Weight Watchers

Every backpacker knows there are the “Ten Essentials” that you must should take on every hike, regardless of duration. Included in the ten essentials is what’s called the “Big Three”: your shelter (tent or hammock or tarp or bivy), your sleeping bag (or down quilt, etc), and the thing you carry everything in, your backpack. Some people advocate for a fourth category to be included- your stove, or some other means of cooking food.

Since we must be conscious of the weight being carried on our backs, getting everything as light as possible is pretty important; if your pack is too heavy, you won’t enjoy the hike. Caveat: You can go “ultralight” and sacrifice not only comfort, but safety. There’s a delicate balance. I’m by no means ultralight, but I have managed to shave over 11 lbs of weight since my first hike this year.

Base Pack Weight (BPW): is the weight of your pack and all its contents, minus food and water. This is how my BPW decreased over the months:

1st trip: 31 lbs 6 oz   Gear List Link:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/mhe5kfooe1l5nov/Gear-Planner%20%28McAfee%20knob%29.xls?dl=0
2nd trip: 29 lbs 15 oz
3rd trip: 24 lbs 15 oz
4th & 5th trips:19 lbs 7oz  Gear List Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x6h67dkpvo31q9q/Gear-Planner-Hot%20Springs%2015%20AUG.xls?dl=0

The goal for next year is to get my BPW down to a consistent 18 pounds. I think that will be right at the cusp of my comfort level.

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