The Quest to Reduce Pack Weight

This is a discussion on The Quest to Reduce Pack Weight within the Bushcraft - Primitive Skills - Survival Skills - Camping forums, part of the Related Topics category; What gear have you been able to completely eliminate from your pack or what gear have you switched to that resulted in a drop in ...

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Thread: The Quest to Reduce Pack Weight

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    VIP Member Array 1MoreGoodGuy's Avatar
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    The Quest to Reduce Pack Weight

    What gear have you been able to completely eliminate from your pack or what gear have you switched to that resulted in a drop in pack weight?

    In my Tents thread I mentioned how I reduced my pack weight by 1 pound by switching from the Kelty Trail Ridge 2 to the Kelty Salida 2. The Kelty Salida 2 is going to be replaced by the Big Agnes Super Scout UL 2 which will reduce the pack weight by an additional 1 pound 13 ounces.

    Total drop in pack weight will be 2 pounds 13 ounces.

    The switch from the Trail Ridge to the Salida was an easy transition and I gave up very little (a tiny amount of floor space and a second door/vestibule that was not needed for solo camping.

    The switch from the Salida to the Big Agnes Super Scout UL 2 will come with a few sacrifices and benefits…One major benefit is the huge vestibule and two sacrifices are the reduced floor space and the low interior height towards the back of the tent. The other benefits are obviously weight reduction and better compressibility.

    A couple of items I have eliminated from my pack are:

    Roll of duct tape
    Small multi tool
    Repackaged a snake bite kit to save weight and space
    Fire starter (still have multiple fire starters in the pack)

    A couple of ounces here and a couple of ounces there and all of a sudden you're down another pound. Even if you don't know the exact weight change, I'd like to hear about the changes you've made and any benefits or sacrifices that came with the change.

    So let's hear how you have been able to reduce your pack's weight...
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1MoreGoodGuy View Post
    So let's hear how you have been able to reduce your pack's weight...
    I've never been an "ultra lite" guy, and by switching to this, I've actually gained weight:

    Eberlestock Halftrack 6.2 lbs empty.

    Since most of my backpacking is geared towards bushcrafting/woods bumming, rather than BOB testing, the biggest weight savings I've gotten is by losing the multiple knives. I've never managed to lose or break a knife, so I don't carry a lot of redundancy in cutting. I carry a Bark River Highland special, and a little Northwoods Custom, slipjoint "Gunstock" pattern. When I know I'm going to have to process wood, I add a hatchet. Don't carry a multitool, there just isn't much in my kit I could use one on.

    By switching to the Golite Shangri-law tent, leaving the nest home and using a small ground cloth under my mat I shaved about 1.5lbs (2.3 lbs for shelter). As for duck-tape, I put some 100MPH tape, electrical tape, and twine on an old motel room key card instead of carrying rolls. I also put my firestarter (Cotton & Vaseline) into "firestraws", with about 1 cotton ball per straw, 4-5 of them will last a long weekend and they weigh nearly nothing. I've constructed my own FAKs using Aloksak bags with just the stuff I'll most likely need based on # of days out. I also switched to titanium cookware, except for a carbon steel skillet, just because the Ti does a crappy job with frying, and I like my spam and bacon. I also switched a while back to a Sawyer Mini-Filter and their squeeze bags, VS my older heavier MSR.

    I also started carrying a polymer handgun (either a Walther PPS or PPQ) in 9mm in a Hillpeople Recon Kit bag, and started carrying way less ammo (1 spare mag). Other savings comes from some judicious packing in the food and spare clothes areas.

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    Senior Member Array Fizban's Avatar
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    getting rid of the tent

    bag.jpg
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1MoreGoodGuy View Post
    ... needed for solo camping.

    A couple of items I have eliminated from my pack are:

    Small multi tool
    Myself, I'd give up quite a number of other things before I'd eject a decent multi-tool, particularly if out solo. This presumes you've got gear that the multi-tool could work on, or find needs on the trail that it'll work for, of course ... cutting, screwdriving, crimping, poking new holes in things, filing, whatever.


    One of the best changes I made, back when, was going to more-intelligent layering. That got rid of many pounds of "excess" clothing that wasn't needed. With smarter fabric choices, these days, the task can be even simpler. Expensive, but a good trade if weight reduction is the goal.

    I've also opted for lighter/tougher boots, instead of the older, heavy, traditional stuff. Wasn't weight off the back, but weight off the feet pays its own dividends that can be felt long after one gets acclimated to the pack weight.

    With much weight savings, I've found I could then add a few things back: a better, larger Thermarest or other items to improve sleeping performance; a bit more rope; a bit more water; an additional water purifying method.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; April 13th, 2014 at 08:48 PM.
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    I ditched all canned food/Spam/Tuna and now go fully Freeze Dried

    I went to all Titanium cookware/utensils

    I junked the heavy Stainless biners that were furnished w/ my hammock and opted for the super lightweight Camp Nano

    I switched out my BUSSEE NMSFNO for the BUSSE Team Gemini. The NMSFNO is an absolutely incredible knife (especially for chopping) but, it is on the heavy side and the TGLB will serve me almost as well and with that weight savings I was able to add the SILKY folding saw.

    I had some possible "TRADE/Barter" items in my pack for SHTF - deck of cards/pack of smokes/2 of those small bottles of Vodka - Bye Bye!

