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"UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ??
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Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
"UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/02/2012 15:36:23 MST Print View

I'm at a cross roads with my hiking buddies and now officially can claim UL status for trips down to freezing. (Thanks for all the help and hints on BPL !!)
Issue is that they are still traditional and lug huge 75 ltr packs fully loaded with around 20kgs each.
I must have tried 10 times to get them to cull weight but it's a loosing battle. They have improved a little but that's so minimal it's not funny. I'm still unable to get them not to bring there "real world" fully loaded leather wallet let alone not lug 5kgs of spare clothing, 1kg rain jacket etc.
They even take spare titanium mugs and cutlery...... cause there main titanium mug might leak etc....... whatever ??

This has always been okay with me as I'd just trudge along with them and happily not complain at the end of the day when they would winge about sore feet/legs/shoulders (We all know the pains one gets with big packs)
Recently I have completed a few multi day solo walks and was amazed at the km's I can rack up when alone and not doing the long breaks every hour, boots off/on at every puddle, waiting for the sun to dry the tent fully in the morning etc.

I'm just home from a mountain trip with my mate and the gap between our two styles was huge. The first time I thought I'd walk up a hill and wait at the top for him to catch up scared the ..... out of me.
Took me 20 minutes and I waited a full hour, yes a whole 60 further minutes more before fearing he had injured himself so I ran a 1/4 of it back down to find him "resting" on the side of the track !!
I was not impressed. I can handle the fact that I maybe a little fitter and carrying less weight but to see me walk a hill in a 1/4 of the time it took him was shocking.

Is there any way I can salvage something from this and continue to enjoy my "traditional" walkers companionship on our treks ??

We have been planning to do a 15-20 day walk mid year and now I fear this may become a "me" and "them" thing and I'd be better solo or with another like minded walker.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: "UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/02/2012 15:45:23 MST Print View

Take 'em on a day hike with your UL setup and let each of them carry it for a while to see the difference. Mostly though, they must be willing to make the change.

Other than that, you might have to choose between plodding along with them or finding new hiking partners and/or going solo.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ? on 01/02/2012 15:50:18 MST Print View

We have a saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." I'm sure there are lots of similar proverbs that apply here.

I'd just keep quiet about the whole thing. Trying to convince them that lighter is better is probably influencing them in the opposite direction--just making them stubborn. Maybe after a few dozen of these episodes in which you leave them behind, they will get the message. Then again, maybe they won't, which is their problem, not yours.

In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with going solo, assuming you have enough experience to do so and take a bit more care.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ? on 01/02/2012 15:57:12 MST Print View

Wow Mary you are patient. A few dozen more episodes!?! There are other UL hikers in OZ. Seek your own kind. Reap the rewards of finding a better way for you. Take some awesome trips without them and see if that sparks their interest. I too got tired of waiting for the slow pokes. I hike with a different crowd these days. Happier.

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Yep, Stubborn on 01/02/2012 15:58:53 MST Print View

I think your right on that front.

These mates introduced me to walking a few years ago. I think it's a mindset of traditional is best and they will not be swayed by the "new guy".
I cannot even convince them a good down jacket is warmer than that heavy 320wt merino pullover you have on. It's so hard but nice to know others have been there, done that.

I'm happy to do solo walks and that might just be the way of things to come.... sadly

Edited by forest. on 01/02/2012 16:01:22 MST.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Motivation? on 01/02/2012 16:05:01 MST Print View

Maybe swap packs with them for ten minutes, half way up the hill? If they won't go for that, make sure they lift your pack into the car at the start and end of the trip.

I found that a big change for me came when I did a couple of 24hr Rogaines. The first couple I came back to the Hash House to sleep in a tent, but after a while I started spending the whole 24hrs out on the course. This gave me an idea of how little I really needed.

The other thing is to try to get them out more often. If they're only once or twice a year walkers, it's hard for them to get the experience or motivation to lighten up.

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Re: Motivation? on 01/02/2012 16:14:39 MST Print View

Thanks Rod.
I'm reading this just cringing.
I think I'll just do solo or find others in OZ that have a similar view.

Yep, I even lent my pack to one mate last year for a few hours as he was struggling up a decent mountain track in the heat. Even that doesn't swing them. They know what it's like and they just have the mindset that one day they will all have to rescue me with my plastic fantastic gear. Hasn't happend yet and I'm spending more time out bush than them right now.

They took me to the 24hr NSW state Rogaine champs last November... I'm hooked.
Yeh they did the back to camp thing for a few hours when I was still happy to push on. Next one I'm taking my younger brother with me. He recons he can use a map and compass from his scouts days.... we shall see.
I lead the group most of the night anyway as I had the better headlight so I'm not concerned about the nav work. It's heaps of fun eh !!

