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  1. #1
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    Default Average loaded pack-weight?

    I asked this in anotheer thread, but I cannot find where I left it. So I apologize if you have answered. I hope to do a weeklong section hike in TN, VA or NC in May. As I prepare, I have been looking at my old equipment & reading various books by long distance hikers: AT & PCT. Some like Colin Fletcher carried heavy packs (total 50lbs) while Ray Jardine carried <20lbs on the PCT trail. Both of them favour tarps over tents (but both hike in the drier Western states). My tent is 5lb and my emopty Kelty pack is 5 lb, so I am thinking maybe I should get smarter. What sort of loaded weight (including food/water) do you guys start with on a 1 week hike, assuming mild May weather in the South (most of the time)? I may not change everything this year, but if I can trim 10-20% of the weight that has to help.

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    top of my head
    2 pounds water
    8 pounds food
    6 pounds clothing
    5 pounds sleep & shelter stuff
    2 pounds other stuff
    2 pounds pack
    25 pounds total, and none of it expensive stuff

  3. #3
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    Thanks! That's a good guide.

  4. #4
    AT 2010, FHT 2010-11, BMT '11, Bartram'11, LT'12, Pinhoti '13, Sheltowee, '13' 10-K's Avatar
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    A 7 day week in May? Probably right at 30 lbs, with half of it being food.

    Tipi Walter will walk on my grave for saying this but it would take extenuating circumstances for me to carry 7 days worth of food on the AT. 4 max is more like it.

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    Jak:

    Sorry for my dumb questions but I am interested in how you get your "sleep & shelter" down to 5lb? Also your pack is only 2 lbs. Is that because it is small & tight (weekend size in shops) or did you make your own, because the ones I see in catalogues for >weekend hikes are all 4lb & up.

    Do you have a stove or go with cold food?

    Do youy carry a water filter, or just rely on public water? I'll be in the Great Smoky park most of the time. I have a filter but is is heavy.

    Do you use a tent or just a tarp? Or do you stay in shelters?

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    Thanks 10K. I am learning a lot here. How big is your backpack? It is interesting to hear what you all say after what one hears in stores. With such a light load, are you able to wear lighter shoes/boots as well? Doe you guys use walking sticks? I have one, but I find I only use it on steep slopes, so often leave it at home.

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    Registered User Bags4266's Avatar
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    Marcritchie, I see you only have 7 posts. So I take that your new here. You need to research your 4 heavy items. Pack, bag, tent, sleeping pad, this is where you will save most of your weight. I see your pack and tent are at 10lbs , thats huge for a solo. You could shave 6.5lbs just on those two items . Read research and think on what really matters to you.

  8. #8
    AT 2010, FHT 2010-11, BMT '11, Bartram'11, LT'12, Pinhoti '13, Sheltowee, '13' 10-K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macritchie View Post
    Thanks 10K. I am learning a lot here. How big is your backpack? It is interesting to hear what you all say after what one hears in stores. With such a light load, are you able to wear lighter shoes/boots as well? Doe you guys use walking sticks? I have one, but I find I only use it on steep slopes, so often leave it at home.
    This is my pack: http://ula-equipment.com/catalyst.asp

    I used to wear boots but now I wear trail runners because they are indeed lighter. When you're carrying a pack and picking your feet up and putting them back down for 8-10 hours at a stretch boots get heavy.

    I use trekking poles only if I'm wearing a pack. IMO, Black Diamond ellipse w/ fliplock is the best in this department.

    You'll figure it out, probably by buying everything 3-4 times like a lot of us.

    I tell my friends I've got enough gear to take me and 3 people I don't like hiking.

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    Thanks Bags. So far my research has been with camping stores, which is why I am carrying too much. I hiked a lot in the past but not much in last 10 yrs apart from many day-hikes. Your insights are valuable to me.

  10. #10
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    .....I was in a similar position...I owned a Kelty Redcloud...right at 6lbs empty and a MountianSmith tent...about 5lbs.....I changed out my Kelty for the ULA Catalyst (just under 3lbs) and my MountianSmith for a henry shires tarptent (2 1/2lbs)....I have 2lb down bag and 19oz pad....for me..a drastic reductio in weight. I was using a HHED hammock but could not figure out how to stay warm...so went back to ground...for me I think it was the right move. cheers.

