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Critter Style Pack Cover
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marcus hampton

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Critter Style Pack Cover on 01/24/2014 22:54:20 MST Print View

Here's an example of how you don't need to buy 'stuff' to backpack as good as, or better than, the pros. I learned this from a Green Beret. Click here. It's my youtube video and it's a trash bag pack cover.

Edited by TheCritter on 01/24/2014 23:01:46 MST.

Matthew Stenger
(MatthewStenger) - F

Locale: its flat but its home
Nice. on 01/24/2014 23:02:00 MST Print View

More effective than your traditional pack covers cause it essentially provides complete protection.

You should put "Critter Style" in your youtube videos too!

marcus hampton

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Nice. on 01/24/2014 23:08:20 MST Print View

Great idea. I will add that. Good lookin' out!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Nice. on 01/25/2014 00:07:24 MST Print View

Before Nick G. Or Bob G. beat me to it, let me just be the first to say (in a crotchety voice) "These kids today, they think they invented everything!".

Still, glad to see you propagating the meme.

marcus hampton

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Nice. on 01/25/2014 11:24:59 MST Print View

I didn't really understand much of your comment. Old people invent everything. When I'm in the back country I have my own personal method of travel, known as critter style, which is actually backpacking without all the fancy inventions.

Critter style. It's a cross between what humans call "ultralight backpacking" and "survivalism". The mainstream name for it would probably be something like survivalpackineering. In the truest since of the phrase "critter style" means no sleeping bag, no pad, and no tent. I frequently sleep on piles of debris, wearing only the proper clothes, and under natural shelter, but, I prefer a tiny tarp. I take it seriously but I don't do any of this for money or sponsors or anything except for fun. In the truest since of the phrase 'critter style' means no pad, no sleeping bag, and no tent...and I improvise everything I can.

Thanks for watching.

Edit: Here's one of my many critter style bag unpacks from a trip that was unheard of and considered impossible. Click here.

Edited by TheCritter on 01/25/2014 11:45:10 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Nice. on 01/25/2014 11:49:11 MST Print View

LOL My comment was more of a joke about people who always jump in to say something like, "we did that decades ago..." fill in the blank, myself included some times. ;-) Anyway, the "invention here I jokingly refer to IS the trash bad as pack cover.

Anyway, the use of a garbage bag for a pack cover, ground sheet, emergency VB "jacket (one saved me one time), seat, foot warmer, tent patch, pack liner, rain skirt, impromptu sleeping bag component, rain jacket and on and on, is as old a garbage bags themselves. I always carry one or two in my emergency kit, and I would guess a good fraction of the people on here do as well. Weirdly, seema like I used them a ton, in spite of the fact that in "Marko Style" they are supposed to be back up stuff. I need to think about that more!

It is usually best not to do the modification until the need arises IMHO though - then you keep the customizability, and will have more options later on. For instance, you garbage bag vest/rain jacket will tend to work better if you don't have to mod it out of a bag already ripped to be a pack cover, and so on. However combine a few garbage bag with duct tape and you can re-purpose I suppose.

I'd like to see you make a denser video collecting and demoing a bunch of different backpacking uses you could get out of a humble garbage bag - especially if you can come up with a few that aren't common knowledge. Even the process of collecting the oldies but goodies all in one places would have a great value.

"Here's one of my many critter style bag unpacks from a trip that was unheard of and considered impossible"

EDIT: I watched your video, and thanks for making it. I like the fact that you don't mess around. There are a lot of such videos that, style-wise, have way too much air, or comments that are just incidental. I also love your backdrops, from the mountains to the "still life with napping dogs". Those are excellent - keep those up. Don't want to see some guy's kitchen when the topic is backpacking. I too agree about using cheap stuff if possible.

As for cheap - I like Mike Clelland's recent book - as simple and paired down as it is, it comes closer to anything I have ever seen to the spirit of ultralight backpacking, including on here, in the past 15 years. Both in form and content. And he always emphasizes the use cheap stuff when possible. On the other hand (Ryan Jordan and many other have written about this starting years ago), there is an equally relevant issue about disposable gear you should consider as well, at least long term.

