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Gear Confessions
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 00:40:05 MDT Print View

Bless me Father Hiker for I have sinned.

I have put aftermarket side pockets and a Wet Rib on my pack. (Yes, I have an organization fetish Father.)

I sleep on a FULL LENGTH Thermarest ProLight pad. (I crave comfort at night - mortal sin)

I have brought alcoholic spirits of the 151 proof variety for consumption. (You're Catholic so that's not a sin. ;)

I use a solo TT Moment TENT instead a Cuben tarp. (mortal sin)

I carry a heavier than a cell phone Olympus TG 1 waterproof camera.

I carry extra AA, CR123 and coin lithium batteries.

My shoes are Merrill Moab Ventiators and not etherial Nike "trail runners".

My pack is an REI Cruise UL 60 and not from Cuben fabric. (mortal sin)

I have no wind shirt but carry an eVent parka for the purpose. (venal sin)

Sometimes I cook over a wood fire (when legal).

I prefer cooking with ESBIT to alcohol. (mortal sin)

I cook with a 3 cup ALUMINUM pot & lid instead of a Ti mug. (mortal sin)

I have a Lexan long handled spoon instead of a Ti spoon. (another mortal sin)

My WM Megalite sleeping bag is wider than most AND it has been overstuffed with an extra ounce of down. (double mortal sin)

Sometimes when in my bag I think impure thoughts of females instead of tomorrow's trail. (venal sin - I hope)

I live to eat instead of eating to live. (venal sin)

My hiking poles are aluminum instead of carbon fiber. (VERY mortal sin)

Please Father Hiker, bless me.

F.H.-> "My son, get thee to the GoLite store and purchase HK gear (Hikingly Correct) and sin no more."

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 01:21:32 MDT Print View

Once I packed in a pair of jeans because I needed pants for an off trail bushwacking section but wanted to wear shorts for the river section and I didn't own any nylon pants at the time.

Sometimes I carry 2 knives. One is a small neck knife on a lanyard with a firesteel and is my emergency tool if I lose my pack. The other is a mora that I use often for splitting kindling and cleaning fish.

Sometimes I carry a 6lb rifle while backpacking and shoot cute fluffy forest animals and eat them.

I have carried a 26 inch axe backpacking in wet/frozen conditions and actually used it a lot.

In cold weather I hike in running tights (without shorts over them).

I prefer old wool sweaters over fleece.

I love leather shoes.

I hike in a cotton t-shirt 90% of the time, even in cooler weather. (and it hasn't killed me yet)

I almost always cook over an open fire on bare dirt in a place without a fire pit (don't let the LNT Nazi's find out!) and didn't even own a stove until recently.

And finally... I actually don't care at all about my pack weight as long as its under 25 pounds (gasp!)

My sins are unforgivable.

Edited by justin_baker on 05/15/2013 02:25:51 MDT.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 06:13:49 MDT Print View

You should be ashamed.

[I plan to walk a National Trail staying in B&B instead of camping.]

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 06:22:58 MDT Print View

This should be in Chaff. That's the real sin. I did not know that Eric had so many issues.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 08:53:08 MDT Print View

Eric, you and I can burn in Hiker Hell together. Coincidentally I already live here, it's commonly referred to as Kansas.

I sleep on a FULL LENGTH Thermarest ProLight PLUS pad.

I use a silnylon pyramid instead of a cuben fiber one. I don't have $300+ to spend on hiking gear much less just a shelter.

I carry a heavier than a cell phone camera. Last trip is was a Nikon D300. In a couple of weeks I plan to carry an Olympus OM-1 and a few rolls of film.

My pack is made from Dyneema X and not from Cuben fabric.

I prefer cooking with ESBIT to alcohol.

I have a folding lexan spoon. And its lighter than the Ti spork it replaced.

My hiking poles are aluminum instead of carbon fiber. And I've beat the crap out of them for the past 7 years and they still work.

I prefer synthetic insulating clothing to down.

I use the same pack for overnight trips and longer treks.

It feels good to get all that off my chest.


Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 11:03:23 MDT Print View

I use a full length Thermarest Prolite also, as it still fits into my overall UL weight goal. I tried the closed cell foam options (Ridgerest, Z-Rest), but the lack of decent sleep sent me back to the Thermarest. I can go much farther and faster (or slower and more comfortable) on a good nights sleep. Some people can sleep on CF, I cannot anymore.

I also use aftermarket side pockets.

I use lightweight running shoes ($25 Big 5 specials) because they are more comfortable on my feet and breathe better than other options I've tried.

Carrying extra batteries is prudent and not against the UL code

ESBIT is lighter than alcohol, so you have not sinned. The alcohol people are the heathens on this one.

Although technically heavier, my long handled Outdoor Products lexan spork from Walmart weighs the same .1 oz (and would so if I cut the handle as well) on my scale as a small frozen yogurt spoon and its much easier to dig food from the bottom of a bag with. Its also also lighter than a Ti spoon and will likely last me as long or longer.

I don't eat pre-cooked dehydrated foods (as opposed to cooking on the trail) because they are lighter, I do so because usually I don't feel like cooking after a 15-20 mile or more day and because well made dehydrated foods taste just as good (yes, they do). That being said, I do sometimes cook on hikes.

I sometimes carry a larger Victorinox Camper SAK in addition to my tiny Leatherman Style, as it has some features that I frequently use.

My thoughts of the the next day's section of trail while in my bag stem more from my love of hiking beautiful trails. Those that are of female companionship are of my wife (who is quite hot, but does not do overnight hikes) and stem from my desire to remain faithful to her in my thoughts as well as my actions.

I actually see very little on your list that truly goes against sound UL practices. Except for your pack and your pad, its all UL. I realize that it is more of a jab at those who will go to any lengths to shed weight, but you are confessing many things that are not true UL sins.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 05/15/2013 11:12:26 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Sins" forgiven on 05/15/2013 11:20:31 MDT Print View


Your "sins" are forgiven. The Gods of the Trail absolve you as long as you are having fun on the trail. That's our goal and axes, saws, and other such heavy items are sometimes necessary. I remember in the 70s using a saw to trim branches on a bushwhacking portage in Quebec so we could get our canoes through the bush from lake to lake. It was a hellish portage.

Actually I was poking fun at "fashionably" UL folks but really they are the ones who are trailblazing for the rest of us. Their style gradually becomes our style as we all evolve towards lighter packs. Our wallets also "evolve" to a lighter state. ;o)

Yeah, a Ti spoon seems to me to be more a fetish than using an equally light (and cheaper) Lexan spoon. And at my senior age I'm ALL for a good night's sleep on a Thermarest. Aluminum pots spread heat better than Ti and wide pots ae more efficient than tall mugs so fuel weight is saved. But regardless of cooking efficiency we all have our own style. None actually "better" than others.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 11:20:36 MDT Print View

I always carry the essentials

I carry a framed backpack

I carry two knives

I carry redundant fire starters

I carry a first aid kit with more than 5 items

I carry a "full sized" sighting compass, and maps too

I use fleece clothing

I use a synthetic fill sleeping bag

I often sleep in a hammock with all the bells and whistles

And I have no remorse whatsoever!

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Gear Confessions on 05/15/2013 21:58:29 MDT Print View

Run for the hills! Or get to the battlements! It's a BPL coup!

I've enjoyed this thread, being a fellow sinner. Well actually a flip flopper since i'm still very much in experimental stage, sometimes super ultra uber duper light and other times i just don't give a flying duck, and rarely, rarely do i ever care what others socially think about me either way.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 05/15/2013 21:59:53 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Sinners! on 05/15/2013 22:19:24 MDT Print View

I use a torso length foam pad and a sleeping bag rated at least 20 degrees too little. I bring nothing but shorts. I eat (almost) all CLIF bars and dried fruit/nuts to save time cooking and save weight. I leave my boots at home.

But I still carry my DSLR, and I still sometimes throw my Leatherman Wave into the belt pocket of my pack for 2-3 hours before I leave for my hike, and each trip I get closer and closer to actually bringing it...

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
What this thread is about? Ah? on 05/16/2013 05:45:01 MDT Print View

Decided to delete this post.

