November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
sub 5 for june hike
Display Avatars Sort By:
George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
sub 5 for june hike on 06/06/2008 19:36:13 MDT Print View

In 'SuperUltraLight: Breaking the Five-Pound Barrier' by Ryan Jordan (2003-08-06), I read "...the reason the fringe isn't being explored is simple: it's the fringe. And there is not a lot of gear or education to help people explore it." Does this remain true today? Can someone like me without extensive backpacking experience go SUL with an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort? Would it be fun?

Fortunately for "fringe" explorers, gear and education have both changed for the better over the past four years since Ryan's paradigm shifting article. For those of us seeking a superultralight backpacking (SUL) experience, neither not-yet-light-enough gear nor traditional fears are valid excuses for giving up on SUL. Several well-run gear companies make and sell very light gear for backpacking. While many of their products are far from cheap, affordability is within the reach for true enthusiasts. Now we have books and magazines dedicated to the subject of light backpacking as well as web sites with light backpacking forums, research articles, product reviews, and unselfish, articulate gurus. Life aint bad if you want to try SUL in 2008. I, for one, am going to try SUL on my next backpacking trip.

How did I get there? Carefully, I assembled my SUL gear list by making adjustments to the gear configuration I'd used recently that gave me an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort. The SUL article's gear list enabled me to compare item by item to my gear list to see where I had opportunities to lighten up. This process took me several iterations, a tremendous amount of thought, and, in the end, a gut check. Eventually I arrived at a SUL configuration that I believe maintains an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort for me. We'll see.

Heeding the caveat of the article, I am strongly confident that I "have the ability to forecast challenging scenarios, develop contingency plans, and implement those plans when things go awry" from previous backpacking experiences albeit with more gear. Because I'll have "little room for error", a bit of advice from the article that I will follow is to not venture too many miles from my car. I will hike where there are plenty of connecting, loop trails so I cover plenty of miles, but not venture extremely far from my car. I'm hoping I will have fun.

My SUL Gear List

oz Pack - Shelter - Sleeping
6.50 Zpacks Z1
2.50 GG 3/8 pad - cut torso
8.90 MLD Pro poncho tarp + sack
1.30 Stakes
0.50 Guylines
9.60 MLD 2/3 XP quilt + sack
6.50 BPL Vapr Bivy + sack
35.8 2.24 lb

Extra Clothing Packed
4.00 Houdini windshirt
10.50 BPL Cocoon hoody + Nano sack
7.70 BPL Cocoon pant + Nano sack
1.10 Defeet socks extra pair
1.70 PD beanie
1.40 PD gloves
26.40 1.65 lb

0.40 BPL Ti Wing
0.20 Foil Screen
0.20 Matches
1.30 BPL Trappers mug
0.10 Foil lid
0.70 Ti spoon
1.70 Platypus 1L
0.80 Platypus 2+L
1.10 AM repacked + mix cap
0.10 Micropur MP1 Tablets
2.00 Storage bag + cord
8.60 0.54 lb

1.10 BD Ion light
0.20 Scissor
0.03 Tweezer
0.25 Sm drop bottle Deet
0.25 Sm balm jar sunscreen
0.25 Sm drop bottle Bronners soap
0.20 Toothbrush - shortened handle
0.10 Floss
0.50 Toilet paper
0.40 Antibacterial wipes
0.25 Sm balm jar of antibiotic
1.00 Moleskin, bandaids, tape
0.60 Gerber knife
0.40 Round box w quad divider
0.80 Whistle/Compass
0.50 Stuff Sack
6.83 0.43 lb

Clothing Worn and Items Carried
5.00 BLP Merino LS
3.00 Patag Cap boxer
4.90 Royal Robbins shorts
1.10 Defeet socks
28.20 Terroc shoes (size 11)
1.10 Cotton bandana
6.70 Ti Adj Goat Poles
0.20 Map
5.60 Coolpix L11 2GB, 2AA
55.80 3.49 lb

77.63 Total Wt in Pack: 4.85
55.80 Total Wt Worn/Carried: 3.49
133.43 TSO Wt: 8.34
(excl. food, water, fuel)

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Gear list on 06/06/2008 20:08:41 MDT Print View

Looks good ... very comprehensive.

