Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » I say let's decide on a general consensus of Ultralight definitions and terms.


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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
I say let's decide on a general consensus of Ultralight definitions and terms. on 12/30/2013 18:24:57 MST Print View

Hope this is in the right place--if not, mods feel free to move it. This has been on my mind for a long time. Prepare for a bit of wall-o-text, but there is a poll at the end we can all vote in to try and figure this issue out.

http://cesarandthewoods.blogspot.se/2013/12/the-general-consensus-on-definitions.html

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: I say let's decide on a general consensus of Ultralight definitions and terms. on 12/30/2013 18:33:00 MST Print View

Sort of like defining the color "mauve"?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Definations on 12/30/2013 19:40:25 MST Print View

I think you're going to have a hard time with the shift to metric, as the USA has a lot of UL influence in terms of cottage makers and participants. I agree metric is better, but I don't think change is likely.

I voted in the poll for the wikipedia definitions. 10 lbs is a nicer number than 12 and it requires more critical thinking and some skills, whereas 12 lbs is mindlessly achievable from a big box outfitter. Ultimately I do agree with Jordan that it's more about philosophy than a specific weight. To me, UL incorporates skill/knowledge and integrates that with gear to lower pack weight. SUL is taking this to the extreme, while lightweight backpacking is simply a matter of prudent gear choice with little inclusion of skill to lower weight. Traditional backpacking is a giving little regard to weight when selecting gear.

Edited by dandydan on 12/30/2013 19:42:25 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: I say let's decide on a general consensus of Ultralight definitions and terms. on 12/30/2013 19:48:41 MST Print View

Geez, I don't want somebody tracking my IP address!

I keep my own standards, since a major purpose of my backpacking is for photography:

Base weight, 10 pounds (including bear canister)

Consumables, 10 pounds (although this varies for the length of trip)

Camera gear, 10 pounds (since this is a priority)

--B.G.--

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
def on 12/30/2013 20:14:30 MST Print View

Given the inherent unfairness of the generally accepted 10 and 5 lb norms as they apply to different locales, seasons, and hiker body sizes, I think 10 and 5 are acceptable definitions for 3 seasons with temps down to about freezing.

But its not like it matters anyway. Its a #, something for people to aim for when lowering their kit. When they get 10, then they go for 9. From 9 they go for 8. etc. 10 is achievable enough without making sacrifices, except in durability.

What is important, I think, is that the act of striving for a lower weight goal causes the hiker to learn in depth about the different options available to them. Then they are empowered to decide what is right for given hiking trip for them. The easier the goal is to obtain, the less the hiker may learn in the act of reaching it.

Edited by livingontheroad on 12/30/2013 20:19:33 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: def on 12/30/2013 20:40:02 MST Print View

What M B wrote. +1

Cheers

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
Re: def on 12/30/2013 21:32:41 MST Print View

MB nailed it, especially in his last paragraph. To me, any conscious descision to save weight is a step in the right direction. A few years ago I was at 50+ lbs for a summer weekend trip. Two years ago I totalled about 40 lbs. This year I aim to be under 30 total (camera gear, bear vault, consumables, etc.) In my mind these are big improvements in a hobby. Some new gear has obviously contributed, but honestly mindset, comfort zone, and better planning have contributed even more than a change in gear to the weight loss.

I'm a long ways from being a UL backpacker, but I'm firmly of the belief that improvement is a good thing, and if a number helps set the goal and make it achievable, then the number is a good thing. If it is simply a number for it's own sake, without taking needs and wants into accounts, then it has a lot less benefit to me.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: def on 12/30/2013 22:18:00 MST Print View

Do we get some 'stinking badges' if we achieve these number? :)

Brownie points?

Gold Stars?

Sorry, but it seems funny to me..

Billy

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: def on 12/30/2013 22:22:48 MST Print View

"Gold Stars?"

Titanium, maybe. Gold is too heavy.

--B.G.--

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
thanks all on 12/31/2013 04:15:20 MST Print View

Thanks for those of you who voted and took time to contribute to the discussion. I was half-expecting harsh backlash from certain mindsets (post-modernists come to mind), but so far so good!

I too think it's funny to a degree. All arbitrary things are, really. I think it's silly we give literal gold metals to people that do things like hit balls, run fast, and jump high at the Olympics. This of course is not to say I don't respect athletes or the sports--I have lots of respect and admiration for them. But from a certain point of view, it is funny I'd say. We live in an absurd existence devoid of meaning, if you ask me.

I don't think anyone, myself included, is suggesting giving awards to anyone for reaching an arbitrary--but very helpful for the purposes of enjoying backpacking more, I dare say most of us would suggest--base pack weight numbers.

This is more for clarity, semantics, and mutual communication and understanding within our community. As I said in my text, I will be happy to just reach a general consensus that we can all work with, and even disregard my own suggestions for definitions/terms in the spirit of solidarity--in spite of my distaste of the imperial measurement system and love of the metric system.

Edited by PrimeZombie on 12/31/2013 04:16:05 MST.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: I say let's decide on a general consensus of Ultralight definitions and terms. on 12/31/2013 08:10:09 MST Print View

I don't think it's possible to have a general consensus on a numerical definition of UL, SUL etc, as equipment required depends so much on terrain, weather, altitude etc.

