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The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear
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Justin C
(paintballr4life) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Video on 05/23/2013 04:00:03 MDT Print View

I really enjoyed the video and look forward to the series. I like seeing BPL returning to its roots. Good job and keep these coming!

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear on 05/23/2013 06:53:11 MDT Print View

I find it BPL SUL heresy that the AM wasn't repackaged and you resorted to using TP. :)

Rodney Mruk

Locale: Northeast Oregon
Use current gear on 05/23/2013 07:37:28 MDT Print View


Nice video. I look forward to the remainder.

I would suggest you use gear that is currently available on the market. The benefit to viewers is diminished when you utilize gear that is no longer available. Your gear list includes several items no longer available like:

500 ml Firelite pot
Beartooth merino hoodie
Thoroughfare pants

You certainly can use them in your gear but it would be helpful to viewers for you to list a couple of similar products available today.

Otherwise a great video and article.


Mike V
(deadbox) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
RE:"The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear" on 05/23/2013 08:15:21 MDT Print View

I am really excited about this video series! Your focus on SUL being about combining skill and a simple kit, as opposed to a black and white base weight number is very refreshing. I hope future videos will focus on the SUL skill set needed to best utilize a smaller array of tools. I am particularly curious to know what skills you are employing that allow you to go from your kit in your article Backpacking Checklist
to your SUL kit.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
inspiration is great but on 05/23/2013 08:16:18 MDT Print View

>>I am inspired by the mention of the word "discipline" at around 5:29.

Hey, now, this is a family site...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SUL and Rain on 05/23/2013 11:40:11 MDT Print View

"It rained 2.5" that weekend."

Ryan, I know you grew up in the PNW and you know what the conditions can be like. There is rain and then there is rain.

2.5" is an impressive amount of precipitation. I assume that there were some heavy thunder showers. What was the duration of the rain you experienced? I didn't see rain pants on your list. Did you just tough it out hiking in wet pants? How do you handle heavy rainfall and a bivy without a tarp?

I can't imagine PNW multi-day drizzle with just a bivy and no rain pants. Cooking and getting in and out of the bivy in the rain and hiking in cold wet pants doesn't sound very practical if not just plain miserable. Things would be wet, muddy and just slimy after the first night.

I get the beauty of the simplicity of a minimalist kit, but the example fits a narrow region and climate. Years ago you chronicled your Lost Coast hike with a poncho tarp setup and it got pretty wet. Some would have been hypothermic. Do you think that the SUL gear lists encourage hikers to tackle conditions that the equipment won't provide safe protection?

Some mentioned skills needed for such a trip with SUL gear. I don't see any specialized skills other than campsite selection, fire building and navigation without map and compass. The rest looks like basic camping and hiking to me.

I think there is some luck with weather and perhaps having the youth and vigor to put up with the conditions you did find. I'm not sure that many hikers could (or should) handle it.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
HMG summit on 05/24/2013 01:15:07 MDT Print View

does the pack have padded shoulder straps?

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear on 05/24/2013 07:33:27 MDT Print View

Right on.

This video series is a solid reintroduction of past information on going light revamped in a new medium. Video is the way to go for presenting this sort of information, especially for beginners who want to get a peak inside pack contents.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear on 05/24/2013 19:09:36 MDT Print View

Well done Ryan Jordan well done!

This is an absolutely brilliant piece of work. You will never know how much you have inspired me at a time when I truly needed inspiration and what a debt I owe you for it. This video is just icing on the cake. I don't care if the gear matches the list, I really don't care how much it weighs, I love the hatchet, and no tarp once again makes me ponder new possibilities. I am SUL and I consider the weight of everything I take so that I don't have to worry about the weight of anything I carry. When I hit the trails with my tiny pack it means nothing to me. This is the way I want it to be.

Your video brings me back to a 3 day trip I took last October. The site for my first night was just below the summit of cold mountain in NC. I walked to the top to watch the sun set. When it was time to sleep I just tossed out my bivy, pushed in my pad, and stuffed in my quilt. I made some notes about the day then drifted off. It was so simple. Not much gear to worry about... and for a moment not much in life to worry about. Unfortunately a rare thing for me these days.

Cold Mountain

Please keep this up, I eagerly await the next one.


Sam Snell
(ss1387) - MLife
Re: SUL is so fun on 05/25/2013 01:36:17 MDT Print View

Thank you, Ryan.

I appreciate your insight and your recognition that we each surmise our own unique valuations of 'meaning' in the outdoors. Just as we may each elect to take a different path through a common wilderness, we each find meaning within that wilderness in our own unique way. Finding and meeting at the intersections of those paths is what makes reading BPL, sharing trip reports, and perusing these discussion replies so fundamentally valuable: they emphasize our value and agency as explorers and wanderers, individually and collectively.

For instance, I sympathize with the “totally fun to use” and “neat middle finger” motivations that drive you to carry a hatchet. While the proximity of wilderness areas with open-flame bans precludes inclusion of a hatchet in all but a few of my journeys, these same motivations bias many of my own decisions. For instance, I commonly bring a set of juggling balls. While they are wholly unnecessary, they are darn good fun and they throw a nice middle finger that neatly derails any dreary attitude on wet, muddy, or slimy days when I am having difficulty appreciating the beauty surrounding me.

I eagerly await the contribution of your next video to this individually filtered collective experience.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: hatchet alternatives on 05/25/2013 23:21:06 MDT Print View

Re Dale's comment: "Other than the weight, that nice Gransfors Bruks hatchet that Ryan was packing is a cool $100 or more."

