Remember seven weeks ago when I said “tune in next week for a post about lightening your load while backpacking?” Well, better late than never.
I’ve been working some crazy long weeks at work, but recently got my weekends back, which means I can write again! I am still avoiding the trails, as finding clear ones in this area seems like a pipe dream. Maybe in fall? Sigh. I am just itching to get out backpacking soon–and to see how much lighter I’ve made my pack!
In February, I discovered Lighterpack.com. For a hiking enthusiast, gear head, and stats nerd, this website is the perfect marriage. Armed with this website and a kitchen scale, I purged my various gear storage bins and cataloged the weights of everything I carried on previous trips–down to my keyfob, ID, and plastic bag with Ibuprofen (this project is best combined with reorganizing your gear storage, if you haven’t already). It was a little tedious, but the end goal in sight kept me in focus. I did keep a papertowel on the scale for dirty items, especially with shoes (we do still use the scale for food!), and for bigger items like my pack itself, I went with just the stated weight on the product website (note these can vary a ton, especially with different sizes, so actually measuring yourself with a luggage scale is the proper technique).
With the boyfriendo being the one to carry the tent and stove, my weight still felt very high for a one-night trip–and that’s without any food items besides beer accounted for! I eagerly looked at every item I had weighed, eager to trim weight wherever I could.
First off, the boyfriendo had gotten me a new pad for Christmas. I lost an entire pound with that change alone! A new and improved bladder from Mama Boots shaved off nearly two more ounces, and other in-home hacks helped trim the fat elsewhere. I did have weight to gain too though, as I planned on swapping out a two-ounce Therm-a-Rest Z Seat with a 26-oz REI Flexlight chair, so my main goal was to still come out with an overall reduction.
One of the heaviest things I noted was my Teva sandals I bring. Camp shoes are a worth-the-weight luxury item to me as when backpacking it is amazing to get out of your boots for some time and air your tootsies out. They are great as I can wear them for fetching water or even to wade and ice my feet in ocean or stream. Unlike flip-flops, they can be worn with socks to keep warm and avoid bugs, another important factor for evenings at camp. However, at 18 oz for the pair, I knew I could do better. I did need some support, as my plantar fasciitis and flat feet demand some built-in-arch, but I knew something lighter had to exist.
I looked for recommendations, and while the jury is still out on just how supportive they are, can you argue with saving 10.5 ounces?! I also got them on clearance just before everything shut down, paying only $25 for them. I also noted I was carrying two 8-oz Silpints for the beer, while there are plenty of 16-20 oz cups and mugs that are a fraction of the weight (and can be used for morning tea too!). I got a gorgeous GSI one that is 2.6 ounces from Mama Boots. Another near-pound saved! While not every weight-saving action will net this much benefit, I never would have realized just how heavy my sandals and the Silpints were without seeing just what percent of my gear they were on Lighterpack.
It’s free to use and I was not paid or asked for this post–I just think it’s a wonderful tool to use, and if stuck at home bored or eyeing the current REI sale, why not take this opportunity to shave some ounces–or even pounds?!