SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns
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mark henley
(flash582) - F
SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 03/31/2011 20:56:20 MDT Print View

After a lot of thought I think I may have hit on a method of balancing SUL pack weight against the relative size of the hiker.

My thought is to start at 5 lbs and add one ounce per inch of shoulder girth above 38 (as in a standard 38 sport coat.)

A guy who wears a size 42 sport coat, for example, should consider 5 lbs, 4 oz as the threshold for SUL.

I consider this as an important caveat in that two hikers, caring the exact same gear, but different sizes, will have a significant difference in pack weight. This can motivate the larger hiker to leave essential safety gear at home that the more averaged sized hiker will leave in.

Waist size is not a good method, because we should all strive to active a more fit and healthy weight for our size, however, shoulder girth is usually somewhat independent of weight.

Similarly, taller than average folk should gain several ounces of handicap for heights over that which a standard sleeping bag will fit.


Just my thoughts to help promote a safer backcountry experience.

Edited by flash582 on 03/31/2011 20:57:31 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 03/31/2011 21:18:24 MDT Print View

"a standard 38 sport coat"

I think that is figured on a 38-inch chest size, not shoulders.

--B.G.--

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 03/31/2011 21:21:23 MDT Print View

I'm 6'2", 200lbs.
I can hit Sub5 no problem.


Of course....
...Not that...
.......numbers....
..................matter........

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Are big people stupid? on 03/31/2011 22:47:35 MDT Print View

If you're a big guy (and I most certainly am) and you leave out critical gear just so you can call yourself "super ultra light", you get what you deserve. If a label (that nobody else cares about or will validate) means that much to you, then how about "anything under 20 pounds is super duper crazy ultra light".

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 03/31/2011 23:12:02 MDT Print View

What other than clothing, and maybe a quilt/bag do you think adds weight?


I can make you a quilt that'll come within 1-2oz of a normal generously sized quilt. Worn clothing doesn't count toward base weight as normally described. Am I missing something? I use a large torso sized pack, and I can crush 5lbs if I want to.


Ditch the extra clothes, and if you're serious about skin-out weight, fit to size not to baggy, use 3/4L tights to hike in and discard the bulky overweight "hiking pants".


This is just a generalization, and a blunt one, not directed at you or meant to offend.


The real method to getting SUL is minimalism, not lighter "same stuff" you'd normally take.


So seriously, what items do you think separate you from being able to hit that weight vs the smaller guys?


edit: Just want to make it perfectly clear that I think the number based weight statuses are completely irrelevant and useless, but if you've got a goal for a reason, etc. etc.

Edited by jdempsey on 03/31/2011 23:14:15 MDT.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
SUL handicap on 04/01/2011 05:47:46 MDT Print View

I can hit sub 5 with no issue either, just to be clear, and I wear a size 54 sport coat. In fact, I find it easy to hit sub three for a weekend, I just don't much see the point, other than bragging rights. I prefer to go about 7 these days for pure comfort.

I was afraid this would happen .... The assumption is that I'm talking about numbers for my own benefit. I'm not.

But we have people entering this sport daily. Many of them are immediately indoctrinated with the holy Grail of sub 5 lb hiking. These are the people that I am concerned about. Those that are striving to hit the magic SUL mark.


Pick some other arbitrary method of assigning handicaps, but one thing I've learned over the past 10 years is that as people strive to attain a goal they may rationalize too far towards the edge. I know I pushed the limits a time or two.


As for what else comprises the extra weight, well, insulation should comprise the major portion of your gear weight, and that's the concern. Not carrying enough insulation.


Take it for what it's worth ....... An opinion.

Edited by flash582 on 04/01/2011 05:49:10 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 04/01/2011 08:57:24 MDT Print View

My husband is in the "Super Clydesdale" category. The thing about being a SC is you can carry so much more with ease than a small man. Why would he need a handicap? He doesn't need it. For every stride he takes I must take 2-3 to keep up with him. His shoulder width is considerably bigger than the majority of other men - he pays a penalty in gear choices due to that and his height. And his gear will always be heavier (not many sleeping bags are made for SC's). But for him 5 and 20 lbs ride the same. His frame is built to handle it.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
SUL on 04/01/2011 09:44:51 MDT Print View

I think more of a factor on weight is where you hike and what time of year.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: SUL on 04/01/2011 10:58:17 MDT Print View

Very true on that. A summer trip's gear is so much different than going out in December. Even more so a dessert trip is different than say one in alpine.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
numbahs on 04/01/2011 11:10:03 MDT Print View

HW ... you swear and kick yr pack every trail day
normal ... you have a sore back every trail day
LW ... you feel a bit tired, but yr fine physically
UL ... you can run like the wind
SUL ... youre like OMG ... i can float !!!
XUL ... youre basically a nudist ...

numbers are just numbers ...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 04/01/2011 11:14:15 MDT Print View

"Just my thoughts to help promote a safer backcountry experience."

Methinks a better way to ensure a safe backcountry experience is to learn, train and pack accordingly -- not by handicapping / comparing gear weight with the next guy. What is this infatuation about getting in just the right category anyway?

This forum is a great place to learn from others what works and what doesn't work. But once I have a system that works for me, I simply pack what I need to pack. I don't give a rat's ass whether your pack (or anyone else's) weighs 5lbs or 5.25 lbs.

