One of the most important things you can do when planning a long distance backpacking trip is ensure that you’re hiking with as little weight as possible. It’s hard to leave creature comforts at home (“but mom, I neeeeed that fancy cookset”), but every step that you take is going to be significantly more painful with every extra pound you take along.
I’ve forced myself to go ultra-lightweight when I scored this lovely backpack at a REI garage sale the other day:
The REI Flash 52. Which is apparently not a backpack you want to bring more than 30 lbs with, but is a great, lightweight pack for anything less. So the challenge is on!
Here’s my list so far:
|Gear||Name||Weight in lbs||Weight in oz|
|Backpack||REI Flash 52||2 lbs. 15 oz.||57|
|Pad||Big Agnes Insulated Q Core||1 lb||16|
|Sleeping bag||Mountain Hardware Ultralamina 32||1 lb 15oz||31|
|Headlamp||Black Diamond?||3.9 oz||3.9|
|Water bladder||Camelbak 100 oz||6.5 oz||6.5|
|Mug||Summit to Sea X Mug||2.4 oz||2.4|
|Spoon||Light My Fire Spork||0.2 oz||0.2|
|First Aid Kit||Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit||8 oz||8|
|Camera||iPhone 5s + case||3.95 oz + 1.05 oz||5|
|Hiking poles||?||1 lb 4 oz||20|
|Towel||REI MultiTowel Lite Small Towel||0.75 oz||0.75|
|Sunscreen||Neutrogena Sport||4 oz||4|
|Pee funnel||Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director||1 oz||1|
|Hand sanitizer||Purell||0.40 oz||0.4|
|Bug spray||Jungle Juice||0.40 oz||0.4|
|Bear canister||http://lighter1.com/ lil sami||1 lb 5 oz||21|
|Kettle||GSI Outdoors Hae Tea Kettle||5.8 oz||5.8|
|Tent||Big Agnes Flycreek UL2||2 lbs. 5 oz.||37|
|Camp shoes||Hacked sleeping pad||1.1 oz||1.1|
|Pillow||Exped Air Pillow UL||1.6 oz||1.6|
|Maps||John Muir Trail Map-Pack: Shaded Relief Topo Maps||3 oz||1|
|Knife||? (perhaps get multitool?)||3 oz||3|
|Soap||Sea to Summit Citronella Wilderness Wash Soap||1.3 oz||1.3|
|Duct Tape (on poles)|
|Spot or PLB|
|Chapstick with SPF|
The above is coming in at ~15 lbs.
Then, there are a couple choices I need to make:
|Water filter||Platypus Gravity Works Bottle Kit||9.5 oz||9.5|
|New stove?||http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpacking-Canister-Ignition-silvery/dp/B00ENDRORM/||3.9 oz||3.9|
|Stove fuel||?||3.5 oz||3.5|
|Super cat stove||0.75 oz||0.75|
I already own the Gravity Works, but could save 6.5 oz if I get a Sawyer Squeeze. But I really, really love my Gravity Works. Not sure yet if I want to buy even more gear.
I also need to get a new stove, so I’m considering this highly rated stove on Amazon. But I’m only bringing a kettle since I’ll just be heating water for my meals, which works really well with a kitty food can stove. But the denatured alcohol looks to be heavy, canceling the savings? That said, not even sure I have the stove fuel weight right in the above table either.
I’m also considering bringing a SPOT or a Personal Locator Beacon for emergencies, but that adds to the weight as well.
The unfortunate thing is that my gear list so far, including anticipated food and full 3L of water is coming in at 32 lbs. Right on the edge of being too heavy for the Flash 52.
Any thoughts on these decisions, or on any other gear I’m planning on bringing?
Oh, and a bit of an update: like a dork, I wasn’t able to get a pre-season Wilderness permit for the John Muir Trail (because I totally didn’t realize that I needed to be ready in early February to score a permit for early August — d’oh!) I’m resolved now to get a permit the day-of or day-before my planned date as recommended by Reddit, meaning I’ll have to wait in line from 5am until 11am, but if that’s what I need to do, then so be it. Don’t be like me and miss the permit deadline!