Jun 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm #1260166
>> Bender <<Participant
REI Ultralight Backpacking Article I found this quite entertaining!Jun 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm #1620163
That's pretty bad… Although, some of the gear they mentioned wasn't bad.
Nothing wrong with a MH Phantom 32, NeoAir is good and CS UL2 isn't bad.
But why throw that in to a 65liter pack? Stovewise REI does sell Vargo Ti stoves, or even the Soto OD 1R will work…
LOL @ tent stakes = rocks.Jun 14, 2010 at 11:43 pm #1620169
I'm pretty sure the author bypassed base weights and went straight to total pack weight for the definition of "minimalist," "lightweight," etc. Still, it's very poorly written.Jun 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm #1620171
@oiboyroiLocale: South West US
Seems like they've made their own definitions of ultralight just to make their product offerings more appealing. Marketing at its finest.Jun 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm #1620172
I love how some guy left a comment telling the author that his weight categories are "incorrect." I can't believe people take this crap so seriously. It's backpacking, not boxing. There are no official weight categories.Jun 14, 2010 at 11:59 pm #1620174
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"I'm pretty sure the author bypassed base weights and went straight to total pack weight for the definition of "minimalist," "lightweight," etc. Still, it's very poorly written."
Don't be silly, Larry. That article was probably written by someone who has actually gone backpacking before!
Strangely written by a spin doctor.
–B.G.–Jun 15, 2010 at 2:58 am #1620183
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Of course, REI wants articles that will spotlight their gear. I do see mention of soda can or esbit stoves.Jun 15, 2010 at 5:36 am #1620195
"If you prefer a full-enclosure shelter, the lightest 2-person tent we know of at the moment is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, a freestanding design with a trail weight of 2 lbs. 2 oz."
REI meet Henry Shires from Tarptent. Now you know!Jun 15, 2010 at 6:56 am #1620208
Honestly what do you expect? They dont contract with TT/MLD/SMD…they aren't going to promote those products. This is a retail organization not a magazine/news organization that claims to be unbiased.
I don't see much wrong with this article. Until I found this website I didn't know much about "ultralight" backpacking. That article is rather realistic to me. There aren't many people that are willing to spend $300 on a tarp just because it weighs 5oz less then one that cost $100.Jun 15, 2010 at 7:23 am #1620214
There is a decent article IMO. While it may not be ultimately correct from the ul perspective on this site, it is a decent starting point for people with no concept of lightening their loads. UL is just not that applicable to most hikers, as the poster above stated the pricing issue, there is also the comfort issue. UL is a niche market, thats why the average company is not making UL products, just not a large enough segment of the market. Most products are sold to campers anyway, or people who take small hikes from camp, not long distance hikers. To go from traditional straight to ul can be a big mistake, you have to gradually lighten so you don't compromise your safety or have a terrible trip.Jun 15, 2010 at 7:51 am #1620222
Uh, REI sells gear. Obviously any article they have on lightweight gear will focus on what they carry, not what any SUL might have wet dreams about.Jun 15, 2010 at 8:06 am #1620228
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I would say the author gets it pretty spot on. And yes, 30 lbs is the new "sweet spot" IMO – folks used to carry 45 lbs or so on average, so 30 is a good start for the average packer.
And the advice is solid for someone starting out on the road to being lighter.
Guys? Who cares what the final numbers are – as long as the load is lighter, that is the goal.Jun 15, 2010 at 11:26 am #1620280
Why does everyone take shots at them? Most people here have been to one and spent some money there. They have to sell items that appeal to a larger group of people and be reliable and stand up to abuse that new campers will put the products through. It's hard to make a profit if the customers rip their new ultralight tarp in half the first time they set it up.Jun 15, 2010 at 11:54 am #1620287
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I do not begrudge REI their marketing. I shop there and will continue to do so.
What I find annoying generally about these sorts of articles are the statements that to be comfortable in camp more weight is required. One can have bug protection, warmth down to freezing, a book, and spare socks and still have a light pack. Look at the 1982 Backpacker Mag "superlight challenge" article posted last week. With modern materials a lot more is possible.
People don't carry 30-40 lbs on a 3 day trip in the Rockies during the summer because they need it to be comfortable, they carry because they're frightened. The wilderness rightly makes us feel as small and puny as we are, and in our very human way we bring lots of stuff along to counterbalance that. For most backpackers the comfort they find in gear has little to do with not getting mosquito bites.
As Roman Dial said, we pack our insecurities.Jun 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm #1620313
"As Roman Dial said, we pack our insecurities."
And sometimes I pack my partner's insecurities too. Her pack is always lighter…..Jun 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm #1620330
"People don't carry 30-40 lbs on a 3 day trip in the Rockies during the summer because they need it to be comfortable, they carry because they're frightened."
