Ian - "I get the impression that you’re trying to set an industry standard and not much else. I’d love to hear more about what we'll gain especially if you could give specific examples. Again, not attacking... just want to understand where you're coming from."
No, I am not trying to set an industry standard, whatever that means. I have already mentioned what benefits there are. See the post where I replied to spelt! when she directly asked me essentially the same thing as you are asking here. I was also pretty specific in my last reply to Mitch, so that's another post to check out. Given the length of my posts I am trying to cut down and not repeat myself. I hope that will give you a better understanding.
Put it to you another way. It occurred to me that in another post Nick said "I do XUL, SUL, UL, and LW. None of them define me." And I agree with him. But notice that he is able to use those shorthand terms without issue? We all generally understand/understood him when he used those terms. It's not like we'd be able to glean anything from someone saying, "I do GBQ, ARR, XXW, and RB!H. None of them define me." That's incoherent. The other terms have meaning, and we get it. Yet there are some differences in the way people define them. I prefer metric, for instance. Others--like the person in the video I linked earlier--prefer to bring guns and other survival stuff along and consider this a variant of UL. There is confusion out there, and I think I have already demonstrated that.
Anyhow, sorry I missed your post directed at me. And thanks for your polite tone :)
Andrew - "Can't we just come up with a hard and fast rule that lets me know if I am enjoying my hike properly or if I need to spend more time with my spreadsheets and credit card?"
Just for the record (as there has already been a lot of confusion and glossing over of my points and intentions), I am not trying to come up with a hard and fast rule. Nor do I think people should spend more time on spreadsheets and consumerism rather than get out and hike. I agree that Nick's questions are nuanced, and this is good. But as I said to him before, we can have our cake and eat it too here: both ask these kinds of questions and have a general definition.
Roger - "Pack weight 5 lb 0.5 oz: result misery. Pack weight 4 lb 15.5 oz: result happiness."
I had missed this before. Yeah, no one is saying that, myself included. It's a pretty unfair characterization of the discussion. Just sayin'. But I know, I know--you're just using that Oz humor of yours, right?
Trip reports - I enjoy reading certain kinds of them.
Regarding this discussion, I am the one suggesting that we try and come up and then use a general consensus, yet I put up a fair amount of trip reports. More trip reports than gear lists. Then again, I also don't see being excited about gear and gear lists as a necessarily bad thing. I like playing with my gear sometimes, seeing if I can improve the different combinations, how it is packed, get upgrades, etc. I see a lot of us drool over gear on here. So what? Gear is cool. There are those that collect it, there are those that use it, and there are those that do both.
Craig - +1 on your point about context. I attempted to give a general context earlier, but it's not really been addressed as much. I even asked a few people if they thought it was accurate if memory serves me correctly, but no replies.
So I'll ask you: Do you think that the majority of trips on BPL (i.e. trip reports, gear lists/trip planning intentions, etc.) are for 3 season use in common geographic areas and on marked trails?
If so, I think that's a pretty handy context to have when talking about UL in general. If not, what do you think is the most common context of UL backpacking and why?
Paul - Thanks for taking the time to dig up quotes and such from books. And also for writing a whole big blog post on this issue. I have not had time yet (look at all my huge posts, damn it!) to read the whole thing, but I will eventually and try and get back to you. I appreciate your tone and contributions throughout this thread, sorry I have not gotten back to you until now.
Gabriel - "It matters that UL is heavier than SUL."
Okay. So it's cool if someone says that their UL load is 50lbs and that their interpretation of SUL is thus 25lbs?
"Your scheme includes a formula which is not quick and also easy to forget."
How is it not quick and why is it easy to forget? You're just giving bare assertions here without any explanations. I think my set is quick and easy to remember, especially considering it's metric, and it's only adding one new term (VUL). Plus it's divided into two categories based on the addition of CW, which makes it even easier to remember. I even note this on my blog, as if you are not concerned with CW, then all you have to remember is UL and SUL. If you are, then VUL and XUL might be for you. See? Easy.
"It focuses on numbers rather than differentiating experience level, so it loses the usefulness of the currently accepted UL, SUL, XUL system."
All of the sets focus on numbers, and how exactly do any of them differentiate experience level? And when you say "currently accepted" I assume you are appealing to the wikipedia entry. My poll and this thread proves that this is not really the case--other people prefer metric, for instance.
"By including the metric system as a separate option, you've brought the metric vs. imperial debate into your poll."
" If your suggested values are good, I should be able to express them in stones, kilograms, pounds, whatever."
You can express them in stones, kg, lbs, or whatever if you so desire. Go right ahead. What would stop you or anyone? I don't get your point here.
" I believe the core goal of your poll is to set values, not determine which measurement system is best."
I have tried my best to explain what my goals are in trying to reach a general consensus, and you are welcome to quote me to show how you have come to such a conclusion. I disagree with your assessment here. My intentions where to promote discourse and get a significant number of UL backpackers to (no pun intended) weigh in on the definitions and terms that define their hobby. There is already a set that most people think of when they think of UL weights, but clearly there other sets that people would prefer or do prefer over those. Your post is appreciated, but it's pretty vague. Perhaps you could be more specific should you choose to reply?
Also, I could not help but notice that that was your first post on BPL and you have not yet noted your location or set up your PMs. This is curious to me. You seem to have an informed opinion on the topic at hand, and felt the need to contribute to the discussion. But your first post? This strikes me as odd is all, if not a bit interesting. Care to elaborate on why it was this thread in particular that compelled you to post for the first time? And how long have you been a member for? Just curious.
Eric - Ah. How amusing. But seriously, I get that you're being funny and all, but no one (myself included) is suggesting absolute rules/definitions here. Take whatever you want with you. I really don't care. Cast iron pot and all. :)
Okay... all I have time for now. After the poll is closed I intend on writing a follow up post on my blog on my reflections on all this. Pretty sure at this point--and this was not beyond my expectations--that the poll won't get at least 100 votes and that trying to establish a general consensus of definitions, terms, and context for them ain't gonna happen. Which is fine. I thought it was worth a shot, and if anything, promote discourse--which I think has been accomplished to at least a small degree.