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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Are you new here? on 12/19/2011 18:34:12 MST Print View

Hi! Welcome to You'll find a wealth of information on this site, from technical articles and reviews to member trip reports to how-tos to tips and tricks. You'll also find some of the most helpful, knowledgeable and diverse group of lightweight backpackers in the forums. In fact, we think you won't find a better group of people to chat with, learn from and, perhaps, even backpack with anywhere else on the internet. You can also find some great, lightweight gear to help you get started in the Gear Swap forum.

So come on in, browse around, stay a spell. We hope that if you like what you find, you'll consider supporting BPL with a subscription that will allow you to access some of the members'-only content. But there's plenty of free content to wet your whistle!

A great place to start with your newfound interest in lightening your load is Lightweight Backpacking 101: An Introductory Manual for Lightening Your Load Today. While the document is over a decade old, it still contains solid information on how to drop ounces and pounds from your existing backpacking setup.

Again, welcome! Read the rest of this thread, where people have added links to their favorite BPL article that's perfect for newer members to glean valuable information. Enjoy the site. Lurk in the forums for a bit. Ask questions. We're here to assist.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Are you new here? on 12/19/2011 19:25:56 MST Print View

In 2010, a number of "lightweight testimonials" were submitted to BPL by folks who were describing why/how they switched to packing lighter. Several of those essays were selected for publication at BPL.

To illustrate, here's a link to one of the testimonials which, like the others that were published, shares insights into that person's experience with the transition to lighter packing, as well as the benefits and lessons learned:

Initially, these testimonials were published at the BPL website for "member only" access. However, they were soon afterward opened up for general viewing per the following thread urging unrestricted availability:

A listing of all the testimonials, as well as Ryan Jordan's initial solicitation of those essays, can be found by inserting "lightweight testimonials" in the search box at the upper right portion of this page.

Edited by JRScruggs on 12/19/2011 19:27:27 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Are you new here? on 12/19/2011 19:49:16 MST Print View

Shameless self promotion, I guess, but if you are looking for photo essays to give you inspiration on places to go with tons of photos, see the links below.

Other photo essays by Tony:

BPLers GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA. 3rd Annual Trip 2011

BPLers GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.

BPLer's GGG: Point Reyes, CA. 2nd Annual Trip

BPLer's GGG: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.; Mt. Diablo

BPLer's GGG: Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy Resevior to Rancheria Falls

BPLer's GGG: Point Reyes, CA

Emigrant Wilderness

High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Deadman Canyon

Tahoe Rim Trail

Ventana Wilderness

Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced

Yosemite in Winter: Crocker Point & Dewey Point

Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Yosemite: Tenaya Creek

Photo Essay by Linda Vassallo: Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay

Trip Report & Article by Jeremy Pendrey: Hiking The Diablo Trail: A Conservation Success Story

Photography and Backpacking Article on Hike It. Like It.

Photo Essays: Telling the Story, Sharing the Adventure

Edited by Valshar on 12/23/2011 00:48:45 MST.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
One of my favorites for the SUL hiker on 12/20/2011 04:08:35 MST Print View

The Poncho Tarp

Justin C
(paintballr4life) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Inclement Conditions on 12/20/2011 06:50:13 MST Print View

Backpacking in Sustained Rain

Edited by paintballr4life on 12/20/2011 07:04:50 MST.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Are you new here? on 12/20/2011 07:19:01 MST Print View

Tony, Thanks for sharing the trip report photos. I am heading out on the HST this summer and enjoyed your photos.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Are you new here? on 12/20/2011 08:13:42 MST Print View

Not new here but a new member. I took advantage of the free year membership that was offered. I still have a while to go before I have to decide if I want to actually pay for a membership.

One of the biggest complaints is not being able to find these supposedly great articles that are mentioned. You can search and search but can't find anything. As some folks say they (articles) just fade away. But why does that happen? Seems to me it would keep be bumped or talked about more. Good example of this is that Ryans book is on here and even old members didn't know it until someone post a link to it.

