The process of switching to Ultralight...

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides none
Linked Areas none
User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 24 2009 6:05 am

I've been researching various ultralight websites. I have been a traditionalist for years, still carry an external frame pack. I want to start with the backpack. I notice on Gossamer Gear's site that several of their items are not available right now. Also, their packs do not come in a small. I will have to measure myself to see if their med. will fit me.

I'll be getting a small lump sum in January (student disbursement--yes, I'm going back to school) and probably will start with a backpack. You guys can yell at me a bunch about your preferences, I'll take a look. Keep in mind I'm 5'2" and I must have most of the weight on my hips--no non-waistbelt packs work for me--I use a waist belt on the lightest daypack, in fact!

ULA seems a good way to go since their stuff is very available in several sizes and colors. Z gear is not available right now because the guy is on a thru-hike.

I think, in transitioning, I should start with the backpack and maybe the cook kit as well. My cooking stuff takes up a lot of room in my pack as I just grab a plastic bowl from the cupboard, a plastic cup. I have an MSR pocket rocket which is lighter and smaller than older stoves, but not as small and light as a soda can stove. I have an old aluminum pan. A relic for Te-wa's museum, along with my backpack, Svea stove, etc.

Good sleeping bags are expensive, so that will have to wait. As for the tent, I have a solo Big Agnes eVent, which weighs a little over 3 lbs. So that is another thing I will be looking at--a solo shelter. I would keep the eVent for bad weather trips, at least for the time being.

I will never buy another Big Agnes item because their customer service stinks.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
PaleoRob
Culture Kokopelli
Posts: 2341
Joined: Apr 03 2006 12:21 pm
City, State: Grand Junction, CO
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by PaleoRob » Nov 24 2009 6:33 am

Say it ain't so Elizabeth! You and I were the last ones with old clunky gear! ;)
Certainly the place to get proper recommendions though.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

User avatar
Sredfield
Volunteer Kokopelli
Posts: 1574
Joined: Sep 08 2002 1:07 pm
City, State: Ahwatukee, AZ

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by Sredfield » Nov 24 2009 6:37 am

I'm liking the Opsrey Exos 58 I got about a year ago.
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

User avatar
berkforbes
Goatapelli
Posts: 201
Joined: Mar 18 2008 9:36 pm
City, State: phoenix
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by berkforbes » Nov 24 2009 7:43 am

As far as pack id recomend an Osprey... They are super well built, fit very well, and they stand behind all their packs forever.. If anything breaks, rips, tears, whatever happens really, they will either fix it for you or replace it outright.. i just picked up the Osprey Stratos 18 daypack.. I'm absolutely in love with it!!!!
"Rather love, than money, than fame, give me truth."
-Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
te_wa
Squirrelock Holmes
Posts: 2470
Joined: Aug 22 2003 9:16 pm
City, State: 221b Baker St.

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by te_wa » Nov 24 2009 7:51 am

i like some of the Osprey packs too but imho it is no better time to keep your dollars in circulation here.. in the USA
Gossamer has small sizes but must be sold out? consider a pack with more robust construction since the Gorilla is the only one they sell that isnt silnylon or spinnaker.
ULA has a new owner, thats right, Brian Frankle who founded the company 15 years ago sold to a couple and although they claim the focus is to remain loyal, small, and produce awesome gear that is yet to be seen. Hope they dont move to China!!
http://www.mldgear.com another cottage company with a loyal following. i think his asking prices are a bit steep, but his customers never complain.
http://www.sixmoondesigns.com has a new UL pack but ive not heard any gossip about the features or quality. it looks like just another offering into an already saturated UL pack market. a good move by Ron Moak? i dunno but it seems about 5 years too late..

i have a six moon Comet pack, like new that has removeable stays and you can easily carry 35lbs in it, (think desert, water) or you can remove the stays for a 21oz pack with good capacity for those high bulk, low weight trips (think winter)
it comes with a small waistbelt for 26-34" waists and a fully adjustable ladderlock style torso strap system (like the old LoweAlpine packs) and it will fit something like a 15-22" torso.
a great pack. and its sorta a purple color.
no longer listed on the six moons site but it looks exaclty like the Starlite except smaller...
added features were "hipbelt" pockets and optional stays. it was used for 5 days in colorado, like new
i paid $156 and you can have it shipped for $100
:D

User avatar
dysfunction
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 599
Joined: Dec 20 2008 7:38 pm
City, State: Tucson, AZ

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by dysfunction » Nov 24 2009 7:56 am

Personally, I'd start with the stuff that goes in the backpack.. or then you'll be suffering to fix what you got.. that being said, I have a Ula Ohm (and a circuit actually) and it does have a hipbelt.. but you won't find it like a structured hipbelt you're used to. With that being said, the pack weight doesn't require one in the first place. But good packs abound these days in the light to ultra light ranges...


Brian sold Ula? Hrm, didn't notice that when I dealt with them last week.. course it's been Casey you deal with since last year anyway, when he was hired on as customer service. Where'd you hear the scuttlebutt?
mike

"Solvitur ambulando" or maybe by brewers.

