Saturday, May 26, 2012

Starting Out

So I hike, ride bicycles, canoe, kayak and spend time outdoors.  Sometimes I fish, but I really prefer just being outdoors or on the water.  I am an Eagle Scout, and an ex-BSA trained leader.
1994 was my last backpacking trip in Colorado during the 13 years we lived there.  I had backpacked in the east since I was a Boy Scout, usually on a 2-3 day trip up some mountain.  My pack weight was 50+ lbs, my leather boots shredded my feet and with injuries, I just couldn't carry the weight anymore.  At the time, I changed to using a small hydration pack, hiking poles and lighter boots for day trips but my feet were still shredded.  That's when I discovered how well trail running shoes handled hiking.
I came across lightweight backpacking again a few years ago at a new job when I met an employee who was really into it.  Robert brought his lightweight pack and stove in to work to show me what he used.  He talked about hiking with 8 lbs of gear on his back all over Florida.  After our talks I began adding some lighter-weight equipment to my pile of gear.  After a few semi-lightweight backpack trips with Boy Scouts recently  (mixed with my old gear while in my son's troop) I started really reading up on it.
Gossamer Gear was my first stop.  They list several bloggers on their site who I still read today.  Erik the Black was another lightweight poster I read online.  His site includes packing lists and lots of food and equipment ideas.  I have been reading websites online for over a year now and have begun purchasing equipment to carry me outdoors, only lighter.
Snow Peak Titanium Stove - 4.8 oz
The first thing I did was I sold all of my old and heavy camping gear at garage sales.  I bought a small day pack and at Christmas my wife gave me a titanium cooking pot (nice!).  Since then I picked up an Esbit stove and am slowly purchasing lightweight gear.  Currently I only day hike and bicycle (sold my canoe, sleeping bags and backpacks) so I have quite a lot of gear to go before I can camp out again, perhaps this fall.  I have made up my mind on purchasing the following lightweight gear:
Sleeping -35 degree quilt and Therm-a-Rest Z-Pad (saves 2.5 lbs)
Backpack -Gossamer Gear Murmur (saves 2.5 lbs)
Stove -Trail Designs Ti-Tri ULC - Alcohol, Esbit and Wood (saves about a pound)
Tent - Gossamer Gear The One or Tarptent Contrail (saves 2 to 1.5 lbs)
I also will buy an ounce/gram scale in the next few weeks to check what I buy and plan to keep.  My goal in purchasing items is to (at least) cut the weight in half.  There are still a few hiking accessories I have not made up my mind about.
I do own an iso-propane stove, snowshoe/hiking poles, a 3lb 1-person tent, a 4lb 2-person tent and a very small headlamp (for nightly bathroom trips) and will trade up when the time and deal is right.
My goal is to travel with 10-15 lbs of gear on my back.  Please join me in my discovery.
Here's some links to check out if you are interested:

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