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What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like?
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mark henley
(flash582) - F
What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 07/31/2013 07:28:40 MDT Print View

I just returned from a week long section hike on the AT with an 8 lb base weight (12 oz dedicated to electronics and batteries)

I met a number of through hikers with 40 lb packs plodding g up the trail, and a very few travling with 25 lb packs having a lot more enjoyable hike.

This brought up a question in my mind .... What would my thru-hike gear list look like applying SUL principals. I thought I would ask the forum, in hopes of sparking some added ideas.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 07/31/2013 08:18:05 MDT Print View

Here is a thread on this same subject,I will add a couple more to my other list Lint on OPB and Lint Hikes web site.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 07/31/2013 10:44:59 MDT Print View

If you can do it for a week, you can do it for a thru hike. All you do is stack week trips on top of each other between resupplies. refill your consumables when needed and change a few insulation things for season change.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Thanks on 08/01/2013 11:51:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for the link and thanks for the replies .... wealth of info ...

sul on 08/03/2013 00:16:34 MDT Print View

There are plenty of UL thru hikers. UL being 10 lb or less base weight.

There are very few SUL thru hikers on long trails. SUL is < 5 lbs

At least not on cold, wet , mountainous trails.

SUL - class packs dont lend themselves to carrying 25 lb loads very well.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 08/03/2013 09:56:11 MDT Print View

Dont think I would want to do a true SUL sub 5# base weight thru...

You can do a decent sub 7# pretty easy with a good bit of cuben gear.
Zpacks Arc, Zpacks hexamid, cuben poncho, SUL down quilt, UL jacket like a montbell, cold or 2 oz SUL cook set and very minimal other stuff etc.

If you double use some your gear, and use a lighter pack like a zpacks zero, cold food, use a synthetic quilt as an insulated garment, IE no jacket, Cuben Poncho tarp for a shelter and a Driducks emer poncho for setup you could probably go under 5# or close to it.

That said I would not want to haul an additional 4# of water and 10# of food in a Zpacks Zero for a total of 19#. Those packs work better at around 12-15# total, so a lot of resupply and or minimal water etc.

UL 8-9# IE where you are seems to be a good fairly comfortable weight to be at that does not cost an arm and a leg. Consider a total load with 10# of food and other consumables and 4# of water for a total weight of 23# with a decent pack vs 19# with a smaller more uncomfortable pack and very minimal equipment with no room for error. Your skillset need to be higher when you get into the sub 5# category.

I think his name was IceAxe here who did a minimal AT thru a few years ago and his base weight was 9#.

This guy did an AT thru with a very minimal hammock setup and a 20L pack. He was also at about 9# base. He has about 125 videos of his long walk on youtube.

Edited by tammons on 08/03/2013 09:57:40 MDT.

sul on 08/03/2013 11:47:53 MDT Print View

I agree.

I find 6.5-8 lb range to be about as minimal as I would go for a long thru.

The only differences between that and being SUL are:

1) shelter with bug netting
2) Pack that can handle 25 lbs
3) more comfortable sleeping pad than a 3.5oz CCF torso pad.
4) dry set of clothing to put on when get to camp, or town.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
SUL list on 08/03/2013 20:19:11 MDT Print View

A 5lb base weight is possible for the average sized hiker without giving up much of anything:

Pack, Storage:

Custom Zpacks Arc Slim (add right side bottle pocket & mesh pocket, delete
haul loop, hydration port, left side and back side compression cords) - 13
Zpacks large stuff sack in .74 cuben (food bag/bear hang) - .5


Zpacks Hexamid Solo tent w/guy lines, 4 Ruta Locura CF & 2 ti hook stakes - 12.62

Sleeping Gear:

Zpacks 30 degree regular width/long length sleeping bag - 15.1
Zpacks down hood - 1.2
Neoair Xlite short - 8
Goosefeet 10D pillowcase/stuff sack for clothes, FlexAir pillow - .92


Zelph flat bottom Foster's pot/lid, MYOG snow leopard style
windscreen/pot stand, esbit burner, foil ground shield, ziplock,
Sistema BTG spoon - 2.6

Water :

