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FannyPack Ultralight
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Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/07/2007 15:32:30 MDT Print View

Dale...I picked up the fanny pack at Wal-mart while I was buying food for the trip. I saw an immediate application to the psychology of using such a small pack--the participants could all immediately see how much weight they could reduce by bringng only the gear that they need. I do have a sub 2oz backpack that I usually use, but the visual impact of using a fanny pack is much greater, thus the reason for its purchase.

As for the person who said that I had better hope it didn't rain---it did rain on the trip. My raingear of poncho and rain hat worked just fine in keeping my core dry. There is absolutely no chance in Texas that the temperature will suddenly drop to 50 degrees in the summer--thus there is no reason to prepare for such a temperature. I have enough painkillers to crawl to one of the trails in the park(which are all well traveled--one person every five minutes or so) in the case of an emergency, so the safety factor is not as big of an issue. Especially when traveling with a group of 6-8 people.

Just because one's own pack contains more gear than anothers does not necessarily mean that the heavier packer is more prepared, so please do not jump to that assumption.


The fanny pack is of volume ~600 cubic inches.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/07/2007 16:57:06 MDT Print View

Pete wrote: "Just because one's own pack contains more gear than anothers does not necessarily mean that the heavier packer is more prepared, so please do not jump to that assumption".

Isn't that looking for argument where none exists? No one said anything of the sort. My contention is simply that there is a "balance" -- we all have our own sweet spot where the gear weight is light enough to cease bothering us anymore. Continual weight slashing from that point on just yields ever diminishing benefits...

Perhaps typing out my 'general and philosophical' thoughts onto your thread is unfair to you, Pete. But it's your thread that got me thinking... for example, if I can carry 20 lbs very comfortably, then is there really any meaningful benefit to slashing weight from 20 to 10 lbs? Maybe. But then how about from 10 lbs to 5 lbs? Or from 5 lbs to 4 lbs? At what point does it becomes more of a mind game than anything else?

Reading the various SUL articles, postings, and gear lists has me pondering the same questions as well...

Edited by ben2world on 06/07/2007 21:24:33 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/07/2007 20:55:58 MDT Print View

Brian James gave a great description of environmental conditions which preclude a responsible individual from bringing a 5 lb overnight kit; and I agree. 'UL for the worst possible conditions' is the real goal.
Forgive me for belaboring the obvious, but take an example of a sleeping bag. I want to carry one sufficient for the forcasted temperatures with a margin for a freak cold front, but no more.
Pete's lumbar pack is more than enough for an overnighter in good conditions. In fact in the Army we used a canvas butt pack like the one shown, and two cantteens, on a web-belt. It carried what we needed for an overnight patrol, starting with a poncho and liner for the sleep/shelter system.
A modern version of that for Pete might start with a Golite tarp and a a 3.5 oz Adventure Medical Emergency Bivy; it is certainly doable if you are wearing the appropriate insulation.

Ben has a good point however; why do it? If you can already move as fast as you want with 10 lbs, why go down to 5 lbs? I agree with regards to weight, and I'm pretty much as light as I can go while maintaining my safety margin.
In the military we left our packs behind to move fast and light, and to slip through vegetated areas where issued packs would have prevented movement. Pete runs UL seminars, and so there is increased street cred (trail cred?) to be seen carrying overnight gear in a 600cu inch lumbar pack. And some people just prefer the comfort of a lumbar pack, especially in hot humid conditions.

I think for me now the interest in seeing Pete's overnight fannypack is to get ideas on reducing my day-hike/climbing kit volume. I always carry enough to get me through an unplanned bivouac; fitting all that into 600 cu inches or so leaves room for more trip-specific gear.
army butt pack

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/07/2007 22:32:06 MDT Print View

Pete, I just don't think you have a realistic kit and presenting that as an example of ultralight hiking to potentially inexperienced clients is rather irresponsible. You've left out even the most basic signalling and navigation gear and I have to assume that a 1.5oz first aid kit is minimal. A half liter water supply is pretty optimistic too. I don't see sunscreen, insect repellent, map, compass, whistle, signal mirror, backup fire starting gear, reserve food, or sleeping bag on your list. You have a 13oz pad, but not enough clothing to make it through a 40F night.

