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  1. #81

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    The main consideration when getting a lighter pack is making sure the base weight + consumables (which with UL often dwarf the base weight!) can be carried comfortably with the newer, lighter pack, which is probably designed for loads of 25 lbs or less. For instance, with my older-style Zpacks Arc Blast, I begin to "feel" the weight around 20 lbs and I'm pretty sure it would, for me, not be pleasant to carry at 25 lbs, although the heaviest load I've ever carried in it (total pack weight) was a tick over 20 lbs with 5 days food and 1 liter of water. However, with Zpacks' newer suspension on the Arc Haul (which is now the same on the Blast), 18 lbs feels like 10, such is the comfort... as long as I use the extra lumbar pad! And I've read some folks claim it is comfortable with far heavier loads, which might be necessary for water weight when hiking in deserts.

    The common advice for those just getting into UL is to get all the other gear first and then get the pack. While that's good advice, it is often ignored, but if someone using a 6 lb pack follows that progression they'll want to get a new pack because the typical UL load and UL volume are so much smaller that it's simply ridiculous to carry it in a heavy behemoth.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    lol, well I only go that fast when trying to keep up with 1azarus, and he's 65 (or soon to be, I think) — I couldn't manage his pace day after day!

    For me there is a direct and quite stark correlation between weight and comfort, and the difference between all-in UL now and trad heavy humping of ye olde dayes is like a horrendous, fitful night and bright, sunny day (and also cool and low humidity).
    A whole lot of disconnected random thoughts:

    cmoulder: Lighter is indeed more comfortable if you keep the function. I have zero regrets about replacing my old ALPS pack with the Granite Gear, or my old REI Half Dome with a TarpTent, or my Whisperlite and GSI cookset with a homemade alky stove and a Grease Pot. In each case the lighter option did everything that I wanted, and I happily kissed the heavier one good-bye. The lighter gear is surely much better for 3-season on-trail solo hiking. I've had a lot of fun with the heavy stuff, though. It still comes out for special occasions, because three-season on-trail solo hiking isn't all that I do. There are needs that the lightweight stuff doesn't meet.

    I live somewhere between your two extremes most of the time. I'm not an old-school heavy hauler. I was, once upon a time. Most of us old poops were.

    As I said before, my gear is a lot like what I see people Out There carrying. I see many more SUL'ers on this site than I ever do Out There.

    I'm getting close to where I would have either to start reworking entire systems or pay serious bucks to lighten up. There's an obvious opportunity, still, with that 3-season sleeping bag. I do want to get a lightweight quilt for summer. Nevertheless, I'm not ready, for instance, to go 1azarus's route and not bring a puffy in cooler weather, in favor of wearing a down quilt as a cloak plus a pair of down sleeves under a rain jacket. Or to sleep under a tarp most of the time. "Blessed is he that sleepeth behind bug netting, for he shall remain sane." And if I can't have real coffee, I'm not going.

    I carry my pack, so I know what it weighs. I just don't have a number to attach to it. I don't really need a number. I bring the gear I need. I have a reasonably good idea how far I can carry it and still have fun. That's the number that interests me. I go at my own pace. I calculate that in the unlikely event I were to attempt a thru-hike, my pace would be fast enough to finish in a hiking season. I've surprised myself on a two-week trip - by the end of it, I was going significantly faster than I'd planned. It's still not the pace of 1azarus, Malto or Just Bill. That's of concern to me only when I have one or more of them as hiking partners.

    I've tried and failed to keep up with 1azarus myself. On snowshoes, yet. It was a bit of a disaster. He had his gear tuned so finely that he couldn't slow down to my pace and stay warm, while there was no way that I could sustain his pace. And he didn't need snowshoes; he runs light over stuff that I wallow in. I'd wallow even if my pack were as light as his.

    Eliakases: My Granite Gear pack is less than half the empty weight of my daughter's Gregory. She wouldn't give up her Gregory for anything. She tells me that the comfort is worth it. She's got enough miles on it that I suppose she knows. It wouldn't be worth it to me. It isn't my shoulders and hips that complain first at the end of a long day, so I reckon that my pack is Good Enough for the load I carry in it. The Gregory is a great pack. It just isn't a great pack for me.

    In the end, nobody can decide for you what's the right pack weight for you. It's a weight that's light enough that you can carry it to where you want to go, and heavy enough to have the stuff you need to survive and enjoy the trip. The pack itself needs to be robust and comfortable enough that carrying it is comfortable at whatever weight you carry in it.

    Do I want to have a pack shakedown? I think my gear sees entirely too much bumping and shaking as it is.

