Home | Ultralight Gear List

Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

How do you get 3 days of backpacking gear into a sack that weighs less than ten pounds? Read on, and I’ll give you more than you ever wanted to know…

Here is our current gear list for our ultra-light backpacking adventures.

To note a few things:

  • Our system is designed for 2 people, we get weight saving by sharing. A solo kit would be very different.
  • Most items have a review associated, click on the link for more details.
  • The “Pack” column below shows who’s pack the item belongs in. B = brett; T = theresa; W = worn
  • The weights listed are my own measurements, not off the label.
Bretts Clothes
Brett's personal items and clothing.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
HiGear Axis
1.9 W
Rudy Project Ekynox
0.8 W
Fleece Hat
Mountain Hardware Fleece Beanie
0.8 B
REI Cotton Bandana
0.9 W
Waterproof Jacket
GoLite Helios (M)
3.2 B
Thermal Shirt
Green Patigonia Thermal
8 B
Warm Layer
MontBell XL Down Jacket
5.7 B
Patagonia Nine Shorts
6 W
Windproof Pants
Montbell Ultralight Wind Pants
2.4 B
Thermal Pants
Patagonia Mid Weight Thermals
5.1 B
2 Handkerchiefs
I got mine from England :)
1 B
Cool Mesh Socks
1 W
2 Extra Pr Cool Mesh Socks
2 B
Hiking Shoes
GoLite Sun Dragon Trail Runner
25 W
T Shirt
Nike Breathable Running Shirt
3.6 W
T Shirt
Nike Breathable Running Shirt
3.6 B
Small Black Thermal Glove Liners
1.2 B
Hiking Poles
Leki Ultralite Trekking Poles
15.5 W
Total Worn3.42 lbs
Total Pack (Brett)2.06 lbs
Theresas Clothes
Theresas clothing and personal items.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Smith Sliders
2 W
Fleece Hat
Mountain Hardware Fleece Beanie
0.8 T
Fleece Pullover
Patagonia Fleece
7.5 T
Down Jacket
Western Mountaineering Flash Vest (XS)
3.4 T
Waterproof Jacket
GoLite Ether Windshirt (S)
2.8 T
Thermal Shirt
Black Patagonia Mid-Weight
5 T
6.2 W
Short Legs
Zip-On Legs for Shorts
3.8 T
Thermal Pants
Patagonia Expedition Weight Thermals
5.9 T
2 Handkerchiefs
Cotton Handkerchiefs
1 T
Cool Mesh Socks
1 W
2 Extra Pr Cool Mesh Socks
2 T
Hiking Shoes
Womens Salomon XA Comp 2 Trail-Running
22 W
2 T Shirts
Womens Nike Sphere Dry T
7.2 W
T Shirt
Womens Nike Sphere Dry T
3.6 T
Small Black Thermal Glove Liners
1.2 T
Hiking Poles
Leki Ultralite Trekking Poles
15.5 W
Knee Straps
Support for Theresas knees
2 T
2 pr
2.1 T
Sport Bra
2 pcs
2.5 T
Total Worn3.37 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)2.73 lbs
Sleep & Carry Gear
This table shows all of the gear we use for carrying or sleeping.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Golite Jam Pack
19 T
Golite Jam Pack
19 B
3 season Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering Versalite (5'6")
30 T
Summer Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering HighLite (6')
16.9 B
Sleeping Pad
3/4 Length Thermarest Ultralight
13.1 T
Sleeping Pad
3/4 Length Gossamer Gear Pad
4.7 B
Cloudburst TarpTent
38 B
Total Pack (Brett)4.91 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)3.88 lbs
Cooking Gear
All of our basic cooking gear is listed here.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Small plastic tub of sea salt, white pepper and red thai chili powder.
0.5 T
Dr. Bronners Soap in a 0.3 0z dropper bottle
0.4 T
Snow Peak Titanium combined Spoon/Fork
0.6 T
Snow Peak Titanium combined Spoon/Fork
0.6 T
Snow Peak Giga Power Fuel Canister (110g)
7 B
Titanium Pan & Lid
Firelight 550 UL Titanium Pan
2.5 T
Plastic Food Bowl
Backpackers Pantry Bowl, trimmed
0.6 T
Snow Peak Giga Power Stove
3.7 B
Snow Peak Giga Power Windscreen
2 B
Water Carrier
2 Litre Platypus Water Carrier
1.2 T
Total Pack (Brett)0.79 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)0.4 lbs
Miscellaneous Gear
Random other stuff that is essential on the trail.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Shared Towel
MSR PackTowl Ultralite Towel - Small
0.7 T
Ultralight Umbrella
Mont Bell Ultralite Umbrella
5.6 T
Ultralight Umbrella
Mont Bell Ultralite Umbrella
5.6 B
50' of Spectra Cord for hanging food
1.3 B
Spyderco Ultralight Knife
0.6 B
Pentax Optio S5i
4.2 B
Photon Freedom Micro LED Light
0.2 B
Photon Freedom Micro LED Light
0.2 T
Mosquitto Hood
Backpacking Light Ultralight Headnet
0.3 B
Area Map
1.1 B
Duct Tape
Bunch of Duct Tape wrapped around hiking poles
2 W
Rubbish Bag
A good old kitchen trash bag to protect your gear from saturation.
0.3 B
First Aid Kit
Key First Aid Items in a zip lock bag.
3.2 B
Bug Repellant
Sawyer Controlled Release DEET in a 1 0z squeeze bottle
1.4 B
Suntan Lotion
SPF 30 in a 1 0z squeeze bottle
1.4 B
Purification Tablets
MicroPUR Tablets ~ 10 /day
0.6 B
Water Bottle
Platypus 60oz Hoser
3.2 B
Water Bottle
Platypus 60oz Hoser
3.3 T
2 Sawn-Off Tooth Brushes
0.3 B
Toilet Paper
10 sheets/day
1 B
Wet Ones
2 sheets/day in a small plastic zip lock
1 B
Spare Battery
Spare for the Photon Freedoms. Cheap insurance.
0.1 B
Small portion in a 1/4 oz. plastic container from REI.
0.3 B
SPF 30 Lip & Balm
0.5 B
Write messages home to mum.
0.2 B
Small Items
Car Key, Credit Card, Insurance Card, Cash
1 B
Total Worn0.13 lbs
Total Pack (Brett)1.74 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)0.61 lbs
Base Pack Weight
Base weight of our packs before adding food or water. This is the constant weight that will never vary.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Brett Base Pack Weight
Base Pack without food or water
152 B
Theresa Base Pack Weight
Base Pack without food or water
122 T
Total Pack (Brett)9.5 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)7.63 lbs
Final Weight
This table shows our final weights once loaded with Food & Water at the start of the trip.
Review Item Description Weight (Oz) Pack
Brett Base Pack Weight
Base Pack without food or water
152 B
Theresa Base Pack Weight
Base Pack without food or water
122 T
Brett Full Water Weight
Full 60oz Platypus
60 B
Theresa Full Water Weight
Full 60oz Platypus
60 T
Brett Food Budget
Assume 4 lbs for 3 days
64 B
Theresa Food Budget
Assume 4 lbs for 3 days
64 T
Total Pack (Brett)17.25 lbs
Total Pack (Theresa)15.38 lbs

