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whats your sul system?
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brandon hippler
(brandonhippler) - F
whats your sul system? on 09/09/2012 20:27:53 MDT Print View

My super ultralite system consist of

sea to summit 20 liter sil nylon backpack. 2.5 oz
coleman max 800 ml cook pot
adventure medical kits ultralite .3
sol emergency blanket
grand trunk nano 7
cheap 1 dollar walmart knife
esbit titanium stove. .4 oz
princeton tech head lamp
travel size deodorant
travel size toothpaste
travel size tooth brush
5 matches
bic lighter
small thing of deet
small sewing kit
gsi outdoors spoon
duck tape
water tablets
mosquito net.

all weighs in at 2 pounds 8 ounces

Edited by brandonhippler on 09/09/2012 20:29:31 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: whats your sul system? on 09/09/2012 20:45:39 MDT Print View

So with no extra clothes and just the SOL blanket you can be comfortable to what temperature?

No bottom insulation for your hammock.

What if it rains? You have nothing.

Ditch the sewing kit, toothpaste and deodorant. I found the shoulder straps on that pack to bunch up and be quite uncomfortable

Have you actually done trips with this set up?

Edited by kthompson on 09/09/2012 20:50:48 MDT.

brandon hippler
(brandonhippler) - F
my system on 09/09/2012 21:16:44 MDT Print View

yes when i know its not going to rain. and if i guess right water, food, and clothes are not included. i dont who could hike under 5 pounds with 2 pounds of water plus clothes and food.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: my system on 09/09/2012 21:22:47 MDT Print View

Well if you are talking base weight it does not take into account for consumables such as food, water and fuel.

brandon hippler
(brandonhippler) - F
my weight on 09/09/2012 21:24:54 MDT Print View

every thing all together weighed 8 pounds. i was quite comfortable with just a softshell jacket at 65 degrees. i always bring dehydrated food.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Whats your SUL system? on 09/09/2012 21:41:19 MDT Print View

Get rid of the deodorant! It is OK to stink on the trail.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: whats your sul system? on 09/10/2012 07:43:13 MDT Print View

So, this setup can't handle rain or even moderate cold and it must be for a location that doesn't require water to be carried at all. This is the problem with SUL discussions, it is so impractical for the 99% of the country/world where those assumptions can't be made. Not to mention that there is likely a practical time limit such as an overnighter that also comes into play, not sure you could load 5 days worth of food into that little pack and call it comfortable.

So, what would your setup be if you had to handle the possibility of rain, cold down to say 30 at night and you needed to be able to handle a waterless section of say ten miles and carry three days worth of food. That evens the playing field a bit.

Edited by gg-man on 09/10/2012 07:46:20 MDT.

brandon hippler
(brandonhippler) - F
base weight on 09/10/2012 12:50:48 MDT Print View

no one in the world could hike under 5 pounds with clothes food and water. thats why its classified as your base weight. food water and clothes are extra. and yes i have used this system when its warm at night and i know its not going to rain.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Question on 09/12/2012 13:13:54 MDT Print View

How many nights have you used this system? How far away from the trailhead did you get? To me this looks more like a PSK (personal survival kit) than an SUL backpacking kit, although a self-respecting PSK would still have at minimum a trash bag to create an emergency shelter. The lack of a lightweight tarp and some sort of sleeping insulation makes your kit incomplete. Anyone can go SUL if they leave important components out of their kit. I can't think of an environment that remains warm enough at night to have no insulation where it doesn't rain. Areas that it doesn't rain (desert) it gets cold at night. So it seems to me, depending on where you live, you at bare minimum need to add either a small tarp/plastic sheet for rain cover, or a sleeping bag/quilt, or both.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Question on 09/12/2012 16:54:20 MDT Print View

I think it's disappointing that people load up consumables lists with anything other than food, water, and fuel...same for worn items portion of gearlists. It's true anybody can go UL or even SUL/XUL if you cheat like this ; ).

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
my current system on 09/12/2012 16:58:14 MDT Print View

I am not going to repeat the concerns raised by others, but I encourage you to take into consideration the issues raised.

But seeing as in the title of the OP you asked about SUL systems, here is what I am planning on taking with me (base weight) this weekend on an overnighter here in Sweden. The weather is high chance of rain, high of 15C to low of 12C.

