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I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH
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Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 20:58:58 MDT Print View

I have some deeply philosophical questions for the group.
I have a trip coming up in November, 2 week 250 mile trip. My Winter base weight is 10lbs my buddies is close to 25lbs.

He cooks with a Jetboil and carries a MSR Hubba cause its "fast and light".

I carry Esbit or alcohol and use Cuben fiber shelter.

I squeeze water he pumps it.

On 1-2 night trips we just causally tease each other. My question is how to I find balance?
He thinks it takes to long to boil water and set up my shelter. I think he is rushing around for nothing.
This trip will test us for sure. He thinks I am not as prepared as I should be and I think carrying 35+ lbs is a joke.

We are doing a 2 day 3 night on Labor Day. He will carry all 35 lbs " to train" I am thinking of going SUL on him!

Anyone else have these fun, irritating battles of will with their hiking buddy?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:06:36 MDT Print View

I mainly go with other BPLrs. Hardly talk about gear oddly enough. Last time I went on a trip with heavyweighters was years ago. Enough said.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:07:16 MDT Print View

My main hiking buddy packs really heavy. He keeps working to lighten up, but as much as he has left behind, he still carries a lot. He manages to have a 25-pound or higher base weight with a fairly light pack (Osprey Atmos 65 - 3 1/2 lbs.), a fully UL sleep system (EE Revelation, NeoAir XTherm), and with me carrying all the shared gear. With all of our shared gear, I have a 12-13 lb. base weight (including fishing gear). He's in the kind of shape (and I'm working on it) that we hike a pretty similar pace.

Still, it's totally worth it because he's a great friend and really enriches the trips. I don't mind carrying the shared stuff because I need to get stronger anyway, and I'm at the point where fitness is far more beneficial than shaving ounces, or even a pound or two. Plus, he's a fantastic fisherman, so on our last trip, I learned enough about reading water and stalking trout that it's not even worth worrying about the differences in what we carry.

Of course, we still joke and talk about pack weights. He's a bit of a gear head too.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:09:31 MDT Print View

Ha! I might be the BPH this weekend: hauling enough food to feed my teenager....

I have never backpacked with actual traditional heavy backpackers.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:25:14 MDT Print View

I hike with a guy who is not UL, but usually not heavy. Minimalist but with heavy gear. Sometimes he does go very heavy but he can handle it. On a recent trip he carried two pairs of jeans with him. For what reason, I really don't know. He also carried 15 lbs of beer with him on that trip. He even carries a glass bong on every trip (Ken knows who I'm talking about).

Either way we have similar hiking styles and goals. He can usually outhike me and he was some insane balance walking over slippery logs and climbing rocks with a 50lb pack.

Our hiking trips are not fastpacking with high mileage. We usually hike off trail and explore around, often spending a good part of the day relaxing in a beautiful area.

Unless you are doing high mileage every day, don't worry about it. The most important thing is that you have similar hiking styles and physical fitness.
Since this is a 250 mile trip you should definitely ask him to consider lightening up as much as he feels comfortable with.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:27:33 MDT Print View

God I hope I never get BPH.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 21:33:01 MDT Print View

Whoever finishes the trip happier wins, regardless of weight.

How do find balance? From within. If at some point your friend thinks that his pack weight is the reason he can't keep up with you, sees that you are comfortable in camp, and on the trail, maybe he'll cut some weight. Other than that. Well he's got to schlep that crap, you don't. Be smug and silent.

Edited by kthompson on 07/24/2013 21:38:36 MDT.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Smug and silent on 07/24/2013 21:53:05 MDT Print View

Seems like this was a stupid question. But I had wanted to ask for a while. The fact is we like each others company so smug and silent is probably best. But even more if he has a great time that's really what matters.
He is a competent outdoorsman and it is his weight. So if he's happy and I'm happy I'll just roll with it.

Deep down I already know the answers. It just really sucks to be a "fix it" guy. If he doesn't ask then we will just enjoy the outdoors together !

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/24/2013 22:28:00 MDT Print View

I was BPH when I hitch-hiked from San Diego to NYC in '98. Blue jeans, heavy synthetic bag, external-frame pack. 2-person Walmart tent. Canned food! Sitting under a bridge in Central Park peeling cotton socks off my raw, bloody feet. Never again!

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Smug and silent on 07/25/2013 00:24:22 MDT Print View


Edited by JakeDatc on 07/25/2013 11:44:55 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 00:55:18 MDT Print View

I think a distinction needs to be made between the heavyweight backpacker and the inexperienced one. Just because most inexperienced people start out hiking heavy doesn't mean that heavy hikers are inexperienced. Personally, the question of experience dramatically determines how and who I hike with--not weight.

I also think we need to be careful with the whole smug thing. Yeah--I think light is better, but it's not as if it's right. We are talking about subjective experiences here, and a little humility goes a long way.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 07/25/2013 09:13:02 MDT.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 05:27:30 MDT Print View

+1 on humility and respect.

It is entirely possible that there are gifts and lessons for both of you, if both of you are open to it. Is it possible that you are both are there to teach eachother something?