You can also see my old gear list if you want.

 81 Responses to “Ultralight Backpacking Gear List”

  1. Sam Warner Says:

    Hello Brett & Theresa,
    I just found your website, very nice. I enjoyed looking! I have been using
    that same fleece hat for some time now, love it to. Sierra Trading post has it on sell for 8.95, great gifts!.In reguard to your TP. Have you tried the blue shop towels. I take one square and cut into quarters. I have found they work much better than toilet paper,and if they get wet they do not fall apart. I have converted alot of fellow hikers over to them. The copper ridge loop is on my list to do thanks to you two. I just did the Spider Gap& Buck Crk Pass loop on the east side of Glacier Pk. and it was great. Thanks for letting us look, Sam

  2. Eric Blumensaadt Says:

    Hi guys,
    Good list and well thought out gear selection. I JUST got into lightweight (not UL) gear this year after turning 63. My “old stuff” like the 7lbs.+ Dana Designs Terraplane & MSR Dragonfly stove are now reserved for winter trips.
    New stuff this year include:
    1. REI UL 60 pack -> 3# 4 oz.
    2. Mt’n. Hardwear Phantom 32 800 fill down bag (W/ sac) -> 1# 8.7 oz.
    3. MSR Wind Pro canister stove -> 10.7 oz. (I like to bake & needed this type stove.)
    Previously I had:
    4. REI Sololite tent & footprint packed wt.) -> 3# 12 oz. (no longer in production)
    5. Thermarest UL full length mat (W/ sac) -> 1# 6.4 oz.
    My Thermarest Ridgerest is lighter but not as comfortable.

    So I’m getting there. Total pack weight W/ food, water in hydration bladder, & side pockets added to pack was 32# for a 7 day trip in the Paria River, UT slot canyon.
    The REI UL 60 max cap. is 40#, not that I want to carry that much.
    As Father Guido Sarducci from SNL would say, “Notta too bad.”

    I like, and may buy, TarpTent’s newest solo tent but the VIrga 2 is OK also. Your Cloudburst 2 is perfect for 2.

  3. Curt Says:

    Good selection of gear mostly. We all differ a bit. I would substitute an alcohol stove & windscreen of alu. roof flashing. Also you might swap toothpaste for a filmcan of baking soda.
    Just my ideas.

  4. brett Says:

    hey curt – tell me more about the stove. i’ve seen several pepsi can stoves that seem ultralight for the stove, but then the liquid fuel (alcohol) seems to add too much weight. i’m wide open to ideas for a lighter kitchen.

  5. brett Says:

    sam – good tip on the shop towels. will try it out and let you know if i’m a convert :)

  6. brett Says:

    eric – good luck on getting lighter and take your time. i started that way also, getting down to a 30lb pack allowed me to start wearing trail runners, which inspired me to go even lighter. sounds like you’re headed in the right direction!

  7. Doofo Says:

    Two comments.

    (Okay three…)

    First, great site. Thanks for sharing.

    Second, it isn’t healthy to put items into an empty film canister that might be consumed by humans due to the left over chemicals.

    Third, try brushing your teeth with Dr. Bronners. 1 or two drops will do the job nicely. Just don’t get too much!

  8. Frank Says:

    Hey Brett, great work here. You gave me a lot of ideas for my soon to be published UL gear list. I noticed that you don’t put the items worn in the total weight. I actually manually added up all your stuff because I couldn’t figure out how your stuff was so much lighter than mine ;-)

    Might want to add Total Pack and then Total Pack + worn since you went through the trouble to weigh all your clothing as well.

