Weight: 0.8 oz / 23g – PVC free – Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Folding Bucket – 10 L / 2.64 Gallon
I own this buck; a thing of beauty for ultralight backpacker. Unfold it, drip into the stream or river to fill with 2.64 gallons. I’ve used it for bath water and / or cooking water (of course you wouldn’t mix the two). And never dump your dirty water back in the stream. Packs down tiny.
I got a fresh-brewed cup of coffee out of the visit (very good) and hands-on experience. It is solid and folds flat. Worth checking out at $29.95 if you love good trail coffee.
Jetboil Coffee Press
0.8 oz (22g)
For my birthday, my wife bought me a coffee press for my Jet Boil. In my home try-out, I added 8 ounces of water, which boiled in one-minute. I stirred two tablespoons of fresh, dark french roast (#4 grind), let it sit for 3 minutes, then inserted the press to push down the grounds. Coffee was excellent. Fits inside the Jetboil cup. About $10.
Starbucks VIA® Intant
.02 oz (3g)
Finally, a few months back, a friend and fellow backpacker brought Starbucks VIA® Instant coffee packets. If you like good coffee, like me, the thought of instant coffee gives you the shivers. Surprise. Surprise. Starbucks is excellent and the Dark French was strong the way I like it. Each packet costs less than a dollar and a fraction of an ounce — a dozen grams maybe. There are 15 flavors, including decafs, flavored (like Caramel Latte) and light and medium-bodied roasts. Here is a Weblink for a look-see: Starbucks Instant Coffee.
I like and recommend all three.
The Snow Peak is sturdiest and heaviest (4.9 ounces).
The Jetboil is a great trail coffee solution for the Jetboil Cooking System.
The Starbucks VIA® Instant is lightest of the “ultralight backpacking” trail coffee solutions.
I recently attended a presentation about Luci, a “solar justice” solution for those who live in “energy poverty” (they have little or no electricity for basic living).
Created by Mpowerd, Luci lights are inflatable, waterproof, solar-powered lanterns that recharge indoors or out and will reportedly last for 12 hours of continuous use. They stay charged for months when not in use.
The best part: they weigh just 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams) and fold flat to about a half inch by about 5 inches.
As a ultralight backpacker, I couldn’t resist buying one. It solves the problem of carrying batteries, especially on extended backpacks.
We all know the sure way to creating an ultralight backpack is to start light with minimalist pack, mat, bag and tent (under 10 pounds). Beyond that, the little things can add up; an ounce here and an ounce there can quickly become pounds on your back.
One of my recent finds for good trail oral hygiene and pack weight reduction, which eliminates the need for a tube of toothpaste, is the Archtech Toothpaste Tablet. See photo for size of a single tablet. You can buy 60 tablets from Amazon for $6.74. Maybe you even leave behind the brush and use your finger, further cutting your weight.
I bought a pack and tried them. They taste good. And, they seem to work.
When I began my ultralight backpacking quest in 1998, manufacturers were producing big, heavy everything — tents, packs, pads and accessories. Backpackers had to be part pack mule to haul all the stuff around. Fast forward to 2013 and the focus on ultralight with lighter materials and lots of innovative minds churning out ever lighter gadgets. Like many others, my initial guide was “Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine’s Guide to Light Hiking.”
I’ve long since slimmed down my pack (and occasionally fattened it back up with comfort items). Now, I just look for interesting stuff to write about.
I bought a titanium sierra cup in the ultralight tradition. Pros: it’s light and when the contents get cold, you can just put it on the campstove and heat it up. Cons: everything gets cold fast.
Frankly, I don’t like my coffee going lukewarm and then cold just a few minutes after pouring it. So, I’ve been looking around and stumbled onto a cup selling at REI. It’s plastic with non-slip handle and non-skip bottom to prevent it from sliding off an uneven surface. A tight-fitting cover keeps liquid in and helps maintain warmth.
The bottom line: it’s $7.50. And, it weighs only 4.0 ounces — about the same as my titanium version which cost at least $30 when I purchased it. Check it out.
On my first backpack 15 years ago my pack basics (pack, tent, pad, bag) weighed a whopping 21 pounds. Today – what a relief – the total is 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
I do it this way:
Osprey Aether Pack – 2800 cu (good for 7 days) – 1.5 pounds
Tent – Sierra Design Light Year (aluminum poles) – 3.0 pounds
Sleeping bag – Western Mountaineering – 1.0 pounds
Sleeping Pad – Exped DownMat 7 – 2.6 pounds Total – 8 pounds, 1 ounce
Ditch the tent and employ the fly-floor configuration (1 pound)
Use my short Thermarest (14 ounces) instead of the DownMat Total with these substitutions – 4 pounds, 7 ounces.
However, carrying the added 3 pounds, 4 ounces – for the DownMat 7 and full tent – I earn a huge payoff in warmth, comfort and mosquito-free sleep. The 5.9 R Value for the regular 2.5 cm mat allows me to carry a one-pound sleeping bag for three seasons.
Here’s good news for you: Exped has just released the DownMat 7 UL (ultralight) and the medium size is only 20.5 ounces, compared with 34 ounces for my three-year-old DownMat 7! And, I the D7 UL is rated for -11 F.
My hiking shoes are waterproof Keen “tennis” shoes. But after walking across too many streams barefoot on sharp rocks — and an achilles injury from new boots — I decided to carry a second pair of shoes. Extra shoes, of course, means extra weight. This video shoes three alternatives. I encourage you to share other options with my readers.
In the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine are 33 tips for lightening your load. One I have pointed out before, but it is worth mentioning again: don’t leave behind items that can make your trip comfortable and/or satisfying. Example:
I have three sleeping pads: 14 ounces, 20 0unces and 36 ounces. Two are self inflatables: a 3/4th length and full-length. They are fairly comfortable, but the third one, while biggerÂ is not only much more comfortable, but warmer because it provided incredible insulation against the cold ground. That allows me to carry a lighter sleeping bag. About the “satisfying” part of my comment: a fresh apple for lunch or cookies can give your trip and your attitude a big boost.
Your favorite music to help you sleep or to give you inspiration during an uphill slog can be a welcome backpacking companion.Â As long as it doesn’t add a lot of weight.The new iPod Shuffle 3rd Generation weighs all of .38 ounces — that’s right, just a tad over one-third of 1 ounce. Holds 1,000 songs with a 10-hour battery. Only 1.8 inches tall and .7 inches thick. And, only 79 bucks. I can’t think of a better trail companion.Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.