Backpacker Magazine – Backpacker.com Online Exclusive
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.
always bring an axe !
always bring a tent
I do not like iodine tablets I prefer the sweetwater purification system
Plastic trowel for potty duty.
A lightweight water filter is much faster than tablets, and the iodine tabs leave a funky taste.
Weight be damned, never go into the backcountry without a fixed-blade knife.
I carry an original swiss army knife in my first aid kit. It only has 1 small blade, nail file/screwdriver, toothpick, small tweezers and a pair of scizzors. It's very compact and weights 1 oz. Great multi-use tool for cutting 550/paracord, trimming moleskin, setting a sunglass screw, filing down cracked fingernails, pulling splinters, getting corn out from between your teeth, etc. A very compact and lightweight insurance policy. Be prepared!
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
A razor blade is no substitue for a good knife.
Is a backcountry permit difficult to get for this area or is it easy?
good gear list
ooops sent it 3 times
im 13 and the first time i went backpacking my pack was 30 il now it is 10 lb heres how if u go to hikelight.com and are willing to spend a littel bit of money u can get the best backapcking gear i got my pack to weight 10 lb for a week with food water every thing with out giving up confort but i bought the mat (neo air)and the pot titanium snow peak 600 pot some where else they where lighter and i made an my own stove .
Iodine tablets are so small, why would you risk getting sick in the back country?
I would never go anywhere in the outdoors with out a multitool or a pocket knife. I think its crazy not to!!
I live in the Sierras and even with treating my water somewhere between Glacier NP and Tahoe I got ghiardea. You do not want this. Treat your water or get ready to shit yourself. Seriously.
Electronic water purification devices such as MIOX and Steri-Pen are proven successful - work great, are light weight & small volume (I use MIOX), BUT they depend on batteries- you need a back up, such as tablets, .
hey guys...all sound advice...except the "drink the untreated water" stuff. That's bad mojo, dude or dudette. One needs the "tasmanian two step" experience only once to get a clue...do not take the chance. A few sips & spit is the wise routine. It's the cows, sport! Desolation is one of the spots where caution may be thrown to the wind...had two weeks this summer with no ill drills! No knife...a joke, verdad? Being an ounce counter is one thing, being stupid is a whole other issue...good luck with that.
Underware optional? Seems like packing a la commando would equal some bad chafing.
No knife - I agree - useless! In over fifty years of backpacking/climbing, I have only used a knife for cutting block cheese [precut or use your teeth]and cutting wood shavings for starting a fire [use fire starter]. I use a small first aid sissors for cutting moleskin, clothing and cord.
always filter and carry a hammock or a solo tent. freeze fried food and pocket rocket with fuel canisters. duct tape on a pencil and small first aid kit, trekking poles and a camera. 32 pounds or less dependent on how long I am out and food I need. Of course that weight diminishes as trek progresses. bear canister too so I don't fret losing the chow to night stalkers. hike light ..hike long.
The pocket rocket stove weighs 3oz, not sure how much one can of fuel weighs.
i like iodine tablets and water bottles over a bladder, it is hard to fill a bladder to full capacity is shallow water, and you can use a cup to scoop and fill. Also, they are easier to stuff in my pack, as i usually fill it tight with gear, and leave the food on top under the lid. also, 34G for a knife that was just profiled in the recent print copy of backpacker looks like a nice knife for the price, at least worth look.
Bought Knorr Pasta Sides Plus Veggies for a four day hike. Best way to get a serving of veggies in the hinterlands that I can think of. Tasted Great too.
I no longer purify my water. Sounds crazy I know. I have a friend who has done alot of research on Giardiasis. Check out his article @ http://erikschlimmer.com/literature.html go to the article Giardia Myth-Buster.
no knife?? seriously?
i agree with treating water. i have been using aquamira and now i love it. basically no taste and only weighs 2 ounces.
Regarding postings on dangers of Giardia. Here's a good article by a backpacker/MD researcher: http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/water+researcher+QA.html
The bottomline ... water in the High Sierra is generally safe to drink untreated, if there are no cattle or heavy livestock in the area. Can't necessarily extend that assumption to other parts of the country. Personally, I've drank untreated water in the High Sierra for decades, and never gotten sick.