But I get you are coming at the problem from a particular view, and with a particular set of goals in mind. Go for it! There is one particular issue that you may eventually need to address, as I see it, whether motivated by UL backpacking, survivalist, or bush craft values. That is this, if you are ever using these method (especially the sleeping in debris piles) for longer periods you will have to address more "what if" issues. Do minimalist backpacking for a day or two, especially if you are always a days walk from the road is one thing. What do you carry if you have to be utterly self sufficient in any possible scenario. I don't think debris pile are going to work, or available in the right type and quantities to keep you alive in certain conditions. Just something to keep thoughtfully considering as you go forward.

You don't want to die just because your mylar space blanket ripped or otherwise became unusable the second night out, and it will at some point. Have a backup if you can even imagine a scenario where a lifesaving necessity goes caput.

However, not sure what you mean by "was unheard of and considered impossible". Don't think your kit in the video qualifies in either of those categories, and least not here. Or did you mean the trip/route itself. if the latter then THA is you lead - don't bury it.

If you drop a post here in the gear list section I'm guessing you could get a lot of advice from people here that would help you go lighter AND cheaper, if that is your goal. Good luck.

Edited by millonas on 01/25/2014 12:50:06 MST.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Nice. on 01/25/2014 11:57:44 MST Print View

Tis a cool tip. Only issue i see is a trashbag isn't going to last all that long and i don't like using much throw away stuff. I designed a silnylon cape for both being a pack cover and providing a little extra shoulder protection since i tend to use "paramo" like rain gear. You can get silnylon 2nds for pretty cheap usually, but it's super tough and durable and will last a long time while being fairly light.

I like the spirit of your style, merging UL and survivalist, something i would like to do more of also. Just don't try to convert BPL folks here or you will get major back lash--not saying that's what you are doing.

You and Justin Baker might have some interesting conversations, as he seems to be into that same blend practice/philosophy.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
grandeur on 01/25/2014 13:08:53 MST Print View

Critter- Did you really name a backpacking "style" after yourself?...seriously?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: grandeur on 01/25/2014 13:53:03 MST Print View

Shane Sibert, varmint style is gonna change the world. Or maybe get a reality backpacking show.

Edited by jshann on 01/25/2014 13:54:06 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: grandeur on 01/25/2014 13:58:19 MST Print View

Video sure conveys more information in some cases, like poking hole in plastic and pulling straps through

marcus hampton

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks for the feedback on 01/25/2014 14:53:59 MST Print View

Double thanks Mark and Just Justin. That is exactly the type of feedback I'm looking for. When I said "was unheard of and considered impossible" I was referring to the trip not my kit. Here's the trip report on that one. Click here. or here's the same link in a cut and paste:

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
video style on 01/25/2014 15:03:30 MST Print View

Jerry, I agree, videos can be great! Especially for the non-verbal ideas they can convey. The pack cover video is a case in point as a missed opportunity.

Personally I'd have been a little neater by cutting holes in the bag (unless a sharp thing doesn't fit with the "style"). If he in addition reinforced the hole a a bit with duct tape at the critical stress points he could have elevated the cover to very near permanent status. In this video it look more like he has disdain for the material - there is a difference between using garbage bags, and treating them as garbage. IMO he missed a chance to elevate the whole thing by treating the simple cheap material with more respect and seriousness. I think that could be a deeper message, and just as in accord with "critter style".

Maybe next time.

In line with this maybe critter should take a look some of Mike Clelland's videos(here is one:, and the implied respect he has for some of his "cheapo" gear, including a pillow made out of a grapefruit net bag from the grocery store and inflatable ziplocks, and especially relevant here, his trash compactor pack liner which he claims to be able to use for several seasons. The patches on his driducks also convey this respect for inexpensive and/or fragile material non-verbally.

