“You must have trust in your gear and trust in yourself.”Jennifer
I think sometimes people try to mimic others and end up with gear they should not be using or are not comfortable with, resulting in a bad experience. Trying to decide what gear to get took some time as I wanted to get good gear, but the right gear for me based on trial and error. I went through three sleeping pads, two sleeping bags, two water filtration systems, and countless clothing options trying to find what works for me. It took some time but not only am I comfortable in my decisions, but I also had a blast testing all the gear!
After six years of hiking with my wife, I realized my transformation into a fast hiker. Now, I don’t want the burden of heavy gear weighing me down so I decided to go with a lightweight gear base weight and so far I’m happy I did. Base weight is how much your gear weighs (tent + sleeping bag + backpack + sleeping pad, etc.), not including all of your consumable items such as clothing worn, food, water, etc. So a person can have a 10 lb base weight, but once you include water (2.2lbs per Liter) and food (other sites suggest 1.5 – 2 lbs of food per day), your bags weight increases quickly, giving reason to why people opt for lightweight gear. The heavier your gear, the larger the bag required to carry and hiking speed slows down.
There are several categories of base weights:
- Hyperlite: gear weighs less than 5 lbs.
- Ultralite: gear weighs 5-10 lbs.
- Lightweight: gear weighs 10-20 lbs.
- Traditional: gear weighs over 20 lbs.
When I started putting my gear together, I used a small food scale to weigh all my items and wrote them down on paper, but then I found a great website (www.Lighterpack.com) that allows you to input the item, weight and prices and it does all the math for you so you know how much your base weight is, consumable weight, and even worn weight. Definitely a game changer for me!
As of now, my Lightweight base weight comes in at 13.67 lbs. you can view my entire gear list here.
I’ve been nervous about the Nemo Disco 30degree sleeping bag I originally chosen. Not only am I a cold sleeper, but due to the spoon shaped design, it weighed in at 38 oz. I was afraid of freezing at night in the upper elevations (the AZT travels up into the 8,000 ft elevation area which is way colder than the 1,100 ft. elevation I have in Phoenix) so I decided on the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 degree quilt. This quilt weighs in at 22 oz. and feels so much warmer!
In addition to lightening my base weight with the sleeping quilt, I also found a way to drop some weight with my hiking poles. For the last three years I have used an off brand purchased from Amazon that weigh 10.5 oz. each. While I love hiking with them and have never had an issue, they are slightly bulky in my bag. I found Gossamer Gear’s LT5 Three Piece Trekking Poles that weigh only 5 oz. each. I can’t wait to test them out hiking and with my tent (prior to the trip of course!!).