Wednesday, March 30, 2011

interview on BPL

There is an interview where I share stuff about the book at the on line magazine I talk about the book as well as promote an upcoming Tip-of-the-Week on This book is a nice fit with the content of the web-site.


coming soon to backpacking-light

There is now a series of once-a-week tips on the premier ultralight website, Backpacking-Light.

And here a direct link to the Tip-of-the-Week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

spread sheets

(Click on any image for a Hi-REZ close-up view)

The above list is everything inside the backpack (or gear carried) that makes up the BASE-WEIGHT. This excludes the food and fuel, see the spread-sheet below devoted to the CONSUMABLES. Not that the total BASE-WEIGHT comes in at exactly 8 pounds.

This list is the GEAR WORN, and that means items NOT in the backpack. This list is somewhat arbitrary because on a really hot day I might wear a little less (thus slightly more on my back), but this would be the core of my hiking ensembal.

I might have an item or two in my pockets, but that's not factored in on this list, though some UL hikers will make good use of their pockets as a way to cheat - er, I mean - as a way to lower their overall pack weight.

The above set of spread sheets is to show that consumables are really tho only thing that will impact a hiker's overall PACK-WEIGHT because the core of their gear carried is pretty much the same for an overnight or a 10 day expedition.
ONE-CLICK download PDF file HERE.

Friday, March 18, 2011

a practical guide

Click on the image for a hi-rez view.

Available NOW!

There are some links on the sidebar (to the right) with info on ordering. This book is a whole buncha cartoons (and words) that focus on the metaphysical side of getting your pack-weight down to the absolute minimum. Sure, there are some tips on gear too, but fewer than you think (because you leave most of your gear behind).

Just so y'know, I'm super proud of this little book!

Call you neighborhood bookstore, and tell 'em to pre-order a few copies.

Friday, March 11, 2011

TIP number 120

The nimble fingers of Andrew Skurka creating a tiny powerhouse stove.

Make your own alcohol stove

There are oodles of cool designs for homemade alcohol stoves, and they are all made from junk out of the recycle bin. Searching the internet for alcohol stove designs is like going down the rabbit hole, be prepared to get overwhelmed with information. The stove designs drawn here are made with cat food cans and a simple paper punch.

For solo cooking, most stove designs require setting the pot is set right on the stove unit, so there is no reason for any kind of stand. The smaller sized Fancy Feast cat food can stove and a solo cook mug is an amazingly simple and efficient cook-system. I was turned-on to this tiny stove by Ultralight superstar Andrew Skurka. He’s traveled thousands of miles with just this little beauty in his pack—no need for anything more.

Use nothing more than a simple office supply hole punch as your only tool.

Cat food cans gleaned from the trash are the source for an excellent alcohol stove.

If you are cooking in a team of two, the larger can (3 3/8” diameter) requires a little gap between the stove and the bottom of the pot. You can use three tent stakes to make a perfectly sturdy platform, and get multi-use points for the stakes!

I've played with this design using the 3 3/8" sized can, and I find it has more ooompf that the "Fancy Feast" size. It can be used with a pot setting right on top of the little can. But, for a little bit better performance, using the tent stakes as a stand helps the heat output and cook time.

A very light alcohol stove with heat output for a team of two.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

tip number 31

The term "in camp" defined

If you're truly on a roll using every trick to boost efficiency, there should be only mere minutes between sleeping and hiking. If you are cooking meals on-trail (see tip 70, eat dinner on the trail) you can hike ‘til bedtime and quickly climb into your bag and sleep. In the morning, you simply roll out of bed and start hiking again.

With this streamlined strategy, the term “in camp” doesn’t really mean anything.

But, if you wanna relax at the end of the day (and the next morning) in a beautiful spot, you’ll be plunked down in one spot for an extra bunch of hours. This is a traditional form of camping and this lazy zone of dinner/sleep/breakfast is known as being in camp.

If this has been your time-honored mode of camping, I implore you to re-think your standard operating procedures. (see tip 24, the human factor) No need to spend time simply parked in one place. Yes, it might be beautiful in camp, but so is moving through the Wilderness with a UL pack. You can drink in that same beauty as you travel.

The traditional camper will only find his comfort in camp, and only after the crippling backpack is jettisoned off his back. The ultralight camper finds their comfort on the trail.

Here's an example. Why sit in one place when you can effortlessly glide down the path, like a hovercraft of groovyness! (Wind River Range, Wyoming)

Monday, March 7, 2011

hand lettering

Few things in our lives are more important than loving attention to lettering when the source is the human hand.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

skeptical federal employees

(I love this photo)
Grand Teton National Park rangers get a short tutorial in UL camping from my pal Phil. May 2007.

Note the backpack. That's a 3.5 ounce Gossamer Gear Whisper fully loaded for 4 days and 3 nights of early summer conditions. Phil Schneider-Pants playin' it cool in the presence of the federal employees.