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ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Transitional Hiker - An Australian Story
by Mark McLauchlin
How books about or by famous UL walkers, a sewing machine, and the most devoted UL community on the planet got me back on the trail and going light. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
MYOG Technical Note - Catenary Curves
by Roger Caffin
The whys and wheres of catenary curves, with downloadable spreadsheet for calculating your own MYOG curve masterpieces. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Montana Mourning: Reflections on a Wilderness Trekking Trip
by Thomas Kight
I got less - and more - than I bargained for. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
All the Gear a Guy Could Want
by Ryan Jordan
I like gear. I collect gear with an almost rabid enthusiasm, and I almost always have a place to put it. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only 24: Fall Equinox in the Hyalite Cirque of Montana's Gallatin Mountains
by Ryan Jordan
You have 24 hours to quickly engage in a Wild Place with minimal disruption to your job or your family. Where will YOU go? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
One Night At A Time
by Mike Clelland!
Quit making it so hard: jeepers, just cram a few things in your pack and let's go! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Get Out Now!
by Matt Colon
Six steps to streamline your planning from dreaming up a trip to walking out the door. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear - A Titanium Potty Trowel
by Roger Caffin
The venerable Coghlans orange potty trowel is a fine idea, but it weighs 51 grams and has been known to crack and break under heavy use. Can we do better with some titanium sheet? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Wilderness Cred for the Packrafting Noobs
by Addie Bedford, video by Rob Bedford
I was perfectly content to let others do all the lightweight lifting, but at the first chance of a packrafting class (learning to play without buying the gear!), I jumped... and pulled my husband, Rob, with me. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Turbo Bear Bag Hanging
by Kevin Sawchuk
Learn the tips and techniques to ensure that YOU, not bears, are eating your food at the end of the day. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Ultralight Economies of Scale: Budgeting for Your Pack & Wallet
by Brad Groves
How can lightweight backpacking translate and relate to financial management? Doesn't all that lightweight loot cost money? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Backcountry Fly Fishing with Tenkara: Ultralight Style and Simplicity
by Ryan Jordan
The literal translation of the Japanese word 'Tenkara' is 'from Heaven.' Fitting for a lightweight fly rod characterized by elegance, grace, and simplicity. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Up in Smoke: Backcountry Fire Building Videocast
by Sam Haraldson
Building a fire is nothing short of an art form, and no one can teach you everything you'd need to know to perfect it in a ten-minute video. Instead of attempting to do this (perfecting your form), we've simply highlighted some of the gear and techniques used to start a fire. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear - A Thumbscrew for the Steripen Adventurer
by Roger Caffin
The Steripen Adventurer has many firm believers, but almost everyone agrees that the screw which holds the lid of the battery case shut is awful. So... replace it with something better, cooler, and made by hand! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Trouble in Paradise: Altitude Illness in SEKI
by Kevin Sawchuk
Serious illness in remote areas can end poorly. Knowing your group's fitness level, experience, and lightweight ethic are key parts to a successful self-rescue and a happy ending. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Philmont Scout Ranch: How Light Can You Go?
by Doug Prosser
After taking a Wilderness Trekking course from Andrew Skurka and Don Wilson, I wanted to try the Philmont Scout Ranch in a UL style. By stepping out of my existing comfort zone, I discovered a whole new one. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Selling Lightweight: How Retailers Can Help Your Pack Weight
by Brad Groves
The interactions between retailer and consumer can have a dramatic influence on the gear carried and experience had by a consumer. We examine the tools both retailers and consumers can use in evaluating gear and determining the best lightweight options for individuals. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag
by Roger Caffin
Making a baffled down quilt is simple compared to making a baffled down sleeping bag. Both are described in this article, with the emphasis on the quilt. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Therapeutic Ultralight: Using Lightweight Backpacking to Help Troubled Boys
by Luke Schmidt
Getting emotionally disturbed boys working together to take a backpacking trip is a big job... with many setbacks, limited gear, and almost no budget. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker's Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 3 of 3)
by Andrew Mattox
We've covered several skills of assessing and avoiding fire. Whether passing through, sheltering in, or simply going near a fire area, there are particular hazards beyond immolation to be aware of. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker's Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 2 of 3)
by Andrew Mattox
We can now distinguish parts of a fire, know some basics of wildfire behavior, and are familiar with the fundamental suppression method. We come to the crux question: how do you get away? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker's Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 1 of 3)
by Andrew Mattox
As light hikers, we cover large distances and travel more deeply into remote areas than many other wilderness users. As a result, we're more likely than most wilderness users to encounter uncontrolled and unreported fires. How do you assess the fire and anticipate its movement? What do you do? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The Performance of Alcohol Fuels for Backpacking Stoves
Part Two: Water/Alcohol Blends

by Tony Beasley and Roger Caffin
The performance of a particular alcohol stove fuel is generally related to the amount of heating energy in that fuel, which changes when you blend water into different alcohols. But how does it change, and which blend should you use? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
MYOG: Bubble Wrap and Duct Tape Camera Case
by Sam Haraldson
A durable camera case made from cheap and free materials. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
MYOG: The Incredible Rulk - Rucksack and Pulk Combo
by J├Ârgen Johansson
It would be so nice to have a light pulk strapped onto my pack so that I more or less would be able instantly to switch back and forth between pack and pulk. Witness the creation of the Incredible Rulk! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The Performance of Alcohol Fuels for Backpacking Stoves
Part One: Three Straight Alcohols and Alcohol Blends

