ARE THE OUNCE AND GRAM COUNTERS MAKING A MISTAKE?

11:43 p.m. on March 26, 2015 (EDT)
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THE REASON I ASK THIS IS BECAUSE IT SEAMS TO HAVE BECOME A PREREQUISIT    TO THEM. I REGULARLY CARRY MUCH LARGER LOADS THAN NESSECARY ON SHORT TRIP BECAUSE IT BUILDS MUSCLE, STAMINA AND ENDURANCE SO THAT WHEN WE DO LONGER TRIPS, IM NOT OVERWHELMED BY THE EXTRA WEIGHT; I’M ALREADY USED TO IT AND ABLE TO CUT BACK ON THE EXTAS AND REPLACE THEM WITH NECESITIES. JUST TO GIVE A FEW EXAMPLES PEOPLE CARRY TOO SMALL OF A KNIFE AND MULTIPURPOSE TOOL I’LL ALWAYS CARRY A 2.5 IN BLADED KNIFE AND A LEATHERMAN SUPERTOOL FOR BACK UP AND REPAIRS AS IT WILL DO MOST ANY TASK IN THE WOODS. A DOUBLE AA MAG LITE IS A MUST; ( I’D CARRY IT BEFORE I WOULD MY HEAD LAMP WHICH IS A MYO-XP AND THE BEST I’V E EVER SEEN) ON ACCOUNT OF THE FACT THAT IT IS ONE OF THE MOST DURABLE FLASH LITES OUT THERE AND CAN BE USED LIKE A CANDLE ALSO. THE LIST GOES ON, NOT ENOUGH TENT TOO SMALL OF A FIRST AID KIT TOO WEEK OF A BACK PACK AND SO ON. THESE ARE JUST MY OBSERVATIONS- WHATS YOUR OPINION. I’D LIKE LESS WEIGHT BUT SOMETHINGS SHOULDN’T BE SACIFICED JUST TO ACHIEVE SOME MYTHICAL WEIGHT.WHAT GOOD IS IT IF YOU’R FREAZING, HUNGRY AND STUCK FOR AN LONGER PERIOD OF TIME? I SAY CARRY A FEW MORE POUNDES AND IMPROVE YOUR PREPAREDNESS PLUS ENJOYMENT.

2:51 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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First of all, I'm not a gram counter, but belong to a site that focuses on UL backpacking so I have read thousands of posts about UL camping. Having said that, you are making some assumptions that have no basis in fact. The first is that UL backpackers are sacrificing comfort or safety for weight. There are UL alternatives to almost every pieces of gear. A Mag light is hardly a necessity. I used to carry one for work, but much prefer my headlamp for camping. I carry a small knife and have no need for a big one. I have a tiny multi tool and no need for a big one of those either. If I am going to be on skis or snowshoes, I might carry a specific tool for them, but otherwise I see no need for anything else. With enough money, I could easily cut down the weight of almost everything I own, clothes, shelter, pack, other gear, without sacrificing anything except perhaps durability.

My winter gear tends to be heavy because I buy gear I want to last a long time and cutting edge UL gear can be pricey. On the other hand, you can make a UL stove from a soda can that costs next to nothing, weighs next to nothing and works fine for 3 season camping.

5:20 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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I say do what makes you happy and don't worry so much about what others are doing. That goes for both you and the UL folks.

6:28 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Tom is right about alot of points here. UL doesn't mean you giving up safety or comfort..Prime example was your Mag Light. I have a Surefire smaller lighter and more Lumens than the mag..But it only goes car camping..Why do I need that when I have a perfectly functioning headlamp that works for what I need it to..You mention you have a heavier pack and do short trips to build muscle and stamina..Most of my friends that are UL are long distance hikers and train before with a heavier pack..Then go with a lighter pack. Less fatigue and longer miles in a day and they smell the roses  as they move along..Yes I am an ounce counter and grams..Like Tom pointed out it's pricey and if its not multi functioning besides my headlamp.It doesn't go..Also you presume that they carry barley any food.No they know if its not eaten then your carrying dead weight and long distance hikers are the same way..Let me add they actually learn alot about nutriention and get the biggest bang for the calories..O am not knocking you but their are alot of misconceptions..I am not UL but my base weight is 11 pounds..But I like any backpacker that likes to get outdoors.Tradional to UL I don't talk gear to people when I  backpack unless they bring it up and ask a question to me about what I have. Then I always find common ground and what they have..It's all perspective...

7:52 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Ul equipment does not always mean you sacrifice comfort or safety, but sometimes it does. If your gear is just bearly enough to cope with the average situations that may emerge, it may be too weak for the extreme situations that we all know sometimes occur. 

But UL gear always poses a more knowledgeable hiker, since the margins for change are so small. An UL tent is smaller than the normal weight tent, and if you are stuck in heavy rain for a day or two hardly as comfortable. It is often also weaker which makes the positioning and staking out more critical. 

If you take a 10°C sleeping bag and a cold front gives you 1°C you will not freeze to death, but comfortable will the night not be!

9:13 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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There are certainly people who take it too far.... and from reading the main UL forums, I can tell that there are people who just get gear and make gear lists for forum attention/ego stroking. This is nothing new. It exists on every forum for every hobby.

The basic philosophy of not taking more than you need and going as light as you can certainly makes sense. After all it saves your joints, and theoretically limits fatigue on long hikes. (I say theoretically, because going too lightweight with something like a pack which doesnt adequately support its load, or a sleep system thats too uncomfortable to sleep in will ultimately make you more tired)

You have to decide for yourself where the line for weight/comfort/durability stands. This is what starts to make the hobby expensive is that it can get into a lot of purchasing/upgrading/reevaluating.

For some things I go ultralight, for others I go lightweight, and for some things (for winter camping), I go fully on comfort and safety (like the use of a Downmat 9 for sleeping).

Everyone is entitled to their opinion... and the only people that are wrong are those who put themselves in danger with poor gear choices. This can mean those who go too light for the conditions, or those who take too much gear to the point that they are off-balance or overly exhausted.

9:53 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Ottostover and tj1984 bring out essentially what I'm trying to say. I do see some merrit to what they do after all backpacking is great when it come too challenging yourself I'm just of the opinion that they more often than not push the envelope to far in a place that has the potential to get bad im a hurry. 

9:58 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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UL backpacking is for the most part "snippet" backpacking, i.e. short weekend trips or long trips with frequent resupplies.  Try going ultralight with a small flimsy pack on a 22 day trip w/o resupply and the food load alone is 50 lbs. 

11:32 a.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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For me, it is always about balancing comfort and safety, and cost and durability. Certainly being loaded down with too much gear can make the trail time less enjoyable. I try to have at least some gear that can serve multiple purposes. I also don't mind taking a few more "luxury" items such as a thicker sleeping pad. When I climbed a lot, I often did planned(and a few unplanned) bivouacs, and now I find that a really good night's sleep makes my trip more enjoyable.

While most UL hikers are pretty knowledgeable about their gear, it does sometimes enter into an extreme area. In cycling, I occasionally run into someone who is quite overweight, and at a stop they might talk about how many grams they saved on some very expensive component. In reality, they could stay away from that donut and save $500 dollars and still be at the same overall weight.

1:07 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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I would have to agree with Walter; for shorter trips of only a few days and close to home UL methods would shine, but for longer trips more robust gear would be recommended. This of course would depend on time of year and local weather. One summer while in the midst of a 7 week hiking trip I met another hiker who asked if that was my “big tent”. It was a North Face Mountain Tent and the only one I owned. When I told him yes, he laughed and said all he needed was a tarp. I asked him how long he was out for. When he said 3 days I told him I was part way through a 7 week trip which included climbing over the spine of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific watershed. At that he walked away not saying anything.

The point is that the longer we hike from the trailhead the greater the risk is of damaging our gear and the longer we stay out the more variable the weather becomes. I also carried a very extensive repair kit. There were times when I wished I had a lighter tent but when I was waiting out wind and rain storms I felt my decision was more than justified.

Cost must factor in as well. How many tents did I want to purchase? A 4 season one for winter camping, a three season one for summer use, etc., would have cost me more than I was willing to spend at the time. The weight of gear should also be measured against durability. My 4 season tent might weigh over 8 lbs. but it has been on some very long trips and I have slept thousands of nights both summer and winter and survived some hellish storms all nested within its protective barrier. After 20 years or so of hard use it is still going strong. Could I have gotten that kind of use for that length of time from some of the UL gear? I doubt it.

There is also a matter of fitness. I find that by carrying a 4 season tent in the summer along with my 7 lb. expedition pack, keeps me in good shape for the winter trips when I would need to carry these huge weights anyhow.

3:30 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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John, you jump to pretty quick conclusions and judgments in your post.

I've lived in both worlds, and I can say I hike safer, smarter, and better with a 15lb (baseweight) pack than I did when I felt I had to have everything REI tries to sell me.

Hike your own hike. What do you care if someone else is a gram weenie?

4:48 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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1. Is your caps-lock on?

2. It is probably best to think of UL as a set of objects + text + practices which more or less adhere to the notion that saving weight can have significant benefits rather than a group of "crazies" racing carelessly out on the edge of comfort and safety all for the singular goal of being the lightest (those guys are as few as they are awesome).

3. Saving weight CAN (as Goose suggested) help you hike safer...farther...and with greater comfort. If you like to put a lot of different dirt under your feet rather than spending a good deal of time looking at the same patch or patches of dirt the practice of trying to save weight can greatly improve your odds of achieving your aims with greater satisfaction.

