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The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter
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Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
Fleece on 06/07/2013 20:52:47 MDT Print View

Really interested by the choice of R3 - I'm going to Iceland in a month and had been planning to take an R1 (for active use) and a nano puff pullover for camp... but I've also got an R2, would you advocate this over one/both of these other two jackets? Windshirt and hardshell will also both be brought along.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Creative use of conditions on 06/08/2013 03:41:21 MDT Print View

All this talk of philosophy... I don't give a hoot for philosophy, I just enjoy having less weight on my shoulders.

I got the message about "don't take what you don't need" a while ago. What I like about this article is the way it uses the circumstances to finesse "what you need". There is a reliable supply of thick trees for shelter? OK, no bivy. There is water every hour all/most of the way? Leave the containers, improvise over the gaps. You have extensive wilderness skills? Live off the land, bring less. On the downside... Can't keep down dry? Use heavier fleece. A 4400cu pack is what you've got? Bring it.

If it was canyoneering somewhere hot and dry, and the hiker couldn't tie a knot let alone build a fire with wet wood, the same logical process would lead to a different set of gear.

This isn't philosophy, this is engineering.

Edited by Morte66 on 06/08/2013 03:51:12 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 06/08/2013 08:41:57 MDT Print View

What a grand series! It's like reading a great book, it so much fun then you suddenly realize it has to end. All I can say is I hope we continue to get thought provoking articles like this for all long as Ryan can continue come up with this stuff.

I have had a difficult time getting out this year...knee surgery in March, family schedules, work commitments... nothing was lining up. I've been inspired by these articles and just decided to let things go and head out for a 40 mile trip in the Smoky Mountains this week. I am bit a bit out of shape because of the knee and I spent a tough storm filled night on top of Mount Sterling, but beyond that it was spectacular. Heck even the problems were spectacular as they taught me several things.

Keep the inspiration coming, I can really use it.


Randy Cain
(bagboy) - MLife

Locale: Palmdale, CA
Very enjoyable read! on 06/08/2013 19:42:22 MDT Print View

I love this kind of article. Even though some folks might not want to try certain things, this stimulates thought about what is really necessary in your kit, what's possible, etc. Keep 'em coming, Ryan!

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Loved it thanks on 06/11/2013 10:04:25 MDT Print View

Really liked the article.. I think people need to get brought back out of the marketing side of "Ultra light" and back into the backpacking part.

And it seems that people are quick to jump on you about the article. Saying your gear list is irresponsible. and that your a hopocrit for having a new peice of gear. They hang on to your exact words and ignore the idea of what your saying. kind of petty, unless they really are just missing what your saying.

Emmanuel Romo
(emman714) - F

Locale: Southern California
Wanderer Series on 06/12/2013 02:36:15 MDT Print View

Thank you for producing these articles and Wanderer videos Ryan.They are worth the subscription I just paid for. I'm looking forward to more.

The cowboy camp advice reminds me of my my last trip up San Gorgonio a couple weeks ago. I split the weight of a GoLite SL3 with all stock parts plus an all-weather space blanket between my buddy and I. At night, his GF who was part of the group was tossing back and forth making the small space in the SL3 extremely awkward between the three of us- especially me being a back sleeper.

There were six other people in our group, 5 of which were cowboy camping- one of which was a first timer. After huffin and puffin I thought to myself, why suffer? If they can cowboy camp why can't I? I've been backpacking a few years. We were in a windy, flat below treeline with fast flowing water 30 yards away. The flying insects didnt worry me. We were lying near downed logs and I was using my EE quilt. I got over my irrational fear of spiders, termites and other creepy crawlies. It was amazing to fall asleeo eyes wide open staring at the stars. I didn't even wear my head net and I'm alive to tell the tale.

I will cautiously cowboy camp from now on even if I take my MLD ProPoncho. : D

Emmanuel Romo
(emman714) - F

Locale: Southern California
Double post on 06/12/2013 02:36:46 MDT Print View

Double post.

Edited by emman714 on 06/12/2013 02:38:31 MDT.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 06/12/2013 03:37:23 MDT Print View

Great series, Ryan. Really enjoy your discussions of techniques, gear, and looking at SUL in different and/or new ways.


Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
Sul mindset on 06/12/2013 23:51:40 MDT Print View

Interesting, I enjoyed the article.

I'd go with a 2oz plastic groundcloth and a large foam pad cut to my thighs.
I have a 3.6 oz tarp which in the rain is worth it's weight in gold.
All 3 weigh less and function better than a 19 oz foam pad but each to his own.

If there is a storm that is the time to be putting more things in your pack and not taking them out and as Andrew Shurka says, "Nothing is warm when wet" but I like fleece. Oddly enough the best warmth to weight fleece I'm found is by Landsend (inexpensive and 8.8 oz for a medium) very warm when dry.

Each trip is different and you bring what you need to cope with the conditons that you face. Last week in Tuolumne it was 100 degrees and I had sunscreen and was glad I did.
In April I left the sunscreen on the dashboard of my car by mistake and I did not notice hiking in but that night I saw my forearms were roasted like rotisserie chicken so I made sure I had it on the next trip. The mosquitoes were out in droves, I had a bug net to cover my face and in camp my duomid had a screen door and screen floor sewn in which I like much better than an inner net setup, more room and no nets in your face. I suppose I could have rolled in the river mud, when I was 16 on a survial overnight we tried this and it was fun.

