Weight of pack itself

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
Forum rules
Ultralight Bushwalking/backpacking is about more than just gear lists. Ultralight walkers carefully consider gear based on the environment they are entering, the weather forecast, their own skill, other people in the group. Gear and systems are tested and tweaked.
If you are new to this area then welcome - Please remember that although the same ultralight philosophy can be used in all environments that the specific gear and skill required will vary greatly. It is very dangerous to assume that you can just copy someone else's gear list, but you are encouraged to ask questions, learn and start reducing the pack weight and enjoying the freedom that comes.

Common words
Base pack backpacking the mass of the backpack and the gear inside - not including consumables such as food, water and fuel
light backpacking base weight less than 9.1kg
ultralight backpacking base weight less than 4.5kg
super-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 2.3kg
extreme-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 1.4kg

Weight of pack itself

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 10:05 am

My searching of the forum has not turned up much due to the glut of 'packweight' hits referring to overall load.

I am wondering what others experiences have been with the weight of their actual pack.
Is saving grams on your pack super important in overall baseweight? Or is it the last point you would shave grams off?

Obviously some of you experienced folk run pretty UL and have no doubt played around with your gear, would love to hear your perspectives on it.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 10:41 am

Stating the obvious, I think it's a matter of "the lighter the better" as it contributes to overall carried weight, but there are tradeoffs and concessions for going too lightweight. I personally wouldn't go for a frameless - others swear by them but carryability (if that's a word?) is more important to me than saving a few grams. I have a ULA framed pack that is around 700g (and to answer the OP, yes i shaved a few grams off by removing some of the bells and whistles that i don't need) and good for loads up to 14 or so kg. I have a much heavier pack for heavier loads but i think i could get away with a lighter one for the same loads... maybe 1kg is the sweet spot (eg. some of the HMG offerings?)?
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Dexter » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 2:38 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:maybe 1kg is the sweet spot (eg. some of the HMG offerings?)?


I have been thinking about grabbing another smaller lighter pack - I'm a little concerned dyneema packs wouldn't last the distance. Those concerns may be completely unfounded. I've seen it argued online that DCF is not as strong as it's marketed to be. The fibres are in regards to breaking tension or some such, but not really when it comes to abrasion and small holes. No idea if that's true or not. I'm not totally unsold on it (I have a Tarptent). But these packs are pretty damn pricey, and I just worry in a few years they are kinda finished. I'd love to hear more though from those who trust it.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Lamont » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 2:54 pm

Ms_Mudd wrote:Is saving grams on your pack super important in overall baseweight?

Yes :D
Last edited by Lamont on Fri 19 Feb, 2021 5:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 3:32 pm

Haha good replies, yes, I see it is a noobie type question.
Happy to own that title having not intentionally ever purchased anything specifically based upon weight, but have certainly found naturally my gear has gotten lighter over time.

Didn't know if others carried heavier packs even with lighter loads as they found them more comfortable.

2 for 2 replies stacked in favour of a lighter actual pack being vital in the overall picture of combined packweight.

Am stuck in an airport, so shall wait and watch vino in hand to see what others add.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Wed 17 Feb, 2021 4:25 pm

I've given up on pack weight. I've bought lighter packs but my Exos is uncomfortable above 13kg, and my Chinese made lightweight failed while walking on the treadmill. I prefer to go for longer walks these days and camp out a bit. For a weeks walk I have a base weight of around 8kg, I'll carry 4 kg food, and at some stage I always seem to need to carry 4 litres of water. I'd rather carry 16 kg with a h-frame than 15 kg with the Exos, or 14.5 kg with a superduper ultralight.

Shorter walks, well that's different.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Dexter » Thu 18 Feb, 2021 8:19 am

JohnnoMcJohnno wrote:I've given up on pack weight. I've bought lighter packs but my Exos is uncomfortable above 13kg, and my Chinese made lightweight failed while walking on the treadmill. I prefer to go for longer walks these days and camp out a bit. For a weeks walk I have a base weight of around 8kg, I'll carry 4 kg food, and at some stage I always seem to need to carry 4 litres of water. I'd rather carry 16 kg with a h-frame than 15 kg with the Exos, or 14.5 kg with a superduper ultralight.