4. I don't understand all the ill-will towards the guys out there experimenting with less...my solo or distance backpacking is indebted to a good number of books + forums + youtube videos. Of course there are many spectacular failures...but such is the case for science and we celebrate its practitioners with a great deal more respect...why the difference?

5. Since we're at it...I think the whole idea of tradional/light/ultralight is a terrible description of backpacking in reality (most of us fluctuate between categories)...and I wonder what its existence owes more to...the needs of marketers (or more radically...gear!) to have compliant and easily managed consumers and users...or the wants and needs of backpackers?

5:59 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Joseph, I think a lot of that ultralight/super-ultralight stuff is self labeling stemming from forums and blogs.... which the cottage industry then feeds back into. Most of the popular stuff amongst ultralighters isn't very mainstream (at least not in the US, the UK market tends to be pretty big on it, but not for backpacking, but rather "adventure racing").

7:51 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Labeling usually is either self applied to exclude others or applied by others to exclude the labelee so rarely an exact science.

My interest in light is to enable me to go heavy so I'm not sure what label someone would slap on me. The lighter everything else is the more supplies I can carry and the longer I can go out for. That goal means I use a larger pack and sometimes have a big bag of food strapped on top and boy do folks love to tell me how heavy it looks and how I need to get lighter gear.

They don't know that the combined weight of my tent, bed, kitchen and oh so scary, heavy looking external frame pack is less than twelve pounds. I get all sorts of advice that I try to not smile over too broadly and thank folks for their concern heh.

Like I said earlier; do what makes you happy. If you want to take too much or too little it is nobody's business but your own. The same goes for everyone else you meet out there.

10:27 p.m. on March 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Heavy doesn't mean better, it often just means cheaper. I'd much rather carry a light down bag than some bulky big box brand bag with a suspect rating. Same for my down parkas. Lighter may mean going farther, less strain on joints and muscles and more luxuries like camera gear or extra food. Gear and clothes should be bought with a purpose in mind. Buying stuff at random because it looks good or is light is a bad way to outfit yourself. Much of my gear was bought for the purpose you see in my picture. No skis now, but I have snowshoes. Pulling a sled takes weight out of the equation.

8:20 a.m. on March 28, 2015 (EDT)
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Tippi could you elaborate on Snippit backpacking and how you came to that conclusion? Also what's your definition of a UL backpacker besides what you stated...

9:41 a.m. on March 28, 2015 (EDT)
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I am not sure the issue is the length of the trip so much as the conditions you expect to encounter.  To Walter's point, if you are out for three days and know that the elevation and weather conditions are going to be mild, then you don't need some of the stuff you would take on a longer trip where you might encourage more extremes of temperature and precipitation.

 

And I am really unclear why the OP is upset about this.  Carry what you want.  Enjoy the hike.  Let others do the same.

But since you're asking for opinions, what the heck do you need a big knife for?  We use ours to cut salami, small cords, and clean fish.  We don't make a fire, we don't skin bears, and we haven't have a good knife fight with another backpacker in years...grin

10:28 a.m. on March 28, 2015 (EDT)
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We have talked before about the fact that there are many right ways to do things in the outdoors. One of the intriguing things about backpacking is that equipment choices are very personal.  For some it is a form of self expression, especially for people that hike in places like the AT where there is a certain amount of traffic on trails and people camp near shelters.

It is unfortunate that some people let their egos get in the way of their decision making and their views of other people.

For perspective, I would mention that compared to the equipment that people used for hundreds of years before 1900, Nessmuk and Kephart made lighter equipment popular. In their day balloon silk and Egyptian cotton and fine woolens were the preferred materials.  When I started in 1960, we had Trapper Nelsons and Army surplus.  Compared to that stuff, everything today labeled backpacking equipment seems light to me.

Several people have the point about ul equipment being right for the conditions.  Camping in the East in the summer, is a lot different than camping in northern Canada.

12:40 p.m. on March 28, 2015 (EDT)
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Snippet backpacking is weekend backpacking whereby a hiker can carry minimal weights because as Balzaccom says they can experience a 3 day anticipated benign forecast (or not go at all if conditions sour), and as mentioned only have to carry a tiny food load.  A three day food load is tiny, let's face it, and can be hauled in a tiny lightweight pack.

Can a bonafide Ultralighter stay out for 3 weeks with a 45-50 lb food load incl fuel??  Let's say they carry a baseweight of 10 lbs, now add 50 and they end up with a 60 lb pack.  How will their uber light packs handle such a load?

There is a definite corporate allegiance to the Fast & Light phenom---just look at TarpTent and BackpackingLight.com (Pack Less.  Be More), and the whole slew of UL backpacking blogs (Adventure Alan comes to mind).

Many newb backpackers come into the game fixated on the Fast & Light hysteria because they seem brainwashed by the hype.  Not to say Solo Girl was such a newb, but she did set off a rescue when her gear allowed no room for mistakes. 

See---

http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=4a55d95de9d7af08bbc417a0f76d8bdd&entry_id=8688

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/103855-What-did-she-do-wrong

And on this link I comment on the Skurka mindset of traveling fast and light---http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=383414

And this link has a discussion between ULers and the not-so-light crowd (me)---http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=70866&disable_pagination=1

I discuss Solo Girl's mishap here---

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=293413

11:44 p.m. on March 28, 2015 (EDT)
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For the piece I did for TS on Gossamer Gear, I spoke with Glen Van Peski. His philosophy about UL, has to do with a particular style, not whether one style is good or bad. It is what kind of hiking you like to do. He said that some people like to hike to a lake and spend a few days there, perhaps doing day hikes, whereas others may want to hike UL and quickly, covering more miles. It is an individual choice, but more than that, it is an individual choice on a particular trip. As an example, on the Finlay River, I took a Nemo single wall tent, the one with inflatable tubes for erection. On other canoe trips, I have used my Exped Venus, both solo and with two of us, and on still other trips, I have used my nylon Baker tent. The Finlay was a hard trip and I knew that weight would be important as there would be at least three difficult portages.

12:17 a.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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balzaccom- i'm still laughing it must be pretty tame on your trails I keep getting attacked by hikers who want my gear; plenty of knife fights down here. plus the bear I ran into on the AT about a mile from springer mountain a few year ago took one look at the big(3in) case knife on my hip and ran the other way(glad he did cause one of us was about to have a real bad day), and the times I've been attacked by dogs well I didn't even have to mention it to them, the over weight (20 oz) trekking poles changed there whole attitude. On a more serious note  guys I'm really not downing these people some times you just have to ask the question or  your never going to know. and since it is my aim to one day move out west where I dream of hiking like you guys do. well I need advice on areas and ideas ie; OZ and GRAM counting that go against my fundamental beliefs and experiences yet will aid in accomplishing these goals. North1 and Tipi make sense to me.        

12:22 a.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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The idea that UL hikers put themselves at risk because of their gear, seems a bit too simplistic an analysis. A recent death on Mt. Washington by a relatively well equipped hiker illustrates my point. She was trying to do a one day quick summit and got caught in a bad storm. She set off a PLB but rescuers found her dead from exposure. There is a thread here on this incident. Her big mistake, as several people pointed out, and I agree, was made in the parking lot when she walked away from her car. Given the pending storm, it is hard to say what could have saved her. She was not a UL hiker, but apparently had no shelter with her since she didn't expect to need one. In my mind, this is not a gear failure, but a failure of expectations and overestimate of abilities. 

I don't claim to have a lot of experience in really bad weather and frankly, I don't want it. On my little trips to Yosemite, I did find myself in a mild storm, on one of them, but was with an experienced winter camper and we had a true winter tent, a TNF Mtn 25. On the others, a wee bit of snow on one trip was about it. Checking the weather was the main factor for me in choosing when to go. My point is fairly simple, match your gear to the situation and I think you can avoid a lot of drama.

10:57 a.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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As far as Kate Matrosova goes, well, on my last backpacking trip I copied some info about her plight and wrote about her in my trip report, as follows---

KATE'S DEATH
     The big hullabaloo on the interweb backpacking forums was Kate Matrosova's death on a dayhike up to Mt Madison in the White Mts of New Hampshire.  She picked a bad day to do it with 100mph winds and ambient temps at around minus 30F, too cold for me.  Cold hurts, wind kills.  Erik Thatcher was in a 10 man rescue team that located Kate and this is one of his quotes---

     "Kate's kit was rather stripped down to the bare essentials.  No partner, no bivy gear, and even relatively light on essential layers in my opinion.  This in itself is no sin.  What it means is that she was operating with no room for error."  ERIK THATCHER.

     In the Comment section, Erik mentions what part of her kit she did not have---

     "The first is mittens.  She had regular gloves which in my experience just doesn't cut it.  The second is a neoprene ski mask . . . .no snow shoes, no crampons were on when she was found."  ERIK THATCHER.

THE FAST AND LIGHT HUBRIS
     Here's another quote from Rick Wilcox head of International Mountain Equipment and president of the Mt Rescue Service of North Conway, New Hampshire---

     "There are two ways to go (in climbing):  Light and fast or heavy and slow.  But if something happens when you go light and fast you're screwed.  That happened to her, and there is no way to spend the night."  RICK WILCOX, from an article "Expert: Woman's Climbing Death Offers Lessons" by Tom Eastman, 17 Feb 2015.

10:57 a.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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I like Walter's posts a lot.  Suit your equipment to the conditions and your own style, but have some empathy for the different choices of others.

