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ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Pertex/Pile History and Products
by Chris Townsend
Chris Townsend and the Pertex/Pile Revolution. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only When Things Go Wrong
by Roger Caffin
Roger Caffin shares his adventure in misadventure. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Done in a Day
by Kevin Sawchuk
Kevin Sawchuk shares his how-to on fast day hikes, and his why-to, too. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Sandals for Summer Backpacking
by Chris Townsend
Chris Townsend shares his sandal wearing experience. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Foot Care Supplies for Sandal-packing
by Ryan Jordan
Ryan Jordan shares his foot care advice for sandal-packing. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Necessity vs. Importance: Considering Ultralight Essentials
by Ryan Jordan
Essentials commentary from BackpackingLight Publisher, Ryan Jordan. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors
by Mike Clelland!
Mike Clelland! has gone stakeless! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Packraft Rating (PR) System
by Roman Dial
Roman Dial demystifies whitewater for the packrafter wanting to understand the natural progression of learning to packraft in the context of increasingly difficult whitewater. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only An Ultralighter Paddles on the Dark Side: Packrafting a Remote Canyon "Heavy" Style
by Carol Crooker
Packrafters need to limit their gear so it fits on the bow of their six-foot-long craft. This means dehydrated food for dinner, sleeping under a tarp and wearing wet clothes dry. What is river running like when big rafts haul the food and gear...Can an ultralight packrafter be enticed to the dark side? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Decision-Making and the Lightweight Pack
by Mike Clelland and Phil Schneider, edited by Mike Martin
Carrying a lightweight pack has consequences, but they might not be what you think. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Wide-Brimmed Rain Hat
by Ron Rod
Complete instructions to construct a 2.8 ounce (size L), waterproof, wide-brimmed hat. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG Titanium/Carbon Fiber Ice Axe
by Steven Evans and Roger Caffin
Following the Review of the ULA Helix Potty Trowel, there was considerable discussion on the Backpacking Light Forum (MYOG, DIY walking axe) regarding the use of a light "ice axe" in areas where one's life or ultimate safety would not be an issue. The author, Steven Evans, asked specific questions regarding the required length of such an ice axe, the general use of such an ice axe, and what people used in situations where a UIAA-certified ice axe would be overkill, but where a tool of some sort would be nice to have. Such a tool could be used to assist in small steep sections of snow and ice and general up-hill travel in less then desirable conditions, but it would have a weight which would be negligible on one's back when not in use. This project was born from that discussion. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Hypothermia
by Darin Banner
Avoiding and treating hypothermia in the backcountry with ultralight equipment. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG - A Winter Canister Stove using your Summer Upright Stove and the Brunton Stove Stand
by Roger Caffin
The Brunton Stove Stand is a nice bit of engineering, but is it really of any use? Oh yes: it can be turned into a neat winter stove with just a little DIY effort. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Trekking Techniques for Early-Season Conditions
by Andrew Skurka
Andrew Skurka's insights and techniques for early season trekking can dramatically increase the length of your normal hiking season. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Reducing Winter Pack Weight: Wood Fire Cooking in the Snow
by Kevin Sawchuk
For the hardcore ultralighter, cooking over wood fires in the winter offers a way to substantially reduce pack weight on longer trips, adds a bit of warmth around camp, and forces you to learn fire skills that just might save your life someday. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backcountry Cookfires: Overview and Techniques for Cooking Over an Open Flame
by Bill Stadwiser
Bill Stadwiser explores the practical and emotional rewards of cooking over wood in the backcountry. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Titanium Snow Stakes
by Roger Caffin
Lightweight and stable titanium snow anchors that are easy to make Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Take the Load Off: Using Pulks to Travel Over Snow
by Ed Bouffard
Pulk techniques for winter travel over snow Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Shell Top
by Roger Caffin
In "Notes from the Field - Bushwhacking Shell" I discussed commercial shirts and a shell top I make for myself and my wife. Instructions for making my design are given here. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear – Trousers
by Roger Caffin
In ‘Notes from the Field - Bushwhacking Gear - Trousers’ I discussed commercial trousers and some I make for myself and my wife. Instructions for making my design are given here. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Tarp Guylines
by Jay Ham
A clean, simple way to attach guylines to your tarp or shelter Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Aloksak Chest Pocket
by Jay Ham
You say your SUL pack doesn’t have enough pockets? Using inexpensive materials, add some storage with ultralight appeal. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Sealing Silnylon Seams
by Jay Ham
A better way to apply seam sealer, producing a nearly factory perfect look. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
by Jay Ham
Complete instructions for making your own SUL carbon trekking poles from fishing, golf, and kite parts. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 3: Model Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Snow Camping
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
Based on our research and testing, we recommend lightweight footwear systems for specific conditions and activities. In addition, our Backpacking Light staffers describe their favorite systems, and two ultralight nomads – Andrew Skurka and Chris Townsend – share their wisdom. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We cover the components of a lightweight footwear system – shoes/boots, footbeds, socks, vapor barriers, booties, overboots, and gaiters (everything on or around the foot), discuss the pros and cons of different options, and identify our favorites. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 1: Principles and Techniques for Keeping Feet Dry and Warm
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
High-tech gear to keep your feet dry and warm is useless without the proper knowledge on how to use it, and that’s especially true for lightweight footwear in cold and wet conditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Gaiters for Bushwhacking
by Roger Caffin
Lightweight, tough gaiters that are suitable for bushwhacking and easy to make. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Igloo Building for Fun and Shelter, Part 2 - Using an Igloo as a Backcountry Shelter
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
Tips for igloo living and interior climate graphs to show you why you want to camp in an igloo. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Ultralight in the Icebox: Post-Trip Report
by Andrew Skurka
Andrew Skurka talks about his cold weather tenets and ultralight gear kit following a 385 mile, 19 day backpacking trip in northern Minnesota in the dead of winter. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Igloo Building for Fun and Shelter, Part 1 - Technique
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
Igloo building is a fun wintertime activity to share with family, friends, or Scouts. Build a warming hut in your favorite skiing or snowshoeing area, construct an igloo for a backcountry base camp, or design your own hut system! The Grand Shelters Icebox Igloo Building Tool does a lot of the work for you, but you’ll still need to master some essential techniques. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight
Part 4, Pack

