- Jun 8, 2007 at 3:50 am #1391631
Donna CBPL Member
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
while true that you don't have a sweaty back from carrying a fanny pack, for me…and this is my own experience…it wouldn't work. I start my day with 1/2 liter of water before going to work. I consume at least a couple more liters the rest of the day. Hiking just increases that for me in the summer. Some of it I use to cool me down in the hot, humid weather. Yes, I could camel-up in camp, but it doesn't work for me. I used to use a fanny pack similar to yours for summer day hikes and found that I carried mostly water or sport drink in it. That weight on my waist just was uncomfortable. I've gone back to a pack on my back. And, I sort of like that feeling, too.Jun 8, 2007 at 4:31 am #1391633
@maynard76Locale: New England
Im not sure what you call them, but even back in the day people used those bags that hung down at the hip and had one strap around the opposite shoulder. I always wondered if you could make an UL version and how well it would work. The advantage I would think is that everything is right there easily acsessable. I can see it being a problem if you jogg or run, but with SUL/UL loads for a night or 2 at a slow pace I think it would have enough volume. -just a thought?Jun 8, 2007 at 6:43 am #1391640
Patagonia makes an UL shoulder bag (http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/product/landing.jsp?OPTION=COLLECTIONS_LANDING_PAGE_HANDLER&catcode=MAIN_SP07_US.CLOTHING_GEAR.PACKS/TRAVEL_GEAR#sku.48810) that is 7oz and would be good for day hikes or an ultra-Spartan summer overnighter. I've used shoulder bags for commuting and they are handy but not the most comfortable walking and leave you unbalanced– the load bouncing on your side. I think they are limited to 10 pounds even for commuting and walking a few blocks. I have a Timbuk2 that is great for travel and can hold a ton of stuff– feels like a ton too! I like shoulder bag while traveling and managing mass transit and easy access to cameras, maps, guide book, glasses, etc. A shoulder bag doesn't smack people behind you in the face the way a packpack will– wear a backpack on a crowded Parisian subway car and see how many friends you make– MAIS NON, MON AMI!
For all the fiddling around I've done with fanny packs, lumbar packs, and shoulder bags, the easiest, most comfortable, least expensive and lightest way to contain and carry a load is a backpack.
A back pack is basically a cylinder with a couple straps and it's pretty hard to get more essential than that. Take a look at one of the larger Mountainsmith lumbar packs. They make a good product, but get caught in an engineering spiral of straps, buckles, zippers, and heavy cloth trying to contain and stabilize the load– not to mention keeping it from succumbing to gravity and ending up around your ankles in the middle of the trail. I understand the allure of a tiny package that will serve all your needs, but, other than day hiking, such kits are far more mental exercise than realistic multi-day gear. Been there, done that, and didn't have room for the tee shirt.Jun 8, 2007 at 9:14 am #1391657
QUOTE: "I start my day with 1/2 liter of water before going to work. I consume at least a couple more liters the rest of the day. Hiking just increases that for me in the summer."
I'm lucky in that I train in the rainforest — meaning you can't walk 30 minutes in any direction without crossing running water. I keep Aqua Mira (or more recently MP1) in the kit and voila — water weight for a hike reduced by several kilograms!
I'd love to get ahold of a steripen to reduce the water weight even further; with that the only reason to actually carry water out here would be to avoid stopping.
As it is, I fill up with a fresh .5L or 1L but I have to carry it for 15-30 minutes while the chems start working. With Steripen, I imagine myself just filling my mug a couple of times an hour, zapping it with UV, drinking deep, and carrying on. Total "water weight" would be 4oz! (On training hikes where the water situation is known…)Jun 8, 2007 at 2:52 pm #1391689
Hey, I'm not unresponsible–I am prepared for the conditions.
First, the bottle is a full liter capacity. The number you saw was the weight of said bottle. I have changed this to make it more clear.
Navigation gear is not needed in the park I went, due to the 8 foot wide, white gravel trails and very clearly defined trail markers.
The plan for insects, if there were any(there werent't), was the clothing defense. The socks will roll up to the knees, the sleeves on the shirt roll down(difficult to see in the picture), and the collar on the shirt can be popped and snapped together to form a seal.
The same goes for sun block.
Using the buddy system, in a group of 8-10 people, eliminates the need for extra whistle or signal mirror.
