The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/29/2013 12:54:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water

Justin C
(paintballr4life) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Video on 05/29/2013 13:28:57 MDT Print View

I am really enjoying these videos! Thanks

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Fires and Simplicity on 05/29/2013 16:18:33 MDT Print View

Great video!

I like fires but to me SUL is what I do when I want to travel light and fast. Since that doesn't leave much time for fires I tend to just eat cold food. Yes I miss hot food (sometimes) but the simplicity is great. Its also nice when its raining to just eat my dinner under my tarp then go to bed. Just my preference of course HYOH.

I think an article on eating well with cold food would be cool. What are the best "no cook" meals (i.e. not GORP and bars)?

Edited by Cameron on 05/29/2013 16:19:30 MDT.

Stephen Owens
(walknhigh) - MLife

Locale: White Mtns, AZ
Water Treatment on 05/29/2013 17:18:19 MDT Print View

I need to carry a water container in my area. I find the Sawyer superior to the steripen. "never trust your life to something that needs batteries"

Good Video

Edited by walknhigh on 05/29/2013 17:19:46 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Fires and Simplicity on 05/29/2013 17:23:05 MDT Print View

"I think an article on eating well with cold food would be cool. What are the best "no cook" meals (i.e. not GORP and bars)?"

+1 - Would really enjoy that. Great video series Ryan!

Ryan

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/29/2013 17:29:47 MDT Print View

I agree about the Steripen. If you are near fresh water for the trip, it's trivial to do a couple potfuls and move on. It can easily save the weight of carrying a pound of water as it "cooks."

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Steripen Batteries on 05/29/2013 17:55:36 MDT Print View

We've only started to use Steripens but like them so far. What I've done for backup is through some Iodine tablets in a small plastic bag. Its very light and gives you a backup option if the Steripen fails.

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Thanks! on 05/29/2013 18:02:48 MDT Print View

Great video as always! Nice to see a different perspective on SUL. I often wish I could have fires but here in CA they are taboo. Have to stick to my old Esbit standby. Steripen makes me nervous as well. Many times I have really long stretches between watering holes and batteries always seem to fail me when I need them. As you alluded to Ryan, right gear for the right terrain.

Please keep them coming! Looking forward to seeing your shelter system in action.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/29/2013 18:21:46 MDT Print View

I love how you made your fire remains totally invisible. It looked like a survival skill they would teach you in the military to avoid being tracked. Some people can't understand a fire ever not leaving a trace, but as you just demonstrated it can. I've even cleaned up huge long log fires that I burnt all night long.
And I appreciate when people disassemble their fire rings (I never ever make one, I don't see the point). I hate walking up some remote river corridor and finding old fire rings that haven't been used it decades.

I hate to nag on people about stuff, but you shouldn't carve wood shavings on a rock. Granfors Bruks axes have very hard steel that holds an edge well on wood but will chip out badly if you hit a rock. I've bucked logs with full size axe and if you miss the log and strike the ground all of the little pebbles in the dirt will make your axe edge look like a steak knife.



Fire cooking is cool and all, but you should really do a thing on stoves. Not everyone wants to use a fire.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/29/2013 19:14:33 MDT Print View

I haven't built a campfire in the wild in decades. Seems like it was a pretty small fire ring surrounded by a lot of dead leaves and vegetation. Pretty much contrary to what I learned a long time ago.

BTW, the video production is excellent. Sound and footage top notch.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Fire ring on 05/29/2013 20:05:01 MDT Print View

What is the purpose of the ring of rocks ? I can understand 2-3 to act as pot supports, but why enclose the fire in a big circle of rocks ?