I think this list is a GUIDLINE only....the best list is the one that you tailor to your own tastes and needs.
I like what BP is trying to do here, but I must add that these lists and videos are really Mickey Mouse city park types of info. How about Real experts and Real expectations!? Half ars stuff like this could get someone killed who thought they were prepared,... 'Nuff said, use your own head!
Why not just take one of the new purifiers that uses UV to kill bacteria? 90 seconds and that's the end of it for a liter. Best 90 bucks ever spent for convenience and safety.
to the person who doesn't treat water, i got giardia and had diarrhea forever from drinking "direct from the stream goodness" water. i filter now
I did the PCT in 07' with Henry Shires Tarp Tent
and it was wonderful. I sat out a huge thunderstorm in Cresent Lake area with no water in tent. I had the one man tent at that time. It weighs hardly more than a tarp and does give you an enclosure.
if you carry a water bottle, you can use it to hold duct tape by wrapping the tape around the bottle.
If out for several days I would vote for a lightweight wool shirt because they keep odors to a minimum.
Other suggestions: Check out the Henry Shires Tarptents. They are really tents, very lightweight and well built. They are single wall tents, so they are best in low humidity climates not in muggy eastern conditions.
For a quick meal, I recommend ramen noodles with a handfull of unsalted peanuts. I also like to add bit of black pepper. Makes a cheap, filling meal.
Well i would vote for a bivy sack. They are light weight and have waterproof floors. At any rate ultralite equals ultrafun, I mean who wants to lug 30 something pounds up a moutain!
Awesome food suggestion to all the UL hikers out there. Dried curried lentils and potato flakes. Put the lentils in a bowl, add boiling water, let stand two minutes. Add potato flakes and some more boiling water, let stand two more minutes. High in Protein and Carbs, and warms the insides. Cheers.
Would love to see some food recomendations, i.e. high calorie but lightweight such as cheesewiz mmmmmm-
I have had really good luck with Equinox's <a href="http://www.equinoxltd.com/the-gear/ultralite-gear/">ultralight gear</a>. I have been able to seriously lighten the weight of my pack.
do u ever think about dead animals in the water up stream ? boiling ur water is the best way to go kills most of the bad stuff and taste better then iodine !
i always take at loeast 2 kinds of fire started (liter,fint and steal or water proof matches
about the emergency kindling cotton balls with some vasvline work great and weigh nothing
recommending the amount of food and/or caloric intake needed/day.from nov 08 bpmag most hikers take more food that they need whitch mean more weigh take a max of 3,500 cal. per person per day about 2 pounds for normal trips and 5000 cal. for extrerely cold conditions
In some places fires are not allowed period, especially where there's a high risk of wild fires. A good compromise between the risk of a fire and the weight of a stove is a homemade beverage can stove which weighs less than an ounce by itself, plus a little fuel. In fact you can boil a quart of water in a few minutes with only a teaspoon and a half of denatured alcohol.
Stove and fuel add weight. I use a Sierra Stove and carry no fuel and use small pieces of wood. If I hike where there is no wood, I use a zip lock bag and gather wood at lower elevations and carry it with me to the higher elevations.
try folding duct tape in a flat 6"x2"x1/2"thick . this is 30'long and weighs 3.4 oz
Do not drink water without filter/treatment. You will regret it some day. This list is good. However lacking food I would guess this guy is hunting for food along the way with the razor. hehehe. I would like to see a list recommending the amount of food and/or caloric intake needed/day.
Dave, first time you get stomach parasites you will treat your water after that. I agree with the duct tape and wool though
I'm not going without water proof firestarter of some sort and a few ounces of emergency kindling. Number one & two on my list. Razor mmm OK I definalely need to have a good knife.
repair kit (aka duct tape and super glue)
UL or not, consider merino wool next-to-skin layer
also, so much fuss about water treatment. I would argue sanitation is more important. Hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial soap! I hardly ever do anything to my water (Cascades and Olympics) and I never get sick. Direct from the stream goodness, mmmm.
Also, take a lighter, whether you're taking a stove or not
To which I would add:
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