Podcast Episode November 20, 2023

Episode 92 | Tenkara, Ultrarunning, and Performance Minimalism

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast is sponsored by Tenkara USA, America’s first and oldest producer of high-quality tenkara rods that reflect the simplicity and beauty of backcountry fly fishing. Backpacking Light Podcast listeners can enjoy 15% off your entire order with the coupon code BPTUSA15 at tenkarausa.com.



In today’s episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast we’re going to talk about a very unique way to enjoy tenkara fly fishing in the backcountry, and the idea of minimalism vs. performance minimalism.


In this Episode:

What’s New at Backpacking Light?

Interview with Bryon Powell

Our guest this week is Bryon Powell. We don’t even know where to start with Bryon, he has been an Unlimited Member in the Backpacking Light Community since – get this – October, 2007 – more than 16 years! He’s one of the most inspiring people we’ve ever had the privilege of interviewing. Bryon’s the founding editor of irunfar.com and currently calls Silverton, Colorado, his home. He has a very, very long list of trail running and ultrarunning accolades, and is also a very accomplished backpacking and fastpacking practitioner. But what interests us the most about Bryon is his passion for backcountry fly fishing, and specifically, for tenkara fly fishing, and the extent to which he blends fly fishing and long-distance backcountry travel not only to maximize his enjoyment of vast wilderness landscapes, but his enjoyment of the fisheries that they harbor.

Bryon Powell:

John Geer:

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Home Forums Episode 92 | Tenkara, Ultrarunning, and Performance Minimalism

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #3793503
    Backpacking Light


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Companion forum thread to: Episode 92 | Tenkara, Ultrarunning, and Performance Minimalism

    In today’s episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast we’re going to talk about a very unique way to enjoy tenkara fly fishing in the backcountry, and the idea of minimalism vs. performance minimalism.

    Mark Ferwerda
    BPL Member


    Locale: Maryland

    i just listened to this and curious about the comment in the minimalism section about the UL Ghost Whisperer jacket only good for 50 degrees and above. Do people actually bring a down jacket if it only going down to 50? My thought I only bring a down jacket if it is getting down in the 30s. I went backpacking 2 weekends ago and it got down to 33. Around camp I had a long sleeve shirt, fleece vest, Rab Alpha Flash jacket and a windbreaker on and I was comfy. I did have a Ghost Whisperer jacket with me but never put it on.

    BPL Member


    Locale: N NY

    Borah gear down vest baffles are 4 inches wide. Lots of warm for 4oz.

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    It’s a good question Mark. Clear sky, night time, evening breeze, inactive (hanging around camp in my chair reading or something), body trashed after a long day of walking, calorie-deficient, I get pretty chilled at 50 degrees once the sun goes down. Plus, I’m a little older (50s), slowing metabolism has an effect, maybe? My 25-yo son can hang with me in the same conditions wearing a t-shirt and wind shirt and be fine!

    Terran Terran
    BPL Member


    An underquilt on your chair?

    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, and SEKI

    There’s also what you’re willing to tolerate versus just being comfortable. I could get away with not brining items a, b, and c but if combined they weigh an extra pound but bring me a lot more comfort and recovery it’s worth it. Even when not hiking I wear so much more clothing (tights, hat, gloves) compared to the kids in their 20s on group long run mornings. #2old2becold

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best


    Setting up camp last summer, I met a young smaller framed woman who used both an alpha direct layer and a Timmermade down puffy.  Lots of warmth considering she could combine it all with her Borah bivy sack and her quilt if need be (going to assume she had alpha pants and sleeping socks with her visible set up).   Individual warmth preferences, hanging out vs diving right into the quilt/sleeping bag, etc..  We had a common table stopping at “Hikertown” during the unseasonal chill, and, despite the cold wind when we went through, I was doing ok with a Airmesh (“Octa”) hoodie under a Montbell Tachyon until that sun set.  Could’ve used an added puffy vest myself.

    At a certain number of long sleeves layers, the Michelin Man effect takes over.

    performance minimalism

    Another idea may be toughness.  I took a first version of the Ghost Whisperer, with water-resistant 800 down, on a trip and the shell survived a slip on a slimy sidewalk with slight cheese grater surface (then again, ripped a hole in the sleeve when I brushed it against regular drywall).  Wonder how much toughness could be imparted for little weight gain?  (down here there’s always spiny or thorny plants waiting to snag fabric … remember Mountain Hardwear had a now defunct baselayer that would handle even desert spines).

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