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My Gear List

The following is my gear list for a typical 3 season backpacking trip in the Midwest.

On the AT outside of the Natahala Outdoor Center

Pumped up and ready to hike!!

WOW! What a view!

Carrying my ultra light load.

My Ultralight Gear Check List

Presenting a gear list is not an easy thing, Why? Because in reality, each individual trip is unique and calls for its own gear list. If, for instance, someone is spending three days hiking in the relatively temperate climate of Southern Indiana's Hoosier National Forest they would take certain items that may or may not be taken on a 10 day trip to the British Columbia. So please look at this as a guideline of what I might take on any given trip.  I believe I have reached the point where I have my pack weight down to a very light level and can still stay safe and comfortable in camp and on the trail. I could possibly reduce my weight even further and I am open to further experimenting but any further changes will be considered with with my saftey and comfort strickly in mind.

The key to holding down your pack weight is to carefuly evaluate every item that goes in your pack. Try to take items that have multiple uses. Cut out the non-essentials or at least be very, very particular about what extras you will allow. Keep things simple! My basic 3-season pack load shown below, without water or food and fuel, weighs only 11 pounds. That's right, I said 11 pounds! This means that a weekend trip results in about a 16 pound pack, including food and water. A 5 day trip has a total pack load of about 21 pounds.

What a great feeling to head off with a pack that is as light as most day packs. Try it! You'll like it! I think that more people would fall in love with this wonderful hobby if they knew that light loads like this were not only possible but very practical.

I will show each item with the weight preceading each and a combined total after each section. The exception is in the Misc./Survival category were the items were weighed as a whole in a 1 gallon zip lock bag.


32 oz     Hiking Shoes (New Balance 803)

1oz        Watch Nylon

6oz        Polyester T-Shirt

3oz       2 pair hiking Socks

8oz      Nylon Hiking Pants

1oz      Sunglasses

3oz      Nylon running shorts

20oz    Hiking poles (duct tape wrapped around)

2oz      Hat (Columbia Nylon visor)


Total = 4.75lbs


NOTE: Sleeping pad is inside the pack, providing some form.

44oz     3050 ci Backpack (Gregory G pack, I know it seems way to heavy but I really like the frame sheet).

21 oz    Lafuma Warm n Lite (27F, 800-fill)

8 oz      Bibler Winter bivy bag

13oz     8'x10 Siltarp knockoff (Campmor)

2oz       50' Nylon guy line

3 oz      Six stakes

6 oz      3/4-length Sleeping Pad (RidgeRest)

2.5 oz   2 mill poly groundsheet (6'x3')


Total = 6.21 lbs


13 oz    Red Ledge Thunderlight Parka

5oz       Long Underwear Top (lighweight)

6oz       Long Underwear Bottoms (lightweight)

1oz       Thinsalate Hat

2 oz      Gloves, polyester

1oz       Bandana

6oz       Nylon long sleeve shirt


Total 2.12 lbs


1st Aid Kit (Home made)

Compass, Orienteering

"Hurricane" matches

Leatherman "Micra"

Space Blanket

Trick Birthday Candles (4)

Dental Floss (few feet - sewing/etc)

Sewing Needle

Signal Mirror (coated plastic)

Survival Lanyard (Led light, whistle/compass, retractable razor tool)

3 spare bateries


Total 1 lbs


2.5 oz    Toothbrush & Toothpaste

1 oz       Comb

2oz       Soap

1oz       Paper towels ( Cut into squares for TP)

1oz      Hand sanitizer

1oz      Deet

1oz      Bug Head Net

1.5oz  Orange plastic trowel (shortened)

2oz      Keys, ID, cash, etc.

3oz      Disposable Camera


Total = 1 lbs


4oz       Walmart Grease pot w/ lid (32 oz capacity)

3.5 oz  Soda can stove, pot stand, wind screen, pot  lifter, & a section of foil for stove base 

1oz      Iodine/Neutralizer Tablets

1oz      Platypus Water Bladder

.5oz     Spoon (heavy plastic)

1.5oz   32 oz Powerade bottle

.5oz     Small Bic lighter

2oz      Pack Towel & Scrubber

2oz      Cup & Bowl

1.5oz   Foam Cozy

1.5oz    Plastic 8oz Fuel bottle (recycled mouthwash bottle)


Total = 1.18


Total weight of all Gear (Except food, fuel and water) = 11.51 lbs

Total Weight from the skin out   =  16.26 lbs

Ultralight site

I am frequesntly re-tuning this equipment list. Nothing is carved in stone so check back. My goal is to continue to allow my pack weight to stay low but my joy of the expereince to soar sky high. There have been more and more main line equipment companies realizing that the "Ultralight" community is here to stay and they have been responding accordingly. It will be interesting to see what new inovation comes next. 

Please remember you can "Lighten Up"also. As a result of being willing to change and taking suggestions your backpack weight can begin to dwindle. Don't be afraid to try something new. Let your conventonal ideas of backpacking be tested.  don't toss everything out all at once. Take some time to test the waters. As your skill grows you will come to understand how you can shed those pounds. 


Lighten Up - Ultralight Backpacking Site