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  1. #31
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    There are three different general ways to attack this problem, if problem it is (and an unspoken fourth that I'll get to in a minute).

    The first (and most expensive) is to buy lighter gear. It looks like you've got a good handle on your preferred level of comfort in camp versus comfort on trail. Note that a lot of gear choices are very individual (shoes, hammock, quilt temperature ratings, pack, etc.) due to your body being different from everyone else's. It's worth trying stuff out for fit before purchase, if at all possible.

    The second is to leave stuff at home. I recommend the three-pile method here: after each trip, make a pile of stuff you used all/most of the time, a pile of stuff you only used some of the time, and a pile of stuff you didn't use at all (never include your first aid or emergency kit in this last pile). When you go out on the next trip, leave the third pile at home and think really hard about whether you need the stuff in the second pile before taking it.

    The third (and probably best) is to work on yourself. A good cardio regimen (including some light to moderate weight training) and good diet is a killer on the trail. I know I feel better now than I did a year ago; my running and weight lifting has been immensely helpful on strenuous trails.

    Finally, the fourth (and usually unspoken) option is to do shorter trips. I know most folks don't like to talk about it, but it may be worth cutting your mileage down to something your body can handle. I've had to reexamine my trips based upon personal fitness and loadout before. Be honest with yourself, and the rest will follow.

    Of course, the ability to recuperate in an hammock overnight is definitely worth the extra ounces for me. I feel much better in the morning getting out of an hammock than I do getting up off of the ground. That's a compromise that's worth it for me (and, considering the title of the forums, I'd hope for the majority of the folks reading this as well ). Find the level of comfort you need in camp and examine it versus the amount of comfort you need on trail. That balance is the key to a good trip.

    Hope it helps!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
    --Floridahanger

  2. #32
    CrankyOldGuy's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Hilton Head Is., SC
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    My 1st hike was a 5 day hike on the AT. My pack was 60+ lbs and my partner's was more. We needed to put our packs on a rock or tree stump to get them on. A couple of days out, we're laying (exhausted) in a trail shelter and a guy comes in (with a much smaller pack) and says "boys, lemme tell ya what you got in those packs" and proceeded to tell us (pretty accurately) what we had. After each item he'd ask why we had it and then he'd say " 'cause it on The List, right?".

    Don't make the opposite mistake and not take something that you need just because it's on some UL list. Successful UL'ers know how to effectively and safely use their gear in a given situation. That comes from experience (screwing up) and you don't want to gain all of that experience on a single hike.
    "A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." Gian Vincenzo Gravina (1664 - 1718)

  3. #33
    Senior Member ringtail-THFKAfood's Avatar
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    lighter is not always better

    When I hike with the local meet-up group I usually have the lightest pack, but people come to me to help with the things they forgot. All things being equal lighter is better, but you should carry the gear you need to create the experience you want.

    Sometimes being able to fry something is nice, but freezer bag cooking is usually lighter.

    A headnet and bug juice are effective, but sometimes you might want an enclosed hammock to lay in and read.

    Sometimes you need a "beast hauler" pack because of water and food.

    Six Moon Designs has something on their web site about it being easier to carry ultralight gear in a regular pack than regular gear in an ultralight pack.

    A Sawyer Squeeze filter is heavier than AquaMira, but if you carry an average 16 oz. less water then the extra base weight reduces total average carry weight.

    Ultralight gear is NOT always expensive. An ESBIT wing stove with the pot and cup from an Ozark Trail cook kit will cost less than $20, but be less than 6 oz. for the whole thing - take the bail off that pot and use a bandana pot holder.

    Get out there and hike!!! Your kit will evolve and likely will get lighter.
    It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
    - Mark Twain

  4. #34
    Isheian's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Colorado Spring, CO
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    So I guess I should recount my first over night trip, gear I carried, and lessons learned that brought me to this point. And a little on me, with that being the most important piece of kit I take everywhere.

    I'm asthmatic, 6'3", and 230 lbs. Im outta shape. The asthma is a recent development that I've had to learn to work around in the last three years and still am having trouble adapting to and working with. It's a bit of a shock to go form Im not yet acclimated, I know this will improve with time to This is permanent and I have to learn to cope with it. Im still not use to not being to go all out and recover quickly. Cest' la vie.

    Im taking a wilderness survival class at my local community college and this was supposed to be our first over night trip, but that got canceled due to personnel issues. So it changed into two all day trips at two different locations, but I had been looking forward to taking my gear and getting practice setting it all up even if I originally wasnt going to be sleeping in it. Its a safety net the school makes us bring. So I decided to go up a day early and get in my first over nighter. Figured there would be plenty of water, the place is called Horsethief Falls after all. And its been really warm as of late so I wasnt expecting much snow or ice. The plan was to hike up, pick my set and set up camp, enjoy a meal and a fire, catch some sleep, wake up early, pack it all up, get back to the parking lot in time to ditch the big bag and grab the survival kit and head back up with my class. Easy right?

    My bag must have weighed close to 65 lbs. The first 400-500 feet of the trail was fairly steep and still covered in ice. I forgot the charge cable to my phone which was pulling double duty as my alarm clock. I only carried 3 liters of water.

