How light is too light?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.

I’m keen to do what I might describe as light and fast credit card backpacking, when these things are possible. What I mean by this is carrying a light pack with a tent, sleeping bag, mat, waterproof and a down or synthetic jacket, along with a small amount of food and drink. The idea being that the pack is light enough to run with a bit and I can buy stock up on a little food or purchase a meal as I pass through civilisation. I would probably also look at applying a similar principle to cycle touring.

I’ve done such things in the past in the U.K., but also in the Japanese Alps. I need a new tent and sleeping bag and I think with modern gear I could get a lot lighter. I’m looking at things like the Tour de Mont Blanc in maybe 4 days and some of the Mediterranean long distance routes, fair weather activities.

Looking at tents and being used to lugging around 3kg+ tents, anything below 2kg seems pretty lightweight, but I was amazed to find a two person tent with a claimed weight of 570g (Big Agnes) and a large price tag. A quick totting up of light kit suggested that tent (shared between two)  sleeping bag, mat, waterproof, hooded synthetic jacket and 25 litre rucksack could be a little as 1.5kg combined weight.

So how light is too light and where should the ultra light ethic be relaxed a little.

 SteveX 09 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

I have two of these https://www.vaude.com/en-GB/blog/detail/sCategory/112/blogArticle/19 I think, and a Hilleberg Nallo, so at least 1 x Vaude too many. Very light and super easy to put up. I could be interested in selling one. If of any interest let me know.

Post edited at 20:38
In reply to SteveX:

Possibly, is it the 1,450g, two person version that you have?

 Morty 09 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

>How light is too light?

4101 lumens?

 JStearn 09 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

I'm a bit of a broken record on gear weight threads, but for 3 season hiking, a UL shelter will be more than sufficient in 95% of terrain in my experience. Obviously if you are going somewhere very exposed or windy like Iceland, a heavier tent may be in order but some pretty extreme trips are done with floorless pyramid style shelters (check out Andrew Skurka's hikes). One thing to note, I don't include the UL tents like Big Agnes in this as they use lightweight poles rather than trekking poles and are not as durable long term (you can't have all the features of a tent at that weight without sacrificing something). I use an MLD Duomid and wish I had had it when I did the TMB. Check out the US cottage manufacturers for good UL gear or Atompacks in the UK. I will probably never go back to a traditional tent except for things like mountain base camps or Scottish winter camping.

 SteveX 09 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

They are at my warehouse, let me have a look and let you know, I am next there on Thursday. If your interested you can have a good look and play with it before committing. 

In reply to SteveX:

> They are at my warehouse, let me have a look and let you know, I am next there on Thursday. If your interested you can have a good look and play with it before committing. 

That’s great, no rush, for obvious reasons.

 misterb 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

I guess it depends how much you want to suffer and push the limits of your gear in circumstances that are not as ideal as you would of liked when the weather plays a nasty trick on you 

One false economy I believe is buying a pack that doesn't carry well just for the sake of saving a couple of hundred grams

Inevitably after adding the minimum amount of food and water you feel safe carrying per day it will end up being 5-6 kg whatever fancy kit you can afford so I would say but a pack that is super comfy with that weight as a minimum 

The new talon 33 (just got one) seems perfect , tho I prefer to carry a few more comfort items than you are looking at 

Good luck whatever you buy, 30+ miles a day round the TMB will be good going 

 mattyP 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB: One of the things to be aware of is the durability of the Kit. Running mountain marathons I have some super light kit but I’m not sure it would make good everyday kit, it’s just a little flimsy but it’s the sacrifice you make. I’d findingbthat sweet spot where running still fun but you aren’t entirely miserable when you’ve stopped.
 

I like to look of the Thermarest Hyperion sleeping bags and their ultralight mats. I hope to get one for this years Saunders 

These guys look like they stock some really interesting bits if kit https://www.garagegrowngear.com/

I really rate these guys for service and knowledge https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/socks-gloves-mitts-hats-c151/socks-c158

 aln 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

> carrying a light pack with a tent, sleeping bag, mat, waterproof and a down or synthetic jacket, along with a small amount of food and drink.

where should the ultra light ethic be relaxed a little.

Take spare undies? 

 Baron Weasel 10 Feb 2021
In reply to aln:

> where should the ultra light ethic be relaxed a little.

> Take spare undies? 

One pair of crotchless if you want the lightest option. 

 Al Randall 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

When you die as a result of not having a particular item

Al

In reply to Al Randall:

> When you die as a result of not having a particular item

I don’t think I will be operating in safety margins that are too tight, however my main question is about equipment that is potentially so light that it is not fit for my intended use.

 Pedro50 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

I've used a Big Agnes  SL1 flycreek platinum which has served well i think it's probably about 700g all up. The fabric is delicate for sure, don't stuff the poles and pegs into the tent bag but it's survived some quite bad weather. It's annoyingly easy to catch the fly in the zip but you learn to be careful. I would certainly recommend.

 tehmarks 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

As above; I have a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 (the next 'weight' up) and I wouldn't hesitate to pitch it mostly anywhere. I think the big hazard comes from the susceptibility of the material to being cut and punctured (by sharp stones, or blowing away into a bush as you pack it, or general stupidity) rather than from the elements.