  9. brett Says:

    frank – thanks for the feedback. the worn clothing weights are added up under each clothing section using “Total Worn” – you can see my worn weight and theresa’s worn weight individually. i didn’t list the weights in the final summary tables as it felt a little duplicative.

  10. Dave Ward Says:

    Have you considered going cookless? We stock up on super light snack foods…nilla wafers, cheese crackers, jerky etc. Then add a shake made of nesquick, powdered milk and whey protein. Saves a LOT of weight…which is worth it. I used to be the camp gourmet kind of guy. I would dehydrate lasagna and mexican corn pie. Now I just wait for real food when I hit a town or get back. Just a thought.

    I can’t find the golite helios on their site. Is it still made? That would shave 2.5 oz. off of my equinox jacket. Do you like it’s performance?

    Great site

  11. brett Says:

    Hi Dave,

    I haven’t at all considered cookless. I think I’d have a hard time with it – I love the sense of warmth on a cold night of a hot cooked meal, and it’s something to look forward to. I guess I used to think the same way about breakfast and am fine with no-cook breakfasts these days, so the only time we use the stove is at night. Might be worth a shot.

    Golite doesn’t make the helios anymore – my wife has the Ether “wind-shirt” which is water repellent and made out of the same stuff has the Helios. If you were wearing it under a direct down pour, it probably wouldn’t hold up – but combined with the umbrella keeping most of the rain off us, it seems to be working out OK at this point.

    I have yet to have many days of sustained heavy rain with it to really “soak-test”.

    Hope it works out for you.

  12. keith comess Says:

    I keep checking your site hoping to make the financial commitment to trashing my heavy (but still new!) gear for the ultralight material you recommend. I have persistent memories of encountering you on the Copper Mountain Loop last summer when Frances, Saskia and I were totally wasted by our heavy gear and you two were pert and happy with light-weight materials!


  13. Richard Says:


    Enjoyed your site. A lot of good ideas for me to follow up on.

    A couple of things you might think about: My wife and I recently went to a Jacks ‘R Better Mt Rogers Quilt. It weights 2 lbs and replaced my 1lb 6 oz marmot bag and her 2lb REI bag. We both really love it. We’ve been plenty warm to 25′F in our tent so far. The other thing is to consider the lightest Esbit stove and fuel tabs. They weigh a lot less than an stove and cannister for 2-3 day trips. The Esbit system works great for boil and wait dinners. I also recently went from a Golite Speed (1lb 10oz) to a Zpack at 6 oz. Still working on my wife on this one. I also have a tarptent cloudburst – great tent.


  14. Andrew Says:

    Great site, very clear and professional. Keep up the good work.

  15. Six2 Says:


    Love the site! Looking at your gear list, I don’t know where you’ve left off with alcohol stoves, but if fuel efficiency and wind performance are concerns, you may want to give the Trail Designs Caldera Cone a look. I bought one of the first versions to market and used it for a two month hike this past spring and was pretty impressed. It was the last thing that let me make the leap away from my pocket rocket for longer trips. Here’s the site:


    They have a new version that I have yet to check out that burns alcohol, wood, or esbit.

    - Six2

  16. brett Says:

    Six2 – thanks for the feedback. The cone system looks very cool.

    I actually switched to a Firelight 550 – a 2.5 oz version of that pan earlier this year and have loved it so far. It got a little bent on the WCT but popped back into shape OK. I need to take another pass at updating my gear-list. :)

    However, I haven’t switched to an alcohol stove yet. Although, I’m getting close to taking the plunge. Snow is falling in the mountains here in Seattle, and my snowboard is waxed and ready to roll – so I probably won’t get back on the trail until the spring :)

  17. Ryan Says:

    Very nice site. Love the easy-to-follow layout.

    I noticed you listed a spare headlamp battery, but no headlamp. What do you (and everyone else on the board) use?

    Headed to the JMT in July. Time to get ready :)

  18. brett Says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Oh yeah – I need to update that. I did use a black diamond LED headlamp, but switched for the Photon Freedom (which I use with velcro attached to a hat-rim as a make-shift headlamp). I need to update the battery picture & weight. :)

    Cheers for pointing it out!

    Have fun on the JMT – I really want to do that trail… someday :)

  19. Ryan Says:

    Thanks for the Photon Freedom tip. I noticed that the replacement batteries are only $2 from REI. While they designate them as a hazardous item and wouldn’t send them to me in Hawaii, it’s a good tip for those on the mainland.


  20. litehiker Says:

    Have just stumbled across your site. Impressive. I’ve put a link on my blog and mentioned it on outdoorbloggers.com in the UK.

  21. Ezmate Says:

    Nice site. I stumbled upon it while reading up on the WCT (my wife & I are heading out in June of this year).

    I find it amazing how similar your pack list is to ours, all the way down to the same lights, sleeping bags, towel, knife, & camera!

    Anyway, I’m a bit concerned about the WCT and trailrunners. Typically, my wife & I do all of our hikes in trail runners & have no problem. Of course, we rarely encounter rain since we do most of our hiking in the mountains.

    Until I read your site, I figured I’d be stuck going back to my old, heavy boots, but now you have me wondering if I can’t just do it with our favorite shoes. How did your trailrunner/gaiter combo hold up to the rain & mud?