I'll tell you one thing. Once you go SUL you don't ever want to go back.

Don't skimp on the insulation .... and you haven't.

Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline) - F

Locale: Southern California
Platypus on 06/09/2008 16:37:19 MDT Print View

The Platypus 2+L looks a little light compared to the 1L. Other than that, looks good.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Platypus - correct wt on 06/10/2008 18:08:44 MDT Print View

Thanks Mike - I fixed the Platy weighs

Changed to plastic spork

Added Ziplock bag for storage

oz Kitchen
0.40 BPL Ti Wing
0.20 Ziplock (wing, mug, screen, lid, matches, spoon)
0.10 Foil Screen
0.20 Matches
1.30 BPL Trappers mug
0.10 Foil lid
0.20 Plastic spork - shortened handle
1.00 Platypus 1L
1.40 Platypus 2+L
1.10 AM repacked + mixing cap
0.10 Micropur MP1 Tablets
2.00 Food bag and 35' cord
8.10 0.51 lb

1.90 Wing, screen, mug, and lid

4.82 Total Wt in Pack exclud. food, water, fuel

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: sub 5 for june hike on 07/10/2008 20:32:02 MDT Print View

My gear config worked well during June. One problem: I "over customized" my pad. During deep sleep shifting I'd push it about 1/2 way off. Fortunately the ground was not too hard or cold. I'm going to buy more 3/8 from GG and try again. The pad was great until I kept cutting more and more off.

Had plenty of insulation with the Cocoon hoody/pant. When I first went to sleep, I just used the 2/3 XP quilt because it was comfortable with that alone in the bivy. Woke in a couple of hours and put on the hoody. Later I put on the cocoon pant and was fine until morning.

I will try the Cocoons again this Fall, but they'll be unnecessary in the heat and humidity mid-July thru August in my neck of the woods.

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Where? on 07/10/2008 20:49:13 MDT Print View

Where were you at and what were the temps? Was it necessary to wear any of the Cocoon stuff during the day?

Any wear on your pack? I looked at them but was afraid and got a ULA Conduit instead.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
sub 5 for june hike on 07/10/2008 23:55:38 MDT Print View


Your humble yet subjective description of your desire to attempt a trip in SUL style is very honest and from the heart. I appreciate your straight-forwardness and that you simply 'laid it on the line'.

Too many of us get so caught up in the experience we've gained online and not in the real world and assume expert status without real world practical knowledge. I appreciate your willingness to simply state that you know what you're doing but that it is your first time putting your knowledge to practice.

I have been practicing backpacking in the ultralight style for a number of years now but didn't take a trip in a SUL style until a few months. Your gear list reads very similarly to mine most likely because we've been gleaning information from the same resources but unimportant in the grand scheme of things - - i.e. we were out there getting it done, realizing our potential and enjoying the hell out of ourselves.

To you I say, cheers, and keep it up.

- Sam

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Where? on 07/11/2008 08:04:20 MDT Print View


Where were you at and what were the temps?

Great Smoky Mts NP - temp (degrees) 50's to around 80

Was it necessary to wear any of the Cocoon stuff during the day?

No. Only needed Cocoon hoody, but the pants were nice "luxury" during those few hours before sunrise. The pants were a fantastic pillow earlier. I wore them both when I first surfaced. But they were too much after I started moving around to boil a cup of water and break camp.

Any wear on your pack?
The Z1 pack so far has not exhibited any obvious wear. Knowing that it is what it is, I'm careful with it. We'll in a couple of more months how it does.

Next trip I'm using Contrail instead of bivy/tarp and No Sniveller instead of 2/3 XP + Cocoons. The Contrail will ride in one of the side pockets.

I liked my June gear list (cool-warm with good chance of rain), but want to try different configs with the gear I have. My next config (hot-humid with little chance of rain) starts tomorrow.