I've used it in a couple of proper hoolies and it's survived with no damage despite my best efforts. My main problem has been with the stitching on the inner zip disintegrating, which Big Agnes replaced as a warranty repair the first time and refused to acknowledge as an issue the second time. Which was a bit disappointing, because I don't think I could have been more careful with it than I was.

 Run_Ross_Run 10 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

My base weight for a 5 day spring/summer backpack is just under 5kg, with food and water it's about 6.5kg.

Ditching the cooking gear would only save about 300 gms off the base weight but about 900gms off the total weight. Personally I'd prefer to take the food/cooking gear and refuel that way. 

 JB 11 Feb 2021
In reply to Run_Ross_Run:

 Wow, how do you manage to get by on c 150g of food per day?!!

 C Witter 11 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

If you really want to lighten your load, and the weather is fair, don't carry a tent at all!

But... the means of a good coffee and clean socks and underwear are a must.

 galpinos 11 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

My experience of "going light" is Mountain Marathons so only one nigh/two days but Over the years I've gone from a rammed 25L Omm Classic bag to one which has a lot more space in it an weighs a lot less.

Tent - Massive weight savings possible but the more time you'll be in it, the more livability counts. The Laser is a pain to be in even for one night for two 6ft men. I like the look of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 @ 1.1kg

Sleeping Bag - Budget is the limiting factor but a 200-300g down bag is the way forward (imho). If I was buying new, I'd get an ME Firefly.

Sleeping Mat - Thermarest NeoAir. I have invested in an Uberlite 3/4 for MMs that slides into the sleeve on the bottom of my ME MM Bag (It's only got down on the top)

This is not getting down to 1.5kg but is a good light compromise set up imho.

 DD72 11 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I had a sleeping bag that was supposedly rated to -2 but it soon became apparent that that was because the tester died at -2.5. 

 Brown 11 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

I purchased the Tera Nova Solar Photon 2 (822g) a few years ago to walk the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland with my 60+ year old mum. She pulled the elderly lady card on me, and I had to carry the lions share of everything. As a consequence I was keen to reduce the weight as much as possible.

This was the lightest I could find and it worked fine. I supplemented the ridiculously tiny tent pegs with a couple of full size ones and some cord to make pegging it down easier/better. It is really really small and you have to accept you have little space. Our bags have always lived outside at night.

I've used it quite a lot since as for about five years we had no other tent. It felt like a bit of a joke on French campsites but was invaluable backpacking in Death Valley when it snowed. We use it more than our bivi bags as its the same weight, is better in the rain and keeps the midges away. It copes with rain fine and some wind. It coped with wind far better than the bike tarp contraption used by the two lads we met bikepacking in September.

The only real problem I have had using this tent and the ultralight Big Agnes tents is that if you get stuck in the desert in a windstorm you get totally covered in fine dust due to the amount of mesh inner. Its a niche complaint. 

 galpinos 11 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

>  I supplemented the ridiculously tiny tent pegs with a couple of full size ones and some cord to make pegging it down easier/better. 

This is pretty key. Decent pegs make a massive difference. The spindly bits of bendy wire of the tents at the superlight end of the spectrum are useless.

In reply to C Witter:

> But... the means of a good coffee and clean socks and underwear are a must.

I am genuinely astonished that anyone trying to cut weight to a minimum would even consider a spare pair of underpants for a trip of less than a couple of weeks. 

 C Witter 11 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am genuinely astonished that anyone trying to cut weight to a minimum would even consider a spare pair of underpants for a trip of less than a couple of weeks. 


...I mean ...if we've dumped the tent, we can afford a fresh pair, no? Especially in sweaty summer weather.

 Brown 11 Feb 2021
In reply to galpinos:

I only replaced a couple of the wire pegs and supplemented with a few meters of cord. This allows me to tie down to rocks, trekking poles etc. This I find is better than having lots of full size pegs.

I had to put some tape flags on the tiny pegs as well to ensure I could find them after use.

In reply to C Witter:

I'm with robert on this. A fresh pair of socks yes but pants no.

Don't want to get too personal but my socks are generally a lot more smelly than my pants after a days walking. 

I have some light and quick drying pants that on a longer trip can be rinsed out under a tap or in a stream, wrung out and put back on straight awy if necessary they totally dry out with body heat within 30 mins.

 Run_Ross_Run 11 Feb 2021
In reply to JB:

Freeze dried meals, porridge etc... 

Obviously if you pass a cafe/shop you take on carbs then but I don't class that as carrying weight as I consume it quickly. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

I wasn't planning on wearing any underpants at all, never mind carrying spares. Maximum 4 days though.

Post edited at 16:49
 SteveX 16 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

Sorry to be slow getting back to you, mine weighs 1950g, obviously the older model. I have always thought the design brilliant, super quick to put up, 5 min, if that, but needs aligning with the wind. 

In reply to SteveX:

Thanks for looking. A bit heavier than I’m looking for.

Post edited at 13:04

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Loading Notifications...