In my opinion, people that are going to hike Mt Washington in winter should be carrying a sleeping bag with them and a shovel. 

5:34 p.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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BTW, if anyone has the impression that I am defending going out into potentially difficult conditions with inadequate gear or without gear for bad conditions because it means carrying less weight, I am not. For example, a shovel and bivy sack, which I carry, could substitute for a tent in a storm if you start digging your shelter as soon as you realize conditions are deteriorating or that you aren't going to get back to the car or a hard shelter before things really get bad. A snow cave, while not as plush as my winter tent, could be just as safe, if not more so than a tent, especially in high winds. 

10:20 p.m. on March 29, 2015 (EDT)
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Tom D-Point well taken and recieved

9:48 a.m. on March 30, 2015 (EDT)
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Tippi I thought you were banned from the Ul threads on WB? I will say this there are 5 members on here that are what I consider winter backpackers you being one of them. When I hike 3 season I am close to UL...I don't go full UL because that would take me out of my comfort zone..I do appreciate your trips and yes I think I would really enjoy hiking with you. If it makes someone happy to go 5 miles and camp and explore what's around them so be it..It's there hike..If they want to carry 50 pound pack so be it..I am not the one carrying it..Backpacking is all perspective to each and every backpacker.What gear they choose and how it functions.I also don't knock any UL hiker their doing their thing how they want to and yes they research their gear like anyone else.But it suits them how they want it to function for them.Do some come up short sure.Do's someone carrying a 50 pound pack come up short yep same thing..It's all in the application of the gear...

5:12 p.m. on March 30, 2015 (EDT)
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this made me think about a few things:

the double A Maglite has not been my friend.  I don't know why.  they don't like me.  two of them died before I abandoned them.  I'm much more inclined to carry a backup headlamp.

I can see the value in carrying less weight as I get older and my knees start to ache after a long hike.  It shouldn't matter that the things you use weigh less, so long as they do the job.  There are plenty of people who long-haul hike with lightweight backpacks and gear who seem to manage fine. 

"As long as they do the job" implies that your gear, whatever it is, is suited for the weather and conditions you anticipate running into.  if you expect cold or wet weather, you have to bring enough to keep you warm and dry, even if things go bad and you get hung up for a while.  which can happen at 30 degrees or minus 30, with equally tragic results if you aren't prepared.  if you spend a lot of time scrambling on rocks or in slot canyons, you're probably better off carrying a pack that won't shred easily.  Still, there are some amazing and very light ways to tackle these challenges.  Patagonia's alpine Houdini is waterproof and weighs 5 or 6 ounces. there are a number of puffy jackets that are very warm at 8 -12 ounces.  not a minus 30 solution, but highly useful in many other situations.   

Ms. Matrosova would have had been at serious risk no matter what kind of gear she had with the weather she climbed into.  BUT....some things she left behind are standard for me and everyone else I know who hikes up there in the winter.  windproof face mask, snowshoes, crampons, and a bivy or other emergency alternative. 

one ounce-killing item I always take in the winter is metal vacuum thermos.  I brew hot tea or jello in the morning - it's still lukewarm by mid-afternoon.  the same drink will turn to slush in a few hours and freeze solid an hour later in a plastic bottle inside a winter/insulated bottle jacket.  in other words, the lighter weight solution = total failure to meet the objective.  you have to pick your battles, I guess. 

 

11:15 a.m. on March 31, 2015 (EDT)
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In the end, the crucial decision is not what equipment to bring, but whether to cancel a trip when the weather is likely to get really rough. 

4:14 p.m. on March 31, 2015 (EDT)
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Lets just throw a incident of one hiker that wasn't even going by a UL standard to win a debate..Your grasping at straws at this point. With that..I actually agree with Ppine on something.he just posted...

4:50 p.m. on March 31, 2015 (EDT)
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It's actually two examples, Solo Girl and Kate Matrosova. 

11:02 a.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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This reminds me of a canoe trip I planned with my brother many years ago.  We were signed up 6 months ahead of time to run the Rio Grande thru Big Bend for about 130 miles in February.  The weather turned and it was 35 below average temps with blowing snow.  We would have been in a dark canyon a lot of the time, with low angle winter sun, and the risk of capsizing in a few sizable rapids. We cancelled the trip and I never regretted the decision.

 

 

11:53 a.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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is there such thing as 'winning' a debate on an online message board? talk about a hollow victory.  

i agree that the chatter about winter hiking is a tangent - not so much about ultralight gear as about going light by leaving stuff behind.  different issue.  

my favorite non-light story was a hike i took with 2 other people across the presidentials in new hampshire a long time ago.  planned to take our time, 4 days for a trip you could bang out in two.  my pack weighed about 50, my brother's about 45.  our friend weighed in at 56, and she was easily the smallest and lightest person.  she had several pounds of canned food in her backpack, and several more of non-essential stuff.  a vain attempt to lighten the load behind us, that monster pack ended up getting hauled up the steepest parts of the trail with utility line on the first day.  we eventually ate or redistributed, but the first day stunk.  

9:02 p.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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ppline can I disagree just one more time. then I'll leave off and hear u guys out. here is senerio hiker takes out oh just say North 1's 7 week trip or tipi's 22 day trip, weather forecast is great but as we all know forecasts just are predictions he's in the middle of hike and there is no backing out or canceling he's  in it whether he likes it or not. to quote Otto( Ul equipment does not always mean you sacrifice comfort or safety, but sometimes it does. If your gear is just bearly enough to cope with the average situations that may emerge, it may be too weak for the extreme situations that we all know sometimes occur.) It would seam to me that the gear selection is the most important as the rest is a quassi unknown. Listening. And I do appreciate your obvious intelligence backing out in your afore mentioned perdicaments.

9:49 p.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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It's true that there is such a thing as UL snobbery. It's also true that there is such a thing as anti-UL snobbery. Nobody should think their approach is better than someone else's, just be satisfied with your approach being good for you.

11:53 p.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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Andrew why is it the same people going on tangents on nothing that has to do with the post.if I really wanted sarcasm i'd ask for it..

2:43 a.m. on April 2, 2015 (EDT)
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I'm not sure how to debate / discuss something that can be calculated a thousand different ways.

I do think there are certain precepts that, if followed, can go an awful long way towards keeping one out of trouble in the wilderness.

People who step outside the boundaries of those precepts are potentially putting themselves at risk.

To me safety is paramount, I have nothing to prove, I don't care to set records, or win awards. I do accept some calculated risk.

Some people accept a greater level of calculated risk than I would, others put themselves at risk through laziness, or poor planning, or refusing to turn back.

In the end there is no one checking your gear & skill level at a parking area as you set out on foot (at least not where I go), that is your own responsibility.

Going UL is not a mistake if you know the gear's limitations & you have good skill sets, some don't.

Going heavy will not necessarily keep you out of trouble either, it can be more forgiving of mistakes, or bad situations, but it doesn't replace good skill sets.

7:46 a.m. on April 2, 2015 (EDT)
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well put Mike I need to look a little deeper myself. My not knowing ul gear capabilities and having to depend on others in this area cause I know I need to cut down some weight  is causing a lot of my difficulty. Well put  

10:35 a.m. on April 2, 2015 (EDT)
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I would bring ultralight equipment for a 3 day trip in summer without hesitation.  For crossing the Cascades in winter I would not.

5:45 p.m. on April 2, 2015 (EDT)
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John...if you're looking to save weight I hope you're not first looking to do so by replacing existing gear with UL gear...I would only recommend replacing existing gear after you have exhausted the cheaper means of doing so.

A. Generally speaking there is more weight savings in reducing the amount and packaging of personal items and toiletries than anywhere else in a "heavy" pack...and let's not even discuss the size of the average first-aid and gear-repair kits. Give everything in your pack a serious examination and ask 1) what is the likelihood of using any particular item? 2) What advantages does bringing an an item provide? 3) how much of something do you absolutely need? 4) what are the consequences for not having an item available in the backcountry? In the end the calculation is very personalized (cold food and poor sleep are risks I but others are not willing to take to save several ounces)...but doing this can help identify the large amount of weight-savings hidden in your small and less visible items.

Secondly...dried food is the king of weight-savings...a 30.00 dehydrator and and some leftovers will save you infinitely more weight on your back than the most expensive tent and sleeping-bag. That isn't to say there are not places and times where other foods are not just as good an option (arid environments)...but the incorporation of dried foods into my backpacking diet was easily the single greatest weight-savings change I made over the last 15 years.

Lastly...you could always look to drop body-weight. I personally think we live in a culture overly obsessed with the putting-on and taking-off of pounds so I hesitate to suggest it...but we should all strive to be fit enough to do the things we want and need to do...and it pays off well to lose a few pounds during the warmer backpacking months (though I actually prefer extra body-weight in the winter).

10:06 p.m. on April 2, 2015 (EDT)
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Joseph, in his 5:45 PM (EDT or whatever time zone TS uses) post, comes the closest so far to Mr. Starnes original question (stated in SHOUTING/DEMANDING ALL CAPS – John, in the web world, all caps is considered to be shouting and demanding). The answer is: There is no such thing as a “perfect, do everything” pack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, boot, jacket, etc. This question (“What is the best X gear item?”) is posted frequently by newbies and beginners, with no qualification, and sometimes even by experienced outdoors people who really know better. That is why Ed “whomeworry”, Erich, Tom D, North1, a few others on here and I respond to such posts with the question, “what/where/when are you going?”, rather than instantly posting “model B of Brand X is THE best one to get regardless of what anyone else says!”