Shorter walks, well that's different.



Interesting to hear a different opinion on it. What is the heavier pack you use?
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby ChrisJHC » Thu 18 Feb, 2021 2:37 pm

I carry an Osprey Aether 70 which, at 2.3kg is definitely on the heavier side.

I find that the comfort and usability far offset the weight.

I did go over it after I’d used it half a dozen times and cut off all the straps and doodads that I can’t ever see myself using.
Probably brought the weight down by at least 100g!

Taken it on the Larapinta, Great South West Walk, Great Ocean Walk (a few times) and never felt the desire to move to a lighter and possibly less comfortable pack.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Dexter » Thu 18 Feb, 2021 7:06 pm

I've been using a One Planet Styx 2 which is 2.7kg. I've been asking myself if I should ditch it for something super light. Then again perhaps it has it's place for heavier loads, while something smaller and lighter might be the go for shorter trips.

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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby warnesy » Thu 18 Feb, 2021 7:54 pm

Can make a big difference. I went from a giant Macpac Cascade to a Gossamer Gear Mariposa (2.9kg - 845g).

Biggest mistake was doing it first as then I had to quickly get lighter sleeping bag in particular so it would all fit :D

This was one of the biggest weight savings I made as I lightened my load.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 18 Feb, 2021 8:21 pm

Very interesting perspectives on it all.

It seems that weight of pack is not necessarily equal to the weight of other items, say a tent, as a slight increase in packweight may positively influence comfort rather than detracting from it. Makes me think of the Crazy/Hot Matrix , someone needs to create a similar tool for packweight.

I could see how buying a lighter pack straight up could end up an expensive exercise as if you gave bulky/hefty gear it would need to be a quick move to all round lighter gear.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 7:12 am

Dexter wrote:I've been using a One Planet Styx 2 which is 2.7kg. I've been asking myself if I should ditch it for something super light. Then again perhaps it has it's place for heavier loads, while something smaller and lighter might be the go for shorter trips.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk


I use a Kelty Trekker (2.4 kg). I probably shouldn't be on an ultralight forum.

Thing is though since joining this group I've gone from a 3 kg tent to a 1kg tent, a 1400g sleeping bag to one that weighs 600g, a 200g stove to a 50g, etc etc. For all of these I have been able to reduce weight with no loss of functionality. I haven't been able to do the same with a pack. The reduction in weight seems to compromise performance, for me anyway.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby rider » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 10:20 am

I’m going through the same process. As Lamont said the pack choice should probably wait till last thing.

I have got into a 28 l pack (with add ons - because I got it all cheap )for a 5 day walk in summer /tropical but before the next pack I need to finish my quilt, and finalise my tent inner before knowing the volume/ weight for extended cold and wet weather gear and hammocking.

So the pack weight is important because you carry for the whole trip.

But the pack comfort is important because you carry for the whole trip!

I don’t think many can afford
New tent then new pack, new bag/quilt then new pack etc.

If you can get an intermediate pack, which can continue to be used later, as I have done, that’s great

Otherwise, settle on the other gear then choose an appropriate pack
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Kott » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 3:39 pm

I'd say pack comfort above everything else.
I have 1.5-1.6kg 50+10L Deuter pack that I've used extensively across the world for the past 6-8 years and its still going strong. Super comfortable, incredibly ventilated and still in good nick.

It is sometimes funny when you go for an overnighter as there isn't that much extra clothing or food but still works like a charm.

I did get excited and got myself durston 40l to try out something lighter and smaller...and thats the thing - lighter usually means smaller and isnt always as well ventilated nor comfortable...

so there...few other points of view
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby nezumi » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 3:57 pm

I've long advocated that, whether shopping for ultralight gear or not, the pack should ideally be one of the last purchases. I see lots of people getting recommendations in various bushwalking discussion areas (especially Facebook) for a pack for overnight or 2 night walks, and all the suggestions lean towards 70L+ packs that weigh 2 - 3 kg.

