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Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there?
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Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/25/2013 23:40:43 MDT Print View


If we're talking higher milage, usually I am in higher 8-12k altitude.
Still push at least 40 miles and upwards of 60 per day, if less climbing.

I think 2 pounds makes a difference when going this distance.
A 13lb vs 15lb pack weight does feel better and 2 less is that much more.

I do feel there is a huge difference when your pack weight goes above 18lbs.
Then again carrying 9 vs 18 makes those higher mileages doable, which is the reason I go SUL.

My biggest factors in what kills me, in order, are
1. altitude
2. heat
3. weight

I have never been able to be up in altitude long enough to get used to it.
If I was better at altitude, the JMT supported and TRT unsupported record would be mine.
Still, while I am "hiking" these trails it is in the same fashion as any other hiker. carrying all my gear and hiking the exact same trail.
When going unsupported, you are really being in touch with the trail the entire way. Even more so than most thru hikers.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/26/2013 09:50:59 MDT Print View

Considering total pack weights: I found a pretty noticable difference in comfort and energy between a 15lb pack and a 10lb pack. The difference between 25lb and 10lb would be HUGE for me. I also do "high" mileage days at altitude. 20+ miles and 6k+ a day. I rarely drop below 10,000' for most trips (usually just the approach and return from my trip). I usually summit a few 13,000' peaks per trip.

Edited by lindahlb on 05/26/2013 09:53:09 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/26/2013 10:01:57 MDT Print View

Aaron, I agree simplicity is the key. As far as what I need, I'd sum it up as freedom. SUL to me is about experiencing freedom. To get that freedom I seek to rely on my own skill rather than that of others. Does that mean I need to know much more than is necessary to experience SUL? I think the answer is yes. This is what I was trying to share in my list. I'm not sure this is a bad thing, but it is my style of SUL.

You've made me think that if I would give into my need for independence I could simplify my outdoor experience. Not the actual trip itself, my trips are extremely simple, but rather the energy that goes into preparing for a trip. This is anything but simple. An example where I did this last year was buying hawk vittles for dinners. It is much simpler than dehydrating my own food.

This is what I like about BPL, it always keeps me thinking.


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/26/2013 12:32:25 MDT Print View


Just when I thought I had some good gear and it doesn't get any better, I saw a SUL list that had not one item that was on my list.
Not only that, it was lighter and warmer with a few more luxury items.

It blew me away, and just goes to show how much you can learn on this site.

I think the best way to go SUL is to car camp and have what ever items you may think you need right in the car and just pull out the items you can only not do without.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/26/2013 13:27:13 MDT Print View

> Just when I thought I had some good gear and it doesn't
> get any better, I saw a SUL list that had not one item
> that was on my list.

You can't just say that and not share!

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 05/26/2013 13:44:52 MDT Print View

It was linked to someones profile. Not sure who's it was.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
New SUL hiker on 05/29/2013 03:16:55 MDT Print View

I put together a SUL gear list as a challenge to myself - it is the second half of this list, starting on page 3:

I was really surprised the first time I realized SUL was in reach, as I take an XL to XXL and extra long in everything and am unwilling to sacrifice a fully enclosed tent, comfy full sized sleeping pad, conservatively rated quilt, down hood and sleeves, hot food, etc. Plus I hike primarily in the Sierra's.

I will be testing this list on an overnight or three this summer. That being said, for regular use I am much more likely to end up adding:

Sawyer Squeeze
1/8" Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad (use under the Exped)
Mountain Hardwear GW anorak (wind shirt)
Arc'teryx Phase SL baselayers/sleep clothes
Extra pair ea. socks & underwear
Polycro groundsheet for longer trips

This would bring the total weight carried to 10lbs for an overnight, still ridiculously light for a 265lb dude!

Edited by drewjh on 06/05/2013 03:56:41 MDT.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Not anymore on 05/29/2013 22:38:33 MDT Print View

I have done 2 SUL trips, both in high desert national parks. When I was out there I thought, "wish I had my camera, this CCF pad sucks, I would rather have my montbell pillow than use my arm, this mammut s-lite sure isn't bright..... Etcetera."