User avatar
JoelHazelton
Luminosopelli
Posts: 1035
Joined: Mar 22 2006 7:45 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by JoelHazelton » Nov 24 2009 7:56 am

How big of a pack are you looking for? The REI "Flash" series packs are also awesome and a quite a bit cheaper than Osprey.

i.e.
REI Flash 65- 3lb 2oz, volume 65 liters, 149.00
Osprey Atmos 65- 3lb 9oz, volume 65 liters, 239.00

Of course, it comes down to what's comfortable and meets your organizational needs.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com

User avatar
fairweather8588
Jeep Bustin' Kokopelli
Posts: 350
Joined: Jul 22 2003 6:35 pm
City, State: Scottsdale
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by fairweather8588 » Nov 24 2009 9:28 am

Can't go wrong with a GoLite Jam2, you can usually find them for around $100, or it's bigger brother the pinnacle (both avail in womens models)
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

Kerouac

User avatar
writelots
Wendipelli
Posts: 967
Joined: Nov 22 2005 2:20 pm
City, State: Tucson, AZ
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by writelots » Nov 24 2009 9:29 am

I'm in love with my Golite Quest (women) pack. You can usually find it on sale for around $100 - and it's quite bomb proof. It's been on every backpack with me for over a year now - and I've started wearing it on day trips because it's more comfortable than my day pack (and you can cinch it down to the point where it is small enough). It's pretty basic, and to get more than a couple of days worth of gear in it, you need to have a small sleeping system. Two dunks in Tepeats creek, a couple of downpours and an accidental drop into a cattle pond and nothing inside has ever gotten wet. It's great for those of us with smaller frames or short waists. It's heaver than the "ultra light" packs, I think it fits the "lightweight" catergory instead. A good transitional pack as you begin to pare down your gear.

My two cents worth, anyhow. Love gear shopping.. :D
-----------------------------------
It troubles me that these days no matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up
- Lilly Tomlin

User avatar
hikeaz
Socialpelli
Posts: 1881
Joined: May 13 2002 10:07 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by hikeaz » Nov 24 2009 3:07 pm

As I am often off-trail (sometimes purposely ;) ) I have not had much success with the 'ultralite' packs due to their dearth of durability over time.

But to further muddy your decision-making waters, you might look at the Granite Gear 'Vapor Ki'. A woman-specific pack that comes in short. GG's customer service is exemplary.
At 2# (for the 'short'), I don't know if it qualifies as 'ultralite', but 2# is pretty light and it IS bomber and has gobs of padding on the hip and shoulder belts.
http://www.granitegear.com/products/bac ... porki.html
I have used the men's version (Vapor Trail) to carry 10 days of food & gear, so it can hold up to a pretty good load, too.

Another option may be the Osprey 'Atmos 50'. It's now discontinued and replaced, I think, with the 'Exos' series, but there is one (short) on the Phoenix craigslist for $60.00 right now. Saving almost $100 would go pretty far in helping to fund that Western Mountaineering down bag you always wanted.......

Cook kit..... You do not mention what types of meals you cook, but if you merely heat water and pour into a bag, any pot will do - maybe even consider an alcohol stove. If you sometimes need to 'simmer', however, alcohol stoves are at a disadvantage and canister stoves fare much better. A lower, wider pot is more efficient with your fuel than a narrower, taller one. REI (as well as Snow Peak, MSR & others) makes some decent titanium pots, but when figuring cost-benefit, titanium is difficult to justify. IMUSA (available in the pots/pans section @ Target) makes a ‘grease pot’ that is as good as most backpacking-specific pots and is about $5.00 (vs. $20/$30 for aluminum or $50 or more for titanium 'BACKPACKING' pots)
Another option is the ‘Stanco’ Grease Pot available through Amazon ($9.99) or Bene Casa pot also from Amazon. All of these pots are aluminum.
If you need a small bowl, try the lid from a CountryTime lemonade canister; it fits down inside the grease pot.
A very good insulated mug is REI’s Aladdin mug ($ 4.25) you can also find these Aladdin mugs at thrift shops sometimes for about a buck.

You didn't mention a mattress as an item you need but Campmor has the Pacific Outdoor 'X-Lite Thermo' pad for about $50. It's much more durable than a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core at the same weight. It is insulated, 20" x 72" and 3" thick! It is NOT ultralite at 24oz., but, man, are they comfy. Rolls to about the size of a 32oz. Nalgene.
kurt

User avatar
allanalxndr
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 185
Joined: Jun 23 2003 7:03 pm
City, State: Phx, AZ

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by allanalxndr » Nov 24 2009 4:03 pm

Recently, I have been refocusing my gear to be lighter. I recently picked up the Granite Gear Vapor Trail that weights 2lbs. http://www.granitegear.com/products/bac ... trail.html It just arrived last week but I have yet to actually use it outside. So far I'm pretty impressed with it and its small size and volume. I picked it up here: https://www.prolitegear.com/granite_gea ... il_pl.html for $128 w/ free shipping. Also available in Short size. I won't have time to use the new pack for awhile but maybe others can chime in more about it?

