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Ultralight Backpacking Gear List – Summer 2011

Gossamer Gear Murmur Ultralight Backpack

A number of you asked me to post the gear list I used to test the Gossamer Gear Murmur Backpack that I reviewed last week. That pack only has 28 liters (1700 cubic inches) of internal storage and 8 liters (500 cubic inches) of external pockets, so I’ve been forced to keep the volume of my gear quite low, in addition to getting it under 10 pounds.

Getting my pack weight this light was really a revelation in terms of comfort, even with 5 days worth of food, a decadent isobutane stove and fuel. Even more so because, this list  includes all of luxury electronic items  (camera, digital tape recorder, SPOT GPS Tracker, and smart phone.) In the past, these electronics have kept me over the 10 lb limit.

This gear list is not too dis-similar to the one I carried earlier this spring an a 170 mile section hike of the AT, except that I’ am carrying significantly less thermal insulation and a lighter pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and an even lighter tarp. While those weight savings really add up, the most noticeable one is switching out a Gossamer Gear Gorrilla for the Gossamer Gear Murmur. Doing this saves over a pound right off the top and illustrates how having lighter gear means you can also have a much lighter pack.

I expect to use this gear list for the rest of the summer, including a few section hikes up in Maine on the Appalachian Trail.  The one exception to this is when I go hiking in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks and need to carry a bear canister. I’ll probably bring a Gorilla or Mariposa Plus then. I haven’t quite decided which or how best to carry a bear canister.

Gossamer Gear Murmur Backpack 8.0
Gossamer Gear Sitlight Pad1.5
Gossamer Gear Pack Liner1.0
52″ Foam Sleeping Pad 2.6
Plastic Whistle0.1
Victoronix Knife0.7
Inka Pen0.5
Mountain Laurel Designs External Camera Pocket1.1
Mountain Laurel Designs External Hip Belt pocket0.9
Sleep System
Gossamer Gear CubicTwinn Tarp, with guy lines6.3
10 X tent stakes and stuff sack 4.0
Extra Ties for Tent Platforms0.5
Montbell Thermal Sheet (50 degree, rectangular bag)16.0
MLD Superlight Bivy Bag with head net6.9
Camp Clothes/Rain Gear
Golite Reed Rain Pants6.2
Patagonia Capilene 1 Bottom Long Underwear6.0
Gold Toe Synthetic Socks
Patagonia Capilene 1 Jersey6.7
Rab eVent Momentum Jacket12.0
Mountain Laurel Designs eVent Rain Mitts1.4
Black polypro glove liners1.4
Mountain Hardware polypro hat0.8
Monbell Tachyon Wind Shirt 2.6
1 x 3L Platypus Bladder1.5
16 x Katadyn Micropur Chlorine Dioxide Tablets1.0
Aquamira Frontier Pro Filter2.6
2 X Qt Recycled Soda Bottles2.0
Cut down Platypus Water Scoop0.5
Gear Repair and First Aid Bag4.5
Kitchen and Camp
MLD Spinnaker Bear Bag, Rope, Rock Sack2.7
OPSack 1.1
Evernew Pasta Pot 0.75 L3.9
Snowpeak Giga Stove3.8
MSR Camp Towel0.8
BPL Long Titanium spoon0.3
Suunto A10 Baseplate compass0.9
Panasonic Lumix lx3 digital camera9.3
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp3.0
Spot II GPS Satellite Messenger4.1
Android Phone4.1
2 extra Camera batteries, filter, brush3.0
Maps and AT Guide Pages1.5
Digital Tape Recorder2.0
Personal Items/Stuff Sack3.9
Dermatone tin – Sun tan lotion0.8
Total weight in lbs9.13


RailRiders EcoMesh Long Pants13.0
EMS Techwick Short Sleeve Shirt4.8
Black Diamond Trail Hiking Poles18.0
Inov8 Terroc 330 Trail Runners24.6
Gold Toe Synthetic Socks1.5
Under Armour Boxer Jocks3.5
2 X Protec ITBS Straps2.0
Marmot Xeno Hat1.8
Total weight worn, in lbs4.3


  1. How much did the food weigh and was it included in the 10 lbs weight. I can't see it


  2. I don't normally put consumables on gear lists because they change with each trip. However, the past 2 trips I've taken with this pack, I've carried 2 x1 liter water bottles, 4.5 lbs of food (3 days), and a small isobutane gas cannister without any issues, and with room for at least another day of food.

  3. OK, good list. I think I would personally struggle with a tarp in the UK weather. I know people who use tarps, but I like my 2 skin tent – weighs 2.2 Lbs and I think a Montbell at 50F would be a little cold here. Hey the benefits of hiking in the summer Stateside !! But I will take some benefit from learning from your list and try to apply it to mine. I can already see a few ways to cut weight



  4. Definitely – even for me, I can only get away with this weight for warmer weather. It sure is comfortable though. Last weekend, I was able to climb over 5,000 feet in one day while wearing this lighter pack. That's a lot for me.

  5. Thanks for the list Earlylite. It is always helpful to look at what others are doing to keep it light. Using a G4 I too have found a base weight around 9 pounds and the revelation of it all is amazing. Do others look at you in disgust and disbelief, shaking there heads as if you are just not right? LOL. Keep preaching man, I'm a convert!!!

  6. That's a good sub-10 pound list that isn't skimpy. Very responsible. Couple questions: Why do you need three water receptacles (2 bottles, 1 platy)? Why do you need both the Frontier filter plus tablets? Why rain mitts for the summer?

    I'd personally skip the bivy with the built-in head net. I've done that before and it gets too clammy and restrictive. I’d opt for separate the headnet instead, but it too is plenty hot even if I gain some flexibility.