Um, maybe a lot more, like $160 -- at Amazon and at Ben's Backwoods, anyway.


todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear on 05/26/2013 06:14:43 MDT Print View

I loved this video. I love that you could pull it off With a hatchet!!!! I appreciate the time put into making it.

While I like debates, and discussing things like "is this REALLY practical?",
"but what do you do when _________?", "but your way won't work if _________", Ryan CLEARLY states:

"The idea is to focus on a kit that I use for three-day (long weekend) backpacking between about St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, on routes that are snow-free.

This introductory episode simply gives you an idea of what I might take on such a trip. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive thesis on SUL gear."

JUST TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS: someone sharing a cool experience done a certain way. There are multiple ways to do some things!!!!

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 05/26/2013 08:12:44 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/08/2013 19:05:20 MDT.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Bear canisters on 05/26/2013 12:06:09 MDT Print View

Even in the stretch of land from Yosemite down to Sequoia, bear canisters are only required by law in a few areas. I use an Ursack, at 5.7 oz and collapsible, and am convinced that I'm adequately protecting both my food and any bears who might cross my path and turn to the dark side if they ever got a taste of what humans eat.

Kevin Manley
(manleyk) - F - MLife

Locale: Denver-ish
Re: Re: Re: hatchet alternatives on 06/02/2013 21:39:32 MDT Print View

Have you ever handled one of these hatchets? I have a Wetterlings (the only one on par with the Bruks); incredible tools and a pleasure to hold.

Are they potentially dangerous? Sure. I have friends I wouldn't hand a pair of scissors to, though. It's all about knowing how to use it. And you really could build a cabin with one, if you had a LOT of time on your hands.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: hatchet alternatives on 06/02/2013 23:16:45 MDT Print View

"Have you ever handled one of these hatchets?"

Gransfors Bruks and Wetterlings are great examples of hatchets, with incredible steel and head profiles, but....

I lived with only wood heat for years and I've swung my share of sharp steel around. The problem with hatchets is that a user will have their hand in harm's way, or try to use the tool for heavier tasks than it was designed for. An inexperienced user who is tired, dehydrated, or on the edge of hypothermia (or all the above) is a poor candidate for using a hatchet. Small hatchets can bounce and ricochet in unskilled hands, especially with springy green limbs.

On the other hand, a folding saw is about 1/4 the weight, 10% of the cost and will cut small diameter wood in a hurry with little chance of the user gashing their shin open or lopping off a finger (yes, someone will still try).

If it comes to emergency shelter making, I can do it much faster with a saw. I can cut some big stuff by simply cutting from two directions. If I need to get to the dry center of a dead limb, I can cut part way through and peel it back to split it.

In the video, Ryan is splitting off small sticks for tinder. I can easily to the same with a $12, 4oz Mora knife and a stick, with my hands completely out of harm's way.

Jane Freeman
(Janefree) - F

Locale: Paauilo
Re: Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear on 06/05/2013 14:12:52 MDT Print View

Yes, to each his or her own. I happen to like all of my digits (all ten and not to mention counting those on my back. ) especially in the backcountry miles from an emergency room. Hatchets like guns to me are capricious. Fire safety is also huge and I imagine this is addressed.

I write this from an older female perspective. For A younger man especially extra pounds are more inconsequential. (I recognize this offsets fuel) For me cooking over a wood fire, soot just gets everywhere no matter what. Clothes, gear, face. Ugh! I just find the clean up time consuming and impossible. So just a preference.

For survival or the comfort of a fire, a wood cutting tool is excellent but I would personally choose a lighter more controlled saw tool as suggested.

Not sure the woods is a safer place with hatchet wielding and advocating more open fires.

Gary Rozanc
(grozanc) - M
Future Videos on 07/07/2013 20:53:49 MDT Print View

Hey Ryan,

Loved the videos. In future episodes I'd love to see your techniques for packing up and cooking with just the bivy while its raining.


mark henley
(flash582) - F
Way to go ....... on 07/11/2013 17:07:31 MDT Print View

At last! Ryan has said the magic words!

It's just a number ...... Who cares if your pack is 4 lbs, 5 lbs, or 6 lbs .....

SUL is really about simplicity even more than pack weight. Ryan has achieved the 8th level of zen lightness .... A master of lightness .... Thank you for sharing your continued wisdom.

I use a simple DIY hammock these days with a poncho tarp. I discarded the whoopie slings and changed to 3 ft pieces of amsteel with fixed loops on each end. The tree strap passes thru the fixed eye and works much like a truckers hitch .... Simple, light, effective and easy to pitch at the end of a long day. Tied off with a half hitch. Throw in a 6 ounce thin 40 inch wide pad .... Sleep in blissful slumber. Patch kit not required.

Keep everything as simple as possible, leave the coffee press, espresso makers, campfire toasters, and complicated whatsits at the house .... Take your cell phone if its needed, but turned off, and in a ziplock in the bottom of your pack. Learn to use a knife like a bushman .....

Enjoy the sound of the world, the view of the stars, and the hearty laugh of a companion around a campfire, or enjoy your solitude.

Thank you Ryan.

Charles Tufankjian

Locale: New Hampshire
Flashlight on 07/13/2013 09:10:22 MDT Print View

A little late to the party here, but does anybody know what kind of flashlight that is?

Edited by ctufankjian on 07/13/2013 09:31:49 MDT.