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Thread: Pack weight

  1. #1
    Registered User Lazy Maintenance Man's Avatar
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    Default Pack weight

    As my start date of 3/12 creeps closer, I find myself playing with my gear more and more. I finally weighed my pack with my bathroom scale and it weighs 31 pounds with 4-5 days food and a little water. Having a low pack weight can be a game to some and I often see a lot of bragging to go with it. My goal was to carry 30 lbs. or less, because it allows me to carry everything I want and it seems to be comfortable to me. I was just curious how I compare to others starting this year. Not that it matters but, has anyone else weighed their pack?
    If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

  2. #2

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    Your pack weight is less than the average person starting out. You mentioned it allows you to carry everything you "want". I might post a gear list up here so some of the more experienced hikers here can let you know if you are carrying everything you need. 30 pounds is great until you run into a late March freezing rain storm in the Smokies and realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were.

  3. #3
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    My pack weight (includes all of my clothes in this weight) is right at about 20 lbs minus food/water, but doesn't include cell phone, iPod, camera, and chargers yet. I'm happy with it.

  4. #4
    Registered User Lazy Maintenance Man's Avatar
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    I'm at 22 lbs. without food and water, that is prob. a better number to give than with food water.
    If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Gear List?

    "30 pounds is great until you run into a late March freezing rain storm in the Smokies and realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were." Well said Honeybear.


  6. #6
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by pops c View Post
    "30 pounds is great until you run into a late March freezing rain storm in the Smokies and realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were." Well said Honeybear.

    I also agree, except I would also consider that "being prepared" has little to do with what you put in your pack.

    A hike in a spring blizzard in the Smokies is definitely one of the benchmarks I use. Some can hike comfortably with a tarp and a good down bag, a few pounds of food and little else if they have the experience to stay dry and set up a safe, protected camp. Others have to bail out into town with their thirty pound packs, soaked with freezing rain and sweat, thirty pounds overweight and out of shape, with blistered and/or frostbitten feet. I saw both in the Smokies on my thru hike. Gear is only part of it.

    I agree a thirty pound load is lighter than average and a good place to start, but it can't possibly tell the whole story. As you gain trail experience it will probably change. I think very few end up with the gear they started with. You may even find out you're not carrying enough for your style and experience, or for the conditions in a certain season.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  7. #7
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Cutting back the food by a day will get you to your 30 pound goal.

    My load without food and water is around 12 pounds but I have plenty of gear to survive any conditions I might encounter, plus one piece of luxury gear I carry is a AM/FM/weather band radio.

    Life is a compromise. If it gets really cold I'm sure I will envy the guy who has a zero degree bag.

  8. #8
    Not committing until I graduate! Sassafras Lass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Maintenance Man View Post
    As my start date of 3/12 creeps closer, I find myself playing with my gear more and more. I finally weighed my pack with my bathroom scale and it weighs 31 pounds with 4-5 days food and a little water. Having a low pack weight can be a game to some and I often see a lot of bragging to go with it. My goal was to carry 30 lbs. or less, because it allows me to carry everything I want and it seems to be comfortable to me. I was just curious how I compare to others starting this year. Not that it matters but, has anyone else weighed their pack?

    Are you having as hard a time as I am waiting? I never expected to be this anxious!

    I'm right around 20 lbs before food/H2O. Frankly, I'm a bit bummed, I had hoped to be closer to 15 lbs. That would require less toiletries than I want to use, as well as finding a new pack and sleeping bag, neither of which I'm willing to do.
    Formerly 'F-Stop'

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    ~ Dolly Parton

  9. #9

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    I have a final "skin out" pack weight just a little under yours with food and water for three days, so close to yours. I think your packweight is great and you should be very happy with that. 30 pounds with food and water for 4-5 days is a good way to start your hike I expect. Have fun and hope to see you out there! I start I'm 14 days.
    "Bravo" NoBo 3/20/11
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  10. #10
    Recreational User Torch09's Avatar
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    My pack weight with 5 days of food is about 17 lbs. Not bragging, but you asked.

