Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper?
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 01:53:35 MST Print View

I am also a member of a bushcraft forum, and recently another thread on UL came up. Some good insights, some not so good insights, but overall an interesting read. As a bushcraft/lightweight hybrid (with a 1 season UL kit, I can now add!), I am always caught in the middle of these debates, but one thing I brought up in defense of UL people, is that from what I have observed here vs. the BC site, UL people seem to in general actually get out more.

So I pose the question to you UL peeps. What are your thoughts and observations on the subject?

Here is the thread in question:
http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30939

And just for your own amusement, here is a thread with a base weight around 40lbs:
http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27116

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 08:06:31 MST Print View

All I know is that over the years, the more I hiked and backpacked, the more my pack weight dropped and the more my gear list became more refined. And, as my pack became less bulky and heavy, the more I wanted to get out and camp. Now, several years later, my overnight pack IS my day pack. For me, this means that day "day hike" or walk I go on can, and sometimes does, become a safe and well-prepared overnight trip.

Personally, over the past 15 years, I can't really remember running into any real bushcraft types in the woods and maybe a handful of other UL backpackers. I don't think that means that either "group" gets out or doesn't get out more often, I think that it means that both are just small subcultures. If anything, I mostly see (a) small groups of hikers and (b) backpackers and the occasional group of dangerously unprepared day hikers. I don't think that what I've seen happens because traditional backpackers take more trips, I think that they're just a much larger overall population, so you're going to run into some of them in the woods.

I've done a bit of reading and played around with some things I've seen on bushcraft sites and books. My only concern with some of the bushcraft is when I see AXES and other tools that suggest that those people are not practicing LNT. If "backpackers" in this day and age began carrying axes and chopping up trees for debris huts and non-essential fires, then the woods were I travel would be a profoundly different place.

Edited by vinovampire on 03/01/2011 08:07:17 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
What is Bushcraft? on 03/01/2011 08:44:27 MST Print View

I'm confused as to what exactly "bushcraft" even is these days.

The more I read, the more it appears to be (a somewhat tongue-in-cheek assessment):

-Backpacking with as much leather, cotton, wool, camouflage, and other vintage gear/materials as possible
-Carrying a fixed blade knife, firesteel, and PSK is the first commandment. The second commandment is that they have to be on your neck.
-Trying to perpetually carve your own tent stakes out of wood.
-Cooking exclusively on wood fires- unless in a barren, woodless wasteland, in which case the esbit tab, solar reflector, or magnifying glass in your PSK is acceptable.
-Great care must be taken to light fires in the least efficient (albeit traditional) way possible. Bic lighters are absolutely forbidden.
-Going to great lengths to constantly sharpen knives and axes, to the detriment of other personal obligations and relationships.
-Great ecstasy is found in chopping, carving, hollowing, sharpening, shredding, splitting, and felling all manner of wooden things.
-Much discussion and thought on eating bugs, roots, fungi, small animals, invertebrates, and leaves.
-Much time spent knowing you can handle it when the "$hit goes down". Whatever the $hit may be that causes you to suddenly wind up in the woods with nothing but a fixed blade and PSK.


I'm sure I missed some big ones.


As for whether "bushcrafters" get out in the woods more, I have no idea. I kind of hope not, given the emphasis on uprooting plants, snaring animals, and chopping things down.

:)

Edited by xnomanx on 03/01/2011 08:44:59 MST.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 08:54:26 MST Print View

i don't know much about BC. What i do worry about is LNT, like someone said. I have seen pics of BC people felling trees for shelter. but just as with anything else, that does mean every BCer does those things. I don't really know or care who gets out more, I know I don't get out much and wish i was able to get out more. It would be my uneducated guess that BPLers cover more mileage on average. I know I generally try to go for high mileage days because I don't have a ton of time to get out, so when I do I want to see as much as possible.
Ok, so thoughts of interest: I like to see another perspective that is completely different than my own. I look at BC and think what an immense amount of time and effort go into accomplishing the same task of getting out an enjoying the wilderness. But I'd guess they look at a BPLer like me and would think "what a waste of time and energy to lighten your pack". Another thing I find interesting is the blend that occurs, I think it is funny (in a good way) that someone would go through lengths to use the BC techniques with modern equipment such as flint and steel stored in lightweight nylon pouch with quick release buckles. It seems to me that it would be stored in a canvas bag with a leather tie or something like that.
What is really interesting to me is that I think both groups are really going for the same thing in many ways and that is doing more with less. both group have very different ways of how to do that and exactly what that means. We both have learned skill sets that allow us to depart from the traditional backpacker in different ways.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 09:25:20 MST Print View

Meh, in the end it doesn't matter. If you're getting out enough to suite you, not wrecking the enviorment, and having fun who cares how or how much you get out.

Expeditions, bushcraft, lightweight, ultra light; just hike your own hike.

Edited by chadnsc on 03/01/2011 09:26:13 MST.

Webster Jorgensen
(WebsterJ)

Locale: Kansas City
BC vs UL on 03/01/2011 09:34:06 MST Print View

The only difference I see between a ULer and BCer is a Mora knife (4.5 ounces), and certain skills/knowledge.

I see bushcraft as an activity just like fishing. It requires additional gear for a specific type of activity. If you plan on practicing making a hand drill fire, or making a bush pipe a razor blade won't cut it.

I agree that BCers need to do a better job of communicating and respecting LNT principles, but I think some of that has to do with the BC community absorbing the brunt of the Bear Grylls wannabe crowd.

People like Ray Mears consistently communicate the importance of LNT.

Regarding the question in the OP, I would think backpackers will always get out more than bushcrafters. Bushcraft can be done in the backyard or while getting out. Backpacking always means getting out.

Edited by WebsterJ on 03/01/2011 14:20:06 MST.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Bush Craft on 03/01/2011 10:12:15 MST Print View

This is an interesting thread. My own gear evolved from 35 lbs for 3 season use that included many bushcraft items. When faced with the prospect fo a thru hike of 2,665 miles I quickly realized I relly did not want to carry any more gear than neccesary. In one year my base weight came down to 10lbs.
The one thing I refuse to drop from my "Bushcraft" ways is an alternate means of firestarting. I carry a bic light but also a firesteel and birch bark tinder.
I ditched my fixed blade knife for a tiny vitorinox classic for my first thru hike and that was really all I needed on the PCT.
It was while on my second thru hike, the CDT, when I realized; the remote Montana wilderness with it's extremes of weather, rugged landscape, and large wildlife was a whole different place altogether.
I felt naked without my fixed blade knife.
The golf ball sized hail that fell from the massive thunderstorms along the Idaho/Montana border could have shredded my ultralight shelter. I reverted back to carrying a fixed blade knife capable of getting at the inner bark of deadfall, cutting limbs and small branches to make a debris shelter, and shaving sticks down for tinder.
I never had to do those things on my CDT hike. But the remote nature of the trail in Montana made me glad i had the ability and skills from my bushcraft days to do so.
I think this is where LNT and the choices of gear we take collide.
As UL hikers we take a calculated risk that our gear will be enough for the expected terrain and conditions to allow us to safely pass without creating a burden on the landscape.
However, the ability to make fire and shelter from the resources found in a wet forest are skills I think every wilderness traveller, regardless of type, should develop for themselves even if they never intend to use them.
If Bushcraft folk are a "bulldozer", SUL folks are a "teaspoon". Somewhere in between is the shovel we all must find (each for ourself) to dig the proper sized hole.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Bush Craft on 03/01/2011 10:26:49 MST Print View

There is absolutely no difference between a bushcrafter and an ULer except for clothing worn and equipment used.

For example,
UL Pot: Evernew 900
Bucraft Pot: Army GI canteen cup or stainless Zebra billy.

UL shirt: Merino wool longsleeve or Supplex.
Bushcraft shirt: Swanndri Ranger, Olive color.

UL knife: Victorinox classic
Buscraft knife: Mora etc

UL Pack: GG Mariposa or similar
Buscraft Pack: Karrimore Sabre or equivalent, must be olive drab.