    Also, my wife & I usually camp with a tarptent (2 lb. six moon designs, actually), but were worried about how it would hold up to the possibility of monsoon-like rains and strong winds. Our other alternative is our storm-proof REI tent that weighs in at something like 7 lbs…not a pleasant thought when it comes to weight. How’d your Cloudburst hold up? Any issues with it?

  22. brett Says:

    Hey Ezmate,

    Thanks for the feedback. Assuming you have a lot of experience with ultralight – I would totally recommend doing the WCT in trail runners. There was a lot of mud for sure, but if you are willing to tip-toe around the mud-holes and have poles you’ll be fine. The ankle-gaiters we used were very handy on the sand beaches. If you haven’t already – I’d recommend you read our trip report for the WCT as it has many pointers in it about mud/poles/umbrellas etc. The campsites we stayed at were sheltered from pounding wind – so driving rain was the only concern. The tarp tent held up well, but it was hard to pitch on the sand. Feel free to email me at brettm-at-gmail-dot-com if you want to pick my brain on other ideas. I’ve only done the trail once, so am by no means a guru – but my experience was very recent.

    Our actual WCT gear-list is archived here: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/how-to-pack-ultralight-for-the-west-coast-trail-in-under-10lbs/

    Good luck – you’ll love it!

  23. Dylan Says:

    Bret, first off let me say that this is one of the best ultralight gear list sites I have found so far. All the links are up to date and the format is very easy to follow. The pictures make it more interesting to read, and the intermittent weigh-ins after each subsection help the reader to get a better idea of what portion of THEIR pack weight should be coming from each section. Thanks for putting this together! One question I have though, when you say “The weights listed are my own measurements, not off the label”, what type of scale do you have, and where did you get it? Do you have any recommendations as to what type would be suitable to weigh things from .1 oz to over 5lbs? Thanks for your reply!

  24. brett Says:

    hey dylan,

    cheers for the feedback. i use a small electronic postage scale. google for “postage scale” and you’ll get a ton of hits.

    have fun lightening your load! :)

  25. shawn Says:

    Great website!!

    I found my way here through a google search of the TGO challenge. I’ve been looking at the Challenge for a while now, and am setting plans to get myself to Scotland for the 2009 crossing. Have a lot to do though, being in college and having very little play in my finances. Great gearlist, and overall even better website! Hope to see you in scotland in may, if you’re going, that is!!

    Duluth, mn

  26. brett Says:

    Thanks. Would love to do the TGO next year – we shall see!

  27. 2Heeldrive - Walk it off Wimp! | Links to JMT resources and trail reviews Says:

    [...] Brett on Stuff » Ultralight Backpacking Gear List [...]

  28. pg Says:

    What a great site, and your update is fabulous too. Sawed off toothbrushes, yes!!! Tell me about the bugs in August on the loop. Our outfitter’s list doesn’t include a mosquito hoody, but with a newbie hiker, I want to be extra prepared.

    Also, if you dip in the lake, should we have a bigger ultrasoft sports towel. Love how you include honest assessments of weight. How many purchases have I made without any indication of weight on the packaging! ugh!

  29. David Kim Says:

    It’s great to see someone else’s list. I have had good luck with Equinox ultralight gear as well.

  30. Derek Goffin Says:

    Dear Brett,
    I hope you dont mind but I just looked through your list with the TGO challenge in mind. Scotland might rain horizontally for 3 days continuously. It usually doesnt,
    but you dont seem to have enough waterproofs, waterproof trousers, waterproof over gloves, really waterproof jackets. If you dont take goretex socks your feet may be wet all day.
    Not many people in Scotland carry umbrellas because too often the wind is too strong while it rains. It is so humid that a single skin tarp tent will often run with condensation. Theresa will have to work to keep her down gilet dry. I carry a down gilet but care is needed.
    I dont know your sleeping bag and I dont know how high you are going but the average fill of a challengers bag is 400 grams of top quality down. what we call 800 and I think you call 900.
    I dont expect you will need to carry more than half a litre each of water in Scotland. Some people dont carry any and just dip a cup in a burn as they go.
    You may wish you had more ways of keeping your gear dry than one or even 2 trash bags.
    The rope may be useful for something but large parts of Scotland are bare of trees. If the midge season is early you may both need midge nets (smaller mesh than mosquito).
    We end up carrying about 2 pounds more base weight to you and eat more food per day.

  31. Brad Orr Says:

    Yeah Brett, I’m with you there. I don’t understand why everybody doesn’t go this way. The enjoyment of the walk is better than the talk.


  32. Rob Hunter Says:

    From my own experience and everything I’ve read, I dont’ see how you could get by on so little food. I have always carried 2-3 lbs per day. Did you go hungry?

  33. brett Says:


    Check out the food we took for the WCT detailed here: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/food-for-the-west-coast-trail/. A full day – is about 1.4 lbs / person / day for us. We definitley don’t go hungry on that and often have left-over food at the end of a trip.

    The 4lbs for 3 days number I use above might be misleading – as on a typical 3-day trip, I will get breakfast on the road on day-1 and dinner at the trailhead or on the return journey on day 3 – so we don’t pack 3 full days of food.

    I do try and focus on dry-weight foods with nutrition vs. heavy wet foods.

