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Hike Lite

Hike Lite



|Views: 1,166|Likes:
Published by grennier
A brief description and tutorial describing how to engage in hiking light. This was authored by someone else and shared with me. I'm basically uploading to test Scribd (my first upload ever).
A brief description and tutorial describing how to engage in hiking light. This was authored by someone else and shared with me. I'm basically uploading to test Scribd (my first upload ever).

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Published by: grennier on Nov 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Ultralight Backpacking
INTRODUCTIONWhat is ultralight backpacking?
Ultralight backpacking allows you to greatly reduce the weight of your load on backpacking trips. How low can you go? There are people hiking the entire Pacific CrestTrail (some 2,500 miles) with only 8.5 pounds of gear! No kidding. And that includesthe weight of the pack itself. Add two pounds of food per day, plus some water, and youhave a total pack weight of 20 pounds for a 4- or 5-day trip … not bad.
Why go light?
The reasons are probably obvious. If you’ve ever spent days sweating and huffing and puffing under a huge load, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re interested indoing a long hike, like the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide trail,or some other route, an ultralight load can make a huge difference. Many people on longthru-hikes come down with serious injuries to their ankles, knees, backs, etc. Anultralight load greatly reduces the risks of these stress injuries.
It’s all about freedom …
The ability to stroll casually through the wilderness without effort is truly amazing.We’ve become such slaves to gear, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine being ableto spend days in the wilderness with a pack no heavier than a daypack. This greatlychanges the quality of your trip … increases your freedom, and makes your experience atrue joy.
Drawbacks of going light …
Ultralight backpacking isn’t for everybody. There are some trade-offs. For example: if you carry a decent 6-pound tent, you can set it up without too much concern for locationand be reasonably sure you are going to be fine and roomy in violent thunderstorm. If you want to go the ultralight route, you’ll need to make a few sacrifices, or at least havemore knowledge of how to use your equipment. Bivy bags are much smaller and moreclaustrophobic. Tarps are larger and airier, but less protective. Even some of the latesttarp/tent hybrids aren’t quite as good. But … all of those options weigh less than 2 pounds, including ground cloth. Going ultralight means trading some of the extracomforts in camp for the comfort of a light pack.If you're interested in ultralight backpacking, go to Dave Brock's home page at:http://members.tripod.com/gohike/.He did a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest trail lastsummer, and he wrote detailed reviews of the ultralight gear he used. See his gear listwith weights at:http://members.tripod.com/gohike/pct/gear.htmlSee his reviews of theequipment at:http://members.tripod.com/gohike/pct/gearreview.htmlSo here are some gear considerations for an ultralight pack:
SHELTER:Bivy bags
Bivys are generally the tightest of the shelter options. They range from a simple sleeping bag cover, to elaborate waterproof systems with two poles. Generally they range inweight from 1.5 – 2.5 pounds. They can be very claustrophobic, and somewhat difficultto enter or exit during a rainstorm. But … during nice weather, most bivy bags allow youto fold back the cover and sleep with your head exposed to the stars – a very open andenjoyable feeling. Some people swear by bivy bags, but it all comes down to personal preference.You can buy a Bibler-brand bivy, which some people think is the best on the market:http://www.biblertents.com/Total weight of their “hooped” model is about 23 - 27 ozs.They have an interesting design with a built-in piece of wire to keep the fabric off your head, and a proprietary “Todd-tex” fabric that is quite soft on the inside … very pleasantto the touch, but completely waterproof and breathable.Another well-known brand is Outdoor Research (OR). They have two models that arequite popular, but somewhat heavier than the Bibler tents:http://www.outdoorresearch.com 
Tarps are great. Open, airy, fun. They make you feel much more connected to the worldaround you than a closed tent, and they are much lighter on the back. Some of thelightest new tarps on the market today are made from silicone-impregnated nylon--“silnylon.” Silnylon is usually 1.1-ounce nylon that has been impregnated withsilicone, which is much lighter than the usual polyurethane-coated nylon. And since thenylon is soaked through with silicone the outer surface of the nylon never absorbs water like with polyurethane-coated nylon.Campmor has a good silnylon tarp for $85.00. 10 x 12 feet. 19 ounces.http://www.campmor.com/webapp/commerce/command/ProductDisplay?prmenbr=226& prrfnbr=88644An even fancier tarp is the Integral Designs silshelter: http://www.integraldesigns.com  17 ounces. It has a clever design that allows it to be completely closed during badweather, but open during nice weather.Last summer and fall, I hiked with a 2-mil plastic tarp that weighed 18 ounces, includingguy lines and 6 stakes. Add another 6 ounces for a tyvek drop cloth. For the tarp, cut a piece of plastic 11 feet long. Make it 9 feet wide at the "head" and 6.5 feet wide at the"foot" end. Attach some cords at the four corners and mid-points with a sheet bend knot:http://gorp.away.com/gorp/publishers/menasha/knot0112.htmI set it up as an A-frameusing stray sticks as poles:http://www.montanasoft.com/images/bmw/bmrobtent.jpg.On one trip it rained almost solid for 3 days and I stayed dry. I cover my backpack with a plastic bag and store it just in front of the tarp opening, which discourages wind-drivenrain from entering.
The downside to a plastic tarp (as opposed to silnylon) is that plastic isn’t as strong. Youhave to be very careful where and how you pitch it. You have to think carefully aboutwind-direction and natural shelter from the wind. If a violent storm comes in, you're infor a long night. If you pitch the A-frame very low (like crawl-space low), you should befine -- the wind will spill over the top rather than shred your plastic. Silnylon tarps weighthe same, but are
TarpTent Hybrids
This is a very interesting concept … more protection than a regular tarp, less weight thana full tent. Look athttp://www.tarptent.com for an excellent hybrid between tarp and tent ... 19 ounces including everything but ground cloth. Very nice product. Sells for about$165.00.
Typically, people carry a sleeping bag that weighs 2.5 – 4 pounds or more. For summer hiking there are much lighter and better options:
Ultralight sleeping bags
A good manufacturer is Western Mountaineering:http://www.westernmountaineering.com/. They make very high-end (Expensive!)sleeping bags. I think they have a nice little 40-degree model that weighs 16 ounces. If you wear some poly long johns in it, you could probably go down to the freezing mark and stay comfortable -- especially if you are using a bivy bag.Another option ishttp://www.campmor.com . Their house brand down bags are inexpensive and somewhat light. They have a 20-degree model that weighs 2.25 lbs. Ithink that "20 degree" rating is highly optimistic ... probably more like 35 or so. Theyuse 550-fill down, which is a pretty low grade. But ... they aren't terribly heavy andthey're cheap at $120.00.
Quilts are excellent for summer use … light and comfortable. Most quilts are really ahybrid between a quilt and a mummy bag – the foot section is boxed in, but the rest of thequilt opens up like a blanket.Lynne Whelen’s quilt:http://www.lwgear.com(click the “Lightweight gear” link). 22ounces, synthetic fill, 45 degrees, $155.00. This is an interesting design because it canactually wrap completely around you to prevent drafts.Do-it-yourself instructions:Goose-down quilt:http://www.newsushi.net/quilt.html 17 ounces, goose down, 35 degrees, $130.00 in materials, plus 3 days of labor.Synthetic quilt:http://www.backpacking.net/makegear.html 24 ounces, synthetic, 35 degrees, $50.00 in materials, 2 days labor.

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