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
heavy hiking on 01/02/2012 18:15:03 MST Print View

Go with them on hikes that are shorter and are designed to set up a base camp and then explore. That way they can take their time for the first day's hike, and all that equipment will come in handy during your stay.

But when are ona multi-day hike and trying to cover some miles, I'd go it alone or make some new friends. There is only so much waiting you can do before you start to lost patience. And that's no way to enjoy a trail.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: "UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/02/2012 18:27:15 MST Print View


Reality strikes.
Yeah, sad to say, but you need to accept reality. You will have to either walk at their speed, or find some new light-weight bushwalkers. Try joining one of the Hunter region bushwalking clubs - see
for a list of them.


HYOH on 01/02/2012 18:28:45 MST Print View

Either go slow and enjoy their company

Or hike without them

You dont HAVE to go faster, just because you can.

Stephan Doyle
Re: "UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/02/2012 18:53:55 MST Print View

Sack up with extra group gear.

I always take the tent/shelter. Grab the FA kit. Stash most of the food in your pack. Be the dedicated group camera-person. Haul the bear canister. Carry extra water.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: "UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/02/2012 18:56:12 MST Print View

Carry a bunch of their gear to equalize the weights : )

craig small
(kentuckyjock) - F
ul er vs traditional on 01/02/2012 19:50:23 MST Print View

Stuart, i will start by saying that i mostly hike alone on my multi-day hikes as well as my day hikes. I know going in that when i bring someone else along they will slow me down so its ok because i enjoy thier company. Its not a contest for me, im there to share the experience with someone else (friend, wife, or child). Im in better shape than anyone i have ever hiked with and im relatively new to this sport. Im sure that many reading this could leave me behind but hopefully my company would be worth waiting for. My pack is much heavier than most of yours but its very light to me. It weighs 21 lbs with food and water for 4 days in the winter. I do mileage alone and lower my expectations of mileage when i have company

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: ul er vs traditional on 01/02/2012 19:57:10 MST Print View

1. Ask them to carry more of your gear. Tell them that the extra weight is such a small fraction of their weight that they'll hardly notice.

2. Use this saved weight to add a book to your pack.

3. Get to the top of the mountain before them and read the book.

4. When they get to the top of the mountain, ask them if they'll carry the book down the mountain since you had time to finish it while waiting for them. They can read it during their breaks.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
UL v.s. Traditional on 01/02/2012 20:31:18 MST Print View

Show 'em how to SELL their heavy gear and where to buy UL gear. Start with tents. Get their salivary glands going by taking them to a great store that has good UL gear.

Start gently converting the oldest guy who probably secretly hurts a lot from his pack weight. Just trade tents with him for a few kilometers. Then trade sleeping bags, then stoves...

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
UL v.s. Traditional on 01/02/2012 21:17:56 MST Print View

Ha ha. Yes, but it will likely take a while. I went out with my Brother-in law who is about 5 years younger than I. He was hauling everything he normally hikes with. I weighed his pack at the beginning of the trip at 43lbs for a two night stay. My pack was just over 21lbs, including the bear ball, with all the food. This was about 5 years ago. Last year he was down to 28lbs, for about the same trip. I still carried the bear ball, but he carried his own food, so I was down to ~18lbs at the start of the trip (including a liter of water, alcohol stove and pot.) I would have been lighter except this was later September with snow predicted in the hills, so I brought a 3lb/0F bag.
Over the intervening years he has gradually adopted lighter gear, as he has seen me use. He got some AM drops and got rid of the 3L platty canteen he carried. He got rid of his 5lb pack and got a 2.75lb one. He dropped the old Thermorest Guidelite (~2lb) for a Neoair I loaned him. He bought one. He got rid of the old whisperlite and got a Jetboil. None of these choices were GOOD. But, they were all a step in the correct direction. I applauded each change. He REALLY liked the G5 I had been using, but, I told him to wait. I had many repairs on the G5, and hopefully, he would find something in the 1lb range that would be more durable. I KNOW he will want the new Murmur. After a spring and summer of use, I will know whether to recommend it or not. He said he would look into a lighter bag. His bag is military surplus at about 5lb. After explaining about bags, he wants a good down bag, but, he didn't think his wife would let him drop $400 on one. The point is, he is an old boy scout and leader. When he said he would be back next year with a 25lb pack load, I believe him. Cutting his pack weight to less than half what it was took about 6 years, but, he now knows there is a difference in weights and WHY I carry such light stuff.