Extra fire starting gear—if everything goes to hell, the cars are only 6-7 miles away by trail.
No need for reserve food–if someone gets hurt, several can attend to him while the others go and get help.
The coldest recorded temperature in that area for the date we went on was 50 degrees. There is not a chance in hell that the temperature on the night we went would drop below 60. In actuality, it didn't drop below 80. A sleeping quilt(of which I have several, for different conditions), would just be silly.
I don't understand your obsession with the fanny pack's weight. As stated earlier, I do own several backpacks, whose weight varies from 2 to 28 oz. I decided to use this pack on a whim, to demonstrate with more visual impact to class participants, just how littler gear needs to be brought. There are lighter options. It was just a fun challenge to fit in all in a certain space.
I am not an unresponsible leader, rather I make certain to fit the gear to the conditions. And yes, there is somehting to be learned from "easy" conditions, just as there is something to be learned from Denali conditions. Just because you may never encounter either doesn't make you can apply the same principles.
Let the gear fit the conditions.Jun 8, 2007 at 3:52 pm #1391698
Reading Pete's posts, I do not think that Pete himself is irresponsible. I do think that his particular gear list has definite limitations as to location and hikers' experience level — esp. to newbies.Jun 8, 2007 at 6:33 pm #1391714
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
That's why he's "Crazy Pete".Jun 9, 2007 at 6:24 am #1391746
We humans survived hundreds of thousands of years before backpacks, or even fanny packs. A well trained modern savage like many of us UL members :) could survive a night or two with a three layer clothing system and a few essentials. The lumbar pack is more than enough room; and I speak from personal experience. If Pete has the knowledge, it is not irresponsible.Jun 10, 2007 at 12:05 am #1391805
If Pete wants to do that acting only for himself, it really doesn't matter to me if he know's what he is doing or not. If he wants to do belly flops off the Golden Gate Bridge, it's none of my business.
The issue of responsibility is in running seminars and teaching others how to use ultralight gear. IMHO, teaching people to go hiking without proper survival gear is irresponsible.Jun 10, 2007 at 7:21 am #1391812
John S.BPL Member
But Dale, you are jumping to conclusions in guessing what Pete is doing at his seminars just because he posts a pic of his fanny pack and you don't like what he carries in it.Jun 10, 2007 at 9:25 am #1391823
mark coleBPL Member
I think Dale and especially Benjamin need a time out. A little too much criticism flying around.Jun 10, 2007 at 11:23 am #1391829
Steve MartellBPL Member
@steveLocale: Eastern Washington
Time out? I'd say they need to lighten up–attitude and pack weight!
Good story Pete–tweaking the gear to the specifics of the trip makes sense to me.Jun 10, 2007 at 2:28 pm #1391840
What I am trying to accomplish within my seminars is to demonstrate a process of certain principles that can be applied to any conditions for any backpacking trip, and use those principles to cut pack weight to an absolute minimum.
In brief, those two prinicples are A) Bring the minimal amount of gear needed to stay alive in the worst conditions FOR THE AREA, that you can conceive. Problems such as heat exhaustion don't usually arise in Antarctica, just at sudden freezes do not happen in Texas.
The second principle is to add in enough gear to achieve the amount of comfort you would like. For some, the ratio of packweight to comfort is higher, for some it is lower. Regardless, each person still must carry the minimum amounto of gear for the described conditions(principle 1).
In the analysis of these hypothetical conditions, we take many things into accout besides the simple weather conditions. We look at geography, water supplies, weather conditions in the past, prior knowledge of intracacies of trail, number of people in group, the level of training of those people, remoteness trail, etc.
My seminar participants are not lacking in basic survival and emergency gear—rather, they have decided, according to my two basic principles, that there is not a need for that extra gear due to the influence of other conditions. They (and I), have decided that carrying that gear will in no way really impact the quickness with which we may deal with an emergency and thus is simply excess weight.
The locale in which I live does lend itself to exceedingly light base weights, but the two prinicples remain the same for all locations. My pack has a different gear list every time I hike, as should anyone's who cares about cutting their weight to the minimum. We are eliminating extra gear by extra preperation.
Natually, if I used that pack within the Rocky Mountins, I might have a hard time of it–however, that fact is irrelevant to the discussion because that list of gear is only applicable to the three days I spent in the woods at that particular location. If I went back tomorrow, a mere 7 days later, I would probably take different gear, as the conditions had changed.
