Friday, March 8, 2013

Winter dayhiking pack weight

Before my last day hike I weighed my pack and it totaled 18 pounds!  That is a lot of weight for a day hike.  I can go out for 2-3 nights with just 28 pounds.  What's going on?  I added up the things I carried and get a total of 15 pounds.  So one problem is my bathroom scale; it's not very accurate.

Still 15 pounds is a lot for a day hike but I have to pack for the weather and I carry heavy camera gear.  My camera with my zoom lens and my external flash weighs 3 pounds and the front pack I carry it in weighs 15 ounces.. Wow!  I need to find a way to make that lighter, I can cut most of the straps off because they are way too long.  I could cut off some of the adjusters too and just sew the case into one position that fits me.

Part of my weight problem is the conditions I hike in.   I hike in the ideal conditions for getting hypothermia.  My hikes are often in the pouring rain and in the winter, the temperature is usually 32-50 degrees.  Most cases of hypothermia occur between the temperatures of 30-50 (F).  I tend to stay out in the rain all day so I have pack extra dry gear, such as a heavy reliable raincoat, extra socks, fleece insulation layers and extra alcohol for starting an emergency fire or making an emergency hot drink.

 Also I hike alone, so I need to carry all my survival gear myself and thanks to a guy who was bothering me I also feel the need to pack a weapon on my solo  hikes.  I hate the extra 12 ounces that my weapon weighs, but after the incident where I was terrified by another hiker, it's worth the piece of mind it brings me.

Part of why I go ultralight is so I can carry a huge camera.  So I'm not really going ultralight, I'm just accommodating my camera by packing ultralight gear.  My pack is technically an overnight pack, but I find I need the support of an overnight style pack when I carry both my camera and my snowshoes.  My pack is one size too large for me and GG is going to send me a new one when they get some size small in stock. The smaller sized pack might save an ounce or two.  For now I am wearing a medium.

The easiest way to lighten this load would be to carry a small camera.  But taking great pictures is a requirement for me to be really happy on my hikes, so that's not going to happen. I might be able to do something about the weight of my camera harness though.

 Next is the dog food.  I could pack light weight dry dog food, but my dog won't eat it.  If I give her dry dog food she just begs for my lunch.  The dog food I carry is moist and looks kind of like hamburger, it comes in a light plastic package so it weights a lot less than canned dog food and there is no can to carry out.  Patches will eat this food so it's worth the weight.  There is no point in bringing light food that my dog will not eat!

In the summer I can lighten my load by bringing my 12 ounce rain jacket and leaving the 20 ounce jacket at home.  On my last hike I also carried two extra bottom layers, one was polypro long johns and the other was REI nylon pants.  After getting soaked in the Wynoochee river I thought it would be a good idea to have dry bottom layers to change in to.  I will probably only pack those extra layers if I know I am fording a river.  Those two items probably added about a pound to my pack weight.

Gear Ounces
Camera with External flash
GG Pack
Event Rain coat 20.0
Camera front pack 15.0
Weapon 12.0
Rain Pants, REI ultralight
Dogfood 12.0
My Lunch 10.0
2 fleece layers 10.0
First Aid 9.0
GPS 8.0
fuel/firestarter 8.0
Kitchen 6.0
Strong head lamp 5.0
Extra Gloves 5.0
WP stuff sacks 5.0
Satellite messenger 4.5
Warm Hat 4.0
Mittens 4.0
Seattle Sombrerro 4.0
Dry socks (2) 4.0
Extra recharge batteries
TP in stuff sack 3.0
Handwarmers (3) 2.5
Coffee, Sugar,Dry Milk 1.0
Freshette 1.0
Weight in Pounds 15.4

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