UL footwear: Inov-8 2xx
Buscraft footwear: Army boots

UL shelter: Cuben tarp
Bushcraft shelter: Camo tarp, 70 denier or higher thread count.


etc etc.

No real difference, just uniform worn and equipment used.

Webster Jorgensen
(WebsterJ)

Locale: Kansas City
Re: Re: Bush Craft on 03/01/2011 10:50:22 MST Print View

Yes, there are differences between the stereotypical bushcrafter and an ultralight backpacker. However, it is possible to practice bushcraft and ultralight backpacking at the same time. None of things you listed are required to practice bushcraft expect maybe the Mora (or other fixed blade), and that's not even a requirement.

Steve Scarborough
(zehnmm) - F

Locale: southern New Mexico
UL vs BC vs SHTF on 03/01/2011 12:52:00 MST Print View

I am one who has only recently started to lighten my load. Not quite at the UL level yet, but still a whole lot lighter than I used to be. Right now, I have got my base weight in the 11 lb. area. Not bad. As I near age 64, carrying a 55 pound pack for 4 miles with 3000 vertical elevation gain ain't gonna happen again. With a 15 lb. pack, I can still do it and perhaps live to tell the tale.

But, I should like to weigh in on the BC stuff. I see similarities between BC and the SHTF crowd. (SHTF = when the brown matter hits the metal whirling blades...) The latter group often refers to "BOB" (bug-out bag) and some other acronyms. They include not only some of the older survivalist-militaria types, but also some thoughtful folks who just want to be prepared in case of natural disaster and other events. Some of those who frequent survivalist forums are worried about zombie attacks, or whatever in heck that is. As I understand it, they believe that there is a chance of economic/social breakdown which leads to "WROL", or "without the rule of law" events. This could include people trying to hurt you and rob you to get food and supplies for themselves. In my eyes, this latter group reminds me of the older survivalist types back in the 1970s and 1980s.

For me, I like the general notion of being prepared. I have a BOB which I put in my truck. It is a Maxpedition Versipack bag that has quite a few things in it. Pistol, ammo, flashlights, batteries, firestarting, emergency blanket, emergency poncho, paracord (and that is another thing --- to be really part of the WROL rowd, ya gotta have paracord!), water, compass, SOG Revolver knife, maps, compactor bag, vaseline soaked cotton balls, firesteel, altoids emergency tin, and other goodies. My wife and I have just gotten started volunteering for moutain search and rescue in my area. Hence, many of the things in my truck BOB are going to do pretty well in my new volunteer activity. I got to talking with the local S&R leader about my new effort to learn about UL approaches. He was very interested and we plan to get together and go over that some more. I now have my UL pack (in this case a ULA Conduit) already packed up and ready to go on a moment's notice whenever I am called to be a ground beater.

FYI, I also see that the BC/SHTF crowd has quite a bit to learn from the UL community. I will go out on a limb and say that, while we can learn from them, they have more they can learn from us. The reason I say this is that in a true SHTF situation, just hiking a few miles to your outdoor BC practice area probably is not going to happen. The hiking might be more like 15 to 20 miles a day. A lighter approach is for sure going to be better.

And to address the original question: I believe that the UL folks get out more than the BC crowd.

Blessings to all.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: UL vs BC vs SHTF on 03/01/2011 14:55:30 MST Print View

As a kid I had an interest in BC and BOB kits but now am much much more interested in UL backpacking (and am getting addicted to gear). The biggest difference is that as a youngster I could not go backpacking, only day hiking whereas years later now I get to go backpacking in some neat places. For me, UL backpacking is more practical and fits into the modern world with everyone better. Having some BC skills is something we should all have though.

Edited by radio_guy on 03/02/2011 10:39:40 MST.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - M

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
The Ul crowd on 03/01/2011 15:02:08 MST Print View

I would say the UL crowd gets out more, mainly due to the thru-hike / section hike mentality.

I personally think there is a lot more in common with the various crowds (UL, Bushcraft, UL hunter) than they care to admit and they are way different from the casual camper. It seems, and perhaps this won't be popular stance that often times it LNT that gets in the way. Does anyone really LNT ? Take a tracking class and there is no such thing as real LNT. Perhaps that is an extreme example, but the woods are alive, changing and being used by animals that don't practice LNT. Elk mark the trees for years.
I don't like garbage, or initials in trees, or anything like that, (and I usually pick up garbage I see and carry a garbage bag just for that purpose) but starting a small controlled fire doesn't bother me. In a couple years the marks will be gone and really it's often good for the soil. Breaking a branch, big deal, Elk do it.

Kevin

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: What is Bushcraft? its no mystery on 03/01/2011 17:28:12 MST Print View

Bushcraft is about learning traditional outdoor skills.
Meaning before nylon tents and polyester tees.
Thats why traditional materials like canvas, pack-baskets, and leather is used. The "destruction" and axes are part of the pre nylon era. Instead of destroying some far off third world country and exploiting its poor workforce and oil reserves to put your LNT gear on the outfitters shelf, they concentrate on keeping things like native shelter and tool making alive.
People who do this seriously also avoid public land because its not the appropriate place to do most of this stuff.
bushcraft = traditional pre industrial out door skills, simple as that.
Bushcrafting is not hiking so its no surprise you don't see too many on the trail (if you can identify one?).
The ignorance of the "backpacking" crowd on this is a little sad. Why would you be against someone learning basketry? And why would someone think that a person would axe down a tree and make a shelter on the side of the AT -just because they know how?

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Re: What is Bushcraft? its no mystery on 03/01/2011 18:01:07 MST Print View

Brian Maynard for the win.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
bushcraft & UL on 03/01/2011 18:16:59 MST Print View

I don't see too much bashing in this thread which is refreshing, UL folks occasionally get bashed on bushcraft forums and likewise "them" here

the "we vs them" never seems to serve much of purpose IMHO

there are folks on almost any site, pick a subject, that make you cringe some- beyond those few folks, it's normally just a community of folks sharing what they like to do

there are certainly folks on this site who aren't exactly fans of hunting for example, but that doesn't seem to hinder a level headed discussion about gear or any other topic

we'd be a little self centered and naive to think there weren't things that we could learn from the "bushcraft" crowd and vice versa



<-- proud owner of too many knives, axes and saws :)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: What is Bushcraft? its no mystery on 03/01/2011 18:26:22 MST Print View

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, will a UL backpacker still blame a bushcrafter for it?

Edited by idester on 03/01/2011 18:37:26 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
shtf on 03/01/2011 19:29:30 MST Print View

i suspect that once the inevitable zombie invasion comes along ... youll see those BC people go out a lot more

on the plus side, theyll be so overloaded with axes and saws, that you can outrun them with yr 5 lb base weight ... remember its the same as with bears, you just need to outrun the other guy ...

at the end of the day, worry about how much time youre getting outside, not about some grizzled survivalist milita redneck ;)

a b
(Ice-axe)
Nice Bearshark on 03/01/2011 20:35:46 MST Print View

@ Dave, Nice Bear-shark!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 20:54:32 MST Print View

I don't really know what a bushcrafter is, but I do know there is someone in my area who has been hunting deer with a bow and arrow, even out of deer season, and building "survival" shelters by chopping down bushes. I don't think this is cool at all.

I do enjoy learning more outdoor skills. I have been learning to identify mushrooms. I found two kinds this weekend, both technically edible although only one was palatable. I also have been learning to identify wild greens and have been harvesting and eating them. I would like to get a fishing pole. I used to be a fisherwoman. I'd like to learn how to hunt, too. Perhaps this will get me out more, or more likely, will give me other things to do when I'm out besides take pictures.

I learned to make baskets a long time ago. It was the strangest thing. The instructor was showing us how to do it, but I had this strange, vivid sensation I was being reminded, not taught. I could even see myself somewhere in some time past making baskets, sitting on the floor, wearing something white. The instructor taught many kinds of basketmaking techniques but it was only one of them that triggered "memories."

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F - M
Re: Nice Bearshark on 03/01/2011 21:37:56 MST Print View

Why thank you sir.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/01/2011 22:41:22 MST Print View

Okay,

Here are the answers you all seek...

Some BC people get out a lot.
Some BC people get out fairly often.
Some BC people get once in a while.

