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Ultralight Tip of the Week
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Ben Egan

Locale: The Grid, Brooklyn
too cool on 04/28/2011 13:52:51 MDT Print View


I'm buying the book. "for my dad". then I'll steal it from him.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 04/28/2011 14:00:45 MDT Print View

Ordered mine form Bookdepository, only to be told the next day that it was out of stock and my order was being funded ?? Will have to try Amazon.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Dubious -- But Now Ecstatic on 04/28/2011 14:11:00 MDT Print View

Mike C,

Your book is a masterpiece of well-explained, simple, and important tips (not all of them obvious). I didn't think I'd get much out of it but found exactly the opposite to be the case. I feel like having extra copies around to evangelize.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Tip #31 on 04/28/2011 15:48:53 MDT Print View

On behalf of all the folks like me who like to stop in mid-afternoon, I'd like to say there is nothing at all wrong with going light and doing what Mike calls "traditional" camping! Your backpacking schedule is a matter of individual preference, not pack weight, although definitely more comfortable with a light pack.

Some of us prefer to stop early before the afternoon thunderstorms get going (call it a safety measure to avoid lightning), especially if the next stretch of trail is exposed. Some of us want time to fish. Some of us want to stop early to explore an area close to where we camp. Some of us enjoy staying in an extra scenic campsite and will stop when we find it. Some of us are getting too advanced in years to enjoy hiking more than 6-7 hours a day, even with an "ultralight" pack. Many (unless retired like me) whose backpacking is limited to weekends and holidays may have to stop early to find a campsite at all (I'm thinking of some of the brushier areas of the Pacific Northwest where places to pitch a shelter are quite limited, resulting in cutthroat competition for sites on holiday weekends). Hike your own hike and don't let Mike convince you that it's wrong to stop early if that's what you want!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/28/2011 15:50:34 MDT.

Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
RE: Tip 31 on 04/28/2011 22:27:41 MDT Print View

I gotta say, Mike, I read this tip when you posted it to the forums some time earlier, and it really changed the way I will approach solo trips from now on. I have usually called it quits late afternoon, and after setting up camp and puttering around, would suddenly find myself a little bored. I have been stuck in a pointless routine since my 35-pound pack days when weariness would force a stop after X time and Y miles. Also, thanks to you I haven't had a wristwatch out in the back country for the last couple of months and I haven't even missed it! Or a headlamp, now that I think about it.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
bear country on 04/28/2011 23:14:40 MDT Print View

Mike, your eat-on-the-trail suggestion is what I do in bear country to keep food smells off gear as much as possible... and away from "camp".

Edited by Danepacker on 04/28/2011 23:15:18 MDT.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Ring thing on 04/28/2011 23:46:38 MDT Print View

Funny, I saw those rings and thought, "man, there's no need for that thing" and so I cut em' all off with a good pair of dykes. Based on the responses here, either we're all normal or...... ! Got two copies on the way, one for me and one for my hikin' buddy. This book looks fun. Can't wait for it. Mike, thanks. And lookin' forward to Thursdays like I used to for Tuesdays, like when the four-part PCT story was debutting. Really enjoyed that for sure.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Ring thing on 04/29/2011 00:00:31 MDT Print View

On a few shelters, you can use two trekking poles with the tips up and together. However, some shelters do not have a pocket to hold the two tips together. That is what the ring is for. A small ring won't make it, but a big ring will. The plastic ring holds the two pointy tips together.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 04/29/2011 03:31:10 MDT Print View

Ultraligh Backpakin' Tips had me laughing at every page turn. Either the text or the pics were getting to me... a really good little book.

But, I don't think the butt slide is for me. Somehow, the image evoked of a 60 year old man sliding down a hilloc with pants waving in one hand and shouting "YIPEE" sounded a bit undignified. But what the hey, ya' only go around once.


Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Tip #31 on 05/01/2011 03:15:11 MDT Print View

I don't find that my transition from hiking to camp or vice versa is faster with my UL pack. As a good UL hiker most of my gear is multi-use, this means that if it's raining I'm hiking in my tarp and I actually sleep inside my backpack since it doubles as a full size bivi! I own a full size Exped Auriga tent, which as Exped mentions on their site, literally sets up in two minutes. I fiddle a bit longer with my poncho before it is setup as lean-to or A-frame. I also find it faster to pull tent, mat and sleeping bag out of a traditional pack then taking my virtual frame mat from the bivi-bag-pack; taking the guy lines from the pack which in hiking mode function as pack compression strap; taking all the stuff out of the pack, taking the filling (which are spare clothes) from the shoulder straps and hip belts, turning the backpack inside out and putting mat and sleeping bag inside the bivi in sleep mode. Going from camp to hiking is just as cumbersome, since all the multi-use gear has to switch back from camping to hiking mode again.

Don't get me wrong though: I love my gear and wouldn't want to have it differently, but for me it does take more time to transition from hiking mode to camp mode with my UL kit then with my old traditional gear.


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 05/01/2011 03:49:49 MDT Print View

"taking the guy lines from the pack which in hiking mode function as pack compression strap" Great idea.

The Exped Bivy Poncho on your kit list also looks interesting.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Ultralight Tip of the Week on 05/01/2011 05:19:31 MDT Print View


Jason, actually my posted gear list on this site is not up-to-date anymore. My Exped poncho was replaced by the Go Lite poncho, most important reason was that the Exped weighs twice as much. I also like that the Go Lite is longer, so it covers better as a tarp. I do like the double sided buttons on the Exped though, so that it can be used as poncho, which I actually did on one or two occasions.

Cheers, Eins

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
"trad" vs UL on 05/01/2011 17:42:06 MDT Print View

Just so y'know, my definition of "traditional" backpacking is based on my work at NOLS. That usually means elaborate tents and equally elaborate cooking for both dinner in the evening and breakfast in the morning.

And - My definition of ULTRA-light backpacking usually involves no shelter at all (except as my pillow) because I'll almost always sleep out under the stars.

So - there is a profound difference between these two skills, at least from my set of experiences.

Mike C!

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
Right on target on 05/04/2011 12:53:18 MDT Print View

Tip 31 hits the heart of what I have realized about going light. My goal now is to be comfortable on the trail, not comfortable in camp! This is not a "gear revelation", but a "mindset revelation".
I want a copy of the book when/if it becomes available, this is good stuff.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
The book is NOW available! on 05/04/2011 16:04:58 MDT Print View

The book is NOW available!

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
It still shows "Out of Stock" and there is no "Add to Cart" button :) on 05/04/2011 16:20:52 MDT Print View


I tried to order right away, but it it is still showing as "Out of Stock"


Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
book on 05/04/2011 16:22:28 MDT Print View

Yeah I just ordered one off amazon cause bpl is out of stock.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 05/05/2011 12:52:17 MDT Print View

There are more books on order. I was expecting them yesterday so please sign up for a stock-alert to receive an email when they're back in stock.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ultralight Tip of the Week May 5, #89 on 05/05/2011 13:12:21 MDT Print View

Thank you, thank you, MikeC!, for your tip #89 on the plastic bags for feet. I now know that I am not alone in preferring this method, and that (unlike the opinion of some) I am neither silly nor stupid!

For those of us who live where there's a Fred Meyer store, the larger size plastic bags in the bulk health foods section work better than bread bags, IMHO. They're the same weight plastic (quite a bit heavier than produce bags) but don't have the hard-to-clean pleats in the ends that bread bags have. I've always asked if I can take a few extra and the clerks haven't objected. 2 pair are 0.6 oz. and $0.00. For those in other parts of the country, check the plastic bags in your local store's bulk section (the bags have to be heavy enough to hold several pounds of bulk almonds or jelly beans).

I swear my feet get wetter hiking through a dew-soaked meadow than they do fording a stream! It feels that way, anyway!

OK, I had to heap on some praise after my critical remarks on last week's hint, but I really do greatly appreciate this one!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/05/2011 13:18:36 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Ultralight Tip of the Week on 05/05/2011 13:13:58 MDT Print View

Recommend using UPS plastic bags and cutting them down to "sock" size.

They are free and tough enough to be used repeatedly without getting worn down and full of holes.

They work great for me and have kept my feet warm and "dry".

(Dry is relative in this case because the plastic bag is a vapor barrier and traps foot sweat. While hiking, I find I am warm, but stopping for a prolonged time, I can get a minor chill from the sweaty, damp sock).