East Coast Summer Backpacking w/ Tarp/Bivy

  •   Category Weight
  • Pack
    1.46 lb
  • Shelter
    1.62 lb
  • Sleep
    2.44 lb
  • Water Filtration & Carry
    0.42 lb
  • Cooking/Eating
    0.8 lb
  • Bear Bag
    0.15 lb
  • Hiking Clothing
    3.28 lb
  • FoulWx/Sleep Clothing
    2.1 lb
  • First Aid & Hygiene
    1.09 lb
  • Navigation
    0.35 lb
  • Electronics
    1.11 lb
  • Misc
    1.29 lb
  • Consumables
    12.15 lb
  • Total 28.27
    • oz
    • lb
    • g
    • kg
  • Consumable 12.63 lb
  • Worn 4.18 lb
  • Base Weight 11.45 lb


Finishing my last section of Vermont's Long Trail. The northern 65 miles. Could get cool at night... With a base weight of 11.5 lbs, and with ~12.6 lbs of consumables for 5 days between resupply, my full pack should weigh ~24 lbs. That's a couple of lbs over the specified comfort range of this pack. But it handled this load comfortably before. And I'll eat my way down to the "comfort range" in a couple of days! My next option would be to use my ULA Ohm2 pack, which weighs 819g and is capable of comfortably carrying up to 30 lbs.

As of this writing I'll be using a hammock-based shelter/sleep system that has worked well for me in the past. I've toyed with using a tarp/bivy combo that would be a 1lb shelter system. But the hammock is so much more comfortable, I'll take the .46lb weight penalty


I adopted UL concepts years ago while planning a 2012 AT thru hike. I learned to appreciate the concepts and mindset. I try not to base my sense of self-worth on what I consider to be arbitrary base-weight numbers. I pack the minimum I need to stay warm, dry, and healthy given expected risks and conditions. I look at my total pack weight (base + consumables) for a particular trip, and choose the smallest, lightest pack in my quiver that can best handle that load.

This spreadsheet helps me do that, while looking for areas of improvement.

Worn Weight - You'll see items with a shirt logo. That identifies them as "Worn Weight" to the software. That includes everything I wear, stuff in my pockets, and carry in my hands. Right now that adds up to a little over 4 lbs. The software underlaying this web site is smart enough to know that if I list an item as worn, with a qty greater than 1, I'm not likely to be wearing more than 1 at a time. So it adds the weight of the remainder to the pack's base weight. (I.e. I take 2 pairs of socks and flag them them as "worn." The software adds the weight of one pair to worn weight, and the other to base weight.

Base Weight - The total weight of the pack and everything in it, except consumables. Does not include stuff worn, in my pockets, or carried in my hands.

Consumables - Stuff one uses up. Generally food, water and fuel.

The weight of "Base" and "Consumables" combined gives me my Total Pack Weight. That tells me whether the pack I wanted for this trip can support the load I plan to carry. If not, I need to either switch to a pack with a more robust suspension, figure out how to make the load lighter, or suffer a bit for a few days till I consume a few pounds of food ...

Add full pack weight to worn weight, and you get "total" weight, aka, "Full Skin Out" weight. That number tells one how much their musculoskeletal system is supporting.

In 2019 that Superior Wilderness Designs frameless pack was new to me, and worked fine with a similar load on the first 200 miles of this trail. That pack weighs in at 637g, has 45L total volume, and 20 lb total capacity. Plus it's highly water resistant, and it fits me like a glove.

So ...

I'll continue northbound, from where I got off, to complete my section hike of the LT. That's ~65 miles from VT 108, near Stowe, VT, to Vermont's northern border with Canada. That section of the Long Trail is every bit as tough as the toughest sections of the Appalachian Trail. So I'm motivated to go light. I'll make one resupply along the way, reducing the amount of food I need to carry.

Overnight lows around the northern terminus in early August average around 54°, with the 10 yr record low at 43°. Subtract 3.5° for each 1000' of elevation above the wx station, and the lows at 3000' are likely to be the in mid 40's, with a slight possibility of dipping down into the low 30s. So while I do want to think about how my clothing, sleep and shelter stuff can work together to keep me warm and dry, I don't have to go nuts with heavy base layers and insulation. If I get cold at night, I can always wear my puffy to bed.

For shelter I'll carry my HammockGear DCF Hex Tarp, and my Dutchware Half-Zip Hammock.. My "sleep system" will be my HammockGear 40° Top and under quilts, a DutchWare underquilt protector and my Exped Air Pillow. I carry my short Nemo Tensor r1.6 sleeping pad, in case I want to sleep in a shelter, or need to go to ground. It can go in the hammock to add a bit more insulation if needed

For water filtration, I'm carrying a Sawyer Mini with an Evernew 900 ml "Water Carry" bag, and a Sawyer squeeze bag. When I dry camp away from a water source, I like to have 2-3L of water to cook dinner, breakfast, and to start out the next morning with a full water bottle. And if drought conditions have dried up springs, I'll carry ~2 liters. I drink from a pair of 600ml Gatorade bottles, and carry a 900ml Evernew Water Bag as dirty water squeeze-bag. The ones Sawyer provide with their filters fail. Always have, and they still did as of fall of '19. With all that, my total water carry capacity will be a bit over 3 liters.

I'm pretty happy with this. I'll keep looking for ways to make it lighter ... Without sacrificing safety, too much comfort, or too much of my life's savings...

[Oblg Disclaimer] I have no personal or financial interest in any companies on this list! No quid pro quo! Links are for informational purposes only! I swear!