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Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel on 06/19/2012 20:30:57 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel on 06/20/2012 08:44:26 MDT Print View

Nice article, thanks.

I like the pictures of the East side of the country.

Benjamin Raty
(Sauber) - F - MLife

Locale: Mountain West
Re: Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel on 06/20/2012 10:57:24 MDT Print View

I'm a minimalist at heart and it shows in almost all facets of my life, so the idea of backpacking light held considerable appeal to me.

A long-held misunderstanding of the Boy Scout motto "Be prepared" has been my greatest obstacle to truly paring down my gear to the essentials. On an intellectual level, I know that relying upon gear to save me in a crisis is about as unprepared a state as I could put myself in, but I've got a pretty good imagination and it tends to take over as I sort my gear for an upcoming trip. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm getting better.

I loved this line from the article: "familiarity with the woods enables greater comfort with less."

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel on 06/20/2012 11:20:18 MDT Print View

Nice article, good take on "hike your own hike."

Many in my extended family think we are crazy for camping out with no shower, hot water, pillow and soft bed, etc...their idea of "roughing it" is staying at a Motel 6!

We too took the incremental approach, taking less and less as we figured out what we really need and what is superfluous. But we do take a few luxuries, at least by UL standards, and this suits us fine. I doubt our packs will ever go below 10 lbs, and this too is fine with us.

Thomas Brucia
The unforeseen... on 06/20/2012 13:51:28 MDT Print View

I think the hardest thing when reducing weight is the big question: "What if...?" This hits me when it comes to my 'first aid kit'. Of course most of the things I prepare for haven't happened (yet). I haven't touched the Immodium (what if) or the Flagyl (what if) or the Diamox (what if) or the Immodium (what if), or.... well, you get the idea. My pack weight isn't ultra-light (just a 'light' 16 pounds). I've trimmed and slimmed -- but utlimately I'll never travel with five items thrown into a rucksack. Why? Ah, yes. "What if...."

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Personal perspectives on the philosophy of lightweight travel on 06/20/2012 14:35:14 MDT Print View

Great article which was very minimal but short and to the point and I really enjoyed it,Thanks. As my wife says: "Keep it simple stupid!"

greg gibson
(lugg) - F

Locale: Salt Lake Valley
Personal Perspectives on 06/20/2012 16:15:52 MDT Print View

An excellent essay. Thank you. You nailed down some thoughts I have had, particularly as I am growing older and not as durable as I used to be.

What the elitists may sometimes miss is that there is something for everyone out there.

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
RE: Personal Persective on the Philosphy of LIghtweight Travel on 06/20/2012 16:53:38 MDT Print View

Good article. You bring to light that every hiker is different. Heck, every trip each hiker takes is different.
I can take a SUL trip if that is my goal for that trip; I have also carried a pan, a couple of beers and a dozen eggs for a short overnighter with friends. I usually carry 12 to 14 pounds for a weekend or long weekend trip; this is my "normal" comfort zone on weight, and yes, I sometimes take a luxury even on these trips. With a light pack, the luxury does not seem so silly or heavy.
Your writing is to the point of just getting out there.

Larry Human
(juniperco) - MLife
ultra light testimonal on 06/21/2012 14:28:26 MDT Print View

Thanks to you and others who have inspired me on this site.

At 64 the ultra light mentality has in a sense given years back to me. On a 10 mile day hike for instance, I can do with a 7 or 8 pound pack what I used to do at 30 carrying "everything I would ever possibly need"!

I usually hike off trail and when I get the idea to explore some side canyon or the lake up at the end of some small stream, there is little to discourage me.

James Littlle
(bigfoot15) - M
ultra light backpacking on 06/21/2012 16:06:19 MDT Print View

I agree with others, this was right on about ultra light. I have taken the slimming route as I gain experience with how much food I really need and what clothes and sleep system keeps my adequetly warm. Keeping a spread sheet for each trip with what I took and what I really use along with temps and conditions noted have helped me make sensible adjustments. Bigfoot15

dallas shewmaker

Locale: Southwest
Personal Perspectives on 06/21/2012 19:26:47 MDT Print View

I am an owner of an outdoor store and an enthusiastic evangelist for the advantages of UL backpacking via the brands we offer and the style of our advice. But I'd starve if my store depended only on those that already share, or those that can be converted to, the passion of my fellow BPL subscribers. The reality is that UL and SUL is a small part of the backpacking universe. For probably 90% of my customers, a long weekend is the most they have time for, and for most that is maybe a 15 - 25 mile trip on moderate, established trails. The author is correct - the relevance of pared-down minimalism in that type of trip may be itself, minimal. Likewise, strong, young guys are often just bemused by me (not-so-young) trying to extol the benefits of a pack or tent that weighs one pound lighter than another. The most important point is to find the weight/comfort/security balance point that is right for your strength/interests/tolerance.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Great essay on 06/21/2012 22:58:30 MDT Print View


Really enjoyed your writing. Your POV is I think shared by many here and it just points to hiking your own hike. We all do it a bit differently and that's OK. Being intimadated by those who travel lighter or heavier than we do is not the point. Embracing difference is what gives us the chance to change and to share. And for me that is what it is all about, sharing Gods creation with others. It is the ultimate act we can experience in this life.

Kristin Tennessen
(ktenness) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevadas
Real life on 06/22/2012 15:46:41 MDT Print View

Love the tie between minimalism in "real" life and trail life. I suppose that is why it is impossible to convince friends/family who are addicted to "stuff" that the outdoors has much to offer them.

Enjoyed your thoughts and photos.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: Personal Perspectives on the Philosophy of Lightweight Travel on 06/24/2012 05:39:02 MDT Print View

Nice, flowing, eloquent summary. Thank you.

Daniel Kronstadt
"shopping" for UL on 06/26/2012 20:22:31 MDT Print View

I'm a novice backpacker, but, at age 62, I certainly want to carry as little as possible. For me, one of the problems is the tendency to want to "buy what I need" to get lighter. But that's not the answer - you cannot buy MORE and end up with LESS. Sure, you can trade one piece of gear for another to save weight - but mostly I need to GET RID of stuff. And you cannot buy that.

Also, I agree with person who said "what if" is the enemy of ultralight. In my career, my job to be prepared for problems - for things to go wrong. It's hard to break that habit!

I want gear that will make me comfortable - to be able to sleep well, for example - but I know I'll never get a chance to use it more than 10 miles from the trail head, if I have to carry too much weight.


GK Lott
(gklott) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Excellent on 06/29/2012 19:49:30 MDT Print View

That's for presenting your findings in a supportive, helpful way.