Friday, 1 May 2009

Weight Watching

Gregory Z55

I knew my pack weight was going to be an issue before I left on my last trip but I didn't know just how big an issue it was going to be. I estimated it at the time to be around 19kg but I have a feeling now that it might have been over the 20kg mark as I've been busy trying to cut it down.

The 3 worst offenders were my Rucksack, Sleeping Bag and Roll Mat at 5406g so they were the 1st items to be replaced. I had already ordered a PHD Minin 500 prior to leaving but hadn't decided on a Rucksack or Roll Mat at that stage.

I knew what I was looking for in a pack and had a short list drawn up, one of the contenders was the Gregory Z55 which has what I would describe as an Internal/External Frame, similar to the old Vango Air Canyon packs. I find that they suit me better than packs with a closed cell/alloy spar back pad which I find to oppressive for want of a better word. Having looked at the Gregory website I did a quick search and found the Z55 on sale at Cotswold, reduced from £140 to £70 so it was duly ordered.

The pack sorted I started to look at Roll Mats and decided on the POE Ether Thermo 6 at £47 from Raw Outdoors.

The 3 new items came in at a total weight of 3090, a weight saving of 2316g.

That gave me a good starting point but clearly throwing more money at the problem wasn't possible or even likely to have any effect as the rest of the gear was reasonably light anyway. The next step had to be a close look at what I'd carried, what I hadn't used or what I could reasonably do without. The only items that I hadn't used at least once were the trowel and 1st aid kit, in fact I actually used the scissors from the 1st aid kit. With that in mind I started to look at individual items to see if there was anything that could serve a dual purpose or if there was anyway to lighten any of the items. I did buy 2 Sea to Summit Ultrasil Dry Bags, 8L and 13L to replace an Exped L Dry Bag and an Alpkit Black Large Stuff Sack, I bought 2 simply because the first, 8L while being big enough for my sleeping bag was too small to also take spare clothing (I only thought of that after buying the 8L Dry Bag) but it works as a stuff sack for my Montane Flux.

The List below is what I've managed to come up with, certainly an improvement but the next move is going to be expensive. Clearly my camera gear is too heavy,

Olympus E-3 + 14-54 - 1418g
CCS Pouch - 269g
Batteries/Cards/Misc - 217g

Total - 1904g

Panasonic SDR-S7 Cardcam - 210g
CCS Pouch - 150g
Batteries/Cards/Misc - 71g

Total - 431g

Thats a total of 2335g, the Cardcam and bits and bobs is fine, the E-3 and associated items isn't. I have an old Olympus C5050 zoom which weighs in at 528g and I may just take it next time. Ideally if money wasn't an issue (some chance) I'd be looking at either a Panasonic DMC-G1 a Panasonic DMC-LX3 or whatever Olympus releases in m4/3rds later this year. In any case I won't be in a position to switch any time soon.

New gear List/Weight

Load carrying
Rucksack - Gregory Z55 - 1575
Liner - Tesco Rubble Sack - 60

Load Carrying Total - 1635

Tent - Terra Nova Laser - Poles + Stuff Sack - 1316
Tent Pegs - Vargo Nails x 4 - 60
Tent Pegs - Camcleat Y Pegs - x 6 - 96
Tent Pegs - Blacks Alloy Skewers x 4 - 60
Peg Bag - Alpkit Small Red - 7
Footprint - Own Design - 170

Shelter Total - 1709

Sleeping System
Sleeping Bag - Snugpak Premier 1 - 957
Stuff Sack - Sea to Summit Ultra Sil 13L - 42
Roll Mat - Pacific Outdoors Equipment Ether Thermo 6 - 623

Sleeping System Total - 1622

Cooking System A
Stove - Einzel Kocher Kombi inc Stuff Sack - 241
Pot - Alpkit Mitymug mk2 - 122
Mug - Tibetan Titanium 450ml Mug - 61
Cutlery - GSI Long Spoon - 11
Teaspoon - Plastic Disposable - 2
Cozy - Own Design Thermawrap - 35
Cloth - J Cloth - 21
Lighter - Ronson Disposable - 16
Bowl/ Chopping Board - Orikaso Folding Bowl - 34

Cooking System A Total - 542

Cooking System B
Stove - Einzel Kocher Alcohol Set Up - 71
Pot - Alpkit Mitymug mk2 - 122
Mug - Tibetan Titanium 450ml Mug - 61
Cutlery - GSI Long Spoon - 11
Teaspoon - Plastic Disposable - 2
Cozy - Own Design Thermawrap - 35
Cloth - J Cloth - 21
Lighter - Ronson Disposable - 16