    I recommend you carry as much as you need to keep your energy up and not go hungry. We don’t aim to skimp on food for weight-savings – it’s just we don’t end up eating more than this.

    Thanks for the post!

  34. jon Says:


    Have you suggested using a buff as a scarf and hat depending on the situation, they’re versatile and help out in many situations.

    Just an idea of mine to help you combine two items into one.

  35. Darrell Says:

    Hi Brett,
    I just turned 40 and will be hiking the West Coast Trail this July with 6 of my best friends! I’ve been doing tonnes of web-searching and let me say, your site is THE BEST all round site for the WCT and hiking in general. You’re obviously an enthusist and your passion for the outdoors is contagious! Anyway, I’m at the equipment buying stage and have a few questions. #1 is boots. I suspect your pack when you did the hike was smaller than mine will be (I have a major appetite and I’m 210 lbs, so I figure mine will be around 50lbs). What boot would you recommend? The REI hiker looked good for the money ($165) though it’s not GoreTex. #2. It seems a lot of folks recommend GoreTex gaiters for this hike…what do you say? #3. If I read your notes properly it seems you didn’t use a water purification system for this hike, but just the purification tabs (which seem like a logical choice given their weight, etc). Is this correct? #4. How important is waterproof pant/jacket for this hike? Everything “waterproof” that I’ve ever used didn’t enable me to breath – so while it kept the rain off of me, I sweat from the inside – so was wet anyway. Advice?
    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  36. brett Says:

    hey darrell,

    congrats on your WCT permit and thanks for the kind words.

    as for your gearlist… our WCT gear-list is preserved here: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/how-to-pack-ultralight-for-the-west-coast-trail-in-under-10lbs/, but let me comment on your specific questions:

    #1 boots
    i’m not sure what to tell you… i’m not that up on the mainstream hiking boot market. we did the WCT wearing sneakers, but we had very light packs – so were able to do so. with 50lbs, i would certainly want something more sturdy. however, i would STRONGLY recommend you explore every option you can at making your load lighter. it will simply make your experience that much more enjoyable. i would NOT however, recommend making the WCT your first lightweight backpacking experience – but as your trip is in july – you have plenty of time to do practice hikes if you want to explore this. check out backpackinglight.com and other ‘ultralight backpackng’ sites to get some ideas. as for food – factor in moniques and the ferry crossing – cash is ligher than food ;)

    #2 gaiters
    for sure. the beaches would have been miserable without them. however, i think heavy goretex gaiters are overkill. we wore very light (1.6oz) ankle gaiters (see http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/sand-between-my-toes/) and they performed flawlessly. they were a little worse for wear after the WCT however :). however, all depends on your hiking style. if i were carrying 50lbs and heavy boots, i would probably be trudging thro’ the mud head-on, and these ankle gaiters might not cut it. with sneakers, poles and 20lb packs we were able to navigate around the mud-pits easily unscathed.

    #3 filtration
    the tabs worked perfectly. however, lots of the water on the WCT is yucky brown with tannins, and sometimes has nice floaty bits. if that bothers you, then consider a filter. with a group of 6 – i would try and split a lot of stuff up between you. like take tabs as backup – but carry a few filters for the group. certainly not one each. you should be able to save a ton of weight in a group if you can get others to buy-in to the idea.

    #4. hah.. depends who you ask. we had 2 1/2 days of pissing down rainforest rains. i wore shorts (not waterproof, but treated with TX-direct) and t-shirt and used an umbrella. we stayed bone dry (except for our feet in stream crossings) – and didn’t get sweaty at all. i did wear my waterproof jacket in camp. the umbrella was hard to deal with on the ladders and with poles but we finally got the hang of it. if you haven’t read all 5 days of our trip report – then do so – there are lots of tips embedded in those pages.

    good luck – and have fun out there!

  37. How To Get Out in the Woods (and Survive the Bears!) - Nicholas D. Kristof Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] their equipment lists, and they are great to learn from. This is one typical ultralite site, and here is another. Basically, you need a groundsheet, a sleeping bag, a tarp, water filter or tablets, and [...]

  38. Hostelio Says:

    I have never meet a traveler who, after five trips, brags, “Every year I pack heavier.” The measure of a good traveler is how light he travels. You can’t travel heavy, happy, and cheap. Pick two.

  39. Glen Van Peski Says:

    Brett – Nice site! I like the pictures in the gear list, makes for quick assimilation of the information!

  40. brettm Says:

    hey glen – welcome. i’m a huge fan of GG stuff. love what you guys are doing pushing the edge of backpacking gear. slept many a night on my GG NightLight torso pad :)

  41. Frank Steele Says:

    Wish i could find those Jam packs, have you seen the new ones? They weigh 31 oz now. The Jam2 weighed 26, but now 31 oz? What is go lite thinking?

    Have you seen the GoLite umbrella’s they look nice, even lighter than Mont-Bell.

    You should look at trying the IceBreaker of Ibex Wool thermals too, I gave up my Patagonia stuff awhile ago for the wool, lighter, cooler and warmer all at the same time!

  42. Fred Says:

    Great website and gearlist.

    I am just getting back into hiking (I did not do much before). Last year, a buddy and I hiked 30 miles on the AT. He has a military background and they do not teach them to “go light” and I had never hiked much distance. Needless to say our packs were 41 pounds and while the hike was awesome we are determined to get lighter. Just weighing my gear and making choices based on need, I am down to 28 pounds without replacing any gear.

