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04/19/2024 08:23PM  
Does anyone on this board tend to fall more in the ultralight crew when it comes to paddling? I know there’s a big ultralight group in the backpacking world. I was curious if there’s any ultralighters paddlers here?

If so what do you use for your tent, sleep system, etc. just trying to get ideas to lighten my load. I want to go deeper in the BWCA and I need to lighten the load. Hoping to start single portaging this year.

Thanks in advance.
 
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brp
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04/19/2024 09:04PM  
Freeze dried food generally lightens the load a lot. It can drastically reduce your dishes, down to a spork and jet boil. There is also very little wasted food (weight), and some brands make burnable bags, which is not allowed in the BWCA but is in some situations. You also have the option of leaving your saw and/or hatchet behind.

The freeze dried food is also very lightweight, as it has no moisture.

It’s quite nice to have something like hot yellow curry with rice after a long day hiking/paddling, with very close to zero prep and associated weight it would typically take to have a meal like that.
 
04/19/2024 09:14PM  
I fall into the ultralight backpacking crowd. Haven't really translated that to canoeing yet. But pretty much all of the principles are the same.

The place to start is by weighing everything you have. Everything from the tent down to a fork. Put everything into a spreadsheet or use a website like lighterpack or packfire. Here's an example backpacking list I use for the SHT.

Then, identify items that are heavy that you could easily remove or replace. Ultralight gets lambasted for over consumption and spending lots on gear, but for those who practice it is is really an ethos of bringing less, simplifying, and not packing your fears. Think about each item you bring. Did I actually use this? If not, do I really need it? Can I get by with something that weighs less and works just as well?

People look to the big 3 (pack, shelter, and sleep) as the typical high-weight grouping of gear. Getting these weights down will make a big difference. The general rule of thumb is to replace your pack last, because as you reduce the amount of stuff you are bringing and how much it weighs, what you need for a pack will change.

Don't forget about the little things though--every ounce adds up. Cut off the end of your toothbrush. Remove straps and tags you don't need. Only bring as much toothpaste as you need for the length of your trip.

The big difference with canoeing will be the obvious things: the canoe, paddles, and PFD. Think about how you can safely reduce the weights of these things. I imagine you will want to treat the canoe like the pack, replace that last.

Check out resources and websites like backpackinglight, r/ultralight, Andrew Skurka.
 
04/19/2024 09:18PM  
I'm not an ultralight guy like some hikers, but I have done things to lighten the load in anticipation of longer (in days) trips. Like brp I changed food style to simplify the kitchen, food, and preparation, to reduce weight and fuel usage. I also started with the quickest, simplest, and cheapest way to reduce weight - don't take it. No chair, canoe seat, axe/hatchet, saw, binoculars, fishing equipment, solar shower, etc. Then I began replacing gear with lighter stuff, usually like once a year or so, taking advantage of sales.

I spent some time and effort dialing in the amount of food and fuel so I don't carry much extra. Cold cereal, coffee, water, nuts and bars, dehydrated dinners eaten out of the bag, no cleanup. Jetboil stove and fuel, spoon, coffee mug.

Tent is a Durston X-mid 1, sleeping pad is Thermarest Neo-air XTherm bought on impulse when marked down around 40-50%, sleeping bag is Western Mountaineering Apache 15 degree. Those weigh about 6 1/2 lbs. all inclusive.

While not UL, I'm a lot lighter than I was. Well my pack is . . .

If you've got questions or want more detail, just ask.
 
Tomcat
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04/19/2024 09:20PM  
One google search result defined ultralight as less than 9.9 lbs base weight for a fully loaded pack excluding worn weight and consumables such as food, water and fuel.

My fully loaded pack weight excluding worn weight and consumables is about 35 lbs. Clearly not ultralight as defined by my google search. However, I feel that I camp comfortably and travel efficiently. I move camp often and single portage.
 
04/19/2024 09:40PM  
For tent I use either a Tarptent Aeon Li (20 oz) or Moment DW Li (26 oz). Sleeping bag is an REI sub kilo bag (28 oz). Pad is a NEMO Quasar 3d insulated long wide (33 oz). Pack is a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 (46 oz). Tarp is either a zpack dyneema 8x11 (9 oz) or CCS 10x14 1.1 oz silnylon with ridgeline bag (2 lb). So with the lighter tent and the dyneema tarp it’s about 8.5 lb for tent/tarp/sleep system/pack. That’s what I use for 6-7 day trips in May-Sept.



