I’ve reviewed plenty of gear and discussed lots of ways to reduce weight to help make each of you the ultimate ultralight backpacker.
At the same time, entering my 11th year of backpacking, I believe in having some extra comforts, which go against the austere philosophy of the take-no-prisoners ultra, ultralight backpackers, but make me feel better on the trail. However, even Ray Jardine, the grandfather of ultralight, admitted that taking no fuel — and therefore having no hot meals on the trail (as he and his wife did on one PCT -trek) in the interest of saving weight — was going too far.
My own example: I have three sleeping pads. My lightest is a Thermarest 3/4th length model at 11 ounces. My middleweight is 20 ounces, but full body length. However, after my wife bought me the ultra-comfortable Exped Downmat 7 (stuffed with down) at 2 pounds, 2 ounces, I almost always carry it. Makes a huge difference in being warm and sleeping well at night.
With about three sets of piece of backpacking gear, I can vary my weight by weather and length of trip. For example, I own an Osprey Aether pack — no longer available — that is 1 pound, 9 ounces, and more than a pound less than my new Osprey Atmos 35. For an extra pound, I get lots outside pockets and more choices for packing. The extra weight is worth the extra featues. Here’s my current list.
MY WILDERNESS HOME
Pack Osprey Atmos 35 (size large) â€“ 2 pounds, 11 ounces
-Tent Sierra Design Light Year – 3 pounds, 11 ounces
-Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering Highlite; goose down, rated for 38 degrees – 1 pound
-Pad – Exped (down filled), self inflating (72 inches) â€“ 2 pound, 2 ounces
9 pounds, 8 ounces (8 pounds, 1 ounce with my 3/4 length sleeping pad; 6 pounds, 7 ounces if the weather is nice and I use the fast-pack version of my tent which eliminates the tent body and uses only the poles, fly and ground cloth).
CLOTHES – On My Body
Shoes / Boots – Keen Targhee II low-cross trainers (tennis shoes) with waterproofing eVENT; comfortable right out of the box
-Hiking Pants â€“ Ex-Officio long, no-zip off.
-Hiking shirt (1st layer) â€“ Icebreaker Skin 200 pure merino wool (keeps you warm and cool and doesnâ€™t stink no matter how long youâ€™ve been wearing it) â€“ 6 ounces
-Hiking shirt (outside layer) â€“ long sleeve Travel Smith , 100% Supplex with 100% mesh, vented up (around shoulders for airflow and heat venting) or short sleeve Columbia PFG fishing shirt (quick drying with upper body vents).
-SmartWool socks â€“ keep their shape after despite days of wear
-Bandana â€“ 2 ounces (wear around neck)
-Sunglasses â€“ my regular glasses are photograys and turn dark outdoors.
-Whistle â€“ whistle and id tag carried on lanyard around my neck under my shirt.
CLOTHES â€“ In My Pack
-Jacket â€“ GoLite Storm â€“ 1 pound
-Gloves â€“ 3 ounces â€“ Manzella
-Knit cap â€“ 3 ounces
-Long underwear â€“ for sleeping â€“ Layers brand â€“ 7 ounces
-Short sleeve Capilene top for sleeping â€“ 4 ounces
-Smart Wool socks – 4 ounces
1 pounds, 5 ounce
-Stove – Esbit solid fuel stove with windscreen (piece of aluminum foil) â€“ 4 ounces
-Fuel â€“ 3 ounces / day (Esbit tablets are Â½ ounce each) â€“ 9 ounces for three days
-Titanium drinking cup â€“ 3 ounces
-Titanium .5L pot for boiling and as a bowl â€“ 4 ounces
-Plastic spork (knife, spoon, folk all in one)â€“ Â½ ounce
-Matches â€“ propane lighter + a few matches in a snack bag â€“ 1 ounce
-Pocket knife â€“ Â½ ounce â€“ 99 cents at local hardware store â€“ Â½ ounce
-Titanium cooking pot for three hikers (I carry for the group) â€“ 2L with lid and pot lifting tool â€“ 7 ounces
-Salt and pepper – 1 ounces
-Coffee creamer – 2 ounces
1 pound, 12 ounces
-First aid kit (duct tape, various sizes of big Bandaids) â€“ 4 ounces
-Light: Naschem Catâ€™s Eyes â€“ 1.5 ounces
-Sunscreen â€“ foil packets or some in a small bottle â€“ 2 ounces
-Compass: none (take Map â€“ good topo of the wilderness destination) â€“ 2 ounces
-Extra clothes: 1 pair of socks (long underwear double as pajamas and extra clothes. â€“ 6 ounces
-Insect repellant – Cutter stick and small pump spray bottle – 2 ounces
1 pound, 1 Â½ ounces
OUTSIDE OF PACK
-Water purification â€“ SteriPEN Adventurer (uses ultraviolet light to kill all crypto, viruses and bacteria in about 60 seconds) â€“ 6.5 ounces with batteries
-Pint nalgene bottle – fits in outside pocket- 4 ounces (with water 1 pound five ounces)
-Digital camera – clips on pack breast strap – 4 ounces
-Tooth brush – thumb brush
-Floss â€“ travel size (about the size of a quarter)
-Paste – foil packet
-Bandaids â€“ 2 or 3
-Pill container – aspirin, anti-histamine, etc.
NON ESSENTIALS, BUT NICE
-Entertainment/camera – iPhone (music, TV shows, movies, 2 megapixel camera) â€“ 6.5 ounces