Jul 31, 2013 at 6:28 am #1306033
I just returned from a week long section hike on the AT with an 8 lb base weight (12 oz dedicated to electronics and batteries)
I met a number of through hikers with 40 lb packs plodding g up the trail, and a very few travling with 25 lb packs having a lot more enjoyable hike.
This brought up a question in my mind …. What would my thru-hike gear list look like applying SUL principals. I thought I would ask the forum, in hopes of sparking some added ideas.Jul 31, 2013 at 7:18 am #2011130
@annapurnaJul 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #2011166
If you can do it for a week, you can do it for a thru hike. All you do is stack week trips on top of each other between resupplies. refill your consumables when needed and change a few insulation things for season change.Aug 1, 2013 at 10:51 am #2011473
Thanks for the link and thanks for the replies …. wealth of info …Aug 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm #2011908
There are plenty of UL thru hikers. UL being 10 lb or less base weight.
There are very few SUL thru hikers on long trails. SUL is < 5 lbs
At least not on cold, wet , mountainous trails.
SUL – class packs dont lend themselves to carrying 25 lb loads very well.Aug 3, 2013 at 8:56 am #2011948
Dont think I would want to do a true SUL sub 5# base weight thru…
You can do a decent sub 7# pretty easy with a good bit of cuben gear.
Zpacks Arc, Zpacks hexamid, cuben poncho, SUL down quilt, UL jacket like a montbell, cold or 2 oz SUL cook set and very minimal other stuff etc.
If you double use some your gear, and use a lighter pack like a zpacks zero, cold food, use a synthetic quilt as an insulated garment, IE no jacket, Cuben Poncho tarp for a shelter and a Driducks emer poncho for setup you could probably go under 5# or close to it.
That said I would not want to haul an additional 4# of water and 10# of food in a Zpacks Zero for a total of 19#. Those packs work better at around 12-15# total, so a lot of resupply and or minimal water etc.
UL 8-9# IE where you are seems to be a good fairly comfortable weight to be at that does not cost an arm and a leg. Consider a total load with 10# of food and other consumables and 4# of water for a total weight of 23# with a decent pack vs 19# with a smaller more uncomfortable pack and very minimal equipment with no room for error. Your skillset need to be higher when you get into the sub 5# category.
I think his name was IceAxe here who did a minimal AT thru a few years ago and his base weight was 9#.
This guy did an AT thru with a very minimal hammock setup and a 20L pack. He was also at about 9# base. He has about 125 videos of his long walk on youtube.Aug 3, 2013 at 10:47 am #2011970
I find 6.5-8 lb range to be about as minimal as I would go for a long thru.
The only differences between that and being SUL are:
1) shelter with bug netting
2) Pack that can handle 25 lbs
3) more comfortable sleeping pad than a 3.5oz CCF torso pad.
4) dry set of clothing to put on when get to camp, or town.Aug 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm #2012095
A 5lb base weight is possible for the average sized hiker without giving up much of anything:
Custom Zpacks Arc Slim (add right side bottle pocket & mesh pocket, delete
haul loop, hydration port, left side and back side compression cords) – 13
Zpacks large stuff sack in .74 cuben (food bag/bear hang) – .5
Zpacks Hexamid Solo tent w/guy lines, 4 Ruta Locura CF & 2 ti hook stakes – 12.62
Zpacks 30 degree regular width/long length sleeping bag – 15.1
Zpacks down hood – 1.2
Neoair Xlite short – 8
Goosefeet 10D pillowcase/stuff sack for clothes, FlexAir pillow – .92
Zelph flat bottom Foster's pot/lid, MYOG snow leopard style
windscreen/pot stand, esbit burner, foil ground shield, ziplock,
Sistema BTG spoon – 2.6
Liter bottle – 1.25
Sawyer Squeeze, 2 liter bag – 4
First Aid/Repair – gauze pad, wound closure strips, (2) antibiotic
ointment, (2) bandaids, (2) antihistamine, (6) ibuprofen, moleskin,
dental floss, needle, cuben tape, tenacious tape, seam grip, ziplock. – .91
50' 1.4mm dyneema cord – .7
Mini bottles for Deet, Purell, Sunscreen – .57
Fenix LD01 w/battery – .85
Mini Bic – .38
AG Russell Hunter's scalpel, sheath – .78
Suunto Clipper compass, custom printed topo – .49
Peter's headnet – .49
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorak sz L – 1.7
Zpacks .74 cuben Solo-Plus Poncho Groundsheet – 4.3
Luke's Ultralite down pullover or Montbell Ex Light vest, size L – 4
Arc'Teryx Phase SL bottom – 3.5
Spare pair Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Micro socks – 1.55
Base Weight: 79.407
Price – $1890.00
Add another 2 liter bladder and you would be about a half ounce over. You could shave some weight by having the Arc Slim made from 1.43oz cuben.
