Friday 18 July 2008

Kit List - My Life Is Officially Over!

So I got in from work yesterday and began going over my kit list. I wanted to make sure I had everything and also to check the weights. I'd been discussing my back weight with some fellow bloggers in response to the post below (see comments) and I'd started to suddenly doubt the reliability of my measurements!

Being a real saddo, I put every bit of kit into a spreadsheet weeks ago with aim of keeping track of packing them and also the weight. Having reported that with the arrival of the Litespeed everything was looking peachy, but some valuable comments had made me suddenly doubt the final weight.

The spreadsheet at that time was showing 9.8kg had almost everything entered save for a few things I hadn't got around to weighing like my sit mat, my instant mash lunch, an Orikaso cup, my water bottles (not the water) and the Exped dry bags (which are yet to arrive). I've now weighted all of the gear and the list now looks like this:

ITEM Weight (g) Qty Total Weight (g)
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 (inc supplied pegs) 1545 1 1545
Vango Nitestar Sleeping bag 1850 1 1850
MSR Miniworks Water Filter 456 1 456
Golite Litespeed 1150 1 1150
Multimat self inflating mat 420 1 420
Pillow case 25 1 25
GPS + PDA 275 1 275
Alpkit Gamma Headtorch 118 1 118
F1 lite stove + Heineken pot/cozy + wind break + fire steel 235 1 235
Total 6074
North Face waterproof jacket 435 1 435
Waterproof over trousers 175 1 175
Windstopper fleece 460 1 460
Spare Socks 150 1 150
Hat/gloves 120 1 120
Spare underwear 60 1 60

Total 1400
First aid kit 175 1 175
Microfibre towel 20 1 20
Wet Wipes 25 1 25
Sit mat 50 1 50
3 x Exped dry bags 119 1 119
Orikaso cup 45 1 45
Total 434
Total Baseweight 7908

Packet of Jaffa cakes 150 1 150
Porridge oats 75 1 75
Fresh pasta + toping 250 1 250
Instant Mash Potato 55 1 55
Total 530
100g gas canister 180 1 180
1.5tlr Water 1700 1 1700

Now, I agree that 10.3kg does seem rather low considering I'm carrying a 1.55kg tent and a 1.85kg sleeping bag but I can't see how it can be incorrect.

I've taken advise from a fellow blogger to ensure that my weights are roughly accurate by weighing an item I know to be a particular weight several times and then checking any variation. Shockingly the deviation each time is less than 2g and these are just cheap kitchen scales!

Accuracy aside for a moment, having packed this into my Litespeed and noticed how much more manageable and comfortable this weight is - I'm not too concerned with the actual weight. I know for example that I can get this weight (whatever it may be) lower than it is now by sharing the weight of the tent with my backpacking comrade, and my sleeping bag will soon be replaced by a lighter more packable down-filled version. Unsurprisingly, I'm a happy man.

This process has helped me in a big way, for example I've been concentrating on the obvious things which are easy, but notice the weight of my waterproof layer at 435g! I hadn't even considered how much an item like this can weigh.

I would recommend that anyone starting out in this activity or maybe just finding your way with the kit, try using a list like this. It's not ground breaking but I think it makes it far more visual in terms of what you are actual taking and how much it weighs. Additionally you can also see where you stand to make the best gain by replacing or substituting heavy kit. Amen!


Marcus said...

folks, I've just realised this isn't displaying correctly but I've got to pop out. I'll try and sort it when I get back.


Anonymous said...

And once you've eaten some of the food and drunk some of the water, you'll be carrying 1kg less anyway!
My overnighter last week was around 9.5 kg all in, my sleeping bag and tent are lighter, but I took more food and clothing. It never felt too heavy (but it never felt too light either!)

Marcus said...

Tell me about it. I'm jabbering on about how light this all is compared to the last trip but I fail to remember 10.3kg isn't that light when carrying it for two days!

If I could lose a 1kg and preferably a bit of bulk from the sleeping bag that would get me within striking distance of my wish list and ideal weight target. I'm holding off for an Alpkit Pipedream in the autumn so I'm not far off. Once that is out of the way the smaller things can be dealt with to further reduce the weight.

baz carter said...