    I've hiked most of the trail before and have extensively tested all my new gear, so I am confident with my choices. I like what Garlic said about experience. You can have all the best gear but still have problems if you don't know how to use it. Luckily, the AT is a forgiving trail, in that gear failure is not a death sentence. You'll be with a crowd and have many chances to resupply.
    ~Happiness is only real when shared~

  11. #11

    Default Low weight

    I carry a very light pack but I do it more because I'm more comfortable not carrying so much extra things that I really don't need. The more I add to my pack the more I feel I'm taking away from the nature experience. If your goal is to carry a 30 pound backpack then do it. It is a lot better than myself when I first started and didn't know the different between camping and backpacking. After a couple of miles I learn the different.

    The most important is just go out there and have fun at it.

    Wolf

  12. #12

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    About 35 here with 4-5 days food. But I carry some luxuries and I'm a pretty big guy anyway. Never minded it before.

  13. #13
    Registered User QuarterPounder's Avatar
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    Pack weights are all over the board, but I'd say you're in decent shape in the low to mid 30's. Some go ultra light and are below that. Others, myself included, carry a bit more.

    I carried a few extra comfort items, a 2 person tent, and a few extra layers starting March 12th last year. I'm glad I did as we hit some nasty weather.

    I weighed in at Amicalola at 44lbs which really concerned me. Turned out to be just fine... I carried everything until Virginia, then dropped some of the cold weather stuff, etc.

    I didn't bother with weighing the pack again. Didn't want to know.

    Happy Trails, best of luck to you.

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  14. #14
    Registered User TheChop's Avatar
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    You're right at me. I'm sitting 19 without food and water which goes up to 28 or so depending on food and water.

    As long as you're not doing something crazy like 45 before food and water you'll be in good shape. When I started hiking I probably was hitting 40-45 with food and water. Dropping 10-15 pounds makes me weight seem negligible.
    No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch09 View Post
    My pack weight with 5 days of food is about 17 lbs. Not bragging, but you asked.
    @ Torch09

    Haha, my 5 days of food is about 17 lbs.

    Maybe I should start giving weight this way. 5 days of food 17 lbs. - w/gear, 25 lbs.

  16. #16
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I was out the door yesterday with everything I needed to stay out for 2 days in 35* and rain weather and my pack weighed 14 lbs, fully loaded and I didn't need anything I didn't have.

    3 years ago, the same trip I would have had a 30 lb pack.

    I think the tipping point for me was realizing that I was out to hike, not to camp.

    It is *so* much more fun to hike with a light pack than a heavy one. As long as I can get warm, full, and out of the weather I've got everything I need.

  17. #17
    Registered User art gypsy's Avatar
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    I thought my pack weight was 31 Lbs including a professional camera body and accessories and 5 days food. Then I realized that I had forgotten to pack two of the most essential items-my hammock and neoair. I will try to repack as I would like to stay under 35 Lbs. I know that it will be a lot lighter once I can send the winter gear home like the microspikes.

  18. #18
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    Default Don't agree

    Quote Originally Posted by pops c View Post
    "30 pounds is great until you run into a late March freezing rain storm in the Smokies and realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were." Well said Honeybear.

    Ehh I don't agree. I have a 11.5lb base weight, which includes rain jacket, rain pants, even a poncho to go with that if I so choose. Pack liner, and a pack cover, shell mitts, down jacket, 2 sleeping bags.

    I think I'd be okay. Just sayin.

  19. #19
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    your weight is fine, go on out and start, if you get halfway you will 90% sure be carrying less than the 30 # goal, if you do not get that far it will not be the pack weight that stopped you and the obsession with gear weight vs food/water etc total is overdone if your gear is light but food is heavy, you still may have skills to work on (this is my problem) try this exercise: go across town to an unfamiliar grocery store, spend a 4 day hiking budget on food(if you have a total hike limit of 3000 this would be less than 40$) try to do this in about 30 minutes including getting it all in the pack, now what does the pack weigh? next eat this food and only this food for the next 4 days

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyBear View Post
    Your pack weight is less than the average person starting out. You mentioned it allows you to carry everything you "want". I might post a gear list up here so some of the more experienced hikers here can let you know if you are carrying everything you need. 30 pounds is great until you run into a late March freezing rain storm in the Smokies and realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were.
    For a 30 lb pack weight, you should be able to carry all you need. That isn't exactly a light pack. I think mine is around 30, with 5 or so days of food, and that includes a winter pad, 0 degree bag, and enough clothing to sit comfortably in camp down to 20 or so(polypro, thermal bottoms, rain gear, double layer wool socks, thick hat, neck gaiter).

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