View Full Version : weighting???

10-30-2003, 03:27
So everyone is always talking bout wieght and lossin it. How does everyone weight their gear? I was using a postage scale for small stuff and my local farm store for the heavier stuff. Well what do yaunz use?

10-30-2003, 03:33
I use a simple spring fishing scale.. Max weight is 25lb, but tested against a digital scale, it's more than accurate enough for weighing gear.. Cost about $5 at Walmart..

10-30-2003, 12:10
go to the grocery store, pretend like your shoppin for produce and sneak your stuff onto the hookscale :) Hopefully you won't gross anyone out who's trying to weigh their apples and peaches.

I weighed my foodbag on a scale that the deli/grocery in Glascow had in the back.

But really i used like a little old triple beam balance type of thing. They also sell those little scales that measure ounces for measuring or cooking i think.

10-30-2003, 12:13
I purchased a small postal scale from OfficeMax for about $8 that weighs items in half-ounce increments up to about 6 pounds. For anything heavier I just use the bathroom scale and subtract my weight.

10-30-2003, 12:22
We used a digital cooking scale purchased at Target for around $10. Get down to the tenth of the ounce.

10-30-2003, 13:24
Just an approach I tried ...once I had my scale of choice (small postal scale from Staples). I set up an Excel spread sheet and listed out each of my items from the tent right down to the smallest miscellaneous item. I listed the item on the left column and the individual weight next to it on the right. The next column was for "quantity", since I carried more than one of certain items. I built the formulas in the far right column to calculate the total weight per item and then at the bottom I created a formula that kept a running total. What a shocker that was ...

Most of us have a pretty good idea of what our backpacks and gear/clothing weigh, but if you want to get "real" give this a try. Amazing how different the true total packweight can differ from our up front "guesstimates" once we add all those "near weightless" items to the final load.

Anyhow ...just a suggestion for those out there who would like to get a handle on their total packweight without having to pack and weigh, re-pack and weigh and so on in order to get to the final answer.

10-30-2003, 15:19
Here is my XLS (http://home.columbus.rr.com/yellowjacket/GearListAndWeights2.xls) (no support provided!!). Put an "x" under the "P" column if the item is in your Pack, put an "x" in the "B" column if the item is on your Body.

Items weights are entered in grams (the column after the item name) but displayed in oz (and in pounds in the summary section). So, if you have weighed something in oz, you'll need to us a bit of T&E to figure out what it weighs in grams so you can add it to the sheet.

Adjust the per day on person water and food weights as needed.

TJ aka Teej
10-30-2003, 17:09
I got on the bathroom scale twice. Once nekkid, once with all my gear, 5 days of food, and full water bottles. Then did the math. Boots, bubble gum, baseball cap and all: about 35 pounds. I don't really care that a half empty lighter will save me .257 grams anymore than I care that three days of mud, dirt, rain and sweat soaked gear adds two pounds. :D

10-30-2003, 17:23
Some of the Post Offices near us have scales in the lobby that I use. Also, on occassion I have used the scales at the UPS Store nearby.

10-31-2003, 04:09
thanx all for the replies. I'll just keep adding it all up. Hope to shave a few items off before I get on the trail.

The Weasel
10-31-2003, 11:02
Perhaps much of this about gear-weighting will be redundant...I hope not. But it's the sum of a number of years going to the full process of ultralighting.

(1) I go through my separate bins of gear (clothing, cooking, repair, etc) and pull out what I think I need.

(2) I create a spreadsheet before a serious trek (once created, they can be duplicated for other treks). My main one is for the AT and long (100+ segments of it). I break it down by categories, and I sort of like Colin Fletcher's approach ("Bedroom," "Kitchen" and so on). Then I list everything I think I will need. If I have previously determined an item's weight, I put it on the spreadsheet. This is a "FSO" list, with everything I'm carrying "from the skin out." That means clothing, boots, pocket contents, hat, glasses, hearing aid (eh?), rings, anything. THAT IS CRITICAL. LEAVE NOTHING OUT!

(3) If it is a "container" item (e.g. water or fuel), I fill the container as full as I will be carrying it. Just because a container says it holds "20 oz" or "1 liter" is inaccurate, often by as much as 10%, so before I list a weight, I make sure of it. As for fuel, I have determined my daily fuel usage (when I use my white gas stove) to be 1.6 oz/full day. I don't load more than I will use (with one reserve day).

(4) I inspect every single piece of gear for what weight can be removed. That means shortening shoe laces so that I only have what is needed to tie them, removing clothing labels, and so forth. I put all these "saved weight" items in a small bag until I am done; weighing them is very satisfying. Many laugh that I cut the labels out of my clothing; when they are part of a pile that (with a lot of other stuff) amounts to a "saved" pound, it is a nice feeling.

