Thursday, February 3, 2011

TIP number 8

Look where I went with a 6 pound base weight!

know the difference between WANTS and NEEDS

You actually NEED very little; food, water and oxygen are obvious. So is warmth, comfort and peace of mind. But we are all too easily swayed by our WANTS, especially me!

Some things, like the backpack, are obviously required. But what about the tent? Is that something you WANT or NEED? These are decidedly different and it can be a challenging human exercise to attempt separate them from each other. Can you replace the thing you WANT with a something you truly NEED? Is there an option that’s lighter, cheaper, simpler or multi-use? Can it be nixed entirely? It should be easy to ditch the tent and replace it with a tarp, but all too often this decision can be fraught with emotion.

I have a beautiful camping knife. I love this elegantly crafted tool. I feel a very real WANT associated with my well-designed (and expensive) toy. This is a good item to truly scrutinize with ultralight eyes.

Are you hypnotized into believing you NEED a knife when all you are really doing is WANTING a knife? (see tip 53, What! No knife?)

A nice tool at 0.1 oz, and that includes the home-made envelope, built from cereal box cardboard and tape.

Personally, I’ve found a 0.1 oz single edge razor blade, void of frills and charisma, solves my need for a sharp thing in the mountains. Thus, the beautiful knife stays at home, and that liberation feels good!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

video tutorials

Here is the entirety of my instructional videos. These short little tutorials match what I say in the book.

Ultralight backpacking is a revolutionary act.

Ease of travel with an ultralight pack.

The clothes I wear (and carry) in 3-season weather. 
I also pull my pants down as an educational technique.

The entire contents of my pack, all of it!

All the DINKY stuff, Part ONE. This means the little items.

All the DINKY stuff, Part TWO. 
The first-aid kit, repair kit and the cook kit.

Treating suspect water in the backcountry.

Is it okay to drink UN-treated water?

Muffins are easy. But more important, 
this instructional video features my beautiful hands!

Alas, my claim to fame on YouTube (with over 14,000 hits). 
Also featured is my Main Man, Scott Christy. 
Videographer, none other than Andrew Skurka!

UL Superstar Andrew Skurka creates 
a VERY cool little stove from an old cat food can. 
This is an impressive little unit, 
a monument to simplicity and efficiency.

muffins as a mystical experience

In the book I stress getting up early, hiking for a little while until you find the perfect place to stop and cook breakfast. This photograph clearly shows an example of such a place. Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The author in the act of creating breakfast muffins. I'm seated near the lake (and water source) in the photo above. Please know - Coffee was integral to this experience.

Perfect muffins steam baked in the the Talkeetna backcountry in Alaska.

muffins with a UL stove set-up

Muffins are easy!

This instructional video features my beautiful hands!

the stereotypical pose

Portrait of the author (blogger, illustrator and self-promoter) with a weeks worth of food and gear in a 17 ounce backpack. Big Horn Range, Wyoming.

tip number 72

Napping as a skill

There comes a point on a long hiking day when I succumb the overriding urge to close my eyes in the sun. The afternoon siesta can be a beautiful thing. I encourage you to practice this beloved mountain skill. And I confidently predict you’ll achieve mastery, even on the first try.

Ingenious Napping Checklist:

~ Find a spot well away from the trial so other hikers won’t worry that you’re dead.
~ Take your shoes and socks off and let those feet air out!
~ If it’s buggy, find a spot with a slight breeze.
~ If you are in Grizzly country, keep the bear spray handy.
~ Use your backpack as a pillow.
~ Don’t get sunburned.

Should you set an alarm? I don’t, (because I don't carry a watch) I find that the entire napping process, from picking the perfect spot to being back on the trail (with sleep in between), usually clocks in at exactly an hour.

This process of afternoon renewal can be effectively followed with coffee on the trail. (see tip 130, coffee on the trail)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TIP number 28


Anyone can suffer with a light pack. The point is to thrive and enjoy the experience. The simple checklist of four points (below) is a good way to rein in your trip planning. Staying warm, sleeping comfortably, eating enough to be satisfied and energetic and not skimping on safety gear like first aid items and a simple repair kit. All of these points can be blended together to meet the needs of any individual trip.

  1. WARM
  4. SAFE

If you skimp on the tools (or mindset) that would insure any of these four simple points, you’ll eventually end up unhappy.

Always refer back to this short list if you have any questions. An example: A traditional camper will bring a big vessel just to lug water to his campsite. This can be eliminated because the Wilderness traveler with a lighter pack can position any cooking near water. It’s better to leave the big water vessel behind and take an extra warm layer. That layer can insure warmth and comfort, the water vessel is nothing more than a convenience. (see tip 2, Comfortable and safe are vital! )