SuperUltraLight (SUL) backpacking, by definition, calls for a base pack weight that is less than 5 lbs (2.27 kg). It's fallen out of favor because of the perceived difficulty of achieving such a low pack weight. In 2005, Backpacking Light Editor Carol Crooker published a series of articles on going SUL in different locations and styles to show how it's done. But undeniable drawbacks about SUL then were undesirable compromises. Many of us concluded that SUL is most applicable for warmer and drier environmental conditions.

Fast forward to the present: going SUL is easier now, with no compromises, and less "going without." We now have over 40 small companies designing and selling ultralight backpacking gear, and bigger outdoor gear companies are in the game too. Now SUL is easier and better than it's ever been.

But there's another hurdle to deal with: going SUL in the mountains, where more shelter, insulation, and rain protection are needed. All of us want to backpack in the mountains in the summertime, so SUL needs to evolve beyond the security of warm and dry conditions to better meet our needs. It needs to be adapted for mountain conditions - Mountain SuperUltraLight backpacking (M-SUL). In this series I discuss the concepts, scope, expected conditions, and appropriate ultralight gear and techniques for Mountain SuperUltraLight backpacking in four parts as follows:

I have provided some commentary on gear selection in previous articles in this series, and here I provide my evaluations of specific items tested. Over the years I have tested a lot of ultralight backpacking gear, and I tested gear for this article over a 3-year period. In Part 4 I present short reviews of many of the gear options, in the same category order, as in the gear selections found in Part 2 and the gear lists found in Part 3. I was not able to test and review all possible options, of course! For garments, manufacturer weights listed in the tables are for a size Medium unless stated otherwise.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

  • Overview
  • Index
  • Rain Jackets
    • Marmot Essence Jacket
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Montane Minimus Smock
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Montane Spektr Smock
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Mountain Hardware Quasar Pullover and Blazar Pullover
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Sierra Designs Cloud AirShell
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Westcomb Focus LT Hoody
      • Specifications and Review Summary
    • Rain Legwear
      • Equinox Full Moon Chaps
        • Specifications and Review Summary
      • Marmot Essence Pant
        • Specifications and Review Summary
      • Montane Minimus Pants
        • Specifications and Review Summary
      • Sierra Designs Cloud Pant
        • Specifications and Review Summary
      • Rain Handwear
        • Mountain Laurel Designs Rain Mitts
          • Specifications and Review Summary
        • Outdoor Research Versaliner Shell
          • Specifications and Review Summary
        • ZPacks Cuben Fiber Rain Mitts
          • Specifications and Review Summary
        • Windwear
          • Montbell Tachyon Anorak and Dyanmo Wind Pants
            • Specifications and Review Summary
          • Montbell Tachyon Jacket
            • Specifications and Review Summary
          • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorak
            • Specifications and Review Summary
          • Insulated Jackets
            • Montbell Ex Light Down Jacket
              • Specifications and Review Summary
            • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
              • Specifications and Review Summary
            • PHD Ultra Down Pullover
              • Specifications and Review Summary
            • Insulated Legwear and Footwear
              • REI Silk Long Underwear Bottoms
                • Specifications and Review Summary
              • Montbell UL Down Pants
                • Specifications and Review Summary
              • PHD Minimus Down Trousers
                • Specifications and Review Summary
              • Goosefeet Down Socks and Waterproof Over-Booties
                • Specifications and Review Summary
              • Headwear and Handwear
                • Outdoor Research Wind Warrior Hat
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Ibex Stretch Merino Glove Liner
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Ibex Shak Glove Liners
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Outdoor Research Versaliner Glove
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Possumdown Plain Glove
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Rab MeCo 165 Glove
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Rab Power Stretch Glove
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Grease Monkey Gorilla Grip Gloves
                  • Specifications and Review Summary
                • Footwear
                  • Mizuno Wave Inspire 9
                    • Specifications and Review Summary
                  • Montrail Mountain Masochist Mid OutDry
                    • Specifications and Review Summary
                  • Vasque Mindbender
                    • Specifications and Review Summary
                  • Vasque Velocity
                    • Specifications and Review Summary
                  • Gaiters
                    • Dirty Girl Gaiters
                      • Specifications and Review Summary

                  # WORDS: 10580
                  # PHOTOS: 38

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