Suggestions please. Only thing I did not like was my pad was cut too small. I do not want to buy anything for this trip coming up. I plan to do 20 mile days. I will be in hot, humid climate with chance of thunderstorms.
Over three years ago...
In 'SuperUltraLight: Breaking the Five-Pound Barrier' by Ryan Jordan (2003-08-06), I read "...the reason the fringe isn't being explored is simple: it's the fringe. And there is not a lot of gear or education to help people explore it." Does this remain true today? Can someone like me without extensive backpacking experience go SUL with an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort? Would it be fun?
Fortunately for "fringe" explorers, gear and education have both changed for the better over the past four years since Ryan's paradigm shifting article. For those of us seeking a superultralight backpacking (SUL) experience, neither not-yet-light-enough gear nor traditional fears are valid excuses for giving up on SUL. Several well-run gear companies make and sell very light gear for backpacking. While many of their products are far from cheap, affordability is within the reach for true enthusiasts. Now we have books and magazines dedicated to the subject of light backpacking as well as web sites with light backpacking forums, research articles, product reviews, and unselfish, articulate gurus. Life aint bad if you want to try SUL in 2008. I, for one, am going to try SUL on my next backpacking trip.
How did I get there? Carefully, I assembled my SUL gear list by making adjustments to the gear configuration I'd used recently that gave me an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort. The SUL article's gear list enabled me to compare item by item to my gear list to see where I had opportunities to lighten up. This process took me several iterations, a tremendous amount of thought, and, in the end, a gut check. Eventually I arrived at a SUL configuration that I believe maintains an adequate level of safety and reasonable comfort for me. We'll see.
Heeding the caveat of the article, I am strongly confident that I "have the ability to forecast challenging scenarios, develop contingency plans, and implement those plans when things go awry" from previous backpacking experiences albeit with more gear. Because I'll have "little room for error", a bit of advice from the article that I will follow is to not venture too many miles from my car. I will hike where there are plenty of connecting, loop trails so I cover plenty of miles, but not venture extremely far from my car. I'm hoping I will have fun.
My SUL Gear List
updated in later post
My gear config worked well during June. One problem: I "over customized" my pad. During deep sleep shifting I'd push it about 1/2 way off. Fortunately the ground was not too hard or cold. I'm going to buy more 3/8 from GG and try again. The pad was great until I kept cutting more and more off.
Had plenty of insulation with the Cocoon hoody/pant. When I first went to sleep, I just used the 2/3 XP quilt because it was comfortable with that alone in the bivy. Woke in a couple of hours and put on the hoody. Later I put on the cocoon pant and was fine until morning.
I will try the Cocoons again this Fall, but they'll be unnecessary in the heat and humidity mid-July thru August in my neck of the woods.
I will hike with VFF or TGs. I have three more years backpacking experience so am confident to drop more weight than I did previously.