Some UL people get out a lot.
Some UL people get out fairly often.
Some UL people get once in a while.

No comment on BC and LNT, I don't know much about BC and cannot make a blanket statement, but suspect the run the gammit of impact. Not all UL hikers are LNT focused. A lot of UL hikers buy gear that does not last and ends up in land fills. No one is perfect.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Good flow going... on 03/02/2011 01:16:42 MST Print View

Without speaking in general terms and being the most logical, Nick has answered the question. So well put, Nick. :)

But of course, we rarely speak in absolutes, so I see little harm in using some blanket statements in order to pragmatically communicate about paterns and trends in a group or groups. All rational and reasonable people understand (or ought to understand) there is no "better" or "worse" but "different."

I do think there are bad apples on both sides that spoil things for many. BC people often view some UL people as elitist, and UL people often (see: above) view some BC people as destructive barbarians. A good point was made with the popularity of Bear Grylls, which has brought about a whole slew of posers and wanna-bes, which will make claim to the BC side and thus BC is often unfairly made guilty by association with these clueless/destructive people. There is no famous TV show with an UL persona that I am aware of.

But for the record, there are more and more hybrids such as myself being made. And also for the record, I do follow LNT as best as I can, and this includes the firewood I harvest with my knife/axe/saw when I do, which is either fallen or standing dead wood.

Altogether the threads both here and on the BC site have been very interesting reads.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/02/2011 06:45:26 MST Print View

UL is about the gear. BC is about skills. The first can be fully achieved at home with a credit card, but the latter is awfully difficult to achieve without spending time outdoors.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/02/2011 13:06:56 MST Print View

I wouldn't say that Eugene. That is unless you're a bushcraft guy trying to look all manly. If that's the case though why are you here on a UL website. Maybe not manly enough for the bushcraft sites? :P

I'm kidding!

I think going UL can require a good deal of skill. Sure headding out with nothing but a knife, some cord, and the clothing on your back is going to require more skill than UL backpacking but then agin I don't know of many bushcraft people who do that either.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
holy crap Craig on 03/02/2011 13:14:49 MST Print View

Hhahahahhahahahahahahahhaahahahahhaha

James S
(HikinNC) - F
Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/02/2011 14:16:02 MST Print View

You should be contacting the CA Dept. of Fish and Game to report out of season animal poaching.

Please do so immediately, if you have yet to do so. I sincerely hope you have, or WILL.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
assessment on 03/02/2011 14:18:45 MST Print View

I'd have to hardily disagree w/ that assessment as well- credit card doesn't buy you navigation and route finding skills, first aid skills, bear skills, the physical conditioning to carry a pack 20 miles over uneven and steep terrain, plan meals, LNT, on and on

sure credit card will get you the latest greatest cubin/carbonfiber thingamajob, but will also get you the latest Busse chopper or Gransfor Bruk, but not the ability to go out and use any of it

sadly just more of that negative "we vs them" crud

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/02/2011 14:48:08 MST Print View

"UL is about the gear. BC is about skills. The first can be fully achieved at home with a credit card, but the latter is awfully difficult to achieve without spending time outdoors."

Eugene, I suspect we do very different style of hiking. UL is much more to me than gear, in fact the gear is actual secondary.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/02/2011 19:58:19 MST Print View

Camping and hiking fundamentals are pretty much the same throughout all types of outdoor adventuring. While going non-UL may allow less care to be taken, it certainly doesn't advocate sleeping in depressions, a complete lack of navigation tools and skills, going to sleep in a sopping wet sleeping bag, etc. Sorry, but UL is just gear. Comparing UL & BC is apples & oranges. If we wanted to compare the long distance trekker to the BC, or UL to B.O.B., that would be a better comparison. What does matters to UL is that trips are enjoyed no matter the length or duration. Even if $3000 is charged for gear that's used once a year for a trip that's not much more than car camping, that's fine, as long as going UL made that trip more enjoyable...or possible.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 03/03/2011 08:21:11 MST Print View

Until this thread, I was not aware of any ideas of "us vs them" between ULers and BCers.
Ver interesting how people make such great claims as to the nature of the "other" group. I can see where some of these generalizations come from, but to apply them to whole groups and make judgement on the group based on that?
ughh...human nature

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
UL NOT versus BC on 04/18/2013 21:17:49 MDT Print View

There are many forums that address Ultralight backpacking. A common concept you will find is reducing your pack weight to 10 pounds to achieve the moniker "ultralight." Another is not bringing the kitchen sink. The idea is to take only what you need and will use. Many try to turn this into, "leave important stuff at home." Only idiots do either of those things. No where in UL backpacking is anyone ever told to leave a first aid kit at home, forget those prescribed pills, or not bring a map because it weighs too much. These are myths told by people to support their need to bring the Kindle, iPad, Android phone, radio, TV, and... kitchen sink. They love their sixty pound packs for a three-day hike.

Another group of enterprising individualists call themselves Bushcrafters. If they do not have it with them, they can make it or improvise. They bring tools to the outdoors. They build a place to sleep, capture/hunt/forage for food, and pride themselves on their knowledge of technique for doing it themselves.

Ultralight Backpacking is about getting from place to place. Bushcraft is about how you camp (or what you do while you are where you are). These two ideas are not at odds. In fact, these concepts combine into a modern adventurer/conservationist. Leave no trace, take only what you need, and work to improve the environment for the next adventurer/traveller. What does all this mean?

Our adventurer sets out. He (being a man I will NOT speak for women) has a ten pound backpack. His full skin out weight is twenty pounds. The load out in the backpack is very clearly what you would expect a UL backpacker carrying. The plan is to move quickly and efficiently to a camping spot two and a half days into the.... wild/desert/forest/back country. He wants to get away from people/places/things.

As a UL backpacker he eats food that he brought while he is on the way to his campground. Along the way he forages for berries, finds some edible leaves for a salad, and even identifies a wild root or two to go with dinner. He collects these and stores them, but does not eat them right away. Everything at this point is about covering ground efficiently to get to that "remote" camping spot.

Once there he no longer relies on the Gatewood cape and net tent he brought. He collects branches to put around a felled log creating a rather nice improvised shelter. He lays the branches on thick, processing them with his Grunsfors Bruks when necessary. He whips out his Cold Steel shovel and starts the process of placing a layer of dirt over the outside branches. Once a layer of dirt is down another layer of branches covers that, followed by another layer of dirt. The shelter's built. During breaks in building his shelter he set some speed hooks in a lake nearby. After a few hours he checks them and finds dinner waiting on a hook. He takes it back to his camp and cooks it with the roots, and eats the berries for a snack.

The next morning he wakes early and begins the hunt for food. He finds some edible wild mushrooms (training and a guide can confirm this) and some more greens to add to the scrambled egg powder he brought with him. It is almost an omelet when he's done cooking it. After this he goes and checks his speed hooks again and finds another fish for lunch...

After a few days out he decides it is time to break camp. He misses his wife and kids and now looks forward to missing this, his time... out. He tears down camp spreading the foliage that covered his lean-to. He breaks up the fire pit, buries ashes, and collects any trash. By the time he is done an Army sniper would not know that this was a camp site. He turns, looks behind him, and smiles, thankful that a place like this exists.

On his way back he moves quickly. His UL gear allows him to make good time, and deal with inclement weather as it happens. The packed food he brought, the white box stove, and the last of his fuel give him a satisfying cup of coffee the morning he finds his car. Recharged, rejuvenated, and excited, he drives home to see the foundation of his life, the family he loves so dearly.

This is what happens when good backpacking skills meet good camping skills. There is a destination, time, and a way to get there. To the UL'ers: You have ten pounds on your back, how many days can you stay out with it? To the Bushcrafters, if you are able to last forever out there, why kill yourself in the process?

