SUL kit for temps > 50* F – pictorial and detailed gear list
Jul 8, 2021 at 3:49 pm #3721346
Total base pack weight 5 lb 2 oz. Does not include food, water or Esbit fuel cubes. Close enough to the 5 lb SUL maximum.
Pack – ZPacks Sub Nero in Robic 9.7 oz.
It came with a blue folding ccf pad, but I found that woefully inadequate, so I opted for a more solid piece of Ridgerest ccf instead to act as 1) pack frame 2) sit pad 3) to place under legs with inflatable torso length pad. I also included a 1 oz MYOG shoulder strap bottle holder and a 540 ml bottle (1.3 oz). I’ve used the pack for about 20 nights and I love it. Very simple.
Sleep System – 1) Enlightened Equipment 50 degree Apex Revelation Long/ Wide (13.6 oz) with DCF 11 stuffsack (0.5 oz). I also added a poncho head slot and I find that helps tremendously on cool mornings when sitting around camp. 2) Klymit Inertia X-Lite inflatable pad (6.0 oz) It’s a tad Spartan for many people, but I find that if I place the 0.7 oz blue ccf foam under the shoulder area and have a good pillow the X-Lite is comfortable enough for an SUL mission. The pad and blue foam is only 1.3 oz less that my torso NeoAir X-Lite, but I’m able to use the Klymit double duty as a camp seat in a way I’d never risk with the NeoAir. The Klymit folds up nice and has a 70 bottom to make it more durable as a camp seat. Makes a ton of difference on the ole bum when lounging around. CCF just doesn’t provide the same comfort. 3) Thermarest Air Head pillow (2.6 oz) Very nice.
Just need a tree, rock or something solid as a back rest. Can be folded and situated a number of ways for a custom fit. This pic is just a basic representation.
Shelter and Rain Gear – I use the GoLite poncho tarp and MLD Bug Bivy combination I highlighted in a thread I posted last fall. Total weight (20.5 oz) is broken down on all items. https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/poncho-tarp-101-with-big-bivy-sul/
Hydration – 1) 900 ml Evernew bag (1 oz) 2) 1500 ml Evernew bag (1.2 oz) 3) Shoulder sling bottle holder with square Hawaiian Punch bottle (which rides much better than a round bottle. 3.8 oz). 4) Sawyer Mini (1,7 oz). Fits onto the Evernew bottles almost perfectly with very little leakage when filtering. 5) Plastic dip cup for scooping water out of streams or lakes (0.4 oz). A very vital piece of gear. 6) 540 ml bottle on pack strap has already been mentioned.
Miscellaneous – 1) simple 3G cell phone with ziploc and DCF bag (2.8 oz). Holds a charge for 10 days if I hardly turn it on. 2) S2S mosquito head net in black 7d stuffsack (0.9 oz). 3) Vargo Dig Dig Tool (1.3 oz). Far superior to the Deuce of Spades and the other UL shovels on the market IMO. 4) Toilet Paper (1.5 oz).
Accessories – 1) Aquamira for backup in 3 ml micro dropper bottles. Also includes mixing cap and mini DCF bag (0.5 oz) 2) BD head lamp (1 oz) Simple 1 setting 25 lumen light. Works fine for my purposes. I don’t hike at night. 3) SPF 30 sunscreen in REI leakproof plastic flip container (0.4 oz) About 4 days worth. 4) Light load pack towel (0.3 oz). Amazing little towel that is reusable and very absorbent. Expands big time when wet 5) Liquid soap in 3 ml micro dropper bottle (0.2 oz). I remove the small dropper portion of the bottle when I put soap in it. 6) Photon backup LED light (0.2 oz). 7) waterproof matches with striker (0.1 oz). 8) Compass (0.1 oz). Works pretty well really. 9) Sewing Kit (0.1 oz) 10) 7d stuffsack and ziploc (0.2 oz).
Pocket Essentials – 1) Buck Nano pocket knife (0.6 oz) 2) Mini Bic (0.4 oz) 3) Deet in 3 ml micro dropper bottle (0.2 oz). Just a little around face, neck, ears and arms can work wonders when the mosquitoes are out. 4) More waterproof matches with striker (0.1 oz). 5) Yellow pocket bag (0.1 oz).
