Lightening the Load!

After a little bit of discussion with my fellow backpackers, it appears that my multi-day load veers a little on the heavy side when compared with others. For a 3 day trip my typical rucksack weight is around 18 Kg. I’m used to carrying this kind of load, but as it turns out, there is no real need to!

I’m up for anything that will make my walking easier! As a result I spent a few hours weighing absolutely everything in my standard kit load and putting them all into an Excel Spreadsheet. I suspect that most backpackers go through this stage at one time or another!

One of the biggest surprises of the weigh-in was my rucksack. The Berghaus Verden weighed in at 2 Kg when empty! That for me, was a bit of an eye opener!

My intent is to shed a minimum of 3 Kg from my next multi-day trip. To meet these demands I have had to make a number of new equipment purchases which are documented in the photos below.

These equipment changes, plus additional kit that I will no longer be taking, should result in a rucksack weighing 3.7 Kg less than my standard load! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hopefully I will notice this difference on the trail and hopefully the new kit will work properly too!

Anyways, on to the new kit:

On the left is the Berghaus Verden rucksack. I weighed this and was surprised to find it weighed in at around 2Kg empty! As a result I have now bought the Osprey Exos 58 on the right which weighs in at a little over 1Kg - an instant weight saving! Plus the Exos has many features which should make it more useful in the field.

On the left is the Berghaus Verden rucksack. I weighed this and was surprised to find it weighed in at around 2Kg empty! As a result I have now bought the Osprey Exos 58 on the right which weighs in at a little over 1Kg – an instant weight saving! Plus the Exos has many features which should make it more useful in the field.

A lot of the Exos's weight reductions can be seen at the back (on the right). It uses a fixed back system, whereas the Verden on the left has an adjustable back system. This is one of the reasons why I had to go to the shops to be fitted with the right version of the Exos for my back size. In my case the medium one fitted me perfectly!

A lot of the Exos’s weight reductions can be seen at the back (on the right). It uses a fixed back system, whereas the Verden on the left has an adjustable back system. This is one of the reasons why I had to go to the shops to be fitted with the right version of the Exos for my back size. In my case the medium one fitted me perfectly!

The new Osprey Exos rucksack - on the right - has much better designed side pockets. As a result I can now store my water there, rather than having to carry it in a separate sling - again saving more weight and removing another strap hanging around my neck!

The new Osprey Exos rucksack – on the right – has much better designed side pockets. As a result I can now store my water there, rather than having to carry it in a separate sling – again saving more weight and removing another strap hanging around my neck!

The old meets the new! On the left is the old Trangia 27 set fully packed away. On the right is the JetBoil Sol, also packed away. The Jetboil weighs in at around half the weight of the Trangia and unlike the Trangia this also includes fuel as well!

The old meets the new! On the left is the old Trangia 27 set fully packed away. On the right is the JetBoil Sol, also packed away. The Jetboil weighs in at around half the weight of the Trangia and unlike the Trangia this also includes fuel as well!

Here is the Trangia 27 system unpacked. As one can see, there is a lot to this system. Much of it overkill. The base weight for the system is around 1 Kg. But then you also have to add one of the fuel bottles in the background. The one on the left is a 500mL bottle, the one on the right is a 1L bottle. Which equates to another 500g - 1 Kg on the load. The other downside is that these bottles take up additional stowage space...

Here is the Trangia 27 system unpacked. As one can see, there is a lot to this system. Much of it overkill. The base weight for the system is around 1 Kg. But then you also have to add one of the fuel bottles in the background. The one on the left is a 500mL bottle, the one on the right is a 1L bottle. Which equates to another 500g – 1 Kg on the load. Another down side is that these bottles take up additional stowage space…

The Jetboil Sol system unpacked. Note the small unit includes everything - including the fuel, thus saving a lot of space. This system weighs in at just under 300g without the canister. The canister weighs in at around 200g - so the combined weight is around half that of the Trangia system before you add the Trangia's fuel to the load. Plus as an added bonus, the Jetboil has a built in igniter and boils water in around 2 minutes, compared to the Trangia's 10 mins. The Jetboil canister shown, will last 3-4 days of field use.

The Jetboil Sol system unpacked. Note the small unit includes everything – including the fuel, thus saving a lot of space. This system weighs in at just under 300g without the canister. The canister weighs in at around 200g – so the combined weight is around half that of the Trangia system before you add the Trangia’s fuel to the load. Plus as an added bonus, the Jetboil has a built in igniter and boils water in around 2 minutes, compared to the Trangia’s 10 mins. The Jetboil canister shown, will last 3-4 days of field use.

Both systems configured for cooking!

Both systems configured for cooking!

A lot of critics of the Jetboil say it cannot be used for proper cooking. However, this version comes with a pot stand configuration seen on the right. This means that any pot or pan can be used for cooking. In addition, one has more flame control with the Jetboil in comparison with the Trangia.

