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New sub-type of SUL: BXUL
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
New sub-type of SUL: BXUL on 08/06/2011 16:01:18 MDT Print View

To my knowledge the sub-type of SUL explained in this thread did not exist until now, and as such, I am its creator/founder. Thus, the guidelines you can either accept or reject, but I hope they will be inspiring/fun/useful to you, and I am open to any feedback or recommendations. Or you can always come up with your own sub-type of lightweight backpacking ;)

I propose a new type of lightweight backpacking: Bushcraft Extreme Ultralight (BXUL).

Base weight goal: under 1kg (2.2lbs), and base weight must include any items carried (everything but the clothing on your back).

The metric weight goals are in honor of two modern pioneers of bushcraft, Ray Mears (from the UK, uses metric weights on his website) and Mors Kochanski (from Canada, another metric nation). Also, I live in Sweden and I am the creator/founder of BXUL. Go metric!

Next BXUL guideline: No shelter in base weight (including bivy sacks). If shelter is needed (could just sleep under the stars), must sleep in a natural shelter (e.g. cave, under large tree, under cliff overhang, etc.) or build a shelter using all or mostly natural materials (e.g. debris hut, lean-to, teepee, etc.) AND following LNT laws of given location.

Naturally, BXUL has some pretty serious limitations, the most obvious being that it can probably only be pulled off in the summer (maybe early fall and late spring) or in warm climates. It also assumes that there is natural fuel and shelter (or materials for shelter) available.

Possible gear list:

Mora knife/sheath - 143g
Space blanket - 50g
Garbage bags (2) - 84g
Mess kit (Ti pot, foil lid, plastic mug, plastic spoon) - 141g
FAK w/sewing kit and mini bic - 99g
Survival/hygiene kit (LED flashlight, batteries, string, whistle, firesteel, candle, pen, paper, duct tape, toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, towel, bug repellant, lip balm/sunblock SPF 30, plastic bag) - 276g
Head net - 30g
Plastic rope - 30g
Rain poncho (El Cheapo thin plastic)- 50g
Food stuff sack - 20g
Water bottle - 25g
Nylon gym bag - 78g


The two garbage bags are for a roof should I build an improvised natural shelter, and for a ground cover over natural ground insulation.

I may be able to test this out next weekend. Anyone else down?

it can be done in winter too on 08/06/2011 16:57:03 MDT Print View

In winter conditions you would build a snow cave, make a bed with boughs from fir or pine trees, and the temp stays about 32 degrees inside (melting point. Snow is an excellent insulator. People involved in ski-mountaineering depend on this type shelter. Anyone venturing into backcountry in winter needs to know how to survive as well.

Of course, you must be wearing the insulation layer you will sleep in, and it must be pretty warm clothing for comfort, and able to ventillate well when moving. Lost skiers,snowmobilers spend days out in subfreezing temps all the time. Not saying they are comfortable, but they survive if they know how.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/06/2011 18:11:42 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
3# on 08/06/2011 18:11:00 MDT Print View

here's my 3# excursion from earlier this year- good have probably got to 2.2# pretty easily

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Sounds interesting on 08/06/2011 18:35:23 MDT Print View

Mike, your trip sounds really interesting to me. The whole experience sounds like something that would be very educational, especially going at temps that low without using a quilt or bag. For me, I might try it with some gear to fall back on in an emergency because my skills in this area are pretty weak, but it would be great to get the practice in with the skills. I can't wait to hear more about trips like this.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
practice on 08/06/2011 19:31:46 MDT Print View

it's definitely worth doing IMO, I've been stuck out a time or two in the past and prior practice increased my confidence level a bunch- never overly comfortable, but safe and sound :)

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
So I am not the only crazy one on 08/08/2011 12:50:39 MDT Print View

Nice work Mike, very cool.

I hope I can test out BXUL this weekend, but not sure just yet if I will have the time. I will do it eventually and looking forward to it. I could "cheat" a bit, as I know several natural shelters that I could use, that way I would not have to build much or at all. I only know of one very small cave, which I have slept in before and it was neato. I wish there were more and bigger caves in my area, it there were I would use them all the time.

I guess there is another "cheat" factor that could come up. One could go out one day, spend all day building a deluxe shelter, then go back the next day and sleep in it. Hmm. Perhaps there should be a rule about having to build a shelter and then use it that same night. However, provided one had enough food and was close to a source of water, and the shelter built was nice enough, it would be possible to camp at the same spot for a longer period of time than just a quick overnighter. Might be kind of boring, though.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: New sub-type of SUL: BXUL on 08/08/2011 13:52:40 MDT Print View

Medical- fak, bug dope, soap
Shelter- space blanket, garbage bags, rain poncho, plastic rope, duct tape
Fire- mini bic, firesteel
Hydration- water bottle ?1 liter; water treatment must be fire
Communication- whistle, pen/paper
Navigation- flashlight; NO MAP OR COMPASS
Nutrition- consumables
Insulation- natural materials, shelter material as vbl
Sun Protection- worn clothing, sunblock
Tools- mora knife

Edited by jshann on 08/08/2011 13:54:28 MDT.

Bradley Attaway
(AttaboyBrad) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
How is this Backpacking and not simply Bushcraft? on 08/08/2011 16:01:02 MDT Print View

Since the UL/SUL/XUL designations are all relative to the "traditional" weights associated with backpacking, designating any new category is meaningless unless the activity remains a reasonable approximation of traditional backpacking. It seems to me that the activities in your proposal for so called "BXUL" are much closer to Bushcraft than Backpacking, in which case the XUL doesn't mean anything. In fact, based on the very little I know about Bushcraft it seems the gear list example above is heavier than the others I've seen.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Lightest ever on 08/08/2011 20:04:55 MDT Print View

My entire kit consists of:
1. A magnetized needle, which, when placed on a leaf floating on a puddle, will point North-South, and I guess which.
2. A gob of Kevlar thread:
a. I sew all my clothing from local vegetation. (Why do women hikers I meet run away, screaming?)
b. I sew a "Gorilla Nest" from local vegetation, if weather demands a shelter.
3. I eat beetles, ants, flying insects, and locacl vegetation, and drink from streams.
4. I hike bearfoot, also bare foot.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Lightest ever on 08/26/2011 23:16:25 MDT Print View

If you're that in-tuned to the earth, you should know which way north is. Most animals do.