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Thread: Are you a victim of the Ultra-lite craze?

  1. #46
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Hikin' the scree on Shasta....
    yep - I like the light stuff.

    more comfy for the most part
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

  2. #47
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    A great man once said, "Let there be light".

    He was just slightly ahead of his time.

  3. #48
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by dvbl
    the ultra-lite backpacking gear craze is one of my all-time favorite marketing coups.
    Youi have this all wrong. Ultralight is not a marketing coup. Ultralight was started by hikers making theri own gear and selling it out of their garage and on the internet.

    Big companies did not start the ultralight movement. They are still not major players. If you want an ultralight tent, get one from Henry Shires or Six Moons Design. The big companies are selling ultralight. Ditto for packs. Gossamer Gear and GoLite and others make ultralilght packs.

    The only reason these guys can make and sell gear is that marketing goes for the "bells and whistles" approach. Bigger, better, more. That is the mantra of the conglomerates.

    I'm afraid that rather than avoiding the marketing coup, you are actually a victim. The hype machine has you, but you can still escape. Eschew the big companies. Buy gear from hikers who make gear that they wished the big companies made.

    Once you get your weight down you will be more in tune with your body and WILL notice that 1.5 pound drop in weight. And when you get older, your knees will thank you.

  4. #49
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Hull, Quebec. Avatar: Wanna come out and play?
    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty
    Youi have this all wrong. Ultralight is not a marketing coup. Ultralight was started by hikers making theri own gear and selling it out of their garage and on the internet.
    Maybe it was started, but others have seen it as a way of selling. Just as an example, I look locally at MEC. They used to sell inexpensive strong well made stuff sacks. They are now gone, replaced by sil-nylon sacks that cost twice as much.

    Fortunately (for me) I bought a bunch of the older ones at half price when they were end of line.
    There's no place like

  5. #50
    Senior Member Jeff-B's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Outer Limits
    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    A great man once said, "Let there be light".

    He was just slightly ahead of his time.
    "I am begining to see the light"

    "Light as a feather"

    "There is light at the end of the tunnel"

    "Light'em up!"

    "I refuse to drink light beer!!!!!!"

    "Hey, you got a light?"

    "What a bunch of light weights!"

  6. #51
    Senior Member trailbiscuit's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    1,997 - 1,998 - 1,999...; Home: Topshizzum, ME
    Like anything that gains a little bit of popularity, it becomes a "craze" or "movement" or other such description. Heck, Wal Mart is selling organic food. (Don't get me started. I won't use words like "heck." Anyway...) And, as many have said here, lightweight was started by folks making their own gear and thinking they could make their experience better. And, personally, I'd rather carry less weight...however I get there. (Most of the time I sneak stuff in Sparkplug's pack when she's not looking.)

    As far as the marketing goes, once those guys get their hands on something, then it can get ugly. Trust me, I'm a marketer...that's how I buy gear. But, I also know the tricks, so I'm not easily fooled. For anything in the product categories we're talking about it's about quality. No amount of marketing will save a product that stinks. Eventually, it will fail. (Not true for a lot of things...Coke tastes like s&%!*#.)

    When it comes to upgrading/buying new gear, I want the best stuff. One of the criteria for me is weight. Saw a lot of Pepsi can stoves on the AT last year, but we never considered it. We like our stove; it's reliable and sturdy. But, it weighs a little more. (Not much, MSR Simmerlite.) It's all about finding the right system for you. If you want cut your toothbrush handle and be a gram weenie...go for it.
    Last edited by trailbiscuit; 05-19-2006 at 09:08 AM.
    "You must go and you must ramble through every briar and bramble till your life is in a shambles. Maybe then you will know. You were born to blunder, born to wander, born to wonder. Even when youíre six feet under, thereís a place that you must go." - John Hiatt

  7. #52
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Nobleboro, Maine Avatar: Even my shadow hikes!
    I also agree with the "going light doesn't have to cost a lot of money" philosophy. Then again, my hiking obsession was rekindled when I had no money to spend (can you say divorce?), so it grew out of necessity. Now itís become a force of habit, but one I honestly enjoy as itís like a game to me. I donít go by name brand as I donít really care, but will choose one over another if the prices are comparable. Most of the time I find stuff as an opportunity, which means I get it at that second or itís gone forever.

    I agree with Seema that the ounces are relevant. I have shaved 10 pounds off my pack from last fall, and it cost me under $100. Remember, where there is a will, there is a way.

