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  1. #1
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    Default PCT 2021 Shakedown Nobo - Sub 6lbs

    Asking for another shakedown as prep for the PCT. I like doing these because if I swap out gear I like to use it here at home for a while. I'm at that point of diminishing returns on baseweight, but always looking to increase efficiency or functionality. I also value a small compact kit.

    My goal is to hike all day at a reasonable pace. I can most likely come out of the gate doing 20's. I don't aim to hike fast. But If I just meander for 10 hours in the beginning I'll definitely hit 20's without injuring myself. I average 15-30 mpd here in the whites while backpacking. This will also be the lightest kit I've ever hiked with. I talk to a lot of people about gear on the PCT. I wanted to go ultralight as much as possible without going stupid light. I'm not a sniveler. I'm use to discomfort. I am however, much more comfortable overall with this kit than I have with kits weighing twice as much. Hiking and in camp. My skillsets have drastically improved over the past few years, especially with ultralight techniques.

    I'm so use to cold and wet trails. I'm excited to hike in drier environments.

    I'm pretty much as light as possible without spending thousands or changing something big like jumping to a DCF poncho tarp. 7x9 is about as small as I'd want to go without adding my bivy. I like the size because it works well with/without the bivy. I'd prefer a cat cut, but I think I'm gonna just use the flat tarp till its worn out then explore options for my next tarp. I'd prefer a DCF grace solo over my 7x9 thought. I don't want to carry a heavy power bank/electronics but considering adding a tiny lipstick bank because my headlamp is rechargeable only. I may even go the solar route to experiment for a few ounces.

    y goal is too not spend lots of time in town on this trip. The AT was my "party" hike. Even though I only had a beer or two ha! I'm much more interested in spending more time on trail nowadays. If I stay in town, I prefer a hiker hostel that caters to thru hikers. I enjoy exploring town just as much as I do the trail. But I'd rather focus more on spending time on trail than in town. More time on trail = less time "putting in the miles to get to canada"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9CSUX4qKGg&t=6s - me and this guy have a similar style of hiking. I like what he has done with the solar. I'm most likely going to experiment with a system similar to this one for the next year.

    I've always wanted to play with solar more. PCT seems like the place to do it. I've done enough research to know they work, I'm also not trying to power a bunch of stuff. I kinda just want to try it out. There's pros and cons. But there's also pros and cons to keeping a battery bank charged. I have a few Anker battery packs. I'll prob toss one in a bounce box and see if the solar works or not.

    Lighterpack: https://lighterpack.com/r/a2jvu9

    I have a problem with hoods. But I love hoods and mine actually layer quite nicely.

    More or less looking to discuss options. I have some good gear. Maybe there are some products out there or PCT specific considerations that would be more ideal. I don't want to go uber light on some things because I want it to last a thru.

    Thanks for taking the time to help a hiker out. Always enjoy the feedback. I'll prob do one more shakedown before I leave. Hopefully with some DIY gear. I made a bunch of gear this past year to use on the PCT... and wore it all out lol. I would like to make a pack and possibly a tarp if I have the will/extra $$ laying around.

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    OMG Fox must really be hurting.

    Seriously, Fox the stage where you're at it's time to gain additional efficiency and functionality margins by focusing on tactics, logistics, mental and physical attributes as they apply to LD backpacking, and other skill building not so much wt and and bulk gear downsizing. I know that's not what a gear junkie wants to hear but that's the UL reality. You got honest with yourself also saying it, "I'm at that point of diminishing returns on baseweight..."

    John Wooden who led the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 NCAA Titles in 12 yrs, the winningest coach in history, was famous for taking some of the best basketball players in the country, elite of the elite at something like free throw %, and have the player practice lots of free throws making them even better but by a small percentage of a 1 percentage pt. You may be at that stage.

    Go out with the kit you've evolved to and focus on the other aspects mentioned. You know I've talked about them. Find YOUR way. Get out of your perfectionist engineering mindset...my friend.

