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50 Indicators You Might Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking too Far


A few years in the past I revealed an article titled 30 Indicators You Might Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking too Far. It was a (largely) tongue-in-cheek tackle those who could have imbibed just a little an excessive amount of on the UL Kool-Help. After an prolonged on-line hiatus, adopted by some semi-serious sort posts, I believed it was time to revise and develop the lighthearted ultralight listicle. What follows consists of 25 of the unique indicators, together with 25 new ones. 

Ultralight over 5,000m (16,404 ft) on Colombia’s unimaginable Cocuy Circuit (2015).

1.  Not solely do you narrow the top off your toothbrush, you trim the bristles as properly.

2.  You utilize a 1/8″ CCF mat (2 oz / 57 gr), even if 9 instances out of ten you get a shit sleep on it.

3.  Talking of the 1/8″ CCF mats, you initially bought one after being impressed by Gossamer Gear founder, Glen Van Peski, who has long-used the minimalist merchandise on his southern California backpacking journeys. What you might not know is that simply earlier than hitting the hay each evening, Glen takes a few Tylenol PMs earlier than drifting off to the soothing tones of Matthew McConaughey on the Calm app.

4.  You don’t take a first-aid package of any description on a multi-day hike.

5. You give unsolicited gear recommendation to hikers with heavier packs than you. You’re subsequently puzzled after they let you know to piss off.

6.  You’ve obtained a poster of Ray Jardine – shirtless and carrying bike shorts – in your wall at house. You additionally carry a passport-size model of the identical picture within the mini Ziploc bag which doubles as your pockets.

7. Talking of Ray, you’ve spent the previous two months receiving physiotherapy in your decrease again since you stubbornly persevered in mimicking his “one-shoulder sling” model of backpacking whereas mountain climbing the Continental Divide Path (Ed’s Be aware: All in good enjoyable, Ray. Nonetheless love ya; even the corn pasta……………not a lot the blood cleaner).

Ray Jardine – Writer of the ultralight traditional, “The Pacific Crest Path Hiker’s Handbook“, and its successors, “Past Backpacking” and “Path Life.”

8. You insist on at all times going with a frameless backpack sans hip belt, even if you often hike off-trail in rugged terrain, and carry greater than six days meals plus a few liters of water.

9.  You skimp on guyline and tent pegs when tarp tenting in an effort to save an oz. or two (Tip: The important thing to a taut tarp pitch is an excellent distribution of rigidity. Not really easy to realize with inadequate pegs, guyline, and guyout factors).

10.  Talking of tent pegs, you propose on carrying solely titanium shepherd hooks on subsequent 12 months’s journey to the Scottish Highlands.

11.  Once you obtained your Tarptent Aeon Li a few years in the past, you have been so upset that it got here in 0.8 ouncesover spec (i.e. lower than half a Snickers Bar), that you simply severely thought of sending it again earlier than attempting it out within the area. Moreover, you thought-about it a deal-breaker once you realized that you simply couldn’t match the shelter horizontally into your backpack, which is form of like refusing to drink a superb Belgian beer since you don’t like the form of the bottle it is available in.

Tarptent Aeon Li and a crimson sundown on Italy’s Alta By way of 2 (2019).

12.  You robotically reduce the tags off new backpacking gear. Someday later you ruefully notice that it might have been a good suggestion to notice the washing/storage directions beforehand.

13.  Your go-to soaking vessel for no-cook meals is a Ziploc bag. There’s ultralight and there’s homeless.

14. You’ve begun referring to your self as a “fastpacker” – which is wanker-speak for somebody who thinks they’re a bit particular as a result of their pack is lighter, they usually cowl a number of extra miles than most different hikers.

15.  When heading out for prolonged journeys within the backcountry (together with off-trail affairs), you by no means carry a navigational backup to the GPS app in your cellphone (not even a compass/ABC watch, and an summary map). Come to consider it, your navigational data is such that you simply suppose “triangulation” is one thing they train in a arithmetic class in Bermuda, and “lifeless reckoning” is the title of the newest Stephen King novel.