 
Minnesotian
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04/19/2024 10:37PM  
geotramper: "Then, identify items that are heavy that you could easily remove or replace. Ultralight gets lambasted for over consumption and spending lots on gear, but for those who practice it is is really an ethos of bringing less, simplifying, and not packing your fears. Think about each item you bring. Did I actually use this? If not, do I really need it? Can I get by with something that weighs less and works just as well?
"


This statement by geotramper is at the heart of ultralight backpacking/canoeing. Do you really need it, or are you packing it because of that 1 in 1000 chance you will need it? Most people when starting out on the path of ultralight realize quickly they don't need as much clothes. Why do they have three pairs of pants when they lived in just one pair for the whole trip?
Next, they start to realize they have food left over after the trip, three extra breakfasts, a couple potatoes, etc.

Not packing your fears is a good mantra. Another thing to consider is packing items that serve dual purposes, such as your cooking pot. Why bring a bowl if you can just make and eat everything in the pot? Or even better, just heat water and eat out of a freeze-dried bag? Smart phone can be your GPS and camera.

I am not a true ultralighter, as I still pack a chair (Monarch bi-pod, so a two legged chair), and for canoeing I pack fishing tackle and of course some whiskey. But ultralight isn't about doing what others are doing, but lightening the load to what you are comfortable with.

As far as my actual stuff, I have a old GoLite 15 degree sleeping bag, just got a new sleeping pad at 15 oz, tent is a Tarptent Stratospire 2, but I am going to get the Durston X-Mid 2 soon, and I make most of my own meals by dehydrating but also pack a lot of freezer-dried meals from Good-to-Go.
 
04/20/2024 10:17AM  
Yes. For some trips, anyway. When the kids and spouse come, we go much heavier.

Also have a UL backpacking background, and especially on solos I go very light.

I may go solo next week, and believe my carry weight (according to my Lighterpack, anyway) will be about 58 pounds.

That includes the canoe, paddles, pfd, food, pack...everything but my worn clothes.

Sure, you need a light tent/sleep system...but as others have said, it's also about the choices one makes editing out items entirely, and bringing the lightest version of any item that makes the cut.

I do bring a chair (helinox zero, 17oz), a tarp (DCF, 9oz) and binoculars...those are what I'd consider the luxury items.
 
04/20/2024 12:47PM  

A lot of good advice already mentioned! My wife and I have been backpacking for years and learned a lot through personal experience. There is no definitive fits all gear list so knowledge and good judgment truly important. For BWCA adventures we believe dry sacks are necessary. We like a tent as a shelter and use a 3 lb REI quarter dome that stays dry and performs well in all weather situations. Our sleeping gear varies based on expected temps. We avoid heavy jackets and layer to stay warm and it doesn't need to be raining to wear rain gear! We always bring a skull cap and a change of socks and underwear. That typically covers our clothing needs. Think about multi-use items and avoid redundant gear. As far as consumables, we do eat a lot of dehydrated items and disinfect our water with UV light (Steripen). It's definitely worth the time to know the weight of the items you bring and yes, I have drilled holes in my toothbrush :)
 
kenpark23
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04/20/2024 12:50PM  
The biggest way to shave ounces is by leaving stuff at home. Do you really need it? if not, then why is it in your bag.

Once you ditch the unnecessary items, look for the best bang for your buck which is usually bag, tent, sleep system.

I also saved a bunch with my cooking gear. MSR pocket rocket, titanium pot and long handled spoon is all you really need unless you are having a shore lunch.

Clothes also. I bring ample supply of underwear and socks, but other than that it is bare minimum. Take a look at the alpha direct hoodies from some of the cottage manufacturers. One of those with a windshirt and rain jacket will cover a very wide temperature range.

For water look at cnoc. Hard to beat a one of their bags for dirty water coupled with a versaflow filter and a few smartwater bottles for the clean.
 
iwegean
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04/20/2024 12:53PM  
I was an ultralight paddler in high school (165 lbs). Many moons ago.
I can no longer fit in a 1 lb sleeping bag, nor sleep on a 1 inch pad.
I'm happy with how I do things.... not ultralight.
 