  11. #11
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    walking sticks can be a big help with posture, footing etc and the user can normally employ a consistently larger gait, resulting in less steps taken. this comes more in handy for sections or longer hikes, but can help shorter hikes to. I liked jax' guidelines but 8 lbs of food may not last a full week. On the average, the best way to trim weight ( and the places weight fluctuates so much person to person) is their sleep and shelter systems. i recommend looking thru the lightweight gear section for ideas on lighter packs. Gear on average has gotten alot lighter over the years, so one can go with a lighter weight capacity pack. Theres a few lightweight stoves out there. the msr pocketrocket is around 3 oz. i believe. of course alcohol stoves are even lighter, and alcohol weighs less per volume than fuel. A good (expensive) down bag will weigh less than a synthetic. For water, instead of a filter just bring some aquamira tablets.
    I broke a mirror in my house. I'm supposed to get seven years bad luck but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macritchie View Post
    Jak:

    Sorry for my dumb questions but I am interested in how you get your "sleep & shelter" down to 5lb? Also your pack is only 2 lbs. Is that because it is small & tight (weekend size in shops) or did you make your own, because the ones I see in catalogues for >weekend hikes are all 4lb & up.

    Do you have a stove or go with cold food?

    Do youy carry a water filter, or just rely on public water? I'll be in the Great Smoky park most of the time. I have a filter but is is heavy.

    Do you use a tent or just a tarp? Or do you stay in shelters?
    Food: for late spring I will go down to 1 pound per day, plus a pound. I am fit but overweight so I can afford to lose up to a pound a day in body fat while hiking in Spring. If you are fit and lean you will need more food, even in summer. In winter I bring 1.5 to 2.0 pounds per day, not that I burn more per day, just that I need to keep the furnace burning a little hotter at night.

    Sleep and shelter: I have a 3 pound synthetic bag, a 2 pound gortex bivy, a 10oz 72"x28" sleeping pad, and a 10oz poncho tarp w/ cordage and nails which is also my rain gear. So that is 6 pounds, but in late spring I can trim it down somehow, probably by leaving the bivy home, or maybe going with a shorter and narrower pad. I like to sleep under big spruce trees so the bivy and tarp combo works well, and no bivy in summer. I'm not really prepared for bad bugs but haven't run into bad bugs yet. Matter of time.

    Pack: I had a 6 pound pack and finally gave it away to a friend to try to get him hiking. I got a Go-Lite Jam2. I like it. It just happened to be the first ultralight pack I had a chance to try on in a store when I was in the States. I like it but also like the ULA stuff. In summer on shorter hikes I get by with an even smaller and lighter pack. The Jam2 is even good for winter skiing and short 3-4 day trips, but not for 7 day long winter trips unless I bring a toboggan, which I haven't done yet. 7 days in winter means prepare for 10, and thus greater risk of -25F nights, and so much more food and clothes and sleep gear. Still no tent. 3-4 days I can go by weather forecasts, but still include a bailout plan.

    I usually bring a Kelly Kettle and mug and spoon and maybe a pot, and sometimes I play around with a hobo stove and leave the Kelly Kettle home. Food is mostly oats, with skim milk powder, sunflower seeds, currants, honey, tea, and maybe lentils and veggie soup mixes for soup at night. Sometimes jerky to chew on something. 7 days some jerky for sure.

    I hike in Southern New Brunswick Canada, on the Bay of Fundy. Many large fast streams along the Fundy Footpath without much human traffic or agriculture nearby so its relatively safe to drink, so I usually rely on just boiling most of the water and drinking it cold occassionally. I used to bring aqua-mira but now I don't. If in doubt I boil and have tea. I would suggest you try aqua-mira. You can premix it into a small pastic bottle like a wedding bottle 5-10 minutes before you hit your water source and then dump it into your water and keep hiking and then stop and have your drink 10 or 15 minutes later when you get to the top of the next hill or whatever.

  13. #13
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    I would stick with your 5 pound pack for now and focus on all the other stuff. Just pretend the pack is 2 pounds, and then later when you sort out all the other stuff in a years time you will have a better idea what 1-2 pound pack you want.

    Keep the tent for car camping. Go with a poncho/tarp and bivy, or a tarp. You can get a poncho/tarp cheap and make a bivy or get a gortex army surplus bivy. Blue foam pad, extra wide and long, works well with a bivy or tarp. No ground sheet. Takes up alot of volume but its cheap and warm and light and makes setup really easy. You can always cut it down later.

    Clothing can be really cheap. Nice thing about clothes is you will eventually wear them. Still, don't buy too much and don't buy anything expensive. If you do get anything expensive, maybe a really good sleeping bag, on sale.

    I would love to learn to DIY a pair of hiking shoes or mocs. Save moocho $$$.

