- Nov 13, 2018 at 11:30 am #3563835
Since when in BPL history do topics of bringing chairs into back country get entertained? Kinda disappointing boys… dig deep and try to revive your inner suffering like UL backpackers do best. What happened to making 20* quilts work in 0* temps ,Tarps with no screen room that come in at 9oz.. Lets get back to being labeled as minimalist who can bang out 30 plus miles a day. Makes me sad to read these new post these days. Completely different website these days..Nov 13, 2018 at 11:55 am #3563837
David NollBPL Member
@dpnollLocale: Maroon Bells
Maybe we’re all just getting older.Nov 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm #3563843
Brad PBPL Member
Maybe we’re all just getting older.
And wiser. :)
There’s nothing wrong with going the minimalist approach if that’s what you enjoy. Others ask if the ounces for netting that keeps bugs away is worth it and realize it is.
Cutting ounces should be done if it increases the enjoyment of the hike, not just to achieve a low score.
(will that get me kicked out?)Nov 13, 2018 at 1:13 pm #3563844
<p style=”text-align: left;”>yes you have officially lost you UL man card haha. Just kidding. But seriously this site used to be full of hard core minimalist backpackers and mountaineers. Now far and few… all caught up in the latest and greatest 3lb pack with their kitchen sink attached.</p>
I guess there is nothing wrong with today’s conversations its just not even remotely close to what i signed up for years back… This site used to always be about the minimalist approach.
Even the cottage guys these days are fattening their products as mentioned by others. Its like a bad break up.. to each their own i supposeNov 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm #3563845
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yeah, I hear that.
Time keeps on truckin’…
A lot of the innovators and major proponents of UL/SUL packing have been watered down by the LightWeight crowd. But so has the heaver weights in backpacking been influenced by the SUL/UL crowd. Base Loads were always decreasing by half’s example:
LightWeight: <20# or <9kg, comfortable to 0F/-18C
UltraLight: <10# or <4.5kg, comfortable to 20F/-7C
SuperUltraLight: <5# or 2.25KG, comfortable to 40F/4C
XSUL, XXSUL are mostly for fast packing/trail runners. Normal hiking loads of 20-40 pounds are often family/kids gear and heavier weights are usually porter loads for backwoods camps or “hunting” loads. The sweet spot favoured by many is between 10 and 15 pounds. This is getting close to UL loads, but nowhere near the expense of DCF/cuben/X-Pack fabrics. This is a damn good start for many…they don’t fall in love with the sheer work of packing/camping in the backcountry and fail to see the overriding values of the wilderness.
It seems most development in silnylon shelters has converged to one of three designs: flat tarp, shaped tarp, pyramid tarp. Poly is far cheaper but nowhere near as strong. Even Tarptent has given in to the pressure for DCF shelters.
Pack design has concentrated on two types: Xpack and DCF laminates. No real construction innovations. Plastic buckles, poly/nylon straps, more plastics for framing… a fully synthetic plastic pack. Backpacks have been around for several thousand years, it is difficult to change designs and still maintain comfort. Using the lightest/strongest materials is best…and expensive.
It is no wonder that new people are intimidated by $300-$700 packs today. What does a top of the line UL kit cost these days?
Pretty much the same statement can be made about all the UL/SUL gear. Ti, DCF, Carbon, UL stoves, sleeping quilts, inflatable pads, etc. All about the same…Gone are the days of grease pots, aluminum foil wind screens, CCF pads, and high quality sleeping bags. Ti pots, Ti windscreens, Inflatable pads, and good quilts have replaced them at about triple or more of the cost. MYOG?? Even buying DCF/XPack is costly. We don’t see the innovators we used to…Nov 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm #3563849
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
“dig deep and try to revive your inner suffering like UL backpackers do best”
There is a joke/saying especially on the AT that you can tell the UL hikers, they are the cold and hungry ones.
“this site used to be full of hard core minimalist backpackers and mountaineers”
There are still some here but many are over on Reddit, at least they talk gear like they are hard core, not sure how many of them actually go out and use it but they all have the most expensive dialed in kits.
I think the early years of BPL were also the transition from print information to internet information and was driven by one of the early internet sites and quite frankly Ryan Jordan and Alan Dixon. With the site changes and migrations lots was lost including contributors and short of Roger Caffin there are no longer any internal experienced UL advocates. Sure the forums have lots of experience but the core and the articles are not driving participation like it used to and there are so many other forums now too.
Like David Noll and Brad P, many of us have been at it a long time and have dialed in our kits from heavier loads and most have gone low and then added some weight back in. The new folks just jump straight to the latest greatest equipment that the early adopters helped refine, that is the reddit crowd for sure. I agree with James, the sweet spot for most seems to be 10-12# which gives both comfort and can be done without the expense of DCF and other expensive fabrics. That is my story.
