My tent that actually fits just two people is 4.75lb with the newest in tent technology (from 1995) - the original Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. I emptied the contents of the tent bag tonight and cut off all the labels, swapped the original aluminum stakes for titanium, and traded the polyester guyline ropes for dyneema of half the diameter. Before all that it was 5lb even. My wife is not yet comfortable with my son and I each having our own hammock in the wilderness. My son isn’t big enough to carry his own yet anyway, so by the time I loaded up on two hammocks, I’m probably not saving any weight. I also can’t yet even justify to myself saving 3lb of tent weight with an upgraded model since my employer is doing layoffs and department reorganizing. When I stacked all the gear in my backpack, including water, minus food and clothes, it was 19.1lb.
I’ve been very sure that I don’t want to cross 21.45lb of final weight on my back (or hips), so I’m going to drop the JetBoil (1.45lb) and go stoveless for the first overnight with my son. I think all the AT hikes I’ll do this calendar year with him are likely to be single nights, so I’ll do the tortilla, peanut butter, and fish-in-a-bag thing. I was sort of looking forward to trying one of the freeze dried breakfast bags. Dropping the stove gets my traditionally scored base weight down to about 15.5lb, which I think is pretty respectable given the giant tent barbel I’ll be schlepping.
My son’s backpack has a sleeping bag and a z-lite sol in it. It weighs 6.1lb. Add water, sleeping clothes, and a filter, and he’ll be at his 15% of body weight max, too.
Looking at the weather and the calendar, it looks like our first opportunity to go overnight will be March 30-31. That gives us some time for my son to try his new backpack on some local trails. Sawnee Mountain has a 3 mile loop that does a 500ft elevation change and is a good practice for Georgia AT trails. He’ll need to do that at least once before we go out for real so I can watch for what sorts of fatigue or sore spots we need to adjust.
I took the BSA Merit Badge Counselor training yesterday. Next week, I’ll submit my application to the Northeast Georgia Council to add that to my growing list of BSA roles. Then I’ll register my “expertise” with the district, including the Backpacking merit badge, among Hiking, Camping, Cycling, Wilderness Survival, Coin Collecting, Programming, Personal Management, Safety, and Digital Technology. Talk about some serious opportunities for impostor syndrome!