Crossing the Salar de Uyuni with the Suunto M-2 compass (changed with Suunto M-3 International in 2019) | Altiplano Traverse, Bolivia, 2017.

16.  You’re contemplating changing your common shoelaces with dental floss.

17.  You don’t carry any technique of water purification……..ever………not even mini-dropper bottle(s) stuffed with Aqua Mira or bleach.

18.  You carry a pinch gentle relatively than a regular-sized headlamp throughout shoulder season hikes.

19. On a number of backpacking journeys, you’ve discovered your self doing rapid-fire units of push-ups and sit-ups at 3 am, after going with a quilt that wasn’t heat sufficient for the situations you have been prone to encounter.

20.  You have been so busy obsessing over your Lighterpack checklist, that you simply forgot (in ascending order of significance): A. Your marriage ceremony anniversary; B. Your child’s birthday; C. Your PCT begin date.

21. Talking of Lighterpack, you’ve began mountain climbing in cargo shorts and shirts with large pockets so you may depend your cellphone (alongside along with your buff, rain jacket, liner gloves, and the rest you may stuff in) as worn weight in your gear checklist. Bonus Level: After posting your Lighterpack on r/Ultralight, you have interaction in hours’ price of backwards and forwards attempting to justify your alternative, all of the whereas insisting that “…….it doesn’t actually matter come what may, however……”

22. Not too way back you shelled out US$159 for a brand new Patagonia R1 Hoody, even if 90% of the time a $15-20 generic fleece might be simply as purposeful out within the boonies. (Ed’s Be aware: What I can let you know, I unexpectedly got here into some money).

Springer Mountain, GA – The southern terminus of the AT and the end of the 12 Lengthy Walks. Throughout my late fall/winter AT thru-hike (Oct 17 – Dec. 28, 2012), my insulation layers have been a combo of my first Patagonia R1 Hoody and the Montbell UL Down Jacket (since renamed the Superior).

23. You suppose {that a} backside pocket is a necessary function on a frameless backpack, relatively than only a handy method to crunch up your Fritos.

24. When mountain climbing in areas which are notorious for bugs (e.g. Fiordland (NZ), Alaska, Lapland, Canadian Rockies), you don’t carry a head-net (approx. weight = 1 oz) for weight-saving functions. That is normally a one-off mistake.

25. Talking of one-off choices, you latterly swapped out your NeoAir sleeping mat for a sheet of bubble wrap.

26. You utilize a tarp that’s too small for you (e.g. 8′ x 5′ and also you’re greater than 6′ tall). You double down on the silly gentle issue by not pairing your minimalist tarp with an UL bivy.

27.  You carry two, relatively than three pairs of socks on multi-week backpacking journeys in chilly, moist, and muddy environments.

28.  You don’t use gaiters when mountain climbing in desert environments in an effort to save 1.3 oz.

29. You start every day by taking a look at your Instagram account, hoping that Ultralight Jerk has posted a brand new meme.  

Keep tuned for a potential comeback within the new 12 months……….

30. You utilize a Thermarest UberLite. I’ve had Frog Toggs pants which have lasted longer than these mats. Certainly, simply final week a very gassy mountain climbing mate of mine swears he farted a gap by his UberLite after going just a little too exhausting on the Santa Fe beans and beef jerky.

31.  Maltodextrin accounts for greater than 10% of your caloric consumption on long-distance hikes. If it does, you might need to think about taking out dental insurance coverage.

32.  You’re not planning to take an ice axe and microspikes for the Sierra part of the Pacific Crest Path (in an above-average snow 12 months), reasoning that: “……my stability is sweet; a trekking pole will suffice.”

33. Talking of the PCT, you’re contemplating not taking a rain jacket till you attain Washington (NOBO).

Climbing by an early June snowstorm within the Excessive Sierra, when temps dropped all the way down to the low to mid-teens Fahrenheit (- 9 to – 12°C) / Pacific Crest Path, 2007.

34.  You often end up hungry and thirsty whereas mountain climbing resulting from not carrying sufficient meals and water.