(5) NOW weighing happens. Postal scales, in many post office lobbies, are ideal, although I try to go later in the evening to avoid strange looks and causing lines! Food scales are generally inaccurate, but better than nothing. Bathroom scales are, for this process, worthless. Regardless, it is CRITICAL to weigh each item, and to do so with some precision. Otherwise, you have no true idea how to make comparisons ("Do I take my comfy Thermarest, at 2.2 pounds, or my lightweight Ridgerest at .7 pounds?"). This weighing MUST include everything; most people don't realize that, for instance, glasses, wristwatch, and some jewelry can weigh one pound and sometimes more.

(6) Everything is then listed on the spreadsheet, and totalled.

(7) The same process then occurs for food.

This may sound pretty obsessive-compulsive, and for me it is pretty hard, but it's just a critical discipline. The difference between 22 and 25 pounds doesn't seem like much, for instance, when you're sitting in your living room, or even when you take a practice hike for a few miles. But trust me, folks, you do EXACTLY this kind of listing in your head every blasted moment when you're going up some damn PUD at mile 8 at 4:00 pm some day, saying to yourself, "I gotta go lighter, I gotta go further." The choice then is to throw something away - and waste the money - or carry it - and waste your body.

Matt Pincham
10-31-2003, 13:04
That Spreadsheet's pretty useful tlbj6142. Thanks.

Unfortunately I'm really not a perfectionist so although I'll be buying lightweight clothing, pack, tent etc I wont be doing such things as cutting off tags. I understand that you are all (well most on here) experienced but I really don't think that the human body is such an efficient weighing machine that it would notice a saved pound.

I'll hike the trail, and I'll always think my pack's heavy, because it always will be. I'll be perfectly happy to be carrying 40 pounds but obviously will aim lower. I just don't have the cash to splash around on major lightweight gear!

And Weasel, dude you're obsessed :D

10-31-2003, 15:24
Originally posted by Matt Pincham
I just don't have the cash to splash around on major lightweight gear!Looks like we need to start a thread on inexpensive lightweight gear lists. With a bit of luck, and a few sales, you can build a sub-15# AT gear list. That comes in under $500, if not $300.

This is definately something future thrus should understand. High dollar gear isn't really necessary.

Heck if you can use a sewing machine, you can probably build 80% of the higher dollar stuff (pack, bag, shelter, thermal layer, etc.) for less than $100.

I'll start a new thread on the subject, once I get a moment to define the "rules". In the meantime, check out the gear section in www.backpacking.net's forum. They have a thread there on Wal-Mart goodies and another on thift-store booty. Or something like that.

Lone Wolf
11-01-2003, 03:07
*** is a spreadsheet? You new hikers are to uptight with your weights, SPREADSHEETS, etc., etc., etc. *******, just backpack!:cool:

The Weasel
11-01-2003, 15:34
Matt ---

Well, I don't come to obsession easily...chuckle. I have to work at it, dude.

Over the course of a 10-20 miles weekender, I don't notice an extra pound or two. Of course, I'm probably only carryin 3-4 pounds of food, and maybe a day's worth of water. Fuel is nominal.

But trust me. When you're carrying 10 days worth of food and fuel, and especially if you're in one of those AT stretches (and they happen) where water is a bit scarce, you're loading about 20 pounds before you get dressed or put it in a pack. That's when that "extra pound" matters.

You don't mind it at first. Not for the first couple of days. But when your food is half gone, you're almost out of water, and its 3 PM with 5 miles and 1000' to deal with, damn! That pound matters.

Bill Bryson exaggerated a tad when he described people hurling gear down the side of the Springer approach trail from Ami Falls. But I've never seen so much good stuff as I did in the hiker boxes along the way, esp at Walasi Yi.

So carry what you want. But if you really thru hike the AT, you'll be an ultralighter by the time you hit Hot Springs. By the time you get to Damascus, you probably won't have the labels on your clothes...or what few of them you still carry.

The Weasel

TJ aka Teej
11-01-2003, 19:05
Originally posted by Matt Pincham
I really don't think that the human body is such an efficient weighing machine that it would notice a saved pound.

The body won't. But the obsessed mind will.
Pack fit, load placement, and body mechanics seem more important to how much can you carry in comfort than removing the label on your tee shirt does.

11-01-2003, 19:30
Make sure you weigh an item with its 'container' ie plastic bag, stuff sack, etc. sometimes we forget that.

11-02-2003, 18:00
this may seem obvious but also remember when looking at weights of sleepinh bags, that "fill weight" is not the actualy weight. It will weigh a good deal more.