    Iíve saved (in ounces):
    28 on the pack ($35, REI sale)
    8 on clothing ($10, Goodwill)
    40 on boots ($4, Montrails at Goodwill)
    25.6 on stove, fuel, and pot (won gift certificate from a hiking photo)
    8.6 on poles (dump, fixed locks)
    1 on a camera (went from film to digital, $28, Goodwill)
    5 on a waterproof compression sack ($20, I paid full price on something!!!)
    18.4 on a sleeping bag (dump, needed a cleaning)
    16.6 on a sleeping pad (dump, repaired 2 holes)
    7.6 on a tent (dump, have no idea of why they tossed it)

    Total = 158.9 ounces or 9.93 pounds.

    This is in addition to the weight Iíve saved on taking different foods, so itís actually more. And itís a lot more when you consider Iím down about 20 pounds from last spring and 55 pounds from my heaviest 3-4 years ago. The last 20 are coming off much more slowly , but they will come off.

    As to the original question, I donít notice 1 Nalgene of water, but do notice 2 of them. I usually carry 2 bottles (one Nalge and one water), and fill them when they are both near empty. I look for bargains, but itíll have to be significant or have a dual purpose before Iíll shell out the cash for something.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty
    ...Once you get your weight down you will be more in tune with your body and WILL notice that 1.5 pound drop in weight. And when you get older, your knees will thank you.
    "...more in tune with your body..."
    I can't stop laughing at that one. Whenever I hear a phrase like that, I think someone's gonna offer me a hit from a bong and yell, "dude, play Freebird again!" Priceless. You just made my day!

  9. #54
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2005
    Sandy, Utah
    Quote Originally Posted by GNR

    Take the Sierra Designs Ultralight Origami Tarps...with a packed weight, according to SD website, is 2lbs, 6 is that ultralight? Sticking that word in front of gear does not make it light. It's not even that ultralight compared to 1-person tents that SD offers
    I would suppose this depends on whats in ones pack currently. If the tent you currently carry is 4lbs...then 2.6 lbs is ultralight in comparison.

    Why would you compare the origami ultralight to a 1 person tent by SD?? It can sleep 3. For sleeping 3 I think 2.6lbs isn't bad..I know there is lighter, but that also comes at a higher price...


  10. #55
    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Avatar-Keaton (4) & Dad enjoying the snow on Wachusett Greenway
    I'm not really sure of what the point of the thread has become, but I am one of those who started camping with just a tarp and eventually bought a tent for the mosquitoes, but was never happy with the weight of it and kept trying to lighten up, but didn't really "see the light" until 2000 when I was swept away with sil-nylon tarps, New Balance 803's, pepsi can stoves and Walmart greasepots.

    Just listening to folks talk about this stuff on the ultralight BP lists was music to my ears. But I agree, this was not born by any manufacturer. In fact, I think the big manufacturers tried desparately to not go down this road until the grass roots efforts gained sheer mass appeal - Even Backpacker Magazine was really, really late to the party. You couldn't find any of this stuff at REI, EMS or Campmor until a few years ago. I used to think they were all asleep at the switch until I realized that the early adopters weren't spending money and the retail giants were waiting until it was more widely accepted before they invested in it.

    The people I look to as the real pioneers are Ray Jardine, Henry Shires, Demetri Coupounas, Sgt Rock, Fallingwater, AYCE, Brawny, Rainmaker, John O'ware, Aaron from Brasslite, Even our own Percious and a number of other thruhikers that have made and marketed their own designs even in some cases going against some conventional wisdom.

    There was not much money in it at the beginning simply because it wasn't about money - it was about personal triumphs and trying to do something different that worked. I remember a lot of threads of just using cheap, cheap Walmart gear and getting back to basics.

    Now that UL is mass-marketed you can get a $300 sil-nylon tent and a $25 titanium spork - You can bet that the folks who are in it for the challenge of making/designing their own gear or trying to do something on their own aren't falling for that. But there isn't anything wrong with it - I look at it as the folks who are going to spend the money are likely going to spend the money anyway, and are just waiting for something to catch their fancy.

    I fall somewhere in between the 2 groups. I finally got tired of pepsi can stoves and greaspots and bought an MSR canister stove and a Ti pot. Granted they were on closeout, but I had the "gear" bug biting me and outdoor gear stills seems to be my only vice (for now).

  11. #56
    Senior Member Grumpy's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    You bet Iím a victim of the ultralight craze!

    How do I know?

    Well, because of the gram-weenies and their incessant yakking about weight I now feel soiled, guilty and completely inferior every time I shoulder my industrial strength pack to go for a hike.