35. You bought a trekking pole tent after which determined to go away your trekking poles at house in favor of discovering appropriately sized sticks alongside the path. You inadvertently doubled down once you later realized most of your hike was above treeline.

36.  You suppose SUL and XUL is a few larger degree of backpacking nirvana when in actuality, 97% of the time they’re simply barometers utilized by gear nerds to brag about their base weight on-line after occurring an in a single day journey in cherry-picked situations.

37. You moan and groan about condensation in your single-wall tent, which is form of like complaining about reliability points after buying a French automotive. Two issues to recollect about single-wall shelters: 1. A humid footbox isn’t the top of the world; 2. Condensation is like shit. It occurs.

38. You go stoveless on backing journeys the place sub-freezing temps are the norm (Ed’s Be aware: In my (meager) protection, typically the road between stoicism and absurdism could be blurry).

39. You get in your emotions when Ron Bell from Mountain Laurel Designs offers you a monosyllabic e mail reply. In 15 years of fortunately utilizing MLD Gear and semi-regularly speaking with Ron, we’ve got by no means as soon as spoken on the cellphone, and the longest e mail I’ve ever obtained was possibly three sentences lengthy (which admittedly felt like an “I like you”).

Carrying my long-time favourite frameless pack, the MLD Burn, on a mid-October hike of Austria’s Stubai Excessive Path (2019).

40. In case your base weight is between six and eight kilos (2.7 – 3.6 kg) and also you’re nonetheless asking a bunch of on-line randos for shakedowns, likelihood is you’re simply fishing for consideration each for your self and/or an upcoming journey you have got deliberate.

41. You determined to avoid wasting a fifth of an oz. (5.6 gr) by not taking earplugs whereas mountain climbing hut-to-hut within the Alps.

42. You proceed carrying linerless working shorts with a 2″ seam, regardless of not too long ago receiving 12 stitches above the attention courtesy of a prudish Lady Scout chief who you unintentionally flashed whereas filtering water. To your credit score, you haven’t filtered water for the reason that unlucky incident.

43. You put on Altras in all forms of situations, even if their sturdiness is questionable for something however manicured trails or comparatively mellow off-trail terrain.

Greg “Malto” Gressel’s beloved Altra Lone Peaks, held collectively by unshakeable hope, MacGyver-like ingenuity, and the sober realization that there have been no different choices.

44. Regardless of having a historical past of foot and decrease leg points, you insist on going with uber gentle zero-drop footwear with minimal cushioning.

45. You spend extra time desirous about gear weight, than all of the cool locations you might go mountain climbing.

46. To save lots of an oz., you permit behind your bandana. Arguably the final word multi-purpose piece of mountain climbing gear, the standard bandana can be utilized as a towel, pre-filter, neck safety, pot cleaner, pot holder, tent drier (see #37), hanky, last-resort lavatory roll, face-covering throughout sand storms, and, for hold-ups if you happen to’re low on path funds and determine to rob a comfort retailer.

7 Eleven mode

47. You’ve not too long ago spent numerous hours researching quilt layering in anticipation of your upcoming winter mountain climbing journey to Costa Rica. ‘Tis the season.

48. You personal six totally different solar hoodies, even if you do your entire mountain climbing in both the Pacific Northwest or the UK.

49. You utilize a fanny pack. That’s all I’ll say about that.

50. You’re in your fourth and final (?) Polartec Alpha Direct Hoody. You persevered by the primary three regardless of the fixed barbs out of your vital different that you simply seemed like a down-on-your-luck muppet. Nevertheless, the ultimate straw got here when the sleeve of your Alpha garment ripped after you brushed towards a home fern in your method to the native clothes shop to choose up a brand new pair of Altras and a patch package on your UberLite.

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DisclosureThis publish accommodates some affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests ‘The Climbing Life’ receives a small fee if you are going to buy an merchandise after clicking on one of many hyperlinks. This comes at no extra value to the reader and helps to assist the web site in its persevering with purpose to create high quality content material for backpackers and hikers. 

 





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