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Jim’s Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

I spend most of my time in the Central Adirondacks and use this setup for trips ranging from a couple of days up to two weeks. My hiking season begins in late spring and finishes up early fall. Temperatures can range from 30 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit depending on where I end up in the park. An ultralight pack on my back makes it easy to do the things that so few people do.

Jim Marco

Jim Marco

CategoryGear SelectionWeight (oz)Details
PackingGossamer Gear Murmur Hyperlight Backpack13.6For trips up to 14 days in length. w/sitlight pad
Sea-to-Summit eVent Compression/Dry Sack4.5for sleeping bag/sleep wear/dry clothing
Outdoor Research "Ditty" Bag1.6Doubles as rock sack
Sea-to-Summit Dry bag 13/L2.6for food and hanging (use two for two weeks)
SleepingMountainLite 40F bag27
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Medium13inflatable pad
ShelterTarp w/stakes17custom
Packed ClothingAscent Down Jacket11.8camp/sleeping
Wool Socks (WigWam)2.8camp/sleeping
Spare Hiking Socks (Darntuf)2.3hiking/mittens
EMS 100wt Fleece8.41/4 zip pullover
Patagonia Capilene 1 LS Shirt6.6Hiking/camp/sleeping
Icebreakers long johns bottoms6camp/sleeping
HydrationPlatypus 2L bottle1.3camp/dirty water
Gatoraid bottles - 22.7Water bottles/hiking
Steripen Journey/Opti3.7for drinking water w/1 set of batteries
CookingSVEA 123r19.4w/cup
K-Mart Grease Pot 1qt5.1w/lid, modified heat exchanger
Long Handled Ti Spoon0.6
Small EssentialsLine, superglue, AquaMira, TP, trail journal w/pencil, toothbrush, soap, scrubbie, hair brush, wind screen, meds, Impulse light, spare batteries, sewing needle, thread, bandana, duct tape, e+Light7.8General items carried for long duration trips, safety and repairs
Total base weight (oz)(not including worn items or consumables)157.8
Total base weight (lb)(not including worn items or consumables)9.8625

This lightweight backpacking gear list was contributed by former Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Jim Marco.



16 Responses to Jim’s Ultralight Backpacking Gear List

  1. Steve Turnbull January 13, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks very much for sharing this! I’ve started the process of seriously lightening my pack, and find gear lists like yours extremely helpful. One thing in the photo that immediately caught my eye was the Svea stove visible through the side of your pack. I have a Svea 123r from the ’70s, when I started backpacking as a Boy Scout. It’s been a trusty stove, and I hate the idea of replacing it. And it is a great stove, but it seems out of place in your otherwise ultralight kit?

    • brakemanslova January 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      I was wondering that too.

  2. Mark Verber January 15, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Jim. The 123 on your list makes me smile remembering all the trips my dad cooked over one. Seems like rain protection is missing… does your custom tarp function as a poncho? In the picture looks like you are holding a hiking pole. Is that missing from the list because it is “wear” rather than carry?

  3. Jeff Hersey January 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    Steve makes a good observation on where there could be weight savings in this gear line up; but, I would imagine it is a great conversation piece to pull out a “blast from the past” and cook dinner in front of other hikers. That being said– I use turkey roasting bags for water proof clothing storage in my pack. They are cheap– $3.50 for two, light and tough. Dental floss works great as thread and I use only one pinch light (his lights appear to be doubled up in his pack)- remember though: each of us hikes our own hike (HYOH) and his gear obviously works for him. PCT proven advice………2014 finisher “Raggs”

    • Trisha June 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

      Great ideas you saved me some weight. Turkey bags will be my new best friend. I also heard they help prevent food odor if you line your food bag with one .

  4. Eric Gjonnes January 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    Nice work. Mines similar except I don’t bring a cooking kit and I use bleach instead of a steri pen. Oh, and I save some weight with my Zpacks sleeping bag. I love my GG Murmur!