Cook Kit – This is the 1 oz Esbit cook kit I highlighted in a thread last Fall. https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/absolute-lightest-instant-trail-coffee-kit-fuel-xul/
TNF Wind Jacket – Size XL (3.0 oz) Multi-use for a)sitting around camp, b) sleeping in when temps dips lower than expected, c) DWR is water repellent for awhile when setting up poncho tarp in the rain.
DCF 11 Groundsheet – MYOG (1.7 oz) Measures 38″ X 28″ X 48″. Multi purpose for a) sitting around camp, b) to keep from getting wet/dirty when sling into poncho tarp shelter and bug bivy, c) 4 tieouts allow me to secure it over tarp opening when heavier, blowing rains are approaching. Very useful piece of ultralight gear.Jul 8, 2021 at 5:40 pm #3721361
Wow that looks like a great kit. It’s very complete for only 5 pounds. What’s the longest trip you’ve taken with a setup like this?Jul 10, 2021 at 8:38 am #3721540
I’ve done some 3 day and 2 night trips with the pack and I’d say that’s about the maximum because with food volume more would exceed its limits. Of course the 1 liter shoulder sling bottle holder does free up space in the pack, but unless there’s a resupply somewhere along the way, 3 days is about the most it will handle, even with the most dense foods. Also, the pic of the Sub Nero I posted at the top of the thread doesn’t show the full volume potential of the pack and I wish I’d posted the pic below instead. I’d say 30 liters is a pretty accurate estimate for the Sub Nero.
Whenever I post a thread and it doesn’t get replies I attribute it to either 1) the readers don’t find the subject matter of interest. I know SUL is the fringe of the fringe and many consider its proponents to be masochist nut jobs, and I get it, but after 2 knee surgeries I’ll kill to shed grams. At 59 I can still do 15 miles a day as long as the pack is light enough. 2) the second reason I attribute to garnering little interest on a thread is the way it’s presented. Just looking at gear lists on a spread sheet bores me and doesn’t give me a comprehensive visual image of a kit. What do you think? What is the best way to display a gear list for the reader to consume? Thanks.Jul 10, 2021 at 11:15 am #3721571
I cannot imagine why you are not getting more responses.
Your presentation is very clear and includes links, specific details and photos. I doubt a spreadsheet would be more engaging.
I would think everyone would be interested in SUL kits, even if they don’t want to pare their loads down this far. People can learn simple solutions to simplify their kits from threads like this.
Maybe people are out hiking and will respond more in the coming days?Jul 10, 2021 at 1:13 pm #3721582
No big deal. I think most of the young SUL’ers are over on Reddit nowadays.
For people like myself who are more about covering the miles and actually spending a lot of nights out every year, the gram weenie thing becomes far more important. When I read some of the gear lists posted here on BPL I groan in pain just thinking about it. Often they include a pound of electronics and chargers and/or a plethora of other single use items that you could easily do without. People also pack their fears. But hey, if someone isn’t going very far (or fast) and they don’t mind lugging around a boat anchor all day, and in reality they only backpack a few days a year, then luxury is fine I suppose. As Skurka says “there are hikers and there are campers”. Many backpackers put a lot into a comfortable shelter with a large footprint, a canister cook set, glamping sleep pad, camp chair, etc. That sounds fine I guess if mileage isn’t the goal.
Not to sound shrill, but I believe a lot BPL’ers do most of their backpacking in the virtual world really, on the computer.Jul 10, 2021 at 2:47 pm #3721592Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I am not sure where my original post went so I’ll re-state it. It is a very cool kit. In my case, it is very niche. I seldom hike where it is above 50 and usually go for more than 2 nights. Though you can learn al lot about this kit and leverage it towards different trips. My 2 centsJul 10, 2021 at 4:29 pm #3721610
Not to sound shrill, but I believe a lot BPL’ers do most of their backpacking in the virtual world really, on the computer.
Speaking from personal experience, sometimes life happens and it’s tough to get out as much as one hopes to for a couple years in a row. In those times I have continued to participate online, research trips, refine and optimize gear so that I can have the best experience when I’m able to get out again.Jul 11, 2021 at 1:57 am #3721629John S.BPL Member
I try to visit the site daily, but this is the first time I have noticed this thread from 3 days ago..weird. Monte’s posts always interest me. I have bought a few gear items based on your threads. Keep posting ; ).Jul 12, 2021 at 10:52 am #3721717George WBPL Member
I enjoy this type of thread whether it directly relates to my current needs or not.