    The trip up was slow and not exactly pleasant, but all the stops to catch my breath did give me ample time to enjoy the scenery. Once the trail leveled out it wasnt an awful experience. I drank at least a litter of my water just going up the hill fully expecting there to be water at the top I could filter/ boil/ chemically treat. I got to the top and couldn't find the falls at all, till I slipped some ice and realized I was walking on top of the falls, it was frozen solid. The snow wasnt that deep and fairly dirty. I kinda shrugged it off believing that there wasnt anything to do but make do with what I had. I am a rookie at backpacking so in hind sight I see was to have fixed the issues.

    So I walk over to where a survival shelter had been left up and set up camp near it. I take my time and get a fairly decent hang on the NX 250 hammock and a fairly taut pitch on the multicam smokehouse tarp. I set up the TI goat stove and get it situated in the tarp, within reach of the hammock of course. I then proceeded to get a fire going and wood stocked to feed it and the eventual five in the stove. This is my very first time sleeping in the woods alone and its an exciting, frightening, almost spiritual experience. I have my phone softly playing music, the silence of being the only person for miles is very disquieting to me, I almost always have music playing and not having another being to share the silence with is to much to bear this time. As I tend the fire and prepare dinner a thousand thoughts, like deranged fireflies flit across the theater of my mind. Some scenes of horror brought on my the stillness that has enveloped my campsite and stories heard, seen and played leave splashes of red across the screen and visions of what those half realized nightmares could do to a lone man in the woods. I find my self wishing I had brought my handgun despite the class I'd be attending in the morning. Others the flashing lights of introspection and wondering what all these swirled thoughts and emotions said about my true character against my own mental self image. Others,the steady lights of peace brought on by the stillness, of the comfort of the fire and the mildness of the night. Knowing the those fears were exactly that, only half realized threats brought about by my own insecurities in this new situation and that like all fears before them, would subside and vanish in time. The calm eventually won out and I wrapped the warm comfort of the night around me like child envelops himself in a favorite blanket. Finally I decide to get the fire going in the stove and head to bed. Thats when i noticed that my phone was practically dead and I didnt have the cable to charge it off the brunton battery pack I had brought just for that purpose. I wasnt going to run the trail at night just to run right back up. I decided to risk it and see if the phone could possibly make it through the night with enough juice to wake me in the morn. I spent a mostly comfortable night asleep, only waking to answers natures call and stoke the stove to compensate for my inexperience in using the under quilt. My class was supposed to meet at 0900 at the parking lot and I awoke at 0800. Not enough time to tear everything down and make it to the lot. Not enough water after using another litter on dinner to try making breakfast. So I grabbed my last litter of water, medicated, used my albuterol and tore down camp till 0830, and then literally ran down the trail (falling several times) to barely make it there on time. The short story for the rest of the day is that I sucked wind with no water or energy for the rest of the day, then strapped the 20 lbs survival kit to the 65 lbs pack and rushed down the trail to get home, pulling muscles in my feet and getting an inch long blister on the inside arch of my left foot.

    Ill add equip later, im kinda burned out after writing all that.
    Rules to live by:The Wizards Rules
    Anything can be solved by the proper application of High Explosives. Or a shot of whiskey...
    Meaning of the EOD Badge
    Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) is a science of vague assumptions based on debatable figures derived from inconclusive experiments, performed by persons of doubtful mental capability with instruments of problematic accuracy.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    Jack London?
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  6. #36
    Isheian's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Sue me, I get into story telling. Tis a family trait. And nah its all me.
    Rules to live by:The Wizards Rules
    Anything can be solved by the proper application of High Explosives. Or a shot of whiskey...
    Meaning of the EOD Badge
    Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) is a science of vague assumptions based on debatable figures derived from inconclusive experiments, performed by persons of doubtful mental capability with instruments of problematic accuracy.

  7. #37
    Senior Member Brute1100's Avatar
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    May 2012
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    South Texas
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    Re: I give up, time to try this ultralight nonsense...

    Heckuva write up man... I like the imagery... Sorry your night sucked... But hey it should be real easy to come down from 80lbs of gear :-)
    Live, Laugh, Love, if that doesn't work. Load, Aim and Fire, repeat as necessary...

    Buy, Try, Learn, Repeat

  8. #38
    Member Second Wind's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
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    Sorry your trip didn't go as planned..... but Great Story..

  9. #39
    Senior Member Lorax's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    I think you need an experienced backpacker to go to your house and plan out your gear with you. Take what you need for conditions, weather and duration, a comfort thing or two and leave the rest behind.

    Then you need a solid itinerary with reasonable goals until you work out your health issues.

    In addition, you really need to stop worrying about your phone so much. You know.......there was a time when they weren't available to take with you and we got along without them for a day or two just fine.

  10. #40
    Senior Member CampWalker's Avatar
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    I give up, time to try this ultralight nonsense...

    Welcome to the "LITE" Side......
    ~My therapist has told me that the first step to recovery is admitting my problem, Hello I'm a Hammockolic~

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