Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » Does this mean I'm ultralight?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Wesley Larson
(wes) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Does this mean I'm ultralight? on 03/09/2014 14:26:53 MDT Print View

I went through the new Backpacker's magazine gear guide, and I don't think there was a single item I wanted, due to the awareness of lighter, and often cheaper gear options.

Does that qualify me for my UL card?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
No on 03/09/2014 14:36:20 MDT Print View

Now go to REI and see if there is anything other than a Neoair and maybe some clothing that you drool over. If no then you get your badge.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
REI on 03/09/2014 14:55:36 MDT Print View

The only things I buy at REI are iodine tablets, esbit, and socks. Some of the clothes are nice but overpriced.
If I started working at REI i would feel absolutely guilty selling people 70 liter packs and high top boots.

Edited by justin_baker on 03/09/2014 14:56:08 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: REI on 03/09/2014 15:13:25 MDT Print View

"If I started working at REI i would feel absolutely guilty selling people 70 liter packs and high top boots."

What if you were a Millenial, halfway to your degree in liberal arts or art history, and you couldn't find any other job?

--B.G.--

Mitchell Ebbott
(mebbott) - F - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: REI on 03/09/2014 15:37:03 MDT Print View

Unfortunately my liberal arts education was in philosophy in undergrad and theology in graduate school. I've taken too many ethics classes to swindle people into a 7 lb palace.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: REI on 03/09/2014 15:42:56 MDT Print View

"I've taken too many ethics classes to swindle people into a 7 lb palace."

Apparently, it doesn't take much.

--B.G.--

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: REI on 03/09/2014 16:26:09 MDT Print View

"If I started working at REI i would feel absolutely guilty selling people 70 liter packs and high top boots."

I'm thinking REI could really use people like you who know more about lighter options.

They do have some reasonably light gear and it would be helpful if their salespeople had more knowledge of the UL world. I've seen light footwear, a couple decent pack options, light pads, stuff sacks, hydration items, etc. there.

If their sales staff helped sell more of that kind of inventory, their buyers would notice.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
REI shoes? on 03/09/2014 16:43:20 MDT Print View

So where else is there to go, to try on shoes? We have Midwest Mountaineering here, but haven't been there in years since I hate the "city". Is there some other store chain I'm unschooled in? There is no way I could ever buy shoes without trying them on.

And I'm referring to lightweight trailrunners, I'm still new to this UL stuff, and last year was a pair of 15oz/pair wally world junkers, just to try out the changeover. I'm good with lo-tops, so now ready to plunk down some money on something more substantial. With 3 feet of snow still on the ground, we're a little out of season still, so I haven't begun my search quite yet.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: REI on 03/09/2014 16:59:45 MDT Print View

"If their sales staff helped sell more of that kind of inventory, their buyers would notice."

That is a chicken-and-egg problem. The sales staff isn't going to sell it because the buyers have not bought it for inventory. This stuff isn't in inventory because management thinks (perhaps rightly) that it won't last long, so they don't want to get into an REI satisfaction warranty claim with the customer.

About the only way that REI could do this would be if they had a modified warranty on a special category of ultralightweight gear, like a limited time.

A few of the serious members of the sales staff already know about lightweight gear, but that isn't something that they would have purchased at REI.

At one of my local REI stores, they have an outside instructor do classes on ultralightweight gear and techniques. However, that instructor is only trying to drum up business for his own instructor/guide services.

--B.G.--

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: Re: REI on 03/09/2014 17:06:53 MDT Print View

They have some UL items, such as the Flash 45 pack and UL canister stoves.
But most of the items are heavy weight and lifestyle items, anytime I go to Rei my wife
Purchase more than I do :-)

It would be great if they where more like MEC.

Edited by stephenm on 03/09/2014 17:07:37 MDT.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: MEC on 03/09/2014 19:39:37 MDT Print View

"It would be great if they where more like MEC."

Most longtime MEC members I know refardless of whether or not they are UL-ighters think MEC sold out about a decade ago. They are chasing after the yoga mat buying hipsters the same way REI. They just fell from higher up in my book. With the demise of Serratus MEC has produced very few UL winners IMO. They also don't carry anymore UL gear than REI.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Does this mean I'm ultralight? on 03/09/2014 19:43:24 MDT Print View

This is one of the few areas of endeavor where a comment can be made about somebody, and it means something good: "You're just a lightweight."

--B.G.--

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
yep on 03/09/2014 20:12:52 MDT Print View

"Now go to REI and see if there is anything other than a Neoair and maybe some clothing that you drool over. If no then you get your badge."



++

Yep, when there is absolutely nothing at REI you are interested in, except maybe a neoair pad or the lightest wm sleeping bag, youve passed.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: yep on 03/09/2014 20:24:37 MDT Print View

"Yep, when there is absolutely nothing at REI you are interested in, except maybe a neoair pad or the lightest wm sleeping bag, youve passed."

REI sells wm sleeping bags?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: REI -- Really? on 03/09/2014 22:48:04 MDT Print View

The pundits here on BPL say UL is a base weight of under 10lbs. I can easily put together an UL kit at REI, with many, many permutations.

Those Flash packs don't look inferior to some of the cottage packs I have seen.

I can buy a 22 ounce EN rated 28F sleeping bag.

Several 1P tents for a little over 2 lbs, or a 16 ounce 10' X 8' tarp.

Titanium stakes, Ground Hog stacks, even SMC snow stakes.

Thin guyline and line locks.

Light headlamps.

All sorts of trekking poles to include carbon fiber.

Platy water bottles.