Cooking System B Total - 339

Feed - Source Convertube - 101
Filter - Aquagear Eliminator Inline - 90
Bladder - Outdoors Essentials 1.5L c/w Plain Cap - 33
Bottle - 500ml PET c/w Plain Cap - 28

Hydration Total - 250

1st Aid/Repair/Spares
Mossie Net - Highlander - 29
1st Aid - Own Design - 82
Anti Bac Wash - Tesco Gel - 52
Whistle - Plastic Safety - 9
Back-Up Firelighting - Flint (Use with penknife) - 26
Cord - Para cord - 21
Batteries - 3 x AAA - 36
Repair - POE Roll Mat Repair - 11
Stuff Sack - Alpkit Small Red - 7

1st Aid/Spares/Repair Total - 273

Wet Gear
Jacket - Montane Venture - 450
Over Trs - Trespass Trestex - 296
Gloves - WindX - 88
Gaiters - Trekmates Grasmere Short (Straps & Buckles Removed) - 59

Wet Gear Total - 893

Other Clothing
Insulation - Montane Flux - 613
Stuff Sack for Flux - Sea to Summit Ultra Sil 8L - 13
Wind shirt - Tacgear - 174
Fleece Hat - Miltec - 51
Cap - Field Cap - 98
Gloves - Trekmates Micro Fleece - 35
Buff - Buff - 37

Other Clothing Total - 923

Spare Clothing
Base Layer Top - Sub Zero Factor 1 L/S Crew - 127
Base Layer Bottom - Sub Zero Factor 1 Long Johns - 118
Socks - Short Trekking - 94
Boxers - Primark Lycra - 63
Stuff Sack - POE Roll Mat Stuff Sack - 23

Spare Clothing Total - 425 (Spare Clothing in POE Stuff Sack Stored with Sleeping Bag in Sea to Summit 13L Dry Bag)

Misc Equipment
Trekking Poles - Highlander - 558
Tent Light - Osram Dot-it LED - 67
Head Torch - Energizer LED - 77
Hygiene - Wash Kit - 167
Hygiene - Trowel & Paper - 165
Penknife - German Army Issue Victorinox - 94
Compass - Silva Type 54 - 47
GPS - Garmin Etrex Summit - 188
Sunglasses - Bloc - 23
MPS Player - Phillips GoGear 4gb - 64
Phone - Sony Ericsson K750i - 114
Maps - OS 1/50000 - 100 approx
Maps - OS 1/25000 - 100 approx
Route Card/Notes/Pen etc - 50 approx
Map Case - A4 Ziplock - 10

Misc Equipment Total - 1824

Total Weight System A - 10096g
Total Weight System B - 9893g

Water and Food

Water Max weight 2000g
Food approx 750g per day x 4 = 2500g

2 x 250ml Meths @ 230g each - 460g

Camera Equipment
Max 3000g (DSLR + Lens, Card Cam, Spare Batteries, Cards & Essentials )

Opting for cook System B and removing items in Italics would reduce weight to - 9267g

Items in Bold Italics could be Replaced with Lighter Alternatives,

Alpkit Wee Airic @ 528
PHD Minim 500 + S2S Ultra Sil Dry Bag @ 892

This would reduce the above to 9065g Not including Water/Food/Fuel

PHD Minim 500 & POE Ether Thermo 6

Source Convertube, PET Bottles and Outdoor essentials Bladder. The black bottle is an Oval 600ml Sigg, nice but too heavy. I'll be using the Aquaguard Eliminator Inline Filter from DrinkSafe-Systems with the Source Convertube.


  1. Great gear list R_mac - this'll keep me busy refining my kit!

  2. Thanks El-M, it's kept me busy for a week or two anyway. It's just packing and un-packing, listing it down and going over every individual item again and again. I'll soon know the weights off by heart ;-)

  3. Panasonic DMC-LX3 Is a great bit of kit. I know as I have one. I like the attention to detail Mac and it will pay off on the trail. I also like the way you have worked out options for different set ups. Good stuff.

  4. Hi Martin,
    I've seen good results from the LX-3 and it has the manual control if you need it. Just need to convince my wife she needs one :-)

    I'm still working on the weight, I've just reduced the amount of fuel but I don't want to go to far, last time I used the woodstove which saved on meths but it adds 200g ish to the pack weight. It is nice to be able to make endless cups of coffee without needing to keep an eye on fuel though. I'd be tempted to cut something else to let the woodstove in.