"I think that finding your way down to and being able to safely use a SUL gear kit is an excellent goal. Once there you have the option to realize you can easily add back to your list two, three, or four pounds of safety, comfort, et al and still be hauling one of the lightest packs of anyone else you're camping with. Now that's the freedom of ultralight."
Excelent Post!! Yeah, that is pretty much my feelings. I struggled with getting my gear small and light, but never quite hit the SUL range for anything longer than an overnight on a fishing trip. Other than that, I just added stuff back that was more comfort driven. Full bag, rather than half bag...it just works better when I get an unexpected cold night. But it adds another 10oz. Same for my shirt. I used to figure I could get by with a 12oz down sweater, it works, but during the rain and for so-so days, it is easier to have a light weight fleece...another 11oz. A 5' tarp was OK, but a 9' tarp was a lot drier, another 8oz. I added stuff back till I am now at between 9 and 11 pounds, base. Most trips of 5 nights are easy with less than 20 pounds, even the ADK High Peaks doing a Bear Ball.
I did a High peaks trip with two others last year and came back with 15 pounds, including trail garbage, shelter, water treatment, some extra food and a bear ball for everybody. They still carried about ten pounds more than I did. They ARE learning, though. When my brother-in-law went with me the first time (5 years ago,) he carried a 43 pound pack. This year he was only about ten pounds heavier than I was.