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Ultralight Tip of the Week
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Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Re: Maybe bordering on obsession. on 07/03/2011 22:18:36 MDT Print View

That's me. I fuss a lot with the gear at home. Once I get out on the trail, I'm too busy enjoying myself and my surroundings. I just use the gear and don't worry about it, unless it's something serious like a leak in the tent (happened once; I missed a tiny spot when seam-sealing). Then when I get home I reflect on what worked and what didn't and think about improvements.

Mike W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
TIP # 32: Being present on the trail on 07/04/2011 11:17:27 MDT Print View

I like this one and I think it should extend to everything we do. Just be present. Don't be distracted. Don't view the trail from entirely behind a camera. When visiting with a friend, put your phone away.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
tutorial videos on 07/05/2011 12:24:49 MDT Print View

Here's what I've been doing this summer. These short videos match the content of the book.

http://ultralightbackpackintips.blogspot.com/2011/07/video-tutorials.html

Lotsa tutorial videos.

Thomas Trebisky
(trebisky)

Locale: Southern Arizona
Great tip, great book on 07/06/2011 13:20:02 MDT Print View

I have been enjoying these tips online so much, I finally got busy and bought the book.
A great book, I can't say enough good things about it.

This particular tip "be here now" as I like to call it, is a great one.
I'm sure I'm not alone in that I can "live in my head" way too much.
It is a fine thing to turn all that off and fully tune in to what is around
you at a given moment. I find myself doing this more and more and this "tip"
just echos this discovery. It is great to do this many times each day!

The book is really a special work. Mike has a unique way about him that makes
the book great fun, and full of all kinds of valuable information.
My hat is off to Mike - a great work at many levels.

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 07/06/2011 13:29:32 MDT Print View

Yes, Mike, thinking can get in the way. Naming that flower can put an end to really knowing it. The flower is our teacher and silence is our connection with it.

Backcountry Buddhism at its finest.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Ultralight Tip # 116 "Butt Scuff" on 07/06/2011 15:28:48 MDT Print View

Mike,

What about LNT? ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Spelling/word usage police on 07/06/2011 17:04:17 MDT Print View

"IMHO, here's no substitute for a good human proofreader! Or preferably, several of them!"

A thousand monkeys will do, if you've got the time. ;)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: flower on 07/06/2011 17:06:57 MDT Print View

"you can it flower ... i call it UL salad ;)"

If it moves and it's back is to the sun....... ;)

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Tossing the old pack around... on 07/08/2011 06:13:17 MDT Print View

Okay, I'm sure there's a place for the idea of taking off a hat, and shirt, and throwing it in a pack while hiking. Wouldn't it be a good time to stop and enjoy your surroundings (tip from a previous week)? I think it's a neat tip, and could move a UL'er from Nerd to cool (okay, maybe it would take more than one cool move) but I can't think of a time I'd NEED to not stop to take off a shirt and stuff it in a backpack.

Warning, what follows is potentially thread jacking, proceed at your own risk:

Mike, the book is outstanding. I'm going to admit something. You have tips about natural toilet paper. Towards the beginning to the tip you talk about being disappointed with UL'ers that go and use TP. When I first read this I got indignant. Who are you to say... Long story short. You got me. I realized it's a book of ideas (excellent ones) not a rule book. I'll stick with TP (maybe only for now, who knows). Point being, thank you for expanding my mental tool belt so that I can make do in the woods. The day may come that I try it without TP.

Until then you'll just have to be happy knowing my BPW dropped from 47lbs (all that excellent military training), to just over 8 (retraining). My weight dropped from over 200 to under 180. Your books got me back on the trail, living. I look forward to even one night out under the stars. It's the best sleep I get.

Before anyone goes on about, "not a real UL'er if you use TP..", I'd like to point something out. When I go out, I don't bring the following: anything that requires electricity to operate (GPS, kindle, cell phone, radio, etc). In order to do it right to me, I have to leave the digital world behind. I have to. No watch. I militantly do not want to know what time it is or even what day it is.

I do bring a camera (Rollei B35). It is a fully mechanical film camera. Yes, film. I may bring a book. Without a flash light I read by the glow of light sticks, firelight, or during the day. This won't work for some/everyone, but it works for me.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
To me the issue is education, thus my zeal. on 07/08/2011 07:51:40 MDT Print View

Reply to Everett:
------------------------------------------------

Just so you know, you are not the first person to get indignant about my views on toilet paper in the backcountry. This topic, more than anything else, provokes an emotional response. So don't worry about hurting my feelings.

