“For me, the begging question right now is reconciling whether or not lightweight backpacking has shaped who I am, or is simply a reflection of who I am or would like to be.”
Some interesting responses to this thread so far. I am probably in the absolute minority here on BPL. I am a capitalist… gasp!!
I enjoy hiking period (as others do). It has no ‘spiritual’ or metaphysical connotations. In fact, to me ultralight is just like solving a business problem. How can I do it more efficiently? Only I am not concerned with the economics of the efficiency, other than the cost of expending energy on my hikes. Assembling an ultralight equipment list for a specific trip is similar to a lean manufacturing approach or building an efficient spreadsheet. How can I reduce the number of operations for any given task, and how can I increase productivity.
Also interesting is how many people try to par down to save money or reduce their ‘carbon footprint’. I have never seen so many people (myself included) who own so many duplicate pieces of equipment such as multiple stoves, packs, shelters, etc. There is nothing wrong with this either.
For nearly 3 decades, I pretty much relied on one backpack, one stove, one sleeping bag, and one cook set. From a cost per mile or cost per year, it was a very efficient gear list. However, the cost in energy expended per step eventually was too great a price to pay.
Additionally, the ultralight equipment I have assembled is somewhat of a tribute to the minds of the creators of these products. I admire the genius of folks like Bell, Frankle, Lindsly, Moak, Van Peski, etc. Where would we be without their creative products? Oh, we could hike without them, but not as efficiently. In addition, as a capitalist, I do not owe them anything; because we willing exchanged value for those products.
So it is a reflection of who I am.