My two cents from here: http://wn7ant.com/2013/04/18/ultralight-backpacking-and-bushcraft/

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 04/19/2013 01:51:11 MDT Print View

“I see bushcraft as an activity just like fishing. It requires additional gear for a specific type of activity. If you plan on practicing making a hand drill fire, or making a bush pipe a razor blade won't cut it…
…Regarding the question in the OP, I would think backpackers will always get out more than bushcrafters. Bushcraft can be done in the backyard or while getting out. Backpacking always means getting out.” – Webster Jorgensen

^This^

“Bushcraft is about learning traditional outdoor skills.
Meaning before nylon tents and polyester tees.
Thats why traditional materials like canvas, pack-baskets, and leather is used. The "destruction" and axes are part of the pre nylon era. Instead of destroying some far off third world country and exploiting its poor workforce and oil reserves to put your LNT gear on the outfitters shelf, they concentrate on keeping things like native shelter and tool making alive.
People who do this seriously also avoid public land because its not the appropriate place to do most of this stuff.
bushcraft = traditional pre industrial out door skills, simple as that.
Bushcrafting is not hiking so its no surprise you don't see too many on the trail (if you can identify one?).
The ignorance of the "backpacking" crowd on this is a little sad. Why would you be against someone learning basketry? And why would someone think that a person would axe down a tree and make a shelter on the side of the AT -just because they know how?” – Brian UL

^And Definitely THIS^

“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, will a UL backpacker still blame a bushcrafter for it?” – Douglacide

^Bwahahaha!^

“I don't really know what a bushcrafter is, but I do know there is someone in my area who has been hunting deer with a bow and arrow, even out of deer season, and building "survival" shelters by chopping down bushes. I don't think this is cool at all.” – Piper S.

^^That is what we call POACHING, and is/should not be tolerated by either crowd, be it UL, bushcraft, hunters, mountain bikers, equestrians, mimes, etc. PLEASE CONTACT FISH & GAME IMMEDIATELY!

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/19/2013 01:56:24 MDT Print View

Everett, Fantastic write up, showing how UL and BC can be mutually benefitial!

Only problem I have is that 20lb. skin out weight + Grunsfors Bruks + Cold steel shovel is an oxymoron. I would like to see that gear list!

Unless it is for a fair weather summer outing with warm nights and no rain expected. But, you mentioned the UL gear being used for inclement weather, so I can't see that gear list being possible.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/19/2013 02:44:13 MDT Print View

I post on bushcraft usa. I agree that the website probably seems very strange to most backpackers. That's because it's not a backpacking forum. They carry huge and heavy tools because they are not backpackers, they just like to have fun in the woods.
Bushcraft refers to a bunch of skills and activities that relate to minimalist camping, primitive skills, foraging/hunting/fishing, and improvising things with natural materials. It's kind of like wilderness survival without the survival part. There are people on that forum who will go out with just a few tools and spend a night comfortable. True minimalists, unlike the people on here to claim to be minimalists just because their gear is lightweight.

Many of these skills and activities are not practical skills that anyone would need to use while backpacking. Nobody goes out into and builds a shelter or twists up some natural cordage to save weight. If you actually think that way, you are completely missing the point. If activities like a fire by friction, building a natural shelter, or flintkapping an arrowhead don't sound interesting to you at all, then you probably would not be interested in anything related to bushcraft.


I have learned many skills from "bushcraft" that I have regularly used while backpacking. I still go out into the woods and practice different skills for fun. Some of these skills have really saved my ass few times. I learned to start a fire in wet weather and keep it going all night. On a trip last December it ended up being much colder than I assumed it would and I was forced to keep a fire going all night every night for 6 nights to stay warm. It was a very easy solution to a serious problem. Once I went out with a shelter and it stormed on the last night. I built a shelter from the branches of a fallen tree and I stayed dry. Occasionally I will eat wild edibles (I want to become much better at this). Sometimes I will pass the time by testing the flammability of various tinders or twisting up wild cordage.

There really is no such things as a "bushcrafter". Bushcraft is a bunch of related skills, it's not something that you become.

If you want to see something really interesting, check out the paleo planet forums.

Edited by justin_baker on 04/19/2013 03:02:35 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/19/2013 03:13:11 MDT Print View

That was a really great write up Everett. That's exactly the style of hiking and camping that I end up doing. Primitive skills and improvising with natural materials blends with ultralight backpacking incredibly well.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
20 lbs FSO including Gransfords and Cold Steel on 04/19/2013 09:29:12 MDT Print View

Justin,

Thanks for the kind words. I was trying to show that UL is about how you travel while bushcraft is about what you do at the destination. I've seen some vitriol between the two crowds. It saddens me. I expected more from both sides. Hopefully we can prevent this from becoming an "us" v.s. "them."

A point I'd like to make is that I've seen a LOT of stories on the web from people that tell the story of, "I couldn't backpack because of some ailment, but now I can again." I've also read lots of, "I didn't get to do it as a kid for whatever reason, this helped my confidence." That's great. BUT UL is NOT a destination! It's NOT a stopping point! It's... a through hike. And THAT is my point (I can tell, see all the exclamation marks ;)

Nick,

Thank you also for the kind words. You asked for a list. My blog is wn7ant.com I have three articles (Survival kit to UL backpacking) where I show how to start at a survival kit, and build a UL backpacking kit out of it. The first three articles cover the first three days (72 hour kit) at one pound each day. I have two or three articles after that where I get up to 12 or 13 pounds for a three season kit. Once you subtract the weight of consumables, you're at.. ten pounds. Add the clothes you're wearing, the shovel, the hatchet (Gransfors Hand Hatchet at 1.1 lbs), a couple trekking poles, and what's in your pockets, I'm under 20 lbs for 3 season, and I live in Colorado. Let me know if you disagree. I'm always interested in double checking my work.

Hope you both have a wonderful time outback.

Edited by wn7ant on 04/19/2013 09:44:15 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/19/2013 11:53:49 MDT Print View

When i think of Bushcrafting, i don't necessarily think of aggressive, macho types cutting down trees and hunting animals on off season, i think more of people like Cody Lundin that epitomize LNT ethics and practice it much better than most UL backpackers do (especially when you factor in synthetics production and impact). Heck, someone like Cody Lundin is more UL than most people here will ever be. But, like some said, it's not about the B.C. crowd against the UL crowd or vice versa. I think we all can learn from each other.

And personally, i think it's pretty practical to learn some basic survival and so called primitive skills. You may not need it ever, but knowledge and skills don't weigh anything. And a knowledgeable and skilled BC/UL hybrid type could do quite a lot with just a good and relatively light knife i imagine.

It's easy to stereotype, label, and narrowly categorize people and groups, and/or to view things in black and whites. It's easier to focus on the differences. It's harder to take the boxes off and see that most things are relative and shades of gray or to focus on the similarities and/or unity. But the latter is so much more worthwhile ime.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: 20 lbs FSO including Gransfords and Cold Steel on 04/19/2013 15:58:26 MDT Print View

@Everett
I'm looking forward to the reading I have ahead of me!

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: Re: Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 04/20/2013 13:29:35 MDT Print View

@drowning in spam

You start to make a few good points, but muddy it with so much absurdity, it's hard to take this seriously. Where you fail:

"Camping and hiking fundamentals are pretty much the same throughout all types of outdoor adventuring."

True

"While going non-UL may allow less care to be taken"

You've just contradicted yourself. No, the point of UL is not that you care more or less, it's that you consider something in addition to what you normally do. You endeavor to decrease unneeded weight. You do this by combining the purpose of multiple items into a single item, using a lighter item for the same task, not bringing unnecessary amounts...

"Sorry, but UL is just gear. "

No, it's not. You do not understand at all. It's mentality, mindset, and method. The gear is the by product. You can't see the forest for the trees.

"Comparing UL & BC is apples & oranges."

Completely agreed. One is about method of travel, the other is about what you do at the destination.

"If we wanted to compare the long distance trekker to the BC, or UL to B.O.B., that would be a better comparison."

I've already addressed how UL is NOT just gear, so this comparison is false, you confuse the effect with the cause.

"Even if $3000 is charged for gear that's used once a year for a trip that's not much more than car camping"

The most wrong I've seen in a statement about UL BACKPACKING EVER! First, look up MYOG. Going ultralight is about BACKPACKING (i.e. a method of travel), NOT "car camping" (camping: staying in one place for a period of time).