I would lighten up on the pad, go with a cookless menu (thereby tossing the stove,fuel, and pot), and get at least a light quilt in there and some more essentials. You need a better water reserve too. Fess up on that fanny pack-- I bet it is 16-20oz. For a commercial example, a Golite Jam2 is 21oz and will haul all you need for a weekend and there are certianly lighter 3000ci packs out there.

If you want to hike this way, more power to you, but if you are recommending that others go abroad without the essentials, I hope they get better information and your liability insurance is paid up.

As far as promoting UL hiking, kits like yours are interesting, but I'm afraid it would just serve to convince many that it is too risky and uncomfortable to go UL.

Best of luck in your efforts.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/08/2007 00:02:42 MDT Print View

I keep one of these in my fannypack:

Ritter Kit

...alongside a knife, MP1, and a space bivy. This is my kit for I-can-see-the-city training hiking in the Vancouver area frontcountry. I firmly believe I could spend the night with this kit in the summer, but I don't think of it as an XUL/YUL/ZUL backpacking kit. :)

Just picture thisSalomon

...with a can of bearspray in one of the holsters.

If you own sweat glands, try a fanny pack. These things change your hike -- core temperature regulation is totally controllable all day and ventilation becomes "a breeze". You will be so happy you've lost that big mushy insulator pressed against the length of your torso! And with lower core temps comes greater endurance, less need for hydration, and the ever-delicious "my base layer isn't soaked on my back!" moment.

The first time I went hiking with a fannypack, I was hooked. I researched the biggest ones on the market (they make 'em with shoulder straps!) and the most compressible gear items to see if I could in any way make a super-minimalist overnight kit fit. But it really can't be done except by those in the most temperate of climes who are within a couple of hours of the trailhead -- and have gotten right with Jesus before they go!

In my opinion.

Edited by bjamesd on 06/08/2007 00:11:05 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/08/2007 04:50:59 MDT Print View

while true that you don't have a sweaty back from carrying a fanny pack, for me...and this is my own experience...it wouldn't work. I start my day with 1/2 liter of water before going to work. I consume at least a couple more liters the rest of the day. Hiking just increases that for me in the summer. Some of it I use to cool me down in the hot, humid weather. Yes, I could camel-up in camp, but it doesn't work for me. I used to use a fanny pack similar to yours for summer day hikes and found that I carried mostly water or sport drink in it. That weight on my waist just was uncomfortable. I've gone back to a pack on my back. And, I sort of like that feeling, too.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
How about a shoulder bag ? on 06/08/2007 05:31:15 MDT Print View

Im not sure what you call them, but even back in the day people used those bags that hung down at the hip and had one strap around the opposite shoulder. I always wondered if you could make an UL version and how well it would work. The advantage I would think is that everything is right there easily acsessable. I can see it being a problem if you jogg or run, but with SUL/UL loads for a night or 2 at a slow pace I think it would have enough volume. -just a thought?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How about a shoulder bag ? on 06/08/2007 07:43:25 MDT Print View

Patagonia makes an UL shoulder bag (http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/product/landing.jsp?OPTION=COLLECTIONS_LANDING_PAGE_HANDLER&catcode=MAIN_SP07_US.CLOTHING_GEAR.PACKS/TRAVEL_GEAR#sku.48810) that is 7oz and would be good for day hikes or an ultra-Spartan summer overnighter. I've used shoulder bags for commuting and they are handy but not the most comfortable walking and leave you unbalanced-- the load bouncing on your side. I think they are limited to 10 pounds even for commuting and walking a few blocks. I have a Timbuk2 that is great for travel and can hold a ton of stuff-- feels like a ton too! I like shoulder bag while traveling and managing mass transit and easy access to cameras, maps, guide book, glasses, etc. A shoulder bag doesn't smack people behind you in the face the way a packpack will-- wear a backpack on a crowded Parisian subway car and see how many friends you make-- MAIS NON, MON AMI!

For all the fiddling around I've done with fanny packs, lumbar packs, and shoulder bags, the easiest, most comfortable, least expensive and lightest way to contain and carry a load is a backpack.

