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An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking
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Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking on 09/11/2012 07:33:49 MDT Print View

OP deleted for privacy concerns.

Edited by remjroth on 10/08/2012 18:05:38 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking on 09/11/2012 09:59:15 MDT Print View

I worked with a guy who aspired to sail around the world. He was training his girlfriend to downsize possessions in order to fit on a sailboat. While obviously you need tons of food, water, parts, emergency gear, he'd told her, "You're ready when all your personal gear (including clothes) fit in one duffle bag."

I like to travel (airline, vacations) light and with two kids along, I use some tricks. Clothes that wash and dry quickly. Layers to customize for the weather. Many of the multipurpose tricks (e.g. phone = camera, map, copy machine, notepad, etc) that BPers use.

For non-outdoorsy trips I especially like to use "one-way clothes". There are items that I'm about to toss. Socks or underwear that just got a small hole. For fieldwork, an old shirt that I was about to retire. I bring those clothes but toss them out as I go. There were a few years when prior to a road trip or fieldwork for work, I'd let my wife pick out a few items she never wanted to see me wear again and it would make a one-way trip.

For the fieldwork itself, I've done a lot to refine my tool kit and instruments so I can do the most with the least. The problem solving on-site is fun and remember - just 30 years ago, all houses were built without a cordless anything. Or rather, a "cordless screwdriver" was the original cordless screwdriver. You know, just a screwdriver. So often I see a guy spend 5 minutes setting up an 6-pound power tool in order to do a job in 12 seconds instead of just using a 4-ounce hand tool for 2 minutes.

The most useful piece of gear for travel or construction has a portrait of Benjamin Franklin and weighs one gram.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 09/11/2012 10:01:32 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 09/11/2012 11:38:57 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/18/2015 23:08:35 MDT.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking on 09/11/2012 11:47:29 MDT Print View

Most sailors have only a certain amount of stuff they can bring on board, having read up on sailboat living. I'd go with layers that can go in town or on the trail if your sub goes to ports of call. If they will allow you to overnight a small pack with a quilt for volume reduction, maybe go stoveless since fuel might be a problem. Maybe a UL down vest that stashes easily.


First, here's a link to a video about how a sparse home makes you feel on vacation (the speaker notes that motels rooms are uncluttered)

If you are in the Navy equivalent of officers quarters on shore, there will likely some sort of maid service. If not, having a minimalistic home can relieve stress as you aren't worried about your stuff while deployed. Come back and it's almost like a posh hotel; saves on the non-deductible repair bills, wear and tear, and need for deep cleaning.



Edited by hknewman on 09/14/2012 21:06:33 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
depends on 09/11/2012 13:26:43 MDT Print View

is yr philosophy to have the minimal amount of possessions at one given time, and minimize the unused items ... ie not have tons of extra gear around that you dont use, and that gear you have use it till it falls apart? And spend all your resource on actual use of such items ... i doubt that many here, and honestly including myself would come anywhere near that TRUE minimalist criteria

or is it to have tons of stuff, use it minimally and in specialist circumstances, and spend more resources on gear rather than the use of it ... and have a lot of "dead unused weight" sitting in the cupboard at home while prancing around with "minimal weight"

just because you have an UL setup outside, doesnt mean you are truly minimalist ... the true minimalist IMO, has very little extra gear/possessions in life and uses what he does have to the max, even if its a tad "heavier in weight" ... he simply uses it to have fun and to develop his skills

Jon Holthaus
(t25hatch) - M
Inspiring World Traveler on 09/13/2012 14:15:58 MDT Print View

Excellent topic, David I liked your response. "On the way out" makes so much sense; simple and efficient. Also the one gram solution is an everyday carried item on myself, never know when it will come in handy.

You may have heard of him, but an inspiring story to follow is Andrew Hyde. He was a young start up entrepreneur that has an incredible story to follow. He sold all of his possessions and lived with 15 items out of a backpack for over a year. Youtube him and you'll see his speech at ingite (similar to TEDx). He now has since refined his kit to 39 items.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Great post! on 09/14/2012 13:31:44 MDT Print View

I have a yearning to be that utilitarian one cup/ one spoon type of person at some point. With 7 kids and the wife it's not going to happen soon. Couple that with the mass amount of gear testing and experience gained over the last 2 years in the gear swap and I fall WAY short. But I have narrowed down much, and outfitted many kids.

The travel tips were wonderful, thanks for that insight. Thanks David. I walk in the door, see the invevitable bomb blast of 7 kids 11 and under and think it's insurmountable. But it really is a goal. And BPL / UL mentalities Jive real well with it.