Edited by wn7ant on 04/20/2013 13:31:58 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: What is Bushcraft? its no mystery on 04/20/2013 14:33:15 MDT Print View

"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, will a UL backpacker still blame a bushcrafter for it?"

Only if he is deaf but there to see it fall.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 14:53:02 MDT Print View

"To the UL'ers: You have ten pounds on your back, how many days can you stay out with it?"

14 days with a ULA OHM, base weight of 11 pounds, if I feel like it, no matter what the terrain offers in terms of foraging, building materials, etc, and longer if fish are plentiful and I choose to fish. A ULer who has their gear/food dialed in, and knows how to use same, can stay out a pretty long time. Can most BCer's go longer if they are in terrain where there is little wood for fuel/shelter, or food to be foraged? A follow on question in my mind is why a BCer would go to all that trouble to build a shelter if he already has a UL shelter he used on the way in to his remote location. Why chop up a bunch of trees and dig up a bunch of soil, thereby disrupting root systems and associated mycorhizomes, not to mention all sorts of insects, worms, etc? Hardly LNT, IMO. Just wondering...

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 15:33:01 MDT Print View

"A follow on question in my mind is why a BCer would go to all that trouble to build a shelter if he already has a UL shelter he used on the way in to his remote location."

Because building a natural shelter is a fun thing to do? You are looking at this the wrong way.
I've built a few shelters when hanging out in one area for the day. I find it an enjoyable thing to do. I take them down and scatter the materials before I leave.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 16:49:53 MDT Print View

"Because building a natural shelter is a fun thing to do? You are looking at this the wrong way."

Or maybe you are looking at what I posted the wrong way by leaving out the second half of my comment regarding LNT although, to be fair, I probably should have said LLI(leave less impact), especially when it is not necessary. In any case, it was more a theoretical point added to a largely theoretical discussion as far as I'm concerned, because I don't see BCer's up where I go, or at least not ones who build shelters, out of necessity or just for fun. In the real world, there are areas where building shelters for fun is probably relatively harmless, and others where it would definitely be harmful. Hopefully, those who practice BC recognize the difference.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: Re: What is Bushcraft? its no mystery on 04/20/2013 17:14:37 MDT Print View

The answer to that is obvious. ULer's know better than to believe that a Bushcrafter could be anywhere that a ULer would back pack to. Bushcraft gear weighs too much for that...

It seems some people missed the joke, so I'm labeling this... JOKE

Edited by wn7ant on 04/20/2013 18:00:17 MDT.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 17:23:02 MDT Print View

Tom,

"Can most BCer's go longer if they are in terrain where there is little wood for fuel/shelter, or food to be foraged?"

Doesn't matter because you just eliminated:

"and longer if fish are plentiful and I choose to fish."

So YOU couldn't do it.

Next "Why chop up a bunch of trees"

Who said anything about chopping up trees? Why not use downed material? When I said process it, you can process downed material.

"and dig up a bunch of soil"

You know, I've been doing LNT for decades and I've still buried ashes as a safety precaution, and to, uhm, not leave a trace. Now if you want to go to insane levels, we can talk about the damage just walking through the area does, and then discuss how UL BP doesn't do leave NO trace. But I didn't think I needed to go to this level of silliness...

Next, great YOU can spend 14 days on 11 pounds. I asked about ten. Can the AVERAGE UL'er do that? I guarantee the AVERAGE UL'er could NOT do 14 days on 10 pounds.

As I stated in my posts Tom, UL Backpacking is about Backpacking (a method of transportation) NOT about camping. You can practice Bushcraft while camping. Why build a natural shelter when I have a Gatewood Cape. To practice for the time I don't have a Gatewood cape. Why wouldn't I have a Gatewood cape? The same reason I'd be camping where there's no trees. Hypotheticalville.

Are we done here?

Edited by wn7ant on 04/20/2013 17:48:34 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 17:47:43 MDT Print View

"Are we done here?"

Apparently not, given you handily resurrected a two year old thread in order to further debate the "UL" mindset vs. that of the "bushcrafter".

Stop obsessing over labels.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 17:48:02 MDT Print View

I think you are too focused on high alpine areas.
In many of the forests I camp in, it's REALLY hard to actually hurt anything. These forests get burned out regularly and vegetation grows almost instantly. If you cut a couple of saplings or branches, nobody will know. Campfire remains disappear quickly. Edible plants are plentiful.
Yes, high alpine areas can have very fragile environments and plants/trees grow very slowly. It's not the kind of place to utilize natural materials.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 17:50:35 MDT Print View

@Craig W.,

"given you handily resurrected a two year old thread"

The battle cry of those with nothing constructive to add.

Really? I debated it? I thought I did an excellent job of showing why it WASN'T a debate. It's a false dichotomy. They work together.

I'm not obsessing over labels. If you read the post where I show how these concepts (not labels) work together...

Never mind, casting pearls before swine.

"Stop obsessing over labels."

I do not think that word means what you think that word means...

Edited by wn7ant on 04/20/2013 18:08:38 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 19:23:19 MDT Print View

Relax Everett, I'm not coming at you as hard as you think. Maybe I was too blunt.

My point is that this whole debate, the same debate you're trying to end, would likely go away if people simply stopped labeling themselves based on packweights or whether or not they like to carve tent stakes and forage for berries. With labels come assumptions, misunderstandings, and all sorts of identity-based nonsense. We're confusing skill sets for identities and pack weights for how people see the world.

It is rightfully why so many have proclaimed "UL" dead. People have missed the forest for the trees.

You make a sound argument in your first post, but then follow it with two questions addressed to "ULers" and "bushcrafters". And immediately people start conjuring their own biased images of what a ULer or a bushcrafter is, and round and round we go.

The whole scenario you described in your first post should just be called backpacking, not UL or Bushcraft or a "hybrid" of the two. As should walking in the mountains with five, ten, or fifty pounds on your back.

I'd wager we're likely in agreement on all of this. I just think your argument needs to be taken a step further and people should work on dropping the labels and vague distinctions altogether.

Edited by xnomanx on 04/20/2013 19:24:28 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 20:44:59 MDT Print View

"As I stated in my posts Tom, UL Backpacking is about Backpacking (a method of transportation)"

That's funny. I've been doing a combo of both for awhile now: Get into a remote location, camp, and day hike around to get to know an area really well, only with no need to forage, build shelters, or burn wood.

As for the rest of your obnoxiousness, yeah, we're done. Your type comes and goes here, and I'm not going to do anything further to encourage you to hang around.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/20/2013 20:52:18 MDT Print View

"I think you are too focused on high alpine areas."

I have my reasons. As for the rest of your post, see below.


"In many of the forests I camp in, it's REALLY hard to actually hurt anything. These forests get burned out regularly and vegetation grows almost instantly. If you cut a couple of saplings or branches, nobody will know. Campfire remains disappear quickly. Edible plants are plentiful.
Yes, high alpine areas can have very fragile environments and plants/trees grow very slowly. It's not the kind of place to utilize natural materials."

+1 As I said earlier, there are probably many areas where BC will have no lasting impact, and I have no problem with BCer's doing their thing there. I should think it would be a lot easier to make it work in the kind of areas you describe anyway. Where I tend to hang out, it would be pretty tough to make a go of bushcraft, beyond the food part, and even that can be pretty sketchy in a lot of places. We are pretty much on the same page here, as far as I can tell.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: Re: Re: UL NOT versus BC on 04/21/2013 03:13:12 MDT Print View

@Tom Kirchner,

"I've been doing a combo of both for awhile now"

And if they weren't separate items, you wouldn't have been doing a combo. Thank you for supporting the point with this:

"Get into a remote location, camp, and day hike "

You backpacked to get there,

You camped while there,

and even added hiking... Notice you listed three separate activities.

"only with no need to forage, build shelters, or burn wood."

Tom, let me give you a hearty hand shake and a pat on the back. You did it without using those skills. Great! In my write up they were used. I did not say anywhere that someone is better for foraging, building a shelter, or burning wood. Nor am I trying to convince others that they are in some way worse for doing it...

"As for the rest of your obnoxiousness, yeah, we're done."

Thanks. That helps a lot.

