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Strip off the pounds with our ultralight checklist and hit the trail light as a feather.
by: The Backpacker Editors
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BEEN CAMPING FOR YEARS NEVER BROUGHT AN AX WITH ME IF I CAN'T BREAK IT WITH MY FOOT I'LL BURN IT IN HALF, TARP IS JUST AS GOOD AS TENT IF SET UP CORRECTLY, KNIFE IS A MUST BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN A HUGE 10LBS BOWIE EITHER, A STRONG LINEAR LOCK FOLDER IS USUALLY FINE, I LIKE MY GLACIER CUP FOR WATER PURIFICATION AND COOKING THERE ARE LIGHTER OPTIONS BUT THEY COST MUCH MORE. SLEEPING BAG, USE LEAVES AS MATT..
UL is for sissies like me....who has had 3 back surgeries in the last 10 years. Were it not for UL gear and practices I would be lucky to hike a mile a day, forget the 15+ I can do now.
UL is for sissys who cant carry weight.
you guys always get lost and die!!!!
If you really want to understand Ultralight packing Backpacker.com is not the place to look. Better to grab some of the ultralight books out thereon Amazon by Mike Cleland and others or go over to Andrew Skurka's website (and he does carry a very small swiss army knife according to most of his gear lists).
Here's a great interactive gear checklist and pack-weight calculator app that can be a valuable tool... or just fun:
1973 or 4 I am getting older, got caught Mt. Rainier in a June snow never underbag again and always at least a single lightweight tent
Why does the list specifically say silnylon for tarp and stuff sacks? Cuben fiber is both stronger and lighter. Granted, it costs more, but the premise of this list was not UL on a budget. If you can afford it, get cuben.
A guy once told me that if it's not in your head it better be in your backpack. If you know what you are doing you don't need tents, knives, axes, etc. We intentionally leave things at home (sleeping bag, shelters, etc) to practice skills. The first time out is awkward but you'd be surprised what we leave behind today. To get under 10 lbs in base weight is really easy.
No knife is nuts... Need a tent over a tarp depending on where you are going (thinking Colorado, above treeline etc). As for water, snow melt works in summer if available, otherwise boil it.
I would use a lightweight wool T-shirt, won't melt and is odor resistant on longer thru-hikes. I prefer roll-up cargo pants in lieu of zip-off pants (hate zippers!). A lightweight summer down quilt in conjunction with your down jacket/pants cover most thermal sleep situations. Use ziplock bags in lieu of stuff sacks, they can double as water vessels, can be used to sterilize (in-a-pinch) water via the sunís UV rays and heat (4-6 hours). Say no to TP (carry in/out), use a rubber glove and a small squirt bottle. Dig a cat hole with a any found stick or hiking pole. A gear list is a very personable thing, plus hike duration, hike length, trail remoteness, weather, terrain, and primitive bush skill set Ė all play a role in gear selection.
First off - Axe? U-l-t-r-a-light! Not carry a knife or treating your water is like not having auto insurance. Sure, you can get away with it 99% of the time, but ...
You gotta have a knife. I doubt even Andrew Skurka goes out without one, it's just a suggestion if you want to be totally fanatic about your weight. It makes some sense, after all most knife uses are for first aid, but when it comes down to it, there are a thousand and one emergencies that you'd need a knife for and it's worth carrying it every time just to have it for that one emergency.
Two thing I gotta have unless it's cold: a screened tent (2lb 10oz Big Agnes Fly Creek 2) and water filter. I just can't stand the nasty water taste, and quality filters cost much less in the long run. I never worry about Crypto, Giardia or chemicals. My pack is still under 30 lbs for 5 nights.
Some of the comments are really ill-informed
"Always bring an Axe"
Really? even on AT in summer
"Always bring a Tent"
You can be just as dry and protected in a Tarp.
"unless you really know what your doing going into the sticks without a knife could be bad for your health in one way or another"
Exactly how is it bad for your health. How do you use a Fixed blade knife. Please don't tell me your going to fight off a Bear, Mountain Lion with it because you won't.
Ultralight isn't for everyone but there is a lot to saved by simply examining what you really USE and do you really need it. You don't need to be a gram counter to save serious weight in your pack. Weight saved = More pleasant backpacking experience. Always remember what you are out there for, to enjoy the outdoors.
Sleep is important - best mat makes sleep more comfortable. I love hammock camping where practical, ultralite hammock with good mat helps. The size of your pack is relative to the size of your fear. Bear Spray? Little dental floss not just for teeth, I have fixed tent poles and made splits with floss. Crazy glue, for cuts and repairs of equipment.
Make a note of what you don't use each time you backpack. Ditch the stuff you don't use and eventually you will pair it down to the essentials. Add back when needed for different seasons. For those who carry equipment for that just in case scenario be my guest. I find knowledge and preparation is a far better substitute and a lot lighter.
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