Aug 17, 2009 at 12:26 am #1238631
What Backpacking Weight Ranks do you acknowledge and what weight class goes along with each of them in your opinion?
Ive heard the terms HyperUltraLight, Ultralight, Light, …., …., and Heavy. I did "…." because I am guessing that there are levels in between Light and Heavy, I just dont know what their technical names are.
It is my impresssion that the following weight classes would go as follows (correct me if I am wrong even though I am sure this question can only be based off of opinion and not off of mere fact based out of a book):
HyperUltralight 5lbs or Under
Heavy 40lbs and beyond.
Any thoughts or opinions?Aug 17, 2009 at 1:27 am #1521344
I believe the most commonly accepted definitions based on base weights are:
Lightweight – 10-20lbs
UL – under 10 lbs
SUL – under 5 lbs
XUL – under 2.5 lbs (Not sure about this one)Aug 17, 2009 at 1:46 am #1521346
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I've never heard of XUL and, frankly, it sounds less like "camping" and more like "survival exercise."
Where did you hear that, Michael?Aug 17, 2009 at 1:49 am #1521348
If you google "Adventure Alan" you'll find an XUL list on Alan Dixon's website.Aug 17, 2009 at 3:53 am #1521351Aug 17, 2009 at 7:42 am #1521380
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I'm of the opinion that UL is anything below about 12 pounds. That used to be a pretty commonly accepted view on the internet. But it seems like it's trending towards sub-10 pounds, perhaps because UL gear choices have expanded.
In the end, it's just a name and REALLY doesn't matter. If you're walking down the trail with 11 pounds, meet someone and you talk about ultralight gear, and they sneer at you for not being a "true" ultralight packer, they don't spend enough time outside, realizing what truly matters.Aug 17, 2009 at 8:11 am #1521389
I think it is a pretty flawed system, especially for the SUL and XUL categories, because it is much, much easier for someone that is 5'6" to meet the 5# maximum than myself who is 6'5".Aug 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm #1521474
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
Agree with Brett. I am always amazed when I weigh my wife's gear and clothing versus my own. She is 5-4 and I am 6-2. That ten inches in height (and ~70 pounds in mass) makes a big difference.Aug 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm #1521476
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
My wife is always pointing out how short people have to take more steps to cover the same distance. For every 5 of her steps, I take 4. She doesn't like for me to forget that.Aug 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm #1521477
Yes – but I bet she is faster on the downhill sections.Aug 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm #1521480
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
The more technical the footing, the faster she is. Most of the very fast hikers I know from the long trails are all guys who are around 5'6" to 5'8". They must have struck a nice balance of height to agility–they can truly motor.Aug 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm #1521491
I wear XXL shirts, not smalls. They probably weigh twice as much. There is no way I could ever match the weights of smaller guys. I can't wear Inov-8s either, I have to have something with a little thickness to it. I also have double-layered hammocks, so they're a lot heavier than a lighter guy's hammock.Aug 17, 2009 at 8:55 pm #1521524
yea, i did wonder as a person moves from LW to UL then to SUL would it be better to measure based on % of weight or body size…because of the obvious weight difference of clothes from small to xxl. of course that would really be splitting hairs, oh yea, that is why this is so fun.Aug 17, 2009 at 11:12 pm #1521538
Besides size, it seems conditons should also play a role in what determines light vs. UL vs. SUL. Someone hiking in the mountains in late October is going to have to carry a lot more insulation than someone hiking at lower elevations in July.
Personally, I think it's more about attitude in gear selection than an arbitrary 'base weight' limit. I think it's often funny to see what people exclude from base weight in order to 'fit' into a specific category.Aug 18, 2009 at 1:10 am #1521549
I suppose to accurately compare lists you'd need to figure out some sort of grading system to described conditions. I know bushwalking clubs use a grading system to describe walks:
How about '50F/2D/ON/Fine' for a 50 Fahrenheit 2 day on track walk with fine weather just as an example. This could get complicated though….Aug 18, 2009 at 5:58 am #1521565
I would say UL = 6-8# summer, 12# winter, but all the weight ranking just makes no sense to me. Back in the day nobody ranked a 40# pack compared to a 65# pack, except maybe that thing is god awful heavy.
I say you just carry the minimum you can afford ($$$) and be comfortable with in varous conditions, and that will not fail. For me that works out to about 6-7# summer, 12-13# winter.
Lighter than that and its more like an minimal emergency day pack with a sleeping bag, tarp and pad thown in or its gear that is so light some of it would get totally trashed on a long hike.Aug 18, 2009 at 6:33 am #1521570
UL = sub 10-12 lb. base weight
SUL = sub 5 lbs. base weight
XUL = sub 5 lbs. full skin out weight (not counting food water i.e. everything you're wearing or carrying).Aug 18, 2009 at 6:41 am #1521571
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
Personally, I think assigning arbitrary weight categories to a persons base load is a little silly. As noted before, big folks will carry more weight with the same gear as us smaller people. And, some folks like a bit more comfort than others. To me, the whole concept of "BackpackingLight" is more a way of looking at the sport than it is some competitive ounce (or gram) paring contest.
