Enlightenment – Step 2

| December 23, 2010

Ahhh, I can feel the pounds falling away.  Tomorrow is my first day out with my lighter set-up and I can’t wait/weight.

As mentioned in the last post, I am keeping my heavier Safety Pack and assembling a light one as well.

Things that got the outright chop:

  1. Goggles – I use wide sun glasses instead.
  2. Probe – I’ve used a ski pole as a probe before and it worked.
  3. Avalanche Airbag – I love this thing (BCA Float 30) but there’s no denying it is heavy.


  1. Down jacket (MHW Phantom) replaces synthetic (MHW Hooded Compressor).
  2. Old skool water bladder replaces fancy-ass CamelBak with huge screw-on lid.


My trusty old beacon chest pack (right) was replaced by the standard issue beacon holder (left). I started using a chest harness years ago and like it for "work" (Avalanche Forecasting, race organizing, writing, etc.) but it tends to collect stuff that I don't use all that often and was kind of hot.

I did keep my little sunglasses/camera lens cleaner, which is a small piece of chamois with a keeper loop sewn on. I keep this stuffed in my beacon holder and like it as it works even when it is wet.

A new K2 Backside shovel (very sexy) replaces the trusty old G3 AviTech. I like the AviTech, but the K2 is pretty much the same size and lighter.

Old First Aid Kit (right) and the new one (left). It's the Wasatch - if you get a paper cut you go home or wait 10 minutes for the group following your skin track to catch you, so you don't need a big 1st Aid kit.

MHW Spearhead Mittens (left) replace a light pair of gloves (for skinning) and a heavier pair of gloves on the right. The Spearheads have a removable trigger-finger liner which acts as a glove on its own.

Dynafit RC 20 Pack (left) replaces the BCA Float 30 pack (right). The Float 30 is an airbag pack, so the actual weight difference is well offset by the increased safety, but for light touring, the Dynafit pack is roughly 1/10 the weight.

Boot bag. I don't actually bring this touring with me, but I often bring crap with me as I don't want to leave a random tube of sunscreen, spare batteries or an extra hat in the car, especially if I'm car-pooling and think that I'll forget it afterward (very good chance). I think this boot bag is actually a rope bag, but close enough...

Total pack weight with food, water, shovel, camera, 1st kit and jacket is 8.5 lbs.

I’m going to celebrate all of this weight savings by bringing out my 191cm Darkside skis tomorrow.  Stand back.

Help support StraightChuter.com and mach schnell like you mean it with a pair of K2 DarkSide Alpine Skis from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…


Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. jerimy says:

    Going with a pack w/o A frame attachment? I’m sure the quick diagonal carry will more than make up for that!

  2. Darkside 191? or 181 you mean ? nice job on reducing the weight!

  3. Smokey says:

    It will be really fun carring thoes Darksides on that pack…

    Great ski choice though…

  4. mike moulton says:

    Balloons, Helium filled balloons. They could lighten the load and be air bags at the ready. They’re also festive and can provide comic relief when inhaled. I’ve never inhaled.

  5. Evan says:

    I’ve made similar substitutions (no goggles, only mittens, down puffy, car-pool bucket) with very positive results. Oddly, my motives were in reducing pack volume and micro-management/stop-go issues. Chasing unnecessary gear around the car, pack, or backcountry can feel like a waste of fun. Weight reduction certainly sounds more ‘tech’. I love the chamois leash, gotta try that one.

  6. Bobski says:

    Fat skis and a light pack equals fun! I feel sorry for those who haven’t figured it out yet. First their giant packs throw them off balance and then their itty bitty skis sink in the Wasatch Pow making them face plant.

    You only made one mistake… You will want those goggles back in there if there is any chance of snow, powder or even clouds and don’t forget the face plant protection!

  7. Bart says:

    Hey Andy- What camera case do you have on the RC 20 in the picture? Are those modified straps?

    If you want a little bigger light pack the dynafit Broad Peak 28 or the manaslu pack are both great at carrying a heavier load, for ropes and stuff… Best feature may be the “safety box” for getting gloves or goggles out without removing the pack.

    Enjoy the trim down and happy holidays.

  8. Lil'C says:

    Oh great, just we needed – a faster Andrew.

  9. ron says:

    Lil’C – couldn’t agree more.
    The “rolling start” video was bad enough (grin)

  10. Nice work on reducing weight. I hope your partners are ok with you trying to probe them with a whippet shaft. You don’t carry that probe for yourself, it’s for your partners. I know you’ve weighed that risk, but I wouldn’t make the same end conclusion.

  11. brody says:

    Mike, that was hilarious.

  12. Lil'C says:

    Me, with all gear and clothes – 212.0 lbs
    Heavy ski gear (full kit) – 24.2 lbs

    Hmmmm, that seems very bad.

  13. ptor says:

    I don’t think the weight savings is worth not carrying a probe. How about no socks then? Bladder? Water you can always drink before and after and eat snow like dogs do.
    Man am I ever glad I’m not in a hurry cause I could never forego the weight of my pipe, stash and lighter.

  14. Andrew says:

    Ptor – I’m more interested in excavating a living person than just locating a dead one. Perhaps I should elaborate in a new post rather than just a comment.

  15. scree says:

    How much water are you carrying in that 8# + pack?

  16. Andrew says:

    Scree – I’ve downsized from a 1.5 liter bladder to a 1 liter bladder… down to a bike water bottle which is 12-16oz or so.

  17. scree says:

    12-16oz! Does that last all day? Or is that just a coupla hours/quickie tour amount? That’s not much… you must have an efficient metabolism.

    Great blog by the way.

  18. Seth says:

    Do you cut your skins to the shape of the ski or go with a straight skin that is only as wide as the skinniest part of the ski? Stright skins should save a little weight and glide easier, but will there be significant loss of traction on steep and slick uptracks?

%d bloggers like this: