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Russ979
01-27-2014, 17:54
I can't help but notice everyones pack is around 10-15 pounds base weight yet here I sit with both my pack and my girlfriends pack weighing around 20 each for our 2014 NOBO thru hike. After reviewing other peoples pack list it seems as though there is no one single item that is putting us so far over weight, just a lot of little items that are a couple of oz heavier. Only solution would be to buy almost entirely new gear for untold amounts of money which we don't have. I know things will change once we start and hopefully the packs shed a few pounds but I'm hoping there are more people out there than just the girlfriend and I with 20-25 pound base weight packs.

GoodGerman
01-27-2014, 18:01
Backpacking forums are a bubble.

Once you hit the trail, you'll notice that only the minority of hikers actually have a base weight around 15 lbs.
Make sure you two are comfortable with your packs and what you carry. That's pretty much all that matters :)

hikerboy57
01-27-2014, 18:14
you'll be fine with a 20 lb base weight, and no doubt you'll shed a bit of it once you discover what you really dont need to carry.food and water weight go a long way towards reducing pack weight. most people take too much of both.

MuddyWaters
01-27-2014, 18:22
I can't help but notice everyones pack is around 10-15 pounds base weight yet here I sit with both my pack and my girlfriends pack weighing around 20 each for our 2014 NOBO thru hike. After reviewing other peoples pack list it seems as though there is no one single item that is putting us so far over weight, just a lot of little items that are a couple of oz heavier. Only solution would be to buy almost entirely new gear for untold amounts of money which we don't have. I know things will change once we start and hopefully the packs shed a few pounds but I'm hoping there are more people out there than just the girlfriend and I with 20-25 pound base weight packs.


Dang, thats sad to hear.
Well, no way in hell youll make it now.
Bummer.
Your in a horrible spot.
The people with the lighter packs will make fun of you, and the people with the heavier packs will consider you outcasts.
No one will want to be your friends or hike with you.
Sorry to hear about this, but it happens.
Guess it wasnt meant to be.

GreatDane
01-27-2014, 18:32
Thank you, MuddyWaters, for putting my own angst about pack weight into perspective!

1azarus
01-27-2014, 18:43
this is the most amazing thread because everyone who has viewed it so far has commented -- that is 4 for 4 -- now 5 for 5, with my wanting to keep the record going.

russ, you are so right -- replacing stuff is a losing battle at this point. and everyone's advice has been right on -- even muddy water's effort to get you to laugh with great dane. it really isn't a big deal unless your pack is rediculously heavy -- which it is not, by any means. you should just plan on replacing stuff as it wears out with lighter stuff -- that would probably be stuff you haven't even heard of yet! ...and hikerboy is right on, too -- you will drop some weight just by figuring out what you don't need, especially as the weather gets warmer... and as you get better at carrying the right amount of water for that day's situation.

lonehiker
01-27-2014, 18:52
You will find that you are lighter than most that start the trail. Many of the people you are talking about that are at 10lbs are just cyber hikers....... At 20lbs you don't even have to lose any weight unless you find that you are taking something totally useless.

Russ979
01-27-2014, 19:42
Glad we're not the only ones but week after week of people bragging about 10 pound ultra light packs makes you think you're the dunce in the corner or that you are that person who will have a story about them passing from hiker to hiker "O man, we saw this one couple.... I don't know what the hell they were thinking" type thing. Also, I don't know what everyones career is but on an EMT and teacher salary there is no chance of buying 600$ 1lbs sleeping bags, just ain't happeneing.

It's a shame about the friends MuddyWaters

MuddyWaters
01-27-2014, 19:48
It's a shame about the friends MuddyWaters

You can probably overcome it.
Hikers are like stray dogs. Share some food and youve got a friend for life.

hikerboy57
01-27-2014, 20:11
Glad we're not the only ones but week after week of people bragging about 10 pound ultra light packs makes you think you're the dunce in the corner or that you are that person who will have a story about them passing from hiker to hiker "O man, we saw this one couple.... I don't know what the hell they were thinking" type thing. Also, I don't know what everyones career is but on an EMT and teacher salary there is no chance of buying 600$ 1lbs sleeping bags, just ain't happeneing.

