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Examples of "Stupid Light"
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
oops on 02/21/2013 01:08:20 MST Print View

wrong post sowwy

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/21/2013 01:08:58 MST.

Tommy Nelson
(snowfugger) - M

Locale: Orange County
Re: Hardees? on 02/21/2013 02:12:09 MST Print View

Yup...southeast. At least as compared to NY/NJ/Conn/RI. I'm from DC, and they used to be all over the place, now not so much. There's still one in my hometown, but I can't remember there being any more in the area.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
sensibility on 02/21/2013 02:14:14 MST Print View

Yum...Hardees: a good way to get stupid heavy.

'Stupid light?' is probably a good question to ask where safety enters the equation. Not sure, but I think alpinist Kelly Cordes first used this term to describe an alpine climb he and Josh Wharton did in Pakistan. Carrying the absolute minimal amount of gear to complete a climb considerably raises the stakes, because it usually involves carrying less protection in case of a fall, and less gear for stationary warmth and weather protection. It can also make for more dramatic ascents, bigger objectives in less time, more guts/more glory.

While pushing these limits makes sense for some alpinists on cutting edge climbs, I think it makes less sense for the weekend backpacker considering ditching their rain shell to save a few oz (not talking to you desert rats!). Here's where a friend or forum member might chime in 'stupid light?'

However, I could care less if someone wants to use super fragile SUL trekking poles, a poncho tarp, or a pack with no pockets. Its not my business, and I don't want it to be. I don't think it makes you stupid if you're willing to sacrifice a little comfort and convenience for the knowledge that you're pack weighs less than some arbitrary number. Maybe just quirky.

As far as my own backpacking goes, I use to sleep on just a 3 oz closed cell foam pad, but a couple years ago I started losing sleep and waking with an achy lower back. I got 'smart' and bought a neo air, but I'm still envious of those who can sleep soundly on thin CCF.

Edited by sgiachetti on 02/21/2013 06:34:47 MST.

Tommy Nelson
(snowfugger) - M

Locale: Orange County
Re: sensibility on 02/21/2013 02:18:36 MST Print View

Boy do I agree with you...I very much wish I could still sleep on some thin CCF, rather than the neo-air potato chip bag.

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Re: Examples of "Stupid Light" on 02/21/2013 07:16:38 MST Print View

Dan Lee
"Does anyone have specific examples/scenarios that you would consider stupid light?"

There was a post recently about the philosophy of nature or some thing recently.

Several of the posts here mentioned compromising safety for weight. I don't want to be found dead on the trail and have the rescuer say "If he only had X, he would be alive." For example, I carry a personal locator beacon - Find Fast -

Might another be compromising enjoyment for weight? This of course is subjective.

Edited by dextersp1 on 02/21/2013 07:17:59 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Examples of "Stupid Light" on 02/21/2013 09:20:19 MST Print View

I would define "stupid light" as compromising your health or safety in order to save weight. As others said, it can be simply defying common sense just to get a lighter base weight.

I think it is most important with items on the classic 10 essentials list and selecting items that aren't suitable for the conditions. Skurka's example of bug protection certainly hits the common sense side.

Trying to reduce base weight by leaving out core items like rain gear, first aid kit, compass and map, etc is stupid light to me. Extend that to using poor substitutes like a button compass for primary navigation, a single edge razor blade rather than a basic knife, or a tiny button cell LED for primary lighting. Taking toys just to say you checked off the essentials is fooling yourself IMHO. That doesn't mean loading up on heavy stuff, but a 2oz compass isn't going to bloat your spreadsheet.

To me, the down/synthetic debate is more an issue of local climate and conditions rather than not bringing good insulation at all. I've made the point that taking a thin puffy can be a waste of weight if you end up too cold in camp. Likewise the preference in sleeping pad. The stuff you bring needs to work.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Stupid Light on 02/21/2013 09:48:47 MST Print View

"Stupid Light" is what I say when what should be the simplest of electronic devices - the headlamp - decides to not turn on when I need it.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Stupid Light on 02/21/2013 10:46:28 MST Print View

Ha, Nathan!

"Stupid light" is sort of unfortunately phrased, since I've seen people get defensive about it, but the concept is basically to be more comprehensive and thoughtful when evaluating your gear choices instead of going directly from spreadsheet to field. A lesson that hopefully most learn without ending up putting themselves in real danger.