Here's where I'm coning from, I've worked for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) for 17 years. I have logged over 3 entire years of time in mountains with students. During that time, I have NEVER carried toilet paper into the mountains, and neither have my students. And this is the standard practice at the school. And - Let me add - that absolutely nobody has ever complained, just the opposite. Once you learn how to perform this very simple duty - the students are proud and seem to enjoy their new found expertise (as they should).

NOLS is an institution that teaches skills at a very advanced level, and I'm super proud of my work there. And lemme add that the instructors teach a natural toilet paper class on the first day, the students have no problems, and it's not an issue for the remainder of their 30-day expedition. The outcome is that there is a rather large population of folks that are not carrying toilet paper, and then leaving it behind as litter in the mountains. And I had a small hand in that.

From my direct experience of over two decades of zero toilet paper - and teaching to students and peers - This isn't even an issue for me. It's something so simple that I don't worry about it. And I'm quite certain that every NOLS grad feels the same.

The reason I might sound so preachy is that each summer deal with a LOT of other peoples used toilet paper. This means I pick it up, and find a way to dispose of it properly. To me the issue is education, thus my zeal.

I'll also add that I feel quite alone in the lightweight camping community, because TP is always part of their gear list. (and often, soap is missing from that same list). I'm trying to change that, at least a little bit.



_____________________________________________
Here's a link to an article I wrote in 2006:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.html

Note the long list of emotional reactions this article generated!
_____________________________________________

Edited by mikeclelland on 07/08/2011 08:08:28 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Changing your shirt on 07/08/2011 08:02:46 MDT Print View

Re: Changing your shirt

Interesting, but I don't see the weight advantage :) I was reminded of watching a girlfriend changing her swim suit top under her tee shirt.

My question is WHY? Are we so busy we can't stop and take a shirt off? If you can't stop, change your shirt, have a sip, smell the flowers, take a stretch, you might as well stay home. I would probably trip and go head over heels anyway :)

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
(No watch, GPS, kindle, cell phone, radio, etc) on 07/08/2011 08:04:22 MDT Print View

Reply to Everett:
------------------------------------------------


You wrote:
"I don't bring the following: anything that requires electricity to operate (GPS, kindle, cell phone, radio, etc). In order to do it right to me, I have to leave the digital world behind. I have to. No watch. I militantly do not want to know what time it is or even what day it is."

Mike replies:
Right-On! I feel very strongly about this too! (alas, I do bring a headlamp, but often in the summer it never gets used). I refer to this aspect of the wilderness experience as a "media" fast. It's the reason I go into the mountains. I also nix my wallet, money, credit cards and car keys. It's a philosophical ritual that I truly love. I do everything I can to separate myself from THIS world, so I can more fully immerse myself into THAT world.

Also - The reason for the instructional cartoon with the hiker NOT stopping when removing his wind-shirt is because it's FUN! Also, with a UL pack-weight, there is really no issue at all when it comes to walking and changing layers at the same time. It's a benefit of the super light pack.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
TP on 07/08/2011 08:45:54 MDT Print View

I definitely agree with Mike about TP litter; it's an unsanitary eyesore. I've tried using snow (cold) and leaves (uncomfortable) to reduce TP usage. I'm willing to continue experimenting. I backpack with my wife, who has in many ways drunk the UL koolaid but draws the line at this, so we will probably always bring TP into the woods with us. It doesn't have to be a choice between leaving it at home or leaving it on the trail, though: We carry the same amount of TP out (double bagged) that we brought in if there isn't a proper privy.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 07/08/2011 09:05:22 MDT Print View

Ah heck - why wear a shirt? Save some weight and the hassle.