A lot of critics of the Jetboil say it cannot be used for proper cooking. However, this version comes with a pot stand configuration seen on the right. This means that any pot or pan can be used for cooking. In addition, one has more flame control with the Jetboil in comparison with the Trangia.

Further weight reductions will be achieved by the choice of sleeping bag. This is my first summer of multi-day backpacking, so I have just bought the orange RAB Neutrino Endurance 200 sleeping bag on the right. This is a 2 season sleeping bag and is much lighter than the 3 season and 4 season bags seen here, even though they all look very similar. It is only when you pack them up that the relative bulk and weight of each becomes apparent...

Further weight reductions will be achieved by the choice of sleeping bag. This is my first summer of multi-day backpacking, so I have just bought the orange RAB Neutrino Endurance 200 sleeping bag on the right. This is a 2 season sleeping bag and is much lighter than the 3 season and 4 season bags seen here, even though they all look very similar. It is only when you pack them up that the relative bulk and weight of each becomes apparent…

The comparative size of the three sleeping bags in their compression sacks. From left to right and up to down they are the RAB Neutrino Endurance 600, 400 and 200 sleeping bags.

The comparative size of the three sleeping bags in their compression sacks. From left to right and up to down they are the RAB Neutrino Endurance 600, 400 and 200 sleeping bags.

Here are the three sleeping bags in their long term stowage bags. From left to right they are the RAB Neutrino Endurance 600, 400 and 200. All of these bags are down bags with a treated waterproof pertex coating.

Here are the three sleeping bags in their long term stowage bags. From left to right they are the RAB Neutrino Endurance 600, 400 and 200. All of these bags are down bags with a treated waterproof pertex coating.

On the left is the 270g Akto Footprint which I have now removed from the tent. On the right is a large dry bag. This bag will be used to keep my kit dry, as the new Exos rucksack has no rain cover. In addition, when in camp, I expect to use it to sit on in the vestibule area of the Akto - effectively replacing the footprint in that role!

On the left is the 270g Akto Footprint which I have now removed from the tent. On the right is a large dry bag. This bag will be used to keep my kit dry, as the new Exos rucksack has no rain cover. In addition, when in camp, I expect to use it to sit on in the vestibule area of the Akto – effectively replacing the footprint in that role!

Hopefully these changes and others that I intend to make will result in real world changes to the load that I will be carrying.

The next walk, which will be in the Lake District will be the perfect place to test out the new kit!

Laters
RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Hiking, Kit, Rab and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Lightening the Load!

  1. Jake says:

    Love your blog but it’s just spooky how your experience is so similar to mine. I got into backpacking in my forties. I also started out with a Hilleberg Akto (still use it – great tent!) and got rid of the footprint to save weight once I realised that the Akto groundsheet is plenty strong enough on its own. Like you, I started out with a heavy rucksack (Berghaus Bioflex, in my case) before eventually settling on the Osprey Exos 58. My first stove was a Primus anti-gravity remote gas job with an MSR blacklite panset. Now I use a tiny canister-top stove and a titanium kettle and mug. My first backpacking sleeping bag was a Mountain Equipment mid-weight job but I now use Cumulus bags that are considerably lighter but just as comfortable. I reckon you’ve now bagged the easy weight reductions but, like you, my all-up weight was c18kg to start with. Now it’s down to less than 12kg (including poles, binoculars and camera, food and a litre of water) and the difference is astounding.

    Anyway, congrats on the blog and I look forward to future updates.

    • RobP says:

      Thanks Jake,

      Your story is spookily similar, but I guess that means I’m headed the right way. As for a 12kg pack, I’d dream about getting mine down to that, but I suspect it will be a slow evolution.

      The next walk in the Lake District will be the real test, as I won’t know until then what the real savings are!

      Good luck on your travels
      RobP ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. GR!Z says:

    Hi Rob

    I know you have probably evolved further in your kit and gear over the last few months, but I wanted to pass on a tip in case you had missed it. The plastic cover for the heat conductor fins on the Jetboil Sol, whilst being light,is not very robust. But the “Evernew Titanium Companion Cup (EBY265)” fits over the fins to replace the plastic bowl thingy bit. I have the Jetboil sol titanium and have replaced the plastic protector with the Evernew cup and find this adds to the versatility of the JetBoil. I use the cup as a small frying pan or saucepan on the Jetboil with the potstand part meaning I can cook as well as boil water. One more Jetboil sol tip that I can pass on is that I always carry a few “hexamin or esbit” tablets in my backpack in case I either run out of gas or the Jetboil has a fault.This has never happened so far, but could be mighty annoying if far from civilisation. You can literally sit the Jetboil container over a burning solid fuel tablet and the heat exchanger fins hold the pot the perfect height above the solid fuel tablet.

    I hope you find these tips useful. Keep up the blogging!

    • RobP says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the tips – much appreciated. I have only just moved to the JetBoil from my old Trangia, so haven’t got around to optimising it yet. I like your idea with the cup, as the one thing I miss is having the versatility to cook stuff that doesn’t come in a freeze dried bag. It sounds like your solution will resolve this very nicely. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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