The basic answer is “Educate yourself on the conditions you probably will encounter and then factor in the ‘reasonably unexpected’ extremes.” Then choose the gear that is designed for and appropriate to that situation. Take only what you really need for the outing you plan – no more and no less.

Why carry a 60 pound load when you can be just as well prepared with a 20 pound load? I have seen too many people carrying 60 pounds for a weekend 10 mile round trip backpack, when 30 pounds would have included everything needed with a sizable margin of safety. On the other hand, I have seen people far into the woods with inadequate supplies and food in their 60 pound backpack - obviously not having thought through what they stuck in their packs.  I like dutch oven cooking, but I am not sure that the folks I met one time 15 miles into the Sierra really gained that much in great eating with the size 12 Dutch oven that one of them carried in.

“Take only what you need” means that everyplace in the Universe you go has its own unique demands and its own unique risks, to be met with its own unique set of gear, skills, and attitude, appropriate to the location and conditions. My first “official” encounter with “Light Packing” came when I bought my first real pack (a Kelty Backpacker). It came with a brochure that listed the items you needed to go backpacking in the Sierra. The “big 3” items were there, along with “comfort items”. The total weight was 14 pounds 0 ounces, not much different from the weight the “UL gurus” give as the base weight for an UL pack.

The earliest book I have on light packing is “Going Light with Backpack and Burro”, edited by David Brower with a bunch of other authors. In my early climbing days in Yosemite, I met Ray Jardine, who is considered the original Guru of Ultralight. Last time I ran into him was in Antarctica. He and his wife had just finished the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole trek (unsupported). The point of this digression is that what is truly “UltraLight” depends on the situation. The Jardines were stripped down to the minimum needed for the conditions in Antarctica for their trek, including provision for the “reasonably unexpected”.

Barb and I just finished last weekend on staff with a High Adventure Training course for adult Scout leaders. Packs included the gear and food needed for the 3 days, including the “just in case it rains or gets colder than forecast” gear (last year’s course included 3 days of solid cold rain). All the packs were under 20 pounds, including shelter, sleeping gear, food, water, and bear canisters.

I have 10 tents, ranging from a 1.5 pound Cuben to a 12 pound 3-person expedition tent that has spent time in an Antarctic 6-day blizzard. My sleeping bags range from a 2 pound synthetic that is good to 30F to a 4 pound -40F/C down bag used on Denali and in Antarctica during storms with winds measured to 50 knots. Packs that I have for hauling loads during treks range from 2 pounds (a Jardine design) to a 7 pound big load hauler, in which I have carried 60 pounds, and alternatively 40 pounds while hauling 80 pounds in a sled (as in my avatar), which included my share of a month’s worth of food and fuel. At the light end, I sometimes go with Tshirt and shorts, wearing trail runners for a week in the Sierra in summer. Versus a full skin out expedition weight long johns, midlayer, down jacket and pants, and wpb shell top and bottom (plus balaclava, snow goggles, etc).

The “Big 3” I referred to are the 3 most vital items for backpacking, and also the heaviest of the required items – tent (or other shelter), sleeping gear (including pads), and pack. An 2-person expedition tent can weigh 15 pounds or 6 pounds. A -40F down sleeping bag can weigh 6 pounds or 4 pounds. You could carry the gear in a 9 pound pack or a 4 pound pack. Your inflatable pad could be 3 pounds or 1.5 pounds. In those Big 3 items, you could be carrying 33 pounds or 15.5 pounds, almost a factor of 2 difference, or 17.5 pounds. We are not talking ounces and grams here!

It is not necessary to skimp on the safety margin to save a substantial amount of weight.

Bottom line is – take the necessary gear for the conditions to be encountered – no more, no less. Do I check the weight when preparing for expeditions where the gear and food add up to over 100 pounds per person? Most definitely yes! I may have to make multiple loads. But I have spent too many days and nights tucked into my expedition tent behind wind walls of snow or inside snow caves to do less. OTOH, if it is summer in the Ventana Wilderness, I can do just fine in a long sleeve wicking shirt and long wicking pants (we have poison oak and ticks around here). Why do I still weigh the gear for the expeditions? Two primary reasons – first, I don’t like carrying more than I need (I once decided to weigh the “small stuff” I had in the top pocket of my pack and discovered that the “small” stuff added up to almost 5 pounds). Second, on expeditions for the American Climber Science Program, I have to transport the gear on the airlines from California to Peru, and the airlines hit you with high fees if you are overweight.

10:45 a.m. on April 3, 2015 (EDT)
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If your Big 3 weigh 33 pounds that is not UL and that is my point.

2:46 p.m. on April 3, 2015 (EDT)
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ppine, you again misread. The example was an expedition tent, a -40F sleeping bag, an expedition pack, and a highly insulating inflatable pad, as needed for an expedition that requires the gear for high winds and subzero temperatures. In each case you had a choice between two gear items that provide the same protection for the elements, one combination adding up to 33 pounds, the other 15.5 pounds.

Note that I did not say use a 1.5 pound Cuben tent, a 2 pound down comforter, a 1.5 pound Cuben pack, and a 14 ounce Z-Rest pad for this expedition to a very windy, subzero environment. Those are ok for the Ventana Wilderness, probably even in what passes for winter around here. But I doubt they would stand up to the conditions I have encountered for my climbs in the Alaska Range or in Antarctica.

To repeat - be familiar with the conditions and environment you are heading into and choose your gear appropriately for those conditions.

The fundamental point is don't just grab whatever item happens to be around. Do a bit of research and you can get the equivalent at a much smaller weight in most cases. Why take a 15 pound tent (a VE25, for example), when a 6 pound tent will work as well (a Bibler Eldorado with the optional vestibule)? A 6 pound down bag (my old Eddie Bauer Karakoram which is still just fine at -40F even with its 55 years of use) compared to a 4 pound bag with the current 850 fill down (my Feathered Friends bag)? A 3 pound inflatable with down or Primaloft filler vs a 1.5 pound Neoaire that uses clever baffeling and inner reflective multichambers at a higher R-rating? Yes, those are more expensive, but the lighter gear actually will keep you just as safe and warm as the heavier choices. Plus with half the weight, you expend less energy.

Several people who are active here on TS or were active in the past, like me, review the gear we take on each trip to determine which items are used, which could have been useful in case of a problem, and which were completely unused. Over the years, I have found a number of items that are carried by many backpackers that are totally useless or are better served by a much lighter alternative or by multi-use items (do you really need to carry a full set of 3 pots and 3 lids that could act as fry pans, soup bowls, or dishes?). Do I really need to take my Pro-Am DSLR with 3 extra lenses and flash unit, or can I get good enough photos with my tiny 4 ounce P&S (answer is sometimes yes to the lightweight, sometimes the 5 pound DSLR is needed, especially on the American Climber Science expeditions)?

10:49 p.m. on April 3, 2015 (EDT)
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I must admit that I really don't know the parameters by which we define "ultra light", but I do believe that what ever method we take to get out there isn't as important as just getting out there. Providing we travel safely should it matter whether or not we follow the latest gospel? Both comfort and safety are subjective and dependant, to some extent, upon one's experience. I do alot of winter camping; much of my gear is at least 20 years old and some more than thirty and it still works fine, therefore I trust it. It might weigh more than some modern gear but I have no problem with the weight. There is a feeling of familiarity when ever I put on my pack and my body adjusts almost instantly to the load, kind of like a pickup truck. So, I don't see any reason to change. But that's just me. Others may disagree and that's fine too. 

4:50 p.m. on April 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Bill's excellent post echoes my own thoughts. To directly answer, with some equivocation, John's question and expand on my first pot on this thread, yes, John, sometimes I think people get too hyped up on saving grams. Light and ultralight can be good if they reduce weight and increase your enjoyment of the trip. Provided that they do not sacrifice safety on a particular trip. On expeditions like Bill's, weight is critical for many reasons that he many mentions, particularly when the trip is long. You need to assess every item and whether it is necessary for the survival in expected an unexpected conditions. For that week end trip, the decision between taking that MSR stainless spoon or its equivalent titanium version becomes more academic. Yes, the stainless version is heavier. If all of your gear is on the heavy side, those grams you mention start to become pounds. But if you worry endlessly over that one item, or rush out and buy the titanium version because you're afraid the stainless version will negatively impact your trip, then you are losing sight of the big picture. I should also add that another couple of questions emerge from all this. One is the question of durability. Lighter gear tends to be less durable. On a long trip, this can impact safety. Also, lighter gear will be more expensive and new lighter gear is constantly emerging in the market place. Can you really afford to run out and buy this season's lightest gear, and repeat this scenario each year? Again, find the gear that is appropriate for your own style and each trip you do. An example I'll draw is one from a few years ago in which someone asked me about an expedition canoe, and which I liked. Understand that expedition canoes are often heavier than others, though more durable. The latter translates to a safety issue. You don't want to be in the middle of the Barren Lands when you boat self destructs in a rapid. When I asked the person what expedition he would be going on, he replied that he might be doing an expedition when he retired in ten years. So I asked what kind of trips he currently did. It was mostly lake trips, perhaps up to a week. I told him that he should not spend the money or sacrifice the weight for the future, possible expedition, but rather purchase what he needed at the time. If he did eventually do a long trip, he could purchase the right boat for that trip then.

