Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My philosophy on Ultralight Hiking

I wasn’t always an ultralight hiker. In fact, I did a Presidential traverse with my step-dad the summer before I was in 8th grade. It was a three-day hike and we didn’t weigh our packs until we came down off Mt. Washington and returned to Pinkham Notch. My pack at the end of the hike (so the food was eaten, water was gone) weighed 45 lbs. Now that may not sound like a while lot but that was almost 50% of my body weight! I still remember - my quads felt like they were on fire. Those early trips with a lot of weight make me appreciate my now-lighter-pack even more.

To me, ultralight is a way of being prepared, safe and comfortable with the lightest pack possible. It’s freedom to skip along the trail and enjoy Creation without being constantly reminded of all the stuff you’re lugging with you. I don’t know about you, but I go to the wilderness to get away from it all – not to bring it all with me.

I’ve hiked over 5,000-miles in all kinds of climates and all seasons and I can tell you that ultralight can be adapted, the principals applied and it can work in some form for just about any trip.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about some of the principals, tips and tricks I’ve learned over my 10+ years of ultralight hiking. To hopefully help you have more fun in the outdoors while being more comfortable and safer through the use of a lighter pack.

Backpacking can be categorized a few ways. For the purpose of this blog, we'll define ultralight as overnight backpacking with a sub-10lb pack. Only a few years ago, I met people who said that isn't possible (I can tell you for a fact, it is). In this blog, I’ll share my insight on clothing, gear and techniques. Even if you have no intention of EVER hiking overnight with 9lbs, the information here will help you find the weight that is right for you and make the most of your adventure. It’ll all things I’ve picked up along my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail along with countless other hikes and travels around the globe. I’m looking forward to this and welcome you to join in the discussion.

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