    Cheers.

  14. #14
    Registered User SMSP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    This is my pack: http://ula-equipment.com/catalyst.asp

    I used to wear boots but now I wear trail runners because they are indeed lighter. When you're carrying a pack and picking your feet up and putting them back down for 8-10 hours at a stretch boots get heavy.

    I use trekking poles only if I'm wearing a pack. IMO, Black Diamond ellipse w/ fliplock is the best in this department.

    You'll figure it out, probably by buying everything 3-4 times like a lot of us.

    I tell my friends I've got enough gear to take me and 3 people I don't like hiking.
    Glad to see I am not the only one with all the extra gear. At the rate I'm going, I'll be able to outfit a Boy Scout Troop soon!

    SMSP

  15. #15
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    Looking at packs in a camping store or catalog, they have "overnight packs," "weekend packs," and "extended expedition packs." They get much larger and heavier as you go up the scale. All of this seems very reasonable to a newbie -- of course a longer trip requires a much larger and heavier pack.

    Don't believe them. You need the same gear for an overnight trip that you do for a thru-hike. The only difference is food -- for a thru-hike you'll carry several days of food at a time, but that's not enough to require some 7000-cubic-inch 8 pound load monster pack.

    For a beginning AT hiker, a pack in the range of 4000 cubic inches (60 liters) is fine. There are many good, internal frame packs in that capacity range that weigh 3 pounds or less. To an experienced long distance hiker, 60 liters is HUGE, while to a beginner (or a sales clerk at the outdoor mart) 60 liters is too small. The key is this -- a 60 liter pack will force you to take less stuff, while still being large enough to carry what you need plus some extras.
    Ken B
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  16. #16

    Default shoes

    [QUOTE=JAK;1048710].
    I would love to learn to DIY a pair of hiking shoes or mocs. Save moocho $$$.

    Try this site, can always use another project for winter

    http://www.simpleshoemaking.com/index.htm

  17. #17
    Registered User Bags4266's Avatar
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    Maybe its me but, footwear isn't were I would choose to save money. You could be like the barefoot sister's and not wear any at all and really save.

  18. #18
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    Great stuff there. I like the idea of combining knitting or crochet type work with leather work. Much food for thought. Not sure of best way to make the soles with some grip or tread as well as some strength and cushion for rocks and roots. I can see adding something between two layers of leather, or perhaps leather and knitwork, for cushion. Also I can see how leather alone provides fair grip or tread maybe, especially on snow and rock, but I haven't experienced it. I'm not afraid to use some modern materials either, but I would like to try traditional animal hide and see just how it works. Different ways to cure and treat it also I suppose. I suppose it would have naturally picked up spruce gum and pine tar just through use.

    More food for though here...
    http://www.arrowmoc.com/

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bags4266 View Post
    Maybe its me but, footwear isn't were I would choose to save money. You could be like the barefoot sister's and not wear any at all and really save.
    I think I went a whole summer without shoes once when I was 10. Not so easy on gravel when you are 200 pounds, 220 with a pack.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Looking at packs in a camping store or catalog, they have "overnight packs," "weekend packs," and "extended expedition packs." They get much larger and heavier as you go up the scale. All of this seems very reasonable to a newbie -- of course a longer trip requires a much larger and heavier pack.

    Don't believe them. You need the same gear for an overnight trip that you do for a thru-hike. The only difference is food -- for a thru-hike you'll carry several days of food at a time, but that's not enough to require some 7000-cubic-inch 8 pound load monster pack.

    For a beginning AT hiker, a pack in the range of 4000 cubic inches (60 liters) is fine. There are many good, internal frame packs in that capacity range that weigh 3 pounds or less. To an experienced long distance hiker, 60 liters is HUGE, while to a beginner (or a sales clerk at the outdoor mart) 60 liters is too small. The key is this -- a 60 liter pack will force you to take less stuff, while still being large enough to carry what you need plus some extras.
    Well said Cranky.

    The problem the manufacturers have is that people, in general, will simply not pay as much for something that is made with less material or a lighter weight of material. You can still get cheap light nylon wind jackets, and to myself they are worth far more than a heavy "Far West" type jacket, but I still won't pay much more than $20 for one. So I can't blame the manufacturers or outfitters. But I don't give them much business either. I've just grown to accept that I live in a different world.

    Really not all that different in the natural world though. The primitive nomad would not expect to walk into a forest and find every tree or rock or animal suited for what he needs. You have to pick and choose. Same with the modern-day post-industrial hunter-gatherer-scavenger-nomad.

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