New Year’s Resolution – Lose Weight

| December 13, 2010 | 26 Comments

The last couple of times I’ve been out skiing I’ve been moaning and groaning about the weight of my overall backcountry skiing kit and today I decided to do something about it.  As soon as I got home from a great day of skiing, I stripped off everything I used  and weighed it.  Hats, gloves, beacon, skis, pack, jacket, pants, socks, boots, shovel – everything.  I bundled all of the loose stuff together in a mesh sleeping bag sack and piled it all onto my hanging scale.

I was expecting it to be somewhere in the 30 pound range, but was shocked and a bit relieved to find out that it came in at 42.5 pounds!  Since we have two big dogs, I correlate all my weights to 40 pound bags of dog food, which are not only heavy, but a bitch to carry around, so this is like touring and breaking trail over thousands of feet while packing a big ol’ bag of Iams Healthy Choice.  This must get trimmed down. To make matters worse, I ski on what is considered a “light” set-up.  I can only imagine what some of the other people I’ve seen out touring are packing.

Uggg.  I haven’t decided exactly what is getting the chop and there are some tough choices to be made as a lot of what I carry is considered safety equipment.  But, if it has just become too heavy, then I don’t enjoy skiing as much so therefore I don’t go, and if I don’t go, it doesn’t matter how safe I am or not.

I don’t remember stuff weighing this much in the past and it seems to me that there has been a lot of feature-creep and weight creep in gear over the last few years in the name of downhill performance.  Maybe, maybe not, but my aim is to slice at least 10 pounds off of my kit ASAP.  Does a day of Wasatch powder muffing really require that much gear..??!

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Category: Gear Reviews

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 (26)

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  1. Tyler says:

    Geez … 43 lbs …. that shocked me. What is your pack vs. appendage split?

    In my opinion backpacks have been feature creeping for years now. Do I really need a 4 or 5 lb pack? Thats a bag of flour to begin with.

  2. Brad Barlage says:

    I have recently had the same revelation. While in my garage I found a archived old AtTack pack that we both used for years. I doubt I could fit all my shit in it these days. The old grain shovel for sure was ahead of its time. The “my first Sony” Walkman that took the 3000′ ride down Mt. Superior and still plays Rocky 4 is still kicking. Some gear is lighter and some is heavier but for sure a complete inventory needs to be taken. I figure with the MP3 player compared to the old cassette player I can save a few pounds, justifying some wider than 60mm underfoot skis.

    I’d love to see where you choose to save weight and a new verses old set up. Skiing has changed a lot that is for sure. Keep it fun and hope to share some turns and trailbreaking together soon.

  3. catalin says:

    Hello, you can change your bindings and put a tlt speed, Do you really need ski brakes and olso you can try lighter skis the wayback has 1475g at 174cm there are lighter skis like Movement X-Logic it has 1100g at 176cm, I know your sponser is K2 skis. I am from Europe (Roumania) and here in most of areas we have to walk to the mountain with the skis on our back because the mountains are remote and you cant go with a car. And if you can carry less it more easy to get there faster and climb faster.

  4. dug says:

    ” But, if it has just become too heavy, then I don’t enjoy skiing as much so therefore I don’t go”

    now you’re just being silly. you would go if it weighed twice as much.

    throw that scale away.

  5. Bobski says:

    I think your problem is the 8 pound plus airbag safety backpack. I wish I had one, but I would likely leave it at home anyway due to the weight. Fat skis are worth their weight in the fun going down and the grip going up, but a heavy packs sucks going up and down!

  6. Smokey says:

    Get stronger…or start drilling holes in your shovel :) But in the end, throwing the scale away is the best solution.

  7. Grizzly Adam says:

    I’m with Dug. Ignorance is bliss!

  8. mc says:

    On a gear note, what is your transceiver of choice these days? I’m in the market for a new one. Cheers

  9. David says:

    I see you’re weighing your skis, boots, poles, and incredibly heavy pack, but to get to 42.5 lbs I am assuming you are also including skins, beacon, probe, shovel and probably more. I would be curious to learn what you are weighing.

  10. Bart says:

    I am now having a hard time worshiping the AT APOSTLE as a “light is right” evangelist. Good luck with trim down, I am anxious to hear what stays and goes. Now to go weigh my own gear…

  11. Tim says:

    Andrew,

    I am making the same shavings, although I’m going from a heavy metal setup down to a “normal” setup (maybe still heavy for you?)

    I have heard that a pound on your feet equals 5+ pounds in your pack efficiency-wise. Is this true in your experience?

  12. Ralph S. says:

    I would fall back on some Jardine-ian philosophy in the following phases:

    1. Concentrate on heavy items first.
    2. Leave superfluous gear behind (like a probe, hehe).
    3. Select the lightest and most functional.
    4. Cut and whack. Such as; unneeded pockets, buckles, and chest straps.
    5. Weigh and tabulate EACH item.
    6. Reason and reject.