Thank you.Jul 12, 2021 at 10:58 am #3721719JCHBPL Member
What John S. and George W. said. I enjoyed the OP, but since SUL isn’t my cup-a I have very little in the way of experience or opinion to add. That said, I respect Monty’s perseverance and attention to detail and find posts on the subject inspiring, if not something in which I would like to participate :)Jul 12, 2021 at 12:08 pm #3721735
Thanks for the encouragement. Since the late John Abela is no longer with us, I figure someone has to take up the SUL mantle here on BPL, albeit in a more amateurish kind of way. It’s also starting to dawn on me that my hatred for weight is probably more intense than the average BPL’er. It’s gotten to where a total pack weight (with water and food) of over 12 lbs isn’t enjoyable for me anymore, even with a framed pack. I understand everyone is different though and when backpacking in cooler temps and on longer trips I do of course have to carry more weight. Nevertheless, I still try to practice the elements of simplicity, multi-use, bringing along only that which is absolutely necessary and not packing my fears. I might add that everything posted on my gear list threads has been field tested many nights out so I know exactly what I need (and don’t need), and how much sunblock, soap, Esbit, TP, food and water is absolutely necessary. It’s not just some theoretical spreadsheet.
Sorry to hear about your misfortunes Matthew. I hope you’ll be able to get out and do more backpacking soon. He who spends the most time outdoors wins. At least you have a nice wife and child to make your life fulfilling, whereas I’m a single, childless, dirtbag hiker who’s lonely.
I forgot to post my meager 1.2 oz FAK in the OP, but I did include it in the overall base pack weight. Includes 3 large Band-Aid Tough Strips, two 4″ X 4″ gauze pads, 6 feet of cloth medical tape, antiseptic wipe, triple antibiotic ointment, and 3 alcohol pads. Not much, but it is an SUL kit.Jul 12, 2021 at 2:56 pm #3721749Michael SchlesselmannBPL Member
@mschlessLocale: Southern Los Padres National Forest
Very nice kit! Super interested on how you added the poncho slot to the Enigma! When EE released the Rev-Hole-Ation, I thought they missed out on the best use case for the poncho slot on their warmer weather synthetic options.Jul 12, 2021 at 4:55 pm #3721758Brett ABPL Member
Actually, I NEED to see posts like this from time to time to reel myself in. It seems that over time I’ve gone the wrong direction and added a ridiculous amount of crap back in. I’ve become less attentive to what I’m throwing in my pack. It’s not that I’m forgetting stuff I know I’ll need (I do have a spreadsheet for that) but I start thinking to myself “Ah, what the heck. My packs light enough and I just might need this widget or doodad”. Your post and detailed list/pics have me longing for the days when my BW was 6-1/2 lbs. I don’t recall ever thinking to myself “Gee, I wish I brought ….”. But I sure enjoyed the light pack.
Years ago, back when I was just lurking here, I got a kick out of seeing/reading about the projects Bill Fornshell, Jamie Short and others were working on to cut every last ounce. There was a lot of MYOG activity going on here, especially when Cuben Fiber was the new thing. And it wasn’t necessarily about spreadsheet bragging rights. Though there was some of that as well. Wasn’t there an actual spreadsheet competition at some point?
I suppose, assuming you have a well-fitted pack and you remain diligent about what you’re throwing in it, you reach a certain point that BW isn’t such a big deal. You’ve reminded me that I’ve thrown diligence out the window! Thanks for posting.Jul 12, 2021 at 6:48 pm #3721773
Hi Michael, I will by no means say that my head slot technique is the right way to do the mod, but it works fine for me. I had no reference to go by because I’ve never seen a head slot on an MLD or EE quilt, therefore I just had to think this up on my own.
