Tuesday, January 29, 2013

tips on lightening the load | from phil

i might keep mentioning this "phil" character because he's been superbly helpful to me in my process of reducing my pack weight.  we met on the trail in the summer of 2011 in the high sierras, right before a "jaunt" up to the hot springs in between maurine lake and junction meadow. it was day 4 on the trail and i had become intimately aware of the weight and size of my pack.

a few hours before meeting phil, we passed a couple with smaller-ish packs, who were just devouring the trail. they were fast, and the woman hadn't even broken a sweat. (mind you, we met them while we were going downhill, at which point they had climbed quite a bit.) 

then came phil, his bro and friend. their packs were even smaller, and they were happily making their way to go fishing! (yum, fresh fish for dinner sounded amazing after days of rehydrated meals.) we were all sweaty and wiped (okay, i was), and they looked so fresh and energized.

it was the first time i saw people with such small packs and i was wide-eyed and curious. how could they possibly do that? after learning about their homemade filtration system and their shared meals, i was convinced i wanted to change my backpacking ways. but when he said i could be "skipping up that mountain," i was sold.

thankfully, phil and i were able to get in touch after our hikes so he and i have been emailing about going ultralight. he has lots of great tips and i've appreciated his thoughtfulness in sharing what he's learned. 

this is what he last shared with me about how to think about weight distribution:
Pack 3lbs, tent 2lbs, sleeping bag 3lbs, air mattress 1lb, clothes 5lbs, toiletries and pills 1lb, rain gear 3lbs = 18lbs
Bear canister 2lbs, food 7lbs, small knife, stove, pot and utensils 3lbs, = 12 pounds (way lighter shared)
water isn't represented on this list, so i'd add 4lbs (2lbs/liter). on one of my last trips, i stopped carrying all 3L of water because i can't stand bearing that weight anymore and water has been abundant wherever i've gone thus far. the other thing that isn't represented is my camera, which adds another 5lbs.

grand total: 39lbs or less (if shared)

i still need to shed quite a bit more weight, but this is certainly a start. i'll post my current (heavy) packing list next because some of my equipment reflects a slightly different breakdown. 

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