The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Backpacking is more than just about gear. Here's a forum to talk about the "philosophy" of lightweight backpacking.
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Mags
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The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby Mags » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:47 pm

NOTE: I never cared for the book ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, but the title was too good to pass up for this forum idea! :D)


As mentioned in my introduction, lightweight backpacking is more than about gear for me.

It is a philsophy.

I try to keep my life simple and my choice of gear reflects that philosophy.

We are going into the mountains to experience nature. Why take a heavy tent? Or a complicated stove? Why more "stuff"?

How did a past time dedicated to simplicity get to the point where you somehow NEED a $300 Goretex jacket to survive the wilderness?

This desire for simplicity also reflected in how I choose my gear. Will this gear be transparent and let me enjoy the wilderness? Or will it be too complicated to use and distract me from enjoying the woods?

You get the idea.

This forum is just an experimental idea.

But an idea I hope other people enjoy and will participate in.

If you have thoughts and ideas about lightweight backpacking, we'd love to hear and discuss them!
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
--Thoreau
http://www.pmags.com
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zelph
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby zelph » Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:06 pm

When I leave my vehicle and start walking towards the trail my weight loss begins. I start shedding the heavy feelings associated with daily coping just to get through the hum-drum work day. As heavy as my pack may be, it's really nothing compared to the weight of the responsibilities that we take upon ourselves. Now that I think on the subject, I can understand why my pace quickens as I head toward the trail. There is peace there, I want all that there is to offer.

A time or two I have stood on a high bluff overlooking the mighty Missisippi River wondering what it would feel like to be stark naked, arms outstretched trying to touch the setting sun. Saw that in a movie once, thought it would be cool to do that someday. :D

I'm Baaaack to reality.

Thanks Mags, I needed that. Good to reflect back on why I like lighweight.
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Nightwalker
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby Nightwalker » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:17 pm

My short-version philosophy about lightweight hiking: It's much more about what you leave behind than what you take with you. Lightweight gear is very good, but less gear is even better.
Just Hike!

Midway Sam
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby Midway Sam » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:47 am

Cliff Notes:

Heavy pack = enjoy the camping.
Light pack = enjoy the hike.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. ~ William Francis Redmond

UL Minimalist
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby UL Minimalist » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:07 pm

I'm new to this belief but I plan on applying it to my AT Thru-Hike March 1st. Any guiding hand through this would be great since i'm about to take on the task of selecting gear soon.

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toddheyn
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby toddheyn » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:56 pm

Both with the endeavor of backpacking and deciding to go lightweight, I generally follow this philosophy:

It is the journey, not the destination, which is important.
"Not all who wander are lost." -J. R. R. Tolkien

Nightwalker
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby Nightwalker » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:37 am

UL Minimalist wrote:I'm new to this belief but I plan on applying it to my AT Thru-Hike March 1st. Any guiding hand through this would be great since i'm about to take on the task of selecting gear soon.

I'd recommend reading Mags' whole site. He's 2/3 through a triple crown, and has more experience in light-hiking that anyone here.

I've got nearly 6,000 miles on all trails, but I've only been "chasing feathers" for about a year now.
Just Hike!

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Mags
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby Mags » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:17 pm

>>I'd recommend reading Mags' whole site. He's 2/3 through a triple crown, and has more experience in light-hiking that anyone here.

Thanks for the kinds words!

As an FYI, I am a triple crowner as of Nov 1st, 2006.
http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php?o ... emId=14539

FWIW, my "resume" (I seldom put this down):

Long Trail 1997,1999
Appalachian Trail 1998
Pacific Crest Trail 2002
Colorado Trail 2004
Continental Divide Trail 2006
..and lots of time skiing, trail running, hiking and backpacking in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New England. Life ain't bad.
All that means is that I've seen some awesome places and probably have had a few too many Snicker bars. ;)

But for me, lightweight backpacking is more about the KISS principle. Don't let the focus be on the gear, but on the attitude. If I leave behind my desire for gear and depend more on knowledge, I find my gear gets less. When I focus on the gear, I tend to take more.

This philosophy has also transitioned to my off trail life. My belongings (other than books and my outdoor gear. Have to have priorities!) is rather slim. I can
fit my belongings in the back my small pickup truck. As I get older, I may settle down more and acquire more "stuff". But leaving life simply is what it is about
for me.

A good meal with friends. A glass of red wine while reading a favorite book. A sunset from Franconia Ridge. Seeing wildhorses gallop in the Great Divide Basin.

I don't need lots "stuff" to enjoy all these parts of my life. And by going light, in the figurative AND literal sense, I have less between me and what I truly
enjoy. By going light, I have more opportunities to enjoy what is best about life, too.
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
--Thoreau
http://www.pmags.com
http://www.redbubble.com/people/pmags/art

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zelph
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby zelph » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:27 pm

On PBS the other day Dr. Wayne W. Dyer said we would all do better if we spent 1 hour a day outdoors. I agree. :D

Anyone seen his work on teaching Tao and his philosophy.

I've only seen it once and look forward to seeing more. The guy sounds interesting.
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

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ConnieD
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Re: The philisophy of lightweight backpacking?

Postby ConnieD » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:06 pm

I did not read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I did read "Truck: On Rebuilding a Worn-Out Pickup and Other Post-Technological Adventures" (Paperback) a great book and a good read.

It "fit" my already developing philosophy.

I think my ideal of simplicity began in college.

My friend and I dragged a brick board into the dorm, placed it atop a wardrobe, the top height matching the frame around the entry door and the bathroom door. I turned the ceiling lampshade around, away from me. I had only my backpacking gear and schoolbooks up there. In fact, that was all I had. I loved it.

The things I purchase are in pursuit of that ideal: a practical minimalism.


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