Also why do you mix the forest duff into the dirt afterwards ? Does this somehow restore the soil so that it can grow vegitation ? The LNT guidelines talk about how fires sterilize the soil a few inches deep so nothing will grow there for years - but I've never tested it myself. Maybe I'll build a fire on the lawn this weekend and see how long it takes the grass to grow back.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Fire Ring on 05/29/2013 20:49:13 MDT Print View

My fire rings are normally bare spots with no vegetation growing anyway so I doubt I'm doing the forest any harm.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2 on 05/29/2013 20:56:56 MDT Print View

What do you do during the 2-3 months per year of high fire danger, which usually corresponds to prime backpacking season? Out here in the PNW, fires are absolutely forbidden during that time. I've seen burn bans in Colorado and Wyoming, too. In the last year or two, many jurisdictdions also prohibit alcohol stoves during burn bans. While I've always used a canister stove, cold food sounds more and more attractive. 12.0 oz. fuel canister plus 2.5 oz. stove plus 2.0 oz. pot plus 0.8 oz. cozy come to more than the 12 oz. of water I'd be carrying while my food is soaking! Of course, if I catch any fish I'd have to eat them raw.... :-(

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/29/2013 22:36:23 MDT Print View

VERY nice article Ryan. I like the focus on simplicity and skills as opposed to gear. very well done.

Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Which cord for hanging food? on 05/30/2013 00:48:03 MDT Print View

Hi Ryan,
Thank you for the video.
So you do not like Spectra cord or the cord and rock sack used in the video from Mountain Laurel Designs. What do you recommend then for hanging food/packs?
I would love some info on “no cook” food as well.

Avi Rubinsztejn
(fast5731) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/30/2013 02:07:12 MDT Print View

In one scene it looks like you have freeze dried food in its original package, Any reason you are adding the food to your pot as opposed to adding hot water to the freeze dried food package?

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - F - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Adapting route/gear on 05/30/2013 03:20:31 MDT Print View

I noticed that about 2:15 you said "adapt your route to the equipment that you're carrying", not "adapt your equipment to the route". Was that a slip of the tongue, or do you choose a route to suit the gear? And to what extent?

I can see some sense in "I'm doing a 100 mile trip, and most of it falls naturally near water, so I'll add in a couple of 1 mile diversions to plug the gaps. That simplifies water carrying for the whole trip."

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - F - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: Fire ring on 05/30/2013 03:49:02 MDT Print View

"What is the purpose of the ring of rocks ? I can understand 2-3 to act as pot supports, but why enclose the fire in a big circle of rocks ?"

A windscreen, perhaps?

Johan Engberg
(luffarjohan) - M

Locale: Wrong place at the right rime
On the rocks on 05/30/2013 03:51:25 MDT Print View

I really enjoy these short videos, informative and well produced!

I would make a fire on the rocks instead of making a fire circle of them. This enhances the flow of oxygen and makes the clean up afterwards easier since there's no to little contact with the ground. Another plus is that there's less risk of a root fire.
Another option is to use bigger twigs/logs as a base. No innocent rocks will then be harmed. Only reason to make a fire pit is if there's a risk of the fire to spread to the surrounding area, which is unnessesary if the fire is attended.

Then again, the circle may have been done for the sole purpose of educating how to remove a circle...

/J

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Which cord for hanging food? on 05/30/2013 04:07:54 MDT Print View

"So you do not like Spectra cord or the cord and rock sack used in the video from Mountain Laurel Designs. What do you recommend then for hanging food/packs?"

Ryan undobtedly has his own favorites. I avoid ultra fine lines for bear baging. Spectra is good cord, strong and light. But, it is generally way beyond what is actually needed. Stakes pull loose before the line breaks and flinging the stake to all corners, or, if solidly anchored, the tarp can rip. As Ryan mentions, light lines saw into trees when hauling up more than 4-5 pounds, often wedging/sticking into the bark making the bag difficult to pull up. If you cut into the bark further, the tree can exude sap, glueing the line into place come morning. I have had trouble getting a 5 pound bag down! I prefer a dyneema line that will flatten slightly when you pull up a 15 pound bear bag. It tends to flatten over a branch increasing the surface area a bit. I use a heavier 3mm line, 40' or so. Stretch is usually minimal. The line itself is fairly stiff. This handles better in the scrub normally found in forest floors. Limp line, like paracord, has a way of finding all the snags. I purchased about 200' of 3mm "whip" line 10-12 years ago. I am still using it today.

Jose Galhoz
(GAUROCH) - MLife
Re: Re: Fires and Simplicity on 05/30/2013 07:15:29 MDT Print View

I can do without warm "food", but I do need a hot soup or tea at night...
I've tried alcool-gel and RocketMSR...any other sugestions?

Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Re: Re: Fires and Simplicity on 05/30/2013 07:26:00 MDT Print View

+2 for doing a best "no cook" meals article.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Fires and Simplicity on 05/30/2013 08:50:10 MDT Print View

Jose asked, "I can do without warm "food", but I do need a hot soup or tea at night...
I've tried alcool-gel and RocketMSR...any other sugestions?"


I use an Esbit titanium wing stove, a 450ml titanium mug, an aluminum foil lid and windscreen. It is perfect for warm drinks, soups and instant oatmeal. Great for a day hiking and overnight hike kitchen. I have a folding spoon that fits inside too.

Sunny Waller
(dancer) - M

Locale: Southeast USA
Folding Spoon on 05/30/2013 09:03:48 MDT Print View

Dale.. what folding spoon do you use? I have not been able to find one..

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Which cord for hanging food? on 05/30/2013 09:08:39 MDT Print View

I use Zing It, which is made for use by arborists (tree trimmers) to haul larger lines over branches. It is light and strong and has a coating to aid the process.

John Taylorson
(heyjt) - M

Locale: SoCal
Spork/Spoon on 05/30/2013 09:10:01 MDT Print View

I ditched my spork a couple years ago. I found that I was not using the fork-end and they are hard to handle.

Instead, I use a long spoon (Sea To Summit .4oz)a little heavy but helpful with freezer bag cooking. If I do end up bringing food that requires a fork or stabbing, I make chopsticks from twigs. They are easy to carve, light and multi-purpose.

Great videos!

My wife chowing down lunch with forest-provided chopsticks
chopsticks

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Folding Spoon on 05/30/2013 09:18:44 MDT Print View

Yes, folding sporks are readily available, but I had to get the spoons from China via eBay. I considered importing a bunch and distributing them myself. The ones I got are made by Fire Maple. They were rather expensive at the time. I see now that competition has kicked in and there are a good number available for $10.99 each with shipping from China.

I also got some folding hard anodized aluminum spoons that were perefectly acceptable. They had a good shape and a very smooth edge.

Bruce Warren
(Aimee) - F - MLife
Re: The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 05/30/2013 09:38:57 MDT Print View

How come the video panel tells me... "Sorry, The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain. This is a Vimeo Plus feature."

Both episodes say this.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Refresh your screen on 05/30/2013 09:52:48 MDT Print View

I got the same message from Vimeo, but refreshing my screen after logging in seemed to solve the problem. I have no idea why, and IMHO it shouldn't be necessary.

Wim Depondt
(wim_depondt) - F - MLife

Locale: The low countries
glacial water on 05/30/2013 11:49:29 MDT Print View

Any SUL techniques to get rid of them tiny silt particles in glacial water?

Wim

John Taylorson
(heyjt) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: glacial water on 05/30/2013 12:05:42 MDT Print View

"Any SUL techniques to get rid of them tiny silt particles in glacial water?"

Use a bandana or other fine cloth as a prefilter. I've also brought a paper coffee filter

-jt

George Turner Jr
(gctj)
Very good series on 05/30/2013 15:50:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for renewing my interest in SUL. I am 7 to 8.5 lbs base weight now but always looking to lighten up even if I never go to 5 or less.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
getting bearbag rope over a branch: The SUL Wanderer - Episode 2 on 05/30/2013 17:28:05 MDT Print View

Using too small of a rock means that your cord (and the sack) can get stuck in the tree if not enough weight is placed into the rock sack to overcome the friction of the cord running across the branch/through limbs after you toss it.

I struggled with this for years ... very frustrating ... until I was taught how to eliminate the friction ... by a 15 year old boy scout.

1) Have a loop on your end of the line and hook a finger of your left hand through it so you maintain control of that end.
2) Wrap about half the line around the rock sack. Hold that ball of sack/line in your right hand.
3) Coil all but about 4 feet of the other half of the rope into loose loops about 8-10 inches in diameter. Close the left hand with index finger extended and pointing where you want to throw the rock sack and hang those loops over the index finger
4) Throw the sack

I'm right handed, switch hands if you are a leftie.

Having the rope coiled up and not laying on the ground drastically reduces the chance of snagging on surrounding vegetation.