A back pack is basically a cylinder with a couple straps and it's pretty hard to get more essential than that. Take a look at one of the larger Mountainsmith lumbar packs. They make a good product, but get caught in an engineering spiral of straps, buckles, zippers, and heavy cloth trying to contain and stabilize the load-- not to mention keeping it from succumbing to gravity and ending up around your ankles in the middle of the trail. I understand the allure of a tiny package that will serve all your needs, but, other than day hiking, such kits are far more mental exercise than realistic multi-day gear. Been there, done that, and didn't have room for the tee shirt.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: How about a shoulder bag ? on 06/08/2007 10:14:12 MDT Print View

QUOTE: "I start my day with 1/2 liter of water before going to work. I consume at least a couple more liters the rest of the day. Hiking just increases that for me in the summer."

I'm lucky in that I train in the rainforest -- meaning you can't walk 30 minutes in any direction without crossing running water. I keep Aqua Mira (or more recently MP1) in the kit and voila -- water weight for a hike reduced by several kilograms!

I'd love to get ahold of a steripen to reduce the water weight even further; with that the only reason to actually carry water out here would be to avoid stopping.

As it is, I fill up with a fresh .5L or 1L but I have to carry it for 15-30 minutes while the chems start working. With Steripen, I imagine myself just filling my mug a couple of times an hour, zapping it with UV, drinking deep, and carrying on. Total "water weight" would be 4oz! (On training hikes where the water situation is known...)

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Re: Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/08/2007 15:52:59 MDT Print View

Hey, I'm not unresponsible--I am prepared for the conditions.

First, the bottle is a full liter capacity. The number you saw was the weight of said bottle. I have changed this to make it more clear.

Navigation gear is not needed in the park I went, due to the 8 foot wide, white gravel trails and very clearly defined trail markers.

The plan for insects, if there were any(there werent't), was the clothing defense. The socks will roll up to the knees, the sleeves on the shirt roll down(difficult to see in the picture), and the collar on the shirt can be popped and snapped together to form a seal.

The same goes for sun block.

Using the buddy system, in a group of 8-10 people, eliminates the need for extra whistle or signal mirror.

Extra fire starting gear---if everything goes to hell, the cars are only 6-7 miles away by trail.

No need for reserve food--if someone gets hurt, several can attend to him while the others go and get help.

The coldest recorded temperature in that area for the date we went on was 50 degrees. There is not a chance in hell that the temperature on the night we went would drop below 60. In actuality, it didn't drop below 80. A sleeping quilt(of which I have several, for different conditions), would just be silly.

I don't understand your obsession with the fanny pack's weight. As stated earlier, I do own several backpacks, whose weight varies from 2 to 28 oz. I decided to use this pack on a whim, to demonstrate with more visual impact to class participants, just how littler gear needs to be brought. There are lighter options. It was just a fun challenge to fit in all in a certain space.

I am not an unresponsible leader, rather I make certain to fit the gear to the conditions. And yes, there is somehting to be learned from "easy" conditions, just as there is something to be learned from Denali conditions. Just because you may never encounter either doesn't make you can apply the same principles.


Let the gear fit the conditions.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/08/2007 16:52:41 MDT Print View

Reading Pete's posts, I do not think that Pete himself is irresponsible. I do think that his particular gear list has definite limitations as to location and hikers' experience level -- esp. to newbies.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: FannyPack Ultralight on 06/08/2007 19:33:46 MDT Print View

That's why he's "Crazy Pete".

Edited by awsorensen on 06/08/2007 21:30:56 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/09/2007 07:24:03 MDT Print View

We humans survived hundreds of thousands of years before backpacks, or even fanny packs. A well trained modern savage like many of us UL members :) could survive a night or two with a three layer clothing system and a few essentials. The lumbar pack is more than enough room; and I speak from personal experience. If Pete has the knowledge, it is not irresponsible.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 01:05:47 MDT Print View

If Pete wants to do that acting only for himself, it really doesn't matter to me if he know's what he is doing or not. If he wants to do belly flops off the Golden Gate Bridge, it's none of my business.

The issue of responsibility is in running seminars and teaching others how to use ultralight gear. IMHO, teaching people to go hiking without proper survival gear is irresponsible.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 08:21:10 MDT Print View

But Dale, you are jumping to conclusions in guessing what Pete is doing at his seminars just because he posts a pic of his fanny pack and you don't like what he carries in it.

mark cole
(marklivia)
Re: Re: Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 10:25:38 MDT Print View

I think Dale and especially Benjamin need a time out. A little too much criticism flying around.

