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Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon Ultralight Handbook... on 03/04/2009 06:09:12 MST Print View

So I recieved the "Ultralight Handbook" in my email today. Interesting portions are posted to my gearlist PDF:
(It doesn't appear the material is copyrighted)

Some choice ideas from

1. "Going light is a bit like marriage: It’s a multifaceted contract that requires your constant commitment. Cheat just a little bit, and your hike—and especially your shoulders—will suffer."

2. "If in doubt, leave it out."

3. "Hard-core fastpackers hit the trail predawn —typically the coldest hour of the night—when they start feeling chilled in their light-weight bags."

4. "Choose layers based on the fore- cast, and don’t double up (no wind jacket and rain shell)." BUT do take "midweight long-sleeve top, one synthetic T, lightweight shorts and pants, a light down jacket (10-12 ounces.), two pairs of socks and underwear, two hats (for sun and warmth), and (maybe) light gloves and rain pants."

5. "Even the lightest stoves add ounces, especially when you tally fuel and cooking-gear ballast. Leave it home"

6. "And that extra food you always carry? Skip it. Even remote trails are usually within a day’s hike of a road, and hunger would take weeks to kill you."

7. "Hiking without a topo (and guidebook) isn’t sane everywhere, but many trails are so well marked that no seasoned hiker could get lost."

8."Your kit should weigh no more than eight ounces: All you really need is antibiotic ointment, duct tape, a few gauze pads and bandages, a bit of blister treatment, and your WFA training (you got that, right?). In the field, sub what’s available: sticks for SAM splints, a cold stream for an ice pack, a T-shirt for a dressing. "

9. "Leave the bulky, insulated waterproof/breathable jacket at home. It’s fine for windy chairlifts, but too warm for winter hiking and snowshoeing."

10. "Bring only as much bag as you need. Warm sleepers should select a bag rated for the nighttime lows, while human popsicles should aim for a rating 10°F to 15°F lower. "

Bravo,, for making UL hiking safer for beginners everywhere.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 03/04/2009 06:33:55 MST.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
I sense a bit of sarcasm on 03/04/2009 06:23:47 MST Print View

I sense a bit of sarcasm. On a related note, they also recommended not carrying water (and food, I believe) the beginning section of the JMT because you could pick up your pack later.

Sorry, but one twisted ankle will make you wanting food and water - even on a higher-heavy trail like the JMT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there Ultralight Handbook on 03/04/2009 06:59:51 MST Print View

Any note of who wrote that for them or was it from the editors of? I am sure NO ONE wants to take credit for it. What is the print version of an Allen Smithee?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Ultralight Handbook... on 03/04/2009 07:39:56 MST Print View

Alot of it is pretty crappy advice.

Edited by jshann on 03/04/2009 07:40:28 MST.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:ultralight handbook on 03/04/2009 08:42:31 MST Print View

I have to agree. I had ordered this book a few years ago thinking i could get a few new ideas to lighten my load. I didn't think much of the book...felt i wasted my money..

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Ultralight Handbook... on 03/04/2009 08:46:04 MST Print View

Am I the only person who hates the term "fastpacker"?

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Larger rant on 03/04/2009 08:50:42 MST Print View

On a larger rant, I despise BACKPACKER mag's categories for ultralight gear - especially packs. UL packs to me are generally frameless and do not weigh what the top UL packs the mag's guide said. I don't have my guide on me right now, but can anyone post the weight/volume of the three UL packs the mag selected?

Last time I check, my Z1 from Zpacks weighs in at 5.29 ounces with options - less without.

Along the same lines, the idea that you need a larger pack the longer you are out is more or less a fallacy as we here know. You need more space for consumables, mostly food, but the rest of your kit should remain more or less the same. You don't need to double your pack volume to get there. Bah!

Same rant for tents, although I did like to see the nod to the TT Contrail and DR. On the DR note, the snippet made it sound like the tent was brand new when it has been out since 2006 or so.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 03/04/2009 08:52:34 MST.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 03/04/2009 08:52:07 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/12/2015 20:22:50 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Fastpacker on 03/04/2009 08:58:17 MST Print View

I have been called a fastpacker by folks who see me on the trail. These folks are generally burgeoned with huge loads and are plodding along slowly. I walk at a very brisk pace, but I also am carrying a UL load. I think my running background pushes that pace up. It probably doesn't help the image that all UL folks are those who just run up and down trails for the pure sake of logging miles.

That said, Brian Frankle's rant about "fast and Light" is fantastic - basically it is light and efficient that should matter and not fast and light. Unfortunately, the manufacturers use this nomenclature and that drives the term. See TNF Summit Series, ID's fast and light section and anything geared toward climbers, such as BD's series of packs that allow you to strip off the hipbelt, stays and/or lids.

GoLite's website calls Skurka fastpacker - whether you agree with that is up to debate.

