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Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT...
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/23/2012 19:52:40 MDT Print View

"Much better to strip off when you are walking , yet I keep seeing folk doing it the other way..."

The Sierra Club has a slogan that says: Take off the extra layers _before_ you get hot. Then put the extra layers back on _before_ you get cold.


Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/24/2012 06:55:20 MDT Print View

who said anything about a 50 lb pack?? I said a 20-30 lb pack

as far as layering as you go along has nothing to do with going SUL,UL, med weight or heavy weight.

I know folks who do go lightweight and I know folks who carry as they say everything including the kitchen sink but they both enjoy getting out.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/25/2012 00:05:15 MDT Print View

"I know folks who do go lightweight and I know folks who carry as they say everything including the kitchen sink but they both enjoy getting out."

In the end, you are right Eddy. It is about getting out and enjoying yourself on the trail. But along the theme of "lighter is better", I hiked for a while with a guy who was attempting to do the JMT in 12 days with 70+ pounds on his back. His potty trowel was as a metal garden shovel that probably weighed over a pound by itself. The guy was young and strong, but was still struggling. There was no way he was going to meet his goal of 12 days carrying that load. I (and a few others) gently suggested that he send home some of his non-essential stuff at Tuolomne, and he agreed, lightening his load by over 30 lbs. From what I heard, he did much better after that and indeed finished in 12 days.

Again, you are right about whats really important. But I think that people would enjoy themselves more by incorporating some simple techniques and equipment to lighten their load.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/25/2012 02:40:14 MDT Print View

Where are the lightweight backpackers?

Right now I am at about 155lbs (5'8") if I lose, say, 10 lbs ,will I be LW or UL ?

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Group Gear on 08/25/2012 06:21:12 MDT Print View

Excellent Manfred, looks like a fantastic trip.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
JMT Trip Report on 08/25/2012 08:09:35 MDT Print View


Yes, we had a fantastic trip.
You can find more details (and photos) in our JMT trip report here on BPL


Edited by Orienteering on 08/25/2012 08:41:19 MDT.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Link error? on 08/25/2012 08:38:43 MDT Print View

Might be just me, Manfred, but your trip report link seems to simply reload the current page.

Edit: I found the trip report by going through your profile. Looks great :-)

Edited by bigjackbrass on 08/25/2012 08:44:00 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Corrected link for JMT Trip Report on 08/25/2012 08:44:06 MDT Print View


Uupps. I corrected the link - it should work now.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Link error? on 08/25/2012 08:44:11 MDT Print View

Manfred's link works for me now.

Edited by kthompson on 08/25/2012 08:44:42 MDT.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Great report on 08/25/2012 12:07:49 MDT Print View

Great trip report Manfred.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 08/25/2012 12:08:47 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Say "Hi"to your boys on 08/25/2012 12:17:08 MDT Print View

Hi Tom,

Our girls missed yor boys on the last day. You must have gotten up pretty early. We hung out at Whitney Portal for a while to see whether we can give the three of you a ride to Lone Pine .

I'm sure your boys wil have life long memories from this hike with their dad. Our girls feel right now invincible. Especially Natalie thinks she is super awesome. Let's see whether her new class mates will see it the same way :)


Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
Plenty of Lightweight on the JMT on 08/26/2012 00:14:26 MDT Print View

My experience was a bit different. I just finished the JMT a bit over a week ago and met/hiked with plenty of people that hit the lightweight category (baseweight <20lbs), and even some UL'ers. I certainly saw plenty of people carrying super heavy packs, but would usually pass those people once and never see them again for the rest of the trip. Played leapfrog with several people in the lightweight category that were logging 15 mile average days.

Around Rae lakes there were more people, and more people with heavier packs as well. I think we need to consider the fact that people who are doing shorter trips and loops are more likely to have heavier packs and base weights (on average). Thru-hikers and people doing the entire JMT are probably (on average) more serious about hiking and have more experience and/or have done a lot more research as to what gear is appropriate to carry over the longer distance.

