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Examples of "Stupid Light"
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Found This Gem on 02/22/2013 22:15:47 MST Print View

"Gram weenies might be tempted to use pure spectra cord, which has unparalleled strength for its weight. But this is a “stupid light” choice: the cord is expensive, prone to knotting, and hard to work with (because it’s very slippery). Cord featuring a spectra core with a nylon sheath is an improvement, but: it’s still expensive; the strength is overkill for all but the most extreme applications; and the weight savings are negligible."

-Andrew Skurka

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Found This Gem on 02/22/2013 23:18:38 MST Print View

For me, spectra core is worth it. Where I usually hike, stakes are usually useless and I have to use rocks for anchors. I've been on more than one trip that a gusty night has shredded the sheaths and if I wouldn't have had a spectra core I know that the lines wouldn't have made it through the night.

Moral, for the umpteenth time this thread: use what fits your conditions

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Stupid Light on 02/23/2013 00:22:44 MST Print View

Stupid light is pack system so light you can't afford the gas money to reach the trailhead to use it.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Stupid Light on 02/23/2013 13:16:57 MST Print View

Well I don't want to call my BIL and best friend Dave stupid, but climbing San Gorgonio in winter without a tent or sleeping bag was pushing it. I took this shot at 1:00 am when I got up to, ah, look at the stars. He is sleeping in his Marmot 8000 Meter Parka and Pants with an emergency blanket stretched over the snow pit he dug.

Dave in snow

I had a tent and warm quilt so I guess he figured he had a back-up plan.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Stupid Light on 02/23/2013 13:21:17 MST Print View

Was he going to hit you over the head with his show shoes and take your quilt and tent Ray?

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
theft on 02/23/2013 13:28:48 MST Print View

The blue foam you see is my sit pad. At 9:30 he woke me up saying that his arm kept falling on the snow where the down would compress and then get him cold enough to wake him. I gave him the sit pad and I think he has my shells with his under the other arm.

I wish I had a picture of the time we were near Mt Whitney in July that he brought just one of those emergency blanket envelope things, thinking that is clothes and compressor jacket would be enough for a 3-day trip. First night the temps dropped below freezing and we had frost on everything. He froze, even after I gave him my down sweater and rain gear.

I love my UL brother-in-law if only for the entertainment factor. ;-)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: theft on 02/23/2013 14:30:55 MST Print View

Sounds like a guy I knew years ago who would turn up with a sleeping bag and a pack of smokes for a trip and that was it, he would bum food and clothes off everyone else.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Examples of "Stupid Light on 02/23/2013 16:42:58 MST Print View

I read somewhere that human digestive systems are way less efficient digesting raw or uncooked foods compared to cooked foods. Something like 60% vs 90% or more. That is, it is possible that you are wasting a good fraction of your food weight if you don't cook. It's also possible that this effect goes away with careful choice of uncooked or raw foods.

Irrelevant on a short trip, but maybe not on a thru-hike.

Some claim the ability to cook is what allowed our primitive ancestors to evolve large brains and develop sophisticated social systems...we got more nutrition out of our cooked food so spent less time collecting the raw ingredients, giving us "leisure" time to do other things.

In any case we always cook at least dinner, and we don't scrimp on flavor!

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Food on 02/23/2013 17:17:05 MST Print View

Well, sort of. You're right about the cooking thing, but not for the reason you think. It literally came down to the time one had to spend chewing raw meat. We would have to chew for 4+ hours a day just to process raw food enough to digest it, and by cooking it our bodies also devote less energy to fighting food-borne illness.

Overall, cooking did help us evolve, but not necessarily because we spent less time doing one thing and more time doing another. Cooking was inevitable, but I suspect our brain would have invented fire and math and language even if we spoke with our mouths full.

As to cooked food while camping, there is possibly a correlation between energy and raw/cooked food, but it depends heavily on the food. For nuts, it's obviously irrelevant. For some vegetables, unprocessed is probably better. For grains and meat, there's definitely a correlation between cooked and uncooked.

It's useful to remember that chocolate is heavily processed and "cooked." So are CLIF bars and Granola bars and meal replacements and perpetuem powder and military freeze-dried meals. They're all cooked or processed in some way that increases their nutrition over unprocessed food, and then packaged. You could theoretically go on an all-cooked food diet without ever lighting a fire.

Hope that helps!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/23/2013 17:19:03 MST.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
yup on 02/26/2013 12:27:04 MST Print View

"Sounds like a guy I knew years ago who would turn up with a sleeping bag and a pack of smokes for a trip and that was it, he would bum food and clothes off everyone else."

yup had a buddy in college that we did a short trip with. he brought a jansport and a sleeping bag and then was complaining when he was freezing and hungry and trying to bum clothing and food off everyone else. the next day we were planning on doing a side peak and he got ahead of us somehow and we didn't think even knew which was to go so we thought he got lost and were searching the immediate area for 2-3 hours and were about to call in reinforcements when he came strolling down after taking a nap and eating all our cheese!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: yup on 02/26/2013 13:04:20 MST Print View

I must preume that he didn't get invited on any other trips :-)

David Miles
(davidmiles) - F

Locale: Eastern Sierra
Re: Stupid Light on 02/28/2013 20:31:31 MST Print View

For me, it's when I see someone leave out some basic survival gear "because they never get lost". I've been on several rescues where the person could have spent fewer cold nights out if they had a signal mirror to signal our helicopters. Especially when we have had many trips with no incident, those items might start to look like just weights. It's like driving without a spare tire.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Stupid Light on 02/28/2013 21:20:15 MST Print View

"Basic" survival gear for me is some lukeo tape, a safety pin, and a small piece of shammy like material.