Me thinks that a letter to the mag is in order.

Edited by citystuckhiker on 03/04/2009 08:59:23 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Fastpacker on 03/04/2009 09:35:59 MST Print View

Call me a fastpacker...UL and light...traditional backpacker...heavyweight hiker...mountain walker...outdoor enthusiast...a lover...a fighter...a wild bull rider...

Call me stupid.

Whatever the name, what does it matter?

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Name does matter on 03/04/2009 09:52:55 MST Print View

The mind likes to compartmentalize things and has a hard time without. Imagine a world without pronouns, or any time you look at a person and cannot determine if they are a man or a woman. Your brain goes berserk.

That said, these labels are only necessary for the person attempting to place the label. To the hiker being labeled, it doesn't mean squat.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Name does matter on 03/04/2009 10:17:43 MST Print View

I hope that without names I'd still recognize men from women :)

"To the hiker being labeled, it doesn't mean squat."

My point exactly. Call me what you want.

So if "fastpacker" is a dumb name, then what?
Speedywalker? Naah...that's dumb too.
Quicktrekker? Too sci-fi.
Fastambler? Sounds like a late 50's sedan.... about quickshuffler?

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Fastpacker on 03/04/2009 10:52:39 MST Print View

Fastpacker is absolutely true. I used to fiddle around for two hours after getting up before hitting the trail. I got up, put on warm clothes, made breakfast, packed sleeping gear, packed tent, packed the rest of the c6ap, changed clothes, took a rest, etc.

Packing lighter, with much less extra stuff, no complicated tent, better packing routine, etc. is much faster. Now I wake up dressed in clothes appropriate to start the day's hike. Get up, pack sleeping gear, other gear (very little), stuff bivy in the outside of my pack, hit the trail. Wakeup to hiking is 15 minutes or less. Then when the day has warmed up I take a nice breakfast break.

Anyhow, I went from 2 hours packing to 15 minutes so that's "Fastpacking". I may walk slightly quicker as well.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range Ultralight Handbook... on 03/04/2009 10:54:31 MST Print View

This pdf is a bit of a rehash from a print article they did awhile back. I remember the related forum thread being just as scathing as this one.

An ultralight handbook coming from a magazine that reviewed a computer printer in their Gear Guide is... well, I'll leave that judgement up to the individual.

Excuse me, I'm going to go fastpacking now.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
backpacker and backpackinglight, six of one half a dozen of another. . . on 03/04/2009 10:57:30 MST Print View

Backpacking Light has used the term 'fastpacker' and 'fastpacking' in several members only articals over the last six months. For those of you that think those terms are used by only the uneducated that don't understand backpacking or lightweight backpacking. . .you may be correct.

Edited by chadnsc on 03/04/2009 10:59:29 MST.

Michael Wands
(walksoftly) - F

Locale: Piney Woods
" Ultralight Handbook..." on 03/04/2009 11:03:03 MST Print View

The Backpacker 2009 Gear Guide is really unsettling. "Best Ultralight Tent" at 3lbs 14oz. Ultralight backpack at 3lbs. They really don't have a clue. Some of their backbacks come in at nearly 8 lbs!!!!

I know that their staff has access to some of the best Ultralight hikers around. I guess that they have just gotten too cozy with traditional gear manufacturers and cannot see beyond who buys advertising in their magazine.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: " Ultralight Handbook..." on 03/04/2009 11:21:08 MST Print View

How great is the connection between the magazine and the manufacturers?
Seems to me they are in cahoots on's all about synergy. Give high reviews to the products that also happen to come from the manufacturers that fill your pockets with advertising dollars.
It's just bizarre when I see some of this stuff...
I was on REI's website and saw the "new, Backpacking Mag. award winning" REI bags...2 lbs for a 25 degree bag.
I boubt a 2 lb., 20 degree pertex micrrolite bag from EMS years ago for $169. So why did REI win the award?
You have to wonder if some of these magazines are owned by the companies....
I guess that, in a sense, they are.

This happens everywhere to some degree.
While I think the reviews here are pretty objective, many of the articles definitely send people running for the BPL gear store. I don't doubt that this is part of BPL's overall revenue plans; nothing wrong with it, it's a business.
But I do really respect the fact that this site doesn't take advertising money...that's where reviews and content start getting really bogus

(strong806) - F
Re: Handbook on 03/04/2009 11:37:27 MST Print View

Someone should tell them that ultra-lighters all hike barefoot to save weight on shoes.

Edited by strong806 on 03/04/2009 20:44:31 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Handbook on 03/04/2009 13:48:51 MST Print View

And Super-Ultra-Lighters don't take clothes either - so heavy ...


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Re: Handbook on 03/04/2009 14:18:29 MST Print View

Oh Roger, you really dont want to come across me walking naked on the trail to save a few kgs :) I'll leave my clothes on for the good of mankind (and womenkind for that matter)