"+1 As I said earlier, there are probably many areas where BC will have no lasting impact, and I have no problem with BCer's doing their thing there. I should think it would be a lot easier to make it work in the kind of areas you describe anyway. Where I tend to hang out, it would be pretty tough to make a go of bushcraft, beyond the food part, and even that can be pretty sketchy in a lot of places."

Now I'm confused. You're arguing minutiae with me, but you say something like this that is exactly correct. I never mention doing Bushcraft above the Alpine Line, so why the name calling?

Edited by wn7ant on 04/21/2013 04:08:56 MDT.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
When I'm wrong... on 04/21/2013 03:30:18 MDT Print View

@Craig W.,

I was wrong and am sorry. I misunderstood.

We are in agreement then on most of this.

I wonder if the labels can be useful to a point? A starting out point. I spent many years backpacking with 60 pounds on my back. Then I discovered "ultralight backpacking." The label intrigued me. I used that label to google techniques, locate forums, and find books (yes, the physical kind ;). The label provided me with a coherent grouping regarding subject matter. I found the information I was after based off of that.

The label helped me to find the information group I needed.

The same thing happened with Bushcraft.

I was expecting my post to communicate to the people at the beginning of their education. The one's in a position that the label matters. The "average" "ULer." I was not expecting to debate someone that had been doing it for years. But look at the posts between Tom and I.

My point is merely this.

Yup I've got ten pounds in my backpack. That's all I can really say about it. That in and of itself does not answer the questions, "how often do you go out," "how long do you stay out," "how much do you enjoy yourself?"

My pack weight, my full skin out weight, my Gransfors Bruks, my Laplander, these are all things that can fall under a label.

They don't communicate the awe that overwhelms me when I'm standing in a saddle looking into a valley that ends at the horizon. Trees all around me. The smell of the forrest filling my nostrils, and the sound of a river singing...

Yeah, that.

Craig, I hope someday to invite you to sit by the fire a while.

Edited by wn7ant on 04/21/2013 03:31:47 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
labels on 04/21/2013 09:13:34 MDT Print View

>>I wonder if the labels can be useful to a point?

As a claimed personal identity, no.
As a descriptor for a school of thought, yes.
As a descriptor for a cluster of behaviors related to a school of thought, sometimes.

Andrew Zajac
(AZajac)

Locale: South West
UL vs BC and synthetic vs. cotton on 04/21/2013 09:26:06 MDT Print View

I would like to add my two cents on a few things in this thread. One is the cotton vs. synthetic. Cotton is definitely a natural fiber, but the water, pesticides, dye, transport, and lack of recyclability of cotton doesn't make it any better than synthetics. In fact, it can easily be worse. It is also my understanding that the bulk of impact from any garment is post-consumer care. Impacts here are from chemicals used in cleaning and energy used for washing and drying. The most environmentally sound choice then would be to reduce our consumption as much as possible.

Patagonia, shockingly, has made a good article on the subject.
http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2066

In terms of UL vs. BC, I too see them as very different, but with a common goal. Both are about having fun and enjoying the great outdoors. UL is a backpacking philosophy that lends itself to travelling relatively long distance. BC, in my mind, is a reaction to modern society and is about shucking modern technology and getting old school. I also think they have a ton of overlap. ULers spare heavier sleeping bags and pads by being knowledgeable about campsite selection and bring less clothing by using metabolic heat and managing core temp and sweat. I'm sure you would see these techniques in any BC forum as well.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 04/21/2013 09:26:24 MDT Print View

Either.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: labels on 04/21/2013 11:12:57 MDT Print View

"As a descriptor for a school of thought, yes."

Okay.

"As a claimed personal identity, no."

Huh? So what do you call someone that follows a school of thought? Followers of solipsism are solipsists. Those who practice math are mathematicians. Those who practice physics are physicists. Those that are American citizens are Americans. So why exactly doesn't it work as a personal identity?

Just so I understand...

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
have to read closer on 04/21/2013 12:22:46 MDT Print View

tom k, you misread what the guy said, he didn't say he could go for 14 days with 10 pounds base weight, he said with a 10 pound pack. See the difference? You most certainly cannot go anywhere with an 11 pound pack for 14 days as an UL backpacker.

It's important to actually read what people say when responding, otherwise the conversation gets too confused, I believe he also missed what you said there, and believes you wrote that your pack weighs 11 pounds, or 10, or whatever, for a 14 day trip, which of course is silly, it weighs roughly 14x 2 pounds (food/fuel/etc consumed a day) plus your baseweight plus water.

I think the way for an UL backpacker to avoid this type of confusion is to get in the habit of weighing your pack as it will be the first step you take onto the trail, and forget all about your baseweight at that point except for purposes of trimming stuff off it in between trips, that way you avoid the sort of convoluted thing ul backpackers sometimes do with pack weights, whatever you are carrying is your pack weight, that avoids all games with what is a consumable and what isn't, etc. My last trip, where I had enough food for 7 days, a camera, and whatever else, was 25 pounds including water at the trailhead.

I was going to comment more on the lnt absurdity, ie, drive up to the location in a vehicle often big enough to be a bus in the third world, ignore your daily lives impact on the overall ecosystem etc, but I think that's something you have to sort of figure out for yourselves, or not. I'll just leave it at this, if you drive some large vehicle to the trailhead, routinely, spare me any talk of lnt, I have to breathe in your traces every day of my life as I ride my bike around, so I'm not really into that lie or pretense, I also see the impact of those behaviors on the ecosystem, and it's not pretty, getting less so by the day. Not to forget that when we got to the new world, huge sections of the 'wilderness' were actually very carefully maintained gardens and park lands, controlled by burns and other human behaviors. What we call 'wilderness' is the state of those gardens returning to a weed filled condition after we killed all the original inhabitants/caretakers, like your yard does before a new stable 'natural' condition can resume in a few hundred years. What we term 'weeds' are actually natures first responders, very tough, hardy, plants whose task it is to start rebuilding the damaged ecosystem, layer by layer, preparing it for the next step in the recovery process. Point Reyes, for example, is filled with weeds in most areas that are not grazed, and is in a highly unnatural condition between the trails, it hasn't burned in a long time, and it shows.

In the future, we'll return to a sort of balance again, by necessity. Big Sur, for example, suffers extreme and highly unnatural fires, and most important, too hot fires, which actually destroy the conditions the plants there had evolved to thrive in, ie, seeding by fire etc, because of the decades of fire prevention, which build up, in an extremely unnatural way, traces of huge masses of dry wood and brush. These fires are prevented primarily to protect the properties of the extremely wealthy who ring that area, at least to the North, or of the fortunate original settlers, and there is little chance that we will return to normal controlled burns there any time soon because it's not really possible with human habitations scattered too widely around that region, so using the term lnt in that context is beyond absurd, every single element you see there is a huge trace of highly unnatural processes we cause directly by our actions, ignorant as they are. High alpine stuff is another story, there if you're concerned about traces, start lobbying to get the heavily subsidized livestock grazing permits, sold far under market rates, revoked once and for all, and pull those ranchers off the teat of government aid and charity. That's how you actually solve the primary trace issues there from what I understand.

I suggest that before people throw out the term lnt they be extremely sure that they are doing that first... or at least, leave less trace than most do, that's about the best we can hope for in this present culture.

Edited by hhope on 04/21/2013 12:47:02 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: labels on 04/21/2013 12:28:10 MDT Print View

UL Backpacking - years ago, given the state of UL gear, this kind of hiking really did require some special skills. Today with the improvement in materials, construction, options, etc. UL backpacking doesn't require as much skill, the UL equipment holds up and you can now carry a more robust kit in terms of number of items. I am looking at UL in terms of gear weight and what it takes to remain warm, dry, and safe. That is why a lot of people say UL is dead.

Bushcraft - I don't know what this really is. My limited reading would say it is the skill required to live off the land. It seems, from what I have read, bushcrafters bring along a lot of gear ( knives, saws, hatchets, etc.). Maybe this isn't accurate.