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    You mention on your gear page the possibility of renting a bear canister where needed. You also don't list a stove. Will the required food volume fit? Will a full size canister fit in the MLD or be lashed to top? Do they rent/loan the smaller Bare Boxer canisters? BPL had an article about the Bare Boxer being the only canister that would fit inside the MLD Burn. Just seems like an awfully small pack to be lashing a small barrel to...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    OMG Fox must really be hurting.

    Seriously, Fox the stage where you're at it's time to gain additional efficiency and functionality margins by focusing on tactics, logistics, mental and physical attributes as they apply to LD backpacking, and other skill building not so much wt and and bulk gear downsizing. I know that's not what a gear junkie wants to hear but that's the UL reality. You got honest with yourself also saying it, "I'm at that point of diminishing returns on baseweight..."

    John Wooden who led the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 NCAA Titles in 12 yrs, the winningest coach in history, was famous for taking some of the best basketball players in the country, elite of the elite at something like free throw %, and have the player practice lots of free throws making them even better but by a small percentage of a 1 percentage pt. You may be at that stage.

    Go out with the kit you've evolved to and focus on the other aspects mentioned. You know I've talked about them. Find YOUR way. Get out of your perfectionist engineering mindset...my friend.
    I'm bored. There's nothing to do here aside from exercise and run the dehydrator lol. I like to ask these quesitons here because I love the responses. You do understand that in a year all new gear will be out right!

    Sometimes. I post on here just to get you going lol. Is there a twelve step program for gear junkies? You jelly of my super awesome kit? Logistics? It's just walking ...

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    Last edited by fastfoxengineering; 01-10-2020 at 22:50.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    You mention on your gear page the possibility of renting a bear canister where needed. You also don't list a stove. Will the required food volume fit? Will a full size canister fit in the MLD or be lashed to top? Do they rent/loan the smaller Bare Boxer canisters? BPL had an article about the Bare Boxer being the only canister that would fit inside the MLD Burn. Just seems like an awfully small pack to be lashing a small barrel to...
    I'll need a can for the sierra. I plan on keeping my food in my pack and then carrying an empty can strapped to the top. Common ultralight practice.

    Yeah the burn is tiny. But my kit is also super low volume. My gear literally takes up ~10L of volume. I might even be making a new pack soon thats smaller than the burn! If anything. Id just switch out packs for Sierra. Especially if I need more layers, traction and such. If it was anything like 2019. Id just grab my hyperlite for a few weeks.

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    Last edited by fastfoxengineering; 01-10-2020 at 23:33.

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    From time to time we all have to step back out of the cloud, rub our eyes, dust ourself off and refocus.

    My goodness you could teach an UL class here with a kit far UL advanced above the vast majority of those that lurk here and you ask it to deep dive your kit? RU simply saber rattling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    From time to time we all have to step back out of the cloud, rub our eyes, dust ourself off and refocus.

    My goodness you could teach an UL class here with a kit far UL advanced above the vast majority of those that lurk here and you ask it to deep dive your kit? RU simply saber rattling?
    Just wait till its 5lbs. Then I'll be leaving you in a cloud of dust!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    I'll need a can for the sierra. I plan on keeping my food in my pack and then carrying an empty can strapped to the top. Common ultralight practice.

    Yeah the burn is tiny. But my kit is also super low volume. My gear literally takes up ~10L of volume. I might even be making a new pack soon thats smaller than the burn! If anything. Id just switch out packs for Sierra. Especially if I need more layers, traction and such. If it was anything like 2019. Id just grab my hyperlite for a few weeks.

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    Here is an example of changing tactics and logistics thru knowledge and skill building that could gain you efficiencies. I suspect you're up to to what I'm considering. I will not mention it openly. PM if you wish to here an alternative. The UL worm is on the hook.

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    Excellent kit FF, I'm both impressed and inspired I'm more like 10lb base, having risen from 9 a couple years ago, but I do carry a stove, all said and done nearly a pound (stove, pot, spoon, small lighter and fuel canister). I have to have my morning coffee....