Marten
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04/20/2024 01:38PM  
UL was never my style but see its merits if you want to really want to cover ground. I picked up a 20 pound Northstar ADK 12 foot canoe that shaves a lot of tooth brush handles worth of weight. Two stainless steel hollow rods rested on rocks covers the stove and fuel needs by using small wood broken up by hand. Nice to have a tarp when canoeing so I have used bug netting hanging under the tarp and left the tent at home. Fishing rod and little jigs with plastic attached is worth it in good food and less hauled in. If moving fast I would leave the Helinox home and use the Crazy Creek chair for resting and shoulder padding at night instead of the Exped. Thick thermals and a beefy balaclava allows for a very light sleeping bag.

Now anyone that has tripped with me is laughing because UL bears no resemblance to the kit I use.
 
EddyTurn
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04/20/2024 04:45PM  
I'd start from stating that hiking and canoeing are very different activities requiring different techniques. If something happens, a backpacker is usually no further from civilization than 2-3 days of hiking on a well-worn trail. He doesn't have to deal with dangers of high winds, large open water crossings, rapids etc. While on a canoe trip if something happens to my boat and I am just 2-3 days away from an access point it could mean a week of bushwacking with no trail in site. No trail meaning no fellow travelers that could give me some support. Therefore UL philosophy could be inappropriate and outright dangerous for wilderness canoeing. Of course I'm trying to keep the weight of my equipment to a minimum, but that minimum includes a 2lbs repair kit, extra paddle, waterproof bags, enough food bags to carry 2-3 weeks supply of food and other luxuries/necessities that are of no use for a hiker.
 
04/20/2024 06:23PM  
Thank you guys for the tips.

I actually just ordered the Durston XMid 2 last week. I’m looking forward to trying it out in a couple weeks. This tent alone is going to shave 4 pounds off my pack weight.

I have started weighing all my things like recommended and I can really see how this is gonna be useful.

At the moment where I think I’m going to struggle, a little bit is to figure out how much rope and related things to bring. I’ve been going to the waters for about 10 years now and I have had excellent weather almost every time except for twice and last year we had rain with the group and I didn’t have a tarp and I don’t know if I’ll ever go without a tarp again, so I think that’s gonna be one of my weight penalties that I’m going have to hone in on. What rope type, size, and lengths do you carry? I have a CCS 10 x 14 tarp for me and my group.

Another thing that I’ve been looking at is sleeping systems. Mine is comfortable, so I’m not in a rush to change it, but I wouldn’t mind being able to shave a pound or so off of it. My system is at least 4 pounds but I think five pounds at the moment. Has anyone ever tried the Zen Bivy sleep systems? And do you prefer a sleeping bag or a sleeping quilt?

With my very young family of five I am usually the Pack mule so I am eager to make this better experience for me and them.

 
04/20/2024 07:12PM  
I carry a CCS 1.1oz. 10x12 tarp pre-rigged and in the Ridgeline stuff sack. If you don't have your tarp set up that way you will want to look into it. I have a 50-foot ridgeline with 6 10-foot guy lines pre-attached and an additional 4x10 foot pieces of Lawson Equipment cordage. I take 7 stakes and a couple of figure9's. You will get Lawson cordage with your X-mid. I got some more to add as additional peak guy outs. I got some of the line tensioners and really like them.

Weighing everything really brings it to your attention and makes you think.

I haven't used a quilt but think I'd prefer a bag with hood on colder nights. A bag can be turned into a quilt just by unzipping.

You can often buy really good stuff (old model, not much different) on closeout at deep discount at the end of the season.
 
04/20/2024 08:15PM  

I bring 100 feet of 550 paracord. Enough to hang food and still have some left for other possible needs.
 
04/21/2024 08:55AM  
Way, way back when I was just a kid :) on this site, someone posted after every trip, go over all your gear and don’t bring what you didn’t use.

There are some obvious items like a first aid kit this does’t apply but has always been good advice that I need to keep reminding myself of.

T
 
Stumpy
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04/21/2024 02:04PM  
Aluminum canoe
 
straighthairedcurly
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04/21/2024 05:41PM  
I would consider myself an ultralight solo paddler for exactly the reason you stated...I like single portaging. And single portaging was a necessity for me to be able to do the Border Route Challenge.

When I started thinking about single portaging I did the following:

1) Put a list of all my gear into lighterpack.com That allowed me to see my starting point.
2) I started to think about what was not a necessity and eliminated it.
3) Next, I started to watch for deals on gear that could start to shave off ounces without sacrificing quality and comfort.

