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Tear down to rebuild
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William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Tear down to rebuild on 09/29/2011 11:31:28 MDT Print View

The method I have been using to achieve my perfect kit is going as light as I safely can to know what I TRULY need I then start adding back comforts for example. No cooking= unhappy add sul 2 ounce alcohol cook kit back = much more happy add stove and better food that may involve more complex cooking then freezer bag cooking = very happy. 5x9 tarp with no bivy = cramped in storms 7x9 and bivy or bug shelter= super comfy. So why do I find myself going as light as I can? Well cus it's fun and I like the challenge how many others have torn down to the bare necessities then added items back to achieve you perfect kit?

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Tear down to rebuild on 09/29/2011 11:52:39 MDT Print View

Is there any other way? I don't know how you'd dial-in a well functioning UL setup without starting from scratch.

For instance, your food example is perfect. Begin with assuming all cold meals (GORP, jerky, etc), then add some hot components if desired. If you only need one/two hots per day, then an alchy stove + 1oz of fuel/day weighs practically nothing.

Same with the sleep system. Start with quilt+bivy, then add a (small) tarp if you think/know it's going to rain. Ditto for clothing - add the layers, all the way up to insulation & shell.

It's actually pretty straightforward to get a baseweight @ 7-8 lbs for 25-30 min temps.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 09/29/2011 11:53:10 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Tear down to rebuild on 09/29/2011 12:38:27 MDT Print View

Does it count if "tearing down" meant you forgot a crucial piece of gear and then survived?

I forgot my umbrella last spring (and had only a Patagonia Houdini for a shell) and had to use my polycro ground sheet as a rain shawl. It worked fairly well. I didn't die and neither did my camera. Does that mean I don't need rain gear? I'm not sure I answered that question well enough. I might need to do another test.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Tear down to rebuild on 09/29/2011 18:30:33 MDT Print View

I never went down to " bare minimum", but I worked enough on weight and eliminating redundant items, that I brought back some luxury items. I like to bring my camera, a nice easy stove ( Snowpeak Giga), plenty of food, plenty of insulation and a hammock to ensure plenty of comfortable sleep.
I have seen others do the same; shed a lot and them happily reintroduce a few "comforts". If you do your homework, those few comforts don't weigh you down.
ps. At first I thought this thread was about building muscle...

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Tear down to rebuild" on 09/29/2011 19:46:39 MDT Print View


Good on ya Will, enjoy the process. I think what you're describing is natural for a lot of people, sometimes the pendulum swings really far right and then swings back really far to the left until it settles down somewhere along the arch, obviously this outcome differs for person to person.

I've done 5-day early spring trips with a full skin out weight of 13lbs., did I enjoy them? Yes. Were there aspects that I didn't like and discomforts along the way? Absolutely. Would I do them again? Probably, maybe even go lighter, but not as an exercise in UL just for the sake of "pushing the boundaries", perhaps if it served a greater purpose in contributing directly to a specific goal oriented end I would whittle things down to the bare bones.

I've learned that meticulously trimming gear down and reducing things down to the gram from my kit just doesn't change the outcome of my trips nor have any real impact on my physical abilities or enjoyment, therefore not worth doing at this point in time. I trim the fat still, just not with a scalpel and a surgeons hand like I used to. When I get old and I'm not fit? Yeah, I might be singing a different tune.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
swing on 09/29/2011 19:58:16 MDT Print View

I'm in the middle of "swing", while I certainly enjoyed all my trips done w/ a poncho-tarp (and learned a LOT about site selection along the way, I've gone to a slightly heavier, but much roomier/comfortable shelter. While I could get by w/ my 450 mug and a ti winged Esbit stove, I've since moved to a 600 mug and a 4 dog stove. I enjoyed the lighter weight of a short neoair, but even enjoy more the comfort provided by the regular length one I'm using now. My 11 oz customized Ion was a great pack which really forced me to trim things down, now I'm looking for something w/ a little more volume and a little more comfort.

Going from a 5.5 # base weight to 7.5 # base weight is not going to impact my ability to move through the backcountry, but it is going to make it a little more enjoyable :)