You bring what works for you and if it's UL or SUL or dam heavy who cares as long as it's not on my back and everyone has fun and comes back safe - caked in mud or not.

And I always enjoy reading about Ryan's tecniques, not for everyone, I have no use for a hand ax (again when I was 16 in scouts we discovered we could split logs by smashing them with boulders) but I understand why he likes to use it when wood is wet, each man to his own tools. It's fun to push boundries and see what works as long as the weather gods are in a gentle mood.

Bill Townsend
(Olmanwilly) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Steripen on 07/13/2013 09:23:59 MDT Print View

All right Ryan may have me coming around on the steripen, but using my short/wide pot won't fly. Not sure if it's a valid concern or anyone has an answer BUT: any reason not to use this system with a 1quart twist loc container? Not quite Nalgene quality plastic so I wonder about leeching, degradation, ect. I could switch ziploc's every set of batteries or some other such system I suppose.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Steripen on 07/13/2013 09:42:49 MDT Print View

"any reason not to use this system with a 1quart twist loc container? "

No. Steripen even replied to someone here who asked them that same question a couple of years ago.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Steripen on 07/13/2013 10:59:19 MDT Print View

Another option is to use your cook pot. My Steripen (and all of them to my knowledge) has a .5 liter treatment setting. If you're carrying the bowl anyways then it's 6 to one half dozen to the other I suppose.

Edit: Sorry. Tired from a long day of driving and re read your concern with your pot. If you're using an evernew UL pot then I suspect you'd be ok but I'll check my Opti with my Evernew UL 600 tomorrow morning to be sure.

Edit part deuce: I stand corrected. The Opti lamp is too long to work in the Evernew 600.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 07/14/2013 07:54:13 MDT.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
just my thinking out loud. on 07/13/2013 11:15:31 MDT Print View

I think gear sickness is a terrible thing but there is an easy cure: sell or give it away. I think a consumer society can be wonderful or terrible. It's wonderful if I need something it's there. It's terrible if I don't use what I have and it's just wasted.

However I may have some gear that I don't use but it's there in case I want to go on a different kind of a trip or as a backup in case my pack splits so I don't have to miss a trip just because I'm waiting 8 weeks for the pack I ordered. Not to knock the cottage industry - Thank God for zpacks, mld, EE and all the others.

be prepared vs take less
so what is it they teach you in backpacking 101, "When you get back from a trip put everything you didn't use in a pile and then don't bring it the next time". Here again discrimination is needed, somethings that I didn't use like a 3 oz bug net on this trip - are still worth carrying so don't ignore backpacking 101 but don't put yourself in misery if you don't have to. It's fun to cowboy camp, if the conditions will let you get away with it, we did it last week on Alta Peak no tent required but don't put yourself in danger, respect that the mountain can kill.

It's like in Laurence of Arabia where the Bedouin says we don't love the desert we love water and gardens. I think real mountain men of yesteryear would give their eye-teeth for down sleeping bag instead of wool blanket and bear grease smeared on to keep you warm because it's that or die.

Paul Wallace
Hypocrites unite on 08/05/2013 21:54:58 MDT Print View

Being called a hypocrite for buying new stuff is not why I paid to subscribe to this forum. Lucky for you that you already have two expensive looking cuben fiber packs, which I assume you found on the side of the road and did not have to buy.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 08/10/2013 02:09:23 MDT Print View

Read the article again and still find it's really good, full of thought-provoking notions and insights --- but, but, but . . .

Why even bother to include a rain jacket when you're feeling lucky enough to rely on a down sleeping bag with no shelter at all?

Why not cut the rain jacket as one less thing to clutter up the gear list?

Or maybe swap it out for an SUL poncho, something like the hoodless SpinPoncho T-Lite that BPL used to have in its gear shop, see link below (and say, that guy modeling the SpinPoncho T-Lite sure looks familiar, doesn't he!) --

Multi-functional (shelter/rain gear) at half the weight of the rain jacket, and all without increased number of items. What? Need stakes & guy line? Oops.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 08/10/2013 15:07:18 MDT Print View

Think the point of the article was if one started traditional weight items (R3, down bag, waterproof/breathable jacket, etc..), an interested traditional packer could still go UL by taking less of items already owned.

Then start melting credit cards..

Richard Mock
(moxtr) - M

Locale: The piney woods
Re: Wanderer Series on 08/25/2013 23:57:39 MDT Print View

I cowboy camped for 4 decades but finally educated myself of the dangers of tickborne diseases and have changed my behavior and clothing in the outdoors.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter on 06/19/2014 16:47:13 MDT Print View

OK, I dig the article.
The whole less is more is a great mindset, and a great concept.
But calling a SUL Mindset?

It's terms like this that are just there to make you feel good about yourself.

This is why a size 6 pair of jeans would be a size 10 not too many years ago.
It just makes people feel good that they can be overweight and still fit into and say they are a size 6.