Pack: Zpacks custom hybrid cuben Zero, 240g
Shelter: Zpacks Hexamid tarp, stuff sack, titanium stakes, stake sack, guy lines, 175g
Ground cover: garbage bag, 42g
Sleeping bag: synthetic rated 13C, stuff sack, 480g
Sleeping mat: trimmed foam pad, strap, 200g
Back pad in pack/sit mat/leg pad for sleep: 40g
Sleeping socks: 30g
Synthetic long sleeve top: 175g
Synthetic beanie: 50g
Synthetic vest: 190g
Clothing stuff sack: 10g
Rain jacket: Zpacks cuben WPB, stuff sack, 135g
Water bottles: 2 recycled generic plastic, 1.5l total, 50g
Knife: Mora basic, 105g
FAK: 50g
PSK (compass, fire kit, string, flashlight, soap, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste): 110g
Map: 15g
Pot and stove kit: 150g

Total: 2247g / 4.94lbs

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
hexamid on 09/12/2012 20:51:43 MDT Print View

How do you hold up your tarp? Trekking pole?

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: hexamid on 09/13/2012 00:56:50 MDT Print View

Stick from the woods. I know where on my body to measure the stick, cut it, trim it with my knife, and use a tissue or piece of trash from my food to act as a buffer between stick and tarp to be extra careful with fabric.

brandon hippler
(brandonhippler) - F
my system on 09/14/2012 03:44:54 MDT Print View

I know im getting flak for my system but im not dumb when i set out. i make sure its not going to rain and the temperature isnt going to get to low. this is my bare minimum. i have hiked like this a couple of times. i live in ohio and my favorite trail is the zaleski backpack trail. if i know its going to rain i will bring a tarp. last time i did this hike it got down to 65. it was a little chilly at night but it wasnt unbearable nor did i put myself in danger.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re whats your sul system? on 09/14/2012 11:15:11 MDT Print View


If your gear is working fine for the weather, then I think that's great. I have great respect for people that can make a minimalist system work and for people that experiment with PSK systems. I just have trouble with defining it as a true SUL system when you don't have a shelter or sleeping bag/quilt included. It's incomplete. There are others that have SUL systems that have all the components required to do multiple nights or even thru-hikes at the same weight you have. Maybe I'm just being a stick in the mud, but it just seems to me anyone can say they are SUL if they leave out major components for a single overnighter in guaranteed good weather. I carry a PSK that I could do an emergency bivy if a dayhike went wrong that is less than 5 lbs also, but I don't consider it an SUL system because...well, it's not.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: whats your sul system? on 09/14/2012 22:09:28 MDT Print View

Hey Brandon,

I am by no means going to criticize you or your gear list or anything else. I do not know you, have never hiked with you, and have no idea of your hiking experience.

I have been a XUL hiker for the last few years and have both enjoyed it and very much not enjoyed it.

There are some improvements you can make to your gear list to make your SUL/XUL hiking a bit more enjoyable and safer. At these weights is it all about safety and education. So much of your time must be spent educating yourself on your gear, the trail and escape routes, the weather conditions and how to read the approach weather, and how to control your thermoregulation.

One of the fun aspects of my style of hiking is that when I am not out doing long distance hiking is getting out for sub-24-hour hikes. During the summer time is the best time for this because it really allows you to experiment with your gear without putting yourself at a larger risk.

The lightest I was ever willing to risk for a three day hike was a 1.67 pound BPW setup. You can see the gear list at this page and click the "summer 2011" tab on the bottom. My TPW was 7.53 pounds with a 9.93 TSO weight. I had already had a fair amount of XUL experience at this point (lots of s24h hikes and even more two day hikes) and the max that the backpack could carry was the gear listed and three days of food, so I was never able to do more than three days with this setup. It should be noted that this was done in the summer time with a reported zero-chance of rain. Nighttime temps were a little less than 10 degrees less than the day time temperatures, so I was able to go out without a shelter (tarp). I did all of the hikes with this setup in an area I knew well, where I knew every alternative way to get off of the trail, and multiple friends and family knew exactly where I was going to be, when I was going to be somewhere, and when I was going to check in, and so forth. Hiking at this level means not just a lot of education and trail experience, but the ability to have a support team available to you should you need it/them.

You very much need to build yourself a spreadsheet and really document each and every item. One of the mistakes I made early on. You make no mention of things such as a compass (and no hiker should be out without one, especially a SUL/XUL hiker!), how you are going to clean your cloths as you apparently only have one set, what you are going to clean your cooking pot with when it starts to get nasty (toothpaste? dirt?), cordage (because really, duck tape is not the end-all of trail maintenance items... you going to use ducktape when your shoelaces snap?), your drivers license, money (phone call for support team, to give to somebody that might give you a ride back to your car or into town) -- these are items you carry not because you think you will use them, but because they are items that you carry because some day you might actually need them! A lot of things I am just not seeing that you did not mention on your list (or maybe you did not take them, putting yourself at even greater risk and doing a bit of a dis-service to SUL/XUL hiking as a whole) and having that spreadsheet will help you really work out all of these issues.

