Lighten Your Load!

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!

You thought I was exaggerating? I even googled to find out how much a crowler weighs!

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).

Screenshot from lighterpack.com, no copyright intended. 3.2 pounds of the luxuries are a crowler and silpints #priorities

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?!

3 Replies to “Lighten Your Load!”

  1. This is such an incredibly helpful post!! Love it!

    1. Thanks! I bet it can be used to keep luggage under airline weight restrictions, too 🙂

  2. Just as a side comment to camp shoes: I’ve always hated open toed shoes with how dusty it always gets around camp and getting my feet so dirty, not to mention the open skin for mosquitos. Sticking those feet into boots the next morning always bothers me. Yes there’s socks but that’s just extra weight.

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