    I'm hitting the PCT this year in early March, an early start, but that's the permit I got. I could start later though, but this will work, as I have a couple of side trips built in already (2 Grand Canyon trips in April), which will delay my Sierra entry a couple weeks.

    The Big question: what would be your desired start date? I ask, because if early (before April), I would think you might want a warmer bag, like perhaps a 20F. I use the Katabatic Alsek, 22F, but I also added a couple ounces of down (actually the KB gear folks did it for me, for free! I live near their factory). One aspect of the early PCT is how enjoyable Cowboy Camping is, many nights, in fact the majority of the nights, the only reason to sleep under a tent or tarp is for warmth, as that radiative cooling when exposed to the clear, dry SOCAL sky is significant. A warmer quilt/bag will allow you to enjoy this more often.

    I also use and prefer the 1.5L smart water bottles, they ride nicely in my side pockets, and the 3L capacity is awesome. They are more than 1.5oz each, more like 2. I'm fresh out of them right now or I'd check. chances are you'll need some additional water capacity now and then; I carried 6L once in a particularly dry SOCAL section. I suggest a 100oz platypus or equivalent.

    Resupply/towns are definitely more spaced out than the AT, so I do recommend an external battery and/or a small solar charger IF, like myself, you use your phone for many purposes, like a camera, navigator, music player and Kindle app reader/Audio book player. I'm not 100% sure right now, but my current thought is to take 6oz Renogy 5W solar charger and a 6700mAH 4 oz battery. You probably would need some sort of an external battery if you carry solar, as it's highly inconvenient to just keep your phone plugged into the charger, assuming you use your phone while hiking.

    The alternative for myself is to take a 8 oz 12000mAH battery, which saves 2oz, but requires charging in towns. I love not having to do that little chore at all town stops. My 6oz Renogy 5W panel managed to keep my external battery pretty full on a Sierra High route trek a couple years ago. As you say, this IS the trail where solar chargers, er, shine.

    I did hike Campo to Kennedy in 2018, so I'll be repeating this in my longer PCT hike this year; FWIW, these 702 miles are actually quite enjoyable.

    My hiking MO is similar, hike all day at a very reasonable pace. Compared to the whites in NH, the physical aspects of the PCT will be trivial for you, and you'll probably wind up doing some 30+ days now and then, w/o batting an eye. Even I, over twice your age, did a couple of 30's in SOCAL, even though a 12-mile day in parts of the White's and southern Maine did me in!

    I'll be glad to report back with fresh thoughts during and after my hike this year, like how the solar thing worked out, but I'll have to be reminded! I don't generally blog or post trip reports anymore, I used to, but now realize they are pretty boring and silly to everyone.
    Last edited by colorado_rob; 01-11-2020 at 09:46.

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    One more thought, I just saw your note on the rain jacket in the lighterpack link.... Since I'm doing an early start, instead of my usual Frogg Togg jacket use, I'll be carrying my Arcteryx Beta SL jacket, 11 ounces, ouch kinda heavy, but it's substantially warmer. It's a 2-layer Goretex fabric, nicely breathable and bomber tough. I'll swap it out in May, even for the high Sierra, probably, might grab it back in WA, if I happen to make it that far.

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    Hey CR,

    Yes, pack weight is directly proportional to warmer insulation, cookware, etc for me now. I'm stripped down to the bare necessities while maintaining what I consider comfortable. Every ounce I add is either down, increased durability, etc.

    Cook kits have come a long way nowadays. My favorite canister setup is my Snowpeak Litemax (1.9oz), Evernew 500. The litemax is imo the best ultralight canister stove on the market. Using a sparklite to light your stove is a cheap way to shave some grams off a cook kit. Carry a mini bic in the FAK as a backup.

    I would be starting sometime in April. The Palisade is just right. But in true ultralight fashion.. the palisade, bivy, wind pants, and upper layers can take me down to the 20* and actually sleep warm.

    I have a Zpacks 10*. Always an option. I would study temperatures a little bit more for my anticipated start date and choose accordingly. I've considered making my own 10* quilt at some point. I have a few qualms with my Zpacks 10*. But it has served me well and honestly one of the best pieces of gear I have owned.