Liter bottle - 1.25
Sawyer Squeeze, 2 liter bag - 4


First Aid/Repair - gauze pad, wound closure strips, (2) antibiotic
ointment, (2) bandaids, (2) antihistamine, (6) ibuprofen, moleskin,
dental floss, needle, cuben tape, tenacious tape, seam grip, ziplock. - .91
50' 1.4mm dyneema cord - .7
Mini bottles for Deet, Purell, Sunscreen - .57
Fenix LD01 w/battery - .85
Mini Bic - .38
AG Russell Hunter's scalpel, sheath - .78
Suunto Clipper compass, custom printed topo - .49
Peter's headnet - .49

Clothing: ,

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorak sz L - 1.7
Zpacks .74 cuben Solo-Plus Poncho Groundsheet - 4.3
Luke's Ultralite down pullover or Montbell Ex Light vest, size L - 4
Arc'Teryx Phase SL bottom - 3.5
Spare pair Smartwool PHD Outdoor Light Micro socks - 1.55

Base Weight: 79.407

Price - $1890.00

Add another 2 liter bladder and you would be about a half ounce over. You could shave some weight by having the Arc Slim made from 1.43oz cuben.

That said, I would probably be in the 6-8lb range on a thru hike. What's a couple extra pounds when you are living out of your pack for months on end?

Edited by drewjh on 08/03/2013 21:32:30 MDT.

sul on 08/03/2013 21:34:56 MDT Print View

Its not THAT easy, you generaly have to give up some things. Most SUL gear lists either leave needed items out, or are defined for very narrow conditions to eliminate excess items. Bugs and cold wet weather often.
Hence the Mountain SUL articles on here recently.

13oz pack is generally too heavy to get most below 5 lbs. In any case, is it big enough to carry a weeks food? A bear can? All depends.

You have omitted several stakes . The solo needs 10 stakes. add another 1 oz.
Despite what it is advertised at, the zpacks hood is made by goosefeet and mine weighs 1.6 oz.
No alcohol container, add 1oz
Wt of the first aid/repair looks low...0.9 oz? LIkely needs another couple oz.
No meds. Need at least 1oz of ibuprofen, loperamide, benadryl, etc.
No food bag? = 1oz
No pack liner for down=1oz. Every open a pack in therain to get something out?
Zip locks to organize all the little crap? 0.5 oz
ziplocks to keep map dry? .3 oz
No rain gear for legs, wont cut it in cooler weather. = +2 oz for cuben rainkirt.
No arm insulation, really? add 2 oz for exlight jacket instead.
No non-down insulation?

ID?Cash?Credit card? in ziplock = 1oz
Car key?
Toilet paper in ziplock? TP is consumeable, but ziplock isnt = 0.3 oz for a pint size
1 gal Garbage ziplock = 0.5 oz
CAmera/phone = 4 oz

Just adding in these items, I added another 16 oz.
This is typical of most peoples lists, they omit things.
You will need to get rid of mesh on shelter, go to small CCF pad, and lighter pack to get there IF you are honest.

Many either arent, or they "cheat" by putting things in pockets or around neck, or they are hiking in dry warm conditions that dont require the level of rain and cold protection that mountains do.

And thats why the distinction between SUL and just UL. There is a paradigm change if you are fully equipped.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/03/2013 21:49:59 MDT.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Honest on 08/03/2013 22:03:49 MDT Print View

"13oz pack is generally too heavy to get most below 5 lbs. In any case, is it big enough to carry a weeks food? A bear can?"

I don't have an Arc Slim (2200ci plus mesh pocket) but based on my experience with a small Zero (1700ci) the Slim will fit a weeks food. Not sure on the Bear can though. The Slim is comparable in size to a GG Gorilla. A full size Arc Blast (3200ci plus mesh pocket) in 1.43 cuben with the specified deletions would only add 1.5 ounces, that would be a good option for a bear can.

"You have omitted several stakes . The solo needs 10 stakes. add another 1 oz."

Only six stakes are mandatory on the Solo, which is what I usually pitch it with. the additional points can be secured with rocks if desired.

"Despite what it is advertised at, the zpacks hood is made by goosefeet and mine weighs 1.6 oz."

