It is time for more ultralight
backpacking videos. The three collected here are about gear.
Specifically we look at stoves, trekking poles, and what is carried
by a couple of recent converts to ultralight backpacking.
I do not use trekking poles, although now that I am approaching
50 I may start. They do help save your knees, and especially
with the downhill stretches. I have made a walking stick while
on the trail quite a few times (see my page on hand
carved walking sticks for more on that) A good dead and dry
poplar or white cedar will work for a long walking stick (I'm
6'3") that weighs less than a pound. In any case, I did
like the trekking poles that are reviewed in the video below...
Less than 10 ounces isn't bad, but the $150 price tag on that
pair might keep me from considering it. The other poles were
probably only a few ounces more (they didn't say how much they
weigh), but $70 less. Both pairs reviewed are from Black Diamond,
and having used some of their other equipment I suspect they
are of top-notch quality. There are a lot of other options as
well, and probably some that are lighter and cheaper (certainly
making a walking stick meets the latter criteria).
Lightening the Load: An Example
The couple who did the following video had pack weights of
47 and 35 pounds a year before they did this production. They
dramatically lightened their load after a "miserable"
time lugging their heavier loads on the Appalachian Trail. Each
of their backpacks weigh less than a pound, and they are going
out with hammocks instead of a tent. I have not tried backpacking
with a hammock, but I do have a page on this, written by a hiker
who gave it a try. Of course this is appropriate only in certain
areas, since you do need trees to tie the end lines to.
Like most backpackers they like to have cooked food, and so
have the weight of a stove, cooking kit and fuel. I would not
make a quilt, but then that's probably the only way you get one
that is light and works for the hammocks. You'll notice that
there are a lot of ideas about the little "extras"
each backpacker carries. This, I think, highlights one big advantage
of cutting your base weight way down; you get to add a few luxuries
Ultralight Backpacking Stoves
As I have mentioned many times before, I have not generally
carried any cooking gear when backpacking. I am one of the rare
people who is perfectly comfortable going without a cooked meal
for a week at a time (as long as I have enough good food). But
I liked the following video when I saw it, because it shows some
examples of many light stoves, including ones that were purchased
and several that were made.
I love that little tea light stove. It might be the lightest
I have seen, since it probably weighs less than a half-ounce.
But even some of the purchased stoves are no more than a couple