3 Season East Coast Backpacking

  •   Category Weight
  • Pack
    1.63 lb
  • Shelter
    1.64 lb
  • Sleep
    2.82 lb
  • Water Filtration & Carry
    0.35 lb
  • Cooking
    0.86 lb
  • Bear Bag
    0.15 lb
  • Hiking Clothing
    3.28 lb
  • FoulWx/Sleep Clothing
    1.49 lb
  • First Aid & Hygiene
    1.09 lb
  • Navigation
    0.35 lb
  • Electronics
    1.11 lb
  • Misc
    1.24 lb
  • Consumables
    10.55 lb
  • Total 26.57
    lb
    • oz
    • lb
    • g
    • kg
  • Consumable 10.84 lb
  • Worn 4.12 lb
  • Base Weight 11.61 lb

[TL:DR]

Finishing my last section of Vermont's Long Trail in August. Could get cool at night, and during the day on exposed ridges ... With a base weight of 12 lbs, and with 11 lbs of consumables for 5 days between resupply, my full pack should weigh ~23 lbs. That's within the comfort range of this pack. I'll be pushing that comfort range if I choose to go longer between resupplies. But only till I consume a few pounds of food...

[/TL:DR]

I adopted UL concepts years ago while planning a 2012 AT thru hike. I learned to appreciate the concepts, and mindset. But I don't base my sense of self-worth on arbitrary base-weight numbers - I pack the minimum I need to stay warm, dry, and healthy given expected risks and conditions. I look at Total Pack Weight for a particular trip, and choose the smallest, lightest pack that can best handle that load.

This spreadsheet helps me do that.

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 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, that 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 weights of the pack and everything in it, except consumables and stuff worn

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

The weight of "Base" and "Consumables" combined gives one their Total Pack Weight. That tells one whether the pack they wanted for this trip can support the load they plan to carry. If not, one either needs to pick pack, with a more robust suspension, or figure out how to make the load lighter. Or suffer a few days till they consume a few pounds out of their food bag ...

Add full pack weight to worn weight, and you get "Total" weight. Aka, "Full Skin Out" weight. That number tells one how much weight their feet and knees are supporting.

That Superior Wilderness Designs frameless pack was new to me, and worked fine with this load on the first 200 miles of this trail. It weighs in at 637g. That's 182g or 6.4 ozs lighter than my good old ULA Ohm2. Plus it's highly water resistant, and it fits me a lot better.

So ...

I'll continue northbound, from where I got off, to complete my end-to-end hike. That's 65 miles from VT 108, near Stowe, VT, to our 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.

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 in camp, I can always wrap my quilt around me, and wear all my clothes to bed.

For shelter I'll carry my Dutch Half-Zip hammock, a HammockGear DCF tarp, and HammockGear 40° top and under-quilts. 1.69 lbs is a nice weight for a "shelter," but my "sleep system" is heavy compared to what it would be if I carried a top quilt, a mattress pad, and a pillow instead of all that plus an "under" quilt to keep me warm in a hammock. Choosing to carry a mattress pad in case I want to stay in a trail shelter, or to go to ground, adds 8 oz to my pack - Ultra-Light Blasphemy!

When I dry camp 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 700ml SmartWater bottles. I carry the flip-top cap one can find on some SmartWater bottles. They work nicely to backflush Sawyer filters, allowing me to leave the bulky, heavier Sawyer backflush syringe at home. I irrigated a buddy's shredded knee with that rig! Got high praise from the attending physician ... I had been using Gatorade bottles. Making that swap increased my water carrying capacity by a couple hundred ml, and I saved 18 whole grams!

For filtration, I replaced Sawyer's older Mini with their new Micro. That increased the flow rate, and saved me another 10g. I carry a 900 ml Evernew Water Bag as my dirty water squeeze-bag, because the one's Sawyer provide with their filters fail. Always have, and they still did as of last fall ('19). They are a bit lighter, and I sometimes carry one for additional water carry in drought. But I don't ever squeeze them. With all that, my total water carry capacity will be 2.3 liters. With these changes, I increased my carry capacity, improved my filtration flow rate, and cut my water system weight by a few grams.

18g here, 18g there ... It adds up. I haven't cut any excess strapping of my pack yet, but I'll be thinking about it ...

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 of financial interest in any companies on this list! No quid pro quo! Links are for informational purposes only! I swear!