by Jay Ham
Complete instructions to construct a 3.1-ounce, 1700-cubic inch pack. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Taming Those Large Flexible Foil Windshields
by Roger Caffin
Learn the tricks and techniques required to make a stable windshield out of floppy metal foil. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit
by Mike Clelland!
All the details you need to plan backcountry vegetarian meals that are nutritious and tasty. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Bushwhacking Gear: Heavyweight Fabrics and Compatible Construction Techniques to Improve Clothing Longevity for Off-trail Bushwhacking
by Roger Caffin
Thorns, scrub and sandstone can rip ultralight clothing to shreds. What materials and construction techniques hold up to serious bushwhacking? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
A Case Study of Unsupported, Roadless, Long Distance Trekking:
Part 1. Pack Weight, Distance, and Caloric Balance

by Ryan Jordan
It seems obvious that backpack weight and daily mileage will be inversely proportional. But how many days, how many miles per day, and how much food weight are required in order to maximize the total distance traveled without resupply? And what happens when the theory is tested in the Arctic over 600 miles of America's most remote, roadless, uninhabited wilderness? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight
Part 3, Tarp

by Jay Ham
Complete instructions to construct a 6-ounce tarp with improved weather protection. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight
Part 2, Stuff Sack

by Jay Ham
Complete instructions to construct a 0.2-ounce stuff sack sized right to compress a SUL tarp (Part 3) into a tidy 4 x 4 x 8 inch bundle. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Do It Yourself Projects to Reduce Canister Stove Weight
by Roger Caffin
Experiments from our readers and staff on trimming weight from winter stoves. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Sipping the Waters: Techniques for Selecting Untreated Backcountry Water for Drinking
by Michael von Gortler, MD
Drinking untreated backcountry water can make you sick - but choosing your drinking spots intelligently can greatly reduce that risk. Here, a doctor shares the methods that have kept him healthily "sipping the waters" for the past 20 years. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight
Part 1, Introduction

by Jay Ham
Not for the frail at heart, in this article we dive into making a SUL tarp, pack, and stuff sack out of a single 5-yard piece of spinnaker fabric. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear: Multi-Pad-Ground-Sheet Integration System
by Mike Clelland!
Complete step-by-step instructions on how to size, cut and glue a tidy sleeping pad system. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only The Poncho Tarp: Techniques and Gear Systems for Inclement Conditions
by Ryan Jordan and Alan Dixon
Poncho Tarps are not just for the eccentric. Learn how to use them in foul weather and save considerable weight and simplify your gear kit. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Camera Selection Basics for the Lightweight Backpacker
by Franco Darioli
Features for a lightweight backpacker to look for in a digital or film camera. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Make Your Own Gear Sewing Primer: Straight Stitch and Top Stitch
by Jay Ham
Instructions on how to properly sew two workhorse stitches. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear Sewing Primer: Reinforcement Stitches for Lightweight Fabrics
by Jay Ham
Why standard reinforcement stitches may not be suitable for your lightweight fabric, which ones are, and how to sew them. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear Sewing Primer: Sewing a Felled Seam
by Jay Ham
A tarp and tent ridgeline standard thanks to its water impeding fold. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Make Your Own Gear Sewing Primer: Sewing Machine Setup
by Jay Ham
Sewing machine setup instructions with photos, and tips for sewing lightweight fabrics. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Stove Windscreen Dynamics and Design: Part II
Practical Applications for the Field

by Will Rietveld
Have you tried a double windscreen to maintain alcohol and fuel tab stove performance in the wind? It really works, and one piece doubles as a GearSheet. Read More...

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