    I don't envy the thought of needing the platform screws…because I hate sleeping on those kinds of surfaces too as you previously mentioned. Good luck with that.

    I'd like to see what's in your gear repair/first aid bag in another blog entry if you've got the time.

  7. Good questions there.

    I carry the platy because I like to have a lot of water in camp – 5 liters, in fact. I use 2 liters from the bottles for cooking and re-hydrating before bed. I add 3 chlorine dioxide tabs to the 3 liter platy before going to sleep and let it purify all night, although 4 hours max is required to kill any crypto. The next morning, I use 1 liter in my tea, and fill my two bottles before leaving camp. It's just the system I use.

    Similar deal with the Frontier Pro. In the morning, I drink directly from the bottles, because I rinse them the screw threads with purified water when I fill them up in the morning. When I refill them in the afternoon, the threads are "dirty", so I use the screw-in Frontier Pro to drink from them instead.

    Rain mitts for summer – the rain in the mountains can be real cold. Imagine 40 degree weather and 40+ mph winds. I'm doing a lot of mountain hiking these days. The mitts also live full time in my shell so I don't lose them…

    Head-net vs bivy bag. I like the bivy bag for preventing tarp splash back. It also keeps my bag dry when I need to pitch on wet ground or a wet platform. I could carry polycryo but it'd just weigh up pretty close anyway and superlight compresses quite small. I also use the bivy bag as a stuff sack when I carry a neoair and roll them up as one unit.

    The bivy bag is easy to vent so being hot is less of an issue in summer, and the MB thermal sheet is really light. I don't think replacing it with a quilt is even worth it.

    The platform screws work great. Sometimes they're required.

    Does any of that make sense? There are some luxuries, sure, but a lot of what I have is just habits that I've worked up over the years and I've stuck with.

    I'll post my gear repair first aid kit sometme soon. It's revolves around duct tape, and a single shoe lace!

  8. What kind and thickness foam pad do you use? Do you find it sufficient from a comfort standpoint?

  9. It's thin, 3/16th of an inch thick. I have no idea when or where I got it, but it does the job. (Gossamer Gear and BPL sell this stuff) In summer, which is the only time I use it, I can fold it over for more comfort under my torso since my legs don't need hardly any foam under them. I've also switched to sleeping on my back instead of side sleeping. Good campsite selection helps too. You can also lie on all of your other gear for more cushioning. You'll be amazed how little cushioning you really need if you're lying on forest duff, and of course, your sleeping bag.

  10. I think I am destined to stay in the ranks of "almost UL". I used the GG Nightlight pad for my 2 month hike last year and found it amazingly comfortable, and fairly warm even in snow. As a side sleeper I am now totally addicted to my NeoAir, but have gotten somewhat concerned about punctures. I just bought the MLD Good Night EVA 1/8" pad with the intent of using it under the NeoAir primarily to protect it (and to beef up the winter insulation values a bit). GG offers the same pad with a 60" length but the MLD pad is 79" and gives me the option of cutting it to size.

    I may still carry the Nightlight on a long hike when I am trying to shave ounces, but I found I sleep much better on the NeoAir. I plan to experiment to see if I can use the MLD Pad in place of the SitLight in my GG MP+ pack. I am all for UL, but don't mess with my sleep or my coffee.

  11. Don't worry – I'm still almost UL too. Switching out the Neoair was a sacrifice, but like you I've also become a bit leery about depending on it for long trips.

  12. The Thermal Sheet is listed @ 13.8oz on Montbell vs. your 16oz. Is yours custom? I only ask because my JRB Sierra Stealth Quilt (40F) is 14.67oz w/ sewn in footbox & 900FP….It also eliminates my need for insulating jacket.

    Bivy vs. Polycro (window insulation from hardware store for a few bucks) mine weighs 1.10oz with full lenth and little extra wideness. With that nice, large tarp you have might you drop the bivy? If I were using an MLD cueben fiber poncho/tarp, then I'd def carry a bivy to supplement rain protection.

    My EMS techwick short sleeve (L) weighs 4.94 oz. I recently dropped in a Wildwood Trail Longsleeve Run Top for better sun/bug protection @ 3.8oz. Decent price when catching 40% off price on BPL.

    I was thinking of dropping NeoAir Short for GG 1/8in full length insulation pad and NightLight torso (9 -> 5.3 oz) …but I'm a side sleeper. Would I be hating life? Do the pads compress over time much?

  13. I saw that too – I have to reweigh the item and update it if it's wrong. I think I did that one from memory – my bad.

    I still like my bivy better. You have to realize that I added it after years of using different plastic sheets. Been there, done that. While it's an acceptable alternative if you only sleep on ground, I have to contend with the occasional platform and they pool to much water when it rains.

    I'm fine with my current techwicks.

    You'd be hating life. The nightlights compress fairly quickly (a season), particularly if you use them in back of a GG pack. Learn how to sleep on your back. Just hike to exhaustion an you have no problem falling asleep.

  14. Understood about the bivy, the platforms around here are made with 2x4s and slits in between.

    Thanks for the advice on the pads…

    Nightlight Torso + 1/8 Insulation pad + Benadryl may = sleepy time. 50mg is what is in OTC sleeping pills. Hrmmmm.

  15. Great thorough list. I feel like I know exactly what to pack but seeing a list in front of me really helps. What kind of gear and first aid bag do you have?

  16. Your comprehensive descriptions are really useful – thanks! I want to make sure I didn’t miss anything: your warmest top insulation is the Capilene 1 Jersey + the Techwick Short Sleeve Shirt – no puffy or fleece layer, right? -JJ

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