If you want to sleep leaning against a tree with a 3' x 3' tarp draped over you, great. If you want to save weight by using one side of a piece of TP one day and the other side the next, or just using the back of your hand, go ahead. Your carrying 0.466 oz, or 2.169 lb, less than me is just fine. See you down the trail!Aug 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm #1521679
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"If you want to sleep leaning against a tree with a 3' x 3' tarp draped over you, great. If you want to save weight by using one side of a piece of TP one day and the other side the next, or just using the back of your hand, go ahead. Your carrying 0.466 oz, or 2.169 lb, less than me is just fine. See you down the trail!"
This whole discussion verges on turning backpackers into bean counters, complete with accounting like subterfuges such as carrying items in one's pockets so they don't count as base weight.Aug 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm #1521701
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
SUL and lower is in the realm of "Psycho-Lite". Maybe in 10 years, with new wonder materials and forms of energy for electrical devices and stoves we can say SUL is not only safe but comfortable. For now SUL remains on the very edge of mere survival.
Remember 10 years ago? Had to make most of your own UL stuff. Then came the "REVOLUTION". Yeah, I hunted deer in December in Pennsylvania with a tarp, Ensolite pad(s) and ESBIT stove – but it warn't fun.
EricAug 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm #1521710
"SUL and lower is in the realm of "Psycho-Lite"…"
I've been out on three trips in the past month in which my base was less than 5lbs and there was nothing psychotic or survivorman about it.
The trips were actually very pleasant; lounging around in fair weather in my local canyons. I can sleep plenty comfy without a shelter and/or an uberinflatable pad and pillow, I enjoy non-cook foods (or cook on the fire)…
What else should I possibly be carrying that would make my trips better/safer?
(I'd be happy to post my last sub-5 gear list if anyone is interested).
I just don't need much on short trips; there's nothing "psycho" about breaking a 5 lb. base.Aug 18, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1521721
@swearingenLocale: Portland, Oregon
My pack isn't SUL yet but my wallet is.Aug 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1521722
Yes, post your list if you dont mindAug 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm #1521735
Ok, here's what my typical SUL kit is based on.
Homemade pack (golite Ion style) 6.0
WM Summerlite, long (in sack) 22.2
GG Thinlite Pad 1.9
GG Nitelite Pad 3.5
polycro groundsheet 1.7
First Aid/Toiletries 2.3
(this includes: gauze pads, band aids, inuprofin/acetaminofin, razor blade, safety pin, platypus patches, 6 feet leukotape, suture needle/thread, cut toothbrush, dr. bronners in mini BPL dropper, mini chapstick, tinder)
BD Ion headliamp 1.0
bearbag kit (for PCT meathod) 2.0
BPL Ti spork + plastic bowl 1.3
2 x 1 liter platypus bladders 1.8
Patagonia cap 1 top 6.0
OR balaclava 1.8
Marmot Ion windshirt 5.4
simblisity headnet 0.4
Total Carried in Pack (dry) 62.5 ounces = 3.9 lbs.
lanyard (firesteel, whistle, LED) 1.3
Asics running shorts w/brief ???
Injinji tetrasocks ???
Synthetic t-shirt ???
OR sun runner hat ???
Adidas supernova riot trailrunners ???
Timex Ironman ???
So, what's missing?
A tarp? 80% of the time I don't need it. But I could add my Oware Cattarp 1.1 + stakes for 8.5 oz.
Now I'm at 71 oz/4.43 lbs.
A cooking kit? I like fresh and raw on short trips these days, but i could add my cat stove/pot/windscreen/ fuel bottle for under 4 oz.
So I'm still under a 5 lb base….
If I know I want fire, I might carry my bushcraft knife…+3 oz (but not in my pack).
What if it's cold? Swap the Cap 1 top for my Montbell Thermawrap…. Notice I had no leggings? Well, I either light a fire or grab my sleeping bag and throw it on my lap in camp….
And I don't even buy expensive/high tech gear (with exception to my recent WM purchases). I don't have anything made of cuben or spinnaker! My homemade pack is cordura and 1.9 nylon and it's still super light (and cheap)!
Granted, I might be missing a few items that I'd carry on a longer hike (raingear, compass, etc.), but I don't NEED any of that on most trips.
Point is, SUL isn't hard or expensive or risky for most conditions. I can alter the above mentioned kit and easily hover around 4-6 lbs for any given trip.
I sleep fine, I eat well, I stay warm…my firstaid kit is all I need (I used to be a licensed/working EMT so I'm competent in knowledge there). Tell me I'm lacking something when I'm happy as a clam in camp….
I love this setup/SUL!
I ran a 50K solo on Saturday carrying this basic setup (except I had a bladder/hose and my Golite Jam because it's more stable running than my homemade pack due to the hipbelt). I love the idea of having such light/minimal gear that I can run off into the woods for unknown distances…if I bonk, I camp. If I'm feeling good, I'm home late that night!
Darnit…I'm writing so much I overcooked my ramen.
Oh, and Eric, you imply that SUL isn't safe in an earlier post. Not trying to be argumentative here, but what do you find lacking/unsafe about the kit I posted? I'm happy to discuss the logic behind my choices and am very curious as to why someone might/might not perceive my kit as adequate.Aug 18, 2009 at 9:49 pm #1521741
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
If I hike with any of you I'm sure I'm "heavy." If I hike with the crowd of folks from my hiking group who have all backpacked the same way for decades, I'm "ultralight." If I hike with another subgroup of my hiking group, I'm about 10-15 pounds lighter than they are.
I'm just comfortable and trying to be lighter without making sacrifices that will compromise my safety or my comfort.
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