OK, I’m going to get all geeky on y’all this morning. I taught myself some rudimentary spreadsheeting and drew up a list of what I might take on an ultralight campout. None of this has actually been tried because I’m a complete rookie at this stuff, but the gear is there and should work provided the temperature remains above, say, 35 degrees. For now I want to go with what I already own without having to buy more gear (which goes against all that I hold holy, of course).
Here’s a list covering shelter, sleep system and cooking suppllies.
|Black Diamond Winter Bivy||9|
|REI Quarter Dome footprint (ground cloth)||9|
|Integral Designs 5×8 silnylon tarp||7|
|12 titanium stakes, 50 ft. of guy line||4|
|Marmot Pounder Plus sleeping bag||36|
|Thermarest Prolite 3 sleeping pad||20|
|Gregory G Pack||48|
|MSR Pocket Rocket stove||3|
|8 ounce fuel canister||13|
|MSR Titan Kettle||4.2|
|Petzl Zipka light||2.3|
|First aid kit||3.5|
|Canon A510 camera||9|
|Katadyn water filter||12|
|REI 1 liter bottle||4.5|
|Total: 11.58 pounds||185.1|
I feel like I’ve got the basic-survival test — avoiding hypothermia — covered so long as the temperature stays above freezing. My Marmot sleeping bag is rated at 25 degrees and has synthetic fill that’ll insulate if it’s wet. It also has a water-resistant outer fabric. The Black Diamond bivy is certainly not 100 percent storm-proof but it’s pretty close. The tarp is something to stow gear under and keep the rain out of my face — coupled with a bivy it’ll be fine but I’m dubious of using it alone if there’s any chance of rain in the forecast.
I met a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker last summer who told me he was carrying 15 pounds of gear, not counting food and water, which sounds like a nice goal for a rookie to shoot for. So I’ve got another 3 pounds for clothing, rain gear, camp tools, toiletries, maps and other assorted doo-dads.
I know all the “extras” could go over 3 pounds with no more effort than falling off a log, so where could I shave weight without giving my Mastercard a workout?
- Substitute a couple Hefty garbage bags for the tent footprint.
- Make a soda-can stove and carry only enough fuel for the length of my trip (an eight-ounce canister has about an hour’s worth of fuel, enough for a five-day solo trip).
- Sleep on the cheap, lightweight closed-cell pad I took snow-camping.
- Use a chemical water treatment instead of a filter.
There are really only two points I’d prefer not to compromise on: the water filter and the sleeping pad. I like the taste of filtered water, and I sleep rough enough on my Thermarest. The other options are worth looking into, though I’d probably take my tent footprint along out of a stubborn sense of wanting to get some use of the money I invested it.
Now all I need is some weather worth camping in. As that song in “The Crow” went, it can’t rain all the time.
(More weight cutting tips at simplehiker.com)