I'm Medium Steve, hammock-lover and weekendy UL-ish guy. I go out from an hour to a week usually but have gone on a couple of month-plus-long jaunts, too.
I can totally insanely light, though I shoot for a Total Average Daily Carry/Wear Weight of 12% of my body weight. It's important to be able to complete the mission and maintain health. But Fun and Comfort are due their respects, too.
I have spent 40 of my 50 years getting it on with nature in Northern California. All over. Roamed and hitchiked and camped and squatted and worked and played and owned and was even a tree-farmer+miner for a while.
And with all that, there's still an entire universe here I haven't seen nor heard of...just in Northern California!
I also did a bit in the Navy and so got to go hiking around a little bit elsewhere...making and checking maps mostly, all on your tax dollar! In the process I picked up a bit about navigation, marlinspiking, rigging, sailmaking, survival on the ground, etc etc.
I've been taking a hike with my Mexican net hammock since the late 70's...suffered from all the drawbacks: winter upskirts, unexpected downpours, frost and condensation and blowing fog, snow and ice and avalanche cold, critter visits, unwanted human guests, near-sighted hunters.
once in my own backyard I hung imprisoned amongst 30 or 40 deer clamoring in lust and threatening to gore me. i was under two oak trees loaded with Deer Viagra (mistletoe) and they were waiting for it to drop out of the trees. so being a "Bear Burrito" is not scary to me, but getting gored by irresponsibly horny bucks is.
I tried my own hammocking techniques because I never heard about any others ... always half-assedly and usually blind drunk. Turns out a lot of you guys were smarter and soberer than me.
But in the last year I discovered the UL and hanger-communities that started springing up online apparently in 2005-8. With persistent lurking and data-sprunging and the help of all of you (especially Just Jeff and ShugShugShugetc), I have found answers to all of my hammocking woes. And in gratitude, I pledge to buy all your products one day (okay, as much from hopes of your further future contributions as from gratitude).
In the process of all that I was able to hugely reduce my total on-the-hoof travelling weight during packing trips. I probably carried 30-40% of my body weight previously...now I can get it down to under 5 lbs with ease in the summer.
Thank you all VERY much for that!
Currently I'm recovering from liver abuse & am ultra-lucky to be able to start over with a clean physical slate. But I lost time and muscle mass so I'm starting out slow and low...probably no more than 8 or 10 miles/day and below 5000ft for the next 6 months. But please cc me if you know of any hangouts from [Oregon to Santa Barbara + SF to the salt flats].
I often walk the beach from the SF Zoo to Pacifica or Montara when work sked changes suddenly on a given day. I favor Muir/Tam, Twin Peaks, Point Reyes, Big Basin, Skyline-to-Coast for local quickies. Henry Coe backcountry is interesting but I've not taken the time for that as yet.
I'll probably be looking at walking the Pacific coast from SF to Mexico some day...and then maybe Canada...though probably will end up doing it incrementally.
My hiking style ranges from mileage-hungry to social-and-carefree.
On my own, I get up before the sun and look for a place to rack up with the rise of the moon.
I go quiet.
Four meals in a day.
My body weight in pounds is how many ounces of water I need during a day's worth of strenuous exercise. A watertight ship ships water all day.
A grown man pees as often as his own grandma but it's all good on the trail - because he has a lot of territory to claim.
I eat dessert first. Ya never know when that meteor's gonna hit.
I tap the log, then step on the log, then look for the snake, then tap the ground to wake up the snake, then continue on if there's no snake awake. But God help us if it was bees instead of snakes!
i speak fluent Critter and have had most of the natives visit me in camp and in the backyard. once i sang at a brown brown bear and played air guitar. but he refused to play bass and loped away. i guess he was more of a jerry fan than a phil guy.
never show your neck to a cat, especially while you are sleeping. never run from a beast lesser than you. they're all lesser. (but back away slowly if they tie you - like a griz could)
Water-borne sickness mostly comes from hands and face, not water. Instead, I use alcohol gel like Howard Hughes would have and drink from clean sources. If I DO get Giardia then I pop the one Tinidazole and shack up in the hammock for 36 hours.
I wash hands before AND after going to the john. Duh. Junk Be Clean!
I don't Hike My Own Hike. I just hike the **** hike's hike.
Leave No Trace is a fine goal but Do No Harm is actually possible. Just aim for not screwing the world up for the next guy.
Currently I'm rocking a
zPacks Zero (best gear i ever bought with money)
adjunct to supershelter
pack padding & structure
a reasonable ground pad everywhere in NorCal (summer)
picnic blanket for when you meet that special woodland creature
for a bag i use AMK SOL Escape Bivy down to 45 or 50F
lower than that or on the ground i'll use a Burrow or the Cat's Meow
the Escape Bivy is FANTASTIC as a summer bag!
i love using a collapsible nalgene canteen 96oz as a hot water bottle between the thighs. it's usually still warmish for my morning shower, too.
i almost always carry the bearcan (bought the LIGHTER1 because it fits well inside the ruck). cuz i ****ing HATE dealing with racoons and rodentia and rangers. and because i WANT to carry a certain amount of weight. but if i leave the can at home i still drag a bit of tupperware or PB jar anyway, which means i also have a mixing/bowl, food protector, guppy tank, nasty critter catcher, and garbage box with me.
no-cook on soloes but will make fire if whimsy dictates (see Coffee Jones)
i use jetboil for carcamping or when i relapse behind Cafe Vita
(crushed espresso and high-grade cocoa mixed together). wet coffee grounds draws critters and leaves stinking mess. cowboy coffee is too strong a laxative. so drink the Cafe Vita.
with a snostake i dig a dakota hole and boil water in the bearcan pan/lid.
i burn manzanita or oak in gold country or the coastal north of SF.
else esbit/sterno/duff/twigs/SpanishMoss will work.
i have calderaKeg+esbit for where fires are uncool. used my own version of this back in maybe 82 or something, though it somehow weighed about 5 lbs
i'll use an ancient swiss volcano or usgi canteen stove when i want to impress the ladies or when my nephews want to learn how to cook on the trail with wood. but those are for marine rickies or schwarzerneggers and lalannes. i'm all UL now. nothing to prove by weightlifting in the woods!
got lots of precip gear, toggs and ducks, ponchoes, pricey snowshells, eskimo shoes, boots and tennies, river shoes, japflops, etc. even a pair of wiggy waders. we take what the conditions and mission specs demand.
i don't carry anything that says "Marmot" on it. I'm just not wearing a euphemism for Yellow-Bellied-Ground-Hog written across my chest or forehead. Congrats if you can wear pink DirtyGurls or Marmot. I'm just not that manly. Plus...am i wrong, or wasn't there a Star Trek episode where those YBGH's were falling out of cabinets?
[sorry, Marmot, Inc. great sense of humor ya got there. you all should be talking tourists into paying $5 to kiss a rock, like those Irish guys do at Blarney Castle]
okay, that's me saying Hi.
and thanks. for teaching me a whole bunch of cool **** i didn't know.