Snow Peak GigaPower or LiteMax stoves. Remote canister stoves. Esbit and alcohol stoves.

White gas, alcohol fuel, Esbit fuel and canisters.

Titanium pots to include MSR Titan Kettle and most Snow Peak offerings.

Titanium, plastic, Lexan, and other light utensils.

Light knives such as the Little Vickie or SAK Classic.

Base plate compasses. And if you must -- most Garmin models and even a SPOT.

All sorts of merino from socks, base layers and caps.

Patagonia Capilene 1-4.

Patagonia Baggies.

Nano Puff.

Many brands of light down clothing.

Minimalist shoes. The long popular Salamon 3D Comp.

All kinds of wind shirts.

Rain gear from the old standby Precip to many proprietary WPB to include GoreTex and eVent.

I could go on and on.

I could hitchhike to San Diego tomorrow, try everything in the store, purchase everything I need, to include freeze-dried or dehydrated food; hitchhike to Campo and do the PCT with a BPL-defined UL kit.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: Re: REI -- Really? on 03/10/2014 00:25:05 MDT Print View

^ thats all there is to it ... and same to MEC

theres always MEC whiners ... not to say they dont have issues, but they have plenty of gear you can make a "UL" kit with

its not like the local stores in canada are any better ... ive been to most of them around the vancouver/squamish/canmore area ...

people will always hate big stores ...

;)

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Does this mean I'm ultralight? on 03/10/2014 07:28:21 MDT Print View

No. Light, UL, SUL, XUL has nothing to do with where you get gear. While it is true that REI or EMS or similar places carry some light weight gear, the majority of available options at those places make UL fairly incidental.

Example: A true specialty store would have a variety of stoves weighing less than 4oz running on a variety of fuels. REI for example does not carry a penny stove, or, a white box stove or a gram cracker stove. They do not carry a Caldera Cone. They do not carry a 10-12 stove. Nor can you buy alchohol fuel from them. The would much rather you spend ~$5 a pop for a canister for a weekend outing, knowing no one is ever in danger if the stove breaks. Clothing is what they really like to sell you. Why is that? It likely has a lot to do with a large profit margin and they can reinforce "style" changes. The bears don't care about style. An old down jacket works about as well as it did 10 years ago. Not what they want to hear. They would rather sell you a new jacket every other year.

UL backpacker to a regular backpacker is a lot like a fly fisherman to a regular fisherman. The stress is on skill and knowledge. Not on gear. A 3oz packet of feathers and a few sizes of hooks lets you tie most flies as you go. Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on lures? A 5 cent hook and 10 cents worth of thread and feathers will do as well as an 8 dollar lure in most cases. The skill is in knowing what to tie and how to tie it. The skill is knowing how to cast and present a fly or nymph or streamer to the fish.

Does this mean gear is unimportant? No. I UL backpacker still likes his gear. He usually has some good stuff, because he has fewer items. He will spend $400-500 on a good bag because he likes the weight. NOT because he likes the warmth. There are a LOT of bags that are warm at 20F, and a lot that are less dollars. He can often offset part of the price with a less expensive gear elswhere. A typical UL pack (say a Gossamer Gear Gorilla) goes for about $200. A typical Deuter backpack will cost ~300.
A full tent will cost around $300(or more,) a simple UL tarp costs less than $75. A simple soda can stove costs 10 cents, a Caffin canister stove costs over $150. The point is, with the skill set to go ultra light, gear essentals become easily identified and allows you to get better gear and be MORE comfortable in the woods than a regular backpacker. But, the UL gear will typically require some skill with it's use.

Once these skils are developed, it is hard to imagine a 20pound base weight being comfortable. You go to REI and find nothing that will improve on sub 10 pound. And, you start looking at technique, skills, and methodology. I never consider myself as a UL backpacker. I tried for many years to hit that goal. About 9-10 years ago I decided to weigh stuff, again. WOW. I was at 9 pounds! I have lightened up more since, but I never bother checking, it varies for every trip out (depends on conditions, and activity.) It is a nice number, but I know it is not really UL. There is stuff in my pack I use once or twice per trip, usually one or two weeks. I carry spares(batteries, line, tape, etc.) I don't bother stripping this stuff out for a weekend. No, I am not a UL backpacker. Like I say, it doesn't seem important, because every trip out (at least every 3 season trip out) is UL by the numbers. But, I know they are not. I fail to follow the UL philosophy.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Does this mean I'm ultralight? on 03/10/2014 07:50:37 MDT Print View

Getting more sophisticated maybe.

I'm not one to lean to conspiracy theories, but Backpacker magazine caters to the advertisers I'm afraid. It is a big Recreational Industrial Complex, just like the other specialty magazines on photography, motorcycles, fishing, etc. You get 20 pages of editorial content and 100 pages of advertisements.

Sometimes it is so blatant that a review is on one page with a full page ad facing. It's been that way for a long time and those ads support the whole publishing industry, so it's not going to change.

I still read them and bask in my smugness :)

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
wow on 03/16/2014 11:58:57 MDT Print View

This is one of the most pretentious threads I've read on this forum. While I do support the cottage manufacturers, there is plenty of good gear available at REI including clothing, footwear, etc.

I guess it's cool to hate on REI lately on here given the threads dedicated to trashing their business decision to reduce the unlimited guarantee to one year. This still gives them one of the better and more flexible return policies that trumps any independent, trendy retailer that I've shopped.

Sean Heenan
(roadster1) - M

Locale: Southeast mountains
wow on 03/16/2014 12:18:49 MDT Print View

+1 to Nick and Peter.