It's a shame about the friends MuddyWatersthe obsession with pack weight is a bit ridiculous at times.yes, lighter is better, and you trade some comfort for a lighter load, but for every person that balance of comfort and weight is gonna be different.
i met a guy a day before i hit damascus that had started sobo the previous septmeber with a 120 lb pack(with his winter gear) and was down to a mere 70lbs. with just 450 miles to finish. i was carrying less than 20lbs at the time, and we both looked at each other , knowing full well that the other one was "doing it wrong".he couldnt believe how small my pack was(i'm not u.l, i use an atmos50 and my base weight is around 16 lbs for 3 seasons). he asked me if i carried food. i said yeah, but i'm only a day away from resupply and i generally carry about 1.5lbs/day. he told me he carried 5lbs a day, and i laughed, i said you need to, you're carrying 3 times as much weight as me." we both had a good laugh. who was i to criticize a guy who'd already hikes some 1600 miles with his 70 lb pack. maybe he was the one who was doing it right all along.
ask tipi about pack weight

rocketsocks
01-27-2014, 20:14
After reviewing other peoples pack list it seems as though there is no one single item that is putting us so far over weight, just a lot of little items that are a couple of oz heavier.
...and as my friend "Bird Brain" says "This is an area where your supposed to have fun....so have fun with it" I do!

sseldovia
01-27-2014, 20:51
Man, I know the feeling. I'm also at about 20 base now, and it is all the little things that add up. I'm sure I'll ditch some week 1. We can do it! I've never dreamed of getting to 10-15 base weight.

Teacher & Snacktime
01-28-2014, 00:48
I only obsess about pack weight when I'm carrying it.

4eyedbuzzard
01-28-2014, 02:35
Back in the 1970's and even earlier, people thru-hiked with base weights TWICE what yours is. And amazingly, completion rates were about the same. I think you'll be fine and likely lighter than many. I've typically been around 17 to 18 lbs on section hikes the last few years. Regarding UL/SUL, lately I've been "playing" around with an almost exact 10 pound base weight in a smaller day pack - but only for 2 night hikes AND only at temps above 32F AND only near enough my vehicle where there is backup gear. Also, some of the SUL gear is quite minimalist as well, and just because it's available doesn't mean it's best suited to any given person's purpose, skill, or especially comfort level. I think it would be very difficult to get under 15 lbs for a thruhike given starting temperatures plus some of the additional gear that must be carried on a thru vs a short section (as you noted all little things like toenail clippers, meds, extra batteries, more toothpaste, more TP, more . . . etc, etc) and the need for a pack to fit it all including 5 days volume of food.

George
01-28-2014, 03:36
at 15 years old I started a school trip in the smokies with 65 lbs- I weighed about 105 - still had a good time

aficion
01-28-2014, 06:01
In high school our group, which included several female sophomores weighing around 100 lbs, we toted 40-50 lb packs 50 miles in 2 days, hiking from Table Rock Mountain parking lot to the summit of Mount Mitchell. This included traversing Linville Gorge via the Pinch In Trail which is straight up for a mile or so, some bushwhacking off of Dobson's Knob and up Woods Mountain, and orienteering with map and compass for the first time. We had a blast! Hope you do too.:)

aficion
01-28-2014, 06:14
You can probably overcome it.
Hikers are like stray dogs. Share some food and youve got a friend for life.

and a lighter pack!

sadlowskiadam
01-28-2014, 09:47
I started my 2013 thru hike at 16 lbs base (26 lbs total), and I was definitely on the lighter side. Your 20 lbs base will be about average for starters, and it will get lighter as you hike because (1) you will figure out what you don't need and send it home, and (2) by the time summer comes around, you can send home your winter clothes and gear. Here is a really good site that I used to determine my gear and clothes: http://theathiker.com/hiking-gear/

q-tip
01-28-2014, 10:57
My first AT pack was 38 lbs. Now it is 15 lbs base, 24 totally loaded. I cut it down literally ounces at a time. I have a number of extensive gear lists with costs and weights. If interested, send me a PM with your email address and I will forward, Good Luck.

Dogwood
01-28-2014, 11:13
Don't sweat the boastful condescending I'm holier than though lighter wt gear carrying hikers. It's your hike. I strongly doubt any of those bragging about such base wts started that way anyhow. They prolly built up to it. We're all on an infinite hiking evolutionary timeline and each of us has to happily come to terms where we currently are as hikers while still not ignoring the potential for forward progress. Here's what happens. Some who are more evolved w/ their hiking kits look down on others who they think aren't as evolved forgetting that someone is even more evolved than them.:) Gear really isn't always as important to hiking as some make it always seem to be. When you think gear is all important you tend to prioritize it over everything else pertaining to hiking, sometimes even hiking itself. In my experience some of these types of braggarts are the ones who do the least amount of hiking.