Whilst I do weigh all my gear, my definition of UL is something like:

The minimum amount of food and gear required for a multi-day hike to be 1) safe, and 2) mostly comfortable, in the expected conditions.
1) implies that the gear must be sufficiently robust to prevent adverse conditions that are not likely but could still be expected from becoming life threatening.

Knowledge is a big part of it - knowing the capabilities of yourself and your gear and having a good idea of conditions to expect.

And SUL - as above, but for a day hike.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Definations on 12/31/2013 11:12:49 MST Print View

"I think you're going to have a hard time with the shift to metric, as the USA has a lot of UL influence in terms of cottage makers and participants. I agree metric is better, but I don't think change is likely."

The switch to metric is VERY important for the US in terms of economic and scientific terms.

If you want to help with the switch, it starts at home. Start using it :) I use grams for everything now...

I need to use celsius more and start using kilometers for milage.

This also forces others to make the switch.

It's partly evil but time for the US to join the rest of the world.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Not Quite on 12/31/2013 12:06:14 MST Print View

I agree with MB and Roger, "It all depends..."

But in looking at Mike Clelland's MAX weights (here in BPLs archives) for various items, especially The Big Three, I find I'm always a few ounces over his maximums. "Not quite there."

In one instance I was a whopping 6 oz. over with my Prolite reg. mattress at 16 oz. to his max of 10 oz. His camera max is 7 oz. my Olympus TG 1 is 8.3 oz.
My Thorlo Hiker wool blend socks were 1.3 oz. over Mike's max and my Merrill Moab low cut trail shoes were quite a bit over his max weight. And those are just examples.

SO...I've found what works for me:
1. on the trail comfort
2. sleep comfort

These seem to be the two most important criteria to most.

Mike C. also said that a frameless pack was much desired over frame packs. Here I DEFINITELY (yes, I'm shouting) disagree. I take Osprey's philosophy to heart that the comfort afforded by the small additional weight of a lightly framed pack far exceeds the "comfort" of a slightly lighter frameless pack. (i.e. it's about suspension, suspension,suspension)
And here I think a "pack poll" of BPL members will bear me out.

UL is supposedly about comfort through light weight on the trail.

I say backpacking is about comfort 24 hours a day.

And so we must Individually define BACKPACKING COMFORT. Then we can try to shave the ounces that fall outside of our own comfort zone.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/31/2013 12:10:28 MST.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Not Quite on 12/31/2013 12:44:00 MST Print View

When are we ever going to go metric?
We're about the only fools to use pounds, so really it should be metric.
I wish it was 5 Kilos for UL. It would get a lot more people wanting to get down in the range.
If they just cant go UL - 10 pounds, then the weight doesn't seem to matter much to them.

If we went metric and it's 5 Kilos, that would work for a lot more people and spark a lot more interest in be UL.

American's are dumb.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Not Quite on 12/31/2013 12:58:09 MST Print View

Besides, my newest digital scale goes up to a maximum of 5kg.

This is the first time ever that I've been able to digitally weigh my entire base weight with sub-gram precision.

--B.G.--

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: Not Quite on 12/31/2013 13:01:25 MST Print View

"American's are dumb." -

Hahaha, I love it! (done on purpose I hope) ;-)

I would prefer a switch to metric. I already think mostly in terms of kilometers (the weights are less familiar to me). After living in Canada for a while, and using the MGRS/ UTM while here in the US, "klicks" are so much easier for math.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
The onion on 12/31/2013 13:18:53 MST Print View

Man uses Internet forum to gain general consensus.

I am still stuck on miles and lbs/oz I am afraid.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: The onion on 12/31/2013 13:36:30 MST Print View

"American's are dumb."

Hmmmm... Glass houses (my tort vs torte comment months ago plus others) so I'll refrain.

I can work with Kilometers ok since that's all we used in the military. Lbs to kilogram conversion were a pain in the butt when I was taking the paramedic course. Had to guesstimate the weight of the patient in lbs (since they are rarely honest when asked), make the conversions in my head to kilograms, and then calculate the proper dosing for whatever drip we were going to run all while in the back of a moving vehicle with little sleep and running on four cups or so of coffee.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 12/31/2013 13:37:34 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Not Quite on 12/31/2013 13:52:34 MST Print View

> a frameless pack was much desired over frame packs. Here I DEFINITELY (yes, I'm
> shouting) disagree. I take Osprey's philosophy to heart that the comfort afforded
> by the small additional weight of a lightly framed pack far exceeds the "comfort"
> of a slightly lighter frameless pack.

I agree totally with Eric here. Actual weight carried is not the critical factor even for UL travel. Comfort and enjoyment is far more important.

There seems to be a threshold around 15-16 kg (total), above which many of us feel the pain. Below that the pack does feel lighter. Around 12 kg (total) pack weight becomes a much less significant item when travelling. Yes, I know these weights are way over the SUL 5 lb level, but remember that the 5 lb does not include food or water. They can easily add over 6 kg (13 lb) to your pack if you are out for a week. So much for the '5 lb' idea then.

Also remember that the concept of the 5 lb SUL level is mainly for travel in the 'American rainshadow summer' region. If you are travelling in alpine regions in the shoulder seasons, you MUST carry extra gear to handle bad weather. You may also need to carry extra food and fuel.

Cheers

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Not Quite on 12/31/2013 14:15:52 MST Print View

"American's are dumb."

Classic :)