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From personal experience I know that it is possible to be comfortable and safe in the backcountry with an ultralightweight pack (6-11 pound base weight). I also know from personal experience that it is possible to spend five days in the backcountry with nothing but a jacket, but when you do that you can forget about comfort! Unlike my compatriots, Ryan Jordan and Alan Dixon, Publisher and Product Review Director, I do not enjoy sufferfests - traveling into the backcountry with sub-5-pound base weight packs where mileage is the goal and comfort is forgotten. What I'm driven to understand is, in what conditions can SuperUltralight backpacking - pack base weight under 5 pounds - be enjoyed by the sane among us?

I'll take a sub-5 trip each month beginning in June. I'll start in warm weather and work towards cool while I vary trip type and geographic location to get a broad sample of conditions, and to define for myself when sub-5 stops being fun! What follows is my gear list for the first trip - a non-technical canyoneering trip. After the trip I'll publish my observations and include my gear list for the next trip. Join me in this SuperUltralight Challenge by adding your comments and relating your own sub-5 experiences in the forum at the end of this article.


  • Introduction
  • Sub-5 Challenge
  • Sub-5 Trip List
  • Expected Conditions / Context
  • Rationale for Selected Gear
    • Base weight
    • Backpack
    • Clothing carried
    • Sleep pad
  • Sub-5 Gear List for June Canyoneering
    • Spreadsheet

    # WORDS 1,200

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