    Just from your picture, I can slash some weight off your kit. Here is what (I think) I see:

    STs w/Brakes= 2 lbs
    Whippets= 1 lb 12 oz
    Pieps Slope thingy= 1 oz
    18″ ski straps= 2 oz
    BCA Float= 8 lbs
    TOTAL: 11 lbs 15 oz

    Options:
    Speed w/o Brakes= 1 lb 8 oz
    BD Fixed Carbon Poles= 1 lb 1 oz
    12″ ski straps= 1 oz
    Camp Squad pack= 2 lbs 3 oz (even less with unused buckles cut-off)
    TOTAL: 4 lbs 13 oz

    Total weight savings: 7 lbs 2 oz

    More than 3/4 of the way to 10 pounds less!

  13. Andrew says:

    Good points Ralph! I’m a big Ray Jardine fan and often think “WWRD?” What Would Ray Do? The Whippets are sacred, but much of the rest can go or get trimmed down.

  14. Andrew says:

    MC – I am still using a Pieps DPS from a few years ago. I usually only update when a major new technology comes along or when my old beacon breaks.

  15. Brad Zeerip says:

    Saving weight is great, you and Greg hill have inspired me. I use the titanium dynafits on every set up. If you need more heel lift B&D Ski Gear has custom risers. The Dynafit TLT5 Performance
    will trim a bunch off your feet. They are awesome boots, one of my skis is last years K-2 Darkside and the boots power these with ease in any soft snow. Climbing skins direct skins are lighter and glide better than most.Carbon fiber skis are lighter and have awesome performance in smooth snow. An aibag saved my life last spring so I will only ski without one in the summer when the snow pack is consolidated and stable. I love you whippets and they have also saved my bacon but they are heavy and not needed on soft days in my BC neighborhood.

    Thanks for all the informative and entertaining posts.

    Happy Holidays

    Brad Zeerip

    Terrace, BC

  16. Chuteski says:

    Truth is it sucks getting old! Remember those f…n pigs we hauled up Denali. Now those where the days. Please don’t ditch the scotch.

  17. I think your problem is the 8 pound plus airbag safety backpack. I wish I had one, but I would likely leave it at home anyway due to the weight. Fat skis are worth their weight in the fun going down and the grip going up, but a heavy packs sucks going up and down!

    I’d love to see where you choose to save weight and a new verses old set up. Skiing has changed a lot that is for sure. Keep it fun and hope to share some turns and trailbreaking together soon.

    PLUS 1!

  18. Adam says:

    Why don’t you just go naked? That would surely save some precious, precious ounces. You could also start ski blading. Truely the lightest set up around . . .

  19. Mark says:

    Andrew,

    This is a great post. Please follow up with what you shaved and why. I am always looking to go lighter, but in the winter it can be difficult given the safety gear needed and a warm jacket ‘just in case’.

    The ski weight is interesting… I am now leaning toward heavier skis after skiing very light ones for the past 10 years.

  20. Lil'C says:

    This why I leave brain at home.

  21. Wick says:

    Nice post…will be nice to see what gets dropped….”its all about the down bro”…at least you didn’t have the ‘split boards’ in that photo…are those the SCARPA Maestrale?…get Chris to hook ya with some F1 Carbons…the weight saving (when compared to this “light” four buckle) and DH performance is amazing (you already know this….). basically…. a roadie would equate it to ‘rolling weight’ of their rims to our “pendulum weight” at the base of our feet…don’t ditch the Scotch!

  22. Bart T says:

    I switched to a golite pinnacle pack a few years ago and love it, it probably weighs a pound –
    The other big weight saver i use is in insulation. no softshells or fleece, thanks. a windshirt, single layer shell – patagonia rainlight?, down sweater and a hat give me plenty of warmth down into the zeros for probably 2#s.

    i do carry some extra weight in the name of safety, an extra pair of gloves, a relatively heavy shovel, headlamp, snowsaw, lighter, etc… that’s kind of personal preference i guess.

    Does your 42# include food and water? I switched to a single bottle, but carry fairly heavy food (cheese, sausage, bagel) for the same reason I prefer to ski on 99mm skis…i have more fun that way.

    But of course the easiest and best place to lose weight is that extra 10# – ok more like 20# for me – we all carry even when in our birthday suits. Failing that, my suggestion would be to ski with fatter and slower partners.

  23. mc says:

    How heavy is your pack minus the stuff your wearing may be a bit more interesting. For example while climbing, you would have maybe outer shell jacket, goggles, heavier gloves/hat (descent stuff) and while skiing you’d have skins, lighter clothing etc. in your pack. Under these scenarios I’ve got no more than twenty pounds on my back at any given time for non technical day trips.

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