It is a good exercise and if you do a de-brief on your return and flag each items use, using the three pile trick, then you can revise what you take next time.

The sleeping bag should be your priority as an easy gain for weight loss.

Martin Rye said...

Looks a good list there – why not boil water low down and use a purification tablet or don’t bother high up and so leave the water filter behind. On sleeping bags you could save weight but don’t go for a 500g bag and get cold….It is easier to carry a heavier load after a good nights sleep than a light load after a cold and poor nights sleep. Sleeping warm and comfortable matters – you’ll enjoy the trip more and will recover better for the next day’s walking.

Marcus said...

Hi Baz, I did folow this exercise after Buttermere and the black mountains trip and I think I'm getting with unnecessary kit.

My Sleeping back is a priority but I have this recurring issue with spending too much money. I know I need the bag and it will save me so much weight and bulk if I replace it but deep down I know I don't need a down bag for the summer and want to spend the money later in the year on a decent down bag for 3 season use. Its just bad timing I suppose with the seasons.

In reality I suppose its only a few trips for me between now and say october when I hope to invest in a new bag.

Martin, that really is useful advice both about the water and sleep on the hill. On the water issue I've only ever really considered the treatment approach as an emergency measure but it would of course be easier to try this for the relatively small quantities required. I suppose in the same way that I'm inexperienced in solo camping, I'm also a novice in the all important water management area. I treat my filter a bit like a lifeline! Pathetic really, as deep down I know I could live without it. Maybe in time I'll learn to live without it and I guess I could bring it this time with a view to not using it unless I'm struggling!

Once again folks, I'm indebted to your experience and its all been crucial in getting where to where I am at the moment.

As the saying goes - I thank you and good night!

baz carter said...

Good quality kit is expensive but in the long run it works out better value for money. Down sleeping bags aren’t cheap but this is one area where I wont skimp. Luckily the guys at alpkit make astonishingly cheap and well regarded kit.

Anonymous said...

I noticed you've got a heavy windproof fleece. Have you tried a windshirt? I carry a 100 weight fleece and a windshirt (with a hood) that are about 100g lighter, but more importantly they give you a more flexible system.
You can wear either item on its own (over a base) or the 2 together. The windshirt is a good shower resistant layer too, to take when you are pretty certain it's not going to rain. I've also read that it can be an advantage to wear a windproof under a waterproof, but I've not tried this.

Marcus said...


I totally agree with your notion that good gear costs more. I'm not averse to spending the money its more a principal than necessity I suppose. Some might say stubborn!

I like the old layering method as I think it gives a lot of flexibility, especially when you can't be sure what weather the Gods might deal out. I have a microfleece midlayer, a thicker windproof fleece and a waterproof/windprrof layer. I can use any combination to make a suitable system for any weather but you're right - I can lose some weight here too. In fact I was thinking that I'd sacrifice my big fleece during this summer trip and bring along a hat in case the weather really closed in and you have just convinced me to ditch it right now. I've removed it from the, list and just physically taken it out of my pack. Its a measured risk because I have my always trusted base layer, my microfleece and a windproof/waterproof layer to maintain a level of comfort and flexibility. I've ditched the gloves too as I just can't see them being necessary and in the use it or lose it spirit - I didn't use them during the last trip either.

Weight is now at 9.7kg.

baz carter said...

I use the five layer system that CT wrote about for much of the time - baselayer, micro fleece, wind shirt, rain proof and primaloft overlayer. Very flexible as Shuttleworth says... that said I'm fond of my Apex three quarter softshell. I'd always pack a beanie and gloves, thinner ones this time of year, the 60g weight penalty is worth it for the warmth retention you get.

Anonymous said...

Check out the PHD sale that starts on 1st August, some good light sleeping bags at good prices!

Marcus said...

Shuttleworth - thanks for the link. That might come in useful. I need to review some bags before buying so I'll add this to the list since it now falls within the budget at the sale price.