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RE: [John Muir Trail] So for those of you who have gone ultralight

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  • M L
    ... A couple of things. For one, much of our best backpacking in Texas (Chisos Mts., Guadalupe Mts.) requires we carry 2 or 3 days of water. A big incentive
    Message 1 of 38 , Feb 1, 2012
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      >What was the catalyst for getting you there?

      A couple of things.  

      For one, much of our best backpacking in Texas (Chisos Mts., Guadalupe Mts.) requires we carry 2 or 3 days of water.  A big incentive to winnow everything else down to the minimum.

      For another, getting older.  And we really want to keep backpacking.  In fact, with more time, we want to ramp it up.  I have carried 50 or 55 lbs. with all supplies and water, but at 115 lbs. myself that's getting burdensome.  And my husband has back problems, so we need to keep him lighter, and I carry our shared gear (shelter, kitchen, first aid kit).  Unlike the stereotype, going lighter for us does not involve high-mileage days.  Last summer on the JMT most days were 10-12 miles, our longest was 15 miles.  If it weren't for learning about ultralight, we wouldn't be able to go at all.

      Here is a link to my gear list from that hike.  Maximum pack weight with all supplies would have been about 35 lbs. coming out of MTR with 10 days to WP.  Earlier, with less in supplies, lighter.  It worked out quite well, HI to VVR.  After that we had to leave the trail because of an injury unrelated to our equipment choices.  (If you look back through the threads for my posts you will see the trip report.)  My pack is a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus, and it was comfortable and plenty adequate for my kit and a Bearikade Expedition.  It has held up just fine for a number of trips over 3 years, no quality issues.

      > I'm also curious as to how the transformation went (versus what you expected). Did it take a while (and some trial and error) to get your level of peace of mind back to where it was before you made the change? Or was it much easier than you expected?


      A little of each, I think.  I still have an impulse to bring spiffy cool stuff I don't really need, and I have to think hard and rationally about the trade-off between spiffiness and the weight going over that pass.  On the other hand, perhaps counter-intutively, *not* being overloaded *adds* a lot to my peace of mind.  Also, much of the UL stuff is a pleasure to work with, and does not increase hardship at all.  I can still sleep warm and dry, eat nicely cooked meals, hike in comfy shoes and a well-fitting pack, and find my way with confidence.

      You have good questions.  I'm glad you asked.


      Mina


      P. S. If you look at the gear list carefully, you will see that my base weight was 14 lbs. with the Expedition, so not quite in "UL = under 10 lbs." territory, but getting close, considering I was carrying shelter, kitchen, and first aid for two people.


    • JamesB
      I m working at Ultralight because I am 71 years old, and can t do much real backpacking unless I carry very low weights. So, this can be sort of an alternative
      Message 38 of 38 , Feb 2, 2012
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        I'm working at Ultralight because I am 71 years old, and can't do much real backpacking unless I carry very low weights. So, this can be sort of an alternative view of the John Ladd approach, except that the emphasis is on being nearly as light as possible, or it can't be done.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Allen C" <acurrano@...> wrote:
        >
        > Good advice for sure!
        >
        > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, greg padgett <gregp701@> wrote:
        >
        > > Biggest thing I've found is that the pack needs to be able to carry everything comfortably.If I'm carrying upwards of 30 pounds then give me a pack with real suspension. Hanging 35 pounds from your shoulders all day will turn any hike into a death march.
        > > I say save weight anywhere you can and feel comfortable doing so but not at the sake of being uncomfortable or unsafe.
        >
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