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Ultralight Tip of the Week
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Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
Shoes on elbows on 05/20/2011 01:03:43 MDT Print View

Hey Mike,

Nice tip about using your shoes as elbow rests. I am going to try that next summer with my inertia x-frame. It is really comfy but very thin and I have been wondering how to fatten it out.

Keep the good work up!

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Shoes on elbows on 05/20/2011 07:13:35 MDT Print View

Mike - the illustrations are obviously good looking, logically organized but relaxed and just... lightweight. I think that's the word I've been looking for. No extra details or text. Very fitting to the subject matter.

The real surprise: shoes under the elbows. Never would have thought of that. I'll have to give it a try. :)

Thanks for these.

Bradford Childs
(Ford22) - F
Hip pad on 05/20/2011 11:59:10 MDT Print View

I'm a side sleeper and my hip bone was digging through my Ridgerest foam pad on the CT so I cut a piece of foam (~8"x12") for my hip. Helped tremendously, but I'll have to try the lighter donut shape! I'm not sure I could stay put on such a small piece but who knows.

+1 on loose shoes. Mine are maybe a little too loose (sound like flip-flops at times) but haven't had a blister in years and it's so nice to not untie your shoes every time there's a little rock in there. Just pop em off and keep walking.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
Hip Pad... on 05/20/2011 12:15:46 MDT Print View

You know, I will try the hip pad and just stuff one at my hip in the inside of my pants... <---I had to write that a few times... it kept coming out wrong! Then I will switch it when I need to. Shouldn't be to hard. Then again at .2oz, maybe I should have two... Nah, what am I thinking!

Mike - You are fantastic. I would love to have these drawings printed up in poster size for teaching. Talk about getting the point across perfectly! Thank you!!!

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Side sleepers? on 05/20/2011 14:22:35 MDT Print View

So Mike, how about a similar set of tips and drawings for UL side sleepers?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Shoes on elbows on 05/20/2011 18:27:59 MDT Print View

I can see a problem with some of the recommendations. They will work quite well under benign conditions for some people, but there are many cases where they won't.

Shoes under elbows: and if the shoes are soaking wet and muddy? Happens to us, and happens in some parts of America too.

Side sleepers: some people can't sleep on their backs. They may have snoring problems, they may have spinal problems, they may have breathing problems, ...

Moral: what works for one person may not work for others. First requirement is to think!


Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
soaking shoes on 05/22/2011 16:40:39 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

I was thinking exactly that yesterday, most of the time my shoes are wet/muddy and I am also a side/front sleeper. I am going to try putting them in glad bags (if they are not too wet) to keep the muck off of the mat/ sleeping bag. As for front sleeping, I still really need an inflatable.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 05/24/2011 18:26:41 MDT Print View

I suspect that when Mike hits his late 60's/early 70's, he will also be in agony if he tries to sleep on no more than a CCF pad and rubber donut. With nice, thick, cushiony insulated air pads getting lighter and lighter, there isn't a lot of weight difference between what he takes and what I take. Not enough to be worth a sleepless night, anyway!

I'm gonna try his pillow idea, though!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Ziplock on 05/24/2011 23:54:01 MDT Print View

Interesting idea with the ziplock baggies. It seems like you could just nix the pillow case though and use the stuff sack for your shelter instead since that's always just laying around when the shelter is pitched. 7 zip lock baggies can't weigh much.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
pad and pillow on 05/25/2011 10:22:41 MDT Print View

Reply To Mary D:
I do take an inflatable pad! It's a BPL torso length pad, with 5mm evazote glued to it so I get 100% padding below me. I will occasionally use just a thin closed-cell foam pad, but I much refer the inflatable version.

See this article:

I cut off the TYVEC ground cloth thing, I found it unnecessary after a few nights on it.

- and -

Reply to DAN:
I don't carry a stuff sack for my shelter, and I'm presently using the mesh grapefruit bag as my pillow stuff sack.

And - I gotta say, I am suer proud of the ziploc pillow concept. It is close to perfection!

Lee Fields
Pillow cover on 05/25/2011 11:39:28 MDT Print View

I wear a Buff during the day and slide it over my clothes bag at night for a pillow case. As a side sleeper, I could never go for a plastic pillow cover.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Pillow cover on 05/25/2011 12:16:30 MDT Print View

Wearing the buff as a balaclava, it wouldn't matter if you side slept on plastic. You always would have buff against your skin.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
pillow on 05/25/2011 12:23:16 MDT Print View

My reply to John & Lee:

These tips all come from a book, and the book is devoted to Ultralight skills. I advocate wearing all your layers to sleep as insulation. That said, there isn't any extra gear (like a clothes bag) left when it's time to sleep. So, the pillow becomes an issue.

I position my plastic mesh bag UNDER my - and I'm wearing a hood and hat, so my head would never touch the pillow directly.

If I carried a BUFF, I would wear it to bed and take advantage of that insulation.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: pillow on 05/26/2011 06:15:53 MDT Print View

After reading your book, I had to try the pillow idea. I am usually against taking so many unused plastic bags on a hiking trip. But, I figured I would give it a try. It was GREAT!
Thanks, Mike!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
pillow R & D on 05/26/2011 08:39:34 MDT Print View

Reply to James:

Yeah - this pillow tip is really is great!

As silly as this might sound, I was SO proud of myself when I finally figured this one out.

I've used the same 7 bags since last summer. So, they get used over and over, and it works perfectly.

As I was playing R&D technician, I tried about 9 bags and a bigger stuff sack, that was GLORIOUS! But, I didn't need the larger size, so I took it down to 7 with a smaller stuff sack. Any fewer than 7 and I found it was too small (for me).

I haven't come up with anything lighter or more comfortable - or cheaper!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: pillow R & D on 05/26/2011 09:59:27 MDT Print View

Yup. A really good idea. I was using 4 baggies in a small stuff sack from my night cloths and suplimented with my muddy pants. Thanks Mike, one of those tips that costs next to nothing, maybe an ounce in weight for the baggies and is mostly a matter of technique. I loved it... Far better than shoes! (Bag is turned inside out, of course.)

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Ultralight Tip of the Week" on 05/26/2011 12:49:33 MDT Print View

Hey Mike,

Just wanted to chime in and let you know how much I enjoy reading your tips each week. I'll be ordering your book for sure. The cartoons are great too. I can't wait to try your pillow idea.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Pillow on 05/26/2011 18:40:36 MDT Print View

Neat idea with the pillow. Seems like a bit of a hassle to set up, but maybe that's just because I haven't tried it.

I usually do one of the following, depending on what I have with me and what's dry:

-Ball up my pack.
-Partially inflate an empty 1 liter Platypus bottle (it's okay if there's a bit of water in there)
-Use a shoe

All of these have worked fine for me, with no weight penalty or extra hassle since I already have the items with me. Then again, I sleep easily and heavily, so I've got that working in my favor.

The ziploc idea admittedly sounds more comfortable. ;)

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Poof - Zip - Stuff (repeat times 7) easy! on 05/26/2011 19:18:42 MDT Print View


It's easier to set up than you might think. Poof - Zip - Stuff (repeat times 7) easy!

I've used my shoes PLENTY! They are pretty good, but imperfect.

I once filled my backpack with pine-cones. THey were crunchy and all dry. I was fortunate to bed down right next to a tree that literally had then piled up under the tree. It was magical!

Mike C!

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Poof - Zip - Stuff (repeat times 7) easy! on 05/27/2011 10:52:24 MDT Print View

>> It was magical!

lol - i can hear robert duvall saying: i love the smell of crunchy pine cones in the morning


Really am enjoying your book. Excellent!