    I want to get my pack lighter but as you know the ultralight gear is not cheap. If you had to prioritize the 3 big ticket items (Tent, Pack, Sleeping Bag), which would you put first, second, third for replacing. This is what I have (tent: 5 lbs 12 oz; pack: 4 lbs 6 oz; sleeping bag: 3 lbs 5 oz)—My personal thought would be to replace in the order I listed them because of weight—replace the heaviest first.

    Thanks for the advice.

  43. brettm Says:

    hey fred,

    i’d tweak you priority slightly. generally you’re on track – look for the items with the biggest weight savings first. the big-three are the ones you list. i’d try the tent first as you can probably shave off 3lbs if you are willing to experiment with a tarp-tent setup – heck even more if you went with a traditional tarp. the pack i would leave until last – the best ultralight packs really require a very light load, so until you’re down there on the rest of your gear (and factoring for food & water), i’d hold off on that on until after the sleeping bag.

    but you’re on the right track – weighing everything and asking yourself if you can live without it is key. making short overnight trips to ‘test’ how comfortable you are with gear before a long trip is a good idea too.

    good luck getting lighter!

  44. Sam Sockwell Says:

    Hi Brett- Fun to look through your WCT report. We are starting from Renfrew this July 7th. My friend has a 10 degree down bag, quite lightweight But isn’t it too warm? Did Theresa burn up at night with her similar 10 degree bag? Did you need the mosquito face shields? Sam.

  45. brettm Says:

    it would be too warm for me, and wouldn’t justify the weight. however, theresa did fine in it – she actually loves being ultra-warm even in the summer. there are no real bugs on the WCT due to the coastal winds. here’s the gearlist we used for the trip: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/how-to-pack-ultralight-for-the-west-coast-trail-in-under-10lbs/, we didn’t take bug nets and never touched the bug juice.

  46. fed Says:

    Hey Brett have you tried using baking soda to brush your teeth while on the trail is one third the weight of normal toothpaste or you could try using dehydrated toothpaste then when you are going to brush your teeth just add water

  47. brettm Says:

    fed – interesting ideas… at 0.3 oz – it’s kind of diminishing returns for me, and the savings aren’t worth the experimentation. :)

  48. fed Says:

    have you tried an esbit pocket stove with .4 oz tablets half a tablet will bring two cups of water to a boil so you will only use up .2 oz of fuel per meal.

  49. brettm Says:

    fed – yeah – i have played with the esbit stoves. i played with a wing stove, but didn’t love the residue that esbit tabs leave on my pots. i prefer alcohol stoves now – the caldera cone in my primary choice. i should update my gear list :)

  50. fed Says:

    insted of carrying those heavy leki poles think about having light trek 4 poles from gossemer gear that weigh less than 5 ounces

  51. fed Says:

    maybe to take of a couple of ounces you could use free wooden chopsticks as stakes
    and in case 1 or 2 break carry 3 extras considering that they only weigh 2 grams each or less than .1 ounce

  52. Fed Says:

    Hey brett have you Everest tried using chop sticks as pega they only weigh point one oz and aré stromger than u might think

  53. brettm Says:

    chop sticks as pegs! love it. no, i haven’t. i occasionally used sticks i find in the field to help stake out more areas of the tent when i run out of poles. cool idea tho’

  54. brettm Says:

    good idea on the poles also. i’ve mad my eyes on the ones at BPL for a while, but my existing poles are hardly worn, so feel i can’t quite justify it for a few more years…

  55. Anthony Green Says:

    Hey, I regularly look at this site, this gear list mostly, but I also read all the articles. Great stuff.

    When hiking solo, obviously I can’t get down to these weights – I’m at 22lbs with food and water (3 days).

    What I found interesting, was the weight carried when I take the girlfriend. She is 5’1″, and petite, and not exactly built for carrying the same weight as me.

    I take a Gregory Z55, loaded with a Tarptent Contrail (we find it just fine for the two of us), 2 down sleeping bags, stove, my clothing, first aid/ survival kit, camera, penknife, torch, toiletries, and sundries, with two sleeping pads in an ultra-light dry bag strapped to the bottom, and of course all the food and water.

    Sally takes a small 16L Arc’Teryx bag of mine, with her waterproof jacket, fleece, base layers and sundries.

    I’m at 26.5 lbs, she is at 6.5 lbs – added together, this is very comparable to what you both carry between you.

    I find we save weight by not carrying as much water as you do – a litre and a half – but we hike mostly in the Cotswolds, and are never too far from a water source (The Thames). Our sleeping pads are Sally’s – she got them at a music festival, they are 20″ wide, and I cut them down to 52″ long and they weight 85g/ 3oz each!!

    Sadly for my pack weight, I still can’t see myself using anything other than the good old Trangia 27 Duossal – with kettle.

    We just love finishing pitching the tent and making it all homely, changing our shirts, and turning round to see the kettle boiling ready for a cup of tea. And the frying pan produces a wonderful bacon smell each morning!!

    Happy hiking.

  56. brettm Says:

    Hey Anthony,

    Wow – a 3oz sleeping-pad! Is it thick/comfy? You’re quite the gentleman taking 20lbs more than Sally!

    Re: water – yeah – I dial this down a little if we’re near a good water supply. Also once you’re a day or two in – it’s not a big deal to carry a full bag as you’re getting lighter from food-loss.