If you like I have a slightly used $600 sleeping bag I'll sell ya for $599 on a monthly installment basis. :D Wanna trade EMT services and teaching me French for the sleeping bag? It's super duper extra special Space Age titanium technology Cuben mega light. You just have to have it to enjoy a hike. No doubt about it. :D

RED-DOG
01-28-2014, 11:39
Don't worry about it you will lose weight ( pack/body ) as you go along you will learn what you need and don't need very quickly, but Stop at Mountains Crossing ( Neels gap ) and get their shack down treatment it helps out a lot, they are very knowlegable.

Nuggz
01-28-2014, 12:54
I've been moving toward an Ultra light setup for about a year. I'm at about 15 lbs right now for my winter weight and I couldn't imagine going any lighter. There is a sweet spot between weight and comfort. For everyone it's different. If I shed anymore weight, I lose comfort. In fact, I'm probably going to swap out a few pieces of my UL gear for my tried and tried stuff I've used for the past 5 years.

max patch
01-28-2014, 13:01
Back in the day I left Springer with 50 pounds and got it down to 45 by Damascus. You'll be fine don't sweat it. You'll reach a point when you are resupplying and see a 5 pound rotisserie chicken and won't think twice about throwing it in your pack for supper than first nite outta town.

bamboo bob
01-28-2014, 13:12
When you get the idea of what you need down in terms of gear most reductions require spending a lot of money per ounce to make a difference. You can get a two pound back down to one pound with money. My base weigh is 19 pounds. I dosn't feel much different if I add 11 pound of food and water. If I hike out with 30 pounds on my 240 pound body I can only be impressed with the 110 pound women I meet with the same pack weight.

evyck da fleet
01-28-2014, 15:42
Don't worry about the weight as long as it's not uncomfortable. My base was 25 lbs and I usually left town near 40 lbs after 5 days of food and water. You'll meet a lot of people that get to their lower base weight by not bringing winter or spare clothes, by sending their tent home, who'll ask to see your map/guide book or if you've got any extra food etc because they wanted to get to a specific weight. But every once in a while you will actually meet experienced hikers in that weight range who know what they're doing and have their gear dialed in.

Dogwood
01-28-2014, 15:47
Don't worry about it you will lose weight ( pack/body ) as you go along you will learn what you need and don't need very quickly, but Stop at Mountains Crossing ( Neels gap ) and get their shack down treatment it helps out a lot, they are very knowlegable.

Pilgrim, at the Saint's Dahonega Hikers Hostel in 2006 gave all of us who wanted him to good gear shake downs as well.

Malto
01-28-2014, 16:11
You will be an outcast! There was only one hiker that had a base weight higher than ten pounds. And none of the other hikers would let him play their hiker games. Actually, I would be surprised if you meet more than a couple AT thrus that had UL base weights.

Russ979
01-28-2014, 18:30
When you get the idea of what you need down in terms of gear most reductions require spending a lot of money per ounce to make a difference. You can get a two pound back down to one pound with money. My base weigh is 19 pounds. I dosn't feel much different if I add 11 pound of food and water. If I hike out with 30 pounds on my 240 pound body I can only be impressed with the 110 pound women I meet with the same pack weight.

I do figure at a certain point adding another 5 pounds won't make much of a difference in how it feels, I mean you're still carrying a small child on your back either way. I did assume I would rather have a heavier pack and be comfortable sleeping/cooking/etc than be super light and freeze at night or go hungry.

GoodGerman
01-28-2014, 18:39
The season is important too.

If you cherry pick your time frame you can save a lot of weight.
That is probably the reason why you won't find a lot of ultra lighters in deep winter.

jtap0204
01-28-2014, 23:27
I can't help but notice everyones pack is around 10-15 pounds base weight yet here I sit with both my pack and my girlfriends pack weighing around 20 each for our 2014 NOBO thru hike. After reviewing other peoples pack list it seems as though there is no one single item that is putting us so far over weight, just a lot of little items that are a couple of oz heavier. Only solution would be to buy almost entirely new gear for untold amounts of money which we don't have. I know things will change once we start and hopefully the packs shed a few pounds but I'm hoping there are more people out there than just the girlfriend and I with 20-25 pound base weight packs.