Over 40 years ago I went through USAFA SERE Level D training in 1970. My understanding is that Level D is no longer offered in the military. SERE training is Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion. At the time this course was the most comprehensive available, aside from special training like arctic survival. I bring this up because it is surprising what you do not need to survive and what you can do to survive without ripping up the wilderness. To give you an idea of what we did...

First, we did not receive land navigation training. We already had done a lot of this in the prior year to include night navigation in snowstorms in the Rockies. This type of navigation required you to get to check points within specific time frames. So we were already good navigators. There was no such thing as a GPS. Our curriculum after classroom training was:

Week 1 -- Simulated POW camp. Highlights were the methods used by the Viet Cong to extract important from prisoners to include water board torture, black box confinements, and beatings. During this time we would try to escape, which was next to impossible. Attempted escapes resulted in additional punishments. At all times we had sacks over our heads, so we were disoriented. During this week we got two meals, a bowl of rice with a fish head in it. We ate this with our fingers and a bag over our heads.

Week 2 -- starving, we were taken to Saylor Park in the Pike National Forest for survival training. It was assumed that in most instances we would have a parachute, so shelter building was minimal types of shelters, although we were taught how to build more elaborate shelters. Each of us was given one C Ration and we had to procure our own food, which we were taught to do. A few domestic rabbits were planted, but we had to catch them with a snare. A few of us shared the one rabbit we caught. All other food that week was any plants we could gather. Although a couple of us caught some trout.

Week 3 -- evasion training. Each night we had to reach a checkpoint (Lat/Lon). The maps we were given had prominent landmarks trimmed from the map and they were probably equivalent to a 15 min quadrangle. During the day legions of aggressors were out hunting for us so they could capture us and take us back to a POW compound, that was scary. By this time we were sleep deprived, exhausted, hungry, battered and bruised. We traveled at night and slept during the day. Most of us scattered and went solo -- less chance of capture. Sleeping during the day we had to be in shelters that could not be seen or detected -- else you were captured. For this week we again we received one C Ration, so along with navigating and hiding, you had to find food. As I remember we each had a sleeping bag, poncho, knife, map and compass. We might have had a firesteel. We did not have a pack so it was nearly impossible to keep your sleeping bag dry with afternoon thunder showers and a couple of days of snow.

Weight loss of 20 to 30 lbs over 3 weeks was not uncommon.

So... UL backpacking or bushcraft is rather silly in a sense. If you want to learn real skills, join the military :)

And of course the good backpacker never gets into a survival situation; but if you do, you need to know how to survive.

As to who gets out more -- silly question too.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: have to read closer on 04/21/2013 12:55:48 MDT Print View

Harold, the amount of fuel build up in Big Sur right now is scary.There are some large fallen over trees that are just huge pieces of charcoal, which means that the fires have killed redwoods (that's not supposed to happen). Frequent low intensity fires would be nice, but I don't see that ever happening again.
During the winter when we have had free time, we have built large fires (safely) to try and burn excess wood around the remote redwood groves and larger trees.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Who gets out more? on 04/21/2013 12:59:55 MDT Print View

The outdoors person gets out he most. They don't worry about silly labels and just experience the outdoors.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Who gets out more? on 04/21/2013 13:12:19 MDT Print View

"The outdoors person gets out he most. They don't worry about silly labels and just experience the outdoors."

Ah, that's the answer we seek!

Car camping, trailer camping, skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, day hikes, hunting, fishing, rafting, etc. Do a lot of let's say 4 or 5 of these.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Who gets out more, the UL or the BC camper? on 04/21/2013 15:37:37 MDT Print View

I can't believe I'm replying to this thread.
Bushcrafting is a lot of work and is limited in the areas where practicing it is appropriate.
Therefore, people that get out a lot, will do proportionately less BC & more UL.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: have to read closer on 04/21/2013 20:43:05 MDT Print View

"tom k, you misread what the guy said, he didn't say he could go for 14 days with 10 pounds base weight, he said with a 10 pound pack." See the difference?"

Nor did I say that is what he said, Harald. Actually, what he said is: "Our adventurer sets out. He (being a man I will NOT speak for women) has a ten pound backpack. His full skin out weight is twenty pounds." So, his pack ends up being 20 pounds, including somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 pounds of consumables, assuming clothing worn weighing in the neighborhood of 4 pounds, more if his clothing worn is less. Do you see the difference? He mentioned no number of days, but followed up with: "To the UL'ers: You have ten pounds on your back, how many days can you stay out with it?" It was that comment to which I originally responded with MY 14 DAY answer based on my 11 pound base weight, an insignificant difference of one pound to which he objected. For a strict apples to apples comparison, based on a 20 pound total weight for both of us, I should have responded 5 plus/6 days, because my clothing worn is 3.5 pounds, my food per day weighs 19 ounces, and I do not cook if I want to travel really light or am going to be in bear country, therefore I need no fuel. Where the 14 day number came from is what I have figured to be the maximum I can comfortably carry in my OHM, extrapolated with complete confidence from field experience on 11 day trips with an OHM plus non UL field experience on trips ranging up to 17 days unsupported. The 14 day full skin out weight would be: clothing worn = 3.5#; base weight stripped down to 9# for a trip of this length, because we're no longer talking hypothetically(i.e. no camera, stove, fuel, etc); food = 16.5# @ 20 oz/day(add 1 oz of coconut oil for extra calories due to trip length) for 13 days plus 4 oz for lunch on final day. The grand total is 29#. I do not count water because it varies all over the place. Suffice it to say for a long trip like this I would choose a route that offered easy access to water for the first few days, and would carry a max of 1# for a max total of 30#. So, for 9-10 pounds more than our apples to apples 20 pount total weight, I can stay out 14 days. It would be interesting to know how long a BCer could stay out by foraging and remaining at a 20 pound total weight; I suspect the answer would vary all over the map, depending on skill level and availability of forage. However, I doubt it would be 14 days, simply because it is very hard to obtain sufficient calories by foraging alone, unless one is hunting, and even then it is a challenge. Fish do not supply a lot of calories, as I learned the hard way on a 16 day trip long ago, nor do berries, roots, salad greens, etc.

"You most certainly cannot go anywhere with an 11 pound pack for 14 days as an UL backpacker."

True enough. That figured referred to base weight, as did his hypothetical scenario with a 10 pound base weight and 20 pound total weight. Hopefully I clarified that above, although I would have thought it was pretty obvious. At any rate, I guess I should have spelled it out.

"It's important to actually read what people say when responding"

I think I read what he said pretty carefully. However, I should have made the original response an apples to apples response.

"for a 14 day trip,...... it weighs roughly 14x 2 pounds (food/fuel/etc consumed a day) plus your baseweight plus water."

You are way off the mark here, Harald, based on your faulty assumption of 2 pounds per day for my consumables, as I explained above. You would do well in future not to make such assumptions about other hiker's food requirements and cook/no cook styles.

In closing, I would like to indulge in a little thread drift regarding posting etiquette. My original post, whatever you want to say about the contents, was civil in tone. The response it received from Mr Vinzant was not, to say the least, and your response, Harald, was, as so often seems to be the case with you, downright condescending, as if you were trying to explain something simple to an especially slow child. In the event, you were a bit off the mark yourself. Neither attitude is conducive to a productive discussion. The actual content of your posts get lost when the recipient either responds in kind of simply walks away, leaving the discussion either unfinished or spiraling downward into a flame war. When I post, I am totally willing to listen to any and all criticisms of what I post, in fact I welcome them, and feel it is my right to reciprocate. Civilly. I am all in favor of discussion, debate, even vigorous argument, but when the posts turn ad hominum or condecending I object. That happens all too often, IMO, and has ended many a good discussion prematurely, to the detriment of the community.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: labels on 04/21/2013 23:24:51 MDT Print View

>>Huh? So what do you call someone that follows a school of thought? Followers of solipsism are solipsists. Those who practice math are mathematicians. Those who practice physics are physicists. Those that are American citizens are Americans. So why exactly doesn't it work as a personal identity?

