50 Signs You May Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking too Far


A few years in the past I revealed an article titled 30 Signs You May Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking too Far. It was a (largely) tongue-in-cheek tackle people who might have imbibed slightly an excessive amount of on the UL Kool-Aid. After an prolonged on-line hiatus, adopted by some semi-serious sort posts, I believed it was time to revise and broaden the lighthearted ultralight listicle. What follows contains 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 tip off your toothbrush, you trim the bristles as properly.

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

3.  Speaking 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 it’s possible you’ll 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 equipment of any description on a multi-day hike.

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

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

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

Ray Jardine – Author of the ultralight traditional, “The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker’s Handbook“, and its successors, “Beyond Backpacking” and “Trail Life.”

8. You insist on at all times going with a frameless backpack sans hip belt, although you repeatedly 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 as a way to save an oz. or two (Tip: The key to a taut tarp pitch is an excellent distribution of stress. Not really easy to attain with inadequate pegs, guyline, and guyout factors).

10.  Speaking of tent pegs, you plan on carrying solely titanium shepherd hooks on subsequent yr’s journey to the Scottish Highlands.

11.  When you acquired your Tarptent Aeon Li a few years in the past, you have been so upset that it got here in 0.8 ozover spec (i.e. lower than half a Snickers Bar), that you simply significantly thought of sending it again earlier than making an attempt it out within the discipline. Additionally, you thought of it a deal-breaker while you realized that you simply couldn’t match the shelter horizontally into your backpack, which is type of like refusing to drink a wonderful 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 Via 2 (2019).

12.  You routinely reduce the tags off new backpacking gear. Sometime 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 just a few 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 telephone (not even a compass/ABC watch, and an outline map). Come to consider it, your navigational information is such that you simply assume “triangulation” is one thing they train in a arithmetic class in Bermuda, and “dead reckoning” is the title of the most recent Stephen King novel.

Crossing the Salar de Uyuni with the Suunto M-2 compass (changed with Suunto M-3 Global 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) filled with Aqua Mira or bleach.

18.  You carry a pinch mild somewhat 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 listing, 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. Speaking of Lighterpack, you’ve began climbing in cargo shorts and shirts with large pockets so you may depend your telephone (alongside along with your buff, rain jacket, liner gloves, and anything you may stuff in) as worn weight in your gear listing. Bonus Point: After posting your Lighterpack on r/Ultralight, you have interaction in hours’ value of forwards and backwards making an attempt to justify your selection, all of the whereas insisting that “…….it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, but……”

22. Not too way back you shelled out US$159 for a brand new Patagonia R1 Hoody, although 90% of the time a $15-20 generic fleece will likely be simply as purposeful out within the boonies. (Ed’s Note: 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 Long Walks. During 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 assume {that a} backside pocket is a necessary function on a frameless backpack, somewhat than only a handy method to crunch up your Fritos.

24. When 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. This is often a one-off mistake.

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

26. You use 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 mild issue by not pairing your minimalist tarp with an UL bivy.

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

28.  You don’t use gaiters when climbing in desert environments as a way to save 1.3 oz.

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

Stay tuned for a attainable comeback within the new yr……….

30. You use a Thermarest UberLite. I’ve had Frog Toggs pants which have lasted longer than these mats. Indeed, simply final week a very gassy climbing mate of mine swears he farted a gap via his UberLite after going slightly too arduous 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, it’s possible you’ll need to contemplate 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 Trail (in an above-average snow yr), reasoning that: “……my balance is good; a trekking pole will suffice.”

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

Hiking via an early June snowstorm within the High Sierra, when temps dropped right down to the low to mid-teens Fahrenheit (- 9 to – 12°C) / Pacific Crest Trail, 2007.

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

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

36.  You assume SUL and XUL is a few larger stage 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 happening an in a single day journey in cherry-picked situations.

37. You moan and groan about condensation in your single-wall tent, which is type of like complaining about reliability points after buying a French automobile. Two issues to recollect about single-wall shelters: 1. A humid footbox isn’t the tip 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 Note: In my (meager) protection, typically the road between stoicism and absurdism will be blurry).

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

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

40. If 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, chances are high you’re simply fishing for consideration each for your self and/or an upcoming journey you’ve deliberate.

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

42. You proceed carrying linerless working shorts with a 2″ seam, regardless of lately receiving 12 stitches above the attention courtesy of a prudish Girl Scout chief who you unintentionally flashed whereas filtering water. To your credit score, you haven’t filtered water because the unlucky incident.

43. You put on Altras in all sorts of situations, although 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. Despite having a historical past of foot and decrease leg points, you insist on going with uber mild zero-drop footwear with minimal cushioning.

45. You spend extra time fascinated about gear weight, than all of the cool locations you could possibly go climbing.

46. To save an oz., you permit behind your bandana. Arguably the final word multi-purpose piece of 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 bathroom roll, face-covering throughout sand storms, and, for hold-ups in the event you’re low on path funds and determine to rob a comfort retailer.

7 Eleven mode

47. You’ve lately spent numerous hours researching quilt layering in anticipation of your upcoming winter climbing journey to Costa Rica. ‘Tis the season.

48. You personal six completely different solar hoodies, although you do your entire climbing in both the Pacific Northwest or the UK.

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

50. You’re in your fourth and final (?) Polartec Alpha Direct Hoody. You endured via the primary three regardless of the fixed barbs out of your vital different that you simply regarded like a down-on-your-luck muppet. However, 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 select up a brand new pair of Altras and a patch equipment to your UberLite.

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