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My first XUL trip coming up!
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
My first XUL trip coming up! on 05/29/2012 06:30:23 MDT Print View

Very excited that in about a month or so, I will be going on my first XUL overnight trip. I did my first (intentional) SUL trip last summer (and have done several more since then) and it went great, even in the pouring rain. I blogged about it, and look forward to writing about the XUL trip after it happens. I will be sure to post a link in this thread when it is finished. I will be going with some friends, but will not rely on any of their gear, unless of course of emergency. This solved the problem of photo documentation, as a friend has already offered to take pics for me.

Until then, the obligatory gear list for you to check out:

Base weight + clothing worn + all items in pockets = 4.99lbs (2266g)
Full skin out (+ approximately 1000g water and 500g food) = 8.29lbs (3766g)

I will be using the back pad as a torso sleeping mat, along with the garbage bag as a ground cover. I plan on taking advantage of natural shelter should the weather be bad, e.g. under a big pine tree, cliff overhang, etc. Or make a natural shelter, e.g. A-frame, debris hut, etc. I also plan on using natural materials to beef up my sleeping situation by making a nest under my ground cover of whatever is available, e.g. dried grass, moss, pine boughs, etc.

Obviously I will be eating non-cook or campfire cooked foods, which is why I opted for fixed blade knife (also good for building shelter if needed). As some of you might know from my blog, I often go off-trail/bushwhacking, but of course I won't be doing so for any XUL trips! I just don't want to test the durability of either my pack or my windbreaker. I will go off-trail somewhat, but in more open woodsy type areas.

Tips, tricks, questions, feedback, concerns, etc. welcome and encouraged :)

Re: My first XUL trip coming up! on 05/29/2012 17:51:14 MDT Print View

Cesar, I am excited for you!

At some point I want to do a similar thing - I am barely UL, but being able to call upon more traditional Bushcraft skills in combination with more high tech gear, like you are doing, would make for a great weekend I think.

Can't wait to read your trip report!! And photos, lots of photos, lol

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: My first XUL trip coming up! on 05/29/2012 18:04:13 MDT Print View

Hey Cesar,

Totally look forward to your report on how it goes and your thoughts on the new gear since your last hike.

The term "XUL" is typically reserved for sub-3 pounds, whereas the term "SUL" is for sub-5 pounds (2.3 kg) and looking at your listed weights you would be at the SUL level not the XUL level (which you used within this post).

You did not mention what the temperatures will be so hard for any of us to offer tips/feedback on clothing or shelter. Only thing that stands out is the "cotton socks" - why cotton and if something special, what brand are you using?

An Orangina bottle huh. wow here in the USA I do not think I have ever seen a plastic Orangina bottle. Love that stuff but it is always in a glass bottle. Luck you having them in plastic over there.

Your ditty bag stuff looks way heavy at 368 grams / 13 ounces. If you are going with others, ditch the stuff that your buddies will be carrying. You don't need the phone, you probably don't need the medical gause/rolls, (uh, latex gloves????), spare batteries, etc. You can easily shave a pound of your setup just by removing duplicates of gear that the rest in your group will have - and most of which you realistically do not need anyway.

UL is about learning what you do not need that are luxury items.
SUL is about learning what you do not need, because you just do not need them.
XUL is about learning what you really do need.

Take your time in the SUL world to really learn about what you do not need out there.

Again, look forward to hearing how the trip goes!!

John B. Abela

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
re: bushcraft and definitions on 05/30/2012 03:06:05 MDT Print View

@ Rob: Thanks! Yeah, I love to mix my survival/bushcraft skills into backpacking/camping. I actually started off as an outdoors enthusiast with a base of a more primitive, "traditional" perspective because of the influence of my father, who was a hardcore US army soldier who taught this skill set to me.

I was barely UL for a while before I started to learn more and more about cutting weight and found that SUL can be just as good if not better for certain situation. I highly recommend you try SUL, it forces you to learn a lot, and is very worthwhile for anyone looking to improve their backpacking skill set--and also gives you an opportunity to try out/improve your bushcraft skill set too.

@ John: Ah, I was under the impression that XUL was going sub-5lbs including clothing worn and any items in pockets and such. I learned about XUL from this thread:

I liked Craig's summary of XUL in the 2nd post:

"Full Skin Out, not including food and water, of around 5 lbs. seems to be reasonable to me. I'm more concerned with a minimal kit than numbers...but I do want a target to help force me to simplify even more."

So this was my goal, getting under 5lbs FSO not including food and water. If you subtract my clothing weight from my gear list above (which is nearly 50% of the weight) it comes to 1164g (2.56lbs) if my math is correct. In which case, this would fit your definition, wouldn't it? Unless you mean that XUL is sub-3lbs FSO minus food and water?

As with any nerdy hobby, definitions can get pretty tricky, so sorry if I was mistaken or not entirely clear.

Speaking of not being clear, I did indeed neglect to give information on the expected temperatures for my trip next month, thanks for pointing that out. The trip will be in south western Sweden, and temps in July are on average high of 20C and low of 12C. My sleeping bag is comfort rated to 13C, but as with most bags, it'd say it's comfort temp is more like 14-15C, which is why I include a long-sleeve shirt to wear at night.

The cotton socks are just the ones I normally use, and are generic. I didn't feel like going out and finding special socks, but if I happen to stumble upon some lighter ones, I'd get them. I prefer cotton socks to synth or wool in the summer for because they seem to breath better and not get as stinky.

