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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adjusting My Reality

I ordered a very large backpack from REI-Outlet and had it delivered to the store here for the free shipping. It came in yesterday. I had time to kill before a late call, so I actually had David from REI fit the pack to me. He filled it with fluffy weight. I was amazed when the 'pillows' he put in to fill out the pack almost pulled me over backwards when he let go and put the entire weight on the suspension of the pack I had strapped on. We weighed it when I took it off for him to make some adjustments. Mind you, I know I need to keep my pack weight down. The 23lbs I've been carrying has been child's play, I pretty much didn't feel it, at least not like I remember the backpacking trips of years ago where I would have multiple very sore spots where the pack belt and straps would rub. But, I figure if I just keep it below 35lbs I'll be fine.

This pack is not a rugged backpack. It is large, 85 liter. But it isn't a hardcore pack, and the suspension shows it. It's ok but not great. So, I knew that it wouldn't handle the very heavy weight he had put in it. When we weighed it, it was... 35lbs. That heavy brick of a pack was what 35lbs feels like. Now, I know that in a more expensive pack with better suspension I could carry 35lbs easier. But, darn. So, I'll be keeping the pack weight down even (or maybe especially) with this larger pack.

The 'big 4' weight is a benchmark in light weight packing. That is pack, shelter, sleeping bag and pad. I had figured that with the hammock, this pack, my Z-light pad and I think the lighter sub kilo 15 degree bag I was around 12lbs. Kinda on the heavy side for light-weight, but in the ballpark barely. With my much warmer North Face -20 degree bag, the Z-light, this pack and my ultra-light tent, I'm still around 12lbs. The tent is a couple of pounds lighter than my current hammock setup. So, I now have a winter setup and a spring/fall setup. From here on out it is tweaking to get lighter. I still have the ultra-light 45 liter pack, and if I go with the sub kilo bag and the ultra-light tent I have a very light setup. I am wanting to go with the hammock as much as possible, though, which is why I'm still playing with my setup.

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