How long have you been a lightweight backpacker?
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 06:42:39 MST Print View

I'll go first.

Back in November of 2010, I weighed my gear for the first time and posted the results here to be taken apart. Thankfully Mike Clelland (and others, though he gave the most detailed feedback) helped me out to cut my 10kg in half by the time it was spring of 2011. By early summer I was going UL on all my trips, and did my first SUL trip in July. My current 3 season base weight is 8.4lb, and I have recently moved on to re-evaluate and fix up my maximum clothing worn weight from 7lbs to 5lbs (my future goal is to try and get down to 4lbs). My goal for this summer is to only go SUL (during the summer, that is, I plan on returning to my 3 season system come fall), and maybe experiment with going XUL.

What about you?

Edited by PrimeZombie on 03/09/2012 06:43:52 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 09:18:57 MST Print View

I started hiking only in 2004. I swapped out almost everything and went from traditional light (40 lbs pack weight) to UL (23 lbs pack weight) on my third trip (the same year). No fun being a pack mule.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 10:06:53 MST Print View

Since 1982.

--B.G.--

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker on 03/09/2012 11:04:33 MST Print View

I discovered Ray Jardine's book "Beyond Backpacking" in 2004 (recent edition named "Trail Life"). Everything changed for me then.

I had almost given up backpacking due to age and general deterioration, convinced I could never carry the loads I did in the 1970's and 1980's (I was probably correct!). After reading the book I started making or sewing my own gear and looking for much lighter replacements for everything else. Our 25'th wedding anniversary was coming up so we planned a two-week hike around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail.

The five of us (wife and college-age kids) had the time of our lives on that trip! The rest is history.

I supposed I might have discovered UL and BPL without Jardine's book, but you never know. I owe him more than can ever be repaid.

Edited by ewolin on 03/09/2012 11:05:28 MST.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
When did it all begin? Props to Ray as well . . . on 03/09/2012 11:52:08 MST Print View

When I started planning for a Philmont trip with youngest son, then 14, now 28, I also read Ray Jardine's book, began my quest to lighten up, and came to Philmont in 1997 with an 18 pound base pack. Not very light by today's standards, but at the time, most of the adults that saw me with the crew thought the boys were carrying all of my gear, since I had "just a daypack". I've reached the point of being very happy with a base weight of 8-12 pounds, with no intention of going SUL or XUL. One obstacle is my XL size and 11.5 4E feet. I'm going out this weekend with an FSO weight (From Skin Out: everything worn and carried including food and water) of just under 20 pounds. For the expected weather (mid to upper 20's) that's very respectable IMO.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 11:56:22 MST Print View

Took my first real trip in January 2007. It was my wife's idea!

I had a heavy kelty pack, some crappy Slumberjack bag, a beefy Sierra Designs mountaineering tent, and a 2 lb sleeping mat. Loaded up my pack, my wife took a school backpack, and we slugged it out a few miles from our place up north.

Slept on a dang sheet of ice and wondered why I was cold. (wife had the pad).

Began my research and almost immediately found BPL. By the time I could be considered a "lightweight backpacker," it was the summer of 2008.

Even though I found this place early, I still went through the paces of getting gear, figuring out my style, and replacing said gear. Over and over. Its a process.

Keith Bassett
(keith_bassett)

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 12:11:35 MST Print View

2 years. I discovered alcohol stoves, and making them was so awesome that I got pulled into the rest of the community. I also blame my buddy Jason for getting me more interested.

I remember the conversion point for me was a solo weekend where my pack was 50 lbs, and a bunch of the mountaineers were hiking past me with light packs on and I thought - "this sucks." I was carrying 3 nalgenes filled with water. In the CASCADES, where there is water every 5 feet.

That was when I flipped hard.

:)

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 12:13:51 MST Print View

>In the CASCADES, where there is water every 5 feet.

That made me chuckle out loud for some reason. :)

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 12:14:50 MST Print View

469 days

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
not bragging... on 03/09/2012 12:46:05 MST Print View

but in the 1970s and 1980s I felt it was extremely important that I trim the excess paper around grocery coupons... I knew I was weird, and that it was not necessary, but it was something that had to be done. Early signs of OCD.

It wasn't until the late 1980s that I got into the outdoors on my own, with no pack, just a pocket Buck knife and worn out clothes. Ignorance was bliss. I was young, indestructible, didn't need first aid kit, and I could go for 40 hrs without food, and drink from suspicious water. I was dumb and thought that getting lightheaded at altitude and from hunger was kinda cool. Not sure if lack of gear qualifies as UL.

In the early 1990s, I had a lot of National Geo and BP magazines, that I would read and re-read over and over again. They were taking up a lot of space, borderline hoarding. I was also annoyed by advertisements pages taking up most of the mag. So I started scissor trimming just the relevant article info and maps, then tossing the rest of the mag full of ads.

In the late 90s, with better job came better disposable income, so I geared up heavy, thinking it was the responsible grown up thing to do.

