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We need a SUL Thread PLEASE
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a b
SUL forum on 07/14/2011 22:44:14 MDT Print View

I don't think anyone is advocating a "LOCKED" OR Members only SUL forum. Seems like a simple open forum titled SUL techniques or some such is all that has been requested.
Sorry to Vino Vampire if I offended you by suggesting you have less rights than paying members. In fact that is exactly what i was suggesting and I am sorry for that.
I don't see what all the fuss is though.
Is creating another forum that big a deal?
Anyhow i like the practical application of SUL and trip reports.
I am going to put something together. I don't have consecutive days off at this point in my brand new job (Hey.. I can't be a thru hiker forever!) but I am definitely down for an overnighter with SUL gear. I'll see what I can put together. I kinda like the idea of going back to Henry Coe and putting in some miles. I'll carve some crap i didn't use on the AT out of my gear list and post the list before and after the hike with a trip report!
I like the positive direction this thread is going now!

Edited by Ice-axe on 07/14/2011 22:46:35 MDT.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Topic Trees vs. Recent Posts. on 07/14/2011 22:44:40 MDT Print View

Atta - I agree with you on this point.

And, I look forward to reading your trip report! I'm as interested as you are in seeing more SUL stuff here.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: SUL forum on 07/14/2011 22:56:09 MDT Print View

Matt - Wasn't trying to start a fuss or fight, just questioning the need for separation. I'd just love to see these SUL ideas be part of this entire site.

Also, I think that urge to question everything is at the heart of what we're doing here. Right? If there's a good reason to create a forum or bring a pair of trail runners, the argument should be made and defended.

I'm working my way towards a SUL list for the Presidential Range in NH. So, I'd love to see more gear lists and read more trip reports. There are definitely some hurdles to going SUL when you're walking into 80+ MPH winds miles above the treeline in the middle of July.

Finally, I agree, I want this to go in a positive direction and lead to more chatter about SUL.

a b
The Presidentials and UL or SUL on 07/14/2011 23:03:36 MDT Print View

Presidential range June 3rd 2011Mount Washington June 4 2011
Mount WashingtonPresidential Range
Mount WashingtonYea.. gets cold in the Whites.

Hey, Vino. It seems like we have something in common. The wind was 100 mph with 0 degree windchill when I made my approach to Mt Washington with my UL gear on the AT. That experience was what has prompted me to push my limits farther.
Let me add a SUL type tip. Instead of gloves for high wind/ryme ice conditions simply put a sock on each hand and a Fritos corn chip bag as an "overmitt". The fritos bag is water and wind proof and lighter and cheaper than anything on the market.
Yes fritos bags are fragile but you can replace them at each resupply. The pair i had lasted through the whites anyway and by the time i reached pinkham notch i didn't need them anyway.
The bonus is you get to eat the fritos too!

Edited by Ice-axe on 07/14/2011 23:22:00 MDT.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: The Presidentials and UL or SUL on 07/14/2011 23:20:24 MDT Print View

Great pics, Ice. I took this one this summer.


HA! And I already use socks as mittens with plastic bags, but the "Fritos overmitt" idea is a new one for me. My dad and his buddies actually introduced me to the White Mountain sock idea from their pictures of hiking in the 70s. They were a bunch of ultralight city kids, using light weight gear because they didn't have anything else. HA!

Edited by vinovampire on 07/14/2011 23:30:11 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
SUL = Red Badge of Courage or Other? on 07/15/2011 01:06:22 MDT Print View

Is this some sort of macho thing?

I think Nate nailed it, it is easy though somewhat expensive. Look at Alan Dixon's sub 3 list and price it out for that point in time. Not a super cheap kit.

I have done many SUL trips. Its not a big deal.

Last year Craig and I did a 60 mile loop in less than 3 days. 10,000 feet up, and 10,000 feet down. Low temps around freezing, high temps well above 100F. We did many miles in deep snow too. My base weight was under 4 lbs... trip report with gear list was posted. Today I own some even lighter pieces of gear. And I am 60 years old. 5 lbs FSO, except food and water is doable for me on a 3 day trip with some rain. It is not the most comfortable trip, but it is not agony either.

I would rather concentrate on a great scenic loop with a little comfort, rather than some arbitrary FSO. My goal is to enjoy the wilderness, not set any land speed or weight records.

I really don't think it really deserves its own forum section, lots of people have been doing it for a long time.

I also have no problem putting my words to action. If some of you want to plan a trip in late summer or preferably after Labor Day, and it is not too far from where I live, I will hike with you with a XUL kit. But 3 days and at least 60 miles would be a good test IMO.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Another perspective... on 07/15/2011 01:12:54 MDT Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/16/2015 14:52:48 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
inertia? on 07/15/2011 01:37:52 MDT Print View

It can't be that hard technically to create a sub-forum. The Hammocks sub-forum only gets a couple posts a week--that's posts, not threads--and no one's calling for its elimination.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: SUL = Red Badge of Courage or Other? on 07/15/2011 01:46:47 MDT Print View

"Is this some sort of macho thing?"

