Monday, September 13, 2004

Going light when backpacking

Outdoors lite

When it comes to backpacking equipment, enthusiasts pounce on every ounce to trim weight down to the absolute minimum

Paul Field forgoes all but the necessities when he takes part in days-long hiking, bushwhacking, bicycling and paddling events known as adventure races. To save on weight, he and his teammates don't bring sleeping bags if they aren't required to.

"You kind of just plop down on the ground in one pile and use body heat to keep you warm," said Field, 38, who lives in Northeast Portland.

Field is so scrupulous about how much he carries that he knows the exact weight of every item he carries. His "GoLite" backpack: 1 pound 15 ounces. His ultra-light windbreaker: 2 ounces. His socks: 1.5 ounces. And how about his underwear?

"Sometimes you skip the underwear. You know, go commando," a slightly sheepish Field said.


Well, it would be nice to be able to get into the woods with less weight, but there are concerns for most of us. For one thing, a lot of the real innovative stuff requires reinvestment. Water filters, ultralight packs and sleeping gear, and so forth all add up in costs, so a measured amount of outlay is sometimes in order.

Still, I felt like I was carrying a pickup canopy on my back on my last trip. It is plain that there are better avenues to check out here to make the trip easier and more fun (and better for my foot with the fallen arch). I will keep you posted.

8 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Don Snabulus said...

The Moody Minstrel:

Things like this just go to underscore what wimps people have become in this day and age. It's like when Mr. Ogawa (the chief band director at my school) just about blew a gasket when he found out the kids in our orchestra had been housed in a building that would approach freezing inside during the night during an "away mission". Heck, there was plenty of extra bedding available! Just put on another cover and sleep through the night!

But noooooooooooooooooo............. If they don't have heaters in every room, it's neglect if not abuse!

Bring back the old, canvas packs with wooden frames. I used one on my first backpack campout with the Boy Scouts. (It was my grandpa's...and I remember a boy named *** ****** giving me cr*p about it, too.) Yes, it was heavy. It was bloody good exercise.

Who's that gut lord marchin' over there? You need t' cut down on yer parklife, mate! GET SOME EXERCISE!!!

Don Snabulus said...

How many times do you need to be told not to use real names here? I deleted your post and reposted it without the names.

Anonymous said...

Opus Dei member:

Let us mortify the flesh. It brings us closer to God. Pointed pebbles in the boots help me feel the Passion of the Lord.

Don Snabulus said...

George Carlin:

How many times do you need to be told not to use real names here?Six.

The Moody Minstrel said...

How do you know it was a real name? Maybe it was a JOKE name! Would anyone else be the wiser? Does anyone out there know the difference (between a duck)? Maybe it was a code for Zebadiah Finglebritt!

This is getting too complicated. I guess we should just go back to ranting about President Cvti and challenger Lfssz...or Ptbnb cjo Mbefo.

Don Snabulus said...

Hey, Vulgarius. How did you deal with water on your Olympic Mts. trip? Just curious if you had filtration, chemical purification, or a trust in God and nature.

Vulgarius said...

We used filtration but boiled when we could. But then again, we packed heavy so we could stay a good long while. Next time we will try pygmy pack goats and a decent length whip.