It definitely is not mainstream yet, and that is obvious by looking at what REI carries.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
I don't get it.. on 08/26/2012 11:54:31 MDT Print View

I'm relativly new here, but I'm not new to BPing, and I just don't quite understand how so many poeple in the UL community seem to think that somehow a large and/or heavy pack somehow always equates suffering or machismo, etc....

What happened to the idea of HYOH? It's kind of like people who go overly prepared have this misconcieved notion that L/UL/SUL hikers are somehow unsafe or uncomfortable.. In both cases, it may be right on an individual basis, but also may be wrong...

Different folks can handle different loads... There are people out there who can easily hike many repeated 25+ mile days in a row with a 50-70# pack without it being about suffering in the least. Likewise, there are (plenty of unfortunatly) people who if they had to hike even 10 miles for just one day, even with a 8# pack on, would see it as a miserable experience that would make them hate the outdoors... I get the feeling for some reason people seem to think that unless you have a sub 20#/10#/5# base it is somehow impossible to have fun... That's crazy talk.

Point is, there are a hell of a lot more factors that determine if someone enjoys backpacking/wilderness hiking than just the weight of what they carry on their back. I'm finding that many people in the UL communitty have become so singlemindedly focused on weight that they forget that... To the detriment of the experience overall, IMO.

Just my 0.02 And keep in mind this is the 0.02 of someone who will carry a glass bottle of good wine and a 2# oven 20 plus miles in for an overnighter because he doesn't want to risk it going skunky from being placed in a plastic (lightweight) container - yeah, it's not lightweight, but I get to sip a non skunky pinot while eating baked brie in the backcountry... Everyone has to find that balance point between weight and comfort and dollars... I doubt I'll ever be truly "UL" because I just am not comfy enough around the campground with that type of gear.. I like my creature comforts around camp - fresh baked brownies for sesert, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, thick, extra wide sleeping pads, etc - enough that it's well worth the extra effort to carry them... For others it's not worth it.

The good thing about the UL world is that there is some trickle down to middle grounders like me, and that helps.

Edited by mailesdad on 08/26/2012 12:03:15 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: I don't get it.. on 08/27/2012 11:28:25 MDT Print View


I think you are spot on.

The important things is to simply get out there and on the trail to enjoy the outdoors.

I don't care if someone is light weight or traditional, HYOH....once we are out there, we are enjoying the same views and the experience of being outdoor.

Yeah, going heavy might hurt a little and make it a little more challenging, but better than sitting infront of a tv your whole life.

Sometimes I think that UL/Lightweight people forget that we/they are on the fringe of the backpacking scene.

I see that the point of UL's effect on the broader group of backpackers is that someone might look at us and say, "Those guys are freaking nuts! But I kinda like the idea of using/doing "XXX"".

The fringe influences the center and move is or draggest it along a little bit "forward".

I am sure that there are a lot of traditional backpackers that are strong and more fit than me who are easily able to carry twice what I for them, HYOH.

I fact that I CHOSE to go lightweight for MYSELF only means that it is the best choice for ME, not an indictment that EVERYONE ELSE is doing it WRONG.

UL/Lightweight attitudes of arrogance and superiority will only serve to keep UL/Lightweight backpacking at the fringe.

Less passing judgement and simply being an available resources to others on how to go lighter.

Lord knows, I have done my share of preaching UL/Lightweight on the trail to enthusiasm getting the best of me when talking about what I do.


Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Guess I was heavy with a light mindset? on 08/27/2012 22:02:42 MDT Print View

Got back a few days ago from the JMT, did a little under half. My original plan was to never carry more than 30lbs at a time and try my ULA pack out. Well, I went from UL to heavy with a 20lb base weight. Plans changed and we had allocated 10 days from MTR to WP, about 20lbs of food. There was no way my UL pack could handle that. So, I end up using the 5lb 70L Osprey. Comfy but overkill and I no longer looked like a UL guy.

