Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lightweight Backpacking Gear - Summer 2011

After far too much thought, and definitely not enough actual practice, here is the collection of stuff I used to go camping this summer.  This is meant to be for one overnight trip in warm, but not necessarily dry, weather.  Below is the whole kit, spread out.

Sleeping bag (REI Travel Down) and bivy sack (REI Minimalist).  Blue sleeping pad, orange dry sack.

Beat up running shoes, hood of big green poncho with tarp tieouts, one liter waterbottles, backpack (REI Flash 18).

Trail clothes: running shirt, cargo shorts for trail, adventure undies.  Running shorts for camp.
Warm clothes: windbreaker, long underwear, heavy socks, hat.  Light socks for trail.

Food: dehydrated meal, beef jerky, energy bars  First aid, book.
Cooking: pot, alcohol stove, wind screen, triangular pot stand (sits on stove), lighter, spoon, bandana, sponge (not needed).  Hygiene: soap, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste.  Wallet: phone, key, ID, map, cash, emergency medical and contact info.
Miscellaneous stuff: head light, cord, sharpie, tent stakes, water tablets (chlorine dioxide), safety pin, glue, tape, matches fire starters, disinfectant wipe.

Pocket items: monocular telescope, pocket knife, emergency whistle (Coghlan's) with matches, fire starter, compass, mirror.

 Hygiene and cooking items fit nicely inside cooking pot.

Miscellaneous stuff fits in ditty sack.

Almost forgot my hat!  Keeps sweat, rain, and branches off my glasses and sun off of, ahem, vulnerable areas.

Pad, sleeping bag, clothes, and first aid go inside dry bag.

Leaving a little room on top for food and miscellaneous stuff.

Remaining items attach to outside.

Everything else goes on me, or in my pockets.

Total weight, including food and water, just under 14 pounds.

The gear in action.


  1. Absolutely great! Thanks for posting it and in such clear detail. When Frances joins you it may end up being a little heavier.

  2. Awesome. How come I haven't seen this before? Gotta put up some more photos of your gear in action.

  3. Found this post by searching for pictures of how others have used their minimalist bivy sacks. Thinking of buying one for myself. Thanks for this very helpful and detailed information.

  4. Thanks Jessica. If you're thinking about a bivy and tarp combo, check out this discussion over at

    I'm happy to report that the REI Minimalist and poncho tarp did well for me during two thunderstorms. Very weather resistant. Worked well on some cool nights as well, but with some condensation. Worked ok on some very warm nights if I slept in it with just base layers, or stayed on top of it. I certainly don't regret the purchase, and the price was right, but next time I get a chance to buy a bivy I'll go for something more breathable, less water proof, and with a bigger mesh window.