When have you gone too light?
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Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 11:47:32 MDT Print View

I am sorry if I insulted people, but I am honestly perplexed at how someone can call themselves a backpack-er or say they are going backpack-ing, when their pack weighs 5 lbs. Get real...

BTW I own and use plenty of UL backpacking gear myself, I'm not envious of SULers, Ive done SUL myself. But when I did it, I didn't feel like a backpacker. There have been times when Ive been so minimalist, people criticized me telling me what I was doing was dangerous, etc. They didn't know what they were talking about...I was just at a different level than they were.

Remember...backpacking means somewhere in there, you have to be carrying a backpack on your back. Take that backpack away and like I said, you morph into something else.

I think SULers should develop a different name for themselves to distinguish them from people who actually carry a real backpack.

Eric

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 12:04:01 MDT Print View

Eric,

Lots of backpackers think a real backpack is a 70L, 2.8kg load monster, not a Golite Jam. So define what a real backpack is, and at what point they stop being a real backpack?

Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Re: Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 12:16:30 MDT Print View

>Lots of backpackers think a real backpack is a 70L, 2.8kg >load monster, not a Golite Jam. So define what a real >backpack is, and at what point they stop being a real >backpack?

I think its better to define what is not a real backpack, rather than to try and define what is a real backpack. I think a 5 lb SUL load, plus a little food and water, is not a load that equals a real backpack load.

Eric

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Re: Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 12:27:41 MDT Print View

Eric,

You say that “ I actually enjoy the "no pain, no gain" feeling I get from strenuous outdoor trips or workouts” That defines your style and aspirations you have in backpacking. Shouldn’t we respect others who don’t see it as we might.

I am no SUL, or ultra light backpacker. I take a tent and have a 1kg Pack which is heavy in many BPL users’ eyes, yet I’m a lightweight backpacker in the eyes of others. We should respect people’s choices in the equipment they chose to enter the wilderness with

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 12:30:12 MDT Print View

Heh..Eric, I don't mean to be rude and trust me when I say I would behave this way with my best friends, my mom, and you, but I have to say, you really make me laugh.

I think it's funny how you come up with these definitions that you use and then expect everyone to understand them and agree with them. A "real backpack"..What in the world are you talking about? I saw how earlier you were talking about the fact that the items could be carried in cargo pants (they can't) so maybe you mean since a backpack isn't necessary (it is) that the backpack one wears isn't a backpack. I really don't even know. You are seriously splitting hairs here.

I mean first you say that SULers aren't backpacking and then you say they aren't wearing backpacks. They ARE wearing backpacks. How can you argue this? What kind of justifications go on in your head? I truly mean no offense, but I think the only one that has to "get real" is you. Seriously, your arguments are terrible. I'm sorry to say this. This forum is usually really passive aggressive, and I'm the last one to ever get involved, but if you want to make a claim, make it well. So far you aren't making any valid points. I'm sorry, but saying "that is not a backpack" when by every definition in the world it is, doesn't work.

I'm truly trying to figure out your thought process. Is it not a backpack because it can't handle enough supplies to last out there for a week (or some other amount of time) without resupply?

So please, Make a case for yourself that goes beyond "because I say so."

And to address the last point, SULers DO have a name that distinguishes them. They are called Super Ultra Light hikers. You've been using this term from the start. It is clear what it means right? Can we not agree that SUL hiker is a term to describe what you are talking about?

Edit:
P.S. "I think its better to define what is not a real backpack, rather than to try and define what is a real backpack. I think a 5 lb SUL load, plus a little food and water, is not a load that equals a real backpack load."

Eric, you can't define what something is by saying what it is not. That is what 6 year olds do. Can you imagine a game show that goes like this. "Behind this door is a prize that will change your life! We're going to give you a clue and then you'll have 5 minutes to guess what it is. It is NOT a horse."

Would anyone win? No, they wouldn't. They won't win because you can't define what something IS, by saying what it is NOT. That's how things work. It's very simple. You define what something is, by giving characteristics of what it is. So I'll help you:

"My name is Eric and I believe a backpack is a tool that functions using (insert shoulder straps, fabric, whaever goes into the physical characteristics of a backpack) to carry a load that is greater then a base load of 5 lbs plus a little food and water."

That's how defining something works. Note that this is just restating what you said, but with a little more detail, perhaps a load range that it should carry or some other characteristics you think of, you can come up with an actual definition of a backpack in your eyes.

