My hiking gear took a while to accumulate. I’ve made many mistakes and wasted a lot of money on my journey to a light load. I suppose the best advice I can give is to do your homework and don’t rush to buy it. It is cheaper, in the long run, to buy the best and possibly more expensive item first – rather than skimp at the beginning and getting less expensive but invariably heavier equipment.
Your back will thank you for being patient – especially as you get older like me.
Some of these weight savings tips might be useful for you as you try to lighten your load for your next trek.
|Item||First or early attempts||Current and weight saved|
|Tent 1/2 person||Black Wolf Bivy bag. Weight was fantastic but I only used this for one night – too close-fitting for me plus you cannot keep your gear undercover with you. 1.2 Kg|
My next step was:
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 – I needed the extra space of a 2 man for comfort at 1.7 Kg as measured on my scales (including outer bag, footprint, peg bag, pole bag, and gear loft)
Weight increase 500g. If I left the internal screen tent at home and just pack a footprint and the fly take away a pound (454 g).
|One Planet Gunyah 2|
2 man tent – Pitching options as per specifications are:
Full tent (inner, fly, pole, pegs and stuff sacks): approximately 1.2 kilograms
Footprint: approximately 0.23 kilograms
Moving to this tent has been a significant step forward for my weight reduction strategy and goes some way to moving to a larger and heavier pack. On my scales, I will carry this tent at 1,177g and I have set aside the very high quality and relatively heavy footprint that came with it in favour of 48 g worth of light plastic painters drop sheet. I might even look at getting myself some DuPont Tyvek from eBay some time. Including the cheap and light footprint this combination comes to 1,225 g a weight saving of nearly 500g over my Seedhouse SL2 and putting back on par where I was for my original Bivy bag. A lot more comfortable too. To achieve this low weight for the tent I have removed the tent peg and pole bags but have kept the tent bag which weighs 18 g – I figure it is worth 18 to keep it all in one pile.
|Tent 2 person||Nil||See above|
|Tent pegs||Big Agnes pegs at 10g each||Replaced 5 of the 11 Big Agnes pegs with 6 (1 spare) 2 g titanium pegs.|
Weight saving 38 g
|Knife||2-ounce Noname pocket knife||Buck Mini 28 g (1 ounce)|
Weight saving 28 g
|Sleep mat||Kathmandu full length 183 cm by 3.8 cm 1.12 Kg|
then moved to
Thermarest Prolite 3
Small: 20 in. x 47 in. x 1.5 in. 1 lb. 1 oz. 480 g
Weight saving 640 g
|I went up in weight here preparing for the overland track walk where I was contemplating 5 nights in a row in cold conditions and I was considering moving to a full-length mat. A bit more comfort was also on the cards. I considered the 40th Anniversary Thermarest mat which I coveted for its 2 inches of thickness but the weight was 680 g.|
I considered the Thermarest Neo Air at 410 g for the regular length but ended up getting the Neo Air-Trekker at 570 g. I liked the feel of this mattress, it did not make a crinkling noise when I moved on it and I had a vibe that it looked more puncture resistant than the yellow model. Time will tell
Weight increase 90 g
|Sleeping bag||Black Wolf Compact (-5 deg). Excellent high-quality bag – but was way too heavy and over-engineered for my environment. 1.7 Kg||For most of the walking where I live a very mild weather sleeping bag will suit most conditions and given the significant difference in weight, I think a two sleeping bag strategy (or even three) is warranted.|
Roman Palm 1 – for 10 deg which is enough for about 11 months of the year where I live. Claims to be 500g but mine came in at 700g with compression sack. Summer weight. This bag cost about $60 – as cheap as chips.
My new winter bag is a Mountain Hardwear Spirit SL water resistant 800 loft goose down bag at 1.2 Kg including waterproof compression sack.
Weight saving 500g (winter) 1,000 g (summer)
|Pillow||Mountain Designs self-inflating 200g||Exped Air Pillow (large) 100g|
Weight saving 100g
|Pack||Kathmandu Altai 1.35 Kg v1||For overnight trips or warm weather walking, I will stay with this 50 Litre pack but for longer trips, I moved to a 60 Litres pack. I agonised over lightweight packs vs heavier ones with good harnesses such as the Macpac Cascade 50 in canvas which has all the features I want (sleeping bag section and front pocket) but weighs 2.7 Kg vs the Osprey Aether which is similarly specified at around 2.3 Kg. I have tried other Osprey lighter versions such as Kestrel 58 and Exos 58 but with 15 Kg on board the Kestrel shoulder straps did not cut it for me and the Exos has the trampoline back which pushes the weight away from your body. When I leaned back a bit I felt off-balance quickly with the Exos.|
I now have the One Planet WBA medium 60 litres. No features to speak of but at 2 kg is a lot lighter than the Macpac Cascade 50 and the harness is absolutely awesome! I am thinking that saving weight in the backpack harness is a compromise I am not willing to make. The WBA will put my weight saving in the red with a 650-gram increase.
The only weight-saving tip so far for this bag is to remove the spare clips on the front straps for mounting a One Planet Limpet or other day packs.
Weight saved = 8 g
Bleuet Micro 270 Stove 200gThe first mistake was not realising it needed specific gas cylinders. Then I realised it was quite heavy compared to the alternatives.
|Kovea Titanium Ultralight (integrated piezo ignition) 88g|
Weight saving 112 g
|Cooking||I started off with a Kathmandu aluminum kettle which weighed not much and was very practical – with a low profile and therefore stable device. Heated water very quickly. Weight 146 g||Macpac Amp Solo titanium 900 ml cookpot weighs 134 g with cover. This option not only saves weight but I can fit the gas cylinder as well as the Kovea stove inside so it saves space|
Weight saving 12 g (I could shave off another 34 g of weight if I leave the lid (25g) and string bag (9g) at home but think the lid will improve water heating time, has the advantage of a strainer function and is worth taking along.
|Bowl||Melamine camping bowl 101g||GSI plastic bowl 63 g|
Weight saving 38 g
|Hiking pole||Elemental – Trekking 3 piece aluminium adjustable 293g||Black Diamond Ultra Z poles Carbon 134 g each or 268 g for the pair. I now take two instead of one – the weight saving, therefore, is only 25 grams.|
|Waterbottle||1.25 carbonated soft drink bottles 40g||Kathmandu 1 Litre Flexi bottle 28 g|
Weight saving 12 g
|Underpants||Davenport cotton trunks size Large 61g||Kathmandu Quick-dry polyester briefs size large 45g|
Weight saving 16g
|Hat||Columbia Legionnaire 83g||Macpac Legionnaire 75g|
Weight saving 8 g
|Socks||Holeproof Explorer 97 g||Macpac Thermal 90 g per pair|
Weight saving 7 g
|Poop Scoop||Fiskars Trowell from Bunnings 89 g||Coghlans Trowell 48 g (their specification says 55g)|
Weight saving 40 g
|Compass||Aldi 48 g||Fairydown mini compass 28 g|
Weight saving 20 g