Jamie, Glad you posted that link back to 2008. You inspired me and many others to give SUL a shot. It was one thing to read about the superstars of hiking doing it, but your story brought SUL those of us with day jobs : ) Of course, now you are among the superstars! My SUL strategy to work my list was same as yours - comparison to Ryan's list. But your report was the catalyst. Since then I've strayed from the SUL because my objectives changed. However, over the next couple of months I'm going SUL again.
I found this in the thread you linked us back to...
About four years I tried half-heartedly and unsuccessfully to significantly reduce my base weight for backpacking. I did not make much progress due to distactions and lack of serious effort. About two years ago, I decided to give getting much lighter another shot.
What inspired me was reading Ryan's 'SuperUltraLight: Breaking the Five-Pound Barrier' and especially statements from the article like: "When I was researching this topic, I found less than ten people - in the U.S. and Europe - that actually practice sub-5-pound backpacking on a consistent basis". Ryan wrote the article in 2003. Since then shared knowledge and innovative products from Ryan and his peers have made it possible for any focused and diligent backpacker to achieve a sub5 base weight.
If you are above sub5 base weight and want to get there, then consider the following strategy I used.
READ or RE-READ Ryan Jordan's SUL article. If you have the bible, 'Lightweight Backpacking & Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking Equipment, Technique, and Style', the article is Chapter 15.
I first read the article a few years ago. I was just beginning my journey along the light backpacking path. At that time, I understood the concept, but its objective seemed more dream than practice to me.
Over the past two years I've reduced my base weight to a bit over six pounds. I did this one piece of gear at a time, and again lost focus at times. For example, I tried different stoves - alcohol, solid fuel , wood - when either would have been a solution as part of a sub5 base weight. Same thing with sleeping pads. Also, I spent much energy on 'Clothing Worn and Items Carried' - trailrunners, sticks, etc. that is not included in base weight. Important yes, but I was neglecting things in my pack.
Thanks to the James Shortt My first sub 5 lb trip!
thread, I was inspired again to go for it sooner rather than later. It was more than just the pound of base weight to me. It was going for something that at one time I thought was impossible.
So here's what I did:
1. Listed Ryan's items and their weights in a column
2. In a column next to Ryan's list, lined up my items and their weights
3. Inserted rows for my items that Ryan did not have
4. Calculated the difference between Ryan's and my items
In total, I was nearly 1.5 pounds over.
The detailed comparison quickly showed me where I needed to take action.
a) eliminated items on my list that were not on Ryan's list, where possible
b) reduced the weight of my items that weighed more than Ryan's (see My Rules)
i) If I had items weighing less than Ryan's, then I could be heavier than his for my other items, if necessary
ii) If I did not have items that Ryan did have, and I didn't need them, I could be add something and be heavier elsewhere
I started thinking in terms of a goal of less than 80 OUNCES not 5 POUNDS. This grandularity helped me find opportunities for weight reduction.
Summary of Ryan's SUL Base Weight
Lb Oz Function
2.5 40 Packing - shelter - sleeping
1.0 16 Extra clothing packed
0.5 8 Kitchen
0.5 8 Micellany
4.5 72 Total
I rounded the weights. Note that you have almost 8 ounces of wiggle room. Also, I included a goal to keep 'Clothing Worn and Items Carried' to less than 3.5 pounds so as not to cheat myself by moving gear from my pack to my pockets or under my hat.
I'll be done with my Sub5 gear list after I tweak the Micellany items. I am at 70.3 ounces or 4.4 pounds pending the tweaks. My 'Clothing Worn and Items Carried' will be about 3.1 pounds. My TSO should be about 7.5 pounds. My sub5 base weight will provide me with adequate safety and reasonable comfort.
I will post my gear list and details upon its completion. Following the new James standard, I will take pics during my hike and share them post-trip next month.
Thanks BPL, Ryan and James!