Please excuse the crude drawings, but I’ll try to convey how I did the mod as well as possible. Any further clarification needed feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to explain further. Anyway, I start by cutting four 15″ X 1 3/4″ strips of 20d silnylon and four 2 1/4″ X 2 5/8″ pieces (almost square) and then I fold all pieces under 1/2″ (dotted line on diagram) around perimeter and iron on warm setting to make a single fold hem. Next I place 2 long strips next to each other and then I place 1 smaller piece OVER each end of the strips and sew squares on (hem fold underneath). I then make a second exact copy of the first. Now I have 2 parts that measure 14″ long and 1 1/2″ wide and with a 12 1/2″ slit in the middle to fit head in. I then sew a 3/8″ wide velcro loop strip 12 1/2″ long on the lower portion of only 1 of the 2 completed sections (red line on diagram). On the other side of the slit I sew a 70 nylon strip of silnylon 1 1/4″” wide (yellow line) with a 3/8″ wide hook velcro strip sewed onto the 70d strip. It will go over the slit to close it up for quilt mode. The 70d strip will work as a flap so only sew 1 line at top of rectangle.
Now that both components are ready I place the section without the velcro underneath the quilt and the section with the velcro on top of the quilt and pin it HEAVILY trying to line each piece up precisely. Helps to use a little scotch masking tape around perimeters to hold. Now sew through both sections (perimeter) with the quilt sandwiched in between. Lastly I take an X-acto knife to cut open slot. The Apex stays together so I’ve found I don’t need to do any more, but a more professional finishing touch could be done with a little more effort.
I hope all of this doesn’t sound totally confusing and as I stated I’m not a professional. Nevertheless, the head slot works great and I so appreciate it when sitting around camp on cool mornings. It makes all the difference in the world.
I MEANT TO WRITE 1 3/4″ WIDE STRIPS ON DIAGRAM. ERROR, SORRY.Jul 15, 2021 at 10:03 am #3721969Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Just stopped by to say I absolutely appreciate seeing SUL content on BPL. I haven’t updated my SUL kit in a few years because it still works really well for me and doesn’t need updating.Jul 15, 2021 at 1:03 pm #3721974dirtbagBPL Member
I enjoy this stuff. My kit is pretty much dialed in for all 4 seasons now, after many years of playing. I do love seeing pictures of gear as well as reading about it. What everyone is using, why, how it works, how it doesn’t. I am always looking to improve or help myself out on the trails. As much as my kit is dialed in, Im always willing to tinker with new ideas if it makes my trips more enjoyable. I love taking the bare minimum with me. I dont need extras and clutter when I am hiking or camping. That is a nice kit you got there!Jul 20, 2021 at 7:05 pm #3722585
I just managed to knock off another 5 gm by ditching the 7 gm stuff sack the Thermarest Air Head pillow came in and went with a 2 gm MYOG 7d stuff sack instead. May not seem like much, but all the little things add up.
I also ordered an S2S Nano mosquito head net that weighs 11 gm instead of the 25 gm conventional S2S head net I’ve been packing and included on the gear list. The 15d Nano has far fewer holes per square inch than the regular net so it’s probably doesn’t protect against midges, but I mainly carry a head net for the rare occasion when I run into swarms of gnats. Of course I use a head net to guard against mosquitos as well. The Nanos are hard to find though. Only one US website I can see that carries them.Jul 20, 2021 at 7:40 pm #3722607Steve HBPL Member
I suppose the primary reason I didn’t respond, realizing how rookie I am as I work to get back into this, is it left me speechless. In a good way. Keep posting Monte.Jul 20, 2021 at 7:56 pm #3722610StumphgesBPL Member
Thank you, Monte. Excellent post, great thread. Pointing the way.Jul 21, 2021 at 9:14 am #3722646Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88-2Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
Excellent list, made perfect by including gear group photos. Only concern I have is the Sawyer Mini is a notorious clogger. YMMV but dissolved minerals are prime clog source in souther Apps. The 2 oz Hydroblu filter is better in every way IMHO. I camp w others so need a headlamp w red light. The Nitcore NU25 is hard to beat at 1.2 oz w UL headband.
As for knees, osteoarthritis is killing mine. Then I found a phys therapist with a workout plan that has me going from a hobbled cripple doing 2 painful miles to now doing 8 miles nearly pain free. And my knees function the next day! Worth looking into for a good, highly recommended PT.Jul 21, 2021 at 9:34 am #3722648Steve HBPL Member
Bill in Roswell – can you post your workout plan for your knees?Jul 21, 2021 at 11:04 am #3722669
I think the part of the kit that’s a turnoff for many backpackers is the poncho tarp as shelter. I like it for when rain chances are low, but if heavier rains are in the forecast I take away the MLD Bug Bivy/wind jacket and add a Solo Hexamid instead. It’s far roomier and more rainproof than the poncho tarp, and for only a few ounces more of added weight. I won’t have the wind jacket to use for multi- purpose, but I still carry the poncho tarp for raingear (in temps above 50*) and it can also be used to keep warm around camp or to lay on top of my quilt for added warmth when temps dip a little lower than expected. Of course the poncho doesn’t breathe like a wind jacket and it doesn’t cover the arms completely.