    Agreed on the bigger water bottles. I've grown away from evernew bags. They are pain to drink from. I also don't want to carry a bunch of bottles and would rather just carry larger ones. I may throw and extra 1L smartwater bottle in for good measure.

    I'm gonna be playing with solar this year. If I can make it work in New England then I'm sure it'll do fine on the PCT. The video I mentioned in my original post is promising. He has a workable solar setup for about 5.5oz. Powering his cell phone and Sony RX100 camera. I like it and something I'm going to explore more. If the solar doesn't work out... something like a 6700/10k battery will most likely be in my pack. Power banks have downsides as you know. I like to minimize town time/chores. Quick charge definitely helps. But becoming independent from needing power from town is enticing to me. If you haven't watched the video from the guy with solar on the GDT, I recommend it.

    As to my pace. Everyone is repeating what you said. I'm not going out to crush miles. But if I can walk a comfortable steady pace and do 20's. Sounds great to me. I'll let it naturally work up to 30s. Having a light pack helps. Just cause you can do a 35-40. doesn't mean ya have to

    Oh... Rain Jackets. Here's my history. Marmot Mica, OR Helium II, LHG Silnylon, Frogg Toggs. My favorite thus far has been the Frogg Toggs lol. I do plan on splurging for a nicer rain coat for the PCT. The Arcteryx is a really nice shell. Little heavy for my needs but it is super nice. Common shell here in the Whites. I'm looking into some specifiic jackets at the moment. The versalite is solid go to for the PCT. The Zpacks Vertice is really nice but I'm done with Zpacks. The EE Visp is nice but I wish it had pit zips. The goretex shake dry stuff has my attention. I may be looking into MYOG on this one too. Not sure. Plenty of solid options out there. I DO like some features on my rain jackets. Unfortunately everything being sold at the moment is missing something or configured differently than I would like. A friend of mine has been making/selling rain coats for a little while now. I may commission him to make me something.

    Even though I've successfully used Frogg Toggs in some whirlwind crap storms here in the Whites. I hate relying on a piece of gear I know is pretty fragile. All it takes is one fall into the side bushes and a frogg toggs can get shredded up. I've been using the same one for a 2 seasons now and it's help up. But catching it on a branch and ripping a 6" hole in it is bound to happen. I don't like the idea of being deep into the Sierras with a Frogg Toggs. When you're packing as light as I am.. reliability of gear is kinda paramount.

    Also, I don't like looking like a bag of potatoes

    Good luck on your hikes!

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    Which FT rain jacket do you have? Sport, I think they call their general offering, UL2, Extreme Lite, or Pro? They have different characteristics. The 5.3 oz sounds like the UL2 model. Some of the models can pill extensively especially around the shoulders in short order worn under a backpack making the "fabric" less wind, rain, and tear resistant. Those thinned areas also tend to hold onto debris. You wouldn't be the first PCTer to be hiking in a ripped FT jacket occasionally looking like a tumbleweed. It's those first 700 miles going through the grabby desert vegetation that can snag them up even in the hands of those who know the TLC UL gear can demand. manzanitas extensive along the PCT also are highly grabby gouging bare skin.

    @CR Fox needed to hear this, "Excellent kit FF, I'm both impressed and inspired..." LOL That's what I'm saying but he needs no more pats on the back as afar as his kit. He needs to get out with it. Umm, maybe like me. Fox's kit is already there - highly advanced, well thought out, and researched. OK a little smiling good boy pat on the back. If ya leave it to perfectionist engineers a car model may never hit the market.

    Good travels to both of you. I'd like to see some follow ups on your experiences.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-11-2020 at 18:37.

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    I've used the ultralight II a bunch. Unfortunately for me I use a size small. Walmart doesn't stock that size so I have to order them on Amazon.

    I just want a different jacket cause the Frogg Toggs is pretty hiker trash esque. Something that fits a little better and has some features I'm looking for is welcomed. Especially with the intentions on using it as a wind/rain layer.