It's a winter trip. There is a razors edge between BPL and BPS. If he puts good intention into what he brings and leaves behind, then respect it. Who knows, he might have daydreams of cuben while your waiting for your water to boil... ;)

In my son's scout troop, there is still the aura of "machismo" (especially with the scoutmaster's and adults) on carrying a 50 lb pack. The FIRST thing the scoutmaster said to our boys going to Philmont is that they should be prepared to carry 40 lbs. I interjected by saying "or up to a quarter of your weight." (Even though 1/5 is more appropriate.) Refardless, I really don't believe that is the right way to get kids thinking about Philmont.

I believe that it is my job to illustrate to the boys that backpacking, and "being prepared" is as much about what to bring, as it is what not to bring. I know if I has spent more time "not bringing" stuff on a trip, I would have shaved of hundreds of pounds of weight over the years.

Personally, I always love coming back from a trip having learned something. For that to work, I have to be open to being taught, especially by things that I judge I can't learn anything from. That's me. Some friends just wish to go on autopilot on a trip, and I must respect that. Autopilot is great medicine for me, once in a while.

When it comes to peers, there is nothing more disrespectful that trying to teach another without their permission. For the person who does not wish to learn, the teacher looks like the "know-it-all fool." (and I offer this because I've learned this the hard way.)

Hmm, I wonder if the lightness of a BPLer's pack is inversely proportional to the fullness of their head? :)


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 06:09:15 MDT Print View

I was being sarcastic(of course) with my silence and smugness comment.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 07:34:33 MDT Print View

Come off it, Ken, Everyone knows you are never sarcastic.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/25/2013 08:21:32 MDT Print View

I hear that. My hiking partner is often far heavier than I am. For two or three nights, my typical pack weight is 16-17 pounds. His pack weight is typically 33-35 pounds...twice my weight.

This is not always by his choice, though. I am retired, my children are out of the house and everything is paid for. My partner works, he is paying for his house, he has other things that prioritize his expenditures. While his children are out of the house, he is in the process of remodeling it. His wife no longer works. And, he has a number of other interests. He hikes and camps out only about 3 weeks per year.

He has an old military style sleeping bag that weighs about 4 pounds. He simply does not see the wisdom of investing $400 or more in a good down bag. This is about a 2.5 pound difference between my bag. He uses an older Therm-a-rest Guidelite, about two pounds of pad. I use a 13oz Neoair...over a pound difference. He got an excellent deal on an older JetBoil, about 1 pound plus 7oz for fuel. I use a 10oz cook kit for 2 nights...more than half a pound. His pack weighs about 4.5 pounds and is quite large (mostly for the sleeping bag.) My pack weighs about 15oz, with the pack frame/pad, a 3.5 pound difference. He has a 14oz water filter. I use a 4.5oz steripen. And so on...

He has some older gear that works well. I like the way the jetboil cooks, but dislike the weight. He knows a LOT about the woods and camping, he has been out since he was a teen...better than 40 years. I have managed to get his weight down 10 pounds over the past few years. I gave him a long handled Ti spoon and explained about using it. As a screw driver and a an eating utensel. He dropped the stainless steel "camp" kit he carried, knife, fork and spoon, AND, the larger swiss knife he carried. He dropped the cup he carried. He dropped the old Eureka tent, we share my tarp. And so on... He tried trail runners, and went back to boots. I did the same after three tries with runners. (They do not work well in the ADK's.)

Anyway he started out doing the High Peaks with me about 7 -8 years ago carrying 47 pounds. By carefull planning (reducing his food to a minimum) dropping unneeded stuff, and sharing shelter with me, he now carries about 33 pounds without any dollar outlay.

But he doesn't buy a lot to replace his heavier gear. He likes the Steripen for instance. But he avoids buying one because he has other places for his cash. Same for his own tarp. He doesn't have the time to make a stove, wind screen and pot set-up. Nor the time to dink with smaller items. I carry the bear ball, so he drops his bear line and rok-sack. He has added a few yards of duct tape to his kit, and dropped his first aid kit (except a 1/4oz vial of alcohol.) Last trip his pack (4500ci) was not full anymore. He mentioned that he needed a smaller one.

Anyway, much of what you do when going out with a good friend is not mention the size or weight of gear. If HE brings it up, then you can tell him what you do and why. I don't think telling him he is wrong is very productive, though. Old timers that have hiked together for a while often wouldn't change, anyway. Sometimes, they will recognize they are getting a bit older and the need to get lighter. They may seek your advice if you do not press them.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 07/25/2013 08:27:03 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
re: Sarcasm on 07/25/2013 09:11:57 MDT Print View

Ken, I fully get that you were being sarcastic. The others, not so much. Then again, maybe I missed it.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
I am BPL my hiking buddy is BPH on 07/25/2013 12:21:40 MDT Print View

*Shrug* I backpack mostly with an all-ladies Meetup group. I am certain I am the lightest person in the group. Frankly I don't care what they carry so long as it doesn't hinder the group. If they're happy, I'm happy. I'll say something only if I truly feel that someone is unsafe. And frankly sometimes they even make me jealous, when they whip out some super comfy camp chair or some other really nice comfort item.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 16:39:06 MDT Print View

Maybe this would help


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 16:48:21 MDT Print View

Ken, if we HAD signatures on here a couple of us should probably use that one in ours!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: Inexperience and Smugness on 07/25/2013 17:01:21 MDT Print View

That's great Ken, I should print that out to put in my torture chamber (cubicle) at work.