I'm back from the over nighter, and it was a fun trip. There's wasn't a drop of rain, Saturday had splendid sunshine and blue skies and today it was grey and humid, but alas no rain. I might post a trip report next week with some more photos, though after inspirations by Robin and Geoff I thought to show you the inside of my Scarp 1:
On the top left is my small pack sack, where I keep my towel and spare socks. Next to it, in the NeoAir pack sack, my 1st Aid kit and Hygiene bag, to the right a empty bottle of Minttu liqueur and next to it my kitchen in its bag. In the green pack sack I keep my food, on the top my phone and a Light-My-Fire cup. Then my torch, toilet paper and a 1l Platypus if I get thirsty during the night. My Smartwool Hiking Mid socks, which I wore over night in front of the open porch. NeoAir and GoLite Ultra 20° in the middle, very nice combo. And under my feet was my Ohm, which was very comfy and isolated well. My Rab Momentum Jacket and Drillium Pants where at the foot end, out of the picture, as were my shoes. Everything fits nicely inside, and there was room to spare!
We reached the end of this little series, which I enjoyed writing a lot as it also helped me to reevaluate and think about my gear. The most interest received the article about the Big 3. I guess looking at big shiny equipment is what the majority likes =) Nevertheless, the clothing and footwear article highlighted that there are also significant possibilities to save weight with the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet. Yesterday I looked at the kitchen and miscellaneous little items which we always carry with us, and what good lightweight options there are for these.
So lets combine the whole package, and see the total. I used Numbers to make a nice packing list (Credit to The Other Face who sent me his German version, and which I changed to suit my needs). Lets have a look:
We got the backpack, stuff sacks and a rain cover there, 834 g in total, not bad. There are lighter options for both rain cover and stuff sacks out there, and I guess I'll get some from Mountain Laurel Design which make fantastic UL gear.
Sleeping system and the shelter weight 2426 g. My GoLite Ultra 20° will keep me toasty, and the NeoAir is so comfortable that I will not switch to a CCF mat - which means I might not be able to rise at 5 o'clock in the morning to snap photos of the dawn. For the winter I need to look for a new sleeping bag/ quilt which will push that likely a bit up, except I win in the lottery and can afford one of the amazing Nunatak quilts. There are lighter options for tents available, but I love my Scarp 1 thus will happily carry the few hundred gram extra.
My kitchen weights a respectable 395 g, I will add a little 100 ml bottle of alcohol to fire up the MYOG top burner for when I'm too tired to look for wood for my BushBuddy Ultra. An Inferno + Ti-Tri stove from Trail Designs will find its way to me soon, so there even are slight possibilities of me decreasing the weight further and remaining a fire devil!
My worn clothes weigh 1604 g, there are some possibilities to shave some further grams off there, for example by getting lighter shoes and pants (The Shelby Koruoma pant is a project I will be working on during the winter). The clothes in my backpack are light at 1211 g, and will protect me from rain and cold efficiently. I forgot to add my Trekmates Amphibian GoreTex socks, which weigh 73 g and also should keep my feet dry as a desert.
Those various items are the heaviest piece on the list, with 2810 g - but that's due to the EOS 50D and the LowePro Toploader I carry. Dave, The Armchair Adventurer, made himself a very nice camera bag, which I might try to reproduce. That should make it slightly lighter, but having witnessed the difference between point and click and the power of a DSLR my decision was made easy: the DSLR comes along! The towel can be replaced by a small & light UL version, probably saving some 100 g.
Food and water, well, 700 g per day might be a bit much, but its important to have sufficient energy on the trail for me. If I would switch from Ramen and Pasta to Real Turmat I could save some weight per day, and it should definitely taste better.
So, for a weekend out, from Friday afternoon till Sunday early evening I would start with a pack weight of 11505 g. Ideally that will mean I come home with a backpack which weights 7755 g as I eat and drink away my consumables. I like it. Going light means I can walk more kilometers, take extras like the DSLR which I wouldn't carry if I go "normal" and climb higher. Its natural.
I thank you for reading and inspiring me, I had interesting conversations with some readers in the comments - join us if you like! Going light was a very good experience for me, and hopefully this little series has shown that it is not difficult to lose some weight and still be safe and comfortable on the trail!
The third installment of my UL Beginners Guide, and we will be talking about the kitchen and miscellaneous other items. The kitchen is an essential piece of equipment, and saving a pound or two is not so difficult. And also in the miscellaneous items department - from a knife over hygiene to 1st Aid and fixing - there are ways to cut weight easily, without giving up safety and comfort.