Again, light weight is important in anything, except a steam roller. But don't get wrapped up in light weight if you sacrifice comfort or safety

9:18 p.m. on April 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Guys this is great feedback this is just what I was looking for. I'm in good enough shape and strong enough to handle almost any load but my way wouldn't work for the long haul so listening to these last several post is helping to delineate areas where to make changes. Don't worry I'm not throwing out gear, I believe you guys would approve of my selections over the last 10yrs so far and if I do give them away it is to other in need or to encourage other to get out here with us. Note-ppine hate that I thru such a hard scenario at you. special thanks to you for answering.   

4:37 p.m. on April 28, 2015 (EDT)
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"A man's gotta know his limitations." (Dirty Harry)

2:52 p.m. on June 26, 2015 (EDT)
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The answer on whether to go UL or not on a hike is simply "it depends."

It depends on a long laundry list of factors, just as an example.

1. Weather

2. Climate

3. Elevation

4. Trail Conditions

5. Numbers

6. Miles

7. Days

8. Physical Condition

9. Experience

10. Goals

11. Fun factors

 

The list goes on and on.  The hike is unique to the hiker, trail, date.  Second guessing the gear of someone you are not responsible for is futile at best and potentially rude.  Have fun out there!

3:39 p.m. on June 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Understandable thoughts John,

There were lots of great words of wisdom shared on the ultra light vs expedition gear and all point between that I don't need to comment. I will say that what ever you pack in your pack it's yours, you carry it, and the only one you have to justify it to is yourself.

I love lights, it's a weakness, I have 3 AA maglights in my desk right now, I love, don't ever use anymore, even though they're converted to LED's. They are just inferior to the numerous small crazy powerful and battery sippin' current options available. I don't really want to get rid of my venerable maglights, but I really don't see that I will ever use them again.

My goto for backpacking is the UCO Clarus, brighter than the maglight, close to the same weight, 150 lumens, far better for an area light in lantern mode and has several modes of brightness, has a loop to hang it, just plain outshines and out smarts the wonderful old maglight.

My you carry a small knife, I've almost always got at least a 4" fixed blade. But never carried a leatherman though I own several and a even better gerber and a very sweet SOG. I just haven't found or thought of a need for a multitool hiking and hanging in the woods. YNMV.

I'm not really UL, my base weight is about12-15 pounds, those last few pounds cost more than I want to spend at this time and the weight means a little exercise, I that's good for me.

Sacrifice comfort? Don't really do that as I'm a hammock guy and I'm seriously comfortable. Though I do on occasion sacrifice my comfort for experimentation and others.

We're all different and get out for various reasons, pack for your own reasons ....cause your the one carrying it!

11:28 p.m. on June 26, 2015 (EDT)
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dirtwheels said:

 

My goto for backpacking is the UCO Clarus, brighter than the maglight, close to the same weight, 150 lumens, far better for an area light in lantern mode and has several modes of brightness, has a loop to hang it, just plain outshines and out smarts the wonderful old maglight.

My you carry a small knife, I've almost always got at least a 4" fixed blade. But never carried a leatherman though I own several and a even better gerber and a very sweet SOG. I just haven't found or thought of a need for a multitool hiking and hanging in the woods.

 sounds like a pretty good lite and I have one similar a Brunton. as for the mag your probably right except on the out smarts part cause I've dropped them from 30 plus feet off of ladders numerous times over the year stepped on them ran over them kicked them dropped in water and lost one them in a very high temp attic and found it many many years later and they still worked (now they are not perfect I have indeed broken some and worn an others out but to me they are at under $10 ; like school lunches back in my day, at 75cents the best dang bang for your buck) your light and my Brunton aren't going to take those kind of beatings they are just going to be smarting and the mag while smarting he may be is going to get back up and keep on going. an I can't think of what off hand but its tube probably could be used for more than just holding batteries. as too my knives well when I read what you said, I just had to put the tape to them little bigger than I said. you know us southerners can't tell the whole world how well prepared we really are they get scared or envy us.(we're friendly people) and the Leatherman well I was on my fist hiking trip in the middle of winter and using my Coleman model 440 stove, needed a little gas to help the wet wood make up its mind that it wanted to fire up. didn't carry my multi tool that trip finally got the cap off with my teeth but my dentist suggested I use a multi tool next go round. Dang if he wasn't right worked real good with that tool. and its great as a pair of tongs for picking hot Items pots and such or flipping steaks. on short overnighters. and sides I like my toy. now as to comfort, a hammock or tent work equally well for me my chiropractor told me about the benefits of sleeping on floor/ground Dang if he wasn't right toooo (he should have kept  quiet) haven't had to pay him since. and I love my hammock and all of the conveniences that it brings. Oh by they way I almost forgot I work with about 30 or 40 guy and all of them other than 1 maybe 2 will tell you to throw away the Gerber it just don't cut it. but those 1 or 2 seam to do ok with them so maybe its just us. Can we both be right? I don't know works for me.         

11:54 p.m. on June 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Wallace Cooley said:

The answer on whether to go UL or not on a hike is simply "it depends."

It depends on a long laundry list of factors, just as an example.

1. Weather

2. Climate

3. Elevation

4. Trail Conditions

5. Numbers

6. Miles

7. Days

8. Physical Condition

9. Experience

10. Goals

11. Fun factors

 

The list goes on and on.  The hike is unique to the hiker, trail, date.  Second guessing the gear of someone you are not responsible for is futile at best and potentially rude.  Have fun out there!

 good stuff your post. not 2nd guessing the post was addressed to like minded people such as myself so as to determine what part of  UL Ideas and practices were legit and what is just taking it too far. as to being rude well if you say hi some people will say your rude and if you don't others will think you rude. And while its not my aim to offend (learning my craft or my passion for hiking if you prefer is) so be it, some people just want to be victims.  

9:42 a.m. on June 27, 2015 (EDT)
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It's pretty good but I won't be taking it up any ladders, I have a Ray-O-Vac 120 lumen, A Streamlight AAA & 2AAA penlight that are aluminum tube construction and easily as durable as the maglight and several times brighter and smaller. I have others as well, but those are my gotos for tech work, I work in the low voltage field. 

I use alcohol and twig stoves so no need for the leatherman other than maybe flipping a steak stuck to the grill top, I do like the SOG the best of my multi-tools but it's bulkier and heavier than the venerable leatherman but the locking tools and blades and heft make the SOG my favorite. But If I carried one hiking it would be the Leatherman due the it's lighter weight. I use the handles or a cloth for my pots but understand how that would be a primary use for the leatherman.

As for sleeping on the floor, that was once much more comfortable for me and really and "can" sleep in about any environment but I do have an aversion to creeping, slithering, and crawling things sharing my sleeping space. I do confess being spoiled by the hammock option.

Years ago I did a PA & Fire Alarm @ Searle in Augusta.

dw

 

 

 

John Starnes said:


 sounds like a pretty good lite and I have one similar a Brunton. as for the mag your probably right except on the out smarts part cause I've dropped them from 30 plus feet off of ladders numerous times over the year stepped on them ran over them kicked them dropped in water and lost one them in a very high temp attic and found it many many years later and they still worked (now they are not perfect I have indeed broken some and worn an others out but to me they are at under $10 ; like school lunches back in my day, at 75cents the best dang bang for your buck) your light and my Brunton aren't going to take those kind of beatings they are just going to be smarting and the mag while smarting he may be is going to get back up and keep on going. an I can't think of what off hand but its tube probably could be used for more than just holding batteries. as too my knives well when I read what you said, I just had to put the tape to them little bigger than I said. you know us southerners can't tell the whole world how well prepared we really are they get scared or envy us.(we're friendly people) and the Leatherman well I was on my fist hiking trip in the middle of winter and using my Coleman model 440 stove, needed a little gas to help the wet wood make up its mind that it wanted to fire up. didn't carry my multi tool that trip finally got the cap off with my teeth but my dentist suggested I use a multi tool next go round. Dang if he wasn't right worked real good with that tool. and its great as a pair of tongs for picking hot Items pots and such or flipping steaks. on short overnighters. and sides I like my toy. now as to comfort, a hammock or tent work equally well for me my chiropractor told me about the benefits of sleeping on floor/ground Dang if he wasn't right toooo (he should have kept  quiet) haven't had to pay him since. and I love my hammock and all of the conveniences that it brings. Oh by they way I almost forgot I work with about 30 or 40 guy and all of them other than 1 maybe 2 will tell you to throw away the Gerber it just don't cut it. but those 1 or 2 seam to do ok with them so maybe its just us. Can we both be right? I don't know works for me.         

 

9:00 p.m. on June 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Dirt - sounds like we agree the Sog is better for cable work at least on my side I provide the I-net and dial tone for you guys in Augusta, Ga. but carry the Leatherman in the outdoors just because I've had a lot less breakage out of it.

Question how well do those stoves work I bought an Esbit last year but haven't had good op to use it yet played around with it at home, and reminds me of old steno stoves. takes too long about 8min in freezing temps. I've gotten spoiled with my old coleman 440 (way to heavy), Brunton raptor (excellent awesome stove very well made sturdy and compact 5 to 6min for a large pot or small) and Jet boil sumo and flash (3min). I've gotten the fast food mentality hate the wait time to eat. So the Esbit is going to take some getting used to.

WE are all with you on the creepy crawlers an hammocks. However I do lean toward tents other than the summer months just because how much better I feel after a night letting my spine settle on the ground it straightens me right out.  