That said, I would probably be in the 6-8lb range on a thru hike. What's a couple extra pounds when you are living out of your pack for months on end?Aug 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm #2012109
Its not THAT easy, you generaly have to give up some things. Most SUL gear lists either leave needed items out, or are defined for very narrow conditions to eliminate excess items. Bugs and cold wet weather often.
Hence the Mountain SUL articles on here recently.
13oz pack is generally too heavy to get most below 5 lbs. In any case, is it big enough to carry a weeks food? A bear can? All depends.
You have omitted several stakes . The solo needs 10 stakes. add another 1 oz.
Despite what it is advertised at, the zpacks hood is made by goosefeet and mine weighs 1.6 oz.
No alcohol container, add 1oz
Wt of the first aid/repair looks low…0.9 oz? LIkely needs another couple oz.
No meds. Need at least 1oz of ibuprofen, loperamide, benadryl, etc.
No food bag? = 1oz
No pack liner for down=1oz. Every open a pack in therain to get something out?
Zip locks to organize all the little crap? 0.5 oz
ziplocks to keep map dry? .3 oz
No rain gear for legs, wont cut it in cooler weather. = +2 oz for cuben rainkirt.
No arm insulation, really? add 2 oz for exlight jacket instead.
No non-down insulation?
ID?Cash?Credit card? in ziplock = 1oz
Toilet paper in ziplock? TP is consumeable, but ziplock isnt = 0.3 oz for a pint size
1 gal Garbage ziplock = 0.5 oz
CAmera/phone = 4 oz
Just adding in these items, I added another 16 oz.
This is typical of most peoples lists, they omit things.
You will need to get rid of mesh on shelter, go to small CCF pad, and lighter pack to get there IF you are honest.
Many either arent, or they "cheat" by putting things in pockets or around neck, or they are hiking in dry warm conditions that dont require the level of rain and cold protection that mountains do.
And thats why the distinction between SUL and just UL. There is a paradigm change if you are fully equipped.Aug 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm #2012117
"13oz pack is generally too heavy to get most below 5 lbs. In any case, is it big enough to carry a weeks food? A bear can?"
I don't have an Arc Slim (2200ci plus mesh pocket) but based on my experience with a small Zero (1700ci) the Slim will fit a weeks food. Not sure on the Bear can though. The Slim is comparable in size to a GG Gorilla. A full size Arc Blast (3200ci plus mesh pocket) in 1.43 cuben with the specified deletions would only add 1.5 ounces, that would be a good option for a bear can.
"You have omitted several stakes . The solo needs 10 stakes. add another 1 oz."
Only six stakes are mandatory on the Solo, which is what I usually pitch it with. the additional points can be secured with rocks if desired.
"Despite what it is advertised at, the zpacks hood is made by goosefeet and mine weighs 1.6 oz."
Mine weighs exactly 1.2 ounces. Call it a 1.4oz average?
"No alcohol container, add 1oz"
Esbit, no container needed other than the ziplock listed.
"Wt of the first aid/repair looks low…0.9 oz?"
That's the actual weight of the items listed, it is my own SUL kit.
"No meds. Need at least 1oz of ibuprofen, loperamide, benadryl, etc."
Fair point, I listed minimal meds, but there is plenty of precedent for listing these as consumables.
"No food bag? = 1oz"
Food bag is listed
"No pack liner for down=1oz"
Arc slim is fully seam taped and has a dry bag style top. Also the Zpacks stuff sack is seam sealed and can be used to store the quilt, puffy layer and hood. And a poncho is listed. That's three layers of protection.
