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Backpacking Weight Ranks
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Tim Testa
(MichaelRedbeard) - F
Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/17/2009 01:26:17 MDT Print View

What Backpacking Weight Ranks do you acknowledge and what weight class goes along with each of them in your opinion?

Ive heard the terms HyperUltraLight, Ultralight, Light, ...., ...., and Heavy. I did "...." because I am guessing that there are levels in between Light and Heavy, I just dont know what their technical names are.

It is my impresssion that the following weight classes would go as follows (correct me if I am wrong even though I am sure this question can only be based off of opinion and not off of mere fact based out of a book):

HyperUltralight 5lbs or Under

Ultralight 5-12lbs

Light 12-20lbs

.... 20-30lbs

.... 30-40lbs

Heavy 40lbs and beyond.

Any thoughts or opinions?

Michael Williams
(qldhike)

Locale: Queensland
Base weight Categories on 08/17/2009 02:27:39 MDT Print View

I believe the most commonly accepted definitions based on base weights are:

Lightweight - 10-20lbs
UL - under 10 lbs
SUL - under 5 lbs
XUL - under 2.5 lbs (Not sure about this one)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Base weight Categories on 08/17/2009 02:46:52 MDT Print View

I've never heard of XUL and, frankly, it sounds less like "camping" and more like "survival exercise."

Where did you hear that, Michael?

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Base weight Categories on 08/17/2009 02:49:40 MDT Print View

If you google "Adventure Alan" you'll find an XUL list on Alan Dixon's website.

Michael Williams
(qldhike)

Locale: Queensland
Weight categories on 08/17/2009 04:53:00 MDT Print View

Here's the link for the thread about SUL:

SUL

Edited by qldhike on 08/17/2009 04:53:47 MDT.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/17/2009 08:42:25 MDT Print View

I'm of the opinion that UL is anything below about 12 pounds. That used to be a pretty commonly accepted view on the internet. But it seems like it's trending towards sub-10 pounds, perhaps because UL gear choices have expanded.

In the end, it's just a name and REALLY doesn't matter. If you're walking down the trail with 11 pounds, meet someone and you talk about ultralight gear, and they sneer at you for not being a "true" ultralight packer, they don't spend enough time outside, realizing what truly matters.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
very not subjective on 08/17/2009 09:11:48 MDT Print View

I think it is a pretty flawed system, especially for the SUL and XUL categories, because it is much, much easier for someone that is 5'6" to meet the 5# maximum than myself who is 6'5".

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
tall people can't be UL?? :-) on 08/17/2009 18:13:28 MDT Print View

Agree with Brett. I am always amazed when I weigh my wife's gear and clothing versus my own. She is 5-4 and I am 6-2. That ten inches in height (and ~70 pounds in mass) makes a big difference.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
And short people have to hike farther... on 08/17/2009 18:21:49 MDT Print View

My wife is always pointing out how short people have to take more steps to cover the same distance. For every 5 of her steps, I take 4. She doesn't like for me to forget that.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/17/2009 18:22:27 MDT Print View

Yes - but I bet she is faster on the downhill sections.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
You're right! on 08/17/2009 18:24:36 MDT Print View

The more technical the footing, the faster she is. Most of the very fast hikers I know from the long trails are all guys who are around 5'6" to 5'8". They must have struck a nice balance of height to agility--they can truly motor.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/17/2009 19:12:02 MDT Print View

I wear XXL shirts, not smalls. They probably weigh twice as much. There is no way I could ever match the weights of smaller guys. I can't wear Inov-8s either, I have to have something with a little thickness to it. I also have double-layered hammocks, so they're a lot heavier than a lighter guy's hammock.

Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
% on 08/17/2009 21:55:15 MDT Print View

yea, i did wonder as a person moves from LW to UL then to SUL would it be better to measure based on % of weight or body size...because of the obvious weight difference of clothes from small to xxl. of course that would really be splitting hairs, oh yea, that is why this is so fun.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/18/2009 00:12:24 MDT Print View

Besides size, it seems conditons should also play a role in what determines light vs. UL vs. SUL. Someone hiking in the mountains in late October is going to have to carry a lot more insulation than someone hiking at lower elevations in July.

Personally, I think it's more about attitude in gear selection than an arbitrary 'base weight' limit. I think it's often funny to see what people exclude from base weight in order to 'fit' into a specific category.

Michael Williams
(qldhike)

Locale: Queensland
Weight Categories on 08/18/2009 02:10:53 MDT Print View

I suppose to accurately compare lists you'd need to figure out some sort of grading system to described conditions. I know bushwalking clubs use a grading system to describe walks:

http://www.bbw.org.au/gradings.htm

How about '50F/2D/ON/Fine' for a 50 Fahrenheit 2 day on track walk with fine weather just as an example. This could get complicated though....

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/18/2009 06:58:00 MDT Print View

I would say UL = 6-8# summer, 12# winter, but all the weight ranking just makes no sense to me. Back in the day nobody ranked a 40# pack compared to a 65# pack, except maybe that thing is god awful heavy.

I say you just carry the minimum you can afford ($$$) and be comfortable with in varous conditions, and that will not fail. For me that works out to about 6-7# summer, 12-13# winter.

Lighter than that and its more like an minimal emergency day pack with a sleeping bag, tarp and pad thown in or its gear that is so light some of it would get totally trashed on a long hike.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Backpacking Weight Ranks on 08/18/2009 07:33:50 MDT Print View

UL = sub 10-12 lb. base weight
SUL = sub 5 lbs. base weight
XUL = sub 5 lbs. full skin out weight (not counting food water i.e. everything you're wearing or carrying).

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
It is really just a way of looking at things. on 08/18/2009 07:41:08 MDT Print View

Personally, I think assigning arbitrary weight categories to a persons base load is a little silly. As noted before, big folks will carry more weight with the same gear as us smaller people. And, some folks like a bit more comfort than others. To me, the whole concept of "BackpackingLight" is more a way of looking at the sport than it is some competitive ounce (or gram) paring contest.

If you want to sleep leaning against a tree with a 3' x 3' tarp draped over you, great. If you want to save weight by using one side of a piece of TP one day and the other side the next, or just using the back of your hand, go ahead. Your carrying 0.466 oz, or 2.169 lb, less than me is just fine. See you down the trail!

Edited by Rincon on 08/18/2009 07:42:54 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: It is really just a way of looking at things. on 08/18/2009 17:31:52 MDT Print View

"If you want to sleep leaning against a tree with a 3' x 3' tarp draped over you, great. If you want to save weight by using one side of a piece of TP one day and the other side the next, or just using the back of your hand, go ahead. Your carrying 0.466 oz, or 2.169 lb, less than me is just fine. See you down the trail!"

+1

This whole discussion verges on turning backpackers into bean counters, complete with accounting like subterfuges such as carrying items in one's pockets so they don't count as base weight.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
PSYCHO LITE on 08/18/2009 19:30:53 MDT Print View

SUL and lower is in the realm of "Psycho-Lite". Maybe in 10 years, with new wonder materials and forms of energy for electrical devices and stoves we can say SUL is not only safe but comfortable. For now SUL remains on the very edge of mere survival.

Remember 10 years ago? Had to make most of your own UL stuff. Then came the "REVOLUTION". Yeah, I hunted deer in December in Pennsylvania with a tarp, Ensolite pad(s) and ESBIT stove - but it warn't fun.

Eric

Edited by Danepacker on 08/20/2009 15:52:16 MDT.