Well put Stu and similar to my story without the "other sports and marathon running" angle. I'd like to think what I'm doing today will give me some extra injury free years on the trail. I came back to backpacking after many, many years. A trip to an unnamed major backpacking supplier resulted in the purchase of a basic, and highly expensive kit. Off I went on test run, gear shake down, that was a real wake up call. Heavy, uncomfortable, over sized etc. I dumped a lot of what I had bought--pack, tent, sleeping pad, stove, fleece top, shoes and found better choices that were certainly lighter but also more functional. A second trip resulted in some more changes as did consequent short and long range trips.
I'm currently down to about a 12lb. base weight for a JMT trip with bear canister. In the end what I carry today cost a lot less than what some UH (ultra-heavy) backpackers have spent. It's kind of humorous when I hear a generalization regarding ultralight gear--expensive, uncomfortable not safe etc. Throw out a price for a piece of gear and we'll compare. Listening to what some say it's a miracle I can even set up my 14oz shelter and survive the bugs trying to get to me through the bug netting. I wonder how my little pellets (esbit) manage to ever boil water or even how I get my stove to light every damn time I fire it up. I must be blessed that my trail runners dry out so quick at the end of a day wet stream crossings and mushy snow. I should freeze at night under my 21oz quilt on top of my 2.5" sleeping air mattress but I'm not sure if I have since I'm sleeping to comfortably to know.
I'm not quite sure where others find all these UL folks they talk about. I seem to run across a steady stream of UH folks and many don't look that happy. Unfortunately people hit the trail without much experience and without knowing there gear. I am prone to think when people move towards lightweight gear they have already done the heavy route and are more likely to have trail experience and confidence in the their gear and capabilities. I'm still looking for someone who says I'm going to start backpacking and goes UL off the mark.
But that's just my opinion.......
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 22:29:48 +0000
Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] So for those of you who have gone ultralight
I will bite as well.
I came late to serious hiking after many years in other sports and marathon running and I decided that I was not going to carry lots of weight and risk incremental damage and cumulative trauma (ie the damage doesn't show up for years) Damage to joints that would stop me getting out there in later life
My base weight is 13lb but I still don't do massive mileage days.
Hi to Bob.