Edited by tauneutrino on 05/16/2013 05:46:08 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What this thread is about? Ah? on 05/16/2013 08:21:09 MDT Print View

It is about Eric straying from the UL Religion. He is entitled. May all of us be alive, kicking, and backpacking when we get to his age.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gear Confessions on 05/23/2013 02:36:08 MDT Print View

I have hiked in jeans many, many times.

Go ahead and crucify me now.

Also I carry extra batteries instead of changing them out every trip to save money.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HA! on 05/23/2013 12:23:06 MDT Print View

Your words "UL Religion" is a very apt term. Some of us get so enthusiastic about the latest gear trend that we are blinded to better functioning gear. The latest trends become a religion to "True Believers".
(Ex. Strict ULers prefer tall, narrow, inefficient Ti mugs v.s. "unfashionable" wider aluminum pots that spread heat better and use less fuel.)

And yes, as an ageing former XC ski jock I DO need that full length ProLite mattress at the end of a tough day on the trail. And I do like to take "IB-lieve" (Ibuprofen + Alleve) when my muscles cry out in protest at the end of that tough day.

But I gotta say, with the new BPL series on SUL mountain travel we can see where gear is heading for the future. I'll still opt for eVent rain mitts instead of Cuben mitts, and I'll take light Dyneema reinforced pack fabric over Cuben packs just because I appreciate the "hand" and looks of fabric over Cuben laminate material.

I guess for me it's partly being lightweight and partly having gear that is durable and has a bit of "eye candy" to it. Call me crazy but I prefer gear that blends with my surroundings and doesn't feel like plastic.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
So this post is about ... hate of UL gear? on 05/23/2013 13:02:08 MDT Print View

Your opinion is not objective either. A while ago here was a guy stating that carrying UL gear makes people weak. So he prefers to take a full load of 40lb just to be sure he is not weak :) Well, you know each with his own madness. That guy could possibly put some stones and sand in his pack to be sure he hits that 40lb mark :)

What are you stating here is just that all recent develop of backpacking gear is worthless. Well, I'm completely disagree with you. Yes, certain things maybe didn't work for you, so what? If I boil water, why do I need your fancy and heavy aluminium pot for spreading heat? And why does it use less fuel?

You don't like cuben fiber. Well, reasonable. I hate milk.

The guy here who hike with jeans. Yeah! If this makes you happy go on! But what if you get your ultra heavy jeans wet? Does it restricts your movement? have you hiked 20 miles with it? For 5 days?

Really. There are things that make sense. But here I see a list of really meaningless stuff that come from an old-school guy.

The only thing that came into my mind when I read your post was: WTF?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: So this post is about ... hate of UL gear? on 05/23/2013 13:07:24 MDT Print View

I thought it was a rather tongue-in-cheek look at those who don't drink all the Kool Aid. Sometimes the UL mindset can be dogmatic and conformist, and I think that can turn people away from the concept in general. Ultimately it is a hike your own hike world.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: So this post is about ... hate of UL gear? on 05/23/2013 13:15:56 MDT Print View

"The only thing that came into my mind when I read your post was: WTF?"

Interestingly enough, that was my response when I read your post as well but I admit I may have to steal that cat picture from you!


I wore hiking boots last weekend. I feel so dirty but in a good way.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: So this post is about ... hate of UL gear? on 05/23/2013 13:16:58 MDT Print View

I am disappointed that Eric did not disclose what pencil he uses.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Dogmatic people are dogmatic about every aspect in their life on 05/23/2013 13:22:12 MDT Print View

I had a coworker who was perfectionist. OMG. Everything he bought was a top notch thing. Yes he wasted a lot of money. But it made him happy. Have I judged him? No.

Let people choose how to spend their money.

I'm kinda crazy about photography. So I took my D80 + some lenses... So this resulted in 7lbs. Sometimes I took my heavy duty Monfrotto tripod that weigh 6lbs more.

Now, after joining this amazing community I learned a lot. Now I'm taking Sony NEX + 2 lenses which weigh 800 gram including everything. 3 times at least! The quality of p photos stayed the same.

I'm considering myself UL backpacker.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Hey Guys, the cat is copyrighted. on 05/23/2013 13:23:56 MDT Print View