11:12 p.m. on June 27, 2015 (EDT)
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The SOG does have nice features for cable/electrical work. I just don't carry it since I don't usually use a large kit, needle nose, 5" flush cut dikes (hate folk that leave sharp edges!!!), Insulated 4 bit aluminum shorty screw drives and a panel screw driver (hate that craftsman stopped making the best I've tried).

I know a few folk that swear by the esbit, the odor is almost a deal breaker for me and I like to make my own alcohol quick boil stoves, and the fancee feast stove is the best I've used. Boil is like 5 - 6 minutes, alcohol ain't never as fast as propane, but there are advantages IMO. See it with the simmer ring from Zelph here, haven't tried it for baking but have ideas about a different version of the simmer ring.

I use TATO Gears twig and alcohol stove for baking and as an only option sometimes.

http://www.tatogear.com/product/ab-13-hybrid-alcohol-wick-stove/

His twig stove is the element, I have the titanium version and it works well but I prefer to skip the soot most of the time. But at ~4 oz. it finds a place in the pack alot as a backup.

I have a jetboil as my only propane stove and it's a regular rocket, but it's heavier that an alcohol stove, alcohol, IMUSA or Mini-Solo (goto pot & cup) and the twig stove. And Unlimited fuel for the old twigg stove. And I have a titanium grill top from dutchware that weights nearly nothing for a 1st night meat.

Gotta take care of your back, fortunately even after years of racing and general 3 wheeler/4wheeler/mountain bike abuse mine's doing really well. I do like not needing a chair and not having to get down on the wet ground waddling/maneuvering into the tent since my spouse ain't really the camping kind.

7:16 p.m. on June 28, 2015 (EDT)
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neat little stoves, the twig stoves have always seamed like a waste to me when a few well placed rock would do the same thing (understand where they would be advantageous on windy days). and the alcohol stove - I don't really see where you would save any weight versus a canister stove due to the weight of the fuel except maybe a very short trip. now I've listen to the other guys on TS talk about needing the type at altitude but 6000 is about the best we have around here and the Brunton Raptor has performed flawlessly for me even pretty good in wind so far 

10:46 p.m. on June 29, 2015 (EDT)
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Understandable, at ~4 oz. it seemed like a heavy wind screen and I do use it for that at times. The reviews were great and I purchased at a discount at an event and saved shipping, and I'm pleased, the sides direct and contain the heat well. Not a gassifier stove by any means so you do need to pick clean burning wood.

Alcohol stove appear to be an acquired taste, they're slower, and for short trips lighter. And well...I'm kinda hooked. I've have had issues with the flash in the cold, the fancee feast never has let me down.

7:45 a.m. on June 30, 2015 (EDT)
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Good deal even though I don't personal have any use for them I would like to try them out exta knowledge wont hurt 

8:47 a.m. on June 30, 2015 (EDT)
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To be honest, I think I more prefer the idea of alcohol stoves than their practicality. I tend to use a few different gas stoves.... but my favourite is definitely the MSR reactor, even though it is my heaviest... you just cant beat having a virtually instant boil, without worrying about wind.

6:42 a.m. on September 22, 2015 (EDT)
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I need to look a little deeper myself. My not knowing ul gear capabilities and having to depend on others in this area cause I know I need to cut down some weight  is causing a lot of my difficulty.

10:08 a.m. on September 22, 2015 (EDT)
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I learned an important lesson last week in Oregon. The weather dropped 35 degrees and got wet. At 6,000 feet in the Cascades camping in sleet and wind with a tarp was like taking a knife to a gun fight. In the future I will set up the tarp with more ventilation, but for tough conditions I will lug a tent next time.

How Spartan do you really want to be? Some good points have been made by people that know what they are talking about. For short trips in good weather, you can get by with what is in your pockets. For winter trips, the North and the Big Mountains it is easy to bring too little and take your margin for error to the razor's edge.

9:21 p.m. on September 22, 2015 (EDT)
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ppine said:

I learned an important lesson last week in Oregon. The weather dropped 35 degrees and got wet. At 6,000 feet in the Cascades camping in sleet and wind with a tarp was like taking a knife to a gun fight. In the future I will set up the tarp with more ventilation, but for tough conditions I will lug a tent next time.

How Spartan do you really want to be? Some good points have been made by people that know what they are talking about. For short trips in good weather, you can get by with what is in your pockets. For winter trips, the North and the Big Mountains it is easy to bring too little and take your margin for error to the razor's edge.

 Hey ppine- Which tent you gonna carry?  since you regularly go above 6000 what kind of stove and sleeping bag do you use and what gear do you leave cause its of no use up there? 6000 is about the limit here. 

5:23 a.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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Well put Mike I need to look a little deeper myself. My not knowing ul gear capabilities and having to depend on others in this area cause I know I need to cut down some weight  is causing a lot of my difficulty.

2:29 p.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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Sometimes going lighter requires breaking with convention.

Two items in the OP's must have comments are examples of things most take as gospel; the notion you take a first aid kit and a multi tool.  I have been camping since the 1960s and never took a multi tool, and the items in my pack that would be found in in a typical first aid kit are limited to mole skin and aspirin. 

Those who know me through this forum know I am by no means a UL hiker, most of my trips emphasize camp comfort; in fact my last trip in the Sierras was a 5 1/2 mile hike with a 3000" elevation gain to 10500' and involved hauling a 90 pound pack.  A stainless steel espresso brewer was an essential piece of gear back in my youth.  UL I am not! So am I just being cavalier regarding my safety by forsaking multi tools and first aid kits?  The short answer is no.

Bill S and others point out, experience and thoughtful consideration are the means to judge what to bring along.  As for the first aid kit, your pack has items that can serve double function and substitute for most items found in a first aid kit.  Band aids and gauze pads? I can improvise with moleskin, duct tape, TP and plastic bags.  Not sterile?  Then boil, scorch, or pickle in whiskey or anti bacterial wash product.  I rarely bring anything else normally considered part of a first aid kit.  And what use is a multi-tool?  I have never carried one.  But I have brought along a small needle nose plier for extracting fishing hooks, and light weight tools I have fashioned to address field repairs of specific equipment such as crampons, XC skis and bindings.  But these tools get packed only when the appliance they service is part of the activities. 

I do not bring a tool under the pretense of "just in case" for it own sake.  That sentiment could be used to justify bringing suture kits, opiates, quinine, splints, air casts, defibrillator, and other such paraphernalia that you'd be the envy of the Mao Clinic.  But I will bring a rain shelter and wet weather gear for just in case.  (If nothing else bringing rain gear seems to ward away the wet - go figure.)  I also bring a sleeping pad repair kit and sewing kit that includes a needle capable of repairing leather goods.  God knows how tortured the lash points on my pack are from having to support ice coolers or bulk storage water containers on dry camp hikes.  I haven't yet resorted to the leather needle, but it has been used twice before when other people's boots blew out a sole.  The difference between bringing a multi tool and robust first aid kit, versus rain gear and sewing kits is - well if this needs explaining then my point probably is lost upon the reader.  But the high concept is out-of-the-box thinking coupled with experience will provide the best guidance on which items require a rugged duty rating, which do not, and which items can be left home entirely.

Ed

   

4:43 p.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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Ed...people call me cavalier for having a very small emergency kit...and even I am a little shocked by the fact that moleskin and aspirin are all you bring! How to you clean and stop the bleeding of a fast-bleeding wound? Does your method work if you're immobilized? I am not criticizing your approach...rather I am curious if your smaller system would address my concerns. I assume you do not plan to clean your wound...unless crushed aspirin or moleskin have antiseptic properties I am not aware of. Do you also plan to pack and dress a wound with moleskin? Can you explain how you would stop the bleeding of a life-threatening wound with what you bring?

For me...it is imperative that I ALWAYS have in my pocket everything I need to stop myself from bleeding out and to deflect as much moisture as practical from my body...since I can bleed to death or die of exposure in minutes and this might not be time enough to get to my pack or other gear. To do this I carry a large roll of gauze to pack and dress a wound...a couple of antiseptic wipes to clean a wound (mostly to delay the onset of infection if immobilized)...and an emergency blanket to stay drier and to use as a tourniquet/wrap/sling/shelter/etc if the need arises. I do also bring a few other less important items such as mini bic...tiny swiss knife...a button compass...and a piece of heavy foil (to make an improvised pot to boil water among countless other uses)...prescription NSAID pain reliever (mostly to help with walking out with an injury)...and prescription antihistmine (because a bee can kill me in a few hours)...but all of these are negotiable to me except the gauze/wipes/emergency blanket because the things they address are threats that do not kill as quickly as bleeding and exposure can.

Again...I am not criticizing your approach...I just want to learn if I can bring as little as you and still address what I see as threats that kill too quickly for me to ensure (to a reasonable degree) that I will be able to get medical assistance.

5:53 p.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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jrenow said:

Ed... ...How to you clean and stop the bleeding of a fast-bleeding wound? Does your method work if you're immobilized? ...To do this I carry a large roll of gauze to pack and dress a wound...a couple of antiseptic wipes to clean a wound (mostly to delay the onset of infection if immobilized)...and an emergency blanket to stay drier and to use as a tourniquet/wrap/sling/shelter/etc if the need arises. I do also bring ...prescription NSAID pain reliever (mostly to help with walking out with an injury)...