I can crank out 20+ miles with ease in the Sierra with 6K elevation change with a sub 10lb base. It was fun to see how much I can not bring, but I have gotten wiser and bring more now. Now I spend my time outfitting friends that join me or are on there own adventures and are interested in lightening up.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
excellent point on 07/09/2013 07:49:23 MDT Print View


Excellent point .... although I would argue that SUL is as much a thought process as it is a weight on a spreadsheet ...

Using this site, as well as a few other resources, has enabled me to reduce my baseweight from 35 pounds plus to 5.25 .... and 8 if I add back in a LOT of comfort ...

That's what the path to SUL means to me ... it enables me to be very comfortable in the backcountry and have a Total Packweight of about 20 lbs for a week long hike.

It also pushed me to learn a lot more about living in harmony with nature, how to thrive in the backcountry without dependence on a pack or the gear in the pack, and how to spend my time enjoying my hike/camping rather than fiddling with my gear.

This was a REVELATION for me .... and pushing for SUL enabled me to get that last 5 lbs out of my pack that was unneeded crappppp. Now pack weight is an informed choice for me ... I pick my gear, and my baseweight, depending on the conditions of the hike, and still stay well into the ultralight spectrum, even when preparing for adverse conditions.

It has also pushed me to take the long view on fitness, weight, etc. I have had back problems for 25 years, cumminating with three vertabra fused in 2009 .... for me, 5 lbs of packweight is the difference between having fun and agony with every step, however, it is improving over time ... something you have to be comfortable with in middle age ... you just don't bounce as well at 50 as you did at 20.

Keep it light brother .... and hike on ...

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 07/09/2013 15:24:28 MDT Print View

Hi Mark,

and pushing for SUL enabled me to get that last 5 lbs out of my pack that was unneeded crappppp.

Would be interest to know what items you got rid of, or was it more moving to simpler, lighter versions of existing gear. I am interested in reducing pack weight, but more interested in just having less items to pack before a trip and less to manage on a trip.

This thread has made me look again at what I am carrying. Plus now I am doing some Bikepacking trips, which are generally of shorter duration and at lower altitude than my backpacking trips, so I am thinking I could really simplify my set up for those trips. The lack of predictability of New Zealand weather will always be a factor, but on shorter trips this is less of a concern.



Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 07/10/2013 08:48:44 MDT Print View

I thing I did to reduce the number of items in my pack was to start with a blank sheet sitting at my kitchen table away from any gear and make a list of things I needed on my hike. List things like shelter, sleeping bag, etc rather than the specific brand. Then evaluate whether you need these things as items before even looking at the weight of the item.

I found this allowed me to get rid of more stuff because instead of looking at a spreadsheet of what I carry and the weight of the item I was starting from a blank sheet. and secondly you aren't able to say oh its just an ounce so I will add it.

Once you have decided on what type of items you need, then you can go out and find the lightest versions of the items that meet your needs.

This really helped me reduce my first aid kit, cook kit, and misc items. Your list really widdles down to

Stay Warm,
Stay Dry,
Able to eat,
Able to hike,

Phillip Damiano

Locale: Australia
Re: Any "NEW" SUL Hikers out there? on 07/14/2013 02:01:32 MDT Print View

I'm new to the SUL. I want to put together a 5 pound or under, or 2.2kg for those that live in Australia base weight.

My current base weight is between 11 to 13 pounds. After this 5 pound challenge of mine, I wish to get my base weight down no more than 7 to 10 pounds max for winter.

I have an overnight bushwalk planned in the next few weeks of 32km at Cooloola National Park near Rainbow Beach in QLD Australia I want to make this Overnight a challenge for me to see if I can get under the 5 pound (2.2kg) base weight.

New Gossamer Gear Kumo backpack on it's way to me as I type this. Already own a vast aray of Cooking kits, from metho to esbit tablets, beer can pots etc.

Shelter will be a MLD Cuben DuoMid. Plan not to take a sleeping pad, as the plans are to camp on the soft sand behind a sand dune on the beach and use a piece of tyvek sheet to lay on.

Should be fun, Somehow will include the GoPro camera so I can film and do a trip report on my first SUL Bushwalk.

Edited by Phillipsart on 07/14/2013 03:54:48 MDT.