    Right now, it's more the weight of Another Kevin that concerns me. I can stand to lighten up a lot more there than in the pack. (Easy solution. Hike more. Easier said than done. Life keeps getting in the way.)
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  3. #83
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Easier to eat less, than hike more.

  4. #84

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    Absolutely nothing there to disagree with, AK!

    In fact, after my initial flurry of weighing and recording everything in GearGrams — and I do continue to weigh new items and add them to the GG database — I hardly ever weigh my pack any more because I know what bits of kit I'll need for a particular hike and pack them, knowing that the total will be pretty darn light. Did a hike Sun-Mon-Tue in the Greylock area with 2 other UL-ers and none of us knew our exact pack weights, and didn't need to... we just know they're a helluva lot lighter than they used to be and that the fun factor is a lot higher.

    This time of the year my base weight is a bit under 8 lbs, and that's with total comfort. For me. I know... some folks want to carry a chair, camp shoes, jammies, full pillow with cover, plush full-length sleep mat, all manner of electronic gadgets, WG stove with pot, skillet and spatula, big honkin' hunting knife, hatchet, saw, etc etc, none of which fall into the NEED category. In the end it's true that knowing the exact pack weight is irrelevant, but simply applying the concept of "Want vs Need" will inevitably lighten the load considerably. But when the benefits are realized it is natural to be seduced into craving an even lighter weight kit and perhaps stray into stupid-light territory. I stopped before reaching that point.

    I, too, could stand to lose a few pounds in the belly, grrrrr... Working on that and am happy to report my pants are starting to fit much better, lol. Easier to control pack weight creep than body weight creep, alas.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    The common advice for those just getting into UL is to get all the other gear first and then get the pack. While that's good advice, it is often ignored, but if someone using a 6 lb pack follows that progression they'll want to get a new pack because the typical UL load and UL volume are so much smaller that it's simply ridiculous to carry it in a heavy behemoth.
    Agreed. I've got a ULA Circuit that's got more volume than I need now. Every time I pack it up there seems to be this large void of additional space that bugs me. I could save a pound or so on a smaller pack, but I've continued to carry the ULA. In terms of comfort, I'd love to replace it with a pack that has more airflow to the back.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by jemster View Post
    Yes. I went to REI . . . tried on the couple of light weight packs that REI sells and walked around the store with 35 lbs. Horrible !! Lastly, I tried on all the heavier packs with 45 lbs. and the Gregory just fit so well. . .
    One more thought that might be useful.
    I think there may be some false logic in the assumptions of your statement.

    I have not met an ultra-light pack that carries 35 lbs comfortably. The Gregory would probably cary 55 lbs more comfortably than most ultralight packs would cary 35 lbs.

    Here's the rub: If the most you ever cary is around 30 lbs for the first day after a big resupply, and most of the time you are carying 15-20 lbs, the ultralight bags will be signficantly more comfortable than the Gregory for almost all of your trip. Also, as you get more backpacking fit, it is more comfortable to cary whatever backpack you are using.

    If you get your base weight down to around 15 or 20 lbs, giving you room for 5 or more days of resuply while still staying below 30 lbs total weight, your logic for the benifit of the Gregory if flawed. But, if you are frequently carying over 30 lbs, then the Gregory is going to be the right bag for you.

    Ultimately, get out with whatever gear you have as often as you can because, even backpacking with less than great gear is far better than not backpacking.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Easier to eat less, than hike more.
    On the contrary. Eating less means I have less fun, hiking more means I have more fun. And if I could hike as much as I did even a year ago, I'd have absolutely no weight problem. I lost forty pounds in about three years of hiking regularly, with no other lifestyle changes. I've just been BUSY for the last couple of months, and nursing a foot problem before that.

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    For me. I know... some folks want to carry a chair, camp shoes, jammies, full pillow with cover, plush full-length sleep mat, all manner of electronic gadgets, WG stove with pot, skillet and spatula, big honkin' hunting knife, hatchet, saw, etc etc, none of which fall into the NEED category.
    I suppose. Of that list, I carry an extra baselayer and socks for sleeping (wet clothing is banned from the sleeping bag), a full-length mat (I'm tall, and my feet get cold), a camera (a high-end pocket model - I won't lug a DSLR, but a phone won't do it for me), and a smartphone with external battery (because as often as not, I'm there to map trails; the gadgets sure are lighter than an alidade, plane table, sighting rod and measuring wheel; and they don't take a four-person crew to operate). If I'm going to a less popular trail, I may bring a saw because I may want to clear fallen tree limbs from the trail. If I know I'll need to ford a river, I may bring water shoes. On a warm-season trip longer than an overnight, I'll bring a Tyvek sheet, a silnylon bucket and a piece of Sham-Wow, so that I can bathe away from a water source. The Tyvek is multifunctional: tent footprint, shelter ground sheet (I don't want my sleeping pad lying on the mouse poo), bath mat, doormat, place to sit, .... Oh, and my coffee filter is a must.

