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Your first "UL" piece of gear?
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Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/09/2014 13:10:17 MST Print View

The first commercial item that was branded as such, was in Sept 82:
a Alpenlite pack, their "Superlight" model made out of their "Weatherlite" fabric and featuring their "Technolite" internal frame (They REALLY wanted to emphasize that it was "lite", LOL) The pack capacity was 2600 cu. in., weighted 24 oz. and cost $73 bucks (a princely sum back then). I still have it.

The motivation for coughing up the money for that purchase, was a result of my first homemade UL pack which I made & used just the month before. It was Fred Williams inspiration (from the July 82 Backpacker magazine) I made it for a late August Sierra trip which my buddies and I were competing on who would be carrying the lightest weight. The pack was approx 2200 cu. in., and weighted 20 oz. It lasted the whole week of the trip ... barely ... with a little duct tape help. My lack of sewing workmanship and my lack of knowledge on how to baby it, greatly contributed to its wear.

My standard pack before all that, was a frameless Jensen, which I shaved down (ala Doug Robinson) to 2 lbs. That pack was made from bomber cordura, no real babying required.
But alas, the allure of counting ounces had settled in, and I went on to lighter options.

Timothy Crippen

Locale: Colorado
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/09/2014 13:34:35 MST Print View

An EE quilt. Before that I was using an eleven pound synthetic bag I bought from Sportsmans Warehouse....
I have come a long way in the last year with my gear thanks to this site.

William Lotman
(wl1193) - F

Locale: East Bay
Re on 02/09/2014 13:38:54 MST Print View

Went from a USMC ILBE pack to a Golite Jam 50. Bought it used from a member here.

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/09/2014 13:39:49 MST Print View

First two specifically to lighten my load doing a two night half dome hike. Coming from a Coleman stove and pots from my kitchen!sp

Edited by Aggro on 02/09/2014 13:40:30 MST.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
gear evolution on 02/09/2014 16:55:11 MST Print View

Here's my own personal gear evolution (at least for three season backpacking):

May be of interest/amusement

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/09/2014 18:01:43 MST Print View

Tony, I had that Alpenlite pack until this year when I gifted it through BPL to a Boy Scout leader to forward to a Scout.

It wasn't cuben, and it was just sold as a tarp, but an Outdoor Products urethane-coated nylon tarp, 8 feet x 10 feet was the first, big UL-style departure I made from standard BPing in the early 1980's. Sleeping two or three people under that was a whole lot less weight than a 3-pole Jansport Yellowstone dome tent.

At the same time, I also went stoveless on various 7 to 10-day trips. That was a huge weight and cost savings.

And I'd go without a sleeping bag by being a little generous on my clothing and wearing it all at night. That worked well at 40F, okay at 35F, but at 30F, I didn't sleep very well. I did have a thermarest along (as I'd quip, "It may be stupid to go so light but I'm not so crazy as to not bring a inflatable pad.")

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/09/2014 18:30:25 MST Print View

Right after I moved west in 2001, and actually had good places to backpack again, an early Shires tarp tent (Henry actually delivered it to me by hand and showed be how to pitch it in front of the Moffet field commissary - back when I worked at NASA there). Also at the same time a Golite Breeze pack (12 oz). Still in my personal "museum" as it has too much sentimental value to match the tiny price it would get on gear swap.

Thought I was pretty rad with that combo!

Edited by millonas on 02/09/2014 18:32:27 MST.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Go Lite Speed Pack on 02/09/2014 21:22:05 MST Print View

I'm in the group that went pack first. I got a Go-Lite Speed Pack. Originally I used it as a day pack. Later, as I lightened up and got gear that packed more compactly, it became my regular backpack. But it doesn't fit me well (turns out I have a long torso, and it's a medium) and it's difficult to carry a bear can with it, so the Speed Pack sits in the closet now and I use a Granite Gear Vapor Trail now. It's got room for the can inside it, and it's insanely comfortable compared to the GoLite, but the GoLite still holds a special place in my heart. Eventually I'll PIF it to someone it fits better than it fit me.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
granite gear Nimbus O-Zone on 02/10/2014 01:13:33 MST Print View

My first ultralight piece of gear was a granite gear nimbus O-zone to replace my gregory (shasta?) to save about 3lbs in 2001. I did it a little backwards, since I still had a heaviesh base weigh at the time, but the nimbus held all my gear, carried comfortably and held up surprisingly well. At the time I was doing things like just using the fly on my tent or leaving it behind, when I knew I'd encounter a shelter on the AT. I'm really happy with all these cottage options, but to this day, I still think granite gear makes some of the best packs. Its funny to think that I'm considering buying a 20oz tent that basically has as good function as my 5lb tent from back then. What stagnation? I guess it depends on your perspective.

Stephen Meyer
(Sliderule) - M

Locale: Northeast Ohio
Re: Your first "UL" piece of gear? on 02/15/2014 20:43:41 MST Print View

I dropped about 3 pounds with the Granite Gear Crown V.C. (long; 36 oz) from the Gregory backpack I had been using. Other than the backpack weight itself, I love the Gregory. I needed to significantly downsize, though, for my body's sake.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: First UL on 02/16/2014 05:34:35 MST Print View

Like Dan my first piece of ultralight gear was a 2 pound 7 ounce GoLite Litespeed pack.


I bought it in March of 2009 to replace my old traditional Jansport Carson 80 framed pack that tipped the scale at an advertised 4 pounds 13 ounces.

That change alone reduced my pack weight by 2 pounds 6 ounces. ;-)

I modified the Litespeed to further reduce its weight by making circular cutouts in the frame sheet, removing unnecessary plastic hardware and trimming the length of the webbing straps. I also removed the ice axe loops. There isn't a whole lot of ice in Southeastern Louisiana. ;-)

FWIW I found the BPL website in 2010 and very soon after the world of MYOG. My gear weight has fallen dramatically since then.

Party On,


Al Brassell
(Jambeaux) - M

Locale: Southeastern US
Replaced tent on 02/16/2014 15:14:30 MST Print View

My early seventies Eureka Timberline got damaged and I replaced it with a BA Lynnx Pass 2 and weight was not a consideration as the 2 tents were roughly the same size and up to this time I just assumed everything weighed about the same. I had however aged about 40 years since the purchase of the Eureka Timberline and I had begun to hear about UL hiking I soon purchased my first piece of intentional lightweight gear, a Tarptent Rainshadow 2. It weighed less than half of what the BA Lynnx Pass 2 did.