;)

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
N0 TP for you, one week! on 07/08/2011 10:33:11 MDT Print View

My wife and I have both converted to natures own TP, on the advice of Mike. We dig it. Packing out TP sucks and leaving it is just not an option. Besides wet moss is quite soothing, and it exfoliates!

a b
(Ice-axe)
TP or not TP.. whether it is nobler in the heart to wipe.. ugh! on 07/08/2011 10:55:29 MDT Print View

The composting privies on the A.T. were a revelation to me as a western hiker. For years I have hiked in the Sierra and seen the ridiculous pollution of used TP in places like Rancheria Falls in Northern Yosemite.
It is very un-Edward Abbey of me, but sometimes i wish there were Privies in some of the more popular locations of the Sierra.
One slightly humorous/slightly sad and totally sick story for you: I was summiting Mt Whitney on my PCT thru hike. On the way through Crabtree meadows I noticed a bear locker full of wag bags. Now Crabtree has a privy so it struck me as odd why there would be these wag bags. Anyhow when i passed the ranger station I noticed a pile of wag bags, presumably "loaded", laying all over the front porch!
I don't know it the dry Sierra climate would support the composting privy idea or even if folks would use them.
Anyhow, way back when i was a bury and burn TP user I met Kristin, a fellow hiker in Yosemite. She infomed me that i would not be going to Laurel lake with my uncle but rather going to lake Vernon with here.. naturally I obeyed. While hiking with Kristin the TP subject came up and she produced a squeeze bottle and stated: "This is my solution to pollution." Likewise my Friend Sage also uses the wash the bum teqnique rather than TP saying: "If you got "it" on your hand would you rather merely wipe it off or wash it off?"
Well obviously women are smarter than us.
So I am now a bum washer. The trick is to always carry hand sanitizer and be sure to bring enough water with you away from any water sources to "do the job".
Not carrying TP means i have eliminated 100% of it's weight, 100% of it's pollution, 100% of the fire danger of burning it, and 100% of the worry of it getting wet in my pack.
But all that being said the moral superiority i should feel is quelled by the humbling fact that I am wiping my bum with my hand.

Thanks Mike! I will check out that article. I would have mentioned that sphagum moss makes excellant TP but that would surely bring the wrath of god on top of me.

Edited by Ice-axe on 07/08/2011 11:35:37 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
...more on 07/08/2011 11:12:25 MDT Print View

Matt,

Well said.

But, please know, I don't advocate wiping with one's hand. Instead I advocate using any number of wonderful and easy to find natural alternatives.

That said, I do teach the skill of washing ones butt in the backcountry, and I don't feel the need to do it daily, but every once in a while it's nice. Read the article, I include both the natural TP alternative and the butt-washing skills (and both are in the book too).
_____________________________________________
Here's a link to an article I wrote in 2006:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.html
_____________________________________________

AND - Your friend Kristen carries a squeeze bottle, correct? This is known lovingly as the Backountry Bidet. Some folks advocate that system, and more power to 'em. But, it involves bringing one extra piece of gear. Or, if you use your water bottle, BE CAREFUL!!!

ALSO - I would advocate to you adding a tiny bit of soap to your arsenal of tools. I've worked with some medical researchers and they all say that soap is preferable to hand sanitizer as a meathod of keeping your hands clean. Also, it is my understanding that to use hand sanitizer properly, you need a lot of it (A dab roughly the size of a peanut m&m). If you take only one hand cleaner, I would strongly advocate taking only soap over only hand sanitizer.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
? on 07/08/2011 11:48:45 MDT Print View

i second that dale.. not sure how this pertains to UL...



"Re: Changing your shirt

Interesting, but I don't see the weight advantage :) I was reminded of watching a girlfriend changing her swim suit top under her tee shirt.

My question is WHY? Are we so busy we can't stop and take a shirt off? If you can't stop, change your shirt, have a sip, smell the flowers, take a stretch, you might as well stay home. I would probably trip and go head over heels anyway :)"

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
the shirt changing cartoon on 07/08/2011 11:54:38 MDT Print View

Reply about the shirt changing cartoon:
---------------------------------
As I said before, if the pack is truly light, there is no reason to set it down, and (most importantly) it's FUN!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Ultralight Tip of the Week-shirt changing on 07/08/2011 13:05:51 MDT Print View

I agree with Dale and others--what in the world is so important that we can't take a 1-2 minute break to stop and remove a wrap? For those of us who use trekking poles, Mike's contortions wouldn't work anyway. I'd undoubtedly end up taking a fall if I tried that!

What I generally do instead is to strip down to shirtsleeves just before heading out on the trail in the morning. Yes, I get chilly and may even start shivering, but in 5 minutes of hiking I'm warmed up! In the meantime, I'm wide awake!

I go out to the wilderness to get away from horrid concepts like efficiency and increased productivity with their accompanying ulcers, high blood pressure and sleepless nights! Actually, I retired 11 years ago to get away from such things and haven't missed them at all!

Edited by hikinggranny on 07/08/2011 15:03:24 MDT.