I am a BushBuddy Ultra user. There is one new wood burning stove in development which caught my interest, with the fitting name of "Inferno" which I might be getting in the future, but for the moment the BBU and my little back-up MYOG top burner stove are all I take out into the wild. However, before starting with MYOG projects and getting a BBU, I had a Trangia as probably 90% of the backpacking population in Scandinavia. The Trangia + the full fuel bottle were about 2000 g, so here's a easy way to get rid of at least a kilogram.
The Trangia burner is good, but you need a pot holder for it which will add additional weight. There are enough MYOG guides out in the internet, so use your Google skills to find them if you need one. I instead would build a new side burner stove out of a Pepsi can, instructions can be found on Zenstoves.net. It should weigh in at about 15 g max, and you don't need a pot holder. You can use on of the Trangia pots with your new stove, or get a lighter pot, preferably out of Titanium. The fuel bottle I would replace with a 100 ml or 200 ml bottle, these can be found in your outdoor store of choice or ordered online. Much lighter, and in case you're not out for two weeks in a row the smaller bottles should hold sufficient fuel for a day or two. Now you might want to have a lid for your Trangia pot, and some household aluminum foil is a cheap and easy solution for that. In case you're not using a Spork yet, now is a good time to get one - the LMF Spork is with 10 g one of the lightest ones available; and they cost only 2€ so you don't even need to rob a bank to afford one!
So, that should have brought down your kitchen to a very reasonable weight of not more than 400 g max excluding fuel. In case you're wondering where's the plate, cup, knife, mixer and whatnot in that list, let me enlighten you. You eat from the pot, as that also safes you doing more dishes. If you want to drink something warm, you drink from the pot. You use your knife for cutting, and your Spork for stirring and mixing. No need to carry specialized items with you. Salt and Pepper as well as sugar can go into a small Ziplock bag, if you need any of it.
Drinking is important, and you should drink plenty if walking - two to three liters minimum. I have a Nalgene 1l bottle, a sturdy piece of gear, but I didn't like that it was rather heavy and always takes away a lot of space, even when empty. So I invested into two 1l Platypus collapsable bottles, light as a feather at 23 g and they store away very nicely when empty. They fit perfectly into the side pockets of my ULA Ohm, and I can take them out and put them back while walking.
Another essential part of your equipment is going to be hygiene: toilet paper, tooth paste and brush, tooth silk, shampoo and shower gel. A photo says it often in simpler terms than words:
On the right my previous washing bag, on the left the UL approach, trimmed down to what I really need if I go out for a few days. I re-used some plastic Minttu liquor bottles for shampoo and shower gel, and have a very nice travel tooth brush box, where the tooth paste and a tooth pick are integrated. I can refill the tooth paste, and the tooth brush is protected from eventual dirt. Some tooth silk, which you also can use to fix something rounds out the hygiene bag. Toilet paper in an extra Ziplock bag, and the two together are under 200 g.
Finally, First Aid. Again a photo to illustrate my current 1st Aid kit:
In there is some spare guyline, some cord, medicines, band-aid and bandage, safety pins, some wet towels and an emergency whistle. Its all I need and I feel confident and safe with this in case something should happen. You might need a different kit depending on the season and where you're walking, so think what you need and be safe.
When it gets dark, you will need a light to see. I carry a Petzl Tikka Plus, not UL at 77 g but it does the job very fine. I would replace it with a Petzl eLite, which weights 23 g and also has a red LED, which is very useful if you're walking in the dark as your night vision doesn't get distorted. The 2009 version also has a whistle, so it will allow me to leave the other whistle at home.
Finally, a knife. Dave reviewed just last week a Opinel knife, which weights 30 g and costs less than 10€, so in case you're carrying around a Leatherman Multitool or a Rambo knife, head over to Dave and see what he found out. I myself carry a German Army knife which weights 86 g. Besides the blade it has a saw which I find useful in case I can't break some wood for my BushBuddy, a piercing tool of sorts (I'm no knife expert =) and a bottle opener. The latter I rarely use outdoors hiking, but all the other tools come in handy regularly.
That's it for today. Tomorrow or the day after I will wrap up this little series, and post a complete packlist of mine for a long weekend trip to give you an idea of what I have with me on a usual trip out. I'm looking forward to your comments!