Pack weight advice

I have compiled a complete packing list but cant seem to bring the weight down. The 16 kg is with 1.5l water. The weights are from actual weighing, sites and guesstimates. Please advise on what I should/could/must leave at home…
This is for the Fish River, so 5 days…Trying to get to 13 or 14 kg with water.

Tent - Sharing 1kg 1 0.500
Back pack 1 1.750
Sleeping bag 1 0.915
Sleeping Bag liner 1 0.200
Groundsheet 1 0.200
Mattress 1 0.370
Water bottle 750ml 1 0.900
Water bottle 750ml 1 0.900
water filtration system 1 0.100
Water purification drops 1 0.030
Power bank and charger 1 0.300
Phone (camera) and charger 1 0.300
Head lamp - check batteries 1 0.300
Duct tape 1 0.050
super glue 1 0.010
Gas burner, 1 0.246
Pot set 1 0.305
1× gas cannister, 1 0.230
1 full lighter/blow torch type 1 0.020
mug 1 0.060
Sharp knife 1 0.020
collapsible basin 1 0.080
Ziplock plastic bags for waste 6 0.005
Dish cloth washing and drying 1 0.020
sponge 1 0.005
dish wash liquid biodegradeable 1 0.020
small cutting board 1 0.050
Tooth paste and brush set 1 0.024
Facial wipes 25 0.025
Facial cream 1 0.020
Roll on 1 0.100
Hair brush and ties 1 0.070
Sun block spray 1 0.070
Lip balm 1 0.010
zumbuck 1 0.020
Biodegrade soap/shampoo 1 0.100
coin wipes 1 0.050
Conditioner spray 1 0.050
peaceful sleep stick 1 0.030
laundry wash 1 0.050
Toilet roll 1 0.030
plastic spade 1 0.055
hand wash leaves 1 0.014
plastic bags for waste 6 0.005
Toiletries bag 1 0.043
- Blister tape 1
Leukotape 1
Antiseptic or alcohol wipes 3
Dressing/Gauze 15
Hemostatic (blood-stopping) gauze
Moleskin 1
Butterfly closure strips 3
Elastoplast 5
Hydrocolloid 3
Island plasters 15
felt pads/doughnuts 15
Butterfly /H plasters 5
Antiseptic ointment 1
Mecurochrome 1
Friars balsm 1
anti itch cream 1
Zinc oxide 1
Vaseline 1
Burn shiled 2
sunburn gel 1
Deep heat. 1
Ibuprofen tablets (10 – 200 mg) 10
Imodium tabs.
Prescription Rx or vitamins
Laxative Tea
Gaviscon sachets 5
Eye Gene 3
Emergency blanket 1
Nitrile medical gloves
Safety pins 2
Scissors 1
Tweezer 1
Nailclipper 1
Hypodermic needle 1
syringe 1
Small business-size card – Listing emergency contact and any important personal medical information. weight in total for first aid kit 1 0.500
First aid bag 1 0.043
Aqua shoes (water crocs) 1 0.300
face towel 1 0.030
small powder 1 0.050
Hiking shoes(wearing) 1
extra shoelaces 1 0.005
Walking sticks (using) 2
Gators (wearing) 1
Quick dry Towel/ or sarong? 1 0.260
Hat (wearing) 1
Sunglasses (wearing) 1
Buff (wearing) 1
[ ]2 Long hiking pants ( 1 wearing) 2 0.180
[ ] 2 T shirt ( 1 wearing) 2 0.120
[ ] 1 swim (wearing) 1 0.180
[ ] 3 pairs socks (wearing 1) 3 0.060
[ ]3 pairs underwear (wearing 1) 3 0.060
[ ] 1 long sleeve shirt thermal 1 0.180
[ ] Down jacket 1 0.500
[ ] 1 pair long johns (evenings) 1 0.180
1 Rain jacket 1 0.500
Oats so easy / future life & sugar & protein / milk powder mix 5 0.250
Cup ‘a Soup / Cup ‘a Snack / Quick Snack 2 0.080
boiled eggs 2 0.100
tuna bags 2 0.170
Provita 8 0.083
Cheese wedges 4 0.070
Apples 2 0.300
Dehydrated dinners various 4 0.600
pink Salt 1 0.010
OBS/Amarula 4 0.800
marshmallows 8 0.020
Biltong/nuts/dried fruit 5 0.250
Energy bars 5 0.300
Sweets 5 0.250
Tea 5 0.050
Hot chocolate 5 0.100
Hug in a mug 5 0.100
Sugar pills 1 0.005
water mix (game/rehydrate) 15 0.750
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Try to use Lighterpack so it can be updated while you get feedback and tweak your loadout.

