- Feb 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm #2170355AaronBPL Member
For me (personally), at some point, I don't really care how much my pack weighs. Backpacking is walking with a bag on your back, not rocket science, so there are only so many things you can talk about before everything has been rehashed. We're seeing the advent of lighter and lighter mainstream gear, so people can carry a lightweight load without having to spend 350 bucks on a cuben tarp, which I think is a good thing.
Also, in the past few years I've splint less time purely backpacking. Most of my trips nowadays include some combination of skiing, climbing, biking, paddling, and hiking. This does not lend itself to being "SUL". It is probably a reason why I don't spend as much time on this website nowadays, other than occasionally perusing gear swap or checking out Dave C.'s articles. While I do occasionally gain some new perspective here and there, most of the talk is gear driven, which makes me a sad panda.Feb 9, 2015 at 9:02 am #2172787David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>"Because there's that much less *stuff* to discuss."
I not a SUL naysayer. I appreciate those on the bleeding edge. They make me feel fat, happy & lazy with my 8 to 11-pound base weight. I'm typically SUL on different components at different times. One trip, I might do a no-cook menu. On a different trip, I'll sleep in my clothes without a quilt or bivy. Another time, more worn clothes = SUL quilt. Beefer quilt or bag = almost no carried clothes. If I did all that at once, I'd be SUL. And somewhat cold at night.
I've done total SUL a variety of times, maybe even XSUL. But when is it "SUL" versus just "stuffing some food in my pockets and staying out for a few nights"?Apr 3, 2015 at 12:20 pm #2188799Dave PSpectator
I like the idea of SUL, it reminds me of how woodsmen used to do it back in the days.
But that is kind of the problem. Every time I tried discussing SUL with the girlfriend, she has this mental image of Bear Grylls stereotype in her head.
She is interested in ultralight since her knees are not what they used to be, but SUL reminds her too much of survival reality shows. But part of that is because she Googled gear-lists created during the height of the movement, and she was a bit horrified by the usage of polycro and garbage bags.
I have to admit, I do appreciate Ryan Jordon's attempt of re-defining it as minimalism rather than some arbitrary base-weight. His revision gives me more weight to debate SUL isn't about flimsy materials.
To me, SUL is not about trying to emulate reality shows, but tying traditional knowledge with modern technology. My grandfather was one of those, and one of the last men of the old ways in Yukon died recently.Aug 5, 2016 at 9:33 am #3418443Lizz RoeBPL Member
Hilarious! I’ve just found my own post from 18 months ago! I’d completely forgotten I wrote this. Now my gear is divided into three and a half categories
Aug 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm #3418549
- The SUL version which is basically me going out with a tiny rucsac with grub and an integral Sil poncho in it and sometimes a Borah gear bivi and some kind of foam thing and a silk sleeping bag – I’m wearing nice warm things which can go in the bag for a pillow or stay on me if its cold..
- the UL version which is the HMG echo 2 and beak, plus bivi, quilt and an Esbit stove and titanium mug and a spoon or spork, plus clothes on and maybe a spare couple of items. HMG backpack too.
- The lightweight version which is a laser competition tent or a loue and some of my UL gear basically if I’m staying somewhere for any length of time or it’s a bushcraft thing
- the three and half version which is the UL or lightweight version plus my archaeology kit… Knee pads! Heavy, but gorgeous.
Knee pads? Novel idea, but we rely on them at home for all sorts of things. I spent a week kneeling on a corrugated iron roof recently (repairing the barn), and our knee pads were the only things which made this possible!
They don’t have to be heavy though: ours are 2-layer foam and very light.
CheersSep 3, 2016 at 11:51 am #3424318Bri WBPL Member
Liz, I like your first 2 categories. They’re REALLY similar to mine, except instead of the Echo I have a shortened YMG Cirriform tarp!
The only time I’ll carry knee pads is on a unicycle overnighter trip. :DOct 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm #3433629
I am grateful for all that I’ve learned from the SUL community, especially all the multi use things. I was a member of this site for years, lost access to my account and then came back to see I had to pay to post! Anyway, back on topic…I am not SUL, my full pack for a 6 night trip in winter is around 25lbs, 3season is below 20lbs. I am quite happy with this and it isn’t heavy at all to me. At this point for me to go lighter I’d be stupidly expensive as I’m not willing to sacrifice any of the comforts I currently enjoy, It’d entail a bunch of cuben. I have shaved probably 10-15lbs off my pack weight over the years thanks to SUL techniques and ideas but it personally isnt’ for me. For example, I enjoy my home made activated carbon filter that makes my water taste wonderful, no willing to part with it! =POct 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm #3433630
Just a few of the things I’ve learned and benefitted from via SUL’rs:
Sleeping in insulation therefore taking a lighter bag
Not carrying a 2L platypus reservoir in addition to 2 1 liter platys, instead just carrying 2×1 liter platys
Complex sock layering with quick drying trail runners to avoid boots
Bringing only as much as you need of toiletries/soap/deet/etc (using the tiny dropper bottles)
tons of other multipurpose gear tips I can’t recall ATM
Anyone else care to list a few real-world multi-purpose applications they learned through SUL Philosophy?Oct 31, 2016 at 3:25 pm #3433633
Is 2 liters enough to last overnight and the next morning?