While comfort is a definite factor, having too much weight isn't exactly comfortable either, and a larger pack inevitably leads to people adding in those "Oh, maybe I'll need it?" items, when they could have been left at home.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Tortoise » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 5:34 pm

I tried a couple of lighter packs when I drastically reduced my overall pack weights, including a Golite Pinnacle @ 800+ grams, iirc. Love the fabric - quite robust. But the framelessness really didn't work for me. Even for an overnighter, it's not nearly as comfortable as my 1.6kg Berghaus, which I've stuck with. I do far better with a really comfy pack than with a lighter one that doesn't carry as well.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby stry » Fri 19 Feb, 2021 6:06 pm

The heaviest pack I have owned was a steel H frame Mountain Mule that weighed around 3.7kg. It was all but indestructible and served its purpose well. It carried some big loads back when everything was heavier than it needs to be now. Even capably carried a toddler sitting on top of far more than half our three person camp on one trip.

I have gradually lightened gear and packs to the point where I now have a 1.8kg 57L pack which is very comfortable and capable. My next step will be around 1.5 and will include the rear pocket that I have missed so much in my current pack and the pack prior to that.

Frameless does not appeal, even with sub 10kg loads. Bad news for my back and a lot of mucking around to pack so that the contents don't create discomfort.

The weight saving/practicality/durability tradeoff has it's limits with most gear, but perhaps more so with packs. Reliability and function are also important.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby drewmac » Sun 21 Feb, 2021 10:02 am

Hi,

In short...saving weight in the pack...yes....worth it...
Cause we are not talking grams when it comes to pack weights.

Although all this weight saving comes at a cost, light weight costs more....

Started writing very little and then got carried away...

Others are talking about 1, 2 or even 3kg.....for packs.....

We are in an UL part of the forum, my main pack weighs 500g, an Arc Blast around 55 lt.
Use it for any overnight, mulitday trip, framed, comfortable, great, never run out of room.

If we are talking comfort...then the less on my back makes for more comfort and enjoyment which is part of the reason to go for a walk.

A 2.5 kg pack on your back before you have put any gear in it...
By that weight I have my pack(500), 2 person tent(1200) (Tarptent Stratospire II), cooking gear(450), sleeping mat(250).......and that is my luxury mat...I have a lighter one :D
I can cut that down if it is just me on my own.

It is also all the other gear you reduce weight on too, you then choose lighter and more compact items across your whole kit.

Weight also depends on where you hike.
Hard to drop some weight if you are in Tasmania as have weather factors to consider.

It is part philosopy.
Part of the process is also to eliminate all those items you may take but actually do not require, call it minimalist if you like.
You look for items that serve multiple purposes.
I still carry first aid, PLB, compass, battery pack, phone, camera etc. and a range of items.

Do you actually need the full cutlery set if you have a spork and a multitool with knife, and my multitool weighs 46g.

How many pots/cups do you need when 1 will do and the lid is your cup.
What does your stove look like....I have a few.....range from 45 g to 100g.
Alfoil works great as a wind/heat shield and weighs nothing....have been using the same piece now for over 5 years.....fold it up and stick it in the pot bag.

I eat well, tend to use Strive food packs, low weight for calorie supply, quality, have good vego options as do not eat meat.
Dried fruit and nut mixes, fresh banana, mandarin, apples(come in their own packaging).

Would rarely weigh in above 14kg for multiday walk.
Often between 11 and 12kg.

Only if have to carry significant water supply.

There are others here that would be even less weight than me by kg's.

YMMV
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby CasualNerd » Sun 21 Feb, 2021 1:37 pm

Depends what your initial pack is and how you pack, length of walks etc. It took me meany years to slowly but surely buy all the smaller lighter tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, titaniam pot etc before I could downsize the pack.

