There are people out there doing multiday trips with 16 pound packs!
Not me (yet!), but it definitely sounds like the thing, and I am
eagerly learning more.
The guy who started much of this is Ray Jardine.
I am impressed with Ray and Jenny, and enjoy their deeds and writing.
(Read their book: Trail Life).
A great resouce is
($24.99 for a years membership - As much as I hate the pay to view concept,
I joined, and it was worth it).
Another interesting site is
Backpacking.Net - ultralight.
Famous in the history of ultralight backpacking is
Emma "Grandma" Gatewood (1888-1975).
She hiked the Appalachian Trail twice (once around the age of 80)
with plain tennis shoes, a pastic shower curtain for a tent, and with
food and spare clothing in a bag carried over her shoulder.
Her immortal words:
Most people are pantywaists, exercise is good for you.
My goal is to achieve what
Ultralight Joe has achieved.
This is the weight of your pack and everthing in it before adding consumables (food, water, and fuel).
People also talk about base weight - FSO
(FSO = full skin out), which adds everything you happen to be wearing to the above.
People also discuss several commonly agreed upon "levels" of ultralight packing:
Pushing and pursuing these arbitrary weight categories can become an end in itself.
I tend to scoff at that, being practical, and remind myself that going ultralight is
a means to an end, namely enjoying the outdoors. On the other hand ...
- lightweight: baseweight < 20 pounds, total < 30
- ultra light: baseweight < 10 pounds, total < 20
- super ultra light (SUL): baseweight < 5 pounds, total < 12
- extreme ultra light (XUL): extreme indeed, see this link
- Hyper ultralightweight (HUL): running naked through the wilderness.
Someone said that you probably don't want to go SUL very often, but doing a trip or two
that way will really teach you some lessons. This makes sense to me, so I will probably
take the challenge and try it on a short trip or two. Up till I heard this comment, I
figured it was just for crazy extremists, and perhaps it is, we shall see.
Heck, I should just try to do more bonafide ultra light trips.
There really does seem to be something significant about the 30 pound packweight.
I recently got sloppy and did a trip with a 35 pound pack and was back into the same
old misery and suffering. Anything 25 pounds and under I hardly notice.
A 30 pound pack is mildly unpleasant at the start of a long trip,
but I know it will be just fine after a couple of days.
Here are some really good (Don't miss these) ultralightweight backpacking links:
Here are some random ultralightweight backpacking links:
- Adventure Alan's (Alan Dixon) Ultralight backpacking
- A gold mine of information. This guy must be an engineer, there are so many facts and so much data here.
His 9 pound gear list should be studied. He carries a western mountaineering summerlite (19 ounces) and a
six moon designs refuge (28 ounces), in a six moon designs comet pack (29 ounces).
- Joe's Ultralight backpacking
- A fun site that I have learned a lot and gained inspiration from.
His 3 season base gear list is just over 10 pounds.
A Golite breeze (15 ounces) carrys a feathered friends down bag (41 ounces), and he uses a (13 ounce) 8x10 tarp from Campmor.
- Andrew Skurka - I found this site
when sniffing around for information about the SHR. His gear list for the SHR (11 pound base weight) used a GoLite Jam2 pack (16 ounces)
to carry a backpacking lite UL 180 Quilt (18 ounces) and a MLD custom superlight bivy (8 ounces).
- Thru Hiker - I first noted this site as a source for
fabrics for do-it-yourself projects, then later discovered that they have a lot of really good articles,
and they seem to spend a lot of time in the California Sierra. A great site. Kits, forums, materials.
Area code 415 puts them in San Francisco, California or thereabouts.
- Dirtbagging - a lot of fun, and good info hidden amongst
all the unique humor. Highly recommended.
- Sargeant Rock's hiking pages - an independent thinker with lots of good ideas.
This site has forums, AT information.
- Chris Townsend Outdoors - this fellow wrote a well regarded,
but now very much outdated book on backpacking.
He is now a convert to the ultralight way.
This website is primarily his blog, which hasn't been much use for researching ultralight techniques.
Have any comments? Questions?
Drop me a line!
Tom's hiking pages / firstname.lastname@example.org