Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Create an Effective Pack List

How to Generate an Effective Gear Checklist

If you you travel on a regular basis, You might  have your own way of putting a list together to ensure you have everything they need for the trip. Be it a business trip, camping trip or for pleasure. If you do have a list, the list may be  in your head or on paper. You probably have this list because you have learned from past experiences that if you don’t make a list you forget something. On the trips when you forgot something, you might have even updated the list as soon as you realized you forgot that something, or when you returned home. But it is a safe bet that your list changes each time you plan a trip.

This is an important part of the weight cutting process that backpackers go through often when planning for a trip. One of the problems we see when we talk to other backpackers is they don’t have any idea how much the individual items weigh or even the grand total of the pack. if you do not know the weight of each item or the weight of the pack as a whole, keep reading as we might just have the answer. We may not know the specific weight of each item off the top of our heads, but we do have  list that has the answer.

When you are designing a comprehensive gear list you need to sit down and figure out what is going into your pack. As you all should know by now, we  focus on making our packs light but functional. There are people that take all kinds of different approaches to getting together pack lists. Some people prefer comforts from home and don’t worry too much about pack weight. Some are more extreme and will not take anything with a tag on it to cut weight. This is Steve’s approach. He is turning into what we call a “Gram Weenie” he has cut off the tags from his ENO hammock and bug net and even cut lengths of chord from his stuff sacks. All of this to cut weight from his pack. Trimming the fat so to speak.

In order to really figure out what works for you, you must test and try out different pack combinations until you find the one that really shouts out “Eureka... I am as light as I can get!”. If your pack is not changing with each trip, then you might not be trying hard enough to optimize your setup.

Finding that fine line between what you “want” and what you “need” is what optimizing your pack is all about. It’s a fine line, but if you work hard enough and look close enough, you will see it.

Having someone with the same values on pack efficiency and the same idea on having a light pack, will come in handy during the preparation phase. You can work with a buddy and critique each others pack to offer a second set of eyes.

We have come up with a pack list that would be a good starting point for a less experienced hiker. There are ways that you can use Microsoft Excel to generate equations in the cells to convert grams, to ounces and then into pounds.  When you do that you can see where your weight is mostly coming from and it allows you to see where you can cut weight with new gear. As you can see in the spreadsheet below you can list each item and a short description. weigh your gear in grams and then enter that information in the “Weight in GRAMS” column. the spreadsheet will keep a running total of ounces and pounds for each item and a grand total at the bottom of each section.

Our advise to you is to use our list as a guide (if you want to) and then add and cut out of it what you would like in order to find your perfect pack. If you subscribe to our blog we will personally send you the spreadsheet with the equations already in it so you can use it to weigh your items and cut your weight. So, if you are interested in getting the spreadsheet then all you have to do is subscribe to our blog on the left hand side where it says Follow By Email and we will send you the file with the equations already built in. Feel free to customize it to your pack specifications and weights!

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