Valiant effort to gain Internet consensus… a daunting task at best. And to think that you are trying to gain agreement on two different subjects; Weights & Measures and Standardized Categories.
So we need to tackle each of you subjects separately. Let’s start with
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Someone noted that Americans are the stumbling block for a universal system of weights and measures. This is true. But what has been omitted is the fact that this is really not about weights or measures, but a philosophical battle between good and evil – akin to a Star Wars Saga, or a Hobbit Adventure. So let’s start with weights:
The attempt to move the world from ounces to grams is a Communist Plot launched shortly after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The Commies wanted to take over the world, and they quickly identified America as their biggest hurdle. In order to take over America, they would need to kill God. So a plan was launched – convert America from ounces to grams. How would this kill God, you ask? It is acknowledged by many intellectuals that God gave the system of weights to Moses, and tasked him to implement it, which he did. Unfortunately he dropped both of the stone tablets and the 11th Commandment, “Thou shall use talents and ounces for trade,” broke off of both.
All of this was validated in 1976 by the famous American Bible Scholar Archie Bunker.
Eventually the biblical weights morphed into the English weight system, which we can use for backpacking.
16 drams = 1 ounce
16 ounces = 1 pound
7 pounds = 1 clove
14 pounds = 1 stone
28 pounds = 1 tod
We might find it useful to adopt cloves, stones, and tods in our standardized definitions.
MCCARTHYISM AND TEMPERATURE
For the backpacker, Celsius is not of much value. 0C is not very cold and we would die before the temperature hits 100C. But we know that 0F is freak’in cold and 100F is damn hot. This why American backpackers use Fahrenheit.
Why did American stick with the Fahrenheit system? It all started back in 1935 and 1938. Orson Wells lived in Europe in 1935 and the Pinko Commies infiltrated his brain and tasked him to convert America to Celsius. Upon his return to America, Welles attempted pandemonium with the ulterior motive to implement Celsius. But the World was saved in 1938 from Welles, by Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen. Exasperated, Welles decided to run for the US Senate against Charlie’s younger brother, Joseph, in 1946. Defeated by McCarthy, Orson soon expatriated himself to Europe and eventually died penniless. Good triumphed again. As a side note, the Red Tide changed the name of Celsius to Centigrade, which is a phonetic play on Stalingrad – proof of the temperature conspiracy.
The final metric attack on America was deployed by both the Communists and the Socialists. It is a battle between the collective and the individual. Think about this… the one universally recognized athletic accomplishment is the sub 4 minute mile. The mile race is about the individual. It is not a team sport, it is not collaboration, and it is not for the common good. It is about the heroic in athletic completion. The Commies and Socialists despise the individual, so they decided to replace to mile race with 1500 meters, and to further complicate things they convinced all high schools in America to replace the mile with 1600 meters. Chaos followed. There was no longer any gold standard to judge runners. Not to mention 1500 meters cannot be started and finished at the same point on the track, as a mile can be; and it is impossible to break 1500 meters into nice equa-distant points that make sense; as the mile can be using the ¼ mile, ½ mile, and ¾ mile splits.
Do we really want to replace 1st and 10 on Super Bowl Sunday with 1st and 9.144? Or the Boston Marathon with 42.195 KM? Do we want Eminem to star in 12.8748 kilometer or the Byrds to sing 12.8748 kilometers high? Do we want to change the mileage of the JMT to 338.6 kilometers?
I think not.
But a kilometer would have value to an Edgar Alan Poe, would could weave it into iambic pentameter.
I thought we had discussed The Death of Ultralight Backpacking in 2012, and decided it was not a weight, but a skill set.
During the course of this thread, there have been 4 distinct standards for consideration and possible consensus. I would point out that Abela’s set is used for his own consideration, to ensure consistency in his posts, and perhaps was never intended to be a standardized set. But who knows – John has retired from writing and enlightening the masses on how to hike SUL or XUL.
So let’s look at the most common accepted set, using the God-given measurement system:
Light < 20 lbs
UL < 10 lbs
SUL < 5 lbs
This system has some inherent problems. For example, if Hiker A has a base weight of 19.999 lbs, and Hiker B has a base weight of 10.0001 lbs, they are both Lightweight backpackers, even though Hiker A’s base weight is almost double that of Hiker B. Same would go for UL weights of 9.999 lbs versus 5.001 lbs.
In addition, a 10 day self-supported trip with a SUL or XUL kit would be awfully painful, the light pack being the weak link.
Perhaps we should chuck it all and just have weights by pounds (i.e. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, etc), without any definitions.
Or perhaps we should just forget the whole standards discussion? Since the goal of backpacking is to have fun, while staying warm, dry and safe. Perhaps we just need a “fun scale,” which I suggest is not Skurka’s. Perhaps we can assign a point system for fun. In this point system we can dispense with base weight altogether, because what truly matters is how much we carry in total weight.
This system might take into consideration the total FSO weight, the number of days traveled between re-supply, the number of people hiking together, and the number of other hikers encountered on the trail. Backpacking is about the wilderness experience, not gear. As a matter of fact, I am finding backpacking gear to be boring. So let’s consider…
Take the total FSO weight and divided it by the days on the trail before re-supply. So a 40 lb FSO weight on a 10 day trip would = 4 points. We can call this the FSO Factor.
Now we take the number of hikers in the party. If you hike solo you can add 1 point. If you hike with a significant other and have sex at least once during the trip, you can add 2 points. For all other situations, you would subtract the total number in the party from the FSO Factor.
Lastly, we will subtract the total number of people encountered on the trail from the calculations above. Let’s say in 10 days you encounter 80 people on the trail, there are 4 people in your party and your FSO Factor is 4. Your Fun Factor calculation is 4 – 4 – 80. Giving you a fun factor of negative 80 points. The goal is a trip with a total fun factor that is a positive number.
Okay, I agree this is too complicated.
I have been on vacation for a few weeks and my return to BPL showed about 80% of the posts on the first recent threads page to be gear related.
What would happen if 80% of the posts were trip reports? First it would mean that people would need to go hiking more often, and we would have more useful gear information from trips reports, where the poster could discuss what gear worked, what gear didn’t work, and how the gear was used. Of course, I would rather just see a bunch of great pictures.
Opps… guess I just hijacked the thread.
To be honest I do a lot of so-called SUL and XUL trips, but the gear changes due to the season, terrain, weather, etc. Here is a XUL trip I did, it was more of a what can I do, than something I would undertake for a long trip.
And I do even more UL trips. Sometimes I do lightweight trips.
Based on each trip, I select the gear I need. What it weighs, is what it weighs.
Happy New Year Everyone!
edited for some grammar. It is hard to be on a conference call and type at the same time :)