My backpacking friends and I often sit around after a long day and discuss pack weight. It seems that among my friends and I there is no consensus on the best way to drop about 10 pounds of pack weight.
Assuming standard gear (45L pack, 3-season sleeping bag, two person tent, bear-safe food storage, water filter, stove, and 1L water bottle) what are some suggestions?
Same! But I don't want to get too ambitious; I stay much warmer now than I did when I was 20lbs lighter, which allows me to save weight on my sleep system and clothing layers. 🙂
@TonydavidWhile not technically "pack weight" it is weight that you pack. I dropped 90 lbs and tripled the distance I can backpack. I've also lightened my pack weight by about 50%. I'm amazed at how much difference it makes.
Yes, but don't just lose weight, exchange fat for muscle. Specifically work 4 muscle groups. Abdominals and paraspinals (back muscles) for supporting the weight of your pack, quads for going down hill and gluts for going up hill. If you have a gym membership, they will have lots of machines to target these individual muscle groups. If you don't, you can do wall squats progressing to single leg wall squats progressing to single leg squats progressing to single leg squats with your pack on. For your gluts you can do bridges progressing to single leg bridges progressing to single leg bridges with a 1 minute hold. For your core muscles, elbow planks progressing to elbow planks with your pack on should do.
I also suggest using 2 treking poles. They will take about 25% of the weight off your legs. I also add extra padding to my shoulder straps and hip belt using wool seat belt shoulder harness covers. Just use a hot melt gun to hold them in place. It's usually not the weight that bothers us so much as it is the pressure points where that weight makes contact with our bodies. Namely our hips and shoulders.
So all my reccomedations have been to either exchange weight or add weight, but in all these cases the added weight will produce more than it will cost.
I lost 15 lbs in 15 days on the John Muir Trail. I actually like to fatten up a bit before heading out on a multi-day trip.
I used to race motorcycle in Superbike class. I looked at myself first. Do I have some pounds to shed? Giving up some unnecessary weight on me is probably much better in the long run than saving 9 ounces here or there especially since the little bit of Ultralight gear I have (tent being the most expensive item) compromises some reliablitiy. My ulteralight tent I would never take on an AT through hike but is fine for shorter backbacks.
I don't stress about shedding ounces but I do consider the weight when purchasing. For example, I purchased a single wall tent for mountaineering to replace a double wall and shed close to two pounds. Expensive? Yes and limited only to cold weather adventures. But I don't compromise on my 10 essentials, first aid kit, nutrition, safety, comfort and reliability that could put others at risk in additon to myself.
aka Weekapaug Groove
use a lighter pack as part of the answer. I ditched my lovely very heavy North Face pack for an old-style (and old) aluminum-framed pack and hacksawed off a useless part of the frame - this saved me around 4 Lbs total.
The best way to shed weight is to know exactly what every piece of gear in your pack weighs. We encourage our scouts to make an excel spread sheet and record the weight of every piece of gear. This will make weight an important part of every gear purchasing decision.
Comfort is more than weight loss. I want to enjoy myself on the trail. That means I take between 36-44lbs total weight on my pack.
@wolson...Sure but is the CDT a pleasant backpacking trip or an exercise in endurance that happens to involve carrying a backpack?
What weight you want to carry depends on whether you are "hiking to camp" or "camping to hike" or to put it another way on how far and fast you need to travel. Hiking a couple of miles to a lake and hanging out for a couple of days is a very different experience than hiking 10+ miles a day for 6 months. With the former you are going to want a camp chair and a frying pan and maybe a kitchen sink albeit light ones. For the latter you want to carry the minimum you can get away with (a pole with an apple wrapped in a bandana seems to be the goal of some) so you can hike fast enough and far enough to make the miles before next winter.
The goal is not necessarily to have the lightest pack in the room but to have the lightest pack that allows you to get what you want out of the particular trip for a reasonable incremental cost. What is "reasonable" generally depends on the thickness of your wallet.
@OldGuyot Definitely true!
Every gram counts for long distance hikers, not so much for overnighters. Still, overnighters can learn from thru hikers on how to get the weight out and still be comfortable.