Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ultralight Backpacking is Survival School

This is my 9 ounce silnylon pack I designed and used for my successful thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. It was pretty basic, yet I made sure the shoulder straps were wide and padded to keep the pressure of a fully loaded food bag from causing pain on the trail.

Successful ultralighters think ahead. We plan, learn skills, innovate and don't expect to be bailed out.
We make mistakes, suffer awhile then fix it as soon as possible. I used to have problems not sleeping warm enough. Tried lots of things. Don't camp on hail, if you can help it. An empty silnylon backpack is poor insulation under the feet in winter. Use a full length pad. When the down bag gets marginal performance, it probably needs washing. If you have to wear your rain jacket to bed, do it. If you need 10 more degrees, use a bag liner.Buy fabric from walmart and sew one on the trail.
Its pretty rugged country up there in Vermont, and that hurricane Irene did a job there. Its easy to imagine communities being cut off. I'm surprised, however, that those folks didn't have more food and camping supplies tucked away for emergencies, any emergencies. I bet they will in the future.
Life is all about live and learn.
Ultralighters weren't born overnight. It takes schooling, a learning process. Sometimes we cut it too close, get into town starving. Then we eat everything in sight and probably haul way too much food out to the trail.
Sometimes we eat bad food combinations, forcing ourselves to eat anyways until next town stop.

Live and Learn. Makes great memories.

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