There are quantifiable criteria for getting to call yourself a physicist or an American. When you start drawing those lines around something as varied as outdoor recreation, you get a bunch of false distinctions that result in people getting heated in defense of "their" identity. In reality, context matters and an arbitrary line between "ULer" and "BCer" is meaningless. If a person uses any sort of survival skills or natural materials they are effectively practicing bushcraft. If a person deliberately seeks to minimize their carried weight through assessing their needs and eliminating redundant items, they are effectively following UL principles. Everyone here does the latter and almost everyone has probably done the former at one time or another. Claiming BC/UL as a personal identity is just picking a tribe to join, and the only practical effect of it is determining what side of the argument you're on in threads like these. :)

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: have to read closer on 04/23/2013 11:48:50 MDT Print View

@Tom K.,

I was not looking for a fight. The condescension you mentioned started with your response to something I said:

"Why chop up a bunch of trees and dig up a bunch of soil, thereby disrupting root systems and associated mycorhizomes, not to mention all sorts of insects, worms, etc? Hardly LNT, IMO. Just wondering..."

That is what came across. You used a ridiculous definition of "LNT" making your entire post come off as insulting my intelligence. I had no problem with you, or your opinion until as you put it:

"as if you were trying to explain something simple to an especially slow child"

I was trying to keep it simple, not insulting, but simple.

If you were not trying to come across as "downright condescending," now you know you did...

In my communication with someone earlier (in THIS thread) they pointed out I misunderstood them. I apologized and corrected it. You however have gone holier than thou thinking that you can apply rules to everyone but yourself.

"My original post, whatever you want to say about the contents, was civil in tone."

Now that you know that is NOT the case, what are you planning to do from here? I do not need more enemies in life. I have shown I can admit when I am wrong.

FWIW, I agree with what you said about base pack weight. I was not confused by what you meant, and appreciate you following the same convention I used.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: have to read closer on 04/23/2013 18:07:34 MDT Print View

"I was not looking for a fight. The condescension you mentioned started with your response to something I said:

"Why chop up a bunch of trees and dig up a bunch of soil, thereby disrupting root systems and associated mycorhizomes, not to mention all sorts of insects, worms, etc? Hardly LNT, IMO. Just wondering..."

Everett - First off, I admire your effort to achieve a positive resolution to our exchange. That takes both courage and good intent. I shall endeavor to respond in kind. Please bear with me while I try to reconstruct the chain of events as I see it. My first post was in response to the following segment of a post you made earlier, as follows: "Once there he no longer relies on the Gatewood cape and net tent he brought. He collects branches to put around a FELLED(my caps for emphasis) log creating a rather nice improvised shelter. He lays the branches on thick, processing them with his Grunsfors Bruks when necessary. He whips out his Cold Steel shovel and starts the process of placing a layer of dirt over the outside branches. Once a layer of dirt is down another layer of branches covers that, followed by another layer of dirt. The shelter's built."

The dictionary definition of "felled" is to cut, chop, knock down a tree, according to a dictionary link, below. So, I hope you can see why, given your mention of a Grunsfors Bruk hatchet, I might have concluded that your hypothetical BC/ULer might have done the cutting. This was followed by using a shovel to add two layers of dirt to a surface large enough to provide shelter for a grown man. Then, at the end of your post you wrote the following:

"He tears down camp spreading the foliage that covered his lean-to. He breaks up the fire pit, buries ashes, and collects any trash. By the time he is done an Army sniper would not know that this was a camp site."

All of this, taken together, was what caused me to respond as I did. At this point, I would like to separate the discussion of my post into 2 parts, the wording, and the content, because I am potentially willing to change the wording, even apologize for it, but the content in response to your original post, as expressed, I am not. It is beyond credibility, at least to me, to consider the scenario you provided as LNT. We will just have to disagree on that, I'm afraid. My intent in my response was to express incredulity, not condescension, and I am still having trouble seeing how you would interpret it as condescending. I would be inclined to paper it over by apologizing even though I do not believe what I wrote was condescending, however I fear that would take us down the slippery slope to allowing you to determine the definition of what is condescending, holier than thou, etc. Instead, I propose that we throw it open to the other posters to this thread for comment, if they are willing to do so. If the verdict is that I was being condescending, I will sincerely apologize to you forthwith, and engage in some serious self reflection before posting in future to any controversial topic. If the verdict is that you are being overly sensitive, I hope you will adjust your approach accordingly.

Definition of felled.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/felled


"You used a ridiculous definition of "LNT" making your entire post come off as insulting my intelligence. I had no problem with you, or your opinion until as you put it:

"as if you were trying to explain something simple to an especially slow child""

I submit that my definition of LNT or, more accurately, Leave Less Trace was anything but ridiculous, given what you posted. I'm sorry, I just don't see it your way here.

"If you were not trying to come across as "downright condescending," now you know you did..."

Again, I suggest we submit it to the community for resolution. Just because you say so does not make it so.

"In my communication with someone earlier (in THIS thread) they pointed out I misunderstood them. I apologized and corrected it. You however have gone holier than thou thinking that you can apply rules to everyone but yourself."

I think it is you who are attempting to apply your own rules. I prefer to abide by community standards. Are you willing to do so as well?

"Now that you know that is NOT the case, what are you planning to do from here?"

Abide by the community's decision, if it is rendered. If not, you and I will have to figure it out ourselves, or try to stay out of each other's way.

"I do not need more enemies in life. I have shown I can admit when I am wrong."

If I am shown to be wrong, as I said, I will apologize to you, sincerely. As for enemies, this is not important enough for that word to even enter the conversation. We had a disagreement, no more. Hopefully we are now on the way to sorting it out.
You are clearly an intelligent fellow with a lot to contribute to BPL, and it would be good if we could dialogue without it degenerating into a flame war. With a little good will and perseverance, I'm sure we can put this to rest.

Edited for content, grammar, syntax, etc.

Edited by ouzel on 04/23/2013 21:11:56 MDT.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Re: Re: Re: have to read closer on 04/24/2013 14:48:30 MDT Print View

Tom K.,

Apparently we have no problem here then.

I was using the term felled in the past tense. The person in the story wasn't the cause. They were using material already down.

With that being the case, as far as I can tell, we actually agree. Most of the misunderstanding seems to have grown from the use of a word I thought I put in the past tense.

I see how this situation developed on your side.

If I have offended you, I apologize. I don't need another person to avoid in life.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: have to read closer @Everett on 04/24/2013 20:16:52 MDT Print View

"If I have offended you, I apologize. I don't need another person to avoid in life."

Let's make it a reciprocal apology, Everett, and proceed henceforth in an atmosphere of cordial dialogue when our interests intersect in the same thread. I have pretty much chalked up the acrimony to a combination of our different posting styles and this being our first encounter; the one dimensional nature of the Internet, which does not convey the various non linguistic cues so important to effective communication, didn't help either, IMO. It has been resolved amicably, as far as I'm concerned. As you said, "we have no problem here".

Welcome to BPL!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Bushcraft, "survival" and Scouting skills on 04/25/2013 01:04:31 MDT Print View

I'm a lightweight backpacker (not UL) but, being an elder of the tribe I DO have "bushcraft" skills taught to me when I was in the Boy Scouts in the 1950s.

Yes, I know how to use an axe quite well (and sharpen it). I know many lashings and knots. I know how to (and have made) lean-tos. Back in the day we called these skills "Pioneering" and all Scouts had to learn them at risk of losing their manliness if they didn't. There was even a Pioneering merit badge. I kid you not.

Bushcrafting is just Pioneering under a different name. It's 50's era Scouting skills.

But unless I'm totally f_____d I'll never need those skills.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/25/2013 01:10:00 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
the two are not mutually exclusive on 04/29/2013 09:24:44 MDT Print View

I don't see the two groups, backpackers and bushcrafters, as different groups. I have some bushcraft skills, and some lightweight backpacking skills. And some mountaineering skills, and some orienteering skills, and some cooking and survival skills. I have been on backpacks where I had to make tent stakes and poles from sticks, where I improvised water filters, cooked fish, and I could rig a shelter if I have to. It would be incorrect to assume bushcrafter folks don't backpack or vice versa. I just finished making a knife for my son's Eagle rank, kind of a bushcraft project.

Its good for backpackers to have a wide range of skills, and to put ultra light backpackers up as some kind of elite club is not useful or accurate.