Having been an athlete all of my life I cannot imagine anything I can bring along that will assist me with an injury that is truly immobilizing.  A broken arm is useless, as is a broken leg.  Major joint injuries can be a real challenge or even worse than a break.  If you think you are walking on an air cast you are dreaming.  We can review the litany of other things that immobilize the victim; but I know few cases where anything one could consider packing would effectively make one more capable in the face of such injuries.  Perhaps the most useless piece of first aid gear is an ace bandage, yet I know many who think it will aid twisted ankles and the such.  It doesn't...  If you are worried about becoming immobilized on a solo trip, out where it is unlikely someone will come upon you, consider packing a whistle and smoke flares, as rescue is the more likely way you will make it out of a serious dilemma.  (make sure to leave a detailed description of your itinerary with someone back home).  When I go on solos, I take a note pad, and additionally leave notes of my whereabouts conspicuously displayed at my camp, even for such minor trips as fetching water or pooping with the bears.

A Large roll of gauze equates to piece of mind, but is not any more effective than a large roll of TP.  In fact a true bleeder will completely soak both, so on top of these dressings add shirts, socks, plastic bags, etc.  These do not have to be sterile as they do not contact the wound.  Remember you are in evacuation/seek rescue mode if you are bleeding this much, and such measures are only a stop gap to real medical attention.

If these cannot stop the bleeding, then you probably cut an artery.  Getting medical help quickly and applying direct pressure are more important than any amount of bandaging.  In this case know-how trumps on hand resources, so get that Wilderness First Aid course under your belt.

Antiseptic wipes.  Again mostly a piece of mind consideration.  If you have a wound serious enough that infection is a valid concern, then get your butt out of the backcountry to real medical attention ASAP.  In any case you need lots of antiseptic liquid to accomplish your objective, and a those wipes are just as likely to smear contaminants into the wound than cleanse it.  And you need enough of this stuff for subsequent bandage changes.  Anyway you  will be ok no matter what you do for the two days it takes to get to safety.  In the meantime cleaning a wound with soap and water or flooding it with lots of water (boiled) will suffice.  An don't forget I carry whiskey and my buds carry a bottle of antiseptic hand wash fluid.  They kill bugs too.

One word about pain killers: if the injured person is assisting their own evacuation then pain killers are not a good idea.  Most pain killers will dull balance and coordination - not exactly what one wants when trying to walk out a mountain trail.  Secondly if the injury is serious pain killers can exasperate the onset of shock which can be more serious than the injury itself.  Best travel in pain with a clear head than stumble into greater peril or lapse into deeper shock.  I took two days to walk myself out of the wilderness with a 2nd degree broken arm in 2007.  Pain killers are definitely optional. 

Your comments regarding the emergency blanket are exactly what I am trying to point out - its primary purpose is as a sheltering item, but you consider it suitable for other medical contingencies.  Good!  Now look at the rest of your kit and see what can serve the functions of stuff you tote in your medical kit.   

8:59 p.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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Hmm...I respect your approach...but I think I'm going to stick with what I have been doing for now...maybe I'll see the light at a later date :-)

Wilderness First-Aid  course completed already...which is where I learned to clean/pack/dress wounds...I missed the advance course on moleskin and aspirin...its now on the bucket list!

FYI...it is peace of mind...because a piece of mind (brain) would be a little gory on the trail :-)

11:12 p.m. on September 23, 2015 (EDT)
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I'm wondering what I would be doing in the backcountry that could result in me bleeding out in minutes. A freak accident perhaps, but I could have one of those just walking around town at home.

As a ULer I try to think of most likely injuries and be relatively prepared for those. Small to medium cuts and abrasions, twisted ankle, broken finger, blisters and bug bites are at the top of the list of what I can be prepared for. When it comes to major broken bones I rely on my PLB to get rescued if I can't hike out. If I sever a major artery then I guess I'll just bleed to death. I am over-prepared in medications and more for day-to-day things rather than backcountry-specific, for example tylenol and ibuprofen, antibiotic, antihistamine, decongestant, antacid, anti-diarrhea, laxative -- but to keep it light I just put a few of each together in a tiny ziploc bag (about the size spare buttons for your clothes come in) and then I have an image on my camera memory that tells me which is which by color/shape, dosage, and expiration date (all of which I review and memorize before a trip anyway). Beyond those meds it's mainly band-aids and wound closures, a little gauze, tweezers, tick remover, moleskin and leukotape. Total FAK is 3.8 oz out of my 8 lb base weight, and that includes an Ace bandage.

I agree a multitool is a lot of dead weight. All I really need off a multitool I have covered with a pair of small titanium-bonded sewing scissors, a single-edged razor blade, and the tweezers already included in the FAK. Obviously I'm not batoning wood or anything like that.

I consider my brain to be my most important piece of gear when it comes to needing care or repair. I'm more interested in assessing the situation and getting out of there on my own or hitting the SOS if needed than I am in self-providing the best treatment in the field.

4:33 a.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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JRinGeorgia said:

..I consider my brain to be my most important piece of gear when it comes to needing care or repair...

 Exactly!

And with that spud you'll figure out how to deal with some serious stuff, too, if put to task.  (knock on wood)

Ed

7:28 a.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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"I'm wondering what I would be doing in the backcountry that could result in me bleeding out in minutes. A freak accident perhaps, but I could have one of those just walking around town at home."

JR,

FWIW, sometimes all you have to do is walk from here to there. I slipped on an icy/snowy trail a few years ago and cut my arm on a sharp edge of shale that was sticking up through the snow. I bled profusely and eventually required a bunch of stiches. I lost enough blood to be disturbed by it. That event taught me to keep my first aid kit reachable and not in the bottom of my pack.

8:43 a.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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Circumstances vary so my FA kit changes and I don't think there is a right answer for what to carry.For an easy trail in good weather I am likely to scimp on what I put in the kit and be down to aspirin, milestone and duct tape. For wintry conditions with tougher terrain like Patrick described my kit would be expanded.

That said, one thing I still carry is an Ace bandage. While it may not help with FA for a joint injury much, putting it on my knee for a touch of support in the afternoon with some heavy downhill really helps an old injury feel better. I also used it the other week as protection for one thigh that was heavily scratched up after an off trail adventure (the kind resulting from that thought "I bet I could follow that ridge down and connect to the less used trail pretty easily...its only a half mile"...).

10:29 a.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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John,

High elevations are the norm in the Sierra. Some trips start at 9,000 feet and go up from there. My tent is a Sierra Designs something or other from about 1992. It is around 5 pounds but a great tent. In summer I like the little Optimus propane stove, but for colder conditions an MSR blowtorch.

Through hikers seem to have evolved a simple style for making mileage. In effect they go on a series of 5-7 day short trips with very light equipment and minimal food. Then they go off the trail to eat and rest and resupply. It is not a good template for people on long trips that are not resupplied. Backpacking for me has never been, nor will it ever be about making miles.

I have a lot of respect for the thoughts of North and Erich and others that do not plan to be rescued, send equipment to the next post office box, or risk not coming back.

12:58 p.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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The most recent posts about how light to go, have revolved around the med kit. What I have noticed, is that the areas the respective folks are traveling in, the terrain, and even their specific activities, vary by quite a bit. A summer week end in the Sierra lowlands will require different gear than a scramble up Mt. Whitney. An August afternoon on Mt. Rainier could duplicate winter conditions on the AT. For my short sojourns of a few days or a day, I carry a very small med kit. As I have mentioned before, for longer trips, especially remote canoe trips, I carry an extensive kit. The question with any ditch kit(meds, emergency gear) is can I use this to survive long enough until I can be rescued or get out myself? Injuries can happen close to the parking lot or going to take a pee. I have been involved with two medical emergencies on my trips. One was when one of our party in the Pelly River, central Yukon, dislocated his shoulder. Fortunately, it happened on the last day. It was a nasty dislocation and chipped the bone and required surgery. Fortunately, we were able to get the victim out with a skiff and to the hospital. The other was on a climb, when one of our party had the ice underneath him break and he put a crampon through his calf. It was not pretty. We cleaned it as best we could, got butterflies on it and he was able to walk out. By the time we got back to Seattle, it was infected. Some things I carry in my med kit won't save a life, but it can make someone more comfortable. Fishing? You need something to pull a hook out of someone who has been hooked. Nobody mentioned a tourniquet. These can be made on the spot. There was also the mention of cutting an artery and using gauze. If you really have whacked a major artery, unless help is very close, you may have done yourself in, and you'll bleed to death in minutes. It all comes down to risk assessment. 

1:37 p.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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JR...just to name a few of the things you could be doing outdoors that results in bleeding out quickly that have actually happened to me or someone who was accompanying me:

1) water sharpened rapids at Ocoee River (required not only the entire large role of gauze to fill the wound above ankle....it also required compression with a nylon belt from a pair of Columbia shorts)

2) gravel topped rocks with steep decline (friend slid into rain and wind sharpened stones...injury was similar in location as rapids mentioned above...treatment was similar but we didn't have nylon belt so we used a large bandanna)

3) Slippery-when-wet moss covered stones (we all got a little banged up on these...but a friend had a particularly bad slip and cut the underside of his forearm...which you would think would not be that serious...but the blood flooded out...this was before my crew knew how to properly address such injuries...by the time we got him to medical help his blood pressure had actually dropped!)

4) I was (stupidly) smashing geodes with hard stones and a small piece banged into my shin...I bled so much our canoe was filled with blood tainted water by the time we made it to a take-out)

You should not get the impression that I move rapidly and carelessly...just the opposite...ask fellow TS members Goose/Eric/Pillowthread who was always bringing up the rear in our days together in Shawnee!

