Just back from seven days in and around the PCT, River Trail, Thousand Island Lake and the Clark Lakes, I saw several UL backpackers, but was personally one of the trekkers with the big manly packs that prove us to be far more masculine than the tender, fragile little bastards with the running shoes and the dental floss tents. Ha Ha!
We met a few guys that came over Donohue Pass, out of Tuolumne, and headed for Red's Meadow via Garnet/Shadow Lake, both with cuben fiber packs and Salomon high-top running shoes. They looked light, as did their Bearikades. They did confess to being hammered by the rains, however, and that's no surprise: one of those days was 14 hours of rain and hail above 8k'.
During that particular rain storm, as my Scouts were hunkered in a Copper Spur UL4 and I luxuriated in the UL2, I thought of my buddy with the dental floss tarp and bivy sack combo and realized that I am just not that hard. Ah, to have vestibule space to hang dripping gear, and a tent to change in without getting muddy! The next day, in 7+ hours of rain, the UL2 was large enough to play a marathon session of cards with my son.
Add clothes, layer system, camera, kite, fishing rig, tackle, bear canister, tripod stool, water pump, reflectix bags, stove, fuel, mess kit, platy's and such and my (too heavy) pack was full. I don't know how the UL's did it, except that I know they were wet, didn't fish, and didn't enjoy beef stew with smoked paprika and herbs while a box kite fluttered happily over the lake.
A manly box kite.