The weight of the rock sack easily pulls the coiled line off your index finger.

The sack starts to roll once is is over the branch and it has reached the end of the line not wrapped around the sack. That roll unwinds the line wrapped around the rock sack ... no friction because the the line is not being pulled over the branch.

NOW ... anyone have ideas for improving my throwing accuracy?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Very good series on 05/30/2013 17:30:15 MDT Print View

Very good indeed!

And valuable even for one who's goal falls short (heavy) of SUL.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: getting bearbag rope over a branch: The SUL Wanderer - Episode 2 on 05/31/2013 10:26:23 MDT Print View

Nice tip Jim!


If anyone wants a larger rope bag just note that on your MLD order and we can make a larger one for you.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: getting bearbag rope over a branch: The SUL Wanderer - Episode 2 on 05/31/2013 11:51:56 MDT Print View

"NOW ... anyone have ideas for improving my throwing accuracy?"

Depends on how you throw? If you throw underhanded, or throw like you're throwing a baseball, I can improve your accuracy.

Throw the bag like it's a grenade. Best way for bear bag line throwing.

diego dean
(cfionthefly) - M
video equipment? on 06/01/2013 13:19:44 MDT Print View

Ryan....

Or anyone else who has some advice....

What video equipment are you using to film these episodes? Ive got a gopro hero 3 for action shots, but am looking for the best lightweight video device for slow pans and documentary purposes. Any suggestions?

Edited by cfionthefly on 06/01/2013 13:20:18 MDT.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
wood fire smoke on 06/02/2013 17:26:00 MDT Print View

Just want to point out the flip side of wood fires.

Despite our "natural" relationship to wood fires for most of human history, the fact is there is no amount of smoke from a wood fire that is safe to inhale. Most of the particles in smoke are below the nano-meter scale that gets embedded in the lungs for decades and causes all kinds of damage - it's associated with asthma, allergies, heart problems, other breathing difficulties, and lung cancer. Some studies suggest wood smoke is up to 10 times more damaging than tobacco smoke. It's also extremely polluting. In some cities where wood-burning is common, it is the biggest contributor to air pollution and to breathing problems locally - more so than vehicle exhaust.

I know this all probably sounds rather ridiculous, as the good ol' campfire seems such a hearty and natural pastime, but the science is pretty solidly against it ever being a good idea unless absolutely necessary. It's important to try to get past the cognitive dissonance when thinking about these sorts of things. Then again, I suspect a lot of folks likely just don't care much.

Edited by dasbin on 06/02/2013 17:32:10 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: wood fire smoke on 06/02/2013 17:43:48 MDT Print View

We already had a huge thread on this.

Most of the posters agreed that while wood smoke is harmful, in an open area (outside) you don't inhale much smoke. And having a campfire on a few trips each year isn't significant. I think the issue is with using a wood stove or fireplace in your home.

"Some studies suggest wood smoke is up to 10 times more damaging than tobacco smoke."
Maybe that's true, but we aren't inhaling pine cigarettes.


Our culture now has an alarmist attitude to anything remotely unhealthy while ignoring all of the significant things that damage our health every day.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: wood fire smoke on 06/02/2013 19:52:04 MDT Print View

the fact is there is no amount of smoke from a wood fire that is safe to inhale.

So true ... in fact about as true as:

the fact is there is no amount of smoke from the motor vehicle that drove me to the trailhead this weekend that is safe to inhale.

Those who travel in 100% electric vehicles will need to climb a power plant chimney to sample that smoke before declaring safety.

If the electric vehicle is charge by photovoltaics or wind turbine ... they might be less harmful in the long run (unless you are a bird using a flyway populated by the turbines) but the emissions from manufacturing that equipment are certainly hazardous.

To paraphrase Hamlet (OK, butcher might be more accurate) "Get thee to thy bubble"

I'm not always this grumpy (am I?) but I just returned from a rainy weekend of trial maintenance ... no way to keep dry doing that other than staying home and temps were solidly in the hypothermia range. I have a stronger than average personal furnace but still started shivering within seconds of stepping away from the campfire to pitch our TarpTent. Went to bed a couple hours later almost completely dry thanks to that fire.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: getting bearbag rope over a branch: The SUL Wanderer - Episode 2 on 06/02/2013 19:56:17 MDT Print View

Throw the bag like it's a grenade.