    Anyway – cheers for the thoughts.

  57. Anthony Green Says:

    I realise I typed Cotswolds, when I meant to type Chilterns in my note above.

    The 3oz mats are surprisingly comfortable, about 8 mm thick, and very good insulators. In fact I sold my Therm-a-rest Prolite as it didn’t offer sufficient additional comfort for the weight. However, we tend to pitch the tarptent on grass – hard/ uneven ground may be more challenging.

    I may knock a pound of my weight with a Clickstand/ Snowpeak 1400 combo with the Trangia burner.


  58. Sean Says:

    Neat site.

    Just wondering how you lite your stove?

    no lighter or matches are listed as gear.

  59. brettm Says:

    sean – good question! i’m missing that part ;) … i do take a very small bic lighter, but my stove has a piezo which i use most of the time. also have emergency matches in the first aid kit.

    glad you’re paying attention! :)

  60. fed Says:

    hey brett you should really try using the thermarest neo air its just 12.5 ounces for the medium. i carry the medium mainly becouse i just a kid

  61. fed Says:

    if you think you could fit all your stuff into 2500in cubed then you should use the gossamer gear murmer i got mine for only 90 dollers which took me some time to save up, and it only weighs about 7.9 ounces

  62. fed Says:

    hey instead of carrying a heavy really warm bag you could just use a lighter less insulated one and go to sleep with more clothes on

  63. brettm Says:


    thanks for the ideas. yeah, i do have a neoair – haven’t updated my list for a while :) – and i usually take my light summer bag. theresa however likes the winter bag as she likes to be over-warm at night. small price to pay to get her out in the wild :)

    the murmer pack looks awesome too.

    happy trails!

  64. M & D Says:

    We love your lists and ideas – we are about to set off on the GR 20 route in Corsica – France with all lite-gear having followed your gear list and recommendations.

    Quick questions
    How do you both divide up the weight ? Is it done in ratio to body weight or do you just carry a bit more than Teresa?

    Are umbrellas each essential if you have good waterproof clothing? We thought we’d take one to protect stove for cooking .

    Did i understand right that you wind duct tape around your hiking poles rather than take the whole roll?

    We’re not taking mosquito nets as walking at altitude – Is your original gear list for high terrain or low level walking? That would obviously mean slightly differing gear?

    Thanks again and good luck with no. 2 on the way!

    M & D

  65. brettm Says:

    - not fast rule for dividing weight. we generally carry all our own personal items and then divide up the shared stuff. i take the heavies like the tent, stove etc to balance it out.
    - umbrellas are not essential, and i wouldn’t recommend experimenting on a long-trip without backup waterproofs for your first time. takes a bit to learn to love them – but there’s no going back for me.
    - yeah – just a bit of duct tape – i’ve never used a whole roll and only run out of it once (bad blister trip)
    - we use this gear list for mix terrains. sometimes up above tree line, sometimes lower valleys.

  66. Estinadel Says:

    Hi Brett….like others – a terrific site – well done! I grew up in Tacoma so spent alot of time on Mt Rainier up till I was 20; now I’ve been in Oz for 30 years. Just did the WCT in Aug with my bro’s family – GREAT track (we only had 1 day of rain). Look forward to reading your track notes.

    Was real interested in your advice to Fred re purchasing new gear and your priorities. I agree with you….bought TarpTent (not rain tested yet) & GoLite 3 season Quilt – LOVE IT! and splurged (weight-wise) on matt with small down ExPed – love it too.

    Now I need a pack and all my friends have the GoLite Pinnacle. I am tempted by Equinnox ARAS Eagle Pack. Wonder if you (or other hikers) have any thoughts?

    Love your gear list too……. I’ll keep coming back till it’s updated. We’ve all done one too (with fine kitchen scales) – but the pics are great idea.

    Keep up the good work. Esther in Adelaide

  67. fed Says:

    hey Brettmm just came back from a hike, the whole time i did not have an insulating jacket, what i did was use the idea from gossamer gear to get a really light weight dryducks rain jacket super breathable and less than 7oz get one size larger than i needed and then stuffed my sleeping bag inside when it got cold , that kept me very warm and shaved the weight of my jacket and vest from my base weight.

  68. brettm Says:

    fed – brilliant!

  69. fed Says:

    By brilliant do you mean that you are going to try it out, in case you want a dry ducks rain jacket they sell them at dicks sporting goods and sports authority $20

  70. Alex Says:

    Do you take a compass? Any recommendations for good, light compasses?

  71. brettm Says:

    maybe a little foolish to rely on a digital one, but there’s one baked into my watch.

  72. Bill Says:

    Hey Brett – Great site and thanks for the insperation. I’m and old dawg hiking old school for about 40years. My first 30 miler this year my pack weight was 36-40lbs. After finding your site and discovering the possibilities my PW for my last 3-day 30+ miler was 26-28. I’ve developed a spread sheet and with enough investment I will be sub 20lb with food and water for a 3night 30-40 miler….( I am a solo hiker)

    Now that you have some miles on your golite shoes how are they holding up??

    Have you tried a Alcohol stove yet?

    Thanks again

  73. brettm Says:


    Good luck getting lighter… you’ll love it the more you do it. Yes – I use a Caldera Cone stove (alcohol) (http://www.traildesigns.com/stoves/caldera-cone-system) – I need to update my gear-list it’s a 3 or 4 years old… and love it.