I find state of mind is the key component. Contentment with the things one has, not the wants. It also makes retirement planning much easier. lol

Good luck and following seas!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Industrial Engineering on 09/18/2012 02:18:58 MDT Print View

To me UL hiking is not a lifestyle or philosophy. It is all about efficiency. In manufacturing and other production driven operations workplace organization is often optimized using the 5S methodology. And that is what I do with backpacking. I become an Industrial Engineer.

Eliminate all unnecessary stuff. Keep only essential gear and eliminate what is not required, keep everything in easily-accessible order. Everything else is tossed.

Straightening Out
There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. Keep your pack organized and gear is always in the same place for efficiency.

Clean gear, and keep it organized. At the end of each rest stop or morning make sure everything is returned to its proper place in the pack or pockets. This makes it easy to know what goes where and ensures that everything is where it belongs.

Hiking practices should be consistent and standardized. Do things in a systematic way. Analyze the steps to erect shelters, cook, etc. Map out each task into operations. Count and time operations. Refine, reduce steps, increase efficiency.

Sustaining the Practice
Maintain and review the above 4 standards. Once the previous 4 S's have been established, they become the new procedures. Keep focused on the new procedure and do not slip back into old habits. Think about the new procedure, and think about how you can improve efficiency.

In my real life I abhor minimalism. We get what we need, we enhance our lives with art and technology, and we do not lust after things because others have them. Many things we own make us more efficient at home and work so we can save money, and more importantly create additional leisure time for ourselves... this allows me to hike more, camp with my wife more, and spend more time with my family. Contrary to what the "minimalists" would tell us.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking on 09/19/2012 08:52:32 MDT Print View

Living a minimalist life is I suppose a freeing way - I'd say that for years I lived that way. I could move everything I owned in my vehicle. But...would I live it now? No. I have no desire to. My possessions don't own me but I find them helpful to how I live my life.
A minimalist life seems easiest when you are young, with no roots yet or when older and changing how you live. In between? It is nice to have roots.
More so...having a family changes a lot of it. At least for me. I still have a tiny closet for example but I don't make my children only have 2 toys and 4 outfits.
But to add to the question posed: for me my career has been influenced by possessions I own. Without them I wouldn't have the job I do :-)

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: An Ultralight Philosophy Outside of Hiking on 09/19/2012 12:01:11 MDT Print View

About the OP’s actual question: There's regs for dealing with government paperwork, data, etc.. and having worked data in the military in the ground forces in the 2000's, we stored (past tense - I'm retired) most of our stuff on the military's version of "the Cloud" stateside and overseas. I don't know if the Navy has a system to upload when a sub surfaces, but there's always disc. You shouldn't need much paperwork. What I found useful was an Excel spreadsheet referencing my caseload (in the US) or my projects (overseas) with start date, suspense date,.. an electronic version updated daily - stateside, and sent to myself (government smartphone … Crackberry). Get a call from the Colonel about xyz at home, put it on speakerphone, and do a keyword search. Then a physical version for staff meetings.

Colonels stay happy when one can whip out an obscure case from several months past and usually won't press the issue; I actually saw full-birds test subordinates by pulling out a case from several months ago in front of everyone in a staff meeting. I do not know if the Navy is the same way. Some assignments require officers keep their Crackberry’s on 24/7 btw. Like the rest of government and corporate America, the military is increasingly plugged in.

Same with many civilian workers I know as I reenter the workforce, tethered to a cell phone "on call" at all hours. Something to think about when asking about off-time.. is it really off anymore?

Home-wise I need to agree with Sarah, and add I’m not criticizing any woman decorating a shared space anymore than eating a peanut butter-honey sandwich in front of a hungry grizzly while flipping it the bird.

Edited by hknewman on 09/19/2012 21:38:03 MDT.

James Castleberry
Buying less stuff on 09/19/2012 12:17:20 MDT Print View

My experience is that as I move along my personal spiritual journey, I want less stuff as a natural course of events. For example, if an iPhone is made by a 15-yr-old Chinese girl who is working 15 hours a day for 15 cents an hour at a factory with suicide nets around the perimeter of the roof, is it something you still want?

Max B

Locale: PNW
more buying less stuff on 09/21/2012 19:47:28 MDT Print View

Check out this article ( At the same time that I've been working toward a UL philosophy I've been working toward a simpler life in other areas of my life. It is important to focus on the things you want in life on the trail or off.

Edited by mxbenson on 09/21/2012 19:53:28 MDT.