UL is more about TEACHING others that what they do can be accomplished with much less gear. It can be accomplished safer, with knowledge of what you do with the gear you have. It can be done more comfortably than with old style packing, less hip, knee, shoulder and back pain, less strain on your muscels, less work overall on your body. Our milage changed from ~1.5-2mi per hour to 2-2.5mi per hour with what savings he has made, some at my insistance. (Some "OK, let him carry it.") Only one weekend a year is enough to get someone on track. He only spens about 15-20 nights per year out, though. It is hard to do more than replace old or broken gear. And, it just isn't worth buying the best gear for UL travel. For example, his pack was purchased at wally world. 2.5lb is not bad, I will show him how to cut off extraneous bits of fluff and get it down to about 2lb before we go, next time. For $29, it is not a great pack but servicable.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Full comfort ul on 01/02/2012 22:01:49 MST Print View

One of the fears people have is that ul is a bunch of crazy people sleeping under tarps wothout sleeping pads using leaves for insulation.

Im not sure how ul you are but if your kit is pretty extreme it might intimidatevthem or they think it will be uncomfortable. What thy need to be able to see is that you can not sacrfice any comfort and still sigmificantly lighten there packs.

Just leaving things behind they should be able to keep weekend weight around 25lbs with all convntional gear. I wpuld focus on that approach rather then trying to get them to spend money on new gear.

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Re: Full comfort ul on 01/03/2012 13:26:43 MST Print View

Agreed on that front, UL scared me to start with too and I thought straight away of people sleeping under 1 foot square tarps, on leaves etc.

I use a Hammock (Preffered) but to get true UL I use a Hexamid Solo Plus tent and sleep on a Exped Synmat UL7 with quilts. All in an Exos 46. Again, not really that extreme. My hammock is quite alien to them but they all agree it's comfortable, I can wear the fact everyone isn't a hammock camper, it's a jump from the tents for sure and that's fine (Your loss though LOL)
I'm only just under 10 lbs base weight now and think I have a great balance of light weight and comfort. Most trips just tip me over that weight but that's from a few comfort items I love to take.

This is NOT a venture of competition to better my walking buddies on the trail. Yes I love having the lightest pack but that's for MY comfort, not so I can get out there, run up a hill and say "come catch me". Far from it, I wish to enjoy my friends company in the bush like everyone else.

Even when they know what my pack feels like compared to what they take I still can only sway them so much. One issue they have is in the actual pack's they use. Two mates have 3kg empty, 75ltr One Planet's. Awesome bomber pack for high weight and off trail stuff but I'm yet to go on a trip with them when it's been needed as they mostly walk tracks. Both use Exped down mats, which when most of our trips only see temps to around 5-10°C and the odd trip where it might get to freezing is just overkill. Try suggesting to them a lighter might still work okay and be easier on them is very hard. Don't get me started on the 3kg two man tents they love.....

I think the decision has been made.
For trips where I want distance I'll go solo, for the companionship trips I'll just have to plod along with the boys and try to not complain....too much.

Thanks all for your suggestions and comments, I will keep trying but i fear a loosing battle.

My brother on the other hand has expressed an interest and wants my help in getting kitted out. He has no choice, UL all the way !!

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: "UL'er" vs "Traditional" Can we integrate ?? on 01/03/2012 15:08:24 MST Print View

the Ul'er vs Traditional is like comparing fast hikers vs slow hikers. I know a guy who carries 40lbs of gear but can hike circles around everyone else. Most folks he hikes with have 15-25 lbs packs. The amount of gear he carries doesn't bother him at all. Some folks can just hiker faster than others.

Make it known where everyone will be camping at that evening. If you get there before they do so what. You can sit around and relax, take a nap or do some short hikes while waiting for them.

I think you are making to much of it

Edited by Ewker on 01/03/2012 15:11:15 MST.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
The edge of the envelope moves on 01/03/2012 16:01:38 MST Print View

Take the long view: the heavy-packer is UL by 1960's or 1970's standards. Gear gets better and lighter over time.

The lightweight fanatics and push are what enable me to get my pack weight down while still carrying my tried, true and reliable Kelty Tioga. My 15-degree bag and pad weigh half what the similar setup did in years past and cost pretty much about the same. My newfangled (to me) stove, fuel and cook kit weigh less than the stove-head of my old MSR. Time moves on and even cranky old Luddites wind up with lighter gear.

Now, if the cranky Luddite can't keep up, that seems to suggest (among a few other things) that s/he might benefit from a paring-down in gear weight.