"Zip locks to organize all the little crap? 0.5 oz"
A single ziplock for the misc stuff and map – .17 ounces
"ziplocks to keep map dry? .3 oz"
"No rain gear for legs, wont cut it in cooler weather. = +2 oz for cuben rainkirt."
My Solo Plus poncho reaches just below my knee.
"No arm insulation, really? add 2 oz for exlight jacket instead."
I hike in a long sleeved shirt, plus a windshirt is listed. I've never needed more arm insulation, even in 30 degree weather.
"ID?Cash?Credit card? in ziplock = 1oz
Drivers license, a couple hundreds and a couple twenties weighs .28 ounces. Add a small rubber band and put them in the misc. ziplock.
"Toilet paper in ziplock? TP is consumeable, but ziplock isnt = 0.3 oz"
Again, in the misc. ziplock. There is plenty of room for 2-3 compact rolls.
"1 gal Garbage ziplock = 0.5 oz"
Use first empty food bag or ziplock
On a thru hike? I hide mine on shorter trips, that's less risky than dropping it somewhere in the backcountry.
"CAmera/phone = 4 oz"
Nice, but optional, this is SUL after all.
You've added .65 ounces, and that's if I up the weight on the down hood. I think my point is safe…Aug 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm #2012138
my license/ins.card/credit card/and 3 bills weighs 0.55 oz. they stay in a 0.05 oz cuben sack.
Just because a used ziplock is recycled as a garbage ziplock, doesnt mean you dont need to count it. If you are carrying it, the whole time, it should be counted. You can periodically throw much garbage away, but you will always have one ziplock on you for garbage.
I count everything, each 0.04 oz rubber band around an item, everything. It adds up.
Especially uncounted ziplocks.
My nylofume liners weigh 1.04 oz. But they could be cut down a few inches. Maybe yours are? Next to keeping myself injury free, keeping my down items dry is the most important thing.
I find it impracticle to put guidebook pages and maps in same ziplock as other stuff. I need to refer to it all day long, so it stays in my pockets most of the day. But, it has to stay dry if it rains, so that is why it has its own ziplock. The ziplock also protects it from excessive wear and tear since I photocopy onto plain paper, both sides to save weight..
IMO, your SUL list is short on raingear and cold weather insulation. If it works for you, that is all that matters. I would not want to hike in a groundsheet poncho all day in cold rain to save a couple of ounces. I would rather have better rain gear and a lesser sleeping pad or no bug netting.
Especially on the AT, spring is cold and wet NOBO for a month. I would not go without arm insulation, or a light fleece/baselayer top that could double as dry clothing when stop hiking, or some form of leg rain protection, or rain mitts.
I count meds, because I dont use them, they are first aid. They may only be 0.75 oz, but they are with me the whole time. Need enough for a couple of days to get you to the next town.
You can say you wont have a phone or camera, but 99.9999% do. All Im saying is if someone will take one, they need to count it. They will also probably put it in a ziplock as well.
There comes a point where chasing a # hurts you more than helps you. For the mountains, its about 6-7 lbs.Aug 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm #2012143
I can see your viewpoint on the ziplocks etc., but we are still talking about less than an ounce.
Re. the nylofume, yes mine is cut down about 25%
What I'm challenging with my list is the idea that a sub 5lb base weight necessitates a frameless backpack, tarp or poncho tarp, closed cell foam pad, Aquamira or bleach, and sometimes no insulation layer at all. Most of the SUL lists I see start with those choices, which saves enough weight to encourage laziness on the rest of the items. My list demonstrates that with current technology, and if you are ruthless with every item, SUL can now include an enclosed shelter, real sleeping pad, water filter, wind shirt, insulating layer etc. Not to mention a framed pack that can comfortably carry 25+ lbs! That's a paradigm shift.
Of course if one insists on sticking to an arbitrary 5lb base weight then some choices will still have to be made. For me a poncho and vest are not optimal, but they are adequate IF it gets cold and rainy. And I like having a phone/camera as much as anyone. On the other hand I have to sleep every night, and I can't do that without bug protection on a closed cell foam pad. I also have to drink several times an hour and I hate the taste and the hassle of Aquamira.
My list was composed with the Sierra's in mind. I've never hiked on the AT.