    I'm not a UL'er, I suppose, because I do bring that stuff. On the other hand, with the possible exception of medicines, first aid stuff, and repair supplies, everything I bring, I use. As far as I'm concerned, leaving any of my list out would be "stupid light" because it would be sacrificing the ability to do what I want to do (map and improve trails, photograph, sightsee, maybe even get clean once in a while) in favor of what I don't want to do (hike as far and as fast as possible). But that's for me. People are out there for different reasons.

    None of which addresses Eliakases's question. The answer to that is: You've picked a good pack. Stick with it if its extra carry comfort is worth the added weight. Only you can make that decision. But be aware of the temptation to overload a pack that's that cushy.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  8. #88
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    I recently tried on an women's Osprey Aura. It is super comfortable, too. Right now it is on sale at BlackCreek outfitters 20% off. Decisions, decisions. Yes, I am actually thinking about trading because of the weight reduction vs. the Gregory.

  9. #89
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jemster View Post
    I recently tried on an women's Osprey Aura. It is super comfortable, too. Right now it is on sale at BlackCreek outfitters 20% off. Decisions, decisions. Yes, I am actually thinking about trading because of the weight reduction vs. the Gregory.
    If its still comfortable and is lighter...you know...this is how we end up with 6 or 7 packs.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    If its still comfortable and is lighter...you know...this is how we end up with 6 or 7 packs.
    You only have six or seven?

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  11. #91
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    You only have six or seven?

    image.jpeg
    That even looks like my cat!

    I gave a couple packs to my kids to use

    seek outside Unaweep
    REI Flash 45
    SMD Fusion 50
    SMD Fusion 65
    Deuter 45+10
    LLBean 25 liter Daypack

    I gave my kids my Platypus pack. I never liked it, but it was cheap and came with a 3 liter big zip that I do like. I also gave them my REI Flash 25. It fits them better.

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Absolutely nothing there to disagree with, AK!

    In fact, after my initial flurry of weighing and recording everything in GearGrams — and I do continue to weigh new items and add them to the GG database — I hardly ever weigh my pack any more because I know what bits of kit I'll need for a particular hike and pack them, knowing that the total will be pretty darn light. Did a hike Sun-Mon-Tue in the Greylock area with 2 other UL-ers and none of us knew our exact pack weights, and didn't need to... we just know they're a helluva lot lighter than they used to be and that the fun factor is a lot higher.

    This time of the year my base weight is a bit under 8 lbs, and that's with total comfort. For me. I know... some folks want to carry a chair, camp shoes, jammies, full pillow with cover, plush full-length sleep mat, all manner of electronic gadgets, WG stove with pot, skillet and spatula, big honkin' hunting knife, hatchet, saw, etc etc, none of which fall into the NEED category. In the end it's true that knowing the exact pack weight is irrelevant, but simply applying the concept of "Want vs Need" will inevitably lighten the load considerably. But when the benefits are realized it is natural to be seduced into craving an even lighter weight kit and perhaps stray into stupid-light territory. I stopped before reaching that point.

    I, too, could stand to lose a few pounds in the belly, grrrrr... Working on that and am happy to report my pants are starting to fit much better, lol. Easier to control pack weight creep than body weight creep, alas.
    Whiteblaze is an interesting site in that so many individuals tend to defend their heavy, at least in my eyes, pack weights. TP is the extreme, I think, you know hauling in watermelons and a 5 season shelter in July. Most of us started out with heavy stuff, too much we didn't ever use and stuff we thought was cool. Overtime, we jettisoned most of it, invested in new materials and techniques and found a lower weight "happy place".

    Today I look at backpacking as a chance to minimize material things in our lives. How can I reasonably get by, not risk mine or anybody else's trip and still find a level of satisfaction and comfort. I realize every one has their balance point, after all HYOH is a real factor for anyone.

    I don't get the defensive, sometimes angry, postures when people are trying to help lower a pack weight. Seems weird especially a site that mainly focuses on thru hikers, where pack weight has real meaning.

  13. #93
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    For most of us, carrying lower pack weights is just part of a natural progression. Once you start down that path, it becomes second nature to look more critically at everything you carry. It starts with actually learning what you need and that takes experience, it's not really information a book can provide because you must have confidence in your gear. Once you can accurately define your needs, it's easier to remove "want" items.

