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Your first "UL" piece of gear?
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Lance Stalnaker
Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:09:58 MST Print View

Just curious, what was the first thing you bought intentionally to lighten your load?

Me? I bought a Jansport Bivouac 52 backpack in 2005, at 2 1/2#s, I thought I was really getting light. It was a nice pack that served me well and started me on the right track. I never could figure why they discontinued it so fast, it was a nice little pack.

Edited by Katangi on 02/08/2014 17:10:32 MST.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:22:54 MST Print View

I might be forgetting something, but I think it was the Tarptent original Cloudburst in (probably) 2004, at 32 oz. We still have it, though it isn't the go-to tent for most of our trips any more.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:29:15 MST Print View

First three major pieces went something like this:

1) Marmot Pinnacle…not the lightest, but a wonderful, comfy WARM bag…very true to it's rating…still use it today anytime below freezing.

2) TT Notch…For me, a shelter under 2#'s was a revelation…still love it, still use it.

3) Custom Zimmerbuilt…31oz. for a FULL featured pack, built just for me…I use it for pretty much any 3 day+ hike. (I did since purchase a Z Packs Blast (customized with most options + lower back mesh) for summer and shorter trips, and that is simply ridiculous at 15oz.!)

Now I'm looking at a lighter "summer" bag (or quilt) and would love a lighter shelter…but…the bugs here (and there) bother me.

-Mark in St. Louis

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:31:53 MST Print View

My circa 1984ish Coleman Peak One stove erupted into a ball of flames in the Cascades.

When I started googling through the universe to find a replacement stove, I stumbled upon Zen Stoves and made my first penny alcohol stove. Found some commentary along the way mentioning UL backpacking, more googling, found BPL and here I am in all my glory.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:36:46 MST Print View

Man, that sure is a lot of glory.


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

I remember it fondly, and still have it! on 02/08/2014 17:40:44 MST Print View

A Sea to Summit eVent bottomed compression sack.

This is my first piece of UL gear for two reasons. Firstly, it's the first piece I bought after joining the forum and reading about the idea of going light. Second, it was the backbone of my 8lb baseweight UL bicycle tour across 1,500 miles of the Northeast.

Go figure! A stuff sack!

Lance Stalnaker
Re: Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:47:26 MST Print View

I find the process of what we do fascinating. Where it stated and where it has led.

I started using a hammock due to a severe lower back injury 7 years ago, but the process went something like this, Thermarest self inflating pad-->Big agnes IAC--> BA IAC XL--> Hennessy hammock-->WB Blackbird-->too many other hammocks to get into! Same progression of tarps leading to Cuben Fiber....of course I could show this sort of progression with all my gear as I am sure all on here could.

The Bivouac was the first time I decided I wanted to get lighter...the start of it all

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:52:11 MST Print View

"Just curious, what was the first thing you bought intentionally to lighten your load?"

A divorce.

After that, I believe it was a Tarptent Contrail.

Lance Stalnaker
Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 17:59:47 MST Print View

LOL, this I can relate to...and it was 2003, so a little before the backpack

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Sewing machine on 02/08/2014 18:38:04 MST Print View

One of the first things I bought intentionally to lighten my load was a Sewing machine to make packs, quilts and tarps and to modify light gear into U.L. gear.

Edited by KalebC on 02/09/2014 12:28:31 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 19:15:43 MST Print View

A Snow Peak Giga Power stove and a 450ml titanium mug. Dec. 1999 A16 in San Diego.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Maybe not the first, but the biggest on 02/08/2014 19:17:41 MST Print View

I found BPL quite by accident years ago. I must have been searching for lightweight backpacks because I stumbled onto a thread about how the modify a 2008 era Golite Jam down under a pound. I bought the Jam and before even using it, cut it up per the thread. It was the start of a gear light-weighting obsession that ended the day I set out on the PCT in 2011. Luckily I'm in recovery from the lightweight sickness, my pack weight has actual gone up a couple of ounces. but now it is MYOG which I find the pinnacle of gear geekdom. I still have that Jam, its a bit ragged with a couple thousand hard miles on her. But it was what I would consider the true beginning.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

First UL on 02/08/2014 19:30:29 MST Print View

My first was a GoLite LiteSpeed pack that I bought in 2008. At about 2.5lbs it was a big change from the 7.5lbs North Face Catalyst 75 that I was using. A buddy and I tried to go really light to complete a 50 mile loop in a mere 5 days, which seemed crazy at the time. We left the tent behind and just took the fly in case it rained. We thought we were pretty awesome until we got passed 1/2 way through by two guys who were completing the full thing in a day.

Golite Litespeed

Edited by dandydan on 02/08/2014 19:31:53 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 19:30:44 MST Print View

In 1971 I retired my 5.5 lb REI a-frame tent with a poncho/tarp.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 21:02:57 MST Print View

I bought a Golite Breeze in 1998 when they came out , I also tried to buy an umbrella from them but the date for their availability kept changing because of manufacturing problems(I still have the pack).

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 21:41:22 MST Print View

@Ken: Was that the A16 upstairs at Horton Plaza? I bought a tiny A16 backpack there that got me from San Diego to Houston hitchhiking in '98. Great little shop, I think they turned it into a Barbie store.

My first real UL gear would have to be my Exped air mattress. I let my ex-wife take all the car-camping gear, so I started my UL collection from scratch about the same time I joined BPL about 1.5 years ago. Before that I would just car camp and then dayhike out from basecamp with food, water and 3 or 4 of the 10 essentials.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Feathered Friends on 02/08/2014 21:45:59 MST Print View

Feathered Friends Hummingbird.

My first backpackng sleeping bag was an old Campmor Hollofill II sleeping bag. Egads..that thing was a monster. But it got me out there. :)

In 1997, I bought the Hummingbird in preparation for a thru-hike on the Long Trail. Figure may as well get the best bag I could. :)

Of course, I did hike with an EMS 5500 ci pack, an MSR whisperlite and EMS Cresta hiker leather boots. :)

The one thing I did lightweight from the start was use a foam pad. A z-rest (now z-lite). Never did like inflatable pads..still don't.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 21:47:26 MST Print View

Western Mountaineering sleeping bag for the Boy Scouts. Saved all my lawnmowing money for two years in 1982/83 to get that thing. I was the warmest scout at Brownsea leadership camp that year with the lightest sleeping bag! Big pimpin' at the time.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/08/2014 22:02:29 MST Print View

When the famous 1982 Backpacker Magazine article hit the news stands, I was there. I got one of the first Alpenlite backpacks that weighed in around one pound.


James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Trekking Poles on 02/08/2014 22:05:02 MST Print View

I think the first thing that I would consider truly UL would be the titanium Goat trekking poles. I love those poles.