    Would not recommend the GoLites… they are cool, but don’t hold up. First pair died on the west-coast trail (~50 miles) and they replaced they saying the fabric was defective. The second pair did better, but were pretty rough after a single 70-mile trip, and more or less died after and additional 30. I wouldn’t trust them beyond they shape they are in now. So I figure 100 miles, tops for the GoLites.

    Happy Trails,

  74. Bill Says:

    Thanks Brett – How does the burner that comes with the Caldera Cone work? I have a Vargo Decagon and it does not work very well. How much Alcohol does it require to boil 2 cups of water and how long does it take?

    What have you switched to for hiking shoes? I finally wore out my old Montrail full leather boots and have been looking for a good light weight hiking shoe.

    Some chanes I’ve made are trading in my old REI XT85 monster pack (5lbs, 3oz) for an REI Flash 50 (2lb, 10oz). I liked the feel of this pack over that of the Golite Jam. I need a hip belt….

    I replaced my old REI solo tent (2lb 10oz) with a Taptent Sublite (1lb 3oz).

    Thanks again for all the great information.

  75. brettm Says:

    i have a few more details on the stove – look at these posts:


    the keg-stove would probably be the way i’d go if i were buying today.

    takes about 20ml of fuel to burn 2-cups at sea-level, so it gets a little better than that in the mountains, although water can be colder sometimes, but even if it runs dry it’s usually hot enough for freeze-dried food or coffee which is all i use it for.

    shoes wise – i keep using these: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/salomon-xa-comp-2/ (i think they are up to “version 3″ now), they dry fast and work well, but similar to the GoLites they don’t last that long, with these the tread goes first.

    Tarptent Sublite! Nice tent! that thing looks awesome.

    pack-wise, i’ve switched to the ULA CDT: http://www.ula-equipment.com/cdt.asp. love it, great pack, very well made. more comfy than Jam with hip-belt and much lighter at only 17oz.

    i’d consider a pack-upgrade before a stove-upgrade and maybe look at your sleeping bag next too.

  76. Bill robertson Says:

    Hi Brett – Thanks for the link to the ULA site. The CDT looks like a great light weight pack. As a solo hiker I’m not sure I can get down to their recommended 12 lb or less base weight. If I ever do I’ll look into this pack.

    My big gainers now are the WM Highlight sleeping bag, Montbell EX down jacket, Antigravity Ultra Light rain jacket, thermo Rest neo air pad, and either the Caldera Keg-F or the Evernew Ti DX stove set and 500ml Ti Pot. The weights are about the same but the Caldera keg is less $$$ while the Evernew setup is much more robust.
    I’m a little concerned with the 35° rating of the High Light bag. I awoke to frost and a very chilly morning in late August this year on Methow Pass. I guess with my thermals and socks I would be ok……

    These changes along with leaving my camp shoes at home equate to a 6+lb savings which would put my base weight around 14-15lbs. Total pack weight with food and water would be 20-21lbs for a 3-4 day hike.


  77. brettm Says:

    thanks for the links. that Evernew stove looks cool, had no idea they made them – good for thru hikers where wood-burning might be important in a pinch. yeah, i get cold sometimes in the highlight. however, if i wear thermals, my montbell down jacket and a fleece had i can go pretty cold. if it gets sub-zero, then you can always use some fuel and fill up an empty platypus bag to make a nice hot water bottle. works really well. better than lugging extra sleeping bag weight around that you might not need.

    the CDT would be fine for 20-21lbs, i just did a trip with around 19. they say max-load is 25. i’d ignore the base-weight, kind of irrelevant rating on a pack as consumables-budget (food|water) varies by person.

    you’re rocking if you’re down to 20lbs for a solo kit. nice work.

  78. Joe Harper Says:

    Hello Brett and Theresa,
    Thanks for a cool website! It’s very informative and thorough. I am 78 and your info has helped me tremendously in getting my pack down to a reasonable weight.
    As a computer guru I created a spreadsheet that automatically adds a column of proposed hike gear in lbs. and oz. to give totals for sub-catagories and an overall totall for a specific hike. Another column lists all my owned as well as contemplated gear. Then it is easy to copy and paste to the proposed hike columns to get a proposed hike total.
    I will be glad to share the spreadsheet. If you would be interested, please email me at joeharper007@aol.com
    Thanks again,

  79. dug Says:

    pocket rocket and one 4 oz fuel can = 7.5 oz
    titanium pot and cup = 3 oz

  80. James McBryan Says:

    Hey there Brett!

    Thanks for the super detailed post. I just added this list to Prep.a.Trip here http://www.prepatrip.com/lists/BrettOnStuff-Ultralight-Backpacking-Gear-List-2 so other people can see this list compared to the other ones people are using. I linked it back to this original blog spot so they can find the genius of the list.

    Cheers man!

  81. Dusty Says:

    I keep hearing about toothpaste and weight. We have used Eco-Dent for years, both home and travel. It’s a powder, comes in a 2 oz plastic bottle, and you get about 200 brushings per bottle. It runs $5 to $8 and comes in cinnamon, mint and a couple other flavors, at most health food stores, online and a few other stores. The bottle is nice, so I usually just take a 1/4 filled bottle, until I find a smaller bottle I like as much.

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