I find that 4 liters is required. Maybe 3.Oct 31, 2016 at 3:59 pm #3433636
How much water?
My wife and I have ‘dry camped’ on top of a mountain or similar numerous times. We find that 5 – 6 L of water between the two of us is quite enough for evening drinks, dinner, washing up, breakfast and often morning tea as well.
We have done with less in cool weather, but had to be very careful.
CheersOct 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm #3433644
I also like to have 1/2 liter for the next day. Until I find a water source in the middle or end of the day.
And maybe 1/4 liter for brushing teeth. A little more to rinse off stuff, maybe wash my glasses.Oct 31, 2016 at 5:27 pm #3433647
I was including morning tea the next day and cleaning my teeth (etc) in the figures I gave.
CheersOct 31, 2016 at 9:16 pm #3433679Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
3-4 liters to spend the night away from water??? That seems like a lot of water
I find that .75 liters after cooking is enough to drink with dinner and a little left over in the morning before taking off. By morning I mean walking less that 30 minutes to a water source.Oct 31, 2016 at 11:19 pm #3433687
My figure of 5 – 6 was for TWO people, and assumed finding water next lunchtime. Hum?
CheersNov 1, 2016 at 7:44 am #3433711
I normally get 4 liters for overnight
I have a pint of coffee and a couple pints of tea in the morning. I start the next day with a pint of water that usually lasts me all day. And I have some extra that I just throw out.
I could easily skip one of the pints of tea, it’s just for entertainment really. And I could scrimp elsewhere. And if I encountered a water source fairly early the next day that would save me another pint.
If I had to carry my water a long distance I’d probably do 3 liters or even 2.5.Nov 1, 2016 at 11:43 am #3433748Window walkerBPL Member
Well I think it depends on how far you have to walk from the last water source to your dry camp and then to the next water source the next day. Also how strenuous of a hike it is. I have carried only 2 liters of water to dry camp and been fine, but the hike in and out was short and easy. On another trip I brought 4 liters and had to conserve because the hike to the dry camp was very difficult and slow. Also your personal water needs/habits would play a role here so this would be different from person to person.
Anyways, one thing that always drops weight for me: don’t bring it if you don’t need it.Nov 1, 2016 at 4:08 pm #3433795James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Generally, I do about 2Liters if conditions are not too hot or too cold. If it over 80, abb 1 liter for every ten degrees in heat.Nov 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm #3433833
Also, I live and hike in the south eastern USA, water is quite plentiful-should have mentioned that.
On a relates note, since I got an Aarn pack probably 5 years ago, I’m less concerned about weight. Sure I am definately in the lightweight category and sometimes approaching UL but with this pack I no longer have shoulder or back pain-or even soreness. There is literally no weight on my shpulder straps, they float slightly above my shirt and sometimes barely touch. All the weight is on my hips. Love the Aarn.Dec 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm #3442174Jerry ABPL Member
The Problem is the difference in sup and ul is $3000 and 2 oz..Dec 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm #3442199Jeff CadorinBPL Member
@jeffcadorin-2Locale: paper beats rock
Jerry, I’ll disagree with you. The difference between ul/sul/xul is the skill set learned from choices to gain knowledge in an attempt to simplify. Money is no factor, drive is.
A 3oz difference between my silnylon tarp and its cuben counterpart is not as big of a deal as the difference in my knowledge to safely use such a tarp to survive and thrive. Money can’t buy you…Dec 28, 2016 at 11:34 pm #3442200W I S N E R !BPL Member
Paradoxically, SUL seems to be heavy on spreadsheets and light on trip reports. I think more of the latter would generate more discussion. So you’ve got a sub-5lb. base…but what did you do with it that makes it interesting?Dec 29, 2016 at 12:21 am #3442203
One suspects that Jerry might have had his XUL Cuban boot in his mouth – deliberately.
CheersDec 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm #3442272Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
Seems to me that in most cases SUL is cheaper.
Normally I use my Duplex but when conditions are good for an SUL-ish (I’m never technically SUL) I will use the Zpacks Pocket Tarp which is a lot cheaper than a Duplex. Some people use MYOG polycryo tarps that cost almost nothing.
SUL stove setups are usually cheaper.
Photon Freedom light is super cheap.
I use a MLD Core pack which with extra pockets cost something like $120 including shipping.
EE Rev 50 quilt and my modified Xlite air mat are standard fare and not especially expensive.
Really, this notion that SUL is prohibitively expensive just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.Dec 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm #3442281JCHBPL Member
I think going Lightweight is expensive because you are still taking “all the stuff” you have always taken, you have simply replaced it it with lighter and (much) more expensive stuff. I think it incorrect to assume that the same process is required to move to SUL.
SUL means taking less stuff…and much more minimal versions of the stuff you do take. As Bob pointed out, often those minimal versions are quite reasonably priced.Dec 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm #3442460Jonathon SelfBPL Member
To be honest, the reason why I’ve gently pushed into the SUL range is because it is cheaper. I’m a graduate student with a wife and a kid; I don’t have a lot of expendable income.
For example, I’m seriously considering moving to a Tyvek ground cloth/backup tarp combo instead of a dedicated shelter (rarely rains unexpectedly here). It’d be functional and frugal. Probably have to replace it every so often, but it wouldn’t cost much.
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