Various levels of comfort…


Comfort.  Now that we have handled requirements for surviving, it is time to enjoy it.  “Any man who does not enjoy life, does not deserve to live it.”  That quote is from  Da Vinci.  A good nights sleep is an item that nothing else replaces.  Western Mountaineering makes a wonderful 1 pound sleeping bag.  After that, consider the tools for preparing hot meals.  A half liter Platypus is used to store fuel for a WhiteBox stove.  The fuel for the stove is HEET (yellow bottle).  Add some breakfast food (6 packets of instant oatmeal in a ziploc bag).  The sleeping bag and the “kitchen” gear all add 2 more pounds to the 3 you already have in your 72 hour survival kit.

In our next installment we move from using an improvised pack, to an actual backpack (relax, it only weighs 12.2 ounces).  And before you ask, yes, a gear list will be provided soon.

Until then, here is the next article in the series.

Dry Comp Summit Sack


Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack

This article is the first in a series that explains the way I’ve decided to lighten my load for weekend backpacking.

  1. No one thing weighs more than 16 ounces
  2. No batteries
  3. No camelbacks
  4. Total pack load is <15 pounds
  5. Full skin out is <20 pounds

What pack do I use to stay under 16 ounces and keep my gear dry? The Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack is an ultralight backpack that keeps your clothes and sleeping bag dry. The Hydroseal-coated Antron nylon is seam taped to make it fully waterproof. To further compress the sack a roll-top closure holds out moisture and compression straps shrink your load. People have used this product for emergency flotation (YMMV).


  • 12.2 ounces
  • Hydroseal coated Antron nylon is waterproof and durable, waterproof taped seams
  • Roll-top waterproof closure, durable buckle secures roll top
  • Ergonomic design fits flat against back, four compression straps convert to shoulder straps and hip belt, foam-padded shoulder straps wrap over shoulder.
  • Dual daisy chains with ice axe loops, two side mesh pockets with one-hand pull elastic drawcords
  • Dimensions-Rolled: 24 in. x 11 in. x 9 in./61 cm x 28 cm x 23 cm Volume: 2197 cu. in./36 L

The total pack weight will be <15 pounds when loaded. The shoulder straps are not a problem with a pack this light. It has a large enough capacity that it will easily hold three days of supplies. At $50 this piece of Ultralight kit is EXTREMELY affordable.

You mean it doesn’t go as you planned?


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Spring Snow by Everett Vinzant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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It was 80 degrees 48 hours before this picture was taken. For anyone planning a hike, the change in the weather might have been a problem. So the question is, how much stuff is sensible to have for the unplanned, and what should you leave home?

Short answer, take what you need. Don’t take a bunch of extra stuff. Common sense will have to help you sort it out. Start with a long sleeve wool shirt. You’ll be warm, even if it gets wet.

Throw a down liner under it for colder days, and a rain shield over the top for inclement weather. This layering system will work all winter, and you never wear more than needed. Bring the layers that you’re not wearing if weather, or uncertainty about the weather, dictates. So yes, be ready.

Don’t bring your layers, an Adirondack, a ski jacket, a trench coat, a leather jacket, and a wind breaker. Find fewer, lighter things that can do the same job. Even better, find things that do multiple jobs (and do them well). It’s about elegant solutions, and using your brain. Make something.

What do you need for your purpose?

Ultralight Philosophy


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Ultralight Rail by Everett Vinzant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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We travel through life. As we go from moment to moment we carry “stuff” with us. Some is needed. How much stuff do you carry through the day, that you don’t need? Stuff that weighs you down. Stuff that slows your progress. Stuff needs stuff to support it. What could you get rid of now? Maybe a habit, an attitude, a preconceived notion? What thing could you give away or sell? This isn’t about having nothing. It’s about being unencumbered.

You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

Tomorrow I will list something I got rid of. You could too in the comments.