We are in agreement on the 6-7lb base weight being more optimal, especially on a through hike. I said as much in my first post.Aug 4, 2013 at 7:29 am #2012170
Its quite eye opening how much of what is available to be purchased for UL/SUL depends on one person….
What are the other vendors doing contributing? Not much unfortunately.Aug 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #2012211
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
Good question and I will be following along with your thread.
I have been "medically grounded from hiking" for several years now but things may be changing.
I should dust off my old SUL gear list and update it. I have several new ideas and lots of good material.
If my current medical condition says more or less as it is right now, I just might be able to get out for a short AT section hike in the early fall. Something like Springer Mt to Fontana Dam, 162 miles.
Carrying a camera might be a problem at 5 pounds or less but maybe not. I also have a chemo port in my left shoulder that will require a different design for my pack straps.Aug 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm #2012307
@nzbazzaLocale: New Zealand
Check out Cam Honan's (Swami) gear list for the 12 long walks he did in 18 months, including the fastest ever triple crown in a single year. This guy is a hiking legend. There's no weights given in the list, but looking at the gear he uses it would be very close to SUL.
Otherwise the recent 6 and 7lb Mountain-SUL gearlists by Will look good too.Aug 8, 2013 at 9:45 am #2013588
Good to hear from you Bill!Aug 8, 2013 at 9:49 am #2013590
Great info so far ….lots of food for thoughtAug 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm #2013782
I'm currently planning a NOBO CDT hike in 2015 with a current projected baseweight of 8.8 lbs (if I don't bring the umbrella). If I was willing to dump my smart phone or the GPS and forget the camera gear (and I'm not as I swore never to do a long trail without an excellent camera), my projected gear list would be just under 7 lbs. It would be hard for me to do any less on a trail that I'd feel that I'd have to be prepared for a variety of possible weather conditions. So I have to agree that a 6 – 7lbs range as the bottom end for a thru-hike for all but a few people. Someone fast enough to do a 3 month hike during the height of summer could probably cut out more of the safety margin then I'm comfortable with.
I've noticed that my gear list is full of cuben fiber stuff from Zpacks and MLD. I suspect my underwear will end up being cuben in a few years. Currently have things like a small CF tarp + bivy, a zpacks arc blast slim backpack without a frame, GG torso pad, stoveless, Zpacks CF rain jacket+pants, etc.Aug 9, 2013 at 7:23 am #2013854
I would be interested in seeing your gear list – care to post it?Aug 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm #2014040
Not SUL but about like this. Mind you this is Loners budget setup and he did not spend a ton of $ on his gear and he finished.Aug 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2014068
>> I would be interested in seeing your gear list – care to post it?
This is what I'm currently planning for a 4.5 to 5 month NOBO CDT thru-hike. Not included are Maps, toliet paper or ziplocks. I haven't decided yet whether to bring my 8oz. Golite Chrome Dome Umbrella for the desert. I didn't post a packliner since I don't know if I'm bringing one since CF is suppose to be waterproof (my tarp seems to be at least). This doesn't include items I'm wearing or carrying like my Ruta Locura cf trek poles. If you want the skin out weight add 3.8 lbs. This gearlist is going stoveless. I did the northern 600miles of the AT SOBO last year in the late summer/early fall going stoveless as an experiment and it worked out.
I totaled the electronics seperatley giving the total packweight without and with it since most hikers wouldn't carry nearly as much of it (over 2 lbs. of it).
CF Stuff Sack – 339cu (Zpack Md) 0.2oz
Terramar LW Helix Thermal Pants (M) 4.9oz
Zpacks CF Rain Jacket (L) 4.7oz
MLD eVENT Rain Mitts (M) 0.9oz
Zpacks CF Rain Pants 2.9oz
MH PowerStretch Balaclava 1.3oz
MontBell Ext UL Down Jacket (L) 6.5oz
WrightSock (Low Runner) socks 1x 1.1oz
Wrightsock – Merino Crew socks 1x 1.9oz
Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket 1.6oz
UL Bug Head Net 0.4oz
MSR UL Towel 0.6oz
CF Stuff Sack – 81cu (Zpacks sm) 0.1oz
Toothbrush + toothpaste 0.6oz
Purell Sanitizer (0.5fl.oz) 0.8oz
3M Ultrathon Sunscreen (2oz) 2.4oz
Lip Balm 0.3oz
1st Aid Kit 2.4oz
Misc. Items Sack
CF Stuff Sack – 81cu (Zpacks sm) 0.1oz
Brunton 27LU Compass 0.8oz
Duct Tape (18" Strip) 0.3oz
Thermometer (keyring) 0.2oz
Wallet (DL,CC,Cash) 0.6oz
Photon Freedom LED (Red) 0.2oz
Fenix LD12 Flashlight (1xAA) 2.3oz
Montbell Handy Scoop (cat holes) 1.3oz
Spyderco Knife 0.6oz
Red Fox 40 Mini Whistle 0.2oz
CF Food Sack – 750cu (Zpacks) 0.9oz
Ziplock 4cup Twistloc Container 1.8oz (rehydrate food, doubles as extra water bottle).
