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The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 06/04/2013 20:19:51 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Does anyone have a comment on the location of the wood burning stove in the picture? on 06/04/2013 21:41:37 MDT Print View



Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
wood stove on 06/04/2013 21:46:29 MDT Print View

Nick: I know that it looks like a fire bomb there, but it's really not. Everything is very wet. Snow just left the area, everything is coated in humid mist. If this was summer (it's a far cry from summer up here still), it would be a very different story, and the likelihood that I'd be doing this under a tree would be nil.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 06/04/2013 22:04:16 MDT Print View

Sweet kicks.

I use ashes and water to sterilize my hands. I can't remember where I read about that and I'm not totally sure how effective it is.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Simplicity is key on 06/04/2013 23:15:45 MDT Print View

Great article, Ryan. It's easy to get caught up in the new gear frenzy, when simplicity is the key.

My wife still doesn't understand why I like backpacking, or why I complain so much about all the gear we take whitewater rafting (think car camping but your trunk is the size of a pickup truck - plus all the whitewater stuff).

I like to simplify my experience in the wilderness.

Thanks for the reminder.

-- Rex

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Simplicity on 06/04/2013 23:18:51 MDT Print View

Nice article Ryan.

I'm starting to freak out myself when things get too complicated for a bushwalking trip. Simplicity is awesome. Despite all the experience and trips I do, I hate the feeling, when things are complicated, that I have forgotten something. It always gets to me.

It probably takes 30 seconds to grab the gear you have there to get ready at home, and, once you know that you can live happily off it, you are able to leave the house at but a moment's notice to do a quick trip any time. Add a few minutes to grab some food stuffs and that's all you need.

Edited by oysters on 06/04/2013 23:20:02 MDT.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
simplicity on 06/05/2013 02:52:01 MDT Print View

I love this approach! Very cool series you've got going here, Ryan. This style certainly compliments the beautiful simplicity of backpacking.

Personal preference, but I'll just add that stoveless fits well with this style of minimalism. Its also the perfect execution of backcountry bachelorism.

There's something great about just swinging by the bulk section at the grocery store before a trip, getting five or so bags of dense trail food (almonds, sunflower seeds, ban chips, choc espresso beans, jerky) and throwing them in a stuff sack. No matter how its broken down, this menu covers the main backpacking food groups--'carbs, fats, protein & caffeine' or, if you prefer, 'salty & sweet.'

I will add, though, that once i was asked to pack for my friend who was flying into town for a long weekend. Here's how it went.
He said "I trust your taste, just pack me what you eat in the mountains."
'You sure? I keep it pretty basic."
"yeah you know what you're doing"
{Finally, somebody said it...} --thought bubble

He smiled when I handed him his ridiculously compact bundle of food for the next three days. But after finishing the trip, he handed the stuff sack back to me just less than half full, 'here, you can have the rest.'
'You sure?'
'Yeah, I'm good on banana chips for a while'
Next time I probably won't be put in charge of the backcountry menu.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter" on 06/05/2013 05:07:11 MDT Print View

"One important goal of SUL is to take less stuff, not buy new stuff. If you have to buy new stuff, then regardless of your pack weight, consider that you may have transcended away from the ultralight philosophy and into ultralight hypocrisy."

Ha, ha...yeah....or super ultralight poverty!

Good read!

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Maps on 06/05/2013 05:44:42 MDT Print View

Do your map and compass weigh more than a day of extra food? Man, you don't eat much. Also, don't you have a job to get back to? ;)

Jon Holthaus
(t25hatch) - M
Maia on 06/05/2013 06:58:19 MDT Print View

It's hard to tell but it looks like even Maia is going SUL this trip without a collar or tag. Less really is more for her too :-)

Bill Townsend
(Olmanwilly) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Kicks on 06/05/2013 07:19:17 MDT Print View

Still a big fan of the Lone Peak's? New version looks better on paper, are they just as good in person?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Why not a day pack on 06/05/2013 08:50:09 MDT Print View

I like the focus on using gear you already have. Excluding that big Ridgerest I think a kit that simple could fit in most day packs.

