First of all I want to say that I’m not going ultralight by definition. The base pack weight of my coming trip’s gear is 6,6 kg. If you look in the code of law of ultralight backpacking, this means I failed.
Sometimes there are exceptions. For example if you go on a trip in winter and you have to bring all the heavy warming stuff, you get a gracious not guilty verdict from your inner ultralight voice for one or maybe even two kilos more.
My trip will be in Spain. In May. So I deserve the disgrace.
On the photo you can see my total base weight.
Insertion: Ultralight Vocabulary
|Base Pack Weight||Everything in your pack except consumables (food, water and fuel)|
|Total Pack Weight
||Base pack weight + consumables
(without everything you’re wearing)
|Total Base Weight||Base pack weight + everything you’re wearing
|Skin Out Weight||Everything except your naked body weight
Base pack weight + everything you’re wearing + consumables
|Total Weight||Everything, including your body|
Which gives me some strange thoughts: It would be really much easier, to loose one kilo of body weight than to decide which kilo of items I don’t want to take on my trip. But this would be really dumb. But sometimes trying to be ultralight is just that: feeling dump.
The Ultralight Weight Limits:
|SuperUltraLightweight||Less than 2,5 kg BPW|
|UltraLightweight||Less than 5 kg BPW|
|Lightweight||Less than 10 kg BPW|
|Traditional||Less than 15 kg BPW|
|Heavy||More than 15 kg BPW|
(and I’m happy to be European because Europeans just rounded up the American values from 10 pounds for ultralight, which is only 4,5 kg).
- After asking several times at an outdoor or sports shop for the exact weight of an item and getting answers like “It’s really light!” I don’t go offline shopping without my kitchen scale anymore (which BTW isn’t ultralight).
- In my job I hate to use Excel sheets and I don’t have a clue how to work with this tool efficiently. But I use it to list my stuff for my trips. And I know nearly every items weight by heart.
- If some of my understanding friends make considerations what to bring to my trip, the first thing I think of, is weight.
- On countless occasions I sweared during online shopping because there was no weight indicated. Even on stuff with “ultralight” in its name or description!
- I started to indicate the lifespan of my shoes in kilometers.
- I just cut out the lining of my windbreaker (41g!).
- I bought something new just because it was 20 grams less than the one I already had.
- And quite frequently I paid the double amount of money for an item with one third less weight than another.
Where That Led To
Everything started with my desire to do a one month hike but having chronic back pain. After packing and organizing thoughtfully I carried 6,8 kg. I never even felt my backpack while walking. When I carried the pack of a fellow hiker during a short period, I was shocked how horrible heavy weight can feel. Mine was just delightful. This was a trip where I slept in hostels and I didn’t carry a tent or a sleeping pad.
Now I had to start thinking differently again. I had to get rid of stuff I really wanted to have with me, because under no circumstances I want to regret the heaviness of my pack. My kindle has to stay at home (-211g) as well as the guide book (-341g). Instead I want to write more (small bluetooth keyboard, + 190g). I hope I won’t need my puffy jacket (-328g) instead I take my cosy yeti next to nothing down vest (+99g). I had no use for a big knife the last time (-80g) but I hated having to fight for a plug in the evening (Anker charger +345g). I don’t carry four shirts anymore. And my overall variety of clothing will be very, very limited. In general I saved most of the weight with the very big stuff (for example backpack from 1,5kg to a 500g Laufbursche Huckepack) and the very small stuff (less this-could-all-happen-stuff).
Finally I’m now at approximately the same weight than before but with the tent, the sleeping setup and the cooking stuff.
My inner ultralight demon still whispers in my ear. And he is constantly fighting against my heavy-but-cozy demon. This is my actual kind of ultralight. And on my next trip, everything may change again.
Hike your own hike. You have to carry your own shit, and no one else will.