Edited by ben2world on 04/01/2011 11:29:36 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns on 04/01/2011 11:32:59 MDT Print View

I've taken base weights with a grain of salt for several reasons, hike size being one. A guy who is 6'6" and 230 pounds is going to need a little more fabric and insulation than a smaller person. In the "old days" pack weight recommendations recommendations were made by a percentage of the hiker's weight, which is still reasonable, IMHO. 25% is what I recall, which is pretty funny considering the weights we achieve now.

Safety gear has bugged me with UL gear lists from the start.
The items that come to mind:

Knives
First aid kit
Lighting
Signaling devices
Fire starting
Navigation equipment

That doesn't mean hauling ten pounds of stuff, but I do have more than most of the SUL lists I've seen. You can still apply UL principles like multiple use, redundancy, and finding the lightest and highest performance products.

Other factors that raise SUL base weights:

Season and climate
Trip duration
Personal metabolism
Personal comfort demands
Age and physical condition
Toys/extras: cameras, audio gear and the like

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: numbahs on 04/01/2011 23:58:02 MDT Print View

XUL is my goal for sure, but it's completely unrelated to BPL and hiking in general.


;)

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"SUL handicapping system for Safety concerns" on 04/02/2011 17:41:40 MDT Print View

"I don't give a rat's ass whether your pack (or anyone else's) weighs 5lbs or 5.25 lbs."

+1....Ben, you just made me feel better :-)

It all comes down to what one is comfortable with and whether the gear is functional for one's style of packing, climate, ect...
I'm on the small/vertically challenged side, but have never once looked at someone larger and think, much less care, that a pack, shirt, or whatnot that happens to be the same, that mine is lighter because of size.

I enjoy the hike and the solitary/scenery it provides, much more than a category on a spreadsheet.

Todd Taylor
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Big is a small problem, tall is a big one on 04/02/2011 20:45:40 MDT Print View

I'm not SUL or even UL, and don't really care about the fractional ounces. But this topic gives me an excuse to rant so I'll use it for my first post on this board.

If being large puts one at a small gear weight disadvantage, being tall puts one at a substantially greater disadvantage. It has nothing to do with the size of the garments and gear, but the range of choices.

If you're big or even big and tall, there are dozens of options to choose from. It's okay to be 6'5" as long as you weigh 260--the 2XL or 3XL will fit you just fine. But if you're tall but not big, the options are very, very limited. Almost none of the really light options will come in tall sizes. At 6'5"/190lb, I almost have no choice but to get all my hiking clothes from First Ascent or LL Bean, so it weighs what it weighs.

It's not just hiking clothes, either. You can bet if a store has "big and tall" in its name, the emphasis is on the "and."

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Big is a small problem, tall is a big one on 04/02/2011 20:47:55 MDT Print View

You better start perusing the MYOG section : )

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Big is a small problem, tall is a big one on 04/02/2011 22:12:43 MDT Print View

Todd,
Understand that. My oldest is already 6 feet tall at 13 and most likely has a couple more inches at least. He is also rail thin (low 120's). Buying pants for him is frustrating - he wears a 29" waist and 34" inseam, though that could be high water by summer. Finding hiking pants is beyond frustrating. And shoes are harder - his feet are different sizes :-O and he has the skinniest legs so boots don't work, just trail runners for now. I look at him and he is a clone of his Dad :-O

So far I have found one style of pant he can wear that doesn't look like freaking clown pants on him (since most are cut er...ample and billowy!).

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Big is a small problem, tall is a big one on 04/02/2011 23:05:01 MDT Print View

Sarah,

Boy do I know what you are going through! When my son was a sophomore he was 6'2" with size 13 shoes. By then he was an elite distance runner for his age group, and 120 lbs was a good day for him. Try buying a suit for that kind of kid... almost impossible, unless it is tailor made. Fortunately he could care less about dressing in style as most kids do at that age.

He graduated from college last year, but still runs and finding clothes is still not easy. He wears a medium shirt, but they are all too short. He is used to wearing baggy pants, that is just a part of life. At least his feet are both the same size, which is good because his running shoes only last a couple months.

Check the length of his shirt in the picture, and the guy behind him whose shirt is the proper length. Joe's short shirt is flopping around in the breeze unlike the fellow behind.

joe

Gear can be difficult too! Here he is a few years ago coming back from a winter snow trip we did together. His pants are way too low in the crotch, but long enough in the inseam. He also had trouble keeping them up, because we cannot find the right size waist. Like your son, he wears clown pants sometimes :)

Ah... but he is a happy kid!!

Day 1

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Big is a small problem, tall is a big one on 04/03/2011 10:22:58 MDT Print View

Your son is a very handsome man! :-O

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: SUL handicap on 04/03/2011 22:44:26 MDT Print View

>> I was afraid this would happen .... The assumption is that I'm talking about numbers for my own benefit. I'm not.

>> But we have people entering this sport daily. Many of them are immediately indoctrinated with the holy Grail of sub 5 lb hiking. These are the people that I am concerned about. Those that are striving to hit the magic SUL mark.

Sorry about that. It was a late night, and I was trying to get a point across. I don't like editing out the bad (edits become misconstrued as "hiding"). The sentiment was genuine, but I could have said it in a "slightly" less antagonistic way.

I think the real solution here is not to push the numbers at all... Why do we even have a line in the sand for ultralight vs super-ultralight? I'm barely knocking on "light". I'll never get to "super-ultralight". Rather, I am shooting for "comfortably light", and this site has done wonders to help move me in that general direction.

Hope there's no hard feelings.
Ken