For trips with a small chance of rain a cheap painters tarp might be a good option. You can lay on it and fold it over you if it actually does rain.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why not a day pack on 06/05/2013 09:10:59 MDT Print View

The line between day packs and SUL is blurry. I bought a small Prolite pad because of the low volume. Sleeping insulation is the other volume issue. With a light summer sleeping bag, I could pull off an overnighter with a 22-24 liter pack.

You could use a polycryo sheet for a rain "blanket" (add some Velcro dots) but I would have a poncho for my SUL rain gear and a prefect paring with a bivy.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
shelter options on 06/05/2013 10:37:59 MDT Print View

I do something similar for shelter in that I will use my rain jacket for the top third, put my legs up to my knees in the pack and then use my trash bag rain skirt for the middle third. Another versatile option is you can use a heetsheets along with a rain jacket or a trash bag if you are using one as a liner on your pack.

The only issue I really have not solved is what do you do about bugs when it is too warm out for a bag/quilt/sheet for UL/SUL?

Edited by bpeugh on 06/05/2013 10:39:00 MDT.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: wood stove on 06/05/2013 11:04:03 MDT Print View

ummmm .. peter not so entirely sure that the much loved and respected bushbuddy is as totally "spark free" as might be hoped.
perhaps "almost totally nearly spark free , sort of, mostly. " ... ? sure.

i buy my sleeping bags with after tax dollars. of which those are few and rare these days, but even trying to save weight and bushbuddly cook at the same time, if i was going to have hot coffee at morning bedside (which sounds ambrosial, and i'm going to copy yer idea there), i'd pack me an esbit cube .. or two.

nice article.
peter bases his bb op on many years of bb cooking, sitting with the thing staged between my legs, and the occasional appearance of new burn holes in my pants.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
bushbuddy on 06/05/2013 11:09:30 MDT Print View

"sitting with the thing staged between my legs..."

Gotta try that in a packraft, sounds ... ambrosial.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Lone Peaks on 06/05/2013 11:11:13 MDT Print View

@Bill -- we have a review on the Lone Peaks coming up. Some incremental improvements over the originals with the new v1.5, include lighter weight and less water absorption. Also the upper wraps around the foot better, so less sloshing around. I like'em.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: simple but safe on 06/05/2013 11:54:48 MDT Print View

Simplicity is generally a good thing in so many parts of life and getting the number of items to a minimum to save weight is the easiest way to reduce base weight.

BUT, going without shelter and other basic essentials is bad advice. I'll buy a minimalist approach, but I won't go without. That is a whole other jug of Kool Aid in the fridge and should be left to skilled, experienced experts at their own risk.

In fact, I think Ryan is trolling a bit. These articles do make you think about what is really important and essential and serves that purpose well. It made me think, and yeah I could do that, but I'm not going there. It's recreation and spending a cold wet night out isn't my idea of quality time off, not to mention the risks. I just don't like that flavor Kool Aid!

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/05/2013 11:55:22 MDT.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Location on 06/05/2013 12:05:47 MDT Print View

Really like this article. It will make me re-think some things.

But I do want to point out that some of the things mentioned (no shelter, lack of navigation aids, minimal clothing) are very location-specific. Here in the mountains around Vancouver, I think the local SAR teams would have a conniption fit if they read this. Every weekend a couple hikers get lifted out for what they ascribe to exactly this kind of ill-preparedness. Some don't make it. Usually soaking wet and hypothermic stuck on the side of cliff. Couldn't get away with it any time outside of July and August.
So, lest a new hiker read this and get over-confident... know what you're doing first, and what to expect. I'm sure most people here probably get that already, but you never know.

Also note that, in bear country, tents have proven to be some kind of psychological barrier against bears. Despite the fact that they could easily enter or destroy them, they rarely do - while awaking to a curious bear right in your face while cowboy camping is quite common, I think.

Edited by dasbin on 06/05/2013 13:08:11 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Lone Peaks on 06/05/2013 12:20:25 MDT Print View

v1.5 is lighter? Does that mean less durable? The original version fits pretty well, I'm trying to figure out if I should buy one more pair on discount or get the new version later.