Edited by arichardson6 on 05/08/2008 12:42:36 MDT.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Extremists on 05/08/2008 12:48:48 MDT Print View

Right on, Roman.

Regardless of how you label them, the folks at the extremes are in the epicenter of innovation. MAybe not all those ideas make it into the mainstream, but plenty do.

I'm old enough to remember when someone with an internal frame pack was an extremist. Or a canister stove. Or the true radical who didn't carry all of the "10 essentials".

My hat is off to those on the cutting edge.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 12:54:38 MDT Print View

As is my official stance on any matters like this,

Yes, Eric, you are right.

And you're starting to remind me of our old friend VP. To be honest, if it weren't for the red "M" next to your name I would have written you off as a troll a while ago. The jury is still out on the matter though.

Now lets say we stop hi-jacking this thread.

Adam

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 13:03:47 MDT Print View

The cutting edge is fine as long as they respect those who are not, and those who don’t walk at the cutting edge should respect those who do. One thing that makes me lose respect is a blatant disregard for safety which forces others to put their lives on the line to come and rescue people who may not be suitably equipped to be in the wilderness. The SUL approach still needs to be safe.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Enough already! on 05/08/2008 17:36:45 MDT Print View

Put on your boots/trail runners, whatever... pick up your pack at whatever weight, and start walking. That is what it's all about. Get up and get going and stop rearranging the "deck chairs".

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 19:26:14 MDT Print View

Eric,

You actually don't sound like a person speaking from experience. Are you sure you've actually carried a sub-5 pound base weight? Are you sure you've developed the skills and gear list to do so safely and effeciently in a variety of situations? Becuase if you had, I would suspect that you would have a different and more inclusive perspective.

I'd be really curious about your SUL experiences that would lead you to the conclusions you've come to- where you went, what you carried, etc. I'd really appreciate if you shared those because it would shed light on the opinions you're choosing to share.

However, if I'm wrong and you're actually an experience SUL backpacker who's come to these conclusions, then you may have some more specific examples to cite to back up your statements.

Doug

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Re: If your "pack" weighs 5 lbs, is it *really* backpacking? on 05/08/2008 19:30:02 MDT Print View

You've got to be kidding, right?

You're either a.) A Troll or B.) in the wrong place. Adpacker would be a better fit for thinking such as yours.

This is Backpacking "LIGHT" ..... not you should carry a bunch of stuff cause it makes me feel better about myself packing.

People come to this site to learn new techniques to better enjoy their backcountry experience ..... not to classify everyone into neat little buckets.

I go SUL and UL because I want to. You can call it anything you want ... I still call it backpacking.

With that ... You're welcome to contribute ... but spare me the solicious diatribe aimed at maintaing excuses for why you don't want to learn anything new .... and don't try to make me reclassify myself to meet your short sighted viewpoints.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
When have you gone too light? - Definitions on 05/08/2008 20:34:23 MDT Print View

I DO think there is ONE element to be a "real" backpacker. You should carry everything you need to stay out overnight in the backcountry (and actually stay out).

I once had a heated debate with someone who insisted that if you dayhiked with a pack, you were a backpacker, even if you were only dayhiking for a couple of miles. There is a point at which definitions are important or a language ceases to be relevant, and any one can say any thing and imply it means something else.

However, SUL'ers DO carry what they need to stay out, so yeah, they're backpackers by the definition I use.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Re:"When have you gone too light?" on 05/08/2008 20:34:48 MDT Print View

Stop feeding the trolls. Just encourages 'em.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: When have you gone too light? - Definitions on 05/08/2008 20:49:14 MDT Print View

There are many places in NZ where it is easy to go SUL and call it 'backpacking'. There are many multi-day trips which have huts well spaced along them. Many of the more popular tracks can provide you with a bunk and a gas cooker. You need only carry sleeping bag (doesn't have to be a very warm one in a heated hut), clothes and food to get by very safely as long as you don't get caught out in bad weather or swollen rivers (or lost...). I don't see what the weight of the pack has to do with whether or not you call it 'backpacking'. Here we just call it tramping :)

NB: On a few of the tracks you can even hire a guide to carry your pack and cook your meals for you. It's still 'tramping' but it's pushing the boundaries of backpacking IMHO. However, since this has allowed my 75 year old mother to hike one of the world's greatest 4 day walks, I can't knock it either. The point of it all is to get out there and have an adventure.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Thanks in advance for your help on 05/08/2008 21:47:36 MDT Print View

After reading this thread I was concerned, confused & scared since I use a “backpack” from Mountain Laurel Designs that weights around 5 1/2 oz’s on weekends for 4 months of the year (June through Sept.)