A lot of it comes down to who you are and what kind of hiker you want to be and what style of hiking you want to do. Nobody here at BPL can do anything but provide advice and experience from their own self-education based on their style of hiking. Keep getting out there and learning as much as you can and sharing with us and other hikers you might know and be open to hearing people offer a lot of suggestions and learning from them, even if they are not hikers that are the same style of hiker that you are.

Anyway Brandon, keep at it and I look forward to seeing your progression in the future!


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: whats your sul system? on 09/18/2012 01:45:04 MDT Print View

To be honest, SUL or XUL is not that difficult. Problem for me is carrying enough food and water for multiple days and having a comfortable carrying pack.

One really needs to be prepared for weather... in spite of what the weatherman says is going to happen. He is often wrong -- even in the desert.

Here is my version of a XUL trip, to include cold weather and rain. Total pack weight with consumables was over 15lbs. Base weight plus everything worn or carried was under 5lbs. I would have been much happier on this trip using my McHale Bump. But I like to push the limits several times each year. Keep me young :)

Birthday Trip

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: whats your sul system? on 09/28/2012 10:41:01 MDT Print View

If not mistaken, I believe 5 lb base wt is SUL.?.? The below kit is a bit over but should keep me comfy down to 32 night time temps and dry night and day. Would easily be under 5 lbs if I traded my Neoair for my foam and used the Sawyer Squeeze as my drinking/storage vessel.

Zimmerbuilt Zen pack w/ modified cuben shoulder strap pocket & hip belt replaced w/ webbing - 10 oz
Western Mountaineering Linelite bag w/ added fleece/silnylon shoulder flaps - 15.97
6' long plastic garment bag for VBL - 1.56
Zpacks Hexamid modified like SMD Wild Oasis, in over sized MYOG silnylon bag doubling as nighttime food bag - 7.58
9 Ti stakes carried in small gatorade bottle doubling as urinal - 3.66
MYOG cuben poncho/ground cloth - 3.6
Neoair, reg - 13.24
MYOG Tyvek hooded jacket - 2.95
MYOG Tyvek chaps - 1.73
Sawyer Squeeze filter w/ med bag, no cap or spout, in cuben bag - 3.35
Klean Kanteen water bottle w/ modified plastic lid - 6.83
MYOG Super Cat stove w/ foil wind break - .28
Listerene sample fuel bottle - .54
MYOG Ti/lexan breakdown spork - .71
Snow Peak Ti pot w/ foil lid in MYOG nylon bag - 2.8
MYOG keychain headlamp - .30
Mini Bic w/ duct tape around - .60
Toothbrush w/ half handle removed & single flosser - .19
Aitor Skinner knife in MYOG sheath - 1.14
1st aid & emergency fire starting kit - .97
MYOG wide brimmed sun hat - 1.04
Polypro short sleeve tee - 4.0
Turtle Fur feece hat - .8
Pentax Optio W20 - 5.51
89.35 = 5 lb 9.35 oz

I have been using similar kit for the past 4 yrs. This is the exact kit used last wkd. 22 miles. 40 deg night time low, 85 day time high. Short night time rain, intermittent day time rain. Lowest elev = 6400', highest elev = 9700'. 41 North latitude.

14.33 oz food/day. Had 2 oz left over + 1 oz fuel.

Minus water, total weight carried in pack when not wearing jacket or hat = 7 lb 9.06 oz.

I wore modified nylon cargo shorts, generic syn boxers, generic wicking long sleeve top, generic ankle high syn socks & Vivobarefoot Breathos.

I take no pants. Instead, I wear my chaps to add warmth to my legs at camp. Chaps double to keep legs dry under poncho. The other two things I always take are sunglasses and small Timex watch.

I take no other stuff sacks or bags other than those listed. I take no toothpaste, sunscreen, balms, or other similar comfort items.

Very pleased with this kit.

Edited by rustyb on 09/28/2012 16:28:24 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Yowzah!!! A s s-less Chaps! on 10/01/2012 16:35:34 MDT Print View

"I take no pants. Instead, I wear my chaps to add warmth to my legs at camp."

Who knew? A s s-less Chaps - the new staple in any SUL kit!!!

I think we've located the last of the Village People, having left the YMCA and heading out into the wilds...... :)

Edited by veganaloha on 10/01/2012 16:38:29 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Yowzah!!! A s s-less Chaps! on 10/01/2012 17:07:16 MDT Print View

Haha....oh, I fully deserved that. What I meant to say though, is that I wear the chaps with my shorts. With my shorts, I say. I swear.