You bet.
Prove you can do it and I'll give you the password to get into our secret treehouse.

I'll see your 3 days and 60 miles and raise you 10 miles, a pound, and one day.

So how about 70 miles, 2 days, and 4# FSO?

Hell, how about just 70 miles, 1 day, shorts, shoes, shirt and water bottles?

Wait...Geoff Roes could do that in like 12 hours with only a 2# FSO...

Ok. 100 miles, 1 day, and nothing but Speedos, a leather waterskin, homemade huaraches, and an obsidian knife. And NO TP.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"We need a SUL Thread PLEASE" on 07/15/2011 02:10:23 MDT Print View

"I am one of those weirdo’s that considers a 100 mile run no fun because it is just a sprint or a warm up for a real run."

Sorry, this is just wild Aaron.

If anyone deserves to boast it's mountain runner Nick Clark, who ran both the Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 this summer within two weeks of each other, podium finished both (3rd place), and established a new double combined record time with a 15:50 at Western and a finish time of 27:43 at HR. Even Clark humbly acknowledges the respect one has to possess for the distance in the mountains and he'd run circles around you.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: interim solution proposed on 07/15/2011 04:53:10 MDT Print View

I like the idea of having a dedicated space for those who want to pursue SUL and like Craig mentioned going for it and then reporting the results. Challenge one another.

Until we get a dedicated forum here, I will set up a space for those interested. We will restrict forum access to only those FOR it. If you want to debate AGAINST it then you can do that here. I love BPL but sometimes there is a very specific niche that just doesn't work in a general forum setting.

PM me if interested.

I'm flying out today for a ten day trip, but will have a rough forum set up very soon.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Interested on 07/15/2011 07:13:02 MDT Print View

I'm definitely interested in an SUL forum, BPL or otherwise. SUL as a goal and an achievement is fun, particularly for those who go out a lot and like changing things up or working on trade craft for the sake of it. Nothing wrong with this and nothing wrong with not caring about this.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: SUL = Red Badge of Courage or Other? on 07/15/2011 08:14:48 MDT Print View

"Ok. 100 miles, 1 day, and nothing but Speedos, a leather waterskin, homemade huaraches, and an obsidian knife. And NO TP."

I was in until the NO TP bit. Was even going to get the Zimmer-man to make me some cuben speedos.....

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
SUL Forum Please on 07/15/2011 09:03:10 MDT Print View

+1 SUL forum!!!

I began at 25lb base weight. I'm now down to 7.5. Getting much lower than that is proving difficult to figure out for me amidst the general topics on BPL forums.

When I pick my biking gear I look to dedicated long distance road bikers, not the weekend folks. When I look for a slackline setup, I look to the folks who have been doing it for years and found what they want, not gibbons at rei. When I want to know how to surf, I don't ask the newcomers. I don't mean this as a slight to UL folks, or even lightweight folks, I am just saying in terms of light, they are the more experienced SUL people whom I might look to for extreme advice.

In short, I want to be lighter, and there should be a group who are so light that they can offer me a shift in perspective and add their own version of insight.

Edited by Trout on 07/15/2011 09:09:09 MDT.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
Start your own forum on 07/15/2011 09:06:15 MDT Print View


Why don't you just start your own SUL forum? That would eliminate the "noise" altogether.

It's free and very easy to set up with software like this:

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
new forum on 07/15/2011 09:23:13 MDT Print View

I think a new forum would mean leaving the BPL member base we've all come to know and enjoy, plus the annoyance at having even more things on the internet to go to/sign in/upload a pic to/set up pm/whatever else.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
Me too on 07/15/2011 09:33:52 MDT Print View

I decided to get into winter camping, and the winter forum was key: I liked having a place to go for dedicated cold weather info. If I decide to do some SUL trips, I want a place to go for that, too. I do think it is fundamentally different than the 8-10 pound base weight I often carry. Sometimes wading through the general gear forum is just too tedious. I agree, too that it's tiring to deal with so many people asking why you want to do something rather than just having folks help you on your way. This shouldn't be a tough fix or detract from anything else on bpl.


Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Re: We need a SUL thread PLEASE on 07/15/2011 12:42:30 MDT Print View

I agree.

I have used the search button to find the SUL posts and such. They helped me get down to the Überlight baseweight that I enjoyed on the trip. It was really a learning experience, and I fel like I can do normal UL much more comfortably after that. I was also able to see more of a wilderness area then I thought I would ever be able to see in the time that I had. I love the fanaticism that I see in the rare SUL thread. I really like knowing that I can go SUL but I will usually go UL I guess.

