Monday, June 8, 2015

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

And it's making me crazy!

After spending the winter going over my gear list, measuring items to make sure I had the right weights, and stuffing it all in a big tub, my spreadsheet said my kit would be 15 lbs base weight!

Oh blissful Nirvana! With 4 days of food and a liter of water, I'd start out with a comfortable 25 lbs on my back!

So, with a week to go before hitting the trail, I packed my bag w/o food or water, put it on, and got on the bathroom scale.  Together we weighed 217.4 lbs, and alone I weighed 197.8 (ugh). Subtracting the latter from the former yielded 19.6 lbs. Yikes! The whole was greater than the sum of the parts by 4.6 lbs!

Where did that 4.6 lbs come from?

Well there was that fleece, the down vest, beanie and glove liners I threw in the tub when I saw how low temps could get in Vermont around my start date. And then there's the "really light" running shorts and T shirt I added to have something to wear in town when doing laundry... I decided to dump out my pack and see what else crept in there.

I emptied my hip-belt pockets and found the wallet that'll go in my pocket, the waterproof pouch for my phone, the LDog stamp I had made, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, my head net, a whistle, a few coins... The knife I had replaced was still in the there. There was a bic lighter in each pocket, along with the one in my spares kit and the one in my cook pot. A chapstick in each pocket.

There was an extra, nearly-empty fuel canister left over from last year. An extra water bag I threw in after hearing about dried up water sources in the Mid Atlantic. The air mattress I decided to take, knowing I'd stay in a few shelters along the way. Many of the stuff sacks I use for organization. None had been accounted for. Some could come out.

Lots of bling hanging on my pack - A stone from Katahdin's summit, set in a piece of root from the 100 mile wilderness, my dog tags, my pace beads, the new AT registration tag ... Never weighed any of that.

I never really weighed my empty pack. Just took the data from the maker's web site on faith. Weighing a pack isn't easy on a small kitchen scale. But I tried several methods, came up with the same result each time, and it was heavier than spec'd.

I took redundant stuff out I didn't need, adjusted the spreadsheet, got back on the scale, and it now showed an 18.8  lb base weight, with 18.4 on the spreadsheet. I reduced the weight by almost a pound, and the delta's narrowed, but it still makes me crazy ...

The hard pill to swallow is while some was redundant stuff left over from last year, the majority of that weight creep was stuff I threw in the tub for rational reasons. I'll go through my pack again with a ruthless eye. I certainly don't need those running shorts and T-shirt, and together they weigh 8 ozs. I'll check the forecast before I leave to see if I dare take out the 2.3 lbs of cold wx clothing. That'd get me down to 16 lbs. I'll probably keep the bling ...

And that extra 20lbs around my belly? Stored fat reserves. The trail will take care of those ...