Tuesday, May 15, 2007


It's 3 sleeps until we hit the trail, so time to do a test pack to see how everything feels. I am a big fan of checklists, and keep a text file on my computer with a general list, modify it for the season and duration of the hike, then save it with the trail name and date for future reference. I also like to make notes of possible ways to reduce weight for future trips, and after the hike will update it with any wishes.

This packing list should only be used as a guideline, as everyones needs will vary. I'm including the weights of items so it's easy to target the biggest culprits. The first useful pack list I saw on my discovery of lightweight backpacking was the 27 pound, 7 day checklist at backpacking.net. It gives me something to work towards, and lets me know I'm on the right track. Before I made my discovery, my pack was probably over 50 pounds (I wish I'd weighed it back then.. oh well.) and now averages around 20 without food & fuel.

Weights are in ounces, although I think I'll be switching to grams as math is hard. Do you see anything else that I should highlight in red? I'm not prepared to spend $100 to save an ounce or two, but each year I like to reduce one or two things when possible. Luxury items are things I've decided, for this specific hike, are worth the extra weight in the name of enjoyment or comfort. This is a bit of a balancing act, and it's easy to get into the "just one more [random item]" trap.

I should also note that every item listed here goes inside the pack, I don't like anything strapped to the outside. Gear that swings around puts undue strain on your muscles, and on hikes like the Juan de Fuca, which involve lots of scrambling and navigating between trees, nothing should protrude above my head, below my belt, or be wider than my shoulders. On a longer hike I'll start out with the Z-Rest strapped to the outside, but will move it inside as soon as my food bag shrinks a bit.

Colour Key:
Necessary Item (for me)
Luxury Item
Candidate for Weight Reduction

Silnylon pack cover (2.8)
Gregory Z backpack (50.0)

Tent & Sleep System
5x8 Siltarp [we're hiking in a coastal rainforest, after all] (7.4)
Tent poles, pegs, guy lines in bag (24.0)
Tent body [fly and groundsheet carried by hiking partner] (36.6)
Golite Down sleeping bag in bag (26.2)
Thermarest Z-Lite mattress (14.4)

Gaitors (7.0)
Waterproof poncho (10.7)
Gloves (4.5)
MEC Pamir jacket (16.4)
PJ bottoms (10.1)
Fleece top - mid layer (8.1)
Warm, quick-dry shirt (8.5)
Warm camp socks (2.7)
Hiking socks (2.1)
Hiking socks (2.1)
Hiking shirt (4.5)
Hiking shirt (4.5)
Waterproof stuffsac for clothing (4.0)
Sandals (25.8)
Fleece toque (2.1)

First aid kit (7.4)
Toothbrush (0.7)
Toothpaste (0.5)
Knee brace (2.3)
Toilet paper in waterproof bag (1.8)
Fast-drying towel (0.6)
Sunglasses (2.9)
Water filter and maintenance supplies in mesh bag (17.7)
Alcohol cleaning pads (2.1)
LED headlamp (1.1)
Bug spray (1.5)
Sunscreen (1.0)
Lip balm (0.4)
3 pairs of earplugs (0.1)
Floss (0.1)

Fire starting [lighter, waterproof matches, 2 tealights] (2.0)
Stove in plastic case (3.8)
Fuel (16.0)
Titanium cooking pot in bag (5.4)
Insulated mug with lid (4.5)
3 litre bladder [empty] (8.2)
Lexan fork (0.2)
Lexan spoon (0.2)
Water bottle (1.9)

Hankerchief (0.8)
Spare boot laces (0.7)
Sharpie marker (0.3)
Camera in waterproof bag (11.6)
Book [thick 1000 pager] (16.7)
JDF Marine Trail Guide + Map (7.2)
ID & Cash in ziploc (0.2)
Cel phone in waterproof bag [off except for emergencies] (3.7)
Notepad & pencil (1.6)

Meals & snacks for 3 nights (48)

Total dry (before food, fuel & water) pack weight is approximately 21 pounds. Of that, nearly 4 pounds are "luxury" items. I'm comfortable with this pack weight, but if it were a longer distance I would definately start to pare down the luxury items. I find an evening around camp with a good book will do wonders for my energy level and motivation, so easily justifies the extra weight. Ideally, I'll find a smaller book to take with me, but I just started Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and am enjoying it. The camera and notepad are so I can document the trip to entertain you fine folks, and the rest of the luxury items are for my own comfort in the damp coastal conditions.


Matt said...

Note to self: don't forget some rope in case the bear boxes aren't available!

Anonymous said...

Some years ago I made the big step.


It's risky. (One time I had to walk out in one of my shoes, another borrowed.) But a big weight savings.

You have to LOVE your single pair of shoes, however.

HEY, gave you a shout out on our blog: