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Is National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Ready to Go Light?
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Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Branch level reform on 04/13/2007 06:59:42 MDT Print View

"The 40# initiative came from the branch level"

That should help tremendously. I always got good support from program supervisors and the issue room at the RMB.

For those who don't know, in Lander there are two very different incarnations of NOLS. The International HQ is probably the largest building in Lander, and it offers three stories of offices filled with all the folks who run human resources, set policy, handle finance, provide publicity, perform research, handle records, and coordinate visa and whatnot for the (I believe) 9 different branches of the school (plus the assorted "twigs" which are offshoots of the twigs worldwide). Most of the full-time employees for the school work here. This is sort of the Pentagon for the school.

Then you have the branches which are on the ground meeting directly with students and making things happen. This is where folks draw their gear, bag their rations, get checked over for itinerary, and so forth before heading into the backcountry. Most of the people working here are seasonal employees on a contract.

It is MUCH easier to make a change here than in the "big building" up the road. It was at the Rocky Mountain Branch that I was first introduced to Aqua Mira in 2002. And it was here that I actually had the chance to sit down with folks and offer a few thoughts to the program supervisors who were creating the GPS curriculum the school began using in 2003. Folks at the branch are generally intimately concerned with what happens in the field and the program supervisors listen to what instructors and even students have to say.

If the push toward lighter packs is happenning at the RMB (Rocky Mountain Branch - which by the way is by far the biggest of the branches) then the intitiative will likely be successful, so long as funding and liability issues from above don't prevent the branch from making it happen.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: sporks on 04/13/2007 09:44:15 MDT Print View

Hehheh...
I use a Lexan GSI Foon. Love it! I even have other sporks as well. We have the normal GS spork as well.
The Foon is pretty nifty as it has a huge spoon bowl for liquids.
I like that I can get my pasta with it. Though a normal spoon does work just fine ;-)

Now, for the true lover of utensils, the GSI Rehydration long handled Lexan spoon is too cool!

I am odd in that I don't use Ti utensils. I can't stand metal clanking on my teeth. Gives me the willies!

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
Solutions may be more complex than status quo on 04/15/2007 10:23:01 MDT Print View

I found the podcast really necessary to understand the problems faced.

I don’t know about Ray Jardine calling his insightful lightweight paradigm a pyramid: perhaps a “systems approach” would be just as good. And that’s just what NOLS needs to go light.

How do you get bag weight down using zero degree synthetic bags? (my guess is the safety factor when wet with beginners argues for synthetics) Certainly zero degree bags are not always needed, and a systems approach using clothing, liners, would help at the expense of more complex purchases and instruction on NOLS’s part.

Light weight tents may not take rough beginner abuse very well, and with the best cheap substitutes such as floorless tarp tents or plastic/nylon tarps, you may have to deal with biting bugs and very different use methods for staff to learn and teach.

Alcohol stoves are not that easy to do fine cooking with, as opposed to meal in bag water boiling, and disposable canister stoves may not fit into the environmental ethic of NOLS.

Additionally, I can imagine the life of a rainshield suit used in brush by a novice 16-year old. (or average adults, for that matter)

Without lightweight solutions to most of these, you won’t be able to use a light pack, and thus use light shoes or very light boots. And there goes your lightweight backpacking system.

I believe this can be done, but I also suspect the solutions will involve more complex purchases than NOLS is used to, along with teaching some basic field care and repair as well as buying some lower priced gear with more frequent replacements.

I'm not at all convinced that much of this change can be gradual, however, because in a systems approach, everything is connected to everything else. (as John Muir said)

Edited by ericl on 04/15/2007 10:36:58 MDT.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
What about buy-in? on 04/15/2007 19:52:56 MDT Print View

To be blunt, when I hear stories about so-called "students" destroying bomber gear through pure belligerent ham-fistedness, I want to call them spoiled brats.

I was a scout, and from the first time I touched a tent or a stove I knew darned well that I was to learn to handle these items with care. Why? Because it was what we had to keep the rain off of our heads and to put food in our bellies, and most importantly it was *all* we had. It was all we had for that trip, but it was also all we had for that season or longer.

We spent countless hours going from door to door collecting empty bottles and cans to buy that equipment, and a given tent could already have survived a decade or more of 4-season camping before it kept the snow or rain off of our faces. We were taught to respect our gear, to protect it and maintain it.

Imagine a soldier standing in front of his drill instructor, asking for a new rifle because his was full of sand and dented. Would the DI say "this guy's just new; he's never even handled a weapon before"? No way. When your life depends on your kit, the number one lesson is caring for your kit. You'd be embarrassed to be the guy who blew a hole through his shelter or who slammed his pack down and wrecked a seam.

Are these students so spoiled that they're allowed to thrash steel-and-cordura equipment to within an inch of its' life, and the instructors just sigh and pull a 3lb repair kit from a 70lb pack? Is that an instructor, or a servant?

In my opinion, caring for your kit (and not being a hoon with it) is one of the most basic lessons of outdoorsmanship. Whether your kit is made of silnylon or 200-denier smithsonian fabric, if you refuse to be a responsible steward of it then are you really "with the program"? Or are you just acting like a city-dwelling consumer who has repair and replacement at his fingertips 24 hours a day?

Supposing the students had buy-in on protecting their kit? Supposing they were charged for damage, or penalized in some other way? Their grades maybe? I'm just brainstorming; I know nothing of NOLS.

Supposing that students were informed at the outset that one of the great challenges of outdoorsmanship is to have a safe and enjoyable time using only available resources?

I think that the whole you-smash-it-I'll-repair-it philosophy goes along with the previous poster's comment about dominating the outdoors vs. being in harmony with it. If you need bomber combat-grade tackle just to get from point A to point B, have you really learned the lesson that nature is trying to teach you? If you're not capable of returning a siltarp and a ULA pack in the *same* condition in which they were rented to you, *have you really passed the course??*

Jason Ham
(jasonham) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: What about buy-in? on 04/15/2007 20:29:12 MDT Print View

The idea of buy-in isn't the only consideration when considering the "Bomber" issue.

My program (very similar to OB and NOLS) uses heavier gear just to get enough mileage out of every piece to make it pay for itself. Our students do a good job of taking care of equipment, but they are first time users who do make errors from time to time. Now figure that ALL of our students are first time users of the same reused gear that we are trying to get maximum mileage out of for the money that we spend.

So, really we aren't talking about students that are spoiled, just beginners. They do this one 25 day course and then all the gear gets deissued and prepped for the next course that will be filled with another batch of beginners.

I understand your point about the DI's response to the new soldier. As with our instructors, we do our best to instill good practices, but accidents happen and they are learned from. The DI teaches soldiers to care for, clean and repair weapons. The outdoor instructor teaches students to care for, clean and repair gear. That cycle occurs every course with the exact same gear that the last beginner was taught on.

Our program uses everything until it falls apart because its part of the school ethic to not be consumers of convenience. So we have to find a balance between durability and weight. Ideally, the best option would be durable and light.

And that is where this whole discussion is hopefully headed...what is the best gear that is both durable and light?

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Re: What about buy-in? on 04/16/2007 02:00:52 MDT Print View

>>>>Posted: 04/15/2007 20:29:12 MDT by Jason Ham (jasonham)

The idea of buy-in isn't the only consideration when considering the "Bomber" issue.

My program (very similar to OB and NOLS) uses heavier gear just to get enough mileage out of every piece to make it pay for itself. Our students do a good job of taking care of equipment, but they are first time users who do make errors from time to time. Now figure that ALL of our students are first time users of the same reused gear that we are trying to get maximum mileage out of for the money that we spend.

So, really we aren't talking about students that are spoiled, just beginners. They do this one 25 day course and then all the gear gets deissued and prepped for the next course that will be filled with another batch of beginners.

I understand your point about the DI's response to the new soldier. As with our instructors, we do our best to instill good practices, but accidents happen and they are learned from. The DI teaches soldiers to care for, clean and repair weapons. The outdoor instructor teaches students to care for, clean and repair gear. That cycle occurs every course with the exact same gear that the last beginner was taught on.

Our program uses everything until it falls apart because its part of the school ethic to not be consumers of convenience. So we have to find a balance between durability and weight. Ideally, the best option would be durable and light.

And that is where this whole discussion is hopefully headed...what is the best gear that is both durable and light?<<<



This is a great summary of what we are dealing with (not sure that's the right phrase).

Imagine sending 8 beginners out with UL gear (the same set of gear) every 30 days. Even with coaching, there will be issues (whoops, ripped that 1.6 oz shelter!) That is why the gradual approach - ie: specific lightweight courses, and a general pack weigh reduction is the way to go. We get to test the light weight gear on multiple courses, and reduce weight in general.

I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the support on this board. I would have thought that we would hear more " right on, good on ya, it's about time!" type comments.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: What about buy-in? on 04/16/2007 02:23:19 MDT Print View

>>>>Subject: What about buy-in?
Posted: 04/15/2007 19:52:56 MDT by Brian James (bjamesd)

To be blunt, when I hear stories about so-called "students" destroying bomber gear through pure belligerent ham-fistedness, I want to call them spoiled brats.

I was a scout, and from the first time I touched a tent or a stove I knew darned well that I was to learn to handle these items with care. Why? Because it was what we had to keep the rain off of our heads and to put food in our bellies, and most importantly it was *all* we had. It was all we had for that trip, but it was also all we had for that season or longer.

We spent countless hours going from door to door collecting empty bottles and cans to buy that equipment, and a given tent could already have survived a decade or more of 4-season camping before it kept the snow or rain off of our faces. We were taught to respect our gear, to protect it and maintain it.

Imagine a soldier standing in front of his drill instructor, asking for a new rifle because his was full of sand and dented. Would the DI say "this guy's just new; he's never even handled a weapon before"? No way. When your life depends on your kit, the number one lesson is caring for your kit. You'd be embarrassed to be the guy who blew a hole through his shelter or who slammed his pack down and wrecked a seam.

Are these students so spoiled that they're allowed to thrash steel-and-cordura equipment to within an inch of its' life, and the instructors just sigh and pull a 3lb repair kit from a 70lb pack? Is that an instructor, or a servant?

In my opinion, caring for your kit (and not being a hoon with it) is one of the most basic lessons of outdoorsmanship. Whether your kit is made of silnylon or 200-denier smithsonian fabric, if you refuse to be a responsible steward of it then are you really "with the program"? Or are you just acting like a city-dwelling consumer who has repair and replacement at his fingertips 24 hours a day?

Supposing the students had buy-in on protecting their kit? Supposing they were charged for damage, or penalized in some other way? Their grades maybe? I'm just brainstorming; I know nothing of NOLS.

Supposing that students were informed at the outset that one of the great challenges of outdoorsmanship is to have a safe and enjoyable time using only available resources?

I think that the whole you-smash-it-I'll-repair-it philosophy goes along with the previous poster's comment about dominating the outdoors vs. being in harmony with it. If you need bomber combat-grade tackle just to get from point A to point B, have you really learned the lesson that nature is trying to teach you? If you're not capable of returning a siltarp and a ULA pack in the *same* condition in which they were rented to you, *have you really passed the course??*<<<<

I'm There with you Brian. I wish our students had the experience you did.
Had they spent "countless hours going from door to door collecting empty bottles and cans to buy that equipment, Then maybe they would have a better appriciation of the value of it."

Our students do not have that experience. They show up the night before, often on a smaller plane than they have ever imagined, the next day they are are issued gear, they ration food, have a little time to meet each other, the next day they are in the field. Maybe more in town time would be beneficial to going lighter? I am not sure.

Please do not think that we are not teaching students to respect and care for their gear. They are, in fact evaluated and graded on this.


>>>"Supposing the students had buy-in on protecting their kit? Supposing they were charged for damage, or penalized in some other way? Their grades maybe? I'm just brainstorming; I know nothing of NOLS."<<<

As I stated above, students are graded on care of the equipment. Maybe it would be easier to gauge w/ lighter weight gear?
Students are charged for damage, and it is reflected in their grade, at least on the courses I run.

There is a big difference between an organization that runs weekend trips, and one that runs 30 day trips back to back. And I'm not trying to discount your experience, but a week or a weekend is a different thing than a 30 day course, particularly when the gear is turned around in 24 hrs.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: What about buy-in? on 04/16/2007 10:08:35 MDT Print View

---"I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the support on this board. I would have thought that we would hear more " right on, good on ya, it's about time!" type comments."---

I'm really sorry to have sounded critical. I wrote that post in a hurry. Having read the article and all the posts here and having listened to the podcast, I just had the impression that the gear had to be bomber to tolerate abuse. I didn't realize that simple *use* (with the occasional oopsie) could degrade and destroy gear that quickly. My apologies for my naiveté on the subject. I'm definitely impressed that your organization has this goal and I think your journey towards lightweight will be very positive for you and for your students -- as it has been for all of us! I only meant to convey some of my thoughts on the subject; I didn't mean to come across as unsupportive.

I note that the discussion of lightweight gear has been based on the general assumption that it's all very fragile. And a lot of *ultralightweight* gear really is -- for instance some of what you guys were probably shown on this seminar (sailcloth shelters and such) probably seemed more delicate than a butterfly wing to backpackers who are accustomed to 8lb packs.

There is, however, a lot of lightweight gear that is very robust. No, Dyneema will never be as wear-resistant as cordura. But then again with a lightweight pack the forces involved are quite different too. A 40 or 50 or 60lb pack hits the ground with *way* more force than a 25 pounder: both because it weighs more but also because it's more likely to be out of control as it falls! I think that 25lbs is a weight that many or most people can have good physical control over, whereas 40lbs+ is a weight that will overwhelm a significant portion of students and lead to "letting it drop" rather than "setting it down" a lot more often.

The same goes for shelters: wouldn't a big, seemingly over-designed, urethane-coated bomber tent with zipper pulls the size of a volkswagen just *seem* tougher, and therefore engender less conscious and unconscious respect from users? And conversely, wouldn't a papery-feeling pyramid tarp that rolls up into nothing actually elicit gentler handling? And of course if it only costs 1/4 as much, it only has to last 1/4 as long. If you put these two factors together, I feel that the total value of equation of lightweight gear isn't as cut-and-dried as "it isn't built as tough so it won't last as long." But once again, I'm just brainstorming.

A company whose packs get high marks for load-carrying and durability on these forums is ULA Equipment. (www.ula-equipment.com) Brian Frankle's goal is to make lightweight gear that is specifically *not* disposable, but is well-built with durable fabrics and achieves weight reduction and longevity through smart design. He's also a relatively small shop, which might make him more amenable to "tweaks" for a big customer like NOLS. I don't think I've ever seen a negative review of his products here on BPL. He also constructed a very innovative (and load-worthy) pack system for Ryan Jordan's recent Arctic trek:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ula_arctic_dry_pack.html
http://www.ryanjordan.com/2006_arctic/2006/05/backpacks_for_a.html

This is a pack system that's durable enough and supportive enough for long days with 40+lb loads, and is modular so the packbag can be replaced if worn or damaged. Seems like a tailor-fit for your goals, no? Again, just brainstorming.

Cheers!
Brian

Edited by bjamesd on 04/16/2007 11:37:37 MDT.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Re: What about buy-in? on 04/16/2007 12:08:51 MDT Print View

Thanks Brian. My support comment wasn't directed at anyone specifically.

>>>"There is, however, a lot of lightweight gear that is very robust. No, Dyneema will never be as wear-resistant as cordura. But then again with a lightweight pack the forces involved are quite different too. A 40 or 50 or 60lb pack hits the ground with *way* more force than a 25 pounder: both because it weighs more but also because it's more likely to be out of control as it falls! I think that 25lbs is a weight that many or most people can have good physical control over, whereas 40lbs+ is a weight that will overwhelm a significant portion of students and lead to "letting it drop" rather than "setting it down" a lot more often.

The same goes for shelters: wouldn't a big, seemingly over-designed, urethane-coated bomber tent with zipper pulls the size of a volkswagen just *seem* tougher, and therefore engender less conscious and unconscious respect from users? And conversely, wouldn't a papery-feeling pyramid tarp that rolls up into nothing actually elicit gentler handling? And of course if it only costs 1/4 as much, it only has to last 1/4 as long. If you put these two factors together, I feel that the total value of equation of lightweight gear isn't as cut-and-dried as "it isn't built as tough so it won't last as long." But once again, I'm just brainstorming."<<<

This is exactly were we are coming from. The SUL stuff would likely not make it, but UL or lightweight should for the reasons you point out above. To me this is one of the exciting aspects of the transition. It can be hard to get some of the 'old school' folks to wrap thier heads around that concept though.

One thing that impacts our gear significantly is the UV degradation. I should search for research about that in ragards to lightweight materials. It is amazing to see a brand new dark green pyrimid shelter go out on the first course in may and by the end of the summer come back faded and pale!

We should definately check out ULA. I got to check out the Arctic Dry Pack when Ryan was down here for the seminar and it is cool. Very robust.

Thanks for the ideas and links!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
NOLS on 04/17/2007 09:36:51 MDT Print View

My name is Mike Clelland, and I have been a NOLS instructor for 12 years. I've been closely involved with the new Light & Fast Course at NOLS right from it's inception, and I was an instructor on the inaugural course.

Last summer eight students, myself and a co-instructor, walked into the mountains with packs all under 25 pounds, and that's with 6-days of food, and full water bottles. Our team spent two weeks in the Big Horn Mountains of Central Wyoming, and we accomplished a lot of miles, curriculum, hard skills and we had tons of fun too. Most of our group were beginner campers, and they all came away with a solid foundation of skills and insights into lightweight camping. Every single one of them is now capable of LEADING trips with their peers. And, I can say with confidence that the next backpacking outing they organize (weather a weekend or a month) will be done with high style and a focus on risk management and group dynamics. I'm super proud of that course on a lot of levels.

Reading through the comments that are listed above, my one reply would be this: NOLS does 30-day expeditions in some challenging and very remote Wilderness environments.

Some of our courses are longer and some are shorter, but the 30-day experience (the core of our courses) requires some extra stuff compared to a weekend. The goal of our expeditions is to teach a wide range of skills - and then let the students USE those skills to lead themselves. Our emphasis is on leadership, technical skills, care of the environment and team building.

The school isn't just made of instructors, there's a very dedicated crew of folks behind the scene that work hard to support the student experience in the field. I've sat with this team and we've all tried to creatively solve some of the issues that are articulated in this forum. Everybody is working with a tight budget and a small staff, but we're all on-board with the evolution of the program.

If you ask any instructor (or ANY employee at the school) what the focus of the NOLS experience is, you’ll get a different answer from everyone. But, I can say with confidence that the replies would give you an insight into something ambitious and a dedication to very high standards.

I work at a job I love, and at the end of these courses, I'll often hear: "That was the most important and rewarding experience of my life, from this point on, I can accomplish anything!"

