Back in my alpine climbing days, we used to say, “Go lite. Freeze at night.” And we did. With the new light weight backpacking gear, it’s no longer necessary to freeze at night. After 5 years of trial and error, I’ve got my base backpacking gear down to just under 10 pounds: that includes everything except food and fuel. With 5 days of food, I’m around 20-22 pounds. That kind of weight has made backpacking fun again. The following is my Ultralight Backpack Gear List:
Note: Click on images to view larger image.
Pack & Camp Gear
Backpack – ZPacks Arc Blast
Tent – ZPacks™ Duplex
8 Stakes – ZPacks 6.5 inch Titanium
Weight: 2.24oz for 8
Price: $2.75 each
Sleeping Bag Dry Sack – Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil
Sleeping Pad ThermaRest Neo Regular
The following is a list of clothes I carry. This is extra clothing that I don’t normally wear when I’m hiking but that I might need due to wet or cold weather conditions.
Gloves – Outdoor Research Gloves
Socks – Darn Tough Micro Crew Light
Insulation Layer –Men’s Nano Puff® Bivy Pullover
Weight: 12.5 oz
Love the hood, front zip pouch / pocket and the Kangaroo-style handwarmer pocket. Essentially, a hooded synthetic down coat. Love down but down doesn’t love moisture.
Rain / Wind Layer, Marmot Mica Jacket
The following is a list of the clothes I wear when I’m hiking, and items that I carry in my pockets. I do not include the weight of these items in my pack weight.
Pant / Shorts – REI Convertible Sahara
Wind / Sun Shirt – REI Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve
Sun Hat – OR Seattle Sombrero
I made the switch to a full-brim hat last fall and this one is great. On the Wind River High Route this summer, where you are mostly above tree line and the sun beat down all day in 80 degree heat, this hat was a real skin saver and the only shade in town.
Hiking Shoes – Brooks Cascadia 11 GTX Trail-Running Shoes
Weight: 1lb 11oz
Gators – Dirty Girl Gators
Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles
Note: These poles are dual purpose. I use them for hiking and also as tent poles for the ZPacks Duplex tent.
Knife – Swiss Army Spartan Knife
Optics – Brunton Echo Zoom Monocular
Cooking and Drinking Gear
New Stove: Sidewinder Ti-Tri
After using the Fancy Feast stove for two years, I upgraded to the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri multi fuel stove. In alcohol mode, it works just like the Fancy Feast stove. It also burns Esbit tablets and wood.
But the main feature of this stove is the wind screen, built custom to fit almost every pot size. With the Sidewinder wind screen, I cut my fuel consumption in half. Plus, with the wind screen, the wind has almost no affect on the stove output.
Click here to see a video demo of the Trail Designs Sidewinder Stove
Stove – Cat Food Can
This is by far the lightest and cheapest stove available. And it works! I’ve used it in windy and freezing weather and it boils 2 cups of water with 1oz of denatured alcohol every time. Instructions on making a cat food stove.
Important: If you decide to use this type of stove, use a wind screen. You can easily make a custom fit wind screen using folded tin foil.
Cook Pot – Evernew 1.3L Titanium Pot – Model ECA253
Pot Cozy – Homemade
A pot cozy will help your food to cook and hydrate AFTER the cat food stove runs out.
For example, if you’re making ramon, or cuscus, or a freeze dried dinner, bring the water to boil, add the food to the water, cover the pot, and put pot inside the pot cozy with cozy cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
You can make a pot cozy out of a car windshield sun screen. You can buy these are any automotive store. Instructions on making a pot cozy.
Fuel Bottle – 16oz Plastic Beverage Bottle
Note: I use green Squirt bottles so I don’t confuse it with drinking water bottles, but any plastic beverage bottle will work.
This unit comes with 1 16oz water pouch. I use this to carry my water during the day. I can quickly refill it in a lake or stream when I need to.
Extra Water Storage – 2 Sawyer 32oz Pouches
Weight: 1oz per pouch
Cost: $8.95 for 3 pouches
I fill two 32oz pouches and the 16oz pouch when I get to camp. That lasts me through breakfast the next day with the 16oz pouch still full so I’m ready to hike without gathering more water.
Towel – Lightload Pack Towel
Weight: 5oz for 1 towel
I use the same towel for dishes and personal cleaning. You can buy in 3 packs. These are very durable. So far, I have used the same towel for about 15 days, but it is not worn out yet.
Bear Kit – ZPacks Bear Bagging Kit
Includes: 12.3 Liter Bag, 50 feet Z-Line Slick Cord, Rock Sack (for throwing line), & micro Carabiner for clipping on the bag.
Headlamp – Petzle e+LITE Emergency Headlamp
USB Batter Charger – Anker 2nd Gen Astro 6700mAh Portable Charger
With this charger, I can charge my iPhone 6 2.5 times.