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11/24/2017 3:11 pm  #1

Pack Weight: Splurge and Purge

Ask ten campers what they consider to be essential camping gear and you'll get ten different answers. But at each portage we face the consequences of the gear we've put in our packs, so I'm curious to know where your priorities lie. Where do you splurge - what luxury items do you bring that you couldn't imagine camping without? And where do you skimp on items that many campers might consider core gear?

My own luxuries would be:

- Trip video gear. Two cameras, 30+ batteries, two suction-cup mini-tripods, and I just added a full-size tripod to the list. On the flip side, I finally gave up bringing my DSLR (although I often regret not having it, I just can't justify the weight). 
- A 2-man tent for one man. 
- I don't think I've ever gone camping without a flask or two. 
- You could easily argue that my kayak is a luxury, as there are certainly much lighter options out there.
- My bear resistant food barrel weighs 2 1/2 pounds, but I couldn't imagine not bringing it. I hate hanging a bear bag. 

On the 'purge' side of things:

- My cooking gear is almost nonexistent. A twig stove and a titanium kettle to boil water in is pretty much it.
- Because it seems to be a common piece of gear for many, I don't bring (and have never considered bringing) a chair.
-  I don't know what other gear I've dropped from my pack that others consider essential. Maybe nothing?

Because I just added a tripod to my gear list I've been giving a lot of thought to where I can claw back those ~2 pounds, and it's not easy! Everything I bring seems essential.What do you bring you'd call a luxury, and what do you leave behind that others might consider essential?


11/24/2017 4:23 pm  #2

Re: Pack Weight: Splurge and Purge

So good question Bob.

My gear buying (and bringing) has gone through a real evolution..

I'm now really all about purging. Not necessarily bringing less but bringing lighter versions of the items I consider essential.

For example ..One of the big items on my Xmas list is a rain jacket that weighs 6 ozs so I can shave 7 ozs there.

I increasingly find myself shopping at ultralight backpacker stores for my canoeing equipment.

My big Black Friday purchases today were a waterproof bivy (14 ozs) and a solo tarp ( 8 ozs) .

I bought a bushbuddy last year but didn't use it very much this year. I think i will change that next year and leave most of the fuel canisters at home. When I'm solo at least.   

I must have looked at really nice photography equipment  a dozen times but I just don't think I could ever see myself carrying it. I absolutely see why others would  see it as essential but I don't think I ever will.

I carry Ursacks (different sizes) for bear food protection on all trips solo or not. Way easier to pack and hang. A lot lighter too.

I do bring an ultralight  chair or stool on every trip.  I could never see myself not bringing one of those.

Last edited by ShawnD (11/24/2017 4:35 pm)


11/24/2017 4:55 pm  #3

Re: Pack Weight: Splurge and Purge

My luxury items would e my camera bag which is the size of a small backpack and weighs 15lbs fully loaded.
I also always bring a parachute nylon hammock which weighs a few LBs but is so worth it! When I'm not relaxing in it my dog is.
I also bring a mickey of whiskey, and in the summer I bring a mickey of vodka on top of that to mix in with Tang orange drink mix. (My mouth is watering now)


11/28/2017 1:00 pm  #4

Re: Pack Weight: Splurge and Purge

I've definitely gone through an evolution and am even considering a slight de-evolution now as time has gone on.
Gone are the days of me saving a few sheckles on buying cheaper equipment that weighs a ton.  But, I've also been gradually replacing these items over time.
But down to the 'guilty pleasures' list I have of Luxury Items:
- Fishing Equipment.  While not necessary to enjoy the out of doors, I still manage to bring at least 3 lbs worth of tackle (depending on the trip I've dropped to almost nil).  Even though it adds weight and the rod can add an annoyance to either carry or run along the gunwale of the canoe.  It still comes with me.
- one litre of Scotch/burbon.  This still adds weight, but it's great to have a few drinks around the campfire. 
- DSLR.  Even packing this around and the effort of it swinging from it's carrying case on my neck is a pain in the butt, but when I get some great pictures or video. It can make it all worth while.  Mind you, I'm really considering just bringing a simple point and shoot as they've come a long way.

- kitchen knick-knacks.  I'm talking about a separate and in my view unnecessary items in general e.g. kettle (yes I did this and attached it to a friends pack), spoons (if you have a fork or a mouth... use that), flipper/spatula - we have a fork for this or I use two sticks like chop-sticks.
- Plates.  I also go rid of these because they take up room and a bowl can serve you just as well.
- Extra clothes.  We've all done this and sometimes I'm sure we still do.  I've paired down my trip wear and just wash-up more than usual.
- Hatchet/saw - I have only ever really needed this once on the trail, and with that I ended up just moving the whole broken down tree to clear it away.  The simple stomp method can produce for you plenty of average sized pieces of wood for fire making as well.  Also, the deeper you go into the back country and a short walk in other cases, you can EASILY find enough wood for your day or two stay that's lying on the ground or standing dead.

I have been considering bringing a chair along, but for me the price for the ultralights and my need for them just isn't necessary.  BUT, to each their own right!


11/28/2017 1:15 pm  #5

Re: Pack Weight: Splurge and Purge

-Chair, but its one of the ones that is just on the ground, no legs.
-Thermarest AND a Z-Lite, even in summer!
-30 inch bow saw. I take my fires seriously.

-Clothes. Socks and drawers aside, the only extra clothes I really bring is something to sleep in and a spare fleece.
-Bowls and plates (when its just my wife and I there is no point, only bring it on group trips)
-Camera equipment. I realized I am a crappy photographer and images never do justice so I ditched the SLR during the switch to digital and just rely on my phone.


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