    Usually most of us start out with lots of "What if" stuff and in the end we get rid of 90% of that, except for a small gear repair/first aid kit. By this point in our progression we have typically started weighing things and comparing options which meet our known needs. It's surprising how much weight can be saved from items which appear nearly identical. Two stuff sacks of the same size which look no different can be more than an ounce apart in weight, etcetera.

    Then you start looking critically at your big 3 items. Mine were silly heavy since we hiked with our 4 young children at the time. A Gregory Wind River which weighed a ridiculous 7+ pounds and carried 8,000 cu/in. of wants, what-ifs and food. Our tent was over 8 pounds and my synthetic 30* bag was around 3 pounds. That was 18 pounds for the big 3, when currently I'm around 4.25 pounds for those 3 items. My wife's gear choices followed the same progression.

    We've given up nothing in terms of comfort and we hike faster and farther in a day now in our fifties than we did in our thirties...
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  14. #94

    Default Gear: Weight vs. comfort

    My wife and I both use Gregory packs. She has the Diva 60 as well. A good weight saver for us was to get rid of the brain (the top pouch) as well as the straps and buckles associated with the brain.

  15. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    For most of us, carrying lower pack weights is just part of a natural progression. Once you start down that path, it becomes second nature to look more critically at everything you carry. It starts with actually learning what you need and that takes experience, it's not really information a book can provide because you must have confidence in your gear. Once you can accurately define your needs, it's easier to remove "want" items.

    Usually most of us start out with lots of "What if" stuff and in the end we get rid of 90% of that, except for a small gear repair/first aid kit. By this point in our progression we have typically started weighing things and comparing options which meet our known needs. It's surprising how much weight can be saved from items which appear nearly identical. Two stuff sacks of the same size which look no different can be more than an ounce apart in weight, etcetera.

    Then you start looking critically at your big 3 items. Mine were silly heavy since we hiked with our 4 young children at the time. A Gregory Wind River which weighed a ridiculous 7+ pounds and carried 8,000 cu/in. of wants, what-ifs and food. Our tent was over 8 pounds and my synthetic 30* bag was around 3 pounds. That was 18 pounds for the big 3, when currently I'm around 4.25 pounds for those 3 items. My wife's gear choices followed the same progression.

    We've given up nothing in terms of comfort and we hike faster and farther in a day now in our fifties than we did in our thirties...
    This is a great post that bears repeating. This is a natural course of progression for a lot if us that actually enjoy backpacking and are not looking for a once in a lifetime trip.

    When I read the OP believes there's a disparity between weight and comfort, it tells me they don't have enough time in the activity. I hate digging my heels in but I'd like the OP to revisit my post about making a trip to Mountain Crossings. They can waste hundreds of dollars or they can get good solid advice from the start.

  16. #96

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    I think you are good to go. As you get comfortable on the trail you'll get rid of more and more things. My base weight was around 16lbs leaving Springer, finished with it around 12-13lbs. Got rid of stove, pot, puffy, town clothes, and a few small things.


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  17. #97
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    Although I strongly prefer to pack lightly, I think it's very important to have a comfortable backpack (comfort is more important than weight, if you have to choose just one). If your Gregory pack is the only one that's been comfortable for you, then I'd go with that despite the weight (though I'd still shop around to see if there is something lighter and equally comfortable). I'd just be really careful with the weight of everything else so that your pack isn't too heavy to comfortably carry, and would avoid bringing any unnecessary items as well.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    If its still comfortable and is lighter...you know...this is how we end up with 6 or 7 packs.
    You must be new to bushwalking/hiking!
    "He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

  19. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by jemster View Post
    I am planning for a NOBO thru hike in 2017. This will be the biggest adventure ever for me. Trying so hard to keep my total pack weight down but every choice of gear seems to boil down to weight vs. comfort. Because I am older and achy in a couple areas, a little comfort is needed. So far my backpack, tent and sleeping gear weighs 12.5 pounds and most people say to keep it at 10 lbs. I spent ALOT of time picking these items based on comfort and function (Gregory Diva 60L pack, TarpTent Moment DW, Nemo 15 down Mens Salsa Bag, Klymit Static V pad).
    Am I already starting on a bad foot and doomed to overload my pack weight, or am I going to be Ok?
    Is it always the case that the more comfort you need the more weight there is or is there gear that fits in the middle somewhere?
    Please give advise and any tips you my have.
    Jemster is just my user name on here. Hope to land a trail name one day. Ol' retired Navy gal wanting one more adventure.
    Can you expand more on "bad foot"? This is more important than a few pounds in pack weight.

  20. #100
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    I think it was a figure of speech or I hope so.

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