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Spreading the "Good News"...
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Spreading the "Good News"... on 08/20/2007 21:37:21 MDT Print View

I'm sure I'm not the only one who tries to talk to everyone about the advantages of UL (even to those who aren't backpackers). I want to help them "see the light". I was a missionary for two years in Sweden and Oregon, and it's funny how many similarities there are:

1) I've walked through pouring rain, blizzard snow, blazing heat

2) People thought and do think I'm crazy for doing it

3) Sometimes I thought I was crazy

4) Most people could care less what you have to say

5) I am stronger after having done it

I guess UL is like spreading the gospel!

(This has nothing to do with anything - just thought it was funny)

Edited by splproductions on 08/20/2007 21:39:08 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Fellow Evangelist on 08/20/2007 23:45:27 MDT Print View

I am a lightweight hiker as well -- but my real passion is traveling. I try to spread the gospel of traveling light whenever opportunities arise. I share your frustration -- and your joy!

If you feel bewildered seeing folks hike in 95L packs -- imagine travelers doing the same -- packing everything plus the kitchen sink, and then lumbering about like pack mules in Asian or European cities -- with stores all around them!

Edited by ben2world on 08/21/2007 00:04:58 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
yep on 08/23/2007 11:00:37 MDT Print View

The bigger the mule, the bigger the load.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Mule and Pack Size on 08/23/2007 11:55:42 MDT Print View

Actually, I've seen rather petite mules hauling huge packs! They didn't look happy.

Once in Venice, a man struggled with 8 hard-sided suitcases -- trying to load them onto the "water bus" -- not that easy given that both station and boat were bobbing up and down. A women (presumably his wife) just stood there all the time with both hands on her hips -- obviously pouting and unwilling to help -- never mind that 7 of the 8 suitcases were probably hers!

Watching this, I was thrilled to be single still!

David Erekson
(finallyME) - F

Locale: Utah desert
Spreading the "Good News"... on 04/29/2008 15:39:19 MDT Print View

I am with you Ryan. I did what you did, only in Poland. When I talk to people (mostly family) about lightweight BPing, they look at me like I have a hole in my head, kind of like when I was on the streets of Poland. :D

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Spreading the "Good News"... on 04/29/2008 16:13:37 MDT Print View

Yup. I have two friends (married) and have tried for years to get them to lighten up. The 'husband' is very fit and can happily carry heavy loads, but his 'wife' (17 years older than him) struggles these days with her load. Every time I try to convince them, for instance, that they don't HAVE to carry stainless steel pots and a hurricane-proof tent, I get the reply "but my husband doesn't mind carrying it". And I'm like, "yeah, but if he wasn't carrying all that stuff, he could carry some of your load instead, thus making your trip more enjoyable". They just don't get it...but I'm not really into preaching, so I just shrug my shoulders and watch in dismay at the 4 kilo tent, 2 kilo sleeping bags, set of two MSR stainless steel pots, heat exchanger, MSR-XGK stove and always full to the brim fuel bottle, full length Thermarest 1.5 inch mats, 2 spare changes of just about everything, 1 kilo rain coats, 3 kilo packs...and the list goes on.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Spreading the "Good News"... on 04/29/2008 17:59:38 MDT Print View

I remember a few years ago hiking in the Yatsugatake range west of Tokyo and coming upon a professional photographer carrying a load that was so big and heavy that he had to use a "sitting stick" at rest stops in order to "let down" his burden. He told me the load was to heavy for him to sit down on a log or for him to take off and put on the pack! When I saw him trudging up the very steep path I truly felt sorry for the anguish he must have been going through. Most of his gear was photo equipment.

I, too, am very serious about photography, but feel that the shots you take are mostly determined by your imagination and patience. (Henri Cartier-Bressan is a good example of what wonders you can do with a simple rangefinder camera) I therefore only carry (now) an SLR with a single 18-200 mm zoom lens. After the walk the photographer I met and we compared shots. We were amazed by how similar most of them were, with little lost in opportunity, except for the occasional telephoto shot of distant birds. We determined that while walking you just don't have the chances to take careful wildlife shots that you would if you sat and waited.

My pack must have been about one fifth the weight of his pack (I've since gotten much lighter) and I almost danced past him on the trail. I never said a word (it would have been cruel while he was laboring under his weight!) but after the trip we talked through email and he asked about how I managed to travel so light. Naturally I was glad to tell him all about UL!

Ben, it would be great to see a comparison of your lightweight travel and backpacking gear lists. I love travel, too, and found last summer in Europe that my backpacking list was not always compatible with the needs of my travel list. Sometimes clothes were inappropriate (I had to buy a new set of pants and sent my hiking tights home), sometimes the tiny little knife for backpacking was completely inadequate for cutting bread and cheese, sometimes the entire backpacking package was too bulky and cumbersome. I'd love to see what you consider important for each activity. PM sent...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Traveling Gear on 04/30/2008 00:20:08 MDT Print View


Once each year, I pick several contiguous countries and "backpack" for a month. I use the word in its European sense, meaning simply independent traveling, using public transportation, and staying at hotels/hostels. Nothing wild. I just came back from a trip to the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan and Israel) last month, and my total pack weight outbound was 7.5 lbs. (3.4kg):

1 backpack
2 sets of clothing (poly tee, nylon pants, synthetic briefs and socks) -- one on my person, one in my pack. Mixing and matching means four different outfits.
1 MontBell Down UL insulation layer
1 Golite Helios wind jacket
1 pair of Ecco Cross shoes (great for long hours of walks on urban streets and well-maintained trails), also good for evening wear
1 pair of Old Navy flip flops for hotel, shower, and beach wear
1 umbrella
1 hat
1 small toiletry kit
1 small first aid/misc kit (don't forget earplugs!)
1 pen and small writing pad
1 small LED flashlight using AAA battery
1 small binocular

You are going to 'hate' this, but I never carry a camera on my travels! Instead, I pick up picture guidebooks locally. They have great pictures plus write up's. Often, I spend the evening in my hotel reading about what I saw during the day, plus learning about what I plan to see the following day. The only image missing is 'me' -- but I know what I look like. :)

Coming back, my backpack weighed 15lbs. -- still easy to carry without need of hip belt. My pack was never close to full. Hope this helps.

Edited by ben2world on 04/30/2008 00:41:26 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hiking AND Traveling Gear on 04/30/2008 00:35:56 MDT Print View


I have traveled and hiked concurrently within the US. When I do this, my traveling gear is simply a subset of my hiking gear -- with the exception of maybe carrying an umbrella, a small packable day pack, and guidebook(s) -- like Frommers or Lonely Planet.

I select hiking clothing and shoes that are neutral in color and simple in styling. I avoid anything with an exaggerated 'outdoorsy' look.

I have hiked up to a week and managed to pack everything inside a carry on size backpack (my beloved Mountainsmith Ghost). I also check one "cardboard tube" -- which contains my trekking poles and multi-tool.

I think that's pretty much it. Adding traveling to hiking increases the weight of my hiking pack by maybe 2 pounds.

Oh... if you want a knife to spread butter, simply snag a plastic one at any local McD (or equivalent). :)

Edited by ben2world on 04/30/2008 00:44:01 MDT.