by Tony Beasley and Roger Caffin
Light alcohol stoves are very popular, but there is a lot of confusion over what sort of alcohol should be used and whether blending different alcohols together has any effect. In this, Part One, we comprehensively examine the performance and safety of three common alcohol fuels and of a range of blends. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day
by C. W. Schurman
You have been invited on a summer backpacking trip that will cover 30 miles in one day, including 2,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, and your anticipated pack weight will be 15-20 pounds. You have 15 weeks to prepare. What is the best way to get your body and mind ready for such an outing? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
My UL Frenzy: Twenty-Five Weekends of Backpacking in the White Mountains and Beyond
by James Bailey
2008: A Year of Change. Follow Jim Bailey on his rabid quest to hike every possible weekend between March and November, despite living in New England with its record-breaking weather. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Tools and Techniques to Sew Like a Pro
by Ron Rod
While practice is the real key to improving the quality of your homemade gear, there are some tools and techniques that can help you along the way. Knowing which tools to have and how to best use them will maximize the quality of the gear you build. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Video: Packraft Wet Reentry
by Carol Crooker
Wet reentry is one of the most common rescues you'll perform while packrafting. Be sure to work the kinks out of your technique ahead of time so this self-rescue tool will be honed when you need it. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo
by Matt Hage (photos) and Roman Dial (text)
Foot entrapment among submerged rocks is the leading killer of whitewater boaters. Think about it: the most common way to die while boating is by doing something OUTSIDE your boat! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Light Fleece Pullover Top
by Roger Caffin
This light fleece top is designed as a light winter pullover for snow conditions. It is very simple and styled as an anorak, rather than opening right down the front. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 3
by Carol Crooker
Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Essential Canister Stove Maintenance
by Roger Caffin
There you are, way out in the wilderness in bad weather, getting ready for dinner, and your canister stove fails. Now what? Rescue in the field is possible for many problems: learn rescue how-to and the technical details of why it has happened. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 2
by Carol Crooker
Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 1
by Carol Crooker
Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Grand Canyon Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim
by Andrew Skurka
While perhaps a touch extreme, running Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (RRR) is not uncommon within trail running circles. But within hiking circles, this trek does not seem to garner much attention, when there are few trips, mile-for-mile, hour-for-hour, that compare. In one day, you pass through 1.6 billion years of geology (four times) and span the grandest Big Ditch in the world (twice). Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Testimony: How I Fell for Lightweight Backpacking
by Elizabeth Rothman
Fate stepped in and pushed me down some steps in November 2006, breaking my fibula at the ankle, requiring surgical repair. I asked my surgeon if I could backpack the following summer, and he said "If you can get your pack down to thirty pounds, you can backpack." My lightweight journey was launched in earnest. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Pitching a Tent in the Snow
by Roger Caffin
Want to try tenting in the snow, but haven't done it before and not sure how? Haven't time in the evening to build a snow cave or an igloo just for one night? We walk you through the basics of what gear you need, how to choose a good site, how to create a platform, and how to pitch your tent (or a tarptent if you are brave). Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters
by Ryan Jordan
Foremost among the challenges that spring hikers face is the presence of melting snow and the prospect of continuously wet feet. Ryan Jordan presents his two favorite footwear systems for cold or warm spring conditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Vapor Barrier Liners
by Andrew Skurka
Backpacking Light's Andrew Skurka on Vapor Barrier Liners: What they are, how they work, and when to use them. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Lightweight Testimony: Mother Nature Insisted I Go Light
by Carol Crooker
Carol Crooker's essay on enlightenment shows that Mother Nature can be a pushy broad, but she gets the job done. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Podcasts
Video: Have Fun and Avoid Drowning - A How-To for Packrafters
by Carol Crooker
Highlights from the April 2008 Rescue 3 International Whitewater Rescue Technician course for packrafters held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Lightweight Testimony: My Journey into Lightweight Backpacking
by Jamie Shortt
The true story of how Jamie survived in the woods with his paper coat. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Not a Day on any Calendar
by Bill Stadwiser
Backpacking Light's Wilderness Trekking School Photo Essay. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Lightweight Testimony: Lighter, Farther, Faster
by Steve Hinkle
Steve Hinkle relays that carrying all the comforts of home ultimately made for a miserable trail experience, and how shedding "comforts" was actually more pleasant in the long run. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Lightweight Testimony: Jim Sweeney's Enlightenment via Lead Weights, Helium Balloons, and Yachting
by Jim Sweeney
"I guess I first realized my pack weight had to change when I was in intensive care recovering from a bad fishing trip." Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Staff Videocast: Cowboy Coffee
by BackpackingLight.com Staff
How do BPL Staffers stay warm, hydrated, and caffeinated in the backcountry? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
A Passion Found, Lost, and Rediscovered
by Tony Wong
Lightweight Testimony: Tony Wong Finds, Loses, and Rediscovers a Lightweight Passion. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Snow Stakes Revisited
by Roger Caffin
After using the original snow stakes in extreme conditions, the design has been enhanced to extend the life of both your snow stakes and your guylines. Read More...

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