGrams for organizing your pack. This list includes everything I'm wearing, but you can see a breakdown at the top of pack weight vs worn weight. It also includes enough cooking gear, fuel, and tent space for 2 people, I could cut down a little if I was solo.

http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=22654
Thanks Lythe! It's interesting because you and I have very similar gear lists. Have you ever used the Aquila bag? Just wondering how it works on the very wet coast because it's down. Seems like there's a lot of weight there though...I probably didn't think of a few thing I'll be adding in to my list.

Thanks!

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:41 PM
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In summer you can get away with a light bag. Something like the MontBell Down Hugger +5C compresses down to the size of a Nalgene, weighs a pound or so.

I would personally take a light windshell for wearing when moving and a puffy for wearing when stopped instead of planning to hike with a fleece on.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 11:13 PM
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Gossamer Gear has light packs that carry about 30 lbs. www.gossamergear.com . Tarp tent is good for the WCT. Count on 2 lb food per day. If you get that base weight for the pack down to 10-12 lb, then you have lots of play room for food, fuel and water. Also count on at least one full day of rain and have enough to stay dry. Wet and cold do not go well together. Stay with dehydrated food as much as possible. Costco online has good prices for bulk that store a long time. Save fuel and forego coffee in the morning. Chew-up two espresso beans and a piece of dark chocolate instead (no need to boil more water).

Lightweight gear also needs to be taken care of, not bombproof. Groundsheet is needed for wet ground, tyvek or plastic window film. Lightweight may also mean lighter shoes, Merrell barefoot or a trail runner. Hiking boots are great at times, but you are lifting the weight every time you step. Make sure you have everything in plastic inside your bag. Wet is bad.

Lots of info on the web, query lightweight backpacking. Good luck, have fun. Go with a buddy (I mean SHERPA).
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 01:08 AM
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I used the Aquila (-7*C) at Cape Scott in September, and lucked out with nice weather so can't say how it works in the damp on longer trips. I've had it car-camping for a 2 nighter where it just poured, and it was fine, even with a tarptent and condensation. So far I've found it to generally be a bit warm and usually end up using it as a quilt, but haven't used it at temperatures below 10*C. In comparison my previous synthetic -9*C bag, even though it was rated a bit colder, wasn't warm enough at similar temperatures (and the main reason I bought the -7* instead of the 0*). My next bag will likely be a 0 to +5 *C bag that's at least a step up from entry level.

A number of items on my list could be lighter if I had a better budget, but I've either scrounged and stuck to deals, or gone with entry level items (like the Aquila).

All in all my base pack weight if I went solo would be sub 18lbs, with carrying extra gear for my partner it is still under 20lbs. Not ultralight by any stretch, but at least 8-10lbs lighter than when I first started with GearGrams, and I had less items on my list then.

I second Dru with the wind shell, the one I use is nice and weighs as much as a midweight T-shirt, breathes nicely and dries really quickly. I can also layer it with my other tops if I really need it, and a wind shell is with me on every hike now. I've had a dayhike where I only had a t-shirt and a light fleece, and I was too warm with the fleece (even unzipped) but too cold without.

Last edited by Lythe; 04-09-2015 at 01:16 AM.
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