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Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS?
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Gerald Hutchinson
(BR360) - F
Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 10:50:01 MDT Print View

I've read at another site about a guy who claims he hiked the entire JMT last August with an 18-ounce kit. (Plus food and water). Claims he had shelter, sleeping gear, and clothing.

But he won't publish his gear list because he takes the stance that the "information might be harmful to novices," and "if you are ready for it, then you don't need to ask what my gear list is."

Members of this community know what you are doing, and know what equip is out there: what possibilities exist. (I can only get my rig down to Sub 7 for my wallet/comfort level...right now, I don't feel a need to go lower, so I'm not versed on what is at the extremes.)

Is Sub 1 lb. XUL possible, or is he FOS?

Is his stance of not posting his gear reasonable and ethically appropriate? He appears to cop a "mysterious, enigmatic riddle" attitude.

If it IS possible, what percentage of XUL'rs would find this remotely other words, is this lunatic fringe? What would the enjoyment be from such an endeavor?
Is this the equivalent of unsupported and non-competitive Adventure Racing?

Thanks for your opinions ahead of time.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Boastful but not helpful on 04/07/2008 11:03:08 MDT Print View

You'd have to assume he's not including the clothes he's standing in, and his spare wardrobe is limited to a pair of grunties and some silk gloves, but I guess it's possible with a cuben tarp, 3/4 quilt, and a balloon bed, along with a tealight stove and ti mug.

Sounds like a dirtbagger to me. ;-)

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 11:16:42 MDT Print View


Please post a link to the site you reference. Have you tried to contact the person off site via PM or email? Maybe then, he/she would divulge the list.

Everything is possible!

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 11:25:31 MDT Print View

Yeah, I could get by in the summer here with a water bottle, bivy, and some Snickers bars stuffed in my pockets, but it wouldn't be a whole lot of fun for me.

The truth is that if you're willing to take some risks with the temperature and weather conditions and don't feel bad bumming off of others, then you could get by with not much more than the clothes on your back. Conversely, you could lower your pack weight by carrying a lot of stuff in your pockets, but that's what we have From-Skin-Out weight for :D.

Then again, he may not want to divulge what he's carrying because of the ridicule he would surely have to face. There are those who would burn you at the stake for not carrying a first aid kit or water treatment but for the ultra-weight conscious these may be things they take risks on in the quest for lower weight.


Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 11:33:37 MDT Print View

Ya, I wonder whats it got in its pocketsssess.
He must be doing without something?
Just doing some quick calculations a XUL list off the shelf might look like this:
Monk Spectralite tarp 3.8
adventure medical bivy 6.9
zpacks Blast 18 pack 2.8
total 13.1 oz.
that leaves 4.9 oz for "extras" more if you ditch the tarp or bivy.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 12:23:43 MDT Print View

Entirely possible. My 3.5 SUL list is posted here and it includes everything I need for a Cascades 2 season trip in any weather condidtions. No stove though. If he were really pushing it he could probably get by with very little.

A 4 oz Cuben poncho tarp, a 4 oz Cuben bivy, a 3 oz pad, a 3 oz pack, some wind gear, and not much else. The approach is then to sleep until you're cold, wake up and hike, and sleep again. Or night hike and sleep during the day- that's another approach. Or just don't sleep- adventure racing style.

Enjoyable? No. But it could be survivable if he chose a different backpacking style.

Personally, I prefer to sleep at nights and my base SUL weight is low enough. :-) To each his own!

Gerald Hutchinson
(BR360) - F
Sub 1 limits to performance? on 04/07/2008 12:52:03 MDT Print View

OK, interesting. So it can be done...sounds pretty much fringe, but he said he wanted to push himself. Good for him that he's taking it to the limits!

What limits might this place on performance? Seems like sleep might therefore be lacking, which would result in some reduction in physical stamina and cognitive ability????

I may be naive, but why would people flame him for listing his gear? After all, it was a hiking site.