User avatar
te_wa
Squirrelock Holmes
Posts: 2470
Joined: Aug 22 2003 9:16 pm
City, State: 221b Baker St.

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by te_wa » Nov 24 2009 4:20 pm

imho, not to discount the people who love GG vapor trails, but that pack does not have a cult following. the outside pockets on the sides of the pack are almost completely useless if you are the type that uses water bottles. it also has a rediculously large extension collar that serves no purpose but to add weight to a pack with an overbuilt, heavy suspension system.

a ULA Conduit or MLD Exodus have a much more dedicated fan base.
You want a plethora of opinions on these matters go to www.backpackinglight.com and see how many people mouth the words "ULA"
..dozens.

i still say keep it in the USA, chinese packs are just that. chinese packs.
:D

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 24 2009 4:45 pm

Wow, tons of info! Not sure, Te-wa, what is an extension collar, but I can tell you I want straight straps. I hate those contoured strap things that are fitted around just below the back of your neck, know what I mean? Very uncomfortable.

And I'll look at that one online that you have for sale, too, Te-wa, thanks! and see what it looks like.

I have looked at some of the packs mentioned. Will check out the others. No decisions yet, though. I'm not really in the actual market until early January.

Interesting, too, one of you guys mentioned maybe I should start with the shelter, sleeping bag and other stuff. My external frame weighs about 3-4 pounds, I think, can't remember. I enjoy wearing it on trail, but off-trail, and on trails like South Canyon, it sucks.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
base871
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 235
Joined: Apr 24 2008 8:37 pm
City, State: Tempe

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by base871 » Nov 24 2009 5:11 pm

The rei flash, as someone else mentioned, is a good inexpensive pack. My ex had one and she is 5 foot even. Loved it. Wait till december when rei gets in the new "style" of the season, they will phase out the 09 stuff. probably go for 50 or 60 bucks for the 09 model. But who cares!
"The Edge. There really is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

User avatar
hikeaz
Socialpelli
Posts: 1881
Joined: May 13 2002 10:07 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by hikeaz » Nov 25 2009 8:28 am

te-wa wrote:......... the outside pockets on the sides of the pack are almost completely useless if you are the type that uses water bottles. it also has a rediculously large extension collar that serves no purpose but to add weight to a pack with an overbuilt, heavy suspension system.
As a 3-year VT user I would agree with the second point re. the collar (not necessarily the suspension system comment)
I wholeheartedly disagree with the water bottle comment. I use 2 one-liter PowerAde bottles, one in each side with nary an issue, Aquafina bottles fit well also. This is in addition to my tent poles (if I bring a tent) and umbrella and ground cloth, as well as a Ratsack if the destination calls for it - all in the side pouches.
fairweather8588 wrote:Can't go wrong with a GoLite Jam2, you can usually find them for around $100, or it's bigger brother the pinnacle (both avail in womens models)
And both are presently on sale @ REI-Outlet .
kurt

User avatar
joebartels
teva joe
Posts: 6968
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by joebartels » Nov 25 2009 8:35 am

hikeaz wrote:(if I bring a tent)
Ultralight at it's best
Saves time too

It took a couple trips for me to buy into the Sedler Method
The thermarest chair combo looks like the ticket too
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

User avatar
dysfunction
Exploring Kokopelli
Posts: 599
Joined: Dec 20 2008 7:38 pm
City, State: Tucson, AZ

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by dysfunction » Nov 25 2009 8:46 am

The biggest problem with starting with the pack is that.. well.. my old 'traditional gear' wouldn't come close to fitting in a UL pack. If you say got a new pack, and transitioned to a tarp at the same time that would be less of an issue (depending on how much you can compress your sleeping bag). BTW, IMO the lighter the pack.. the more you need to have em physically full.. so I no longer use stuff sacks, the pack handles better that way
mike

"Solvitur ambulando" or maybe by brewers.

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 25 2009 11:25 am

Boy one problem just breeds another, huh? ;)

I have a Thermarest chair, weighs 10 oz. I leave it home a lot.

I sleep without a tent sometimes, used to almost always sleep without one, but in recent years it seems most of my trips had rain in the forecast, so I brought the tent. Tarp, hammock, I'm open to ideas. If I go to tarp or tarp tent will have to also get new hiking poles. I'm still using the "trial" ones I bought at Walmart. I wanted to see if I liked the double pole system, so bought the Swissgear ones at Wally world. They are ok, but not very light.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

User avatar
hikeaz
Socialpelli
Posts: 1881
Joined: May 13 2002 10:07 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ
Contact:

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by hikeaz » Dec 01 2009 1:33 pm

Golite 'Jam 2' Women's pack (short) $50.29 @ Altrec.
kurt

User avatar
azbackpackr
River Paddler
Posts: 8113
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flag-summer-Needles-winter

Re: The process of switching to Ultralight...

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 01 2009 7:16 pm

Dang. Thanks for the info! Hope I can get in on some sales like that when I have the dough...right now I have to save for buying presents and gas to get to San Diego in 3 weeks!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

Post Reply

Return to “Gear”


cron