Super Ultralight Backpacking Trip

11:06 a.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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12:20 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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I can see nothing of your post....must be a video or picture my server at work is screaming out!!!! CENSORSHIP!!!!

1:00 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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I think that SUL works best on paper, and not so much in reality. If its absolutely perfect weather is when SUL shines, but the suckier the weather the sucker the experience with SUL.

You can not tell me that with that set up in this video that he would not have been completely miserable in even a mild windy rain. Not to mention IMO sleeping on a car sun shade as a sleeping mat is NOT comfortable! Sun shades are quite warm for the weight, and i supplement my hammock setup with one sometimes in really cold weather. But to sleep on the ground on one, really? Not a chance. A bigger tarp and a real sleeping pad might push his weight to 6 or 7 lbs, but a person would be alot more comfortable and be able to withstand many more adverse conditions.

I personally would never go with a tarp that small, even if there is no rain and its just wind you have so little protection.

I fully agree that you can be comfortable and safe going ultralight, but there is a point where shaving grams does reduce your capability to stay safe and comfortable. This video is a perfect example. If he was caught in a  midnight mountain rain storm he, and his bag would have been soaked.

I think that most every base weight of less than 5 lbs i have seen is very limited in its capabilities and is largely dependant on very nice weather and mild temps. However, i have seen many 7-10lbs base weights that would work just fine in most weather conditons.

My base weight is 16lbs now, if i cut out some luxury items i could get down to 13ish fairly easily. I put together an ultralight summer pack using a 28L pack and with fishing gear fully loaded with food and water for a 3 day 2 night hike It weighs 19lbs. That is about as light as I can possibly go and maintain adequate comfort and protection for me.

5:12 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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     Reminds me of my college days in Montana.  We'd be broke and couldn't find  full time work in the summer, so me and my buddy Dennis would scrounge what few dollars we could make, get some provisions(potatoes, rice, granola, a couple lemons) and head upstream camping and fishing.  We didn't try to go ultralight, we just didn't have any gear so it just ended up that way.  A 5x7 tarp and couple wool blankets plus some fishing gear,  I carried in my book bag.   We would drink straight from the streams usually and would go like that for over a week.  With a little common sense you could make a nice bed out of pine needles and leaves and in bad weather search out natural cover of a tree or overhang.  We didn't feel ill equipped at all.  Got a little lucky drinking the water I guess but, I'll take a little luck when it comes my way.  I think alot of us have gotten a little mentally lazy with all the equipment thats out there these days we'd prefer to take as much of the challenge and adventure out of hiking and just carry extra weight.  Plus I dont think these bones would enjoy sleeping on the ground these days knowing I have perfectly good hammock at home.

Nice find Gary

Thanks for posting it.

5:46 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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I feel after backpacking for 40 years I am doing quite well with my minimum of about 12 lbs of gear, not counting water and food.

Pack: Golite about 1.4 lbs

Sleeping Bag and pad REI 4 lbs

Tent Mtn Hardwear 4 lbs

Cooking gear: MSR pot and Pocket Rocket stove/4 oz canister 2 lbs

I use two Camelbak 3 liter water bags


10:47 a.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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staying dry is worth carrying a little extra weight. the man in the video was staying only one night and had a good weather forcast.  I have been trying to decrease the weight i carry so i can go farther.  My pack with sleeping clothes in it for winter and food for 3 days weighs 23lbs, add a couple liters of water and i still have a pack that i feel comfortable carrying  for mileage and have everything i need to be comfortable and safe.. My hammock set up is even lighter but i prefer the tent in the winter. 

8:13 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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I've been interested in trying something like this.  Basically what I could fit in a hip pack, and use bushcraft and ingenuity for the rest.  It would be a miserable night, but probably rewarding.

I would stay close to the car and civilization though.....

10:01 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Arson said:

I've been interested in trying something like this.  Basically what I could fit in a hip pack, and use bushcraft and ingenuity for the rest.  It would be a miserable night, but probably rewarding.

I would stay close to the car and civilization though.....

To me, the beauty of it all is that I carry enough with me that I am comfortable getting far away from the car and civilization.  Saving ounces is not worth it to me if I lose sense that I am as prepared as I could reasonably be.