Some of my main gear:
Durston X Mid 1P tent w/ carbon poles (not the pro version)
Enlightened Equipment down quilt
Nemo Tensor insulated sleeping pad
Carbon fiber paddle
Enlightened Equipment rain coat and puffy vest
Senchi Design hoodie
silk weight long underwear top/bottom

Super simplified cook kit: homemade cat can alcohol stove, 750mL Toaks pot, foldable spoon, Toaks windscreen, and a soaking jar.

My luxury items: Nemo inflatable pillow, a book (I skip the book on the Border Route Challenge)

I used to use a Tarptent 1P which was fine, but the Durston is more versatile, has more head room, and can double as a tarp if I'm packing up in the rain.

If you ever want my complete list, feel free to message me.
 
nsuo
  
04/21/2024 08:48PM  
CanoeViking: "Thank you guys for the tips.


I actually just ordered the Durston XMid 2 last week. I’m looking forward to trying it out in a couple weeks. This tent alone is going to shave 4 pounds off my pack weight.


I have started weighing all my things like recommended and I can really see how this is gonna be useful.


At the moment where I think I’m going to struggle, a little bit is to figure out how much rope and related things to bring. I’ve been going to the waters for about 10 years now and I have had excellent weather almost every time except for twice and last year we had rain with the group and I didn’t have a tarp and I don’t know if I’ll ever go without a tarp again, so I think that’s gonna be one of my weight penalties that I’m going have to hone in on. What rope type, size, and lengths do you carry? I have a CCS 10 x 14 tarp for me and my group.


Another thing that I’ve been looking at is sleeping systems. Mine is comfortable, so I’m not in a rush to change it, but I wouldn’t mind being able to shave a pound or so off of it. My system is at least 4 pounds but I think five pounds at the moment. Has anyone ever tried the Zen Bivy sleep systems? And do you prefer a sleeping bag or a sleeping quilt?


With my very young family of five I am usually the Pack mule so I am eager to make this better experience for me and them.


"


I also struggled with the tarp decision and just decided to incorporate it into my shelter. I hang a screen tent from the ridge line of my 10x14 and it still leaves me plenty of room to cook when it's rainy.
Mine is homemade because I need more length, weighs 20oz. You can find them relatively cheap online, or modify an old tent inner as well. It can make siteselection a little more trouble but haven't been to site a where i couldn't make it work.
 
04/21/2024 09:42PM  
Yup 13lb base weight Tarptent Moment, EE quilt,Sea to Summit mat, One pot ,long spoon, pocket rocket stove, all freeze dried food. One change of clothes for camp, Ursack, other stuff
 
04/21/2024 09:50PM  
Blatz: "Yup 13lb base weight Tarptent Moment, EE quilt,Sea to Summit mat, One pot ,long spoon, pocket rocket stove, all freeze dried food. One change of clothes for camp, Ursack, other stuff "


Now we're talking!
 
jsmithxc
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04/22/2024 05:11AM  
I thinks the best thing to do is put your kit together and paddle/ portage on some shorter trips and find out what works for you and what you don't need. I did a bunch of wilderness climbing and everything was as light as possible because of the 20lbs of climbing gear. When I moved back to Minnesota I found my lightweight gear without the climbing stuff put us in somewhat of a lightweight group. We saw canoe trips as almost a glamping experience because of what we could take in a canoe so, a 50 lb. pack seemed light weight. My point is everything is relative, just get out there and try things out and figure out your suffer index, and how much stuff you can leave behind. For example PDF's are not mentioned much in this thread, but I found a great one that has a bit of padding in the shoulder that I can rest the canoe right on my shoulders for portaging without the pads, it is also my pillow. For me suffering has more to do with mosquitos than food so I eat high calorie stuff with minimal preparation. Practice on short trips on the edges of the BWCA . Also, be as fit as possible, things feel lighter when you are fit.
 
04/22/2024 07:20AM  
Blatz: "Yup 13lb base weight Tarptent Moment, EE quilt,Sea to Summit mat, One pot ,long spoon, pocket rocket stove, all freeze dried food. One change of clothes for camp, Ursack, other stuff "


Impressive!!! don’t think I’ll get there. My fishing gear weighs more than that :)

T
 
04/22/2024 07:51AM  
Blatz: "Yup 13lb base weight Tarptent Moment, EE quilt,Sea to Summit mat, One pot ,long spoon, pocket rocket stove, all freeze dried food. One change of clothes for camp, Ursack, other stuff "


This looks like portages are just a walk in the park.
 
straighthairedcurly
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04/22/2024 08:35AM  
I used to carry a tarp (CCS) on my solo trips but I found that I really didn't ever put it up. With a group, it is very different because you want to be able to hang out with each other. On a solo, it doesn't really matter whether I hang out under a tarp or in my tent.