Well, I'm not too naive to know that most people are essentially close-minded and readily condemn others who don't agree with their orthodoxy... Hmmm...maybe answered own question.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Sub 1 limits to performance? on 04/07/2008 13:06:35 MDT Print View

Ahhh... I would miss researching and buying/selling gear!!
:-) Lol

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 13:50:56 MDT Print View

Monk Spectralite - 3.8
Nano Bivy - 4 oz
zpack Blast - 2.8
Torso sized 1/8 inch thick GG pad - .75
can pot, spoon, and Aluminum foil for three pebble esbit stove - .6 oz
Windshirt - 3.0
1 L platy - .7
Water Treatment (use as disinfectant) - 1oz
Photon light - .3
Spectralight stuff sack for food and spectra line - .5 oz
Mini Bic - .4
Chap stick - .1
couple of bandaids - .05

I'd say this would probably be closer to the actual.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F - MLife

Locale: Walking With The Son
Yes it is on 04/07/2008 15:44:46 MDT Print View

I am familiar with the individual in question and yes it is possible to do as he claimed. He is not interested in comfort as much as completing a goal he set for himself, and is willing to make a few sacrifices. He was hiking sub 3 long before sub 5 became commonplace, and has the background to pull it off. This guy did 15-20 mile days on the Maine AT in the dead of winter, to complete a winter hike of Maine during a short break in his military obligations. As far as I'm concerned, if the individual in question said he did it, then he did.
Wolf on Baldpate summitWolf attop Katahdin

Edited by hammer-one on 04/07/2008 15:46:42 MDT.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
possible, but withholding information on 04/07/2008 17:14:20 MDT Print View

The guy said his pack was 18 ounces, not counting the camera he was holding in his hand. I think the camera counts in base weight. What else isn't he "counting"? Toothbrush, car keys? He also pointed out recently to someone proposing a theoretical 1 lb gear list that a cuben fiber poncho tarp and an emergency sleeping bag system would not be adequate for the JMT. Yet he still remains mysterious about what sort of insulation he actually did use.

Edited by artsandt on 04/07/2008 17:50:02 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 18:34:40 MDT Print View

Looking at Mark Henley's list, I am quite convinced its possible, though I'm not familiar with the conditions on the JMT.

That list proposed would be more than possible in South Australia on trails only such as the Heysen Trail, with predictable weather conditions in summer and known water sources every 10km. For that I would ditch the Tarp, Bivy, stove/pot/bic, windshirt, add some light insulation (a short sleeved thermal), and a couple of 2L platys and beef up the pack slightly.

I have been thinking in the last few weeks about something stupid like a sub 1kg (2lb) list for two or three day desert walking, with long distances involved (~100miles over 3 days) in Winter in South Aus. Trick is to do what the Aboriginals used to do and build a series of small fires around you and also warm up some rocks to go underneath at night. Temps at night in the middle of winter can get to 20F. Hard part is water (means beefier harness), and emergency comms gear due to the remoteness. I am thinking of doing something crazy like an ~2oz cuben backpack that will take gear, food and about 3L of water, and a tube arrangment to hold another ~4L of water across my front (like a sash from shoulder to opposite waist).

This is more about seeing the limits/honing skills for me, rather than speed/performance. I have NO DOUBT that it would be way more efficient for me to carry a more substantial, comfortable pack, and ~30oz of insulation, rather than going with the rather time consuming, uncomfortable fire option.

There is a certain "animal factor" involved when you go really low...

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 18:50:11 MDT Print View

That's light.
I carried about 2 1/2 lbs with a 1 lb pack.

Click on the "More Info" graphic for the pic.
The gear I actually brought was less than what was shown, (no bag and a few other things).

The thing is, there is not even the slightest possibility that I could have fallen asleep for more than an hour even being fully clothed in the bivy.

So it wasn't like you would have wanted to go along with him on this trip, and unless he sleeps really warm, that he moved after no less than 2 hours.
You can not escape temps below 35 out there and 18 oz won't cut it...

