Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Some thoughts on the latest kerfuffle


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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Some thoughts on the latest kerfuffle on 10/29/2012 11:59:27 MDT Print View

[Disclaimed; the word STAFF to your left may lead to an overinflated interpretation of the following.]

First, I see the recent spam attack as merely an aggravating factor in an ongoing debate/discussion/issue which has gone on for years. One example of this might be the 2006 thread began by Miguel and recently dredged back into my sight by Ken, Alexander et al.

Second, said discussion and the related but semi-distinct debate about restricting forum access are occurring, have occurred, and will continue to occur in a rather hermetic echo chamber. There are readers/members who don't even look at the forums. Obviously I'm also one of those who cannot keep my mouth shut on the internet and thus also find this hard to believe, but there you have it.

Third, I have a real job which has little if anything to do with writing articles for BPL. Its importance is inexpressibly greater than anything having to do with backpacking, and I do not see that changing. My suspicion is that many prominent voices here could say similar things.

Fourth, BPL is very important to an impressive number of people. I would respectfully suggest that many of them (you) would be well served by spending more time publically expressing why.

Fifth, that 'net has changed and will continue to change how outdoor writing is done, especially the more technical branches (which often but not exclusively have to do with equipment). The shortcomings of mainstream, ad and subscription funded publications is I assume what drove most of us here. I would submit that the different shortcomings of blogs are what keep many coming back, "death of BPL" pronouncements to the contrary. What is the relevant content you want as a passionate backpacker? Where are you going to find it in the future?

Sixth, ultralight is dead. Therefore long live ultralight.

Yours,
Dave

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Ultralight "dead"?? on 10/29/2012 12:18:31 MDT Print View

Really Dave, UL is "dead" - REALLY?

Do elaborate.

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Some thoughts on the latest kerfuffle on 10/29/2012 12:23:39 MDT Print View

Thanks Dave, I especially appreciate your fourth point.

For the last few years BPL been my primary resource for information and inspiration for anything backpacking related. Even though there are now some other good blogs and sites that provide similar information, I still like coming to BPL to see what people have to say about a particular gear item or way of doing things.

None of my friends are UL backpackers, so it's fun to come on here and let my gear-geek flag fly.

-David

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: Some thoughts on the latest kerfuffle on 10/29/2012 19:44:53 MDT Print View

If my posts have aggravated your digestive tract I faux-humbly submit to you my use of sardonic humor and unabashed disrespect for internet forum seniority. I'm but a lowly chubby bastard who spends more time thinking about how to shed a pound of pack weight than 10 pounds of @ss weight. For that motivation, and all the continued motivation to be both a good American consumer and buy more gear, as well as actually use said gear and continue to be a life-long "outdoor dog", I do thank you for your efforts. In fact, I twenty five dollars thank you and you can expect my gratitude in (and I'm estimating this) about eleven months. ;-D

Best regards,
Alec

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: thoughts on 10/29/2012 20:36:46 MDT Print View

Alex, I can assure you that no part of me is irritated. As for the rest of your comment, I am mystified.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Colorado
Even more thoughts on 10/29/2012 21:13:23 MDT Print View

"Third, I have a real job which has little if anything to do with writing articles for BPL. Its importance is inexpressibly greater than anything having to do with backpacking, and I do not see that changing. My suspicion is that many prominent voices here could say similar things.

Fourth, BPL is very important to an impressive number of people. I would respectfully suggest that many of them (you) would be well served by spending more time publically expressing why."

Where do you lie on the BPL-importance Continuum?

I understand that this forum is important to many people as a community, but I also understand that once you learn the basics of the lightweight backpacking ethos, there isn't a whole lot more to talk about. At this point, I only buy/sell the occasional piece of gear on gear swap (which to me is worth the price of admission), posted my first trip report (which was labor intensive enough), and browse the MYOG forum to glean bits of wisdom. In addition, the people who contribute to this website have jobs, families, and adventures of their own. Brow-beating them to "do less, write more" isn't going to make things any better either.

If BPL ever goes under, I'm sure enough people would care to scrounge together resources and start their own community, if that is what they are craving. And honestly, I'm not that concerned about BPL going the way of the dodo. I'll enjoy it while I can, and will find something else if/when it bites the dust.

But while the community is nice, it is also the internet, and a bit far removed from what our supposed hobby is.

So what I'm saying is...

Get outdoors.

Edited by aaronufl on 10/29/2012 21:17:50 MDT.

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: re: thoughts on 10/29/2012 23:26:49 MDT Print View

@David: Was just saying thanks and that BPL has kept me motivated to both buy gear, learn stuff, and get back to doing things outside. And that if I offended I'm sorry and I offer to you my goofy brand of sarcasm and confusingly verbose humor as comfort, because I'm not all that serious. Ever.

I could have just said it that way but I spend time writing bland technical stuff all day and I appreciate the flourishes.