1:21 p.m. on January 16, 2012 (EST)
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1:52 p.m. on January 16, 2012 (EST)
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I usually hike with my wife and nine year old  so I don't see myself going super-ultralight but I do advocate everyone taking some tips from ultra-lighters.  Weigh your gear and think about things you can eliminate or at least reduce in your pack.  For example, do you need a down jacket for a trip in August?  Are you really going to use those binoculars and field guide books?  Don't sacrifice safety for weight.  However, I found taking the extra time to get a handle on what I was really packing not only reduced my load but allowed me to pack better for the needs of the particular trip I was getting ready for.   

8:48 a.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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The only thing I realy noticed was he was carring only one treking pole. His tarp had two. Thanks to the camera man for carring the extra gear. LOL

11:23 p.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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One must get a real feeling of "freedom" going backpacking with only 6 lbs on their back... especially when compared to, say, 50 or 60 lbs, or even 40.  But there are some real trade-offs.  Most of us don't carry more stuff because we want to carry more weight - we carry what we do because it's what we're comfortable having with us in the backcountry.  And then there are some of us who have other reasons for carrying more weight - for example my camera kit weighs more than that guy's entire pack - because photography is a big part of my trips.

It's tempting to try going truly UL sometime ... even if only as a "survival exercise" ... or to see if I'd be as uncomfortable as I expect I'd be to not have an enclosed tent ... or my camera gear .... or rain gear ... or a real sleeping pad ... or the bear canister ... or extra clothes ... or ...

10:16 a.m. on January 18, 2012 (EST)
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Nope, not for me, ain't gonna do it!  I like the full tent, fat sleeping bag, comfy air mattress, pressurized gas cooking too much.

2:13 p.m. on January 18, 2012 (EST)
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I'm kinda mixed on this one...

Typically my trips are a week in length solo. Just with my food alone there would be noway I could achieve getting my pack dialed into these kinds of weights.

My 3L bladder alone weighs around 6lbs when fully engorged. 

Also season is another thing that comes to mind. There is no way in Hades I would be caught in the hills in the middle of winter with such a minimalists approach.

I am not saying that it wouldn't work for others... Just not me. Yep, I'm a pack mule.

It just seems to me that there is a fine line that one walks when getting your gear/packweight dialed in for an extreme ultra light trip. 

I would much rather hump the extra weight and know if you know what hits the fan I am good to go. 

Then again I have to take into consideration:

  • I am solo so if I run into a serious situation where my life could be on the line I have to resort to what I have gear wise in order to maximize the chances of me getting back out there to trek another day.
  • Do I just want to make it through a storm or be comfortable physically as well as mentally? The mental aspect of adverse situations play as much of a part in any backcountry trip as the physical aspects do imo. If you are in a hairy storm and you have doubt that your gear is up to snuff instead of getting the rest to recoup your mind and thought processing you may very well end up not getting rest and your decision making abilities may take a hit. We all know where poor motor functioning and decision making can lead.   
  • If I do get in a jam there is a good chance that if I plan on surviving it I may very well need to "self rescue." As I stated above if I start eliminating gear I may also be unintentionally eliminating my chances of survival. 

As we all know alot of gear can serve other functions as well as the one it was primarily designed for. This is something that should not be over-looked when one is 86ing gear to get their pack weight down.

I could go on and on about this but my biggest thing is if you are going to go with a SUL approach make sure you cover all bases in regards to the climates, surroundings, potential scenarios, etc.

For me its not always about how many grams I can shave off but more geared towards being comfortable and how many smiles I can generate along the way. 

I am not necessarily disagreeing with this approach. Dependent on season, location, etc. these kinds of weights can be achieved with alot of thought and consideration.

I also have said on more than one occasion there is alot that can be adopted from the UL/SUL approach. Its more or less "what are you comfortable with?"

There is no "right or wrong" when it comes to individual preference. 

At the same time there are alot of variables to take into consideration when planning a trip of this nature. Some of which I have stated above. 

From experience, the situations one doesn't want to encounter typically happened to me when I was not prepared for it throughout the years.

Live and learn... Most of all though live to learn another day. 

For an over-nighter in warmer temps with calm weather I would consider it. Anything else this is a "no fly zone" for me.


2:37 p.m. on January 18, 2012 (EST)
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Out here many people in the summer just pass out on the beaches with no gear at all. Is that the ultimate ULer? A pint of whiskey and a bic lighter? Film at 11. LOL

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