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Help me pack for my first longish solo trip

Jim Mayer wrote:
I'm going on my first longish solo trip at the end
of this month.  I'll be      hiking the Susquehannock Trail, an 85 mile
loop trail in northern               Pensylvania (maybe I'll run into
Jim Owen!).  Anyway, in a fit of anal          retentiveness I weighed
EVERYTHING I might even consider bringing and put it    all in a
spreadsheet.  I then picked out a subset of the items and let the
spreadsheet add things up for me.  The answer, of course, was: "too
much".      My total weight (including walking stick, clothes on my
back, etc.) was 64      lbs, and my pack weight was 62 lbs.  I'd really
like to get my pack weight      down to 55 lbs, but I don't see any way
to get there!

In looking over your list, I had a few suggestions:
- a neck gaiter and 2 balaclavas seems a little repetitive
if you were to just bring 1 balaclava, you could cut
up to 5 ounces there.

- A lot of people bring gaiters and never use them.
I'm not familiar with the trail you'll be on, but if
its the brush that you're worried about, couldn't you
just wear your rain pants if necessary and save 10 whole
ounces by leaving the gaiters at home?

- A 1lb 9oz first aid kit sounds a bit heavy to me.
I often go out for more than a week at a time and
I don't think I've every carried more than a
10 ounce first aid kit.

- 6 ounces of batteries?!?!  I'm assuming those
are for your headlamp?  Do you realize that between
your headlamp and the spare batteries, you're carrying
1 lb 6 ounces just for a light at night.  Most of the time
when it gets dark, I'm too exhausted to read or write for
very long.  Couldn't you just carry one of those maglites
that you can buy the headband holder for?  You would
save at least a pound even if you did bring spare batteries.
Also, the candle lantern seems like overkill too.  Why not
just bring the candle as an emergency heat source and forget
the rest.  I've always found that the candle lantern was
nearly impossible to read by.

-  6 ounces of flares.  I bet you could do without these.
You've got your whistle and surveyors tape.

- Bear rope and parachute cord.  Couldn't you bring
just one or the other??

- 3 pair of glasses!!!!  Do you really think you're
going to need sunglasses?  Also, the 5 oz of contact
lens stuff that you're carrying--what is all that?  I
bring a 1 ounce bottle of the RENU multi-purpose solution,
a contact lens case, and an extra pair of contacts.  I've
never required anything more and I doubt this 'kit' weighs
more than 2 ounces.

-  5 ounces for ensolite pad.  Why not just throw done
your thermarest if you need a place to sit during the day?
I also have a 3/4 length thermarest and had that problem
with my calves and feet getting cold, but now I just put
my fleece pullover/jacket under that portion of my legs
when I got to bed and no longer have any problems.

- 8 ounces for binoculars.  Do you really need them?
I've always found it more of a hassle to stop and pull them
out than it was worth.  Also, I sometimes use my camera as
a set of binoculars.  If I zoom in on something in the distance
it definitely has some magnification powers.

-  7 ounces of lip balm/sunscreen/bugspray??  Surely you
really don't need that much of these three items.  Instead
of bugspray, how about a small 1 or 2 ounce bottle of
concentrated bug stuff that you use almost like a lotion
and apply very sparingly.  How bad can the bugs be now
that the weather is getting so much cooler?

That's about all I have to offer.  One other comment though,
I'm a pretty big eater and I still have found that I
don't require 2 pounds a day.  I think that if you're
careful about what you bring and really try to focus
on dehydrated type foods, you should be able to shave
some weight off here.  Are you not bringing a stove???
What kind of food are you going to be using?  I once
did this stupid little excercise where I listed my
common camping foods and their 'calories per gram'.
It's a way for you to really concentrate on getting
more bang for the buck out of your food.  I was
surprised in a lot of cases (ex. Pop Tarts were
a relatively heavy food to carry around with you
in regard to weight vs calorie content).

In summary, if you were to use some of
my suggestions, you could save yourself almost
5lbs on gear alone, and I really do think that
there could be some possibility of weight savings
on your food as well.

Enjoy your trip!