The Quest for Lightness

This is going to be an ongoing post with regular updates.

Total Weight Saved: 4.53kgs (so far)

Lightness, when backpacking, is something most seasoned hikers & campers strive for. I hadn’t given it much though when I first went camping, my pack weighed just shy of 22 kilos, that’s some hefty pack and that doesn’t include my Canon 5D Mk IV, Lee Filters and batteries which were on my ThinkTank chest rig.

I decided to make some changes, and below are the kit swaps I have made and the weight savings realised. I don’t have a full pack weigh at the moment as I haven’t been camping since changing some of the gear out, but as soon as I have a full pack to weigh, I’ll put it up for you.

Tripod

In: Benro Slim Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit + N00 Ball Head (1kg)

Out: Gitzo Series 2 Traveler GT2540T Tripod 6X Carbon Fibre with GH2780TQD Ball Head (1.8kg)

Saving: 800g

We all know Gitzo, lovely tripods, sturdy, expensive, however even though the series is given the title “Traveler” it weighs 1.8kgs, the Benro is not quite as sturdy, to get to its very impressive 1kg weight you have to make cuts and the legs are thinner, and the joints where the legs join the centre column are not quite as rigid and they don’t fold back on themselves, but 800g is a significant saving. Gitzo do make a lighter tripod, pretty much the same weight as the Benro, but it’s £800, the Benro was £90. Hook a bag underneath for long exposures and I don’t miss the Gitzo at all.

Backpack

In: Osprey Exos 58 (1.32kg)

Out: Berghaus Khumbo Atrek Pro 70+10 (2.68kg)

Saving: 1.36kg

Slightly unfair comparison this one, the Osprey is much newer than the Berghaus, better technology and lighter materials, it’s also 22 litres smaller than the Berghaus, but on a quick test pack I didn’t really notice the reduction in space, due to the flexibility of the Osprey, it also sits more comfortably than the Berhaus which, I’m guessing, is down to advancements in technology, also the Berghaus has an adjustable back, whereas the Osprey you buy to suit your frame length.

Boots (updated 6/6/19)

In: Merrell Moab 2 Mid (for generic walking) (998g)

In: Scarpa Manta Pro GTX (size 10.5) (1.6kg) (for more severe climbs)

Out: The North Face Verto S6K (size 11) (2.94kg)

Saving: 1.3kg

Another slightly unfair comparison, The North Face boots are a professional mountaineering boot, extremely rigid, the Scarpa is similar but designed to be more flexible, you can fit a crampon to it but also use it for hiking and mountaineering equally well. It’s as waterproof and a very comfortable boot. It’s also the top boot on many outdoors review websites.

Update: The Scarpa’s are a great boot, but very stiff, being designed for climbing and to take a crampon, this is great for rocky surfaces and rough terrain, but walks where there is a path or a less rocky climb they can fatigue the feet. Recently I purchased a pair of Merrell Moab 2’s mid height walking boots. They’re far less stiff and very comfortable, although lack waterproofing. I have coated them in Scarpa 12 to try and improve the water-resistance. However, they are much lighter!

Sleeping Mat

In: Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8 (746g)

Out: Adtrek inflatable sleeping mat (1.84kg)

Saving: 1.07kg

Not really a surprise this one, going from a generic Amazon purchase to a proper sleeping mat designed for hiking adventures. Aside from the weight saving, the Mountain Equipment mat is significantly smaller when rolled-up and, I can only assume this is because of the more professional materials and better build quality, I didn’t miss the 5cm thickness of the Adtrek compared to the 3.8cm of the Mountain Equipment.

Walking Poles

In: Leki Micro Varios Carbon Poles (229g)

Out: Trek Mates Peak Walker Poles

Saving:

Another one that isn’t going to be a surprise, going from a cheap pair of poles bought from Go Outdoors to a professional, and very expensive, pair of hiking poles. The Peak Walker are aluminium (or other metal) whereas the Leki are carbon fibre. They’re both quite comfortable, although the Leki poles are slightly more padded on the handle. The defining feature of the Leki is that they collapse into 3 pieces, so are very pack-able.

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