Ditch heavy food like apples and eggs. Can get freeze-dried versions
Have one hike outfit and one camp outfit
2 pairs of socks (one you are wearing, one is drying after a wash)
Same for underwear
Swim pants can be your hike pants?
No extra shoelaces
Your water bottles shouldn’t be 900g from 750ml. Use a Thirsti bottle with that sports lid.
Water filter or tablets, don’t need both
Don’t need duct tape/ superglue. Get some tenacious tape. Can fix it all.
Don’t need a basin
Don’t need a cutting board/knife

Just some ideas that are easy before you start cutting straps off your pack :slight_smile:


with a bit of time and effort I took screenshots and annotated them:
(just my thoughts)

I’m not familiar with all your meds but it seems to me you’re doubling a lot in all yr depts incl meds, especially plasters. Food is very personal soI stayed out of that


Clothes are often the secret killer in terms of weight. You only really need something to wear walking, something to sleep in, a puffy jacket + beanie and then socks to rotate as mentioned.

You seem to have a couple of different soaps/washing things. Would go with one + little bottle of hand sanitizer.

Sleeping bag liners don’t really add much warmth, wouldn’t be bothered.
Wouldn’t be bothered with roll on, after 5 days of walking it isn’t going to do much :sweat_smile:
Blister tape and moleskin can all be done by leukotape. Just place a piece of gauze under it if need be.

Zinc oxide, anit itch and vaseline feel like they are all playing in the same space.

Wouldn’t be worried with an emergency blanket while carrying a tent, ground sheet and sleeping bag.

Cut nails before going and ditch clippers.

As mentioned, just swap water bottles for plastic spring water bottles or something. Tend to go 2x 1.5l and a 750ml game bottle with a wide mouth for adding flavour/rehydrates. Cheap plastic bottles are indestructible and weight nothing. Just check that the thread works on your water filter if that’s needed.

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Thank you for the Lighterpack advice, very helpful.
Can definitely cut down on clothes, water bottles and the rest, thank you.
And, the tip on cutting straps, never thought of that :laughing: :laughing:

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@Carl Thank you for all your effort and suggestions, makes sense, I didn’t want to be underprepared, being so remote.
Also, how do I wash clothes and dishes, not in the river, without a basin of some sorts?

@Jaxz , thank you for the advice.

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Good question…
dishes washed by scooping water into dish and washing away from river or use water bottle for rinsing/water-carry etc. I’m glad you’re already onto not washing your noodles downstream!! :ok_hand:

Clothes can be washed in one of your ziplock bags: pop offending clothes in, hot water, soapy, seal, massage, and rinse out away from river…works ever better than dish etc.

Of interest…biodegradable soaps are not meant to be used in rivers as rivers in themselves are not rich in biodegrading bacteria. Washing and rinsing is to be done away from rivers, preferably where some organic biomass is visible, ie not on clean river sand.


Also, many people don’t know this, but most ‘wet wipes’ are basically plastic and do not decompose. Try these:


Could this work as a cheaper alternative to Wilderness Wipes?

These are also great:

They used to sell smaller packs of 4 on takealot, might just be sold out at the moment…


Not familiar with them.

