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Why I Go Light
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Why I Go Light on 04/24/2007 22:33:21 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Why I Go Light

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Why I Go Light on 04/25/2007 10:41:55 MDT Print View


There is a certain melodic, ambling quality to your article that differs so nicely from the typical go-light, go-fast, go-hardcore, yada yada yada mentality seen in the UL community. You've provided an honest window into a side of UL that exists within many of us showing that we're not always hardcore and pushing limits. There are times when you just want to "get out in the woods" and it just so happens you do it lightly. Thank you.

- sam_h

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
simplicity as means to feed our souls on 04/25/2007 11:08:32 MDT Print View

>> Because of this simplicity, I rarely hesitate to use them to enhance my backcountry experiences. And while these items certainly do just that-enhance the experience-they do not become the experience. Rather, they are a means of going more frequently into the wilderness where I have experiences that feed my soul. <<

Excellent story. Made me think about simplicity and how we easily stray from using gear as merely an enabler rather than a raison d'etre.

Let's fatten our souls!

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: Why I Go Light on 04/25/2007 12:05:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for a second article (at least recently) on going very light, but not SUL (thick and comfortable sleeping pads come to mind).

Another aspect not mentioned often: the latest SUL wonder equipment can be very expensive. I've yet to pay more than $33 for a warm pullover, nor more than $70 for my warmest down jacket. Yes, they are heavier than they could be, but I cannot afford to buy two of them at those exotic prices (let alone five, accounting for my kids, all of whom will be in college next year!).

Same for rainwear...$45 for a waterproof/breathable jacket or pants is about my limit, and most of what I have cost way less (thanks to eBay). That recently reviewed eVent jacket sounds great, but at over $300 it is completely out of my price range.

I would like to see more articles such as this one. Even better would be articles giving equal emphasis to both weight AND cost.

John Baird
(jbaird) - F

Locale: Deleware Watergap A_T
Why I Go Light on 04/25/2007 17:47:28 MDT Print View

To read such a wonderfully composed article, articulate and thoughtful, is inspiring and with remembrances of my own, touched a surprisingly personal level.

Well done

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Going Light on 04/25/2007 19:23:29 MDT Print View

I too had my first ultralight trip many years ago when a friend and I in high school decided to climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineers Route and return down the trail. We decided to "go light" and packed small knapsacks that barely contained our sleeping bags. We didn't pack a stove but we did pack a rope. We certainly weren't prepared for a night in the rain but then the forecast was for clear skies. I can't remember my total pack weight - after all it was in 1969 - but I believe it was around 10-12 pounds. Carrying the pack to an elevation over 14,000 feet was significantly easier with the light weight.

I have never forgot that trip and the comfort of such a light pack. A lot has changed since then and my current "kit" is much safer, more comfortable and lighter, but my route to my current pack was anything but direct having packed many heavy loads with way too much stuff. What you bring is a personal choice and the degree of weight reduction is personal as well.

Great article. Thanks for the memories.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Why I Go Light / lighter life on 04/26/2007 01:28:22 MDT Print View

Very nice article, Craig. It addresses the desire to go light in many aspects of our lives, in which light backpacking is one manifestation. I 'went light' very dramatically when I got divorced and threw away 99% of all my possessions. It was very liberating and I never looked back. I was spending a huge portion of my salary buying stuff to maintain the other 'stuff' I had- in an ever expanding spiral of spend-acquire-maintain. Too often in life our stuff owns us, not the other way around.
Choosing a small number of high quality friends, experiences, and possessions, even a smaller amount of quality food, makes life richer, not poorer.
Much like the observation that lighter gear leads to a lighter pack, lighter shoes etc.. lightening one aspect of my life affected the others. I now have time for quality relationships, not a bunch of useless ones. Less stuff to maintain, more money in the bank. It has totally turned my financial and personal future around for the better.
I encourage others to lighten their life. Rid yourself of some dead weight, negative influences, paperwork, bodyweight(I lost 10 lbs of fat), and so on. Simplify your life.

That moped looks cool; Honda's are low-maintenance, right? :)

Edited by Brett1234 on 04/26/2007 01:28:53 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Ultralight on a Budget on 05/01/2007 17:25:20 MDT Print View

Great idea Elliott! An "Ultralight on a Budget" article would be very valuable. I think you could assemble an ultralight set of gear and spend less money than "standard backpacking" (I'm thinking of alcohol stoves, beer can pots, 02 style jacket, etc.). Such an article would definitely mention the possibility of making your own gear, but even if you don't make anything yourself you could still buy a nice set of equipment without spending huge amounts of money or making too many heavy compromises. This would be a nice article for folks who may be checking out the ultralight thing and get scared away by the high prices ("wait, you don't have to buy a cuben fiber tarp").

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Ultralight on a Budget on 05/01/2007 21:31:32 MDT Print View

>An "Ultralight on a Budget" article would be very valuable.

Check out the BPL MYOG thread Cheapest UL Gear List Challenge.

Edited by Otter on 05/01/2007 21:35:49 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Ultralight on a Budget on 05/02/2007 00:14:31 MDT Print View

There was also the sgt rock $300 challenge, a $200 list from backpacklight @yahoogroups. Most of my gear recommends has suggestion for cheap options. I have a not so cheap ~ $400 2.5 season list which is a generic version of a list used by a friend of mine.

Edited by verber on 05/02/2007 00:16:04 MDT.

Bruce Lewis
(blewis) - F

Locale: Northern California
A Lot of Gadgets, but Comfort, too on 08/08/2007 23:03:39 MDT Print View

Craig is carrying a lot of weight at 26 pounds for a single overnight. I think he could shed another 5 pounds easily. But his choices all make sense and do fit in the realm of light backpacking. At I have talked about iPods and carrying signaling devices, etc., which all ad weight. I guess even I felt that a cell phone, binoculars, iPod is a little much for just 14 hours.

Bruce Lewis