I also think that there are more still on here who do unusual trips that require different equipment and slightly beefier packs and not just a focus on thru hikes with easy resupply and easier conditions for the people and the equipment. That is also my story, either longish off trail desert treks or obscure and off season trips in the humid East which call for different or more equipment.
By the way, I carry a Thermarest Chair kit, have for decades ;-)Nov 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm #3563853
I guess people these days just missed out on all the good early articles and discussion. Yes you can definitely get right on it and pay 2k for all the latest and greatest ul gear but then why muff it all up with all the redundant extras taking your 10-12lb pack and and making it 15-20. The whole point in spending all that chedda was to make your pack and back better at the end of the day. Not sure about what you mean by starve? Rule of thumb has always been 1.5-2.5 lb of food a day depending on trip. Thats a load of food on either end of the spectrum..
When that article was posted years back on using doritos packaging to pack up dehydrated food i never looked back. Absolutely genius! Today’s generation has missed the busNov 13, 2018 at 2:13 pm #3563854
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
Reddit’s Ultralight community is much more ultralight-focused. I also feel there’s more enthusiasm for going light there. BPL seems to have lost this enthusiasm…I suppose most of the people who post here have been here awhile, and it seems like there’s relatively few new posters. New posters ask lots of questions and drive new discussions. Reddit Ultralight has some experienced and knowledgeable people over there now. They even talk about using flat tarps and bivys :)Nov 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm #3563855
MLD grace solo with my sil borah bivy every trip. Thanks for the tip on the reddit siteNov 13, 2018 at 2:36 pm #3563857
Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
“The sweet spot favoured by many is between 10 and 15 pounds. This is getting close to UL loads, but nowhere near the expense of DCF/cuben/X-Pack fabrics. ”
As a bona-fide cheapskate this has always been my goal. And I have way too much perfectly good almost-UL stuff that I will not dump in order to save an ounce or two. So all the UL talk inspired me, but my wallet held me back (no $450 DCF rain jackets for me).
Also, we seem to do fine on about 1.5 lbs of food/person/day, but we’ve never been on a thru-hike.Nov 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm #3563866
Nov 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm #3563869
- DCF is for the birds. I just bought a dcf superlight bivy that im trying to sell cause i favor my sil borah gear bivy. Once that sells I’ll officially be dcf free and under 10lb. Dcf is the most aggravating material ever doesn’t pack well at all and is super noisy. You dont need a fat wallet for UL maybe for your quilt and thats about it
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
DCF free is a great goal. I’m down to 2 DCF items – a stake bag and a MYOG zippered pouch.Nov 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm #3563871
Brad PBPL Member
There have been many times where instead of going for the higher end item, I went cheaper and the regretted it. I can’t think of too many examples where I went right for the higher quality item and regretted it. This doesn’t just apply to backpacking gear. It of course must fit the budget.
I do try to shop the sales and find used stuff.
I haven’t tried a tarp/bivy, but I know I wouldn’t be happy in a bivy. Others are happy. Just be glad we have so many imperfect options out there.
I wish everyone the best when they hit the trail and hope they have the ideal, safe gear they need for their hike.Nov 13, 2018 at 4:07 pm #3563883
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
About 10 years ago, I hiked with an elderly ultralighter who had one of the original sil G4 frameless packs. He used a 1 lb “sling” chair as both a pseudo-frame to carry his gear (TT Squall, alcohol stove) in his pack … and as a chair for his back.
Due to other medical concerns, he could only go out for 1 or 2 nights so loading more food wasn’t a concern past baseweight. Point is a hiker can still lower packweight even with luxury items.Nov 13, 2018 at 6:47 pm #3563914
Reddit is free of subscription fees.Nov 13, 2018 at 8:16 pm #3563928
Bob ShuffBPL Member
I sometimes think I missed the golden age of forums about UL or Hammock camping, because when I joined people were pointing me to 30 page threads that were 5 years old. I’m not going to read most of those, but that’s the way it goes on a forum. Now I’ve been around long enough to see newbies coming to ask the same questions I was asking. I could argue Ray had the recipe in 1991 – there’s a lot of concepts now taken for granted and derivative products and techniques considered old school today.
I was going to take a <1lb chair to Philmont last summer. As a mostly weekend backpacker I could argue that extra lb is a debatable trade-off, but I’m usually glad when I decide to leave the chair at home.
I find the exchanges here quite useful and usually positive. I’m no thru hiker, but respect the hell out of anyone that can do it. I’m also not hand-stitching my own quilts with down I’ve sustainably harvested – all the power to ya! There’s something here for everyone, who likes to get outdoors with a lighter load.Nov 13, 2018 at 8:38 pm #3563931
Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
I don’t really see where cottage companies are making their gear any heavier. SMD has gone that way, but I don’t consider them a cottage company anymore.
I do however see mainstream companies getting more and more into ultraligfht, Take for example the Osprey Levity and the new Big Agnes’s DCF tents.
