I’ve been walking around in the woods my entire life but have been going on backpacking trips since I’ve been in high school, which was 8 years ago. The longest trip I’ve taken was a 4-day 25-mile trip in the Smoky Mountains.
When did you realize that you needed to reduce the amount of weight that you carried in your backpack?
I just slowly started leaving superfluous things at home and realized what a big difference it made after several miles on the trail. I wouldn’t say there was a defining moment or anything like that.
What is the total weight of your big three: backpack, sleeping bag/pad, and shelter?
- Gregory Triconi 60 size large, weight 90oz
- Slumberjack Ultimate 20F extra long, weight 80oz
- Marmot EoS 1P, weight 51 oz
- Total weight = 211oz
Do you own a scale for weighing your gear?
Where are you in the process of going lightweight? What have some of the notable weight reductions in your gear list been?
I am not very far along in the process, as I am an unemployed college student and have no money to speak of. One example of me trying to make a gear decision was asking for my marmot tent as a gift because it is pretty lightweight for a 2 wall tent that has a gear vestibule. (which is a nice feature I like to have)
How much has cost constrained the rate in which you reduce your gear weight?
Cost has greatly constrained the rate at which I reduce my gear weight because buying a single piece of gear is a significant investment for me so I can’t do it that often. For example I really want a down sleeping bag but can’t afford one because a good down sleeping bag costs too much for me right now.
What was the largest amount of pack weight you dropped by replacing or eliminating a piece of gear?
When I switched to an internal frame pack.
What's your view on the trade-offs between the following types of backpacking gear, for your specific climate conditions and needs?
Down vs. Synthetic sleeping bags?
I’ve never actually used a down sleeping bag but I’m sure the weight to warmth ratio is great and I would like to try one.
Backpacks with an external frame, internal frame, or no frame?
I’ve never used a no-frame backpack but would like to if my total gear weight gets low enough, but I definitely prefer internal to external frame packs because I find them much more comfortable.
Double walled shelters, single walled shelters, and tarps and bivies?
I enjoy sleeping under just a tarp when bugs aren’t an issue but when it comes to tents I like double wall tents because I like storing my gear in the vestibules 2 wall tents provide
Full size sleeping pads vs. torso sized?
I like full sized sleeping pads… there’s just something weird to me about the torso length ones.
Boots vs trail runners?
I have always used boots but I am looking into getting some trail runners because I am intrigued by their quick drying capabilities.
What would you say are the biggest benefits of carrying less gear?
The biggest benefit of carrying less gear for me is the reduced risk of injury. I’ve had a few nasty ankle sprains in the past playing basketball, and it isn’t uncommon for me to sprain my ankle when hiking, especially when descending and carrying a heavy pack. I’ve found that having a lighter pack significantly reduces the problems I have with my ankles.
Also, carrying a lightweight pack is nice if you’re hiking with your friends because while they are lugging their stuff and moving slowly, you can take time to look around at the sights.
Note: Jeremy submitted this post in order to enter the Sectionhiker.com Gollte Ultralite Down Quilt Raffle. See link for full details.