May 17, 2011 at 7:48 am #1273953
In the interest of full disclosure, this is about as ridiculous and "fringe" as it gets, and I can't imagine I'll ever do it, but…
My son was just playing with mylar balloon, and it occurred to me that one filled half-way with helium would make for a comfortable (if noisy) pillow. Not only would it be weightless, it'd probably offset your weight by half an ounce or so. Since it's waterproof, you could tie it to the outside of the pack at the beginning of the trip if you don't have the space. After your last night, simply deflate it.
Not only that, it's multi-use! Get a shiny or colorful enough one, and you can tie it to your bearline for a solid emergency signal.
Just sayin'…May 17, 2011 at 8:16 am #1737616
Ha ha! I like it!
But why stop there? My calculations show that I only need an 8 foot diameter balloon to achieve a total pack weight of -4 pounds!
And so the sport of balloonpacking was born.May 17, 2011 at 8:23 am #1737617
An 8 foot balloon could also be used as a shelter, air mattress, flotation device, and emergency signal.
I think we're on to something here.
AzMay 17, 2011 at 8:28 am #1737620
Make the pack out of a double-layer mylar. Fill it with helium before you go, and it unfolds into your sleeping pad/pillow.
Edit: Where's Mike to draw up a cartoon of someone pulling their balloon-lifted SUL kit on a leash?May 17, 2011 at 8:55 am #1737635
@johnaLocale: Great Lakes State
Using hydrogen instead would offset even more weight. Add a small but long enough hose and it could take the place of your stove, too!May 17, 2011 at 8:58 am #1737639
Ultralight fireworks. Excellent!May 17, 2011 at 11:26 am #1737692
I could see this working, but if you do it, you're gonna open a whole new can of worms. Aerodynamic drag. If you have a big balloon slowing you down, you'll lose the gain of less weight. How can you get 30 miles a day? Then manufacturers will address that problem and I'll be out another $1000 for "aerodynamic noble gass filled neon self lighting pack lighteners". I don't have the cash for that right now! Also if you go too far, you become a hot air balloon and you have to switch to a new website. I met some hot air ballooners one time. They were sort of strange.May 17, 2011 at 11:37 am #1737700
"Using hydrogen instead would offset even more weight. Add a small but long enough hose and it could take the place of your stove, too!"
And this would carry with it an added incentive to use fuel sparingly — because the more fuel you use, the heavier your pack gets!
And don't forget to bring along plenty of guylines and some serious stakes in case of storms; these negative weight packs will be even easier for the wind to blow away than an unsecured free-standing tent!May 17, 2011 at 11:43 am #1737703
David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
One can always replace burned hydrogen (and re-lighten pack) by carrying a solar panel to disassociate water on the go. Plus, the O2 can be breathed to boost hiking perfomance.
Someone needs to trademark "balloonpacking."May 17, 2011 at 11:58 am #1737709
Instead of carrying our houses on our backs, we're going to let balloons do it for us.May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm #1737775
Mark HudsonBPL Member
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
If you get bored while sitting under your "shelter" you could always do a hit and amuse yourself and your friends with your squeaky voice.May 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm #1737920
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
Kite related, but I'm sure it can be applied to backpacking gear. Kiters have been using helium encapsulated graphite for years now. They can always be identified by their kite bags; they float over their head walking on the kite field.
It took quite a bit of technology to come up with this stuff. I quote from someone in the know: "It's extraordinary "light weightness" (TM) is achieved by exchanging oxygen molecules with Helium molecules at the molecular level. This is done "while" the graphite is being applied to the spindle."
I can't wait for Wild Ideas to start using this stuff. Once they do, we will only have to deal with the bulk of a bear canister. That whole ursack discussion will be tempered…
SteveMay 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1737922
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
And pray tell what ever happened to Unobtanium hiking poles? Are we to now use helium infused graphite poles instead?May 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm #1737929
drowning in spamMember
And pray tell what ever happened to Unobtanium hiking poles? Are we to now use helium infused graphite poles instead?
Those would be utterly useless for fording creeks as they'd be an incredible hassle to push down into the creek bed. They would be even worse while trying to hitch. You'd merely be trying to keep your poles from floating away, but passerby's would think you're a madmen waving your ski poles in the air. They could be an alternative to packrafts. Polerafting anyone?May 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm #1737942
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Pardon me for taking this topic a bit too seriously, but I did a bit of actual research for fun.
Using hydrogen or helium, you get about 1 gram of lift per liter of gas or 0.95oz of lift per cubic foot. So theoretically, you'd need over 100 cubic feet to live a nice UL baseweight around 6-7 lbs. That would mean a ballon around 6 feet in diameter…..totally impractical but pretty neat.
