I’m usually a pretty serious advocate of buying brand name gear when your life depends on it. Recently, however, I’ve needed things that are so specific for what I am doing that they simply aren’t marketable. Last year, I made gear to allow me to safely paddle a kayak from Key West to The Tortugas which required a sail, cockpit cover, sea anchor, and outriggers among other things (click the links to see the designs). But recently, I’ve set my eye on a backpacking trip necessitating the lightest gear and have been seriously disappointed with the options currently on the market. I was very impressed with the light weight and affordability of my 7 ounce silnylon Integral Designs Siltarp 1 that I purchased last year. But I figured using a similar rectangle design with Cuben fiber instead of silnylon could drop that weight even further. I did some calculations and figured I could make a Cuben fiber tarp using ZPacks materials that weighed just 2 ounces. Continue reading DIY: Two ounce cuben fiber tarp
In addition to eliminating gear, it also helps to pick what you must carry carefully. There always seems to be something lighter for either the same price or even less. Usually these gear changes come with no sacrifice of quality and often serve their purpose better. However, sometimes there seems to be no perfect setup and the options are endless. I want to illustrate some of my choices and the frustrations I have had that led me to these gear choices. There are some specific priorities with regards to dropping weight. First and foremost, I try to ditch weight from the pack to relieve my spine of unnecessary burden. Secondly, I try to ditch or minimize gear on my body, such as a watch or shirt. Also of importance but often overlooked is body weight. Many backpackers carry an additional 50 pounds of fat on their abdomen, making their journey difficult and far more dangerous. However, I will only talk about the modifications to gear.
- Pack: Osprey Hornet 32Coming in at 1lb. 4oz. this is one of the lightest packs on the market. This is a huge downsize from my Osprey Exos 58 liter pack and also a huge weight drop of 19 ounces. Additionally, I dropped the “brain” off the top of my pack for another 3 ounces weight savings. The brain is to make little things more accessible but I found that I can put these things into a ziploc bag in the top of my pack for just as much convenience. Additionally, some of the other bells and whistles on this pack can be removed or cut off. I’ll never be carrying an ice axe so I have no need for that loop on the bottom. This pack is frameless, so I am counting on being able to drop enough Continue reading Gear list and review