Ways to cut pack weight

Big Tex

New member
Jan 8, 2013
My pack for a week of hunting typically runs a tad over 60 lbs and I'd love to cut some weight out.  A couple quick but expensive hits would be to go with a newer lighter pack (2lbs), lighter tent (4-5 lbs), but again at a costs that could push $600-800 to maintain comfort.  Here are some other thoughts:

- Start out with min water and hope the crreks along the way are flowing;
- fewer clothes (pretty light there already);
- sleep under the stars;
- less/different food - I could probably shoot a grouse every other day, which could help ;) ;
- move from a Sat phone to a Spot, but my wife just loves to hear my voice;
- better coordinate with a hunting partner to reduce duplications.

What are some inventive/cheaper ways folks have found to cut weight from their pack.


Mountain Bowhunter

New member
Jan 2, 2013
I'm going through the same process right now.  I've managed to cut a good bit out of my cooking setup and I've started cooking over the fire more.  Had an msr reactor (1lb 9oz w/ fuel), which you can't put in a fire.  I recently got a gsi halulite kettle (5.8 oz) and have been using it over the campfire.  I may get a different stove for daytime use but if I do it will be something super lightweight (maybe alcohol, if not a snow peak litemax is 1.9 oz plus a 3.9oz fuel can)

also trying to cut weight in my sleeping setup as I currently have an old and very heavy open top bag and an old foam pad.  gonna get a lightweight down bag and inflatable pad.

Matt Brimmer

New member
Dec 28, 2012
A few years ago I Switched to a Kelty Salida 2 tent and was able to shave some weight.  It a great light weight tent for the price.  You can typically find them for under $200.00.  If your going to cut weight in a bag check out the Marmot Helium Membrane.
As for stoves I have tried a bunch and keep going back to my MSR Pocket Rocket and Wisperlite, especailly when I take in foods that need prepared a bit more.  The downfall to taking in Non freeze dried is you need Pot's and pans.  GSR pots/pans are dang hard to beat.  When using 100% mtn house I use my Jet Boil.

Backpack Hunter

New member
Jan 2, 2013
I cut off the edges of all maps, all the tags are removed from clothing, shoes, tents, etc.
Finding items that pull double duty is an easy way to save a bit of weight, and create extra space.
A tarp is usually a good bit lighter than a tent, and you can make your own out of silnylon pretty inexpensively.
For stoves there are a ton of good options out there, but a pretty inexpensive and lighweight kit would be the Firemaple FMS-116T stove with the the FMC-XK6 pot. Boil times rival the Jetboil, but at a lower weight, and price point.

One of the easiest things to do (and many will disagree) would be to purchase lighter boots/shoes.


New member
Feb 24, 2013
Big Tex talked about using a “Spot”, the only problem with them you have pay a monthly charge and runs on second generation satellite technology and not very reliable. If you read the reviews on them, they are not rated very good. PLB's start a $250 and the batteries last four years, unless you need to deploy the antenna and use it. They are samll enough you don't even know you are carring one. If used or the battery goes dead after four years, they can be sent back and fixed. Once you buy one you have to register them with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with all your family information/emergency numbers at no cost. Then NOAA has you update your unit every four years to keep your contacts current. Some PLB's have strobe lights built in and when deployed, they send your exact GPS location to NOAA via satellite. NOAA then contact contacts emergency personnel and provides them with your location and family contact information. I got mine when I went to Wyoming in 2008 and even use it here in Missouri, because in most areas away from the roads or in valleys there is no cell coverage. I wouldn't trust my life to anything else and a GPS to find my way.


New member
Dec 28, 2012
When it comes time to packing it's a game of oz, every extra oz counts. Lightweight stuff also tends to be more expensive as a result of better materials.

The biggest weight I've been able to cut from my pack has been from water. I have reduced the amount of water I carry to a 16oz bottle of water per day.  I pace myself and only push when I need to push. A couple of years ago I started trying to figure out how I could become more mobile and shave even more weight from my gear and pack. I used to carry a 100ozbladder and during scouting trips and hiking I started experimenting with carrying less water. I found that if I had a 100oz bladder I would drink all the time, thinking I had to stay hydrated. When I started carrying less water I had to slow the way I drank so I wouldn't run out. Now, I hike 10-15 miles with a single 16oz bottle of water with Sustain Sport powder mix. Here is the catch though, I will drink LOTS and LOTS of fluids before and most importantly at the end of the day. I have never had any cramps or issues related to dehydration. My 3 other hunting partners and I all used this method last year as well. We hiked 80-90 miles in 8 days of hunting without a single issue.

That's over 6lbs of weight off my pack.



New member
Jan 9, 2013
Something some of my buddies do is drop a waterproof rubbermaid tub in the field with heavier supplies in a central location in the back country so you can stay light on your feet while in the back country.  Take a few summertime hikes back there and build a little rock case for it somewhere nobody will know it's there and it can be a little geo cache of sorts with heavier items you don't want to bring back during the season.  I haven't gone so far as to try this, however some of my compadres swear by it for the "creature comforts."

Dennis DD

New member
Apr 4, 2013
Im looking at a new lighter weight pack this year and I already know I could save some with a new bag, but just haven't been able to do both yet. I did switch over from packing a couple knivew and a sharpener to just carrying a Havalon knife and extra blades. I always pack my small leatherman for just in case anyways, so I have it for switching out blades. That not only saved weight but also freed up space in my hip pocket on my pack.


New member
Dec 30, 2012
To hit some of your key points
- Start out with min water and hope the creeks along the way are flowing;
I carry two empty milk jugs (rinsed out) and if I know the area has no water I will carry some in and pre-stage during scouting season, hit the streams going up and fill up, or just carry them.
- fewer clothes (pretty light there already);
I buy what my budget can afford, but usually hike in shorts up and then change into my Sitka hunting hear, or wear some REI zippered hiking/short pants.
- sleep under the stars;
I use the Mega tent from Black diamond
- less/different food - I could probably shoot a grouse every other day, which could help
Layout and weigh every meal. My meals are
Oatmeal/walnuts, craisins, banana protein powder and a VIA coffee
trail mix, bars, jerky, bagel, propel powder for my nasty water.
mtn house, hot chocolate,

- move from a Sat phone to a Spot, but my wife just loves to hear my voice;
I have slowly moved all my electronics to a AAA batteries.
headlamp Black diamond, second light Gerber LED with single AAA
SPOT second gen, (I love my wife, butounces make pounds)
GPS Foretrex 301 (carry topo map with compass as primary)
Also I carry  a multitool (Leatherman wave) but my break the animal down knife is a Havalon.
- better coordinate with a hunting partner to reduce duplications.
I hunt SOLO to much. But some partners are stubborn and need two of everything.


New member
Dec 28, 2012
We sleep under the stars and bring a small tarp just in case it is going to get nasty out we can stay semi dry, but we try to plan according to weather. So if it looks like it is going to be really bad we take a horse and make it back a wall tent. And I take only the clothes I'm wearing and a few pairs of socks to switch out. When we go hunting we carry our packs and don't stop wandering in our hunting area till the elk of the week or till we get a pull down.

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