If anything else goes wrong, you can pretty much use sticks and clothing to keep anything bent straight and get yourself to safety.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Examples of "Stupid Light on 03/01/2013 16:29:22 MST Print View

Oh, please don’t get the idea that Dave is a freeloader or anything like that. He just loves to experiment with UL ideas but won’t try them at home. (It would do any good anyway as he lives in paradise;-)

Dave is the best hiking partner I have ever had. He even gets me to try “being UL” myself with his yearly UL challenge. Thanks to you guys I actually beat him once.

But he does get stupid light at least once a year. Maybe I need to write a humor article about them all...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Stupid Light on 03/01/2013 16:53:24 MST Print View

"Especially when we have had many trips with no incident, those items might start to look like just weights. It's like driving without a spare tire."

Good analogy!

"Well, yeah, I own three compasses and stack of maps and a GPS, and a first aid kit, and I left my extra clothing and rain gear in the car, but I've never..."

[ ]read an inaccurate weather report
[ ]gotten lost
[ ]fallen down
[ ]injured an ankle
[ ]had an allergic reaction
[ ]had a heart attack
[ ]done something STUPID

And people try to refute Darwin's theories ;)

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: sl, thank you Brendan on 03/01/2013 18:14:36 MST Print View

"Moral, for the umpteenth time this thread: use what fits your conditions"
says it all....

David Miles
(davidmiles) - F

Locale: Eastern Sierra
Essentials on 03/01/2013 21:13:40 MST Print View

I'm very familiar with the 10 Essentials, but is there and ultralight essentials list? I'm asking which items should be on EVERY trip. Is it just ultralight version of each item, or are there some that you leave out completely. These are items that you carry in every condition.

Edited by davidmiles on 03/01/2013 21:14:35 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Essentials a la UL on 03/01/2013 22:23:30 MST Print View

According to an article on the REI Web site ( The Mountaineers came up with a list in the 1930's that was pointed to specific items, but the recent trend has been to working with systems:

● Navigation (map and compass)
● Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
● Insulation (extra clothing)
● Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
● First-aid supplies
● Signaling
● Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
● Repair kit and tools
● Nutrition (extra food)
● Hydration (extra water)
● Emergency shelter

Easy enough to cover, but doing it in an ultralight way is a subject of debate equal to approving a Federal budget.

Here's my list:

Navigation: Green Trails maps and a Suunto MC-2G compass. There are suitable lighter compasses-- by an ounce or two. I think it should have adjustable declination and the mirror covers another category. Bottom line: compasses are not heavy, regardless of the model.

Sun protection: I wear sunglasses with bifocals for reading the maps and compass. I carry sunscreen in the smallest container suitable for the trip, not a big 6oz tube of the stuff. I also use bike gloves to protect my hands and a wide brim hat (Tilley T3).

Insulation: as light as a Power Stretch on up to a polyfill puffy per season and expected condtions. I usually have a little stuff sack with liner gloves, light beanie, spare socks and mid layer. I always have a windshirt and a ponch doubles for rain gear and emergency shelter.

Illumination: Olite i2 flashlight and Fenix HL21 headlamp. Both use one AA battery, so add one AA for a spare.

First Aid kit: AMK .3 with larger compresses, better tape and more meds.

Fire: mini firesteel, mini Bic lighter, a spy capsule with Tinder Quick tabs and a K&M match case with UCO storm matches and there is a button compass in the cap

Signalling: Fox 40 whistle, mirror on my compass, firesteel

Repair kit and tools: Victorinox Classic knife, Benchmade Griptilian 3.5" folding knife, flat pack of 18" duct tape, small roll 26 ga wire, hotel "freebie" sewing kit, small bundle light braided seine line, zip ties.

Nutrition: extra granola bar, hard candy

Hydration: 2 one liter drinking water bottles. Sawyer Squeeze filter and/or Micropur tabs. I keep a survival water bag in the crown of my Tilley.

Emergency shelter: poncho and AMK space blanket bivy and the line in my repair kit.

The flashlight, whistle, SAK Classic knife, spy capsule with tinder and firesteel are on a ring and carried in my pockets with the larger knife and the match case. The rest fit in a suff sack for quick locating and easy transfer from one pack to another.

Add training and improving skills and a can-do attitude, which are weightless.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/01/2013 22:38:13 MST.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
stupid light on 03/07/2013 07:42:14 MST Print View

I have a 20 oz zero degree Epiphany quilt.
It is a magnificent piece of gear.

but I'm thinking how can I make a 12 oz quilt. Stupid.
It would be expensive.
It would if not dangerous then just painful, being cold is painful.
And for what, saving the weight of a small apple. I weighed an apple. It was 7.4 oz.
I'd do better to lose 10 lbs and carry a few apples in my pack.

I remember reading that several of the cottage industry owners got together for a backpacking trip (I think I read this on Gossamergear) And they are in the hotel together the night before the trip and the weather channel says a storm is coming in. They are weighing their gear. One is 6.1 lbs, the other is 5.9 lbs so the guy with 6.1 lbs takes something out and it becomes a pissing contest to see who has the lighter gear. in short, they go and during the night the storm comes in and it's an ice storm. It coats everything rocks, trees, trail with 1/2 an inch of ice. They are all skilled backpackers and they survive. Slipping and sliding down the trail in snow and ice in trail runners. But the great thing was at the end of the article they wrote, the night before in the hotel when we saw there was a storm coming, that was the time to be putting gear into the bag, not taking it out.

Edited by anthonyweston on 03/07/2013 08:22:04 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: stupid light on 03/07/2013 08:08:30 MST Print View

Very well said Anthony,