I also believes that this approach removes the somewhat arbitrary line imposed by forcing everyone to bring emergency gear. Should they be prepared for one emergency but not another?? Which emergency takes preference in terms of pack weight–or is that question allowed. Since all emergencies can not be accounted for, the best thing we can do is take an approximation of we assume can happen, and mentally deal with those hypothetical situations by education/training and absolutely necessary gear.
Ultralight gear fits the conditions. The more experianced you become at interpeting those conditions, the lighter your pack will become.Jun 10, 2007 at 2:36 pm #1391842
I come down on the "carry survival essentials" side.
This is a picture of the Vancouver area frontcountry:
You can see that no matter where you are, walking "downhill" a couple of miles will almost always take you directly to suburbia.
In fact, we have a special (and very active) rescue organization that does almost nothing other than pluck living, barely living, and dead people out of the forests shown in the photo.
Have a read of this page:
A lot of the people in those stories were very fit, very smart, and very experienced. Some of these rescues (/body recoveries) were within a mile of civilization. And some were in the dead of summer.
I don't mean to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) — I just want to point out that someone who charges money to be an "outdoors role model" or mentor shouldn't be suggesting that survival essentials can be pared off of a list in order to save grams our cubic inches.
Sht happens, and it really really can happen to you personally. No matter who you are.
EDIT: Having now read your post Pete, I wanted to edit my post so as not to sound condescending but I'll add this PS instead. I applaud your careful consideration of all factors and possibilities; I think that's a major percentage of the equation for going outdoors safely. Some trad backpackers don't do that, and some LW definitely backpackers don't either. Still, though, no nav gear? Really?Jun 10, 2007 at 2:48 pm #1391844
Your analysis is quite correct Brian—however you miss another condition that I also am taking into account. That factor is the large group I am traveling with. A solo hiker must take more equipment because he relies completely upon himself to bail himself in high water situations. Within a group, if a single person goes down, the rest of the group can be of assistance to that single person.Jun 10, 2007 at 3:22 pm #1391846
Nope, no navigational gear necessary. Two of the group carried park trail maps, I have good knowledge of the park having been there many times, exceptionally well marked trails and trail divisions make normal navigation tools such as a compass dead weight.Jun 10, 2007 at 4:54 pm #1391850
Hmm. Now its my turn to respectfully disagree. I think everyone should carry The Essentials, and that includes a map and compass. At least a coin compass and map copy in a zip lock.. Returning to the mention of our ancestors I made earlier, we have lost most of the skills in land navigation and survival they once had.
Pete, I know you hike in groups, but each hike is a chance for each member to improve land navigation skills with the compass and map in their hands. I've been on hikes where people left that stuff in their pack and the leader actually got lost(uh.. me) I occasionally lead my own small groups of newbies here, and now I hand out a compass, map, and whistle, (etc as needed) for each hike. Doing so reinforces the basic survival skill-
Determine your location if possible, then hike out if possible. If not stay put and signal for help.
Well; I can't fault Pete for omitting a compass unless I try this exercise myself, so I will look at my gear closet list and post my opinion what I think should be in a 600cu in overnight list.Jun 10, 2007 at 9:59 pm #1391887
I agree with you partially Brett. However, the intent of my course is not to instruct basic outdoor competency. Rather, I aim to teach my two principles of lightweight hiking, and then teach the skills which allow them to be excecuted(tarp pitching, nature management, clothing, multiple use, etc).
Navigation is not something I stress, due to its nonrelevance to the practice of saving weight, which is the purpose of the course. I stress the buddy system as much as possible–usually assigning tarp mates as buddies. With frequent checks, the rest of the group will quickly find out if someone is missing.
I have assigned whistles to everyone in the past, and may assign them in the future as well. Its kind of a borderline issue though—if someone does not have the presence of mind to get themseleves unlost in our locale, then they probably will not have the presence of mind to use that whistle effectively. I guess I have just been getting lax in this department because the buddy system works so well.Jun 10, 2007 at 11:04 pm #1391892
Great point about the buddy system. Used it in the military, and still do.