Doug,

If you saw me throw like it is a grenade you'd quickly transfer me out of your foxhole;-)

(I tried it this weekend)

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Re: Re: wood fire smoke on 06/03/2013 00:01:09 MDT Print View

"Our culture now has an alarmist attitude to anything remotely unhealthy while ignoring all of the significant things that damage our health every day."

Like... burning wood?
I mean, some people use it to heat their homes every day - and the evidence shows this is *exactly* a "significant thing that damages our health."

Anyway, I hear what you're saying, and I also get the (mostly valid) comparison to car exhaust (though the point was really that what I've read on wood smoke is that, despite what we'd like to believe, it is in fact far more dangerous/carcinogenic than most synthetic exhausts - that's possibly offset by the vastly greater amounts a lot of us inhale of the latter).

But where I disagree is that sound scientific research is just a byproduct of "our culture" and can be safely ignored. Do you feel the same way about "our culture's" views on UV radiation from the sun, or cigarette smoke, or looking both ways before crossing the street?
My point is that if you in any way make decisions in your life about the above three things, which are all well-researched and are extremely likely to have some impact on your health, you have similar reason to make an informed decision about wood smoke.
If you feel it's worth the risks, or you mitigate your exposure time and stay upwind, etc, then great, that's your decision to make either way. I'll probably do the same from time to time, though I suspect the amount inhaled at a campfire, even upwind, is far greater than we might think. I just think it's interesting to ponder how all that is natural is not always 'good' or always worth the "increase[d] connectivity to the natural environment" as Ryan put it.

My apologies for any potential derailment, as well.

Edited by dasbin on 06/03/2013 00:10:04 MDT.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Safety vs fires on 06/07/2013 16:48:56 MDT Print View

"But where I disagree is that sound scientific research is just a byproduct of "our culture" and can be safely ignored. Do you feel the same way about "our culture's" views on UV radiation from the sun, or cigarette smoke, or looking both ways before crossing the street?"

Time for me to strip naked and run through traffic on a sunny day while I fire up a smoke!

Sorry .... Couldn't resist planting that extreamly unsavory image in everyone's minds ....

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: getting bearbag rope over a branch: The SUL Wanderer - Episode 2 on 06/07/2013 17:05:17 MDT Print View

"Throw the bag like it's a grenade. Best way for bear bag line throwing."

Listen up, folks. I saw Doug make some very impressive throws last summer, including one that still has me shaking my head in amazement.

Jonathan Pratt
(Tyke)
More episodes? on 08/28/2013 05:12:54 MDT Print View

Ryan

Great videos - anymore in the series on SUL backpacking? You mentioned...

"Episode #2 will focus on some basic techniques I use in my style of SUL:

Bivy sack camping in inclement weather without a tarp;
SUL essentials...and nonessentials;"

Still interested in the bivi bag techniques...

Videos brought the whole topic to life!

Shawn Bearden
(ShawnB) - F - MLife

Locale: SE Idaho
More SUL wanderer episodes? on 09/19/2013 13:07:51 MDT Print View

What's the plan/timeline for the SUL wanderer series? Are we going to see any more - seems like there is a lot left to cover. At least enough for a few more episodes.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Revisiting and a food hanging cordage comment on 08/09/2014 22:53:13 MDT Print View

This was such a fun series that I come back and read/watch it every few months.

Someone asked:
"So you do not like Spectra cord or the cord and rock sack used in the video from Mountain Laurel Designs. What do you recommend then for hanging food/packs?"

I like to use paracord because of its wide diameter to avoid cutting into bark and damaging the branch. We all know how rare those perfect food-hanging branches are! :) Plus, paracord just seems to fit better with the "keep it simple" approach I take on trips described in this series.

Edited by AndyF on 08/09/2014 22:54:49 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water on 08/21/2014 11:21:20 MDT Print View

Gandered at this series again and hoping for more offerings in this series in the future. Also enjoy the sub 24 hour trip videos. A few video vignettes a year are a great addition to the BPL library.