    That pack is loaded with stuff like tough-as-nails rain/windbreak clothing, wool warmth garments, real food, and (filled) reliable old heavyweight Nalgene water jugs, and stuff like that. I wear heavy boots. Why, I carry more weight on a day hike than most of those evangelistic ultralighters tote for a week in the bush!

    Never worried about it much before. But frankly, since the ultralighters started preaching their gospel more aggressively through the various internet hiking forums in recent years, most of the joy has gone out of my hiking, knowing that Iím doing it wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Thatís about as victimized as you can get.

    (Of course, all that is only partially true. Fact is, I just tune out the preachers and go on with my business, knowing that I have the strength of ten because of the workout my gear runs me through.)


  12. #57
    Senior Member spaddock's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Ottawa - Avatar: Hello Mr. 46
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Sale
    18.4 on a sleeping bag (dump, needed a cleaning)
    I'm really really glad you added the "needed a cleaning" part!


  13. #58
    Member Clown's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Millis, Mass; Avatar: My Office
    Well it's all up to the person. I don't believe I am being victimized at all. I'm not the person that buys every new thing that comes out. I personally believe in ultra-light because it is more comfortable for me. I can hike longer and more miles with less strain on my back and legs.

    Do I spend more money on ultralight equipment? Sometimes the better quality equipment is going to cost you more but not all the time. For example: instead of a $30 titanium ultralight cup, mine is a simple old measuring cup that is just as light.

    I believe in not bringing alot of extra things I am never going to use. This is simple, after every hike lay out everything in two piles. One for stuff you don't use, and one for stuff you did use. If you don't use it for more than one hike then you don't need it (this obviously excludes emergency items). Can you substitute two items for one of another and have some "dual purpose" items.
    Nature does nothing uselessly.

  14. #59
    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Out of control
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff-B
    I have nothing against Golite, but as you brought this up.....

    So, Golite has a load limit of 30lbs (not a lot) then mention in marketing that the strap saved someones life...once.
    But I'll bet most packs can do that and continue a life of hard use, falling on straps dozens of times!
    Have you fallen for the "plug" by Golite?, I guess so, you must own one..
    ...Just poking a little slam here..

    For the record; I never said "lesser quality", I stated specifically that seams were made lighter by making them smaller, with probably fewer folds, reinforcements, ect., which is the truth.
    It does not mean that its "cheap", rather, more difficult to construct.

    However, I am saying that the smaller seams would blow out more easily, less durable and shorter wearing.

    Of course less zippers and buckles can reduce the weight as well, agreed.

    I have seen this trend towards weight reduction by way of reduceing seams, which is also stated by many manufacturers.
    Mt Hardware is leading an effort to use light weight sailmaking cloths in thier tents and clothing and I applaud the effort!
    Being an experienced sailmaker myself, I see these new fabrics saving considerable weight.
    How they are constructed, seams, stitching, ect. is equally important to function and durability.

    I am a little Golite whore, no offense taken - it's the truth

    I see what you mean by the stitching and have looked at my packs' stitching before - it IS less than other packs, I'm guessing the exact reason why they have a weight limit on their packs - which in the end should be no problem since if you are already buying into the going lighter movement you won't want to carry more than 30lbs anyway.

    I haven't seen any statistics or overwhelming reviews of ultralight gear working or breaking on people anyway... so arguing too much on this is kind of moot and just opinion.

    ...but that pack DID save that guy's life. Golite of Die!!

    Carry on

  15. #60
    Member GNR's Avatar
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    Feb 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by KMartman
    If the tent you currently carry is 4lbs...then 2.6 lbs is ultralight in comparison.
    You are making my point about the word ultralight being marketed and attached to gear that is really not that light at all. 2.6lbs is not ultralight compared to 4lbs, though it is lighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMartman
    Why would you compare the origami ultralight to a 1 person tent by SD?? It can sleep 3. For sleeping 3 I think 2.6lbs isn't bad..I know there is lighter, but that also comes at a higher price...

    The SD website describes the Origami Ultralight as a 1 person, 3 season shelter...I didn't really get into the specs, but it does look much bigger than a 1 person job. Nice catch.

    For 3, 2.6lbs isn't bad, compared to a tent, but not compared to several tarps made by ID(Sil Tarp 2 or 3), Golite or Gossamergear. They are lighter, and can be found for close to $120 like the SD tarp. SilTarps on Ebay, such as the SilTarp 3, sell for no more than $100.
    "Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" -- Voltaire, 1767

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