Everyone will develop their own decision-making process to facilitate this, but I think at the core is CYA--Check Your Assumptions. How realistic are your goals? How good is your beta? What skills are you weak on? Explicitly considering those questions can reveal things you're taking for granted that could compromise your trip. Ask the right questions, give thoughtful answers, learn from mistakes...and no more stupid light.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
after the fact on 02/21/2013 10:52:14 MST Print View

"stupid light" is something your find out after the fact ... when yr cold, tired, hungry, in the dark, and wet

it all seems a brilliant idea when you salivate over the spreadsheets ;)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: after the fact on 02/21/2013 11:11:16 MST Print View

it all seems a brilliant idea when you salivate over the spreadsheets ;)


(Too many;-) decades ago I knew a Soil Science PHD student who was doing research on the effects of different tillage practices. His father, a farmer, loved to rib him by asking "Tell me again ... how you are plowing fields using a computer?"

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Live-and-Learn" (Just plain ignorant) on 02/21/2013 12:27:01 MST Print View

On the PCT in August just south of Olancha PEak in a high (8,000 ft.) valley I experienced a 26 F. and a 24 F. night. My ONLY extra insulation was a 200 wt. fleece vest. Barely enough with my WM Megalite 30 F. bag and NOT enough later the last morning on the trail at 16 F.!!

Now I carry a slightly lighter Eddie Bauer 800 fill light down jacket. In Nevada's Ruby Mountians it proved itself to be the best for cold summer nights. I'll never again venture into high altitudes without it.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: "Live-and-Learn" (Just plain ignorant) on 02/21/2013 12:43:05 MST Print View

I went up on Denali with a single CCF sleeping pad -- pretty stupid but I had tested it all winter on Mount Washington, NH and thought I would be fine.

Luckily I realized early on that it wasn't going to be enough and the base camp manager radio'd down to the airstrip and they brought me another pad on the next flight up.

(Turns out we didn't get very far anyway but at least I was comfortable waiting out storms and sickness.)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Sleeping on 02/21/2013 12:57:27 MST Print View

I can sleep soundly on flat rock and wake up ready to hike. That doesn't mean I do it... CCF works for me though. When I'm in my hammock I prefer a torso-length neo-Air though, because my CCF pad takes a beating from the hammock bend.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Sleeping on 02/21/2013 13:00:49 MST Print View

By comfortable I meant "not freezing my butt off." The single CCF pad just wasn't warm enough.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: after the fact on 02/21/2013 13:16:49 MST Print View

'"stupid light" is something your find out after the fact ... when yr cold, tired, hungry, in the dark, and wet'

That is what I call the "Too Factor". When you are TOO cold, wet, hungry, lost, tired, etc, it is time to re-work your kit. Hopefully, it is a gentle learning process rather than a life-threatening event. It has been discussed here before that the best method of testing new gear may be by taking a CYA backup if the new toys fail. New sailboat owners often take a deliberate "breakdown cruise" in safer conditions to work the bugs out. Testing gear in the height of Summer is much kinder than late Fall :)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Shelter on 02/21/2013 13:51:23 MST Print View

I have gone without a shelter in winter when there was a sunny forecast. One time I ended up building a natural shelter when it stormed hard the last night. I took branches off a recently fallen tree.
Stupid light?

Edited by justin_baker on 02/21/2013 13:53:38 MST.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Examples of "Stupid Light on 02/21/2013 14:03:58 MST Print View

In my mind Stupid Light is when you compromise something that is important to you just to save weight. In the case of Skurka that seemed to be hiking efficiency, as he needs to crank out high mileage days weeks after week.

It will be other things for other people (speed, comfort, enjoyment etc.) and there will be a degree of subjectivity involved. By my definition Aaron and Justin need to decide for themselves if they went stupid light.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
One man's stupid is another man's strategy on 02/21/2013 15:14:55 MST Print View

We're all out there with different goals, and for different reasons. I personally tend to prioritize all day comfort for high mileage hiking over night time comfort. Consequently, I'm happy to rely on a poncho for shelter, a postage stamp foam pad, and no changes of clothing or other luxuries. For those who value the comforts of camp, this might be a stupid approach, but it appeals to my minimalist sensibilities.

For me, stupid light would be bringing a pot too small to boil the water I needed for a meal/drink in one go, as this would drop my efficiency.

On one fast paced trip, I brought no insulation other than my 35 degree sleeping bag, using that to wrap myself in at stops. It dropped down to 28F or so one night which was pretty chilly (but not unbearable). That was probably stupid light. Then again, I achieved a personal best in mileage/pace and had an awesome time, in part because the additional challenges. Next time though, I'll add in a 3.5 oz vest, with no perceptible change in pack weight.

Stupid? Not so sure

From the same trip

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

The Tilley Way on 02/21/2013 15:24:22 MST Print View

I spy a Tilley hat. Hello, brother!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Examples of "Stupid Light" on 02/21/2013 17:31:04 MST Print View