Lighterpack is brilliant
You’ve got more clothes than you need - and more (disposable) cleaning products than you need - wipes etc (I’m a guy so my opinion there might be invalid)
Your food looks too heavy with what looks like snacks duplicating meals (or overlapping) on these hikes you eat less than at home.
You’re sharing a tent - are you also sharing the first aid kit - or duplicating it? On the hike think what actual 1st aid stuff you’re likely to need and strip down to that. Triangular bandages snd silky little gauzes have no where near as much value as a roll of crepe bandage.
In an actual triage situation you all empty your first aid kits and combine what you have - it’s amazing how useless 8 pairs of medical scissors are.

You can get lighter stoves check out the BMS3000 on Aliexpress they’re awesome (but need a heat exchange pot to not waste the energy)
You don’t need two spare laces or a basin cutting board etc. think contingency what can double up
Arguably you don’t need the ground sheet and tent - you could use the tent as a ground sheet

Far be it from me to tell you what to do / bring but about 1kg of Booze is a luxury and I’m of the opinion in this environment you drink in nature… (but then I do carry 200ml of whisky for medicinal purposes!)

Oh and is Game still available? Struggled to find it recently


Valuable advice, thank you.
Won’t be able to change the stove right away, but will definitely cut on the rest.
I’m doing the Fanie Botha in September first and then the Fish next year, I hope it will be a good introduction to longer hikes.

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Leave the tent at home! The stars are a way better fly-sheet!!! And definitely no wetwipes, conditioner, facial creams, soaps etc water does the full trick and will not age from the lack of creams but the stress of carrying all that urban clutter! Embrace Nature and she’ll look after you a good hot shower at Ai Ais will get you all fixed up again!!

I am not going to wiegh in on whats on your list.
I’m not a fan of lighter packs in favour of minimalistic hiking … When the brown smelly stuff hits the big turning thing, stuff you sacrificed for wieght could be what is needed for your survival.
I was trained in the military, we carried up to 30kg …
The reason is we were trained to carry that.
Heavy packs are sometimes needed, because of duration, terrain, etc.
I advocate getting stronger, train to carry 25kg, pack 20kg of necessary stuff and enjoy the peace of mind …
I know the hiking community is going to lambaste me, but I hike regularly with a 20kg pack and add camera equipment to that for 4-5 days. I’m 63 now.

Would be interested to see your lighterpack and see what you take with! There is no right and wrong, just hike your own hike :partying_face:

Hi Dieter,
Totally agree. Hike your hike, be safe and enjoy life to the fullest.

Its what people often miss in the lightweight debate. You don’t save weight be leaving survival gear at home. A lighter sleeping bag is great, but it must still be sufficient for where you’ll be and likely conditions. If I’m not carrying a tent, I’ll always have a bivy bag.

People also forget that not everything they consider a survival item is actually a survival item. E.g. outside of winter I rarely hike with a gas stove in the Drakensberg. In winter I might need it to melt snow/ice. Its rare you’ll be in a position where a gas stove will make a significant difference for any other reason on a route anywhere in South Africa.

Its also not a A or B scenario - the reason you get into trouble on a mountain might be exhaustion from a heavy pack or the inability to move fast enough. So there can be a scenario where a light pack is safer because you can get out of there faster. E.g. the cold front is arriving a day earlier than anticipated, there’s some personal safety issue, rats got into your food and you don’t have enough food any more etc.

And most importantly - people forget that losing 2kg of their own weight vs dropping 2kgs off their pack equates to the same thing. Training harder also makes hiking easier and more enjoyable.

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…had a field mouse gnawing on our gear at Giant’s in Dec. We’d literally camped right at it’s burrow front door. Food. Trekking pole grip rubber. Sitting pad. Had to pack up and move. At one point he was up on his hind quarters on her boots peeking into our tent. Li’ll bastich!

I assume you mean real rats, not your friends?

Depends :rofl:

On my 4th Drakensberg Grand Traverse, my team mate ran out of food a day before we reached Sani for our second resupply. Luckily we were a day ahead of schedule, so I just gave him a days worth of my food.

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