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Podcast: Roundtable Discussion of the Limits of Ultralight Backpacking
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Podcast: Roundtable Discussion of the Limits of Ultralight Backpacking on 05/01/2007 22:39:08 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Podcast: Roundtable Discussion of the Limits of Ultralight Backpacking

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Timely... on 05/02/2007 01:15:28 MDT Print View

An Article like this has been a long time comming. Since the 90's when the lightwieght backpacking movement was born,everyone was asking "how far can we take this? and still be safe?,comfortable?". With that other revolution of the 90's- the home PC and the internet, many brilliant minds from every corner of the globe set out to answer that question. We saw revolutionary new designs, concepts, techniques- forums were filled with people sharing experiences and ideas. The cottage industry was born.
There was an "avant garde" mood in lightweight backpacking. It is now well over a decade later and new designs keep comming, but I would argue that there has been a "standardization" in LW backpacking- of gear and technique. I welcome it - others I think are a little saddend by it. So where are the limits? Well there arnt any of course, but for the layman that would be some where at SUL. "HYOH" will always be the last word, but the warm reception of Caffins article I think shows this standarization, in other words-in the 90's you could show very practical, reasonable comparisons betweeen "traditional" backpacking and a 20 lb. and below pack- It is dramatic. Compare that argument to one between a 7-10lb. base weight and a 2-5lb. base and you can see why some people just shrugg thier shoulders. No one is calling any one a "lunatic". I think people are just trying to say that not every one who is into "ultralite" backpacking does it to "push their limits" but to enjoy the outdoors and escape the ratrace. At some point to lighten your load means more expense and the narrowing of the conditions the gear is appropriate for, and the enviromental cost of what a critic could call "disposable gear". I think, dare I say it- that many people are "satisfied" with 7-10lbs. base wt. Again hike your own hike- we all go out there for our own reasons.- Thanks

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 05/02/2007 01:29:20 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Podcast: Roundtable Discussion of the Limits of Ultralight Backpacking on 05/02/2007 12:55:52 MDT Print View

Nice podcast Ken. Who sings the song at the end of the podcast? I would like to buy some of that music.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
Credits for the song on 05/02/2007 13:13:01 MDT Print View

John, I'm not surprised you missed this information. It's at the bottom of the main podcasts page. Here you go:
MUSIC "Look for Me in the Mountains" :: Lyrics - Chris Cunningham and Ryan Jordan :: Guitar, Vocals, Harmonies - Chris Cunningham :: Mandolin - Tom Murphy :: Bass - Chad Langford :: Recorded at Basecamp Productions, 7781 Nez Perce Drive, Bozeman MT 59715

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Credits for the song on 05/02/2007 16:04:23 MDT Print View

The song will be available for free to BPLers this summer and will be syndicated in hi-fi to our iTunes channel, in the meantime, Chris' band is at and has a similar sound.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Muffins on 05/03/2007 13:40:44 MDT Print View

Don't let anybody tell you otherwise, I was not involved in this discussion to defend myself.

My bushbuddy-baked muffin rocked.

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: podcast on lightweight on 05/03/2007 23:51:08 MDT Print View

I hope that future podcasts on the subject will contain greater focus/editing, better articulated points, and specific gear. I would have found a little spirited debating refreshing as well.

For instance, on the issue of safety, while I agree that a lighter weight pack itself contains a safety factor, other important points were not mentioned.

1. The heavier the pack, the greater chance of sprained ankles, falls, etc. - followed by all the problems of dealing with injuries carrying heavy packs. Any additional first aid in a heavy pack is unlikely to fully compensate.

2. Some light gear is inherently more foolproof and thus safer than their heavier counterparts. Alcohol stoves with no moving parts are more reliable, as are foam pads as opposed to the more common air mats.

3. Longevity is sometimes offset by a much cheaper price, such as with packs. I thought the talk of the extreme fragility of lightweight equipment was quite exagerated.

After all, ultralight was pioneered by some of the longest distance hikers around, and their gear needed to hold up. While my G5 pack might need some carefull care, my just under 1 pound G4 is quite rugged, as are my tarp, alcohol stove, foam pad, sleeping bags, and titanium cookwear.

Edited by ericl on 05/05/2007 22:59:57 MDT.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Crappy sound quality on 05/04/2007 04:54:47 MDT Print View

This week I bought an Bluetooth USB dongle so my phone and pc can exchange files. I downloaded this podcast so I could listen to it on my daily commute (how do you spell that???). The sound quality was really bad: i.e. the volume was really low eventhough I set the phone volume to max. I couldn't hear it on the bus and not even in a much quiter tram. There was also a lot of static noise.

Would it be possible to boost the volume of this podcast? Maybe on others as well, though I haven't tried these on my phone yet.

In case I get some criticism about my phone; MP3 audio files I recorded my self have a normal, audible volume, so it's not a problem of my phone.


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Podcasts on 05/08/2007 16:06:17 MDT Print View

I think these podcasts are great, and enjoy listening to them. I agree on the volume complaint. I do wish we had heard more from some of the folks in thisnpodcast, it didn't seem like eveyone got equal time.

I agree that it would be nice to hear a real hashing out of some the finer points, like are bivy sacks needed since many super long distance hikers (e.g., Brian Robinson) don't use them. Let's hear some further justifications for a $100-200 piece of equipment.

Garret Christensen
(garretchristensen) - F
Song at end of podcast on 11/14/2007 16:23:59 MST Print View

I've looked all over the website and the iTunes, and I don't see the song at the end of the podcast anywhere. Is it really available like it says it would be above?

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Song on 02/02/2008 22:26:00 MST Print View

I can't find the song either.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Song at end of podcast on 02/03/2008 06:21:29 MST Print View

The song was never posted.