It has straps on the front
I load equipment in the part that goes behind me (on my back)
I usually put items in it for camping after hiking, but I really don’t need much heavy equipment after reading
all the very helpful material on this website

Can somebody tell me what the heck I’m doing for extended periods of time (at least 36 hours) in the woods while I enjoy walking up hills and then sleeping outside without a bunch of heavy items?

Thanks for your help in advance

Walking with little, light weight stuff behind me on my back & going up hill and camping out man/person
Jim

Edited by florigen on 05/09/2008 07:01:09 MDT.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
I have gone too light.... on 05/08/2008 23:11:48 MDT Print View

When it rains and I am sleeping under my packraft....

When it frosts and there's three of us, two foam pads, and no sleeping bag.....

When I think it'll take three days and it takes five.....

When the bear charges us and all we have are walking sticks made of carbon fiber....

When there's four of us and we're trying to get off a steep sided glacier with one single pair of crampons between us.....

BTW a backpack was worn in each of these instances.

Edited by romandial on 05/08/2008 23:14:02 MDT.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Thanks in advance for your help on 05/09/2008 02:49:47 MDT Print View

Jim,

What do you call it ... I don't know, how about ....


Having fun?

Edited by flash582 on 05/09/2008 02:57:49 MDT.

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: I have gone too light.... on 05/09/2008 03:55:37 MDT Print View

Roman and all those who walk at the cutting edge,

Tell us of the times you gained experience of the wilderness when you carried lot’s more equipment than you do now. I read of the Artic 1000 mile trip and see people who had the experience and the knowledge of what equipment would and not work in that environment to undertake that journey.

Is there not a danger in promoting the SUL way of walking (which is fine with me) that some people will go for it with out developing the experience and knowledge to cope with the demands the wilderness will place on them and their kit choice.

They may find not having a sleeping bag in the cold fatal, or the bear may ignore the trekking pole to make them his next meal. The point is SUL backpacking (as that is what it is) needs to go in tandem with experience and good survival skills to make it a safe. Saying safe is a lose term in any wilderness environment I know, but promoting responsibility and encouraging an approach of gaining the skills and experience to make it work might just save some one from getting hurt.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: I have gone too light.... on 05/09/2008 04:34:17 MDT Print View

> is there not a danger in promoting the SUL way of walking (which is fine with me) that some people will go for it with out developing the experience and knowledge to cope with the demands the wilderness will place on them and their kit choice.

Yes. But curiously, there is exactly the same danger in promoting the heavyweight backpacking style to people who "will go for it with out developing the experience and knowledge to cope with the demands the wilderness will place on them and their kit choice".

Cheers

mark henley
(flash582) - F
When have you gone too light? on 05/09/2008 07:32:15 MDT Print View

I can carry a 2 lb 45 degree synth. bag just the same as I can carry a 12 oz quilt. How is one safer than the other?

I can take a alcohol stove at less than an ounce or a white gas stove for a lb or more ..... assuming you're backpacking above freezing, how is one safer than the other?

I can carry a Micropuff pullover at 14 oz and a 3 oz windshirt or 3 100 weight fleeces at over 2 lbs .... can you tell me that one is absolutely safer than the other?

I can carry my 5 lb tent with it's aluminum poles or I can carry a 16 ounce 8x10 sil tarp that, along with my poncho, can make a bomber shelter. I know ... I've slept through some pretty intense storms under a tarp ... even old canvas tarps to boot!

How many people have been found by SAR teams who have perished from hypothermia with a full pack right next to them?

Pack weight is NOT an indicator of safety.

Let me repeat that.

Pack Weight is NOT an indicator of safety.

I don't care if you haul 5 lbs or 50 lbs .... if you're not hauling the right stuff you're just as likely to become a statistic one way as the other.

Knowledge is the only thing that makes the real difference.

Than is what this site is all about ... presenting people with information that they can try out and learn from.

Frankly .... if someone tells me that they have a 5 lb baseweight and has only been backpacking for a month .... I'm gonna be nervous. That type of baseweight has to be EARNED.

Edited by flash582 on 05/09/2008 07:33:45 MDT.