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Ultra-Lightweight vs. Comfort

So, I have responded to quite a few posts on here around the topic of "how much should my pack weigh" or "how much should my big 3 weigh (tent, sleeping bag, pack)"?

I have invested quite a bit of money to having lightweight to ultra-lightweight gear for my big 3, and I am not sure if the backpack, specifically, is worth it.  I have a Tarptent Moment DW 1-person tent, an Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt, and the Z-Packs Arc Blast pack.  INDIVIDUALLY, all 3 of these pieces of equipment are awesome.  HOWEVER, when I put my full base weigh (including food and water on a 5-7 day hike) into the Z-Packs Arc Blast, it doesn't seem to distribute the weight well enough.  I think I'd rather have a lightweight sleep system with a "standard" pack in order to have comfort around my hips while on the trail.

In summary, spend extra money on a lightweight sleep system, but don't spend the extra money on a lightweight "flimsy" pack.  Has anyone else observed the same thing?  

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4 Replies

Since presumably the point of ultra light backpacking is comfort, any item that hinders that goal doesn't make sense.  I have an ultra light pack (GoLite) which i don't use very much because I also have several which are more comfortable and balance better.

I think nearly all of us value lighter weight. I haven't met many ultraheavy backpackers lately.  The trick is getting a reasonable balance between light weight, comfort, versatility, and safety.  I am quite content with a heavier pack  which carries better.

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@hikermor 
100% agree with having a heavier pack that carries better. The trick after that is minimizing the weight of the contents inside the pack. Ounces turn into to pounds, and pounds turn into sore knees!

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So I am a self-avowed "spec jockey". The guy who, as part of his decision-making process, pours of the specs of everything (it ain't much, but it's honest work) and I almost decided to get a frameless UL pack to save some weight.

For some reason, I made a choice that I am really happy with and bought the Baltaro 65 from Gregory instead. Far from a UL pack (it weighs just over 5 pounds empty), it fits me so well and distributes a heavier load so well across my frame that I don't really feel the excess weight.

So I guess I would call myself a "traditional" hiker and not a UL one. But that said, I do think the entire backpack community owes a debt of gratitude to the UL movement. Because of its rise in popularity, even mainstream gear manufacturers are getting into the game and standard equipment is reaping the benefits.

I couldn't agree with you more about getting the lighter bag and a better pack. Although, with the right framed pack that distributes weight properly, most people will likely not need to spend as much on a UL quilt/bag as they would if they had a frameless UL pack.

Off the trail, I believe we should buy the best shoes and mattresses we can afford since 90% or more of our daily life will be spent in one of them. On the trail, buy the best shoes, pack, and sleep system you can afford for the same reason.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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Agree with the other comments.  The pack you mentioned has a very light load capacity. You may want to look into a ULA bag.  They carry heavier weights comfortably than UL's and are just about bullet proof.  I am planning a SOBO AT thru-hike in 2022 and am planning to use the ULA Circuit X.  Good luck...

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=ula+circuit+x

 

 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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