At the end of the day though if you can move down from a 3 Kg canvas pack to a 900g pack like I did, it's a massive weight saving. It was also far cheaper than the lighter sleeping bag and tent purchases by a long way.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Neo » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 9:12 pm

MsMudd if i recall correctly the aarn didn't work out for you.

See if you can try or buy an Exped Lightning. They are made in a 45 and a 60 litre backpack and also a womens version. They weigh empty 1050 to 1150g. Are very comfy, adjustible back length, single compartment with an internal pocket and hipbelt pockets.

(I have a 45L in the cupboard in PMQ you could test sometime).
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 7:39 am

Neo, you remember correctly. I despised the Aarn.

I have a One Planet Canopy 50lt which is incredible, so comfy even with the heaviest of carries. It isn't overly heavy itself and comes in around 1600g with the added on hip belt pockets.
I started pondering pack weight as I have found unless with the kids or needing Winter gear, my Canopy is barely half full even with now packing ccf mat inside the pack. For three days this week,including absolutely everything (3lt water, food,fuel) I was only carrying 10.1kg.
Inadvertently I have ended up lightening my load over time, although never seeking to be an ultralighter.

Plenty of uses for the OP Canopy as often I do carry more. Made me wonder about having a 2nd, lighter pack for the times when I have those minimal loads.

Will have a squizz at the Exped packs. You are only up the road from me really, should take a jaunt up there. Was at Buladekah/Wang Wauk yesterday.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Kickinghorse » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 9:33 am

Hi Ms M
Going over ground covered but the key I think is as you said, “lightening the stuff that actual goes in” I have had an OP Styx 2 for a number of years and whilst reasonably weighty at 2.7 Kg it’s a very solid and comfortable pack to carry. As stated there are many light weights out there but do they have as comfortable a carrying system and what will they look like in ten years etc. The OP has been exposed to air port handling, on track, off track, mud, snow etc etc but still is in great condition. Some of our scrub especially down in Tas will shred some of the lighter weight materials. Not cheap but will be around for many more adventures. But again as I’ve become more aware of the grams I put into it, the more comfortable it has become. Thought of selling it lately for a light weight but sense prevailed.
Sounds like an Ad for OP :-)

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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 10:28 am

Not at all Phil, I think it isn't hard to sing the praises of OP gear at all. Not much not to like, definitely gear made for the long haul. I am so impressed with the robustness of my pack, especially at the weight it is. It will last me many years.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby Al M » Tue 09 Mar, 2021 2:24 am

Going from 2.8kg Lowe Appalachian 65+15 pack to Osprey Exos 46L 1.2kg has been an absolute game changer, along with general lighter approach overall (mainly tent, cook and sleep system) have shaved about 4 kg off and the significant increase in physical endurance to reach distances and safety from less load stress on leg muscles going uphill and extra water carrying capacity. It is less comfortable but the trade off is worth it and the Exos isn’t exactly uncomfortable either. Most of my trips are 16kg loads with the Exos and it handles it well enough with no real discomfort. I also have an older 58L Exos when extra room is needed but the 46L is used generally always.

However, the biggest load I had to carry was about 27kg with the Lowe so that would have meant 4kg less with the Exos and 23kg which would be pushing it though not impossible and some items strapped externally. For such trips a heavier duty pack would likely be more needed, although could push the Exos for several days until supplies are used up and become lighter.

If one travels and treks overseas a lot the lighter pack is very useful in that one can get away with carry on weight 7kg only and save money in airfare vs a heavier pack that just couldn’t stay under the weight.
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Re: Weight of pack itself

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 09 Mar, 2021 6:15 am

If someone is up for an interesting exercise on a rainy afternoon.. have a go at my ultralight challenge.
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=29429

Basically it's designing a pack/gear system to see how light could you go for an overnight just using what you have in your gear cupboard.

And it's quiet fun walking with barely a day pack load and passing the full pack wearers puffing all along.
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