Man, My GF and I are both sitting at about 20lbs too. Not too worry my friend.

Migrating Bird
01-29-2014, 08:13
Just long shot, but maybe it will help. As two of you are hiking together, really look for any redundancies which may be eliminated by sharing.

Drybones
01-29-2014, 09:45
Glad we're not the only ones but week after week of people bragging about 10 pound ultra light packs makes you think you're the dunce in the corner or that you are that person who will have a story about them passing from hiker to hiker "O man, we saw this one couple.... I don't know what the hell they were thinking" type thing. Also, I don't know what everyones career is but on an EMT and teacher salary there is no chance of buying 600$ 1lbs sleeping bags, just ain't happeneing.

It's a shame about the friends MuddyWaters

You only see those with 10 lb base weight on this web site, not on the trail. At 20 lb base weight you'll be lighter than 70% of those you meet on the trail. For me, water planning was a key to keeping weight down. I carried a 24 oz Smartwater bottle and a 1-liter Platypus to use if needed, which is rarely, if ever, needed for long dry sections. Drink as much as possible at every water source, fill the 24 oz bottle, know where the next source is and have all the water drank before you reach the next source.

mountain squid
01-29-2014, 10:34
Also, I don't know what everyones career is but on an EMT and teacher salary there is no chance of buying 600$ 1lbs sleeping bags, just ain't happeneing.You say that now, but if your first 3-4 days are unbearable, you might change your tune upon arrival to Mountain Crossings (http://www.mountaincrossings.com/aboutus.asp). Maybe . . . maybe not. Fact is many hikers, spend alot of money to continue their hike.

I would suggest scrutinizing each piece of gear to determine if you really need it. As you have already noted, alot of little items add up quickly. Some of which might be redundant or unnecessary. You might also post your gear list for others to scrutinize. If it is possible to shed a pound or two beforehand, why not?

With food and water it sounds like you will be close to 40 pounds. I would guesstimate that 40 pounds is probably about average for starting out. I've seen much heavier and much lighter, as well.

Good Luck and Have Fun!


See you on the trail,
mt squid

read some observations (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?14493-observations-from-fs42-(advice-for-first-week-on-trail)&highlight=) thread for additional observations

faxanadu
02-03-2014, 20:54
A buddy and i did a 27 mile slack pack from Hump Mountain back to Greasy Creek with slack packs. I had recently bought one of those silnylon sea to summit day packs that fold up into themselves smaller than a fist. Honestly, after that day ... i was convinced lighter is better. We crushed those miles in about 11 hours and felt like a million bucks doing it.

If i did it over again, i would seriously buy one of those camelbaks thats about the size of a school backpack and use that. I wouldn't even bring a stove ... since warm food really wasn't all that to me. I would definitely just keep two days of food on me... getting a little hungry isn't that big of a deal... i mean if i really wanted I could be eating a burger within half a day if a tried.

gunner76
02-03-2014, 21:06
Losing pounds is easy

Losing ounces is harder

Losing grams is expensive

Problem is when people talk about their base weight, they are never comparing apples to apples
What packs are we comparing, shelters, clothing, cook gear, conditions we are using the gear in ect ect

Just go with what you have and when you get back you will know what can leave behind next time.

And most important...have fun

robin31
02-08-2014, 22:09
I'm around 20 lbs myself but it will drop significant lyrics after after Mt. Rogers. Don't sweat it. :-) and if anyone says anything about your pack being too "heavy" tell them to kiss your ass. It's usually the ones who have the 8 lb base weight and try to yogi everyone else's supplies. Have fun!! Maybe I'll see u out there.

Malto
02-08-2014, 22:47
I'm around 20 lbs myself but it will drop significant lyrics after after Mt. Rogers. Don't sweat it. :-) and if anyone says anything about your pack being too "heavy" tell them to kiss your ass. It's usually the ones who have the 8 lb base weight and try to yogi everyone else's supplies. Have fun!! Maybe I'll see u out there.

can I borrow your stove? :)

robin31
02-09-2014, 00:53
Exactly ;-)

Valley Girl
02-09-2014, 09:13
My base weight is well over a hundred pounds....oh opps you all are speaking of pack weight not packed on weight!

If I can keep my base weight under 25lbs. I will be happy.