  5. Eric January 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Hi, This is a very light kit indeed and I see a few old school items that I know and trust. I didn’t however see a few items that I would have thought might be important: raingear, knife, compass, map, phone, first aid items, hat, gloves, bug net, deet, sunscreen, lip screen, fuel bottle (for 2 wks), reading book, sun glasses. Are they missing from your list or do you just not bring these?

  6. Eric January 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Jim, I missed a couple more items I was expecting to see: ground sheet, pack cover, and a lighter. Just missing or what do you use? Thanks

  7. darrenhalford January 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    I do wish GG would put weights and volumes in grammes as well as ounces as I live in the UK and have grown up with metric and imperial units are not as familiar to me.

    • blipski29 March 12, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

      Super quick mental conversion: 1 oz = 30gm
      Slower mental conversion: 1 oz = 28gm

  8. Marco January 15, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi all. Good comments. Generally, I am headed out for a week on this trip. I was doing a section on the NPT and some fishing. My lighter, knife are in my pocket. I have done this trip 7-8 times so no, I did not bring a map. The consumables are not listed, generally food, fuel and water. I go through about 1.1 pounds of food per day or about 8 pounds for a week. I go through about 1-1.5 ounces of fuel per day, but the bottle is a light little plastic one…about 1oz. I have several, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24oz and a 1Liter one, too. I was carrying a 12oz one for that trip since I fried up some fish along the way. I wear the compass around my neck almost all the time. I don’t use ground sheets, the inflatable pad and SitLite work well enough as a ground cloth. Same for the staff. It never goes near my pack. Phones don’t work well in the ADK’s but this is in my pocket, a ruggedized, waterproof version that will hold a charge about 6 weeks.

    Most of the time, I do not carry rain gear. If it rains, I get wet. If it gets much warmer than 40F I sweat while I hike anyway…everything gets damp and sticky. If it is still raining when I set up camp, I set up the tarp. I can strip out of wet cloths and get in my sleeping bag with my long johns, down jacket and sleeping socks. All this is kept in my dry bag. This keeps me warm and dry down to about 30F. The stove is lit outside then brought in to boil water for supper and a warm drink. This tends to warm the shaped tarp up about 20F for about 10 minutes or so. By then I am fairly comfortable, again. My cloths are often still wet in the morn, even after making breakfast. But by then I will be moving soon…and warming up, again.

    What?….You guys don’t like my SVEA…I get about 1/2-3/4oz per meal (morning and night) including priming. About a 30oz of water each burn. Cocoa & supper(rice, pasta or something) at night, coffee & oatmeal in the morning. I think the 12floz bottle weighs about 10oz including an extra fill cap. I have had it over 40 years and I traded a some flies for it. I would need about 3 canisters for the JetBoil Sol at about 24oz; the stove weighs about 8oz, the cup weighs about 1.5oz: total: 33.5oz The SVEA goes about 19.5oz (including a cup;) the pot goes about 5oz; the fuel weighs about 10oz (for 12floz): Total: 34.5. Yeah, it is still within an ounce for a week long trip at my usage, despite being 40+ years old. I need about two burns for the Caldera Cone for each meal. Alcohol doesn’t save me anything at 34.5oz, in fact I loose space in the pack due to the larger fuel bottles needed. Yeah, for a week to two weeks all stoves break about even, within a couple ounces.

    Lights? Yeah, I carry two. A computerized and waterproof Impulse(obsolete) at about 1oz and the E+lite at 3/4oz. Water is easy. I just scoop, zap and drink. I really wanted to carry 2 liters when I was using chemicals (AquaMira, Clorox, iodine.) The 1 hour wait time was a killer for me. I got in the habit of just carrying two bottles and stopping to refill after I cracked the second one.