Mine weighs exactly 1.2 ounces. Call it a 1.4oz average?

"No alcohol container, add 1oz"

Esbit, no container needed other than the ziplock listed.

"Wt of the first aid/repair looks low...0.9 oz?"

That's the actual weight of the items listed, it is my own SUL kit.

"No meds. Need at least 1oz of ibuprofen, loperamide, benadryl, etc."

Fair point, I listed minimal meds, but there is plenty of precedent for listing these as consumables.

"No food bag? = 1oz"

Food bag is listed

"No pack liner for down=1oz"

Arc slim is fully seam taped and has a dry bag style top. Also the Zpacks stuff sack is seam sealed and can be used to store the quilt, puffy layer and hood. And a poncho is listed. That's three layers of protection.

"Zip locks to organize all the little crap? 0.5 oz"

A single ziplock for the misc stuff and map - .17 ounces

"ziplocks to keep map dry? .3 oz"

See above

"No rain gear for legs, wont cut it in cooler weather. = +2 oz for cuben rainkirt."

My Solo Plus poncho reaches just below my knee.

"No arm insulation, really? add 2 oz for exlight jacket instead."

I hike in a long sleeved shirt, plus a windshirt is listed. I've never needed more arm insulation, even in 30 degree weather.

"ID?Cash?Credit card? in ziplock = 1oz

Drivers license, a couple hundreds and a couple twenties weighs .28 ounces. Add a small rubber band and put them in the misc. ziplock.

"Toilet paper in ziplock? TP is consumeable, but ziplock isnt = 0.3 oz"

Again, in the misc. ziplock. There is plenty of room for 2-3 compact rolls.

"1 gal Garbage ziplock = 0.5 oz"

Use first empty food bag or ziplock

"Car key?"

On a thru hike? I hide mine on shorter trips, that's less risky than dropping it somewhere in the backcountry.

"CAmera/phone = 4 oz"

Nice, but optional, this is SUL after all.

You've added .65 ounces, and that's if I up the weight on the down hood. I think my point is safe...

Edited by drewjh on 08/04/2013 17:12:00 MDT.

list on 08/03/2013 23:15:55 MDT Print View

my license/ins.card/credit card/and 3 bills weighs 0.55 oz. they stay in a 0.05 oz cuben sack.

Just because a used ziplock is recycled as a garbage ziplock, doesnt mean you dont need to count it. If you are carrying it, the whole time, it should be counted. You can periodically throw much garbage away, but you will always have one ziplock on you for garbage.

I count everything, each 0.04 oz rubber band around an item, everything. It adds up.
Especially uncounted ziplocks.

My nylofume liners weigh 1.04 oz. But they could be cut down a few inches. Maybe yours are? Next to keeping myself injury free, keeping my down items dry is the most important thing.

I find it impracticle to put guidebook pages and maps in same ziplock as other stuff. I need to refer to it all day long, so it stays in my pockets most of the day. But, it has to stay dry if it rains, so that is why it has its own ziplock. The ziplock also protects it from excessive wear and tear since I photocopy onto plain paper, both sides to save weight..

IMO, your SUL list is short on raingear and cold weather insulation. If it works for you, that is all that matters. I would not want to hike in a groundsheet poncho all day in cold rain to save a couple of ounces. I would rather have better rain gear and a lesser sleeping pad or no bug netting.

Especially on the AT, spring is cold and wet NOBO for a month. I would not go without arm insulation, or a light fleece/baselayer top that could double as dry clothing when stop hiking, or some form of leg rain protection, or rain mitts.

I count meds, because I dont use them, they are first aid. They may only be 0.75 oz, but they are with me the whole time. Need enough for a couple of days to get you to the next town.

You can say you wont have a phone or camera, but 99.9999% do. All Im saying is if someone will take one, they need to count it. They will also probably put it in a ziplock as well.

There comes a point where chasing a # hurts you more than helps you. For the mountains, its about 6-7 lbs.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/03/2013 23:38:05 MDT.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
... on 08/04/2013 00:25:47 MDT Print View

I can see your viewpoint on the ziplocks etc., but we are still talking about less than an ounce.

