What is ultralight backpacking? (how we talk about ultralight)

To me, ultralight backpacking is the idea that one should solve a problem using as little as possible, but that which is used to solve the problem should be as effective as possible. Defined as such, the actual weight of individual pieces of gear, or one's pack, matters less, and takes a back seat to the performance-to-weight ratio of a piece of gear.

National Monument Reduction: What Are We Really Losing?

Late last year, United States President Donald Trump took action for national monument reduction in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. This article explores the issues.

Hiking with my Dad

Hiking with your father - or if you're a dad, hiking with your kids - is restorative, healing, and builds strength in your relationship.

What we can all learn from each other: A cross-disciplinary approach to backpacking skills

Preppers, Primitive Skills, the Military, and Hunters are all groups of people that have learned to thrive outdoors in their own way. Backpackers can take lessons from these other groups to make them more successful.

Ultralight Hunting: Towards a Coherent Definition

Much like the ultralight backpacking movement, ultralight hunting is beginning to grow in popularity due to gear innovation as hunters look for a more holistic hunting experience. As new gear begins to push the envelope, we turn our discussion to a what is the definition of 'ultralight hunting'?

Delmar’s Poll

Delmar O'Donnell conducted a poll of BPL readers and teamed with Roger Caffin to relay the results which tell a lot about the BPL demographic and their backpacking preferences.

The Yellowstone Paddling Dilemma

Hand Propelled Vessels are banned in Yellowstone National Park. This is in direct violation of the Park's founding principles. Not only should HPVs be allowed on Yellowstone's waterways but their presence will improve the health of the ecosystem.

The Grocery Sack Grows Up: A Genealogy of the Modern Ultralight Backpack

From humble beginnings to the sophisticated and lightweight packs, the ultralight backpack is a tale filled with adaptation and pushing the balance of weight and features.

Rescue Insurance for Backpackers

Rescue Insurance can be the difference between hefty bills and peace of mind. In either case getting rescued is the main priority, but your most expensive bill might surprise you.

The Politics of Cottage Consumption

Defining the role we, as consumers, play in shaping the lightweight industry.

The SUL Mindset: Redefining SUL

The SUL Mindset may be more than gear weights, and performance standards.

Boys in the Wild (Short Film)

A short film about the challenges we face when trying to expose young men to backcountry experiences.

Commentary: The Packraft in 2013

Ten years ago, packrafters had few options. Today, the choices are many, and the future looks very promising.

Depression and Wilderness, Part 2: Wilderness May Not Be Enough

Is wilderness really a cure for depression, or just a temporary escape?

Depression and Wilderness: The Benefit of Wilderness as Therapy

"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” -Henry David Thoreau

The Perils of Certainty

Making decisions based on incorrect information negates stellar gear and knowledge, leading to trouble. It can happen far more easily than many of us would care to admit.

Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems

Commentary on the (lack of) gear you can love from the cottage industry.

Field Notes of a Family Man: How to Nurture Your Family and Your Backpacking Obsession

How do we balance being a good parent, spouse and professional [insert your career here], while also embracing the side of us that wants to walk out the door and hike across the planet?

Lightweight Backpacking, Wal-Mart Style

I love gear, but I hate paying for it. Could I get a lightweight shelter, pack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad for under $100? And if I could... how long would it last me?

Join Our Community

Become a Backpacking Light Member

Forum Access

Unrestricted access to all forums, plus the ability to post and start new threads.

Premium Content

Unrestricted access to all 2,300+ articles, gear reviews, skills, stories, and more.

Community Posts

Post new content to the community including gear swaps, reviews, trip reports and more!

Online Education

Get unlimited access to all our online education (*Unlimited membership required).

Pack less. Be more. Become a member today!

Get Started