    I switched out my older tarp for this AMAZINGLY Lightweight SILNYLON one.
    I am in the process of working out a sweet deal to get more of this particular SILNYLON & may list some for sale here soon.

    I got rid of one Lawn & Leaf large Contractor Bag and now only pack one & not two. They are heavier than you think.

    Now that we are into warmer weather here - I am going through everything and ditching anything Winter related.

    I have also popped in a smaller tube of toothpaste and a smaller bottle of liquid camp soap. I will just use both more sparingly.

    I have a few things that are fairly heavy that I absolutely will not give up. The Hydropack X-Pack and my Survival Tabs.

    I did get rid of the larger Burn Gel packs. If I get burnt I'll suffer through it.

    A while back I ditched the suture kit because the implements were kinda heavy. I opted for the Wound Closure Strips instead.
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    VIP Member Array 1MoreGoodGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Myself, I'd give up quite a number of other things before I'd eject a decent multi-tool, particularly if out solo. This presumes you've got gear that the multi-tool could work on, of course ... cutting, screwdriving, crimping, poking new holes in things, filing, whatever.


    One of the best changes I made, back when, was going to more-intelligent layering. That got rid of many pounds of "excess" clothing that wasn't needed. With smarter fabric choices, these days, the task can be even simpler. Expensive, but a good trade if weight reduction is the goal.

    I've also opted for lighter/tougher boots, instead of the older, heavy, traditional stuff. Wasn't weight off the back, but weight off the feet pays its own dividends that can be felt long after one gets acclimated to the pack weight.

    With much weight savings, I've found I could then add a few things back: a better, larger Thermarest or other items to improve sleeping performance; a bit more rope; a bit more water; an additional water purifying method.
    The "small multi-tool" I ditched was a redundancy…I still carry a multi-tool…I use to have 2 in the bag…one "regular" sized one and one small one.
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    VIP Member Array Aceoky's Avatar
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    While I don't like carrying more weight than required I won't give up needs for weight saving - I carry a full sized real hatchet in my pack for example as well as a folding saw . May never have to have both but I'll put up with the extra weight ( I know some folks won't and that is fine also)
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    Well after spending my vacation time camping the past 30+years my arthritis has pretty much put the kibosh on that.
    I seriously doubt I could pack a bug out pack or GH pack and then hump it anywhere. If the SHTF I am just gonna hunker down right here. My town is small enough that even if the local authorities tried to evacuate townies like me they flat out don't have the manpower to do diddly squat if folks refuse to budge.
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    I've gone to almost entirely no-cook and eliminated carrying the cooking gear. If you get creative, you never even miss it (unless you're a coffee drinker, which I'm not). I rarely go out for more than 4 or 5 days anymore, and as long as I'm maintaining my energy for hiking and climbing I don't worry all that much about how balanced my diet is for those few days. I carry light stuff with high caloric content, as long as it's solid calories (nuts, dried fruit, etc.) and not junk.
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    Note that I have made a few post deletes in this thread.

    No Yuk Yuk posts unless you also are adding something helpful, informative, and/or constructive.

    Since this is primarily a How-To/Reference area of the forum I don't want it overly crapped up with nonsensical comments and quotes and replies to nonsensical comments.

    So if you are wondering where your post went...it went bye bye.
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    Chuck R. - I completely agree. A full roll of Duct Tape is like lugging around a small boat anchor. A full roll of that stuff would feel mighty heavy after a while.
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    I started with my pack. Took out the metal bars in the back. What's the use in being set up to carry a heavy pack, with a heavy pack, when you are not planning on being heavy? I never missed the support. I cut all unnecessary straps, and shortened the ones I could. Took any and all patches off. My wife and I even did a multi day trip with large day packs at one point.

    Switched out my filter for polar pur liquid iodine solution. I greatly prefer it to tablets. Have since bought another filter because of the kids.

    Re worked my cook/eating gear. Ditched the bulky windscreen for my Trangia cook kit out for a #5 can cut in half with notches cut for air. The burner and wind screen fit into my pot. I ate out of the pot.

    Ditched boots for tennis shoes. I've got sturdy ankles so I'm GTG. Not everyone can deal with it.

    Went with a tarp and ground cloth instead of tent.

    What I did not budge on was food. I don't like dehydrated food.
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    What I did not budge on was food. I don't like dehydrated food.

    The Mountain House is pretty doggone good. Especially if you get your boiling water into the pouch really quick - give it a really FAST stir and then quickly zip-seal the pouch and give it a few minutes over the recommended times.
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    Member Array Unisaw's Avatar
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    I switched to a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent; eliminated spare clothes that I rarely ended up wearing -- I wash clothes if necessary; cut down on the amount of snacks; got a lighter sleeping pad; stopped carrying a heavy goretex parka; for cooking, switched to a single titanium pot plus a titanium cup; switched from water filter to purification tablets; use iPhone as a camera; leave wallet behind and take only what I really need in a ziplock baggie.
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    If it is just me I ditch a tent and just use a tarp and poncho.

    I like external frame packs because of the versatility that they offer. If I need to hump large logs, a butchered deer etc... I can take the pack off the frame and just strap/lash whatever I want to pack out onto the frame.

    Now with my two young sons and my wife I pack a Eureka 4 man tent.
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