Re. the nylofume, yes mine is cut down about 25%

What I'm challenging with my list is the idea that a sub 5lb base weight necessitates a frameless backpack, tarp or poncho tarp, closed cell foam pad, Aquamira or bleach, and sometimes no insulation layer at all. Most of the SUL lists I see start with those choices, which saves enough weight to encourage laziness on the rest of the items. My list demonstrates that with current technology, and if you are ruthless with every item, SUL can now include an enclosed shelter, real sleeping pad, water filter, wind shirt, insulating layer etc. Not to mention a framed pack that can comfortably carry 25+ lbs! That's a paradigm shift.

Of course if one insists on sticking to an arbitrary 5lb base weight then some choices will still have to be made. For me a poncho and vest are not optimal, but they are adequate IF it gets cold and rainy. And I like having a phone/camera as much as anyone. On the other hand I have to sleep every night, and I can't do that without bug protection on a closed cell foam pad. I also have to drink several times an hour and I hate the taste and the hassle of Aquamira.

My list was composed with the Sierra's in mind. I've never hiked on the AT.

We are in agreement on the 6-7lb base weight being more optimal, especially on a through hike. I said as much in my first post.

Edited by drewjh on 08/04/2013 02:52:26 MDT.

wt on 08/04/2013 08:29:23 MDT Print View

Its quite eye opening how much of what is available to be purchased for UL/SUL depends on one person....

Joe Valesko.

What are the other vendors doing contributing? Not much unfortunately.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 08/04/2013 11:34:58 MDT Print View

Hi Mark,

Good question and I will be following along with your thread.

I have been "medically grounded from hiking" for several years now but things may be changing.

I should dust off my old SUL gear list and update it. I have several new ideas and lots of good material.

If my current medical condition says more or less as it is right now, I just might be able to get out for a short AT section hike in the early fall. Something like Springer Mt to Fontana Dam, 162 miles.

Carrying a camera might be a problem at 5 pounds or less but maybe not. I also have a chemo port in my left shoulder that will require a different design for my pack straps.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Re: What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 08/04/2013 16:26:32 MDT Print View

Check out Cam Honan's (Swami) gear list for the 12 long walks he did in 18 months, including the fastest ever triple crown in a single year. This guy is a hiking legend. There's no weights given in the list, but looking at the gear he uses it would be very close to SUL.

Otherwise the recent 6 and 7lb Mountain-SUL gearlists by Will look good too.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Re: What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 08/08/2013 10:45:03 MDT Print View

Good to hear from you Bill!

mark henley
(flash582) - F
AT thru hike gear .... SUL principals? on 08/08/2013 10:49:31 MDT Print View

Great info so far ....lots of food for thought

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
SUL limits on 08/08/2013 21:42:52 MDT Print View

I'm currently planning a NOBO CDT hike in 2015 with a current projected baseweight of 8.8 lbs (if I don't bring the umbrella). If I was willing to dump my smart phone or the GPS and forget the camera gear (and I'm not as I swore never to do a long trail without an excellent camera), my projected gear list would be just under 7 lbs. It would be hard for me to do any less on a trail that I'd feel that I'd have to be prepared for a variety of possible weather conditions. So I have to agree that a 6 - 7lbs range as the bottom end for a thru-hike for all but a few people. Someone fast enough to do a 3 month hike during the height of summer could probably cut out more of the safety margin then I'm comfortable with.

I've noticed that my gear list is full of cuben fiber stuff from Zpacks and MLD. I suspect my underwear will end up being cuben in a few years. Currently have things like a small CF tarp + bivy, a zpacks arc blast slim backpack without a frame, GG torso pad, stoveless, Zpacks CF rain jacket+pants, etc.

Edited by Miner on 08/09/2013 20:31:42 MDT.

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Gear List on 08/09/2013 08:23:17 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

I would be interested in seeing your gear list - care to post it?

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
What would YOUR SUL thru-hike gear list look like? on 08/09/2013 18:17:58 MDT Print View

Not SUL but about like this. Mind you this is Loners budget setup and he did not spend a ton of $ on his gear and he finished.

Edited by tammons on 08/09/2013 18:23:09 MDT.