Even the way he takes the stuff out of the pack conveys a certain respect, if not attachment, at least to my eye. He doesn't have to say his gear is not throw-away stuff to him. He doesn't talk about himself. Contrast this with the way critter unpacks his pack in his video. These are not criticisms, just are some ideas to be aware of if you want to become a better video maker/ visual communicator.

" I was referring to the trip not my kit. "

OK, thought it might have been that.

Edited by millonas on 01/25/2014 15:46:15 MST.

marcus hampton

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: video style on 01/27/2014 13:56:44 MST Print View

I know it seems like I am reckless with my gear but the truth is that I have practiced getting very fast with packing and unpacking my gear. I try to take as little time as possible getting in and out of my pack. I feel it's a very important skill.

I watched that video but that was for a two night pack. You're right he didn't brag much. Like when I talk about how I circumnavigated Mt Rainier, comfortably and with less gear. I did it over 8 leisurely days, in rain, and near freezing weather, over snow, while trees were coming down, with about 5 lbs of gear, 20 lbs of food, and no resupply. I also talk about my accomplishments for comparison. He carries pillows and all that stuff to be comfortable for two nights. I'd take one of those ziplocks, fill it with debris and make a critter style pillow. Or just put some leaves under the head portion of my sleeping pad and/or bag. Anyways, Here's proof of my Rainier trip.

I do trip reports and make videos of the type of trips I do to show that the type of supplies and rain gear people like that use won't work for the type of trips I do. Here's my youtube proof of that: Click here.

Thank you again for your input. And I will work on my videos.

Edited by TheCritter on 01/28/2014 05:38:33 MST.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
"Critter Style" on 01/28/2014 12:07:25 MST Print View

That's nothing! Ol' Mick Dodge's been doing it for years. And with more pizazz! Equal parts Bear Grylls,Cody Lundin and Duck Dynasty, and all BS reality star. His 15 mins starts now (yours can too, Critter--get to work on your beard!)...LOL


Edited by bigfoot2 on 01/28/2014 12:12:27 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Nice. on 01/28/2014 14:52:06 MST Print View

"Before Nick G. Or Bob G. beat me to it, let me just be the first to say (in a crotchety voice) 'These kids today, they think they invented everything!' "

You gotta love the passion of young people. It is invigorating. Let's not discourage them.

BTW, whatever happened to the kid from REI that was going to enlightened us a couple years ago?

Oh, and see how Max has become a valued member of BPL. And I say this with sincerity.

I need a name and a backpacking style. How about curmudgeonbackpacking?

I already have a sign that someone sent me.

curmudgeon sign

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: video style on 01/28/2014 15:42:27 MST Print View

" You're right he didn't brag much. Like when I talk about how I circumnavigated Mt Rainier, comfortably and with less gear. I did it over 8 leisurely days, in rain, and near freezing weather, over snow, while trees were coming down, with about 5 lbs of gear, 20 lbs of food, and no resupply....."

Now your doing it again. LOL Just teasing.

FYI Mike doesn't brag, but on the other hand he doesn't need to. He is a NOLS instructor and makes a partial living co-leading trips with Andrew Skurka, at lest last time I checked. So guess I'm just suggesting, as gently as possible, maybe you will get a bit more open reception, at least on here, by being a little more self-aware. Gonna leave it at that.

@Nick, I felt briefly like I might like to join the curmudgeon stylists. The one time I went on a sierra club trip for a week it was like root canal to me much of the time (so loud!), so I might qualify. But then I decided it wouldn't be "curmudgeon style" to join after all. If there was such a group I would fit right in - as long as no one else showed up to the meetings, or hiked closer than 200m from me on the "group curmudgeon trips".

Edited by millonas on 01/28/2014 16:02:01 MST.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
keep posting on 01/31/2014 14:08:20 MST Print View


I'm enjoying these posts/tips and the videos. Keep it up.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/02/2014 06:26:26 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/24/2015 12:05:17 MDT.