    Montbell will probably update their versatile over the next year, and that's where I'm leaning. I also have some points there so it brings down the price a fair amount.

    I feel like a Frogg Toggs doesn't help in the hitchhiking/romance scene!

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    One of the amusing things I remember on the AT is seeing a very low budget hiker putting tape across his Champion T shirt logo and a Frogg Toggs Jacket logo he found in hiker boxes that he had hand written Patagonia. Was that you?

    Haven't made side by side model comparison but the Extreme Light series may be more athletic fitting than some of the other models. FT's IMHO for myself are more a general outdoor activity(hunting, fishing, quad, changing the tire) budget rain jacket system. That's not to say they can't apply to backpacking/hiking and other situations. That is also not imply that rain jackets can't be extraordinarily IMHO overpriced and pigeon holing applied to varying conditions, activities, etc. Even though needing to be updated some core issues and wider range of options is perused in Alan Dixon's rain jacket piece. He runs a good site and is one of the cofounders of BPL. https://www.adventurealan.com/best-l...g-backpacking/
    I too went through the Marmot Mica(not Super Mica) phase until I realized the WP membrane was too fragile. Marmot was generous to replace two for me. The MB Versalite I'm on my fourth. It replaced the Mica as my goto UL fully featured rain jacket. I think I've had three different versions with my latest I bought 2 yrs ago for some $100 as a Pro impromptu purchase deal as my favorite as it doesn't wet out when I maintain the DWR. IMO some of the complaints about it wetting out were lacking essential to know personal use details, maybe, because people don't maintain their UL rain jackets. I see reapplying a DWR as part of yearly or biennial maintenance no different than $150 UL trail runner shoe repair or replacement. I suggest not mashing the rain jacket down repeatedly in the same way creasing it repeatedly in the same way similar to DCF gear. I now lightly roll it and stuff it gently inside the top of my pack or store as such in the shovel pocket. I also suggest not letting the seam taping come in contact with bug juice, food, food packaging, electrolyte containing water, or improperly clean it as it can affect the taping. The ZP Challenger rain jacket no longer made I still have in excellent condition and the OR helium round out my lightest wt rain jacket quiver. If paying the full price pony for the MB Versalite I would suggest you include considering the ZP Vertices. The Columbia Outdry Ex Featherwt I did not like and you will not either if you don't like that Hefty Garbage Bag feel on bare skin and look. Shakedry I'm still up in the air. Rain jacket market is vast so....YMMV. BYOGFYN - buy your own gear for your needs

    BTW, be careful around WB suggesting any anti FT opinions because you'll likely tick someone off resulting in being called names.

    Getting back to the skill building suggestion ya might want to review some things in Cam's drop down Skills box.https://www.thehikinglife.com/skills/ WFA, navigation including in winter snow covering the trail conditions, survival, dietary, consumables reducing category, camping on snow, fording, hiking in desert conditions, apparel layering approaches under a diversity of conditions, and maintaining/managing our mental and emotional states(martial arts, Yoga, CALM, etc) are but some knowledge and trail savviness to apply to reduce pack wt and gain additional efficiencies and functionality. You have the kit now rise higher by adding more to the skill set building. It may save your life or someone elses's. I want to be taught. Come back and tell me what I don't know. You have that capability.


    Watch and meditate on what Anish says in her TedX talk. Listen to what she says about the lessons she learned and how she deals with her emotions and mentality. That short pig tailed woman made me tear up defining success and writing her own fairytale. That's courage. That's self actualizing. That's being grounded, living with intention. Not everyone gets to her state of awareness. Consider, that was supposed/expected to be a talk on a FKT record? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgDeh2XDNY4 *I tell you managing our emotional and mental states, not just the physical not just the material world, not just through gear, but also through applied skill set building, knowledge and wisdom between our ears will gain efficiencies that astound. Arghh. Primal scream. Howl at the moon. Doing this internally affects the external.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-11-2020 at 23:13.

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    I slapped a hyperlite logo on someone's frogg toggs once at trail days.