Or simply don't know that they can get the same level of comfort, if not more, without the weight.
I can't honestly bring to mind how I found this site, but without it I wouldn't know about Henry Shires, Ron Bell, Ron Moak… therefore, I wouldn't now HAVE a Grace Duo in Cuben and awaiting a quilt.
Until this past weekend, I hadn't attempted tarp camping, and if I hadn't discovered BPL, honestly I wouldn't have had any reason to believe that it could be comfortable. (And I intentionally chose a spot in a valley alongside a raging creek full of ice-cold water because I was after a cold night, because I'll be doing a fair bit of my camping in the North Cascades at higher elevations.)
We pack are ignorance right alongside our insecurities.Jun 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm #1620337
They should have said one of the lightest double wall 2 person tents. Different class then Tarptent.Jun 15, 2010 at 2:04 pm #1620340
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
Judging from the people I see in Colorado and VA this article is pretty good. If these folks applied whats in the article they would be way better off.
You can go light with whats available at REI people aren't even taking advantage of that. Its an ignorance problem not REI's problem. I did a mental exercise a while back and came up with an idiot proof gearlist for a ten to twelve pound baseweight that included a tent an internal frame pack and used gear that was entirely available from REI. For whatever reason people don't pay attention to the details of weight so they're out in VA in warm weather with a towering 50 pound pack.Jun 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm #1620349
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
On the whole, I find REI's UL write up quite insightful and helpful for traditional hikers looking to shed weight — or those who simply didn't know there are alternatives out there.
Compare and contrast this to the marketing materials of many gear manufacturers who preach heavy gear for any outdoor venture — because Mother Nature is unforgiving and survival is at stake!! Kutenay?Jun 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm #1620351
"Under 12 pounds: Hard-core minimalists…"
"Around 20 pounds: This is "expert class" territory…"
really? I don't consider myself a hard-core person or an expert.
The Big 4: Pack, Shelter, Bag, Pad
LOL…Jun 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm #1620355
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"really? I don't consider myself an expert."
Me neither, not by a long mile. But most of what I learned about UL hiking was acquired from UL hikers who'd done it before. It wasn't just "natural common sense" — although they may seem so after some time (aka experience).
Methinks a lot of what we now take for granted is actually quite revolutionary if we were to introduce it to the vast majority of hikers out there. So radical in fact that many will only shake their heads — and those who wish to try might only do so in "baby steps".Jun 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm #1620356
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
"and those who wish to try might only do so in "baby steps"."
Yup. I've been reading a lot here, and my base weight for Yosemite will be over 20 lbs. Much of the problem is cost (I'm just not in a position to replace expensive gear). The other is that this is my wife's second backpacking trip ever. She still wants luxuries that I would be willing to do without (lantern for example).
However, that base weight is done from 40 lbs. And I had actually worked to get it down to that prior to coming here!Jun 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm #1620361
>> Bender <<Participant
What I found most interesting was how sub 12 pounds is classified as minimalist. The term minimalist conjures up the idea of being unprepared. Sub 12 doesn't need to be a Bear Grylls adventure.Jun 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm #1620363
Quoted: "Honestly what do you expect? They dont contract with TT/MLD/SMD…they aren't going to promote those products."
The REI near my house had Glen Van Peski of Gossamer Gear hold some conferences at the store. I think REI is great.
It is usually the term "lightweight" that gets confused, having now moved into a cliche-like territory. As far as the the REI community and the BPL.com community goes, I'd argue that we have much more in common, than no.
– I have seen many conversations over an aspect of gear that seems largely unimportant: color.
– Many people from both sides spend hundreds of dollars each year to outfit their "kit."
– When both groups buy new gear, their weight savings are similar, a few ounces.
And so forth. I think the most important aspect of lightweight backpacking has been getting me outside to use less gear, with a broader foundation of wilderness knowledge. Both REI and BPL have helped in that.
Really, the only thing that separates the two is in many cases, ten pounds of gear.Jun 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm #1620365
I agree with you Luke, you can do fairly well at REI. You will miss out on the best stuff, but you can do OK. The best stuff is sold by places that are too small or too fragile for REI. REI used to carry an O2 jacket just for cycling, but stopped (presumably because of their no hassle return policy). The small craft makers can't make enough stuff to sell to REI (or any other retailer) so the best stuff is via mail order.
My biggest criticism with the article is how they lay out their recommended steps. If I wrote the article, I would summarize like so:
1) Get a scale.
2) Take everything you ever bring on a trip and weigh it.
3) Put the items on a spreadsheet.
4) Ask yourself if you really need each item.
5) See if you can get a lighter version of the item.
6) Repeat steps 4 through 6.
Then you could go into particular examples (down sleeping bag, etc.).
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