Hiking with my Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40... there are lighter packs, however very few that have the same capacity, weight load and at this weight
Hiking with my Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40... there are lighter packs, however very few that have the same capacity, weight load and at this weight

Base Weight - My Pack

by Bruce Watts

Over the years my pack has slowing shrunk... the incredible shrinking pack!

There are a few of reasons for this.

Technology - Over time technology has improved the quality of gear, and allowed for a much more comfortable camping experience at a greatly reduced weight. Gortex, tent designs, improved fabrics, lighter and stronger alloys, etc. 

Experience - With many years under ones belt, you have a better understanding what you "really" need, and you further discover the many items you don't. Plus you also learn the limits of you own personal comfort levels depending on various weather conditions. Some people can get away with a much lighter sleeping bag, while other are just fine sleeping on a ultra thin sleep pad. Experience can teach so much!

Money - As one "matures" there is often more money available for that fancy new piece of ultralight gear that will save you a few grams from your base weight. Grams quickly add up... and when you consider that over multiple 30 kms days... it can be a lot of welcome relief for your old knees.

In order to compare with others, there is standard terminology.  First and foremost is Base Weight. It is the total weight of your entire gear kit, excluding consumables. Consumables are food, water, and fuel. 

Backpacking Styles:

  • A lightweight backpacker (LW) carries a base weight under 20 pounds.
  • An ultralight backpacker (UL) carries a base weight under 10 pounds.
  • A super-ultralight backpacker (SUL) carries a base weight under 5 pounds.

So if we consider 10 pounds of consumables for a 5-day backpacking trip... then your Total Weights are 30 lb for lightweight, 20 lb for ultralight , and 15 lb for super-ultralight. 

Conventional backpackers often go by total pack weight... which is typically 35 pounds and more.

Below is my pack gear list. Typically my base weight is never the same from trip to trip. Seasons, eco-systems, partners and length of trips all are considerations. I do also have my favourites. For instance... the Big Agnes / Mystic sleeping bag is uber comfy, yet a little heavier than my quilt. Often if the conditions are questionable, I will reach for the heavier, yet more comfortable option. Also seasons play a major role. In the fall there are few bugs, so I can leave behind my repellent, epipan and head net... yet it can be cooler, so a warmer bag or jacket may be considered. The ecosystems also steer decisions. If I'm in bear country, I may want a bear canister... or perhaps bear spray. So much to think about... however they all fall into 2 main categories; comfort and safety.  How comfortable do you want to be, and how safe do you need to be?

Pack Contents - My Gear

Items 

Brand / Model

Weight  (Grams)

Choice (Grams)

PACK

 

 

 

Pack - a*

My Trail Co. / UL35

567

567

Pack - b*

Gossamer / Gorilla 40 (less top lid - 82g)

875

-

Pack - c*

Klymit / Motion 60

1174

-

Pack / Lid

Gossamer / Gorilla 40 Lid

82

-

Pack / Liner - a*

Gossamer / Plastic

34

34

Pack / Liner - b*

JR gear / Ultralight Drysack 30 L

67

-

Pack / Strap Pocket 

Gossamer / Strap Pocket 

42

-

SLEEPING

 

 

 

Pillow

Klymit / Pillow X

55

55

Pillow / Case

Thermarest / Fleece Pillow Case

30

-

Sleeping Bag - a*

Sierra Designs / Backcountry Quilt 

679

679

Sleeping Bag - b*

Klymit / KSB 35

862

-

Sleeping Bag - c*

Big Agnes / Mystic UL 15º Long

974

-

Sleeping Bag - d*

Sierra Designs / Zissou 12 Long

1144

-

Sleeping Bag - Sack

Outdoor Research - Ultralight 10

26

-

Sleeping Pad - a*

Thermarest ZLite ¾ 

300

300

Sleeping Pad - b*

Klymit / Static V Insulated Ultralite 

431

-

Sleeping Pad - c*

Big Agnes / Q-Core SLX (20-78in)

493

-

Sleeping Pad / Repair

Klymit / Kit with Static

11

-

Socks / Sleep

Goosefeet Sleep Socks

68

68

KITCHEN

 

 

 

Cup

Snow Peak / Ti 500 (Cup & Silicon Lips)

75

-

Food bag / Canister - a*

Food Sack, throw bag, rope & biner 

175

175

Food bag / Canister - b*

Ursa Sack

215

-

Food bag / Canister - c*

Bear Boxer

725

-

Pot

Snow Peak / Ti 750 ( Pot, Lid & Bag)

118

118

Spoon

Snow Peak / Ti folding

16

16

Stove - a*

BRS / Ti Gas Stove

25

25

Stove - b*

Vargo / Triad

30

-

Stove / Windscreen

Primus / Cut Down 

26

-

Stove / Windscreen

Vargo / Aluminum Windscreen

35

-

SHELTER

 

 

 

Footprint

PolyCryo / Polyolefin Film - 100 x 200 cm

50

-

Pegs

Ti x 6

39

-

Tent - 1 person - a*

Tarptent / Protrail (less sack - 25g)

712

712

Tent - 1 person - b*

Big Agnes / Fly Creek HV UL1

765

-

Tent - 2 person*

Sierra Designs / Tensegrity 2 Elite

964

-

Tent - 3 person*

Big Agnes / Fly Creek HV UL3

1330

-

CLOTHING PACKED

 

 

 