BPL hasn’t lost any zeal when it comes to getting light, it’s just that you can only go over the same established UL principles so many times before it gets redundant.
Suffering? I don’t think anyone here has ever wanted to suffer, but want to get as light as possible and still be comfortable. Yes, sometimes when I go SUL it might be a tad more uncomfortable, however, I’m willing to endure it so I don’t have to lug a boat anchor around all day. That’s mostly when I want to cover a lot of miles.Nov 13, 2018 at 8:57 pm #3563938
Grandma Gatewood wore Keds shoes and carried an army blanket, a raincoat, and a plastic shower curtain in a homemade denim bag slung over one shoulder.
You’ve got a bivy? And a tarp? Bet you carry a stove and a pack too. And you call yourself UL….
:-)Nov 13, 2018 at 9:32 pm #3563944
Renais ABPL Member
My lightest overnight pack was one of my first packs: a fanny pack which had everything I wanted at the time to be comfortable in 3 seasons overnight. In the last >40 years I’ve tried various other systems, some extremely heavy because of massive camera equipment before the digital age, and some in the conventional lightweight category. I now carefully consider any weight addition to my pack, but am definitely willing to add something to add proportionate enjoyment to my trip. For an AT thru-hike next year I’m very seriously considering taking a Fat Cat baking capability to add to my food enjoyment. On previous AT hikes I’ve often wanted more variety in the foods I consumed, but did not want to increase my cook kit contents. For 2019 I may increase my still lightweight bag by almost 9 ounces so that I can enjoy scrumptious baked goods on the trail.
I’ve run ultra-marathons, and hiked for weeks in major discomfort. At this point in my life, I don’t have the need to suffer more, and I hike with a goal of maximizing enjoyment. That doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering (climbing down rocks in the rain in the Whites is an example), but the suffering is conjoined with significant satisfaction.Nov 13, 2018 at 9:34 pm #3563945
Tom KBPL Member
There are plenty of folks here who carry light, do miles and/or interesting trips, and avoid suffering for the most part in the process. I think the problem for OP is that these folks long ago got tired of rehashing the same old topics, and have either lapsed into lurking/occasional posting or chosen to fritter their time away over in CHAFF debating UL solutions to heavyweight problems. ;0) I might note in passing that it is not overly difficult to get by with 16-18 oz of food, for those looking to reduce their pack weight still further without spending mega bucks in the process. Not for thru hikers, however.Nov 13, 2018 at 9:55 pm #3563950
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
“Reddit is free of subscription fees.”
But plenty full of snark and attitude.Nov 13, 2018 at 9:59 pm #3563955
I guess your right about the rehashing of past conversations. It was just a shocker to not see any of those interesting conversations going on anymore. Oh well im done here with this topic. Thanks for entertaining this post on my rainy work day.
P.S. I DREAM ABOUT BRINGING A PILLOW SOMETIMESNov 14, 2018 at 12:30 am #3563986
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Bye!Nov 14, 2018 at 3:36 am #3564070
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I never “signed up” for UL or suffering.
I don’t have a chair or any luxuries other than about 8 years ago, when I turned 60, I bought a NeoAir and an air pillow. Even so, when I ocassionally hike with others my pack is probably the lightest. I say probably because we don’t weigh our packs or spend all our time discussing gear. It isn’t a competition. We walk and spend time together outdoors enjoying wilderness. A couple friends have a chair, they look comfortable in camp and don’t ask me to carry it. Some of them are stronger and faster hikers than me even if their pack might weigh a little more. We look out for each other, help each other, encourage each other, and have one heck of a good time. If UL is suffering, I’ll pass.Nov 14, 2018 at 5:07 am #3564084
Grandma gatewood carried very little, but relied on the kindness of others for many meals, shelter, transportation and more. She knocked on doors and asked to stay the night, often. The minimal stuff she brought worked because she spent plenty of time on porches, in shelters, and as a houseguest, getting served multiple meals. Granted she was also incredibly tough, but her carry weight and pack list is probably not a great model for others on the contemporary AT highway, or any other trail, where the neighbors are probably not as receptive to having a through hiker stop by.
I joined this forum because I found the regular commentators to offer pretty good advice. What ideas I’ve borrowed and tested myself have mostly been effective in lightening my pack. Occasionally something doesn’t work for me. But on Reddit and Whiteblaze and others, I find that people who comment often have no idea what they’re talking about. They haven’t even tried things before recommending something to others. Just talking out their…. and heaven knows why they opine on topics they are utterly ignorant about? Maybe a heightened sense of self importance? I don’t really know and I don’t care, but I’m more careful now about where I take advice from. BPL forum folks seem like they actually go outside now and then and have learned what really works.
I must admit I enjoy the occasional battles too. I don’t have a dog in most of the fights, but without a TV, I find the threads on stealing condiment packets or how fast TP degrades to be amusing in the middle of winter.
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