mini Bic Lighter 0.4oz
Bear Bag Cord 1.3oz
MLD SuperFly Mini Biner 0.1oz
Firelite Tit Long Spoon 0.4oz
Aqua Mira drops 3.0oz
PowerAid Bottle (32oz) x2 3.6oz
Platy Hoser (2.5L) 4.3oz
GG Nightlite Torso Pad 3.3oz
GG 1/8" Thinpad 1.8oz
2008 Golite Ultra 20F Quilt(straps removed) 18.8oz
Zpacks Hexamid Tarp (no net or beak) 6.2oz
MLD Superlite Bivy (CF Floor) 5.5oz
GG Polypro Ground Cloth (M) 1.1oz
Zpacks Arc Slim Backpack w/options(no frame) 12.3oz
Total w/no electronics 105.0oz or 6.56 lbs.
Panasonic DMW-BLD10 spare Camera Battery 1.4oz
Panasonic Battery Charger 2.5oz
Panasonic GX1 Camera 18.7oz
Gorillapod Micro250 0.9oz
Android Cell Phone 4.5oz
Garmin Geko 301 GPS 3.4oz
USB Charger for phone 2.6oz
Total with everything 138.9oz or 8.68 lbs.
In Southern Colorado, I may add my Camp XLA210 Alum. Ice Axe at 9.5oz. and a tube of 3M Ultrathon DEET lotion(2 fl.oz) at 2.5oz even though I'm using permithrin treated clothing.
Now there are some more ounces in the above list that could be cut out, but when I'm on such a long trip, I prefer a bigger safety margin compared to a shorter trip and I'm less in the mood to live without certain things for that long.
edit: Updated some gear as I've bought a few new lighter thingsSep 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm #2025893
I just finished doing the Benton Mackaye/AT loop + 100miles(650 miles total). I used a 27Liter pack, Poncho tarp, bivy, 3/4 CCF, base was under 4. No stove or anything else I didn't need. I only used two 20oz bottles for water. I was pushing 20-25miles, so it worked pretty good for my trip.
Overall the hike went well but I highly doubt I'll ever go SUL for a long distance hike again. My main problem was it's hard to carry enough food & I started to miss hot drinks. Not having coffee, tea & cocoa with me hurt my moral. I didn't care about cooking a meal, but no drinks was really a bummer.
I usually eat 2.5 – 3 pounds of food in the summer after two weeks. If its colder I'll easily carry an average of 4 pounds a day in food/drinks. I just missed having the choice of being able to bring along whatever I wanted food wise. I'll bring along a dozen donuts and two pounds of bread, fruit, eggs, ect with me if it looks tasty in the store. With such a small pack I had to strategically plan out my food and had to really look at the calorie to ounce ratio.
It's not really hard to plan out a SUL hike on a spreadsheet, but doing it and limiting yourself is hard. The only reason I could see myself doing another SUL long distance hike is if I'm on a time constraint or if I'm doing some type of fastpacking.Sep 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm #2025896
Thanks for sharing, Josh.
Much wisdom in that post.Sep 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm #2026313
The nice thing with going a bit too light is you find out what things you really miss. You might find an extra 0.5-2 lbs fills all your wants, or you might find the ideal balance is higher still. Regardless, cutting down beyond the ideal is a valuable part of honing your hiking style. The challenge now is to add back the important stuff, without falling into the cycle of getting heavier and heavier.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.