Yes, they do have plastic Orangina bottles here! I picked this bottle because it fit nicely into my pack's shoulder bag, and also because they are tough little bottles (as the original drink is carbonated). I tried out a few other, thinner plastic bottles, like generic spring water bottles that are only 15g, but they get all mashed up and dented, so I wanted something a bit more durable. So I'll take the 10g penalty. Platy bottles of course won't work, as they are too bulky, but they do fit twice as much water for the same weight--great for SUL and UL as back up reserve of water to re-fill my smaller bottles with.

Thanks for the tips on my ditty bag, I will take them into consideration. The cell phone is a must, unfortunately, as with a toddler and a baby at home, my wife needs to be able to get a hold of me in case of any crisis or emergency. But I think you might be right about the gloves, might save me 10g or so, which makes up for the "heavy" Orangina bottle :)

Great to hear from the SUL/XUL guru himself!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: My first XUL trip coming up! on 05/30/2012 20:59:41 MDT Print View


Using Craig's definition of UXL (FSO < 5lbs) here is a 3 day trip I did last year in all kinds of weather. Thought you might find it interesting.

UXL Trip

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: @Nick on 05/31/2012 07:16:31 MDT Print View

Thanks for the link, I very much enjoyed your trip report! The amount of detail is impressive. I hope my trip report is half as good as yours, we'll see.

You and I seem to have very different planning as far as water goes due to our contrasting environments. A few years ago I would take 2-3 liters of water, but much to my annoyance, would find that I would be bringing home quite a lot of the very same water I filled up at my tap. This is because here in Sweden water is all over the place. I would drink to my heart's content, then when I made camp, there would be some sort of water source near camp--even deep in the woodsy hills here that don't have lakes still have a good amount of pools of rainwater (unless it is very dry out, which is rare), some of these pools are like mini-ponds. I would save my tap water from home at camp, thinking that I would use it the next day, but this was hardly ever the case.

So I scaled down water to 1-1.5 liters most of the time, which is still more than enough. It also helps that I am a big fan of coffee/tea and will boil up many cups at camp using woods water. For the XUL trip, I will simply need to refill my bottle more often, plus I will have nearly another half liter stashed in my Sawyer pouch. In the area I will be hiking through, off the top of my head I know of at least 8 big lakes with good water--the area also is free of any farms and tourist spots, pretty isolated, so I really could just drink the water raw, but a recently departed moose could always be rotting away at the bottle of any lake, so my paranoia "just in case" voice is put to rest for only about 90g. Could go with chemicals to save weight, but the ease/speed of use and money saved by not needing to replace chemical treatments for me makes the filter worth it.

Then of course there is the issue of fuel. So long as there is not a very heavy deluge of rain, there is lots of fuel at my disposal for campfire for me to cook. I am opting no pot, keep it simple with meat and veggies grilled on a stick. Though to help process fuel/make grill sticks, it really helps to have a knife, so what I save in no pot I loose with the knife.

Anyhow, yes I found your report very interesting, thanks again :)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: My first XUL trip coming up! on 05/31/2012 17:11:32 MDT Print View

XUL first labeled by Glen Van Peski as sub 4 base pack weight (what I could call packed base weight) and then labeled by Alan Dixon as sub 4 FSO base weight (what I would call total base weight).

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Just one more week! on 07/12/2012 15:23:14 MDT Print View

Very excited about my trip next week. I made a few changes to my gear list, for anyone that followed this thread when it started, but it is still 4.99lbs total BW+CW.

Preparing for the trip, I decided to write a blog about my preparations/thoughts on the trip, and make it a two part piece. You can check out the first part here:

And I will of course link to the trip report once it is completed.

Thanks again to those of you who gave feedback and anyone that actually reads my blog :)

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Finally the trip report on 07/20/2012 13:34:54 MDT Print View

After much cursing under my breath at blogger for randomly throwing in nasty formatting errors in my post and having to painstakingly fix them, my (nearly) XUL trip report is up:

Hope you like it. I sure loved the trip, it ranks as one of the best trips I have ever been on :D

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/01/2012 18:21:53 MDT Print View

such a sweet sack, pretty inexpensive too. Curious, during the hike were you wishing you added features like a hipbelt, rolltop closure, or side compression?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
. on 08/01/2012 18:27:31 MDT Print View

Also your knife is 3.7 ounces.

I use a KA-BAR 13 fixed with sheath and a lot of paracord to give it a handle it weighs only 1.7oz.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: . on 08/05/2012 20:22:30 MDT Print View

Sorry it took a while to get back to you, as I said on my blog I was away on vacation and just got around to checking BPL again.

To answer your question about the pack, no I didn't really feel the need to have any other options, but keep in mind the conditions. I was on a (poorly) marked trail, and only did some light off-trail and bushwhacking. So I was not climbing around all that much. My main go to bag is usually my hybrid-cuben zero that has a minimal hip belt and sternum strap. The sternum strap takes more of the weight, but the hip belt is more for balance and to keep the pack from flopping around while I am monkeying around. I also use the hip strap as a belt to attach a knife.

Speaking of knives, yeah, I have seen a few lighter and higher quality blades out there. I will have to get my hands on one eventually. Thanks for the tip. It would have to be fixed blade though. I have had several folding knives over the years, and while they are great for many uses, I prefer a fixed blade for woodsy stuff nearly always.

Justin Brennan
(jgbrennan) - MLife

Locale: Here and there.
Nice Trip Report on 08/21/2012 23:48:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the report. Looks like beautiful country, and is on my short(er) list of places I'd like to do some backpacking in one day.