Of the people I saw, probably about 20% of them were UL with "cottage" style packs.

Sure, it is easy to go UL with a UL pack because I cannot carry as much stuff. With the big pack, I ended up carrying more junk, more water, and hiked slower. Funny thing is that I used 90% of the gear I took with me and would have been uncomfortable otherwise due to the situations encountered.

What did I do wrong? Nothing. The need for a suitable framed pack for my skin and bones frame overcame my desires to go light (and be uncomfortable with those loads) at least for this trip as our current plan required.

My goals when completing it next time: get a quilt, try a tarp and bivy combo (but it still is not much lighter than my tarptent...), maybe get a carbon fiber bear can, use a lighter pack, learn to do more with less, and better manage my food to bring weight and needed volume down dramatically.

Will I be one of those UL looking guys next year? Probably.

Oh, and bear cans suck!

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Smiling Or Not? on 08/28/2012 03:40:35 MDT Print View

I certainly fall into the HYOH camp, but feel a level of, call it "responsibility" to point the traditional backpackers with the heavy packs towards a lighter path when it doesn't look like they're having fun on the trail.

I've passed people carrying very full packs who have a big smile on their faces - they stop and chat and tell you how wonderful it is to be out in the woods. I would only say something to them if they asked about my small pack (which clearly weighs less than theirs). They're hiking their own hike and loving it. Good for them.

Likewise, I've passed people exhausted in the morning because their packs are clearly too heavy for their level of fitness. When I chat with them I almost always hear something like "must be nice to carry a daypack." And if I don't I'll steer the conversation to indicate that I'm doing the exact same hike as them. Most of the time it seems appropriate to drop the "" website, but if it doesn't then I don't.

I want to see more people ENJOYING backpacking. I'm afraid too many people try it once and decide that it's not for them.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/28/2012 04:09:02 MDT Print View

I want to see more people ENJOYING backpacking. I'm afraid too many people try it once and decide that it's not for them.

yes, thank you , that is it.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: I don't get it.. on 08/28/2012 08:56:54 MDT Print View

"There are people out there who can easily hike many repeated 25+ mile days in a row with a 50-70# pack without it being about suffering in the least."

In my time on the trail, I've only met a handful of people who fit this description. And each & everyone of them was a 20-something researcher/trailhand who had been selected for his physical strength/stamina in order to carry measurement devices & tools. To equate those with the rest of the population is a bit of a stretch.

In probably 99.99% of the cases, overloading is simply a function of lack of experience or lack of being current. There isn't a sport/activity that isn't focused on weight, speed and strength. Skiing, surfing, golfing, tennis, motor sports, etc, etc are all driven by technology that delivers greater strength:weight.

When I see an overloaded pack, around 95% of the time it's someone who is inexperienced. The other 4.99% are veterans who have equipment that has served them well, and they're not going to change ie update. The micro remainder is the rare bird who is practically a professional athlete.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 08/28/2012 08:58:01 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Where are the lightweight backpackers? Not on the JMT... on 08/28/2012 09:11:14 MDT Print View

" I cranked out 25 miles the last day from Rae Lakes to Road's end. I really enjoy backpacking light,"

I think you expressed it pretty well - you aren't "backpacking", you are distance hiking. More folks backpack than distance hiking.

Chris Scala
(Scalawag) - F
JMT on 08/28/2012 09:51:28 MDT Print View

I was on the JMT 7/25 - 8/13. Haven't been on BPL since I returned. According to my journal, I camped at Rae Lakes on 8/9.

Of all the people I met, I easily had the lightest pack out there, which was surprising as I was carrying an excess of camera batteries and a 16 oz Exped, etc. Leaving MTR, with food and water, I was at 26 lbs. (That's 9+ days of food.)

The rest of the trip I was way, way under that. Most people I met were in the high 30's.

PS: I was using a Gossamer Gear Mariposa (2012). Needed that volume for the bear canister. (Bearikade Expedition)

Edited by Scalawag on 08/28/2012 09:55:04 MDT.