Base / Bottom

MEC / T1

154

-

Base / Top

MEC / Merino T1

160

-

Gloves - shell*

Z Pack / waterproof mitts

28

28

Gloves*

Outdoor Research / PL Base Sensor

39

-

Hat / Warm - a*

Outdoor Research / Fleece

25

25

Hat / Warm - b*

Outdoor Research / Down

30

-

Vest*

My Trail Co / 700 Down 

255

Jacket / Sweater - a*

The North Face / Lite fleece (Polartec 100)

269

269

Jacket / Sweater - b*

Sierra Designs / Gnar Lite (down)

316

-

Jacket / Sweater - c*

Big Agnes / Ellis (synthetic) 

367

-

Rain / Jacket

Outdoor Research / Helium

180

180

Rain / Pants

Outdoor Research / Helium

160

160

Sack

Outdoor Research - Ultralight 10

26

26

Socks / Spare

Darn Tough / Crew

60

60

Underwear

Outdoor Research / Echo briefs 

57

-

ESSENTIALS

 

 

 

Bug / Head Net*

Wonka Brand 

20

-

Bug / Repellent*

Ben’s 30 Deet (in small Nalgene container)

34

-

Compass 

Brunton Mini (also on watch & phone)

15

-

Cream - Repackaged

Baby Cream (in small Nalgene container)

20

20

Dental Floss

Oral B / Glide / 4 m

4

4

Tape - Duct

Lucky Duct

11

11

Tape - Leukotape

Leukotape / Repackaged 

20

20

Epipen*

Epipen

76

-

First Aid

Adventure Medical / Kit.3 + extras

78

78

Glasses

Sport Eyewear / Cheaters 

25

25

Headlamp

Petzl / e+Lite 

25

25

Headlamp Batteries

CR2032 x 2 

8

8

Knife

Victorinox / Classic Mini (stored in 1st aid kit)

22

22

Lighter

Bic Mini x 2

22

22

Lip Balm

Chapstick

9

9

Medicine - Repackaged

Aspirin / Benadryl / Imodium / Ibuprofen

14

14

Paper & Pencil

Rite in the Rain & Pencil 

22

22

Sanitizer - Repackaged

Whatever brand - in 30ml Nalgene

37

37

Sun - Repackaged

Aveeno Baby 50 FPS - Stick

34

34

Toilet Paper

Coghlan’s / Tissue on the Go

38

38

Tooth Brush & Paste

Travel Brush and Paste

40

40

Towel - Small

Pack Towel / Personal 

29

-

Trowel 

Tent Lab / The Deuce

15

15

Water Container - a*

Smartwater 1L

39

39

Water Container - b*

Nalgene Cantene 1L

62

-

Water Container - c*

Nalgene HDPE 1L

108

-

Water Purify & Case 

Acquatabs -  in small Nalgene

20

20

Whistle 

Fox 40 / Micro (also on most packs)

5

-

BASE WEIGHT TOTALS **

BASE - Grams  ( Ultra Light < 4536 g ) 

 

3433

BASE - Pounds  ( Ultra Light  < 10 lb )

 

7.5526

ITEMS WORN

 

 

 

Bandana

Cotton

33

33

Buff

Buff

37

-

Gaiters

Outdoor Research - Running 

28

28

Hat

Outdoor Research - Bucket

67

67

Knife

Spyderco / Dragonfly

35

35

Pants *

Outdoor Research - Ferrosi 

302

302

Shirt / Long*

Outdoor Research - Ferrosi

384

384

Shirt / Short*

MEC / Argo 

176

-

Shirt / Warm*

Outdoor Research - Deviator

321

-

Shirt / Wind*

Sierra Designs / Wind 

167

-

Shoes

Hoka One One / Speedgoat Mid WP

772

772

Shorts * 

Outdoor Research - Ferrosi 

200

-

Socks

Darn Tough / Crew

60

60

Trekking Poles

Leki - Carbonlite

324

324

Watch 

Casio / Protec ( compass , altimeter, barometer)

58

58

TOTAL WORN 

 2063

CONSUMABLES

 

 

 

Water

½ day

1000

1000

Food

3 Days

1500

1500

Fuel / Canister

Canister 110 g

212

-

Fuel / Esbit

Esbit / Tabs x 6

24

24

TOTAL CONSUMABLES

 2524

EXTRAS

 

 

 

Battery pack

Powertraveller / Discovery (trips > 2 nights)

300

-

Book 

Paperback

100

100

Camera

Canon - G5X, H2O sack

391

391

Camera / Bag

LowePro / Apex 60AW

102

102

Camera / Batteries

Canon - G5X x 3, sack

75

75

Cellphone - H2O proof

Acquapac 

35

-

Cellphone & Case

iPhone 7 & Otterbox Case

189

-

Headphones

Apple Buds

20

-

Tripod

Ultrapod / Mini

52

52

TOTAL EXTRAs

 720

TOTAL CONSUMABLES

 2524

TOTAL BASE 

 3433

TOTAL TOTAL

(3 days)

Grams

 

6677

Pounds 

 

14.6894

* depends on season and/or environment -  e.g. generally 1 x 1L water bottle is needed in much of Ontario, however 3-6L of water containers are required in the desert

** choose lightest option from chart - will substitute and/or add items to increase comfort and/or safety. My actual base-weight will vary on all adventures. I can definitely survive with the listed base weight…however with perhaps reduced comfort and/or safety

 BW NOV 13, 2018

 

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Campologist Talk

A blog for campers by campers. Bruce is the primary contributor, with regular posts from Tracy and friends.

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