That's something I feel really good about.


peace from idaho,
Mike Clelland!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: NOLS on 04/17/2007 09:49:39 MDT Print View

Like Mike, Ryan, and others from the BPL crew that have actually been on the NOLS instructor training seminars, I'm pretty excited about where NOLS is going.

Mike and his crew left NOLS basecamp last year with base weights of less than eight pounds. EIGHT pounds. For a two week trek in the Bighorn Mountains of Montana. Pretty cool.

Is 40 lbs achievable or a big deal for NOLS? Heck yes, that would be a huge accomplishment. A 40 lb kit - with a 10-day ration of food @ 1.75 lb/day = 22.5 lbs of gear, which would include the heavier gear that is such a core part of the NOLS curriculum: instructional books, fry/bake kit, the additional weights of gear that must have "institutional" durability (longevity), etc.

NOLS teaches classes in the field. It's a school. That means, you really are sitting out, sedentary, in the pouring down rain, freezing snow, and wind, taking notes, asking questions, and having a class. The "ultralight" four-piece clothing system isn't going to cut it.

There are other institutional barriers as well, including managing cost and cash flow to replace gear, the permeation of lightweight experience so NOLS instructors can effectively manage crisis scenarios with lightweight gear, and educating NOLS administrative leadership, including LNT , medical, and risk management personnel, about the changes required to travel in the wilderness safely and effectively with lighter gear.

NOLS' students are known for carrying packs that are too heavy. They really do take too much stuff, they really do take stuff that has lighter alternatives yet still institutionally relevant, and they really can improve on their adoption of wilderness techniques that can capitalize on the synergies found in lightweight gear "systems" -- BUT --

They are committed to lightening their loads across the board and have to be commended for taking this risk - it's a big one for an organization like NOLS and it will take time.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
NOLS on 04/21/2007 20:24:39 MDT Print View

I'm really happy that Ryan Hutchins was willing to respond to all of our criticism. Thank-you Ryan for all of your time. I would like to ask our membership to consider our goal. Is it to convert people to a lightweight wilderness experience we think they will enjoy more? Is it to criticize and feel superior? Would we rather have people defending the wilderness we love carrying heavy packs or not have them out there at all?

Getting people out there is our most important goal. The wilderness experience is a life changing one that places a high value on self-sufficiency, independence, and away from a dehumanizing way of life that our complex society leads us to. Lightweight technique may allow people to enjoy the outdoors that otherwise couldn't, it may make people more committed, and able to spend more and longer periods of time in wilderness areas. It is a tool and not the ultimate goal.

How then can we convert people to our point of view? I submit that acceptance of where they are, gentle encouragement, pointing out the benefits of lightweight travel (and acknowledging its' limitations (less durable gear, need for more experience, less "safety margin") and not criticism are the best techniques to convert people closer to our point of view.

Edited by ksawchuk on 04/22/2007 00:04:00 MDT.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Well said, Kevin! on 04/21/2007 20:34:15 MDT Print View

Well said, Kevin!

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: NOLS on 04/21/2007 22:40:45 MDT Print View

I'm also happy Ryan jumped into this site with both feet! It is too bad some of us are lighting tinder between his toes. I've been silently following this thread because I feel I have far more to learn from Ryan that I have to give. Please pardon me while I generalize. Most of us here have little concept of the group experience that is a big part of NOLS, combined with spending a month out in the field. Some of us (not me) have been out for a month or more but it's appears more often than not to be a solo endeavor. As an ASM in Scouting I can appreciate institutional inertia, and I get in a small way the group thing, but NOLS takes group outings to another level. It's apparent to me the NOLS has hit the tipping point and will eventually achieve their goals without sacrificing what it is that makes NOLS, NOLS. Despite explaining what makes NOLS unique numerous times, it is interesting how hard it has been for some to get beyond their UL frame of mind.