With any attempt to save weight using lifting gases, you'd need to find a container that doesn't weigh more than the weight you are savings. Using something that you are already carrying would be the way to go. One idea is to fill your NeoAir mattress up with helium before your trip and then just keep it filled. A full length NeoAir holds about 2.1 cubic feet of gas, which corresponds to a savings of 1.92oz when filled with helium. So you'd reduce a NeoAir's weight from 14oz to 12oz if you filled it with helium and then kept it inflated…assuming of course the helium can't escape through the walls of the pad.May 18, 2011 at 7:47 am #1738039
>> Bender <<BPL Member
If I were to make a Rectangular 72x24x4" airmat using the lightest materials it would be 11.3 oz. My estimated volume came out to 99.1 liters or 3.5 oz lift. An 11.3 oz airmat minus 3.5 oz lift = 7.8 oz! I calculated doubling the thickness and the final weight comes out exactly the same. Adding Canadian geese with some spectra cord attached is the only way to help this dirigible off the ground.May 18, 2011 at 8:04 am #1738046May 18, 2011 at 8:20 am #1738056Dec 12, 2013 at 11:30 am #2053586
After reading this, I came off in a slightly different direction. I am going to use a standard latex balloon and a paper clip as a pillow. The paper clip/balloon pillow weighs less than a quarter of an ounce and I can pre-inflate it to loosen it up to make it more flexible. I tried it and it is surprisingly comfortable. I am thinking about coming up with a ultra light "pillow case" out of pertex or cuben to fit a bunch of these into and use as a sleeping mat. I have done it without the "pillow case" and they don't pop at all (I am 225 lbs. and really tried it with some leftover birthday balloons from my kid's party), they are very warm and over 5" thick or air insulation. Depending on the weight of the "case" I am confident that I can get an R8 or 9 matress for less than $5 and 5oz. It might be extreme and funny, but I am seriously going to develop this idea into reality. Maybe Mylar balloons? I will let you guys know.
For now, though, I am seriously going to replace my pillow with a balloon. Even with a back up (or three) it weighs less than the lightest camp pillow. And I am always worried that THOSE are going to pop, too! Tell me you haven't worried about it yourself. Why not just beat it to the punch? Yeah it might pop. Get a balloon. They don't pop as easy as you think they might.Dec 12, 2013 at 11:34 am #2053589
Also, screw the helium and hydrogen. Save space and hassle and the ever strange question: "What is the wind speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" Aerodynamics are hard to take into consideration. And, yes, Balloonists ARE strange.Dec 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm #2053612
This is me on a mattress of 18 12" balloons inflated to 6-8". I Covered them in a quilt to simulate a "case." I literally belly flopped on this and stood up and jumped on it several times. None of the balloons ever popped until I decided to try closing them with twist ties. Even then it was much more difficult to grind the sharp edge of a twist tie into one enough to puncture it. It wasn't a pop when it did, just a slow deflation. Half inflated like this they are very difficult to deflate. All 18 balloons I used came up to 1.5ish oz. I didn't weigh them on a proper scale, but against a known weight (my pocket rocket).
I laid on it like this, but they went everywhere:
So… I covered them in a blanket envelope:
Here's me on it. I had just fell back on it hard. No pops. These things are really tough to pop. Only a field trial will tell how awesome this is.
My wife showed me that if when I tie them I insert a tiny length of string through the knot, I can undo the knot later very easily and reuse the balloons a few times before they are worn out. It is really easy to do and works pretty well, though I will have to play with a better design. Maybe someone has already come up with a temporary balloon closer? If so, it means you can take out the sharp twist ties and paper clips.
I found that three balloons wide for the mattress is extremely generous. I will probably only do them 2 wide. As you can see this is crazy, but it works. AND IT'S ULTRALIGHT. The great thing is, repairs are a cinch and the repair kit is just as light weight as any other.
All I have to do now is start making "mattress cases" out of cuben or pertex and use them in field trials. What do you guys think?Dec 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm #2053614
Franco DarioliBPL Member
"What is the wind speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
What ? African or European swallow?Dec 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm #2053617
This mattress was 4.5-5" thick when I laid down on it and 6-8 thick (varying balloons volumes) when I wasn't on it. It was REALLY REALLY comfortable. I could feel the balloons heat up my back underneath me, even in my warm house.Dec 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm #2053623
Franco: If you are as much of a Monty Python dweeb as me, this will interest you!
http://style.org/unladenswallow/Dec 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm #2053634
Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.