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New Essay "Ultralight Is Not Dead", by Hendrik Morkel
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
New Essay "Ultralight Is Not Dead", by Hendrik Morkel on 11/06/2012 04:05:07 MST Print View

Hendrik Morkel, of the well-known UL blog Hiking In Finland, has posted a very comprehensive essay on the state of UL today, with contributions by Glen Van Peski, Colin Ibbotson, Chris Townsend, Ron Bell, and Andrew Skurka. Take a look.

For my part I would say that ultralight itself is not at all dead. People will continue to use the ideas that the UL movement generated. I do think, however, that perhaps the heretofore enthusiasm for the UL community might have died down. I'm not sure, why. Perhaps because the glitter of the new has gained a certain patina and people are getting distracted by other shiny new things. Or it could be because of the differences in ways of seeing things or in local voices and needs have drawn people away from the overly generalized tone of the overall community. Certainly the Europeans and the Japanese are off in their own UL worlds now, with almost no contributions by the Japanese here anymore. Which could be a language thing, of course.

Either way, the article is an interesting read. Have a look.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: New Essay "Ultralight Is Not Dead", by Hendrik Morkel on 11/06/2012 07:13:07 MST Print View

A really excelent read! The philosophy of going light has never really changed.
Planning a trip with knowledge, thought and skill for every trip.
Choosing light over heavy if they do the same task.
Selecting dual purpose gear, and making it work.
Not evangilising when someone walks by with a 50pound pack.
Trying a single new thing, on every trip.
Being ready to accept the consequences and knowing how to work around them with a skill and confidence that only experience breeds.

Through out the whole artical, Hendrik, et al, mention some concepts that are clearly rhetoric. "Systems" for example. What is a system? He does not try to define it. He misses things like comfort hiking because comfort cannot be numerically compared like weight.

Regardless of it's flaws, it is still a good read for all.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Dead only applies to the Revolution on 11/06/2012 08:12:12 MST Print View

I think the first Revolution may be over... but that the movement isn't dead. I think back to that old Backpacker Mag article with the UL'ers in the 70's -- revolutionary. Fast-forward even to 6 or 7 years ago and the gear, techniques and knowledge being compiled and discussed on sites like this one (or the old blogs) were truly revolutionary.

So now, in 2012, we see commercial, mainstream products and growing acceptance of the revolutionary ideas. The UL leaders are still where they were, even leading further, but the industry and unwashed masses (such as myself) are catching up. You're no longer seen as wild-eyed lunatics, because you've affected the norm, changed the world in a sense.

So, if you were a UL backpacker to be a rebel and to make a statement, the revolution may seem dead. There's more people at the swimming hole now, and it may have lost its cache' for some. I get it.

For the rest of us, still lumbering around with heavy gear and attached to the idea that backpacks are "supposed to be more" than dental floss & tissue paper, I suggest that the revolution continues and your work remains to be done...

Edited by EBasil on 11/06/2012 08:12:46 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
New Essay "Ultralight Is Not Dead", by Hendrik Morkel on 11/06/2012 10:03:23 MST Print View

Whether ultralight is "alive" or "dead", I'll carry on doing what I've been doing regardless.

I'm not sure I even understand what all these proclamations are about or how they're relevant once you step away from a keyboard.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: New Essay "Ultralight Is Not Dead", by Hendrik Morkel on 11/06/2012 17:11:40 MST Print View

"I'm not sure I even understand what all these proclamations are about or how they're relevant once you step away from a keyboard."

My hypothesis is that the rate of change in UL gear and techniques has fallen below the threshold where it is perceived as novel. In a society addicted to novelty for the sake of novelty, this reeks of the grave. Just one more thing to be anxious, cynical, depressed about. Sort of sad, IMO.

Like Ol' Bucktoof, "I'll carry on doing what I've been doing regardless." ;0)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Targets on 11/06/2012 18:49:21 MST Print View

Labels like "UL" can be taken to the extreme but they have a purpose. They clarify what is really "lightweight" which in this case means "as light as you could reasonably go safely and comfortably" and what is not.

When I read BPL I learned that...

1. A baseweight of 10 pounds or less was a perfectly reasonably goal in most three season conditions.

2. Getting this light meant that my "big three" (shelter, sleeping bag, pack) should all be about 2 pounds and ideally less.

Now labels may not be perfect but without them I think its harder to talk about "going lighter" in an objective way. How light can you go in Alaska, in Colorado, in Virginia? It depends but having a general goal to aim for helps.