Ryan, I have a few questions about the ownership of the gear. If I were to sign up with no gear, would my fee include the cost of the gear issued to me and would that gear then be mine, or would I be renting gear? If I showed up with my current gear (in the SUL, Ultralight range) would that gear be dismissed out of hand or would each piece be evaluated on it merits and my skill level?

I think ownership of the gear has a big impact on how the gear is treated. Even a loaner is often treated better than something rented, particularly if it's loaned from an individual and not an institution. A couple of responses above make this issue unclear to me. I really liked Brian James's last post about gear issues. If the ownership or responsibility issues are worked out and the right UL gear is used, I think replacement costs for gear should be at least no worse than what you deal with now.

Congratulations on heading down a lighter and more efficient path. It makes your courses more appealing to me and I think it will others as well.

Edited by ericnoble on 04/21/2007 22:46:34 MDT.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
NOLS / Light & Fast Backpacking on 04/23/2007 11:45:57 MDT Print View

Hello Eric.

You asked some specific questions about the NOLS Light & Fast Backpacking Course, specifically about gear.

Visit:
http://www.nols.edu/courses/locations/rockymtn/lightandfastbackpacking.shtml

This is the web-page with two links, one its the course description, and the other is the equipment list.

I think you can even access the FLIKR site, and find photos from the LFB course last august. It was a fun course in a cool part of wyoming.

If you have any questions, feel free to get ahold of me directly. (mikec@pdt.net)

thanks!
Mike Clelland!

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: NOLS / Light & Fast Backpacking on 04/23/2007 18:37:30 MDT Print View

Mike, what type of tarps is NOLS using?

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Tarp Reply on 04/24/2007 07:51:23 MDT Print View

What kind of tarp is NOLS using? Remember, NOLS does many hundreds of courses each year, all over the world. And - we use a LOT of different shelters, tents, tarps, igloos, etc...

But - specifically, on the Light & Fast Course last summer the students used a GoLite HUT-2 (1 lb. 7 oz), it's a nicely designed 2-person tarp with a zipper. We sat out a hail storm (with lotsa lightning) and they worked great.

here's a link to the GoLite web page:
http://www.golite.com/product/productdetail.aspx?p=SH6015&s=1

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Thanks on 04/28/2007 21:11:31 MDT Print View

Thanks Guys for the comments. Glad I could shed some light on what is happening at NOLS.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
Totally switching the subject on 05/31/2007 01:26:56 MDT Print View

So, I just listened to this podcast and I'll admit I haven't read every part of this thread but...
During the podcast I heard mention (many times) about muffins and trying to bake them and how difficult it was on an alcohol stove etc. It didn't go into detail about how they were "baked" so as someone who doesn't do much cooking when hiking I wondered what method was used.

Today I also happened upon a website that demonstrated how to cook a muffin on an alcohol stove and I was curious if it was the method used on the LW Nols trip or if another method was used (as the podcast indicated there were mixed results on the muffins made during the LW training). I found the video at backpackingvideos.com
Look under "Latest Videos" for May and click on the video "Baking with Rocks". I found it very interesting as I had no idea that you could cook it that way...I am thinking about trying it out with esbit as well. Could be interesting. Enjoy!
NITRO
p.s. I am really interested in hearing how they were cooked in the LW training course. Thanks!

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
Re: Totally switching the subject on 05/31/2007 08:36:29 MDT Print View

Hi Anita,
That's pretty much the way we do it on the lightweight courses, though with a smaller pot. There were mixed results on the training, but we were trying it in a live environment and many folks had never used an alchohol stove yet. I think that practicing in your garage is a great way to figure out the nuances of your particular stove and pot combo and figure out what will work for your system. Having said that, I will be teaching students how to do this in the field this summer. I'll let folks know how it goes when we get back (not until the end of AUG)

The rock technique has also been ilustrated (literally) on BPL somewhere by Mike Clelland! He has baked many a muffin this way and is quicly earning the title of Muffin Man!