Anyway, a 19 oz tent such as the TT Aeon Li, Solo Hexamid and other 1P DCF tents with a poncho as raingear can be almost as light as the poncho tarp shelter /wind jacket combo and provide much more space and weather protection. The GoLite poncho weighs 6.9 oz , whereas if you pack a rain jacket, rain kilt and pack cover the weight starts to creep up. In colder temps I prefer the latter combination though. The rain jacket is breathable however and can therefore be better used to sleep in for added warmth and to keep warm around camp.
My knee is doing pretty darn well Bill. I broke the lower knee cap and tore the quad tendon a few years ago. I had a patellar advancement done and it healed up pretty well. Then I had another bad slip and fall on muddy, hilly ground about a year and a half ago where my leg completely folded under breaking my knee cap in multiple pieces. The surgeon stapled and wired everything back together and now of course I’m being a lot more careful. But everything is pretty good really. I just have to be cautious on steep downgrades. I went on a 14 mile day and a half trip a few days ago in the hills of Southern Indiana and I had no problems. Physical therapy was great for me after surgery, but I don’t really think it would help any now. I just try to walk at least 25 miles per week even if some of it is around local parks with no backpack. I always look for hills to provide more of a challenge though and the thigh muscles on the affected leg are almost as large as on my good leg now, even if it has taken a year and a half to get to that point. Now if I can just quit being stupid and falling down. I’m starting to realize that I’m not 25 anymore.Aug 5, 2021 at 7:59 pm #3724003Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
TENT: Methinks my TT Notch Li (Dyneema cloth) is an excellent SUL shelter and very safe even in a snow storm, unlike some other SUL tents. Yes, we get freak snows here in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada at high altitudes in say April, May and late September.
I like double wall tents and the Notch Li has that. Guyed out it is quite wind-worthy. True, I’ve added fly hem stake loops to stop flapping and add security from the wind. Done it to all my tents.
PACK: Osprey EXOS 58. THE most comfortable UL pack I’ve ever used.
I absolutely will take a few extra ounces to have that comfort and a 7 days food capacity.Aug 6, 2021 at 11:08 am #3724089MarcusBPL Member
Although I’m nowhere near SUL, or even UL status, I find your threads very informative Monte. You are a good reminder to cut cut cut stuff out that I dont really need. I like more luxury than you (that sleeping pad does not look comfortable?) but its a good reminder to really ask myself if the benefit outweighs the cost of carrying. I have a 60 mile sierra trip coming up and need to pare down the pack so I can leave the car at under 30lbs with all food water and fuel, which is about a 18lb base weight. I’ve achieved that on a 3 day hike so think I should be able to get it a tad lower if I scrutinize my gear more closely.
Anyways, thanks for your many informative threads such as this!Aug 6, 2021 at 11:21 am #3724092
I’ll admit the Klymit Inertia X-Lite is pretty Spartan Marcus. I wouldn’t expect many backpackers to go with such a bare bones kit as this one , but the philosophy and techniques employed still allows many to cut weight off of their UL base pack weights.
Yea Eric, I can see where the Notch Li would be better than a tarp poncho for shelter, especially when good rain chances are expected, but the 2.65 lb Exos 58 certainly dose not fit into into the SUL approach. Remember SUL is supposed to be 5 lb max and I can understand where going over that limit by a half pound might be acceptable, however the Exos 58 is UL not SUL . I’m sure it’s an awesome carrying pack though, but if I wanted a framed 50 something liter pack that flirts with the SUL parameter I’d go with something like the ZPacks Arc Blast 55 at 20.3 oz instead of the 43 oz Exos 58 https://zpacks.com/products/arc-blast-backpack Maybe it’s all about what someone’s concept of SUL really is and I know people used to post here on BPL about how XUL, SUL and UL parameters are just arbitrary numbers backpackers have established (yea whatever). I’m totally okay with it though because the beautiful thing about weights is that they can be accurately measured. Respectfully SUL is 5 lb not 7 lb plus. Just sayin.
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