    I usually hit the weight limit before I fill a pack. Most of this gear is all reusable, indeed has been around for over 4-5 years with minor changes. I swap the gear between a few packs, Murmur, Gorilla, MiniPosa, an old Trek, a home made G4, an old Ghost, a couple others. Depends on what I am doing besides plain old hiking: fishing, canoeing, photography, bird watching, etc. My fishing gear was not counted in the above picture, either. I spent 61 nights out last year, looks to be about the same, maybe more, this year. The hat is on my head, I don’t use sun screen in the woods. My cloths have all been treated with permethrin, sometimes in May and June, I will bring DEET anyway. Duct Tape IS my first aid kit. I use socks as mittens if needed…no gloves. Sometimes I bring a trail guide or a reading book. Usually I am too busy to read or write much, though.

  9. Lucky Man January 16, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    Please, what holds a charge for six weeks?! My iPhone 4s, used mainly to take a few photos, loses power after only a few days, even on airplane mode.

    • Marco January 21, 2015 at 5:58 am #

      Well, it is a Motorola. Waterproof with 435hours of battery life. Sorry I don’t know the model number. It can use apps but none are installed. I deleted a GPS app because it worked off cell towers and needed a couple towers to reference. I’m lucky to get one. It is around 5-6 years old. I always turn it off in-between uses. So, the battery lasts about 6 weeks. Most of the ADK’s are still a dead zone and I do not miss it. It gets used to arrange times and places for pickup with my wife (who still works.)

  10. Jeff Hersey January 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    Jim Marco- Great response! I suspect your list changes as your needs change. It’s good to adapt to your environment. As I commented before: everyone hikes differently and what works for you may not be what works for everyone. I think you are getting nit-picked to death. To the guy in the UK: pull up a metric conversion page and enter the figures. That’s what I do when I look at UK gear lists. To everyone else: All you have to do it get out there and hike, you will quickly figure out what YOU need and go from there. Personally I use a custom made poncho of my own design as raingear, pack cover, and shelter. HYOH…….”Raggs”

  11. Marco January 21, 2015 at 7:30 am #

    Raggs, yup. The gear list changes on every trip out. I always bring some things, I like too think of items as belonging to “kits”. I have a cooking kit, (SVEA w/cup, pot, lid, spoon and however much fuel I need,) shelter kit (tarp, guy lines staff and stakes,) sleeping kit (long johns, socks, sleeping bag, down jacket, pad) bear bag kit (ditty bag, 50′ line, dry bag) and so on (packing, comfort, first aid, etc.) This is a system approach based on modules. For weekends, I can bring a Caldera stove, pot, lid, cup and spoon.For 4-5 day trips, I can bring a Caffin Stove and one canister, pot lid cup and spoon or a JetBoil, cup, spoon and one canister.

    Yeah, I use some items together. For example the tarp gets folded over then tied over my head, pack and body as rain gear in really bad storms (2 days of thunder storms for example) even though I usually just hike wet. Although the pad can double as a frame in the Murmur, G4 and other Gossamer Gear packs, sometimes I bring a 5 layer NightLite (no longer sold) to boost carry capacity. It is easier to bring a second light than to worry about a spare set of batteries: the weight penalty is about 8-10gm and its easier than trying to find and replace batteries in the dark.

    Ha, ha…no, I don’t mind the “nit pickers.” The people really help a lot because I get a chance to explain my choices. I used to head out SUL so even at 10 pounds, I have LOTS of luxuries. I KNOW I can go lighter. That isn’t the point. But I always thought 18-19 pounds for a week or 26-27 pounds for two weeks was doing OK, even if I do carry the old SVEA.

  12. Jeff Hersey January 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Marco…….. you are absolutely right, its “choices”. It is not about the lightest weight ever, its about weighing your abilities against wants and needs. I saw a guy built like Conan carrying a huge load comfortably, he was happy and carefree. I saw petite women carrying very little and all were happy. I am going to explore your choices and see if they work for me. I implore everyone else to do the same. “Raggs”

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