To be sure I think that what you bring into the outdoors is a personal decision...but there is no way my experience will allow me to bring moleskin (I prefer Leukotape) and aspirin only...I have a big brain...and I no doubt could improvise a lot of things in a pinch...but improvising takes precious time...and it is not my 1st line of defense when it comes to bleeding out and hypothermia (which kill quickly)...it is my 2nd line of defense. For everything else I will improvise...because I have the time to think and tinker.

4:23 p.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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FlipNC said:

...I still carry is an Ace bandage. While it may not help with FA for a joint injury much, putting it on my knee for a touch of support in the afternoon with some heavy downhill really helps an old injury feel better...

 Consider getting once of those knee supports, like the one shown in the image (below).  I have a knee that has been through four surgeries. While recovering and rehabilitating, I found this sock-like support to be far more comfortable and effective than ace bandages.  The donut hole really helps keep your knee cap tracking properly.  As for traipsing off into the briars, well you are on your own!

Ed


Knee-sock.jpg

11:11 p.m. on September 24, 2015 (EDT)
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I'm assuming those aren't your legs Ed...

I gave something similar a try a while back but may not have had the right fit, so went back to an Ace that I wrap in as similar a manner to that brace as possible. With the other potential uses of the Ace (protection for my foolish bushwacks, compress bandage, potential emergency TP, bear lasso, Tarzan rope swing to cross creeks, etc) I have stuck with it. I will have to give the brace another try based on your recommendation, and pick more carefully.

6:08 a.m. on September 25, 2015 (EDT)
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Patman said:

JR,

FWIW, sometimes all you have to do is walk from here to there. I slipped on an icy/snowy trail a few years ago and cut my arm on a sharp edge of shale that was sticking up through the snow. I bled profusely and eventually required a bunch of stiches. I lost enough blood to be disturbed by it. That event taught me to keep my first aid kit reachable and not in the bottom of my pack.

 Yes, as I said freak accidents do happen and can happen just walking around town. But I don't carry a FAK with me when I walk around the neighborhood, and I doubt many others do either.

jrenow said:

JR...just to name a few of the things you could be doing outdoors that results in bleeding out quickly that have actually happened to me or someone who was accompanying me:

1) water sharpened rapids at Ocoee River

2) gravel topped rocks with steep decline

3) Slippery-when-wet moss covered stones

4) I was (stupidly) smashing geodes with hard stones and a small piece banged into my shin

To be sure I think that what you bring into the outdoors is a personal decision...but there is no way my experience will allow me to bring moleskin (I prefer Leukotape) and aspirin only

What I said is "I'm wondering what I would be doing in the backcountry that could result in me bleeding out in minutes." Not what you might do. So no, I would not be crossing a river in a section of rapids, nor traversing loose gravel on a steep decline, nor smashing geodes. What someone else might do I can't account for.

Moleskin and leukotape are not alternates to each other -- leukotape for before you have blister to prevent them, moleskin to deal with blisters after you get them.

12:53 p.m. on September 25, 2015 (EDT)
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Jr,

I broke my femur a long way from help. It is possible to sever the femoral artery with such an injury. What is even more common is blood clots.

Snobbery has been around the edges of backpacking for a long time, but is something that I have little patience for. One of the great things about all those through hikers is that they seem to have none of it. They do what works for them and don't seem to worry about what other people want to do.

 

3:22 p.m. on September 25, 2015 (EDT)
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JR...I realize what you said...but making up hypothetical situations to respond to your query seemed less relevant than actual events...plus I have no idea what you do so it would've been impossibly to address your query otherwise...but do  watch out for those slippery moss-covered stones...they'll get you!

To clear up the confusion...we were not crossing the Ocoee...we were rafting it...which I understand might not be relevant for you...but does go to show the dangers in fast water...which sometimes out of necessity backpackers must contend with when heavy rains cause small creeks to be raging torrents.

I do not carry a FAK in town because medical help is easily available...the two situations which you treat as equivalent are very different and require very different measures...I carry a small kit to deal with things away from medical assistance.

For me Leukotape is an alternative for moleskin...because using leukotape prevents the later need of moleskin (I am however extremely bias because I think moleskin is terrible).

Finally...I was playing devil's advocate to your position...I fully support your choice to bring as little or as much as you want...the result of your decision-making has no implications for me personally.

9:58 a.m. on September 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Not trying to be snarky or argumentative. I'm only responding with what I carry based on what works for me, considering where I go. In fact, to an extent sometimes what I prefer to carry dictates where I go just as much as the other way around. Sh*t happen I know, I do my best to avoid being in a situation where the worst possibilities become more likely. Not trying to tell anyone else what they should do. Is that being a snob?

I also prefer leukotape to prevent blisters in the first place rather than moleskin to treat them after they happen, only saying that once blisters do form moleskin is my treatment of choice. BTW, for anyone not familiar with these two products, never use leukotape on a blister after it has formed, the adhesive is very strong and when you remove it you will tear the skin of the blister right off with it, and once it's peeling the blister off your body it can continue to peel more skin with it. Ask me how I know...

11:11 a.m. on September 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Not that a few pieces of moleskin will really make a difference in terms of weight and space savings...but you can use athletic lubricants, lip balm, Neosporin and many other products to cover the blister and prevent leukotape from adhering to it and the skin immediately surrounding it (you can also take a small piece of the leukotape and place it adhesive to adhesive for the same effect...though the antibacterial properties of the products I mentioned will make healing faster).

If one already has both leukotape and moleskin in their kits I am not suggesting he or she get rid of the moleskin...but if you want to keep you blister kit to a minimum (particularly with regards to cost) you can use leukotape only to help with both the prevention and protection of blisters...I've done it since switching to Leukotape and have never had an issue.

As far as being a snob...I don't really know what that means...but generally speaking to call someone a snob would require snobbery of snobs...so I will leave that as my answer for you :-)

12:05 p.m. on September 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Joseph, someone mentioned snobbery, not you. And may have been in response to me mentioning snobbery in the first place. My original intention on snobbery was only acknowledging that there are UL snobs, and to then counter that with anti-UL snobs -- I know of people who carry a lot of weight and are proud of it, as if the more weight the more macho or whatever.

The benefit of moleskin, which is in the blister of the beholder, is that it is a thin foam cushion so once you cut a hole through it for your blister then you put less weight on the blister itself and eases some of the discomfort. I agree it doesn't "treat" the blister any better than some of your other suggestions. Good idea to fold the leukotape over on itself so no sticky on the blister.

And I think everyone on this thread is saying in their own way to HYOH. Good discussion. Underlying the OP's original question is the notion of "stupid light", which is something everyone, UL or not, should consider and avoid when assembling their kit.

12:08 a.m. on September 27, 2015 (EDT)
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ppine said:

John,

High elevations are the norm in the Sierra. Some trips start at 9,000 feet and go up from there. My tent is a Sierra Designs something or other from about 1992. It is around 5 pounds but a great tent. In summer I like the little Optimus propane stove, but for colder conditions an MSR blowtorch.

Through hikers seem to have evolved a simple style for making mileage. In effect they go on a series of 5-7 day short trips with very light equipment and minimal food. Then they go off the trail to eat and rest and resupply. It is not a good template for people on long trips that are not resupplied. Backpacking for me has never been, nor will it ever be about making miles.

I have a lot of respect for the thoughts of North and Erich and others that do not plan to be rescued, send equipment to the next post office box, or risk not coming back.

 Thanks for the reply. I'm with you on the mileage its about the peace, quiet and the wonder of it all for me too. When I'm able to go into higher and colder climates I appreciate and will appreciate the info from you and others like Otto Stover, North1, Bill S, TJ and others who have the know how I'm gonna need.   

12:44 a.m. on September 27, 2015 (EDT)
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Erich said:

 The question with any ditch kit(meds, emergency gear) is can I use this to survive long enough until I can be rescued or get out myself? Injuries can happen close to the parking lot or going to take a pee. 

By the time we got back to Seattle, it was infected. Some things I carry in my med kit won't save a life, but it can make someone more comfortable. Fishing? You need something to pull a hook out of someone who has been hooked. It all comes down to risk assessment. 

 Amen Erich Everything in our packs is for safety so why go too light on what those who came before us put a lot of effort into developing to help with the very accidents we run into regularly. I.m glad for the first aid kit when thru a common instinctive reaction I Cut my wrist real bad poring blood I was alone on one of my first hikes and at work I'd have just used a napkin and electrical tape till able to get to a hospital but that wasn't an option in this case and the bandages an disinfectants If nothing else relieved my mind. Plus all the spider bites? I had one happen at home that I kept very clean but still had to go to hospital 3 days later as it kept getting worse. You are right it does come down to risk assessment. The pioneers and those who came before us, went out with less and quite a few are dead and probably think we are stupid for leaving a few Ounces that could make a real difference     

6:01 p.m. on September 27, 2015 (EDT)
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BTW: Leukotape for everything, pre-and-post-blister, is the way to go, methinks. While you're still hiking, anyway. So you have a blister on your heel...lance it, tape it, and leave that tape on for the next few days. When you take it off you will rip off the floating skin, and in my experience the best "next step" is to tape right back up again, but with another small piece of Leukotape just big enough to cover the blister reversed and stuck to the back of the larger bandage. Moleskin is for the birds, and is best used inside your loafers, once back in civilisation.. (I've never had a moleskin workup last more than a day in the backcountry, and it never fixes the problem anyways...)

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