Anyhow, thanks, and carry on. :)

Edited by aeriksson on 10/29/2012 23:27:29 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Some thoughts on the latest kerfuffle on 10/30/2012 04:41:58 MDT Print View

I don't spend much time on BPL anymore, though I've been "reawakened" with this recent flare of thread. For me BPL is of course partly about backpacking, but it is also about talking with friends, many of whom I've known for more than ten years, quite a few of whom I've met in real life. Our common love of backpacking keeps the root of our conversations going, but whether or not we talk about backpacking really isn't important to me. The friendships are. And the occasional good laughs or involved discussions. Living in Japan where I don't get much chance to speak English in this way makes the BPL community important.

Discussions come and go and come back again and there is nothing wrong with that. For many online threads you can't think in terms of a timeline. People want to voice their opinions and feelings when they come across a discussion, even if it is old. Emotions flare up, calm back down, and work themselves out. I think these forums would be inexpressibly boring if it were all technical discussion with no human drama to liven things up.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Ultralight "dead"?? on 10/30/2012 11:00:16 MDT Print View

"Really Dave, UL is "dead" - REALLY? Do elaborate."

Eric- There has been a handful of the more visible UL'ers/bloggers like Skurka that have been proclaiming this for a while now. I think to hopefully remove the labels that we backpackers love to give each other. Us humans love our labels though, so they will persist.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 10/30/2012 11:02:03 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
We take ourselves too seriously sometimes on 10/30/2012 12:41:04 MDT Print View

We don't need BPL, Backpacker, Ray Jardine, Ryan Jordan, etc. to hike and enjoy ourselves.

None of the above invented light or UL backpacking; or whatever terms you wish to use to define what you do.

Many years ago there was no Internet and no backpacking sites. There was Backpacker magazine, which I stop reading around the time Volume 3 appeared. I did read a few Colin Fletcher books in my youth. And somehow I managed to hike and even do it with light gear on my own. My main resources where the paper catalogs from REI and Campmor, especially Campmor who entered the weight of every item.

I stumbled upon BPL a few years ago when I wanted to get even lighter, as age was catching up and I was slowing done. But I could have/would have found the information I needed without BPL.

What attracts me to BPL, are the people on the forums. Should BPL fold, then my life will not be impacted terribly... it will just be a minor, temporary inconvenience. And I shall still hike. The potential demise of BPL will not leave a gap in my life. I won't be looking for some other Internet venue to replace it. In regards to hiking, I have found that experience is the best teacher anyway.

Hike more, read BPL less :)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: We take ourselves too seriously sometimes on 10/30/2012 13:56:24 MDT Print View

I know if it was not for Bpl I would spending less time on line and spending less money on kit.

But sure I got to have something to keep me sane ;-)

Edited by stephenm on 10/30/2012 18:19:28 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Backpacking Identity in the Post-Ultralight World. on 10/30/2012 17:18:32 MDT Print View

Ultralight is dead? Uh oh. I guess it's time to move on.

Every identity movement seems to have this moment, the final reckoning when all the original advocates and icons realize the message has been lost, the message has been corrupted, or that the message was completely goofy all along.

It sort of reminds of when all the original Nirvana die-hards started seeing 14 year old cheerleaders wearing Nirvana shirts and had to scurry to publicly distance themselves from the band before it was too late.

I guess now that ultralight is dead I'm off to find something else obscure and "fringe" to label myself with.

From now on, I will refer to myself as a "soul" backpacker.

UL? SUL? XUL?

Naaahh maaaannnn, I just walk the Earth.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: Backpacking Identity in the Post-Ultralight World. on 10/30/2012 19:08:39 MDT Print View

I see ultralight-- and/or lightweight, depending upon your preferred term-- as becoming more and more mainstream in the world of backpackers. Everyone I know, and everyone I've met in the past 5 years, is thinking of lightness.

Yet I also think some people see "ultralight backpacking" as its own clique. They usually are the ones acting as gatekeepers:

"Your base weight is over 10 lb, so you can't join us."

"Until you're down to 10 lb, you're not really ready."

"When you stop wasting ounces, you might go UL."

etc. etc. etc.

You get my point? There are far too many people who get too religious/too dogmatic about UL (and, for that matter, about everything), and they develop this pathological mindset of "this is it, forever and ever, either get in or stay out."

I'm with The Bucktoof on this: Walk the Earth. Be a soul backpacker. Let it be.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Backpacking Identity in the Post-Ultralight World. on 10/30/2012 19:23:04 MDT Print View

> "Your base weight is over 10 lb, so you can't join us."
> "Until you're down to 10 lb, you're not really ready."
> "When you stop wasting ounces, you might go UL."

I wonder: is this also a myth? I have to say I have never read any postings which say this.

Yes, I have read replies to a posting from a 40 lb backpacker suggesting that a lot of what he is carrying is excess or irrelevant, but only because said backpacker was asking for comments or advice. That seems fair to me.

Yes, I have read various peoples' definitions of what the boundaries are between SUL and UL and L, but that was just to give a context for the discussion. Can't argue about UL/SUL if you don't have a definition in terms of weight, after all.

Cheers

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Backpacking Identity in the Post-Ultralight World. on 10/31/2012 07:13:29 MDT Print View

+1 Roger.

Perhaps the comment I've heard most often from most UL hikers is, "Hike your own hike." That says it all, I think.