    Too many options for rain jackets. I was hoping to find a brand new vertice in my christmas stocking! Instead I got fresh pair of lone peaks so I can't complain. I started a trend...

    I buy two brand new pairs of lone peaks of two different colors and rock seperate colors at the same time.

    That's how you'll know its me lol.

    So many rain jackets out there. I've been seeing what's going on with the shakedry. I'm worried about the current iteration with the zipper on the back. I don't wanna ruin my fancy backpacks.

    The versalite is pretty much out of stock. I'm waiting to see if they release a new model.

    In the meantime. I'm wearing my Arcteryx shell. Yet it was record highs here in NH today. Broke 60 degrees. Felt like summer.



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    Reread the bottom paragraphs. You may have missed my editing contributions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    ...

    I'm gonna be playing with solar this year. If I can make it work in New England then I'm sure it'll do fine on the PCT. The video I mentioned in my original post is promising. He has a workable solar setup for about 5.5oz. Powering his cell phone and Sony RX100 camera. I like it and something I'm going to explore more. If the solar doesn't work out... something like a 6700/10k battery will most likely be in my pack. Power banks have downsides as you know. I like to minimize town time/chores. Quick charge definitely helps. But becoming independent from needing power from town is enticing to me. If you haven't watched the video from the guy with solar on the GDT, I recommend it.
    I went ahead and bought that little solar panel on Amazon for $17 and tried it out yesterday, in about 4 hours of sitting outside, stationary, on a mostly sunny day, it brought my 6700mAH battery pack up about a half a charge, call it 3000 mAH, which is basically my phone's battery. Yeah, those were near ideal conditions, sitting looking directly at the sun for 4 hours (though I didn't rotate it following the sun or anything).

    The device does indeed weigh just under 3 ounces, which is half the weight of my old Renogy version, and about the same size. So, thank you for that reference FF!

    Here is the amazon link:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I'll give this overall system a shot on the PCT this spring. I want to reiterate that a system like this really only has a chance at working on the wide-open, sunny trails out west.

    The total weight of panel, 6700 maH battery (Anker) and small cord is 6.5 ounces, almost exactly what my bigger battery pack weighs. If the solar panel does not work well in actual practice, I'll dump it in a hiker box and I can get by with my 6700 maH pack OK, though I'd probably go back to 13,000 maH at some point. I use a lot of juice to read in the evenings (Kindle app on phone), and listen to music and audio books a lot as well.

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    You sure about the weight on that? My 3340 weighs about 3oz. The 6700 is listed at 5oz. If there's something you know that I do not, please share lol. I also bought the panel. I talked to the guy who created that solar video. He is playing with a bigger setup at the moment. After his GDT hike he said if he were to change one thing it would be to bring a 100cm usb cable for charging off the panel/town use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    You sure about the weight on that? My 3340 weighs about 3oz. The 6700 is listed at 5oz. If there's something you know that I do not, please share lol. I also bought the panel. I talked to the guy who created that solar video. He is playing with a bigger setup at the moment. After his GDT hike he said if he were to change one thing it would be to bring a 100cm usb cable for charging off the panel/town use.
    99.99% sure, unless I have two bad scales. My gear scale says 2.8 ounces, or 78 grams in gram mode. My wife's baking scale says 2.9 ounces, no gram mode on that scale.

    Here's the Amazon link to the one I bought, there are no model numbers of "3340" that I can find though.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    99.99% sure, unless I have two bad scales. My gear scale says 2.8 ounces, or 78 grams in gram mode. My wife's baking scale says 2.9 ounces, no gram mode on that scale.

    Here's the Amazon link to the one I bought, there are no model numbers of "3340" that I can find though.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I'm talking about your battery bank. How is your Anker 6700 so light? You claimed the whole setup (solar panel, battery bank, and cable) weigh 6.5oz. My 3400mah battery bank weighs 3oz alone. My solar panel (the exact same as yours) weighs 79 grams. A usb cable is typically half and ounce. Your battery bank really weighs 3oz for a 6700?

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