Now back to my lurking :)

john w cochran
(ciphoto) - MLife

Locale: South East
Newbie on 01/01/2012 10:19:36 MST Print View

I'm new here, been lurking and reading some here and around the web. Very good source of info.

I started getting back into hiking/camping now that my kids are out and and about and I can do more of my desires with my free time. But I'm older, so I naturally started to look to shed weight. Doing DIY and trimming I'm getting my base down close to 20lbs....


Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
New here on 01/05/2012 10:49:25 MST Print View

I'm also new here and am really enjoying all of the wonderful and informative content. Thanks everyone, it looks like you have a very nice community going here.

Louis Brooks

Locale: North Adirolf
Are you new here? on 01/05/2012 12:50:30 MST Print View

Another new member as well. I just got back into backpacking after being out for 20 years. You know the drill, graduate from college, get married, start a career, yadda, yadda, yadda. Next thing you know your turning 40 and wondering why you never go outdoors much anymore.

Currently getting ready for a section hike on the AT in May. (Georgia Section) Found this site while researching gear and it has been a wealth of information. I can remember carrying around a 50 - 70 pound pack in my younger days and I have been amazed at the weights I see on here. Now I just need a third job so I can afford all this stuff.

Hope to see you out on the trail.



David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Are you new here? on 01/05/2012 13:19:05 MST Print View

I've been on BPL a few weeks now. I've always camped BPed and mostly been keeping up on the technology over the last 35 years the decades. But after a decade with young kids and therefore most slow family trips and solo death marches in a day, I'm re-examining my gear and my techniques to drop significant weight per person because I'm carrying so much of it. My hope is to do significant hikes with our "tweeners" because we all enjoy it and it is such good family and/or father-son time.

And I've always imagined doing an AT or PCT thru hike and absolutely would go UL for that.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Are you new here? on 01/05/2012 14:05:37 MST Print View


Welcome to the site and feel free to ask questions.

Please here are very generous with sharing what they have learned.

Also, very good articles to be found here to help you save money by chosing gear wisely that is best for YOU.

Totally understand where you are coming, married, family and getting back to backpacking.

Here is my own story of how I got back into backpacking, if you are interested:

I would tell you that once you get yourself "educated" you might find that getting back into backpacking and lightweight backpacking does not have to be terribly expensive.

I have spent/blown thousands on traditional gear and knowing what I know now, I could have saved myself sooo much money by going lightweight from the start.

Less gear is lighter and it means that you are not having to buy so much gear.

The Big Three to spend your money wisely on: Sleeping Bag/Quilt, Shelter, & Backpack

Get the pack LAST, once you have figured out how much gear you really need to carry.

No point in wasting money on buying more pack than you need.

The most expensive thing you probably will spend money on is a good, lightweight sleeping bag or quilt. However, look at it as a long term investment on taking the cheapest vacations you will every have in the years to come.

For example:

Nov 2011 2 Weeks in London....thousands of dollars for a family of three.

16 Days on the John Muir Trail in August 2011 being "homeless"- $200-300.

Could have been less if I did not get a hotel room right after exiting and drove home straight, but it felt soooo good to be clean. :)

Plus, squirrels don't take cash or credit cards from you.....hard to spend money out there. :)

Good luck to you and enjoy the geeky ride that is your UL/Lightweight experience!


Louis Brooks

Locale: North Adirolf
Are you new here? on 01/06/2012 09:14:21 MST Print View

Hey Tony, great post. I wish my wife would go backpacking with me but her idea of camping is a Holiday Inn.



Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Resources for New Members on 01/06/2012 16:43:47 MST Print View


I know what you mean...I have taken my family out, but they really don't enjoy it like I do.

Hopefully, the family will join you on a few trips.

Otherwise, just work on building yourself a nice kit to make your trips comfortable.

Part of what I like about going light weight is that on a weekend trip, I can cover a lot of ground to see as much as I can while I am out there with the limited time I have away from the family.