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 12:23:16 MDT Print View

Time out? I'd say they need to lighten up--attitude and pack weight!

Good story Pete--tweaking the gear to the specifics of the trip makes sense to me.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 15:28:20 MDT Print View

What I am trying to accomplish within my seminars is to demonstrate a process of certain principles that can be applied to any conditions for any backpacking trip, and use those principles to cut pack weight to an absolute minimum.

In brief, those two prinicples are A) Bring the minimal amount of gear needed to stay alive in the worst conditions FOR THE AREA, that you can conceive. Problems such as heat exhaustion don't usually arise in Antarctica, just at sudden freezes do not happen in Texas.

The second principle is to add in enough gear to achieve the amount of comfort you would like. For some, the ratio of packweight to comfort is higher, for some it is lower. Regardless, each person still must carry the minimum amounto of gear for the described conditions(principle 1).

In the analysis of these hypothetical conditions, we take many things into accout besides the simple weather conditions. We look at geography, water supplies, weather conditions in the past, prior knowledge of intracacies of trail, number of people in group, the level of training of those people, remoteness trail, etc.

My seminar participants are not lacking in basic survival and emergency gear---rather, they have decided, according to my two basic principles, that there is not a need for that extra gear due to the influence of other conditions. They (and I), have decided that carrying that gear will in no way really impact the quickness with which we may deal with an emergency and thus is simply excess weight.

The locale in which I live does lend itself to exceedingly light base weights, but the two prinicples remain the same for all locations. My pack has a different gear list every time I hike, as should anyone's who cares about cutting their weight to the minimum. We are eliminating extra gear by extra preperation.

Natually, if I used that pack within the Rocky Mountins, I might have a hard time of it--however, that fact is irrelevant to the discussion because that list of gear is only applicable to the three days I spent in the woods at that particular location. If I went back tomorrow, a mere 7 days later, I would probably take different gear, as the conditions had changed.

I also believes that this approach removes the somewhat arbitrary line imposed by forcing everyone to bring emergency gear. Should they be prepared for one emergency but not another?? Which emergency takes preference in terms of pack weight--or is that question allowed. Since all emergencies can not be accounted for, the best thing we can do is take an approximation of we assume can happen, and mentally deal with those hypothetical situations by education/training and absolutely necessary gear.


Ultralight gear fits the conditions. The more experianced you become at interpeting those conditions, the lighter your pack will become.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 15:36:15 MDT Print View

I come down on the "carry survival essentials" side.

This is a picture of the Vancouver area frontcountry:
North Vancouver

You can see that no matter where you are, walking "downhill" a couple of miles will almost always take you directly to suburbia.

In fact, we have a special (and very active) rescue organization that does almost nothing other than pluck living, barely living, and dead people out of the forests shown in the photo.

Have a read of this page:

http://www.northshorerescue.com/task.html

A lot of the people in those stories were very fit, very smart, and very experienced. Some of these rescues (/body recoveries) were within a mile of civilization. And some were in the dead of summer.

I don't mean to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) -- I just want to point out that someone who charges money to be an "outdoors role model" or mentor shouldn't be suggesting that survival essentials can be pared off of a list in order to save grams our cubic inches.

Sht happens, and it really really can happen to you personally. No matter who you are.

EDIT: Having now read your post Pete, I wanted to edit my post so as not to sound condescending but I'll add this PS instead. I applaud your careful consideration of all factors and possibilities; I think that's a major percentage of the equation for going outdoors safely. Some trad backpackers don't do that, and some LW definitely backpackers don't either. Still, though, no nav gear? Really?

Edited by bjamesd on 06/10/2007 16:14:08 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: re:FannyPack Ultralight on 06/10/2007 15:48:10 MDT Print View

Your analysis is quite correct Brian---however you miss another condition that I also am taking into account. That factor is the large group I am traveling with. A solo hiker must take more equipment because he relies completely upon himself to bail himself in high water situations. Within a group, if a single person goes down, the rest of the group can be of assistance to that single person.