In terms of rope, I only carry a small kit of extra paracord for being able lash a stick to a broken paddle shaft or to use as extra tie outs for the tent in bad weather. I outfit my canoe with a bow and stern line, lightweight floating rope. I don't carry a saw or axe...why bother when I rarely make a fire when solo.

Since you ordered the 2P Durston, you will have lots of room to hang out. The Durston has excellent head room and big vestibules so no need to have a separate tarp to stow your gear out of the rain. You can also remove the inner and use it like a tarp if you wish...I do that on rainy morning when I want somewhere dry to pack up my gear.
 
04/22/2024 02:51PM  
Lately I have been going in the opposite direction. I have been picking up little items that make life easier, a mattress inflator for one. It only weighs a couple ounces, but I've been looking at some string lights as well. Not to mention the table I picked up to go with my chair. It all adds up. It's not a problem for me though because we double portage and just deal with the weight when we choose to.

I have a light enough tent and a down bag so if we are planning a longer or more portage intensive trip I can just not bring some things. The table would be the first luxury item to leave at home. Chair, extra Luci lights, neat tools/gadgets, cribbage board, coffee mug, extra socks, and half my tackle box could all be left home to shave a few pounds, but what's the point?

Last trip, we did 15 miles in a day, only 5 portages though, so I don't feel like the weight is restricting us at all. It just takes a little more effort getting in shape before the trip. In fact, I am going far heavier on this next trip and for most of my future trips. My son is now old enough to join us so I'll be carrying his gear as well. Maybe he'll pay me back by carrying mine when we're both older.

Maybe I'll upgrade from my 70lb aluminum canoe to Kevlar and figure out how to single portage at some point. I just don't see a reason though right now. Maybe if I had some disposable income and could afford ultralight prices, not to mention replacements due to reduced durability in most cases. Just seems like a whole lot of cost to reduce a little effort.
 
04/23/2024 10:49AM  
straighthairedcurly: "I used to carry a tarp (CCS) on my solo trips but I found that I really didn't ever put it up. With a group, it is very different because you want to be able to hang out with each other. On a solo, it doesn't really matter whether I hang out under a tarp or in my tent.

In terms of rope, I only carry a small kit of extra paracord for being able lash a stick to a broken paddle shaft or to use as extra tie outs for the tent in bad weather. I outfit my canoe with a bow and stern line, lightweight floating rope. I don't carry a saw or axe...why bother when I rarely make a fire when solo.


Since you ordered the 2P Durston, you will have lots of room to hang out. The Durston has excellent head room and big vestibules so no need to have a separate tarp to stow your gear out of the rain. You can also remove the inner and use it like a tarp if you wish...I do that on rainy morning when I want somewhere dry to pack up my gear. "


Thanks for sharing your experience. I will likely go without the tarp as well when I am not in a group.
 
GeneH
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04/26/2024 02:40PM  
All of the above is excellent so won't repeat the same. But here's a little of my take on a couple areas. I do fall into the lightweight crowd, not UL, partially because off-season MN is a good recipe for cold and wet.

Sleep system:
Theremorest Xtherm (I think) insulated air pad, and ignore the noise. Or any 5+ sort-of-honest high R value pad, plus a foam pad as a backup and preventative measure against a flat.

I'm springing for Western Mountaineering bag because of weight and reputation. That will shave a couple lbs off my sleep system (which includes backup/sleep clothes to say warm and dry, especially if I dump my canoe)

Fire kit that's a bit overboard 'cause if I dump I don't want trouble getting a fire (fire danger conditions permitting) started.

Lastly try sorting all your stuff into smaller functional kits just to help understand what weights so much in my pack, then weighing each kit. This helped me because I could easily see the weight of the whole, "cook kit," and then make it lighter. I do do this for "toiletries/wash kit," "poop kit,"fire kit," "electronics kit," and "FAK/Emer/Spares."



 
05/07/2024 04:43PM  
I just finished packing for a 4 day trip this weekend. Total weight 58.5 lbs. That is everything (including fishing gear, clothes, pdf, paddle, and boots being worn) but the canoe. I’m leading a group and brought some extras for them.

Thanks for your advice and help. (I’m don’t want to know what my previous weights were)

 
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