Take Care of Your Ounce...

Many of us already know the phrase you take care of the ounces, they will take care of the pounds. 

The principle being that it's easy to add a feature, or capability, so hard to loose pounds in your rig, ruck or rifle. But if you make good small choices, they add up. Carry that sensitive item in a small plastic box, not a big metal one. Or a small padded nylon case. A couple ounces, but you make a few more of those choices and you have lost a pound. 

And nothing makes you appreciate loosing a few pounds like carrying it up a mountainside, or having to carry it for two weeks straight. Done both, and it's still a hard lesson to retain. Many joes and boots and probbies don't get a chance to test themselves enough, or consider the occasional ruck run a rare, training-only occurrence so it's hard to drive the point home. 

Well today while walking I found this on the ground: 

A one ounce weight from... something. And you know what? It's heavy. We rarely get to see an ounce as a single hunk of steel. It's hard to tell the difference between 22 and 23 oz, or to get the impression that an oz of fabric weighs anything. But an oz of steel in your hand is a lot. Who wants that?

So, I think this is a good object lesson. I still carry my P38 on my keychain (where'd that thread go?!), and now I think I am going to carry this around as well. I encourage you to think about the same, or make the gear whore junior people you have to train try this. Get an ounce (a fishing weight, whatever) and take care of it. Carry it in your pocket for a week, and see how much more you think about the weight of items when you next pack your bag, or put stuff on your belt/lbe before work. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt


Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas


Photos (1)
Original Post

This is a great topic!  I went on one of my bucket list backpacking trips this past spring.  Goal was 12 days, so that was 12 days of fuel, 12 days of food at 3500-5000 calories a day, shelter, clothing, ancillaries and medical/hygiene gear with a travel distance of around 200 miles.  When all was said and done my ruck weighed in at just over 50 pounds.  I made it but believe me the first few days were absolutely nut busting.

Take home message....sometimes the weight is a necessary evil.  I ended up having a few days of cold/wet weather and if I hadn't packed a woobie jacket I probably would have ended up with hypothermia.  What I didn't research enough was resupply points.  I skimped on water because I saw water pumps every five miles.  Well twice in a row the pumps were broken.  No pumps, no water.  I could have carried more water and sent resupplies of food ahead every few days to the next town.  Would have worked a lot better then carrying it all.  Sometimes carrying less and planning to re-up is a better option.  I feel the same with my daily off-duty carry.  I carry enough to handle MOST, not ALL situations with redundancy in my vehicle, residence, boat, etc.

It's almost like receiving my Pat Memorial Coin and you starting this thread in the same day were meant to happen together... I don't know how many ounces this excellent coin weighs, but I think it can serve the purpose you're talking about.





Joined:      14 January 2010                Location:     Lobster emoticonMAINELobster emoticon

I'm a ultralight backpacker, too. A resource book I found really useful is this:


My longest trek was 635 km, all along Buenos Aires seacoast. I could fit 8 days worth of food and 3 lts of water in a 9kg backpack. Most of what I learnt makes my life less miserable back in the Marines. For example, my sleeping bag and pads weight 900 grams, so I can carry it all the time with any combat load config. Many a cold patrol base night I slept comfortable. 

But, indeed, it s the small things that weigh you down. When training my guys, I compare small weight gains to 50 gram chocolate bars. Save 50 grams, add some chocolate! 


Last time I was out, some Russians I was with were festooned with chocolate. Every break they'd pull them out, break off bits and ask "Would you like some chocolate?" I wanted to say "Don't ask such stupid questions" as I took it. Every. Single. Time.

More chocolate is always good. Gotta fill my pack with that next time. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt


Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

cashonlycow posted:

HK3172... mind sharing what your packing list was for that trip? That is an outstanding weight and length of hike ratio. 




Homemade silnylon poncho/tarp, 300grams

Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 45 sleeping bag 570grams

Klymix X frame inflatable Pad , 260 g

Gossamer gear thinlite pad, 70g

Terranova Laser 35 pack, 470g

karrimor carbon poles, 190g per pole

Vargo 750ml mug, 105g

vargo spork, 14g

spyderco atlantic salt blade 77g

waterdog heater w/gas can 900g



aluminum heat shields from a MSR

small bic lighter

photon freedom light

small ziploc w/ toiletries

small ziploc w/ first aid



Under Armour shirt

Lepau 8000 undershirt and drawers

TAD Gear Amphib pants

Asics Kahana 8 w/ custom footbeds

3x nike small running socks

2x cheap microfiber underwear from Walmart

RAB xenon jacket


boonie hat



4Liters in two 1,5l pet bottles, and two small 0,5l worn on body

ziploc bag with premixed instant coffee and sugar, for 9 days (reinforced with duct tape)

ziploc bags with mix of twistos, rex cookies, and other salty stuff, one per day

ziploc bags with sweet breakfast cereal stuff, one per day

8 days worth of lunch and dinner in Knorr soups with noodles, averaging 80 grams per day

ziploc bag with cornmeal (polenta), for thickening the soups

small flasks with premixed salt and pepper.


I practiced cooking at home with same heater, mug and food, in order to learn the right amounts, premix everything, and stuff like that.

The knorr soups are not tasty, not healthy, but light as hell. There is this mountain food which is dehydrated by freezing, but it's hard to come by here in Argentina, and very expensive. Also check for the ones that don't require milk or butter.

Soups. Polish vodka for scale



If you want to see it in google earth, this trek was following the seashore between Puerto Belgrano Naval Base and Punta Rasa.

I ran one supply point at km 280, which was my hometown, more or less in the middle of the trip. I had to recharge water everyday, but there's a town more or less every 30/40km so it was not a problem. In two spots there were more than 60km between towns, requiring two day treks, but I roughed it and did it with 4lts anyway.

I carried very little clothes in terms of warmth, I'd use the sleeping bag and the poncho. i'd wake up and immediately start walking, and stop for breakfast around 9 when it's warm already. Same in the evening, I'd have dinner early, then keep walking until late in the night, and get straight into the sleeping bag when still warm from walking.


Plenty of little tricks like that in Mike Clelland's book!




Add Reply

Likes (9)
SempFi00722FjumpermedMaskirovkaMonsoon65CAMedicMG in TXlowlightyakc130
Copyright Lightfighter Tactical Forum 2002-2016