The Weight

Take a load off, Fanny

Take a load for free

Take a load off, Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
“The Weight” by The Band
Who would have thought there was a song about fanny packs? Maybe there’s some other meaning to the song, but I’m going with the need to avoid heavy packs, fanny or otherwise. In my experience, carrying too much weight may be the surest way to have a miserable trip, or even not finish. This is especially true on a long trip like the Colorado Trail. So, I’ve worked hard, and spent significant sums, trying to keep my pack as light as possible to insure that it load feels right on me.

Actually, spending money on lighter gear is the easy, and fun, part of getting a lighter pack weight. Dropping a couple hundred on a new pack saved me over 2 pounds before I even started filling it. Spreading more money on a new tent, sleeping bag and air mattress knocked off another 3 pounds or so. As a bonus, the new stuff packs up smaller, which helps to make up for the fact that my new lighter pack can’t hold as much as my old version.

About the time I bought a titanium spork, I realized I had reached the end of buying my way to a lighter pack. Any more savings was only going to come from increasingly tougher decisions.
Sure, it gets cold at night in the mountains, but do I really need a fleece and a long sleeve shirt? Shivering doesn’t weigh anything; leave the shirt. On the other hand, sawing the handle off the toothbrush seems a tad extreme for the weight savings. Skimping on toilet paper to save an ounce seems to be a fool’s choice as well.

On shorter trips, the pack typically contains a flask (or possibly 2). For this trip I made the (heart wrenching) decision to travel alcohol free, saving over 2 pounds. A much smarter approach will be to binge drink when I reach towns. (Note to self: rewrite the previous sentence before posting. Don’t believe the wording shows me in the best light.)

Of course, with the hike being entirely within the state of Colorado, there is a lighter, legal option for a Rocky Mountain High while out on the trail. However, I plan to steer clear of the weed shops for a number of reasons, not the least of which is weight related. I’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort picking meals and weighing out snacks so I have just enough to get by. I expect to be hungry fairly often as it is. A good case of the munchies could prove disastrous for my rationing plan.

Gorp ration on the scale
Gorp ration on the scale

However, if my writing becomes unintelligible at some point, or worse a final post says something┬álike, “dude, check out this selfie of me with a bear cub in my arms,” You’ll know I’ve fallen prey to “reefer madness.”

Anyway, the pack and gear is tipping the scales at 21 pounds. Add 4 days of food and 2 liters of water and I’m hauling 31 pounds on my back, hopefully not too bad when I put the load right on me.