And I see your point about location specific gear lists. Thanks for replying.Jun 11, 2007 at 3:08 am #1391898
Donna CBPL Member
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
would any of these folks feel comfortable enough to strike out on their own using these skills you have taught them? It might be a fun thing to have everyone pack UL and then hike as a group and one day split off and hike as solo for a day or two, meeting together on day 3. This way, they can decide for themselves what they need to tweak for future hikes elsewhere and solo. That false sense of security would certainly change while on their own and realize what you've been saying all along that each area dictates what to bring.
One person taught me something even being in a group: don't trust your guide. Be prepared for anything.Jun 11, 2007 at 7:08 am #1391906
John S.BPL Member
And Roman didn't even get worn out when he brought up no map in a place never hiked : )Jun 11, 2007 at 9:12 am #1391922
A scout leader taught me their method for understanding group decisions such as "let's go out on the ice" or "let's put just a bit of white gas in a can and light it and play around with it". He said you take the IQ of the smartest person in the group, and divide it by the number of people in the group. This will give you the IQ of the group as a whole.
Granted, a group with a conscientious, thoughtful, and experienced leader like Pete will make good decisions. But in my experience, the maxim "safety in numbers" isn't always true. Sometimes it's "stupidity in numbers" and "safety in someone who knows what he's doing and can take control!"Jun 11, 2007 at 10:43 am #1391935
Too true. And group mistakes notwithstanding, far too often, groups get separated as well.
Folks who join up for these training courses are newbies or near-newbies by definition. The philosophy that certain gear can be life saving and carrying them trumps "UL bragging rights" any day should be emphasized and re-emphasized.
I really think that only after a few years of experience and real-life mishaps — can newbies truly develop "field smarts". Until then, it's all theories inside their heads. Only after, can they discern intelligently what to bring and what to leave behind.Jun 11, 2007 at 12:43 pm #1391944
Donna—The main thing I try and ingrain within the participants brains is to have a legitimate reason for each and every piece of gear. This prinicple alone saves pounds and pounds within the packs of most participants. After the adoption of this principle, we being the replacement of all items in the pack with ligher items. If a replacement requires a new skill to use, then we discuss it and practice until proficient. This takes longer than one would expect, as what I think the hardest skill to learn by far is tarp pitching.
Everyone who finishes my course is capable of carrying a sub 10 pound pack in typical 3 season conditions without extra training. Further refinements will require more research on their own and also have not been firmly established as solid, working ultralight techinques.
Solid Working, Easy to master technique—Pitching 8X10 tarp
Advanced Skill—Poncho tarp camping WITHOUT bivy
The participants bring minimal personal gear. We construct tarps and packs with duct tape and 3 mil plastic at the parking lot. Participants are thrown out of there comfort zone immediately and are forced to use a gear kit that often weighs 30 pounds less than they are used to. The course gives a steep learning curve to ultralight techniques. I try and choose weekends of expected rain(using dryday.com), to maximize participants trust in the system they are using to stay comfortable which was constructed by their own hands out of minimal materials.
Two nights of this sort of activity requires hands on instruction, as some might need to pitch a tarp 20 times before getting the hang of it. I am with the group at all times to assist, and they usually need it. The group is using anywhere from 15-20 completely brandnew techniques that require a huge mental shift. Around evening the second day, we return to the cars to enable the participants to take any items they wish from their old packs. By this time however, the paradigm has been shifted, and very few, if any items, are added to the participants packs.
This single step reiforces the participant's confidence in gear decisions as they now have the option of preparing, with the addition of their old gear, for a night out in the woods.
I may not be around in the future, but the participants have already made the first, and hardest step to an ulralight way of thinking. The course gives me the opportunity to oversee this step, which results in success for the participants and does not allow them to make incorrect decisions that may result in ultralight failure.Jun 11, 2007 at 1:07 pm #1391949
Mark Cole wrote: "I think Dale and especially Benjamin need a time out. A little too much criticism flying around."
I think I made a very straightforward statement of my opinion. Irrisponsible is a strong word, but to the point. I think it is very different when acting as a commercial entity rather than an individual. Once you go commercial (as in charging fees), then you enter into a realm of liability. As an indivual, it is just your opinion. I wouldn't allow Pete any more slack than I would Ryan Jordan. If Ryan wants to take off into the Arctic for an unsupported pack trip, so be it, but if he takes others on that trip for a fee, he would open himself to critical analysis and some consumer liability. Let me say too, that being critical is very different than name calling or questioning his personal integrity. Pete did present his kit in a forum designed for critque.
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