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 18:54:29 MDT Print View

The guy must be a pretty Hardcore MoFo then.

As my Rover Crew would say...TFH.

I'm guessing he is probably SF...I've met some Aussie SF and ex-SF guys, and the sheer animal willpower when they want/need it is unbelievable. Both in action and in training...

Good on him.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 19:06:44 MDT Print View

I believe the Australian Aboriginals, the Kalahari folks, and many other "experienced' traditional hikers could go bush indefinitely with little more than something to hunt or fish with and a loin cloth, maybe some flint. Why would we believe a suitably conditioned modern westerner not capable of similar feats given access to unlimited technology and information?

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sub 1 lb. XUL : Possible or BS? on 04/07/2008 19:18:46 MDT Print View

Bbecause this is not the Australian bush. It was the John Muir trail, which ranges between some pretty high altitudes, 9000-14500 feet, where there can be freezing rain and snow even in the summer.

Edited by artsandt on 04/07/2008 20:18:33 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Yeah, the Aboriginals had it easy... on 04/07/2008 19:25:19 MDT Print View

Right, so harsh Deserts with no water for a bloody long way, with temperatures over 40C during the day and going under freezing at night aren't harsh. Australian Aboriginals thrived in them for thousands of years.
We also have alpine areas, which they also lived and thrived in, in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania.

By Aarons description of Temps, etc, the JMT doesnt sound too extreme (in summer) for someone with exceptional physical and mental strength to do sub 1lb.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Yeah, the Aboriginals had it easy... on 04/07/2008 19:37:23 MDT Print View

So are you saying that Australian Aboriginals carried their nighttime insulation and shelter from the rain on their backs year-round? Please correct me if I'm wrong but desert conditions means to me: semi-permanent, or permanent shelters and large reservoirs and casks filled with water. I will have to educate myself if otherwise... Food is another difference between the two regions. There are things to eat in the Sierras, but foraging, fishing, and hunting all take time and we're talking about backpacking 240 miles hopefully during the 2-3 month window when it's warm enough to still be considered summertime (when things are still growing and it's warm enough that you don't need a winter sleeping bag at night).

The main issue for me is nighttime insulation and shelter from the rain. Sleeping in caves solves the second problem, if you know where to find them (or if there are any along the trail). But then you still have the issue of nighttime insulation, and the lows can get down around freezing on much of the JMT even in summertime.

Also, you use the phrase "for someone with exceptional physical and mental strength". I agree with you to a point (that is, the point that the hiker in question did not actually hike it with a sub-1 lb base). However, if a person does have exceptional physical and mental strength, which I think would be required to hike the JMT with such a light base weight, then it's perplexing to me just *why* that person wouldn't carry the extra couple pounds, which surely he would be able to, to ensure comfort--not even talking about safety--just comfort at night from the cold and during day from rain.

Edited by artsandt on 04/07/2008 19:49:20 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Aboriginals... on 04/07/2008 19:45:47 MDT Print View

No, the aboriginals were very nomadic, and really didnt carry much at all-no big water containers, except sometimes using a shallow wooden dish with grass in it (could probably hold a pint). They would walk long distances between known water points, navigating with an inate sense and using knowledge based on dreamtime stories and just knowing (even if they hadnt been there before themselves). Its very impressive, and hard to understand how they did it, but they did.

They would camp at times in the one place for a while too, but didnt really have much in the way of insulation anyway...depends on the tribal group and region, but they are pretty good at withstanding hot and cold temperatures with basically no clothing.

I'm sure Discovery channel has documentaries on aboriginal peoples from around the globe from time to time...

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Aboriginals... on 04/07/2008 20:04:40 MDT Print View

It is unfortunate, then, that Americans don't have such prophetic dreams as far as I'm aware. We must rely on maps and learned knowledge to get between water sources, and warm insulation (or very hot fires) to survive cold nights.

I will have to read up on the Australian Aboriginals.

Edited by artsandt on 04/07/2008 20:05:31 MDT.