I also don't see an argument against having a separate sub-forum for that.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
And the rest. on 07/15/2011 12:50:41 MDT Print View

Shouldn't the new thread be called 'Californians who don't get any weather, no rain, no wind, perfect trails, don't need a groundsheet, no ground water, SUL thread'? :)

Bradley Attaway
(AttaboyBrad) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
A Rigorous XUL Definition and Elegance in its Application, inspired by Adventure Alan on 07/15/2011 13:31:31 MDT Print View

First, thoughts on an XUL definition:

While it's tempting to follow the current trend of using the previous base pack weight tier divided by two--i.e., Lightweight is considered to be sub 20 BPW, UL is generally considered to be sub 10 BPW, SUL is considered to be sub 5 BPW, which would logically make XUL a sub 2.5 BPW--once you're hitting this level (really, once you're even at SUL) the clothing you wear and poles you (might, or in my opinion ought to) carry are too substantial a portion of your load to give any measure that doesn't include them salience. It is therefore necessary for XUL to be FSO based.

At these weights, many Sub 5 FSOers won't be "backpackers", as the activity is understood from a traditional perspective (or lightweight, ultralight, or superultralight) but adventure racers or ultramarathoners and the like. Unfortunately, for these (awesome and crazy) pursuits a 5lb FSO may be considered heavy!

XUL then, need specifically refer to the weight for a backpacking loadout, including "the big 3" of sleep, shelter, and cook systems. I feel without these, the pursuit is no longer properly "backpacking", in which case the weights to which XUL is supposedly relative no longer exist, and the definition thus void.

Moreover, the loadout should be effective for 3 season trips of several days on Class 1 and some 2 terrain in a variety of weather conditions; that is, temperatures down to freezing with the possibility of sustained moderate precipitation and considerable winds with several miles between water availability.

As a big guy, I wish I could create a rigorous definition that allowed a higher weight based on height or mass or foot size (even light size 15EEEE shoes weigh perhaps half a lb more than average sized shoes of the same model, so there goes 10% of my total loadout right there!), but I can't think of one that wouldn't be arbitrary, and since 5lb FSO is arbitrary already (like LW UL and SUL are as well) I think it's better to be simple and arbitrary than complicated and arbitrary.

Definitions set, we come to the point:

XUL thus rigorously, if arbitrarily, defined as 5lb FSO, the best goal, in my opinion, of an XUL gearlist (or any gear list for a category where weight is the given) is not to get simply lighter than the defined weight, because the weight is given, but to hit that weight more elegantly: more comfortable, practical, cheaper, etc.

Alan Dixon (Dixon=Adventure?) perfectly demonstrates this idea of elegance in load with his "full comfort UL gear list" ( He's not trying to be lighter than the arbitrary UL definition, he's trying to do UL as elegantly as possible. Likewise, he included a cook system in his XUL Appalachian gearlist(, because he felt it more elegant.

People will say the above definition is arbitrary and ask what purpose it serves in practice. I agree it's arbitrary, as the definitions of LW and UL and SUL are arbitrary, and the purpose this lower weight tier serves is exactly the same as those above it: longer miles, more comfortable hiking, etc. People will then ask, "does XUL make a practical difference over SUL or even UL towards the achievement of these goals?". In fairness, I don't know, I believe it will make SOME difference, but I don't know. What I do know, is that it sounds like a fun exercise to me, and I think it's an exercise that will inspire and push our little pursuit and its supporting industry forwards.

Earlier in this thread, Craig and I agreed to assemble and test XUL loads in the near future. To Craig, I invite your support of the definition I've laid out above by chasing the greatest elegance possible in our XUL loads, rather than making it a challenge of simply going lighter (I think at 5lb FSO that challenge is highly present!). I think this will make for some fun and standardized pseudo-competition, and since "elegance" is so subjective, it will make for some great debate about the various and necessarily creative solutions to the XUL challenge.

Credit where credit is due: Much of the above definition is inspired by Adventure Alan's article at In fact, his loadout will be my starting point in putting together my own XUL list for this challenge. I hope I've contributed something to the logic behind the definition he practiced. was my greatest inspiration when I decided to dabble in UL, and continues to be where I direct all newcomers to the pursuit.

Finally, on a personal note: I've just moved to the SF Bay Area and know no backpackers here of any sort. I'd love to meet and hike with anybody in the area! Having spent my whole life reflecting on and emulating that which I admire, I am as awesome as my talents have allowed me to embody the word as I have defined it. In arrogant summary: I am awesome*, let's meet up.

Edited by AttaboyBrad on 07/15/2011 13:36:05 MDT.