Wolf - 23000
02-09-2014, 09:47
Russ979,

I would not worry about it. Many hikers often talk about their great plans and how light they are going, only to find themselves freezing to death down in Georgia. Don't worry about what others are carrying. After a few weeks, most hikers change out their gear. Besides if your hiking as a couple, couples always carry more than single hikers. In 25,000 miles of backpacking, I have never met a couple that I consider as hiking lightweight.

Wolf

Del Q
02-09-2014, 09:58
As a section hiker, early on I was bringing too many clothes and had heavier gear. You are right, lighter gear costs $$$

Only suggestion would be clothes and making some hard decisions on what you can do WITHOUT. Example, you dont really need a knife, a thru hiker I ran into was using a single edge razor blade. Another area for weight, 1st aid kit, need duct tape and antibiotic ointment.

WB is an amazing resource plus you might find some cheap gear before you leave, most have closet's full.

Once you get to warmer weather pack weight will decline.

Busky2
02-09-2014, 10:32
I was sub 20 with a custom made pack but was NOT comfortable, not at all. I made a trip to EMS and REI and Dick's... and you get the point. I looked at and tried every pack that would meet my needs, Guess what ? I went heavier, ya I said it, and I don't care who knows it! It was this additional two (2) pounds of pure pack weight that allows me to add extra miles to my day BECAUSE MY WORN OUT BUTT FEELS BETTER LONGER. I can carry more, for longer and further than I could trying to lighten up. There are areas that one can and some where one should not lighten up. If it feels OK forget the numbers and enjoy yourselves, remember numbers don't hike.

Danl
02-09-2014, 10:58
I only wish I could get down that light. I am more worried about the weight around my midriff. Main problem with me is bigger clothes equals more weight, I cannot find a pack that fits my large frame that is comfortable to carry that weighs a pound and is durable, and as with a lot of others is cheap enough to replace should I have to. I have 26 lbs to start no food or water. Last year in Georgia I started with 7 days of food and my pack weight was 47 lbs. I feel blessed this year. I have shaved some weight and I have a different re-supply plan so that I will maybe carry 7 days of food only once or twice. I will also send home some more weight within the first month of my hike this year depending on the weather. My feet are doing a lot better since it has been three years since surgery. I am sure, if you were going alone, that your pack would weigh a lot more. Some of the things I learned last year that helped shave weight, you do not need town clothes (wear your rain suit while laundering), An air mattress that gets a leak in the middle of the night is no fun (I am taking a closed cell), I did buy a lighter stove, swapped out my Katahdyn for aquamira, and some items will be going in a bounce box. Don't worry, be happy. I saw a lot of equipment in shelters and hiker boxes the first 100 miles.

RockDoc
02-09-2014, 20:36
As others have said, the web does not represent reality.
A 20 lb base weight is extremely good. You'll see a lot of huge packs on the actual trail.

swjohnsey
02-09-2014, 21:40
A 20 pound base weight is not extremely good. I started with about 18 lbs which included 3 days food and quart of water. ULA can and will make a pack for just about any size human being. I had everything I needed.

john1
02-09-2014, 23:25
i hiked last year with 41 lbs went down to 31 at Neals gap could not tell any difference, starting again this march, not much i can do with out, hope i can get to 20 lbs to start out my pack wt is 5 lbs empty if i get to 20 lbs i will be happy. hope you have a good hike happy trails

CarlZ993
02-09-2014, 23:41
the obsession with pack weight is a bit ridiculous at times.yes, lighter is better, and you trade some comfort for a lighter load, but for every person that balance of comfort and weight is gonna be different.
i met a guy a day before i hit damascus that had started sobo the previous septmeber with a 120 lb pack(with his winter gear) and was down to a mere 70lbs. with just 450 miles to finish. i was carrying less than 20lbs at the time, and we both looked at each other , knowing full well that the other one was "doing it wrong".he couldnt believe how small my pack was(i'm not u.l, i use an atmos50 and my base weight is around 16 lbs for 3 seasons). he asked me if i carried food. i said yeah, but i'm only a day away from resupply and i generally carry about 1.5lbs/day. he told me he carried 5lbs a day, and i laughed, i said you need to, you're carrying 3 times as much weight as me." we both had a good laugh. who was i to criticize a guy who'd already hikes some 1600 miles with his 70 lb pack. maybe he was the one who was doing it right all along.
ask tipi about pack weight
That must have been 'Sherpa Chief.' I ran into him @ Hurricane Shelter. Monster pack. White gas stove. Bragged about his pack weight. Glad I wasn't carrying it. Yikes! HYOH.