In 2001 I did a contour of Catalina island with a 45 lbs plus water. I was in my prime physical shape, didn't care about weight.

in 2004 I re-did that same trip with gravity's effect in mind, for 18 lbs plus water, and surprisingly more gear items on the checklist, but at a less total weight.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
always? on 03/09/2012 13:10:09 MST Print View

i have always tried to reduce my pack weight. in Boy Scouts i would secretly put stuff in other kid's packs so i wouldn't have to carry it. on one trip, we had to backpack 20 miles and the truck would be at the camp site. i filled a trash bag with my things and hid it the crew cab.

jump forward to adulthood and in 2005 i was very careful to reduce my weight to about 25 pounds before food, water, and fuel. did a few days on the AT and got an education from several other hikers. the week after that trip i had decided that 25 was too much and worked very hard to reduce my weight more. i haven't stopped reducing and reviewing since. i'm closing in on 12 pounds base weight for 3 seasons, about the lightest i can go without a wholesale shift in my gear and methods.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/09/2012 13:16:53 MST.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: When did it all begin? Props to Ray as well . . . on 03/09/2012 13:12:33 MST Print View

"I'm going out this weekend with an FSO weight (From Skin Out: everything worn and carried including food and water) of just under 20 pounds. For the expected weather (mid to upper 20's) that's very respectable IMO."

Robert -

very respectable number for the temps. i should have brought a warmer jacket and was at 23 with my heavy pack in the same kind of temps. it's not the cold that gets me, it's the wind.

ultralight in the 80's at Philmont was 35 pounds!

Edited by asciibaron on 03/09/2012 13:14:46 MST.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 13:34:45 MST Print View

Lightweight, with a 13 to 18 lb base, a bit over 10 years after reading Ray Jardine's PCT handbook, after it was featured in a Backpacker magazine article (1999 iirc). The Mountainsmith Auspex was the cat's meow and replaced my heavy Jansport Rockies. Great pack but I busted the seams carrying a bear canister on a trip to the Olympic NP. Busted some seams on the following Granite Gear packs too, until I joined here and reduced the rest of my load.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 14:59:54 MST Print View

>In the CASCADES, where there is water every 5 feet.

Damn, I still do that...

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
How long? on 03/09/2012 15:36:56 MST Print View

No idea, I joined here two years ago but I would have to guess somewhere around 2.5-3 years?

I was always at least a lightweight backpacker though.

Dee Kenville
(ndwoods) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz, Calif
a couple times.... on 03/09/2012 22:48:58 MST Print View

Started hiking in the late 60s and kept pack weight to 25 lbs total...then with all the fancy new hi tech gear it crept all the way to 40 lbs total ....in late 80's I had had enuf of the heavy stuff and got it back down to under 12 lb baseweight...about 25 total (sometimes higher on longer trips cuz of food) where it's been since...

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/09/2012 23:54:13 MST Print View

I started reading and talking about backpacking online around 1993. I was ten years old. Lightweight probably came up on my radar around 1996. Started reading BPing forums regularly around then. Bought the first production run of Golite's Breeze (and I think Ray's puffy jacket). Bought Beyond Backpacking the week it hit store shelves (1999?). I think that I took my first ultralight trip the week after I got Beyond Backpacking. I got a LOT of flack for having a frameless pack with no hipbelt while still carrying my copy of Beyond BPing into the woods. Soon tried the full Ray system. Sewed his tarp and quilt (both worked poorly).

Good times.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
Just over a year on 03/10/2012 10:25:01 MST Print View

I was looking for lightweight gear and used gear. Researching sleeping bags landed me in the gear Swap forums. There I was introduced to all these new options that REI and the like never mention. A new world of opportunities....

I'm. Currently at a 13 pound. Base weight and plan to drop below 10 pounds this summer. In one year I plan to start an AT through hike with roughly 1/3 the weight of my last AT hike.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Since 2005-2006 (BPL saved me) on 03/11/2012 15:05:33 MDT Print View

When I moved to Las Vegas I was a "traditional" backpacker with a 7.5 lb. Dana Terraplane pack.

After getting into BPL and Backpacking Lightweight sites I "saw the LITE".

Now my 7 day load W/ 2 liters of water is 28 lbs. Not too bad IMHO.

PACK> REI Cruise UL 60
TENT> TT Moment
BAG> WM Megalite (overfilled 1 oz.)
PAD> Thermarest prolite reg.
STOVE> Caldera Cone Sidewinder W/ESBIT or wood fuel (or Brunton Crux canister stove)

Not UL but light enough for now.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/11/2012 15:23:13 MDT.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: How long have you been a lightweight backpacker? on 03/11/2012 17:52:31 MDT Print View

Thankfully, I started lightweight, which was almost 3 years ago. Happened when I was researching it after my son crossed over into Boy Scouts and found BPL. Have no idea what my weight was my first trip (simple overnight with him), but my next trip (solo in the Smokies) I had a base of < 19 lbs. Now I'm about 12.