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Greetings from PNW - tips for shedding ounces from my pack?

Hello from Washington State. I am new to this forum and the mom to an amazing free ride skiing daughter, avid hiker and backpacker, overlander, and beginning fly fisher. Looking forward to chatting with like minded people and getting all the tips I can to further shed ounces from my pack! Happy Trails all...

8 Replies

Hi @AlpineMom - Welcome to the community! Thanks for sharing such a great introduction. It sounds like you all are out getting out into the mountains for some amazing activities.

You are definitely in the right spot to chat about shaving ounces off of your overall pack weight! There are few conversations on the subject that you might enjoy reading through or sharing your perspective in:

@tadoerner, as someone who has spoken on the subject many times, do you have any suggestions to share for shedding ounces from pack weight?


We hope you also take a look around the hiking, backpacking, snowsports, vanlifefishing, and Washington boards to share stories, ask questions, and connect with others who are also passionate about the outdoors. 

Are there any spots around the PNW that are favorites for you and your daughter? I'm in Vermont now, but before this was overlanding and always loved my time on the left coast! It's fun to hear what ranges or areas people are excited about.

Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you here!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-CarterC Thanks for the shoutout! Shedding ounces is one of my most favorite subjects to discuss! I often listen to YouTubers such as Dan Becker and Darwin OnTheTrail to help with my never ending quest of a sub 7 pound base weight! I also listen to podcasts such as Backpacking & Blisters to their experienced based trials and tribulations. Great and funny podcast, highly recommend. 

@AlpineMom - welcome to the group! I am looking forward to bouncing ideas off you to help shed ounces off our base weight! Biggest and most applicable piece of advice I’ve ever received is quite simple....use a smaller pack! This will help eliminate “unnecessary” items off your pack list. However, I am a sucker for comfort items on the trail, so this has been hard for me. I currently use the Z Packs Arc Blast. It’s most comfortable carry allows you to stay under 30 pounds with food and water. I was able to hit 18 pounds with 2 liters of water and 4 days worth of food on my most recent trek. Quite an accomplishment for me! I have, however, invested quite a bit for the a light weight “big 4” (shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pack). My dream is to procure a Z Packs Altaplex for my shelter, but I’m going to have to save up for that :). 

Outside of the critical “must have” items listed above, I do get creative by doing the traditional method of snapping my toothbrush in half, only wearing one pair of clothes for a 3-5 day trek (I ensure these are quick drying for washing purposes...I’ve even used my bear canister as a washing machine!). I also utilize a stuff sack for my pillow so I don’t have to pack that extra item. 

let’s start this thread off and gather it he’s experiences and best practices for shedding ounces!

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Great tips, tx!! I am in dire need of a lighter tent, my biggest weight issue. I need something 2 person (fits me and my daughter) around 3 lbs. Suggestions are welcome! 


@AlpineMom there are a lot of 2-person UL tents out there....before recommending anything, what is your price range?

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@tadoerner - Very cool to see your UL progression! I had a Zpacks Solplex (discontinued) that I really enjoyed, but the allure of the tarp/bivy combo grabbed my attention. On a recent cold weather overnighter, my full skin out weight with food and 2 L of water was ~18lbs. 

@AlpineMom - Along with some of the things @tadoerner mentioned, I've started using an alcohol stove, bought a mini-USB rechargeable headlamp, and just started to be more mindful of the quantity of things I'm bringing. If I go on a trip where I packed something that wasn't used, I don't bring it on the next trip. 

@CanYouCanoe I've thought about trying the alcohol stove option, but my jetboil is so convenient right now based on how fast its able to boil my water.  It is, however, one of the heaviest items in my pack outside of my tent and EE Enigma quilt.  If I had complete freedom to splurge on an updated cook system, I would proabbaly go with the JetBoil Stash.  7.1 ounces!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@tadoerner - Oh yeah, that Jetboil looks awesome. I also use a Pocket Rocket every once in a while, but there's something alluring about the alcohol stove for some reason. Maybe it's because when I'm out backpacking, rushing to get things done/fast cooking isn't that important to me. There are always tradeoffs in gear selection!

If you ever do try the alcohol stove route, I recommend the Caldera Cone System or just making one yourself out of a cat food can. Lots of stuff to tinker with!

purchase a scale. weigh each item.  mass your pack. use grams. Rummage in your pack, do you need this? First to go: all vanity items. All.