Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 
BCG Holiday Sale

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
BackcountryGear.com
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance


Stay Healthy--Eat Well

MARY JANES FARM ORGANIC MEALS

Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals

NATURAL HIGH GOURMET MEALS

Natural High

 

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#151942 - 06/27/11 08:29 AM Does fire take ultralight too far?
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
This is not intended as a thread to discuss the ethics of fires in the backcountry; that's an issue that involves too many variables including where you are hiking, and has been well-discussed in other threads. For purposes of this thread, let's simply accept that in most times and places, campfires would be at odds with Leave-No-Trace practices. I'm also not trying to re-ignite the "light is relative to what you're planning to do" issue; we can safely assume that as an accurate and well-proven point, too.

Instead, I'd like to get some discussion on whether fire is "cheating" at the ultralight game. This question occurred to me after reading another thread in this post, and seeing a headline at BackpackingLight.com (I think it's an ad for their store, not a serious article; but I'm no longer a member there, so I don't know.)

The other thread I read here made the point that one of the trade-offs true ultralighters (and sub-ultralighters) make in order to carry the extremely light loads they carry is to make compromises in warmth: they might choose to take a 30-degree bag when 20-degree lows are predicted, and only a light down vest or sweater, only liner gloves, and lightweight, not midweight, long underwear. The logic is that they're going to do high-mile days and spend very little time in camp, so they'll tolerate not being toasty warm for a lighter load.

The headline at BPL is: "TO BUILD A FIRE: Stave off the chill ... with a warm, comforting blaze..."

That is a strategy that works, no doubt about it (assuming you have the requisite skill to be able to get a fire going when it's been raining all day, and all the available wood is soaked.) However, it seems to me that somehow a line has been crossed here. I have to wonder if part of the UL philosophy has morphed to say that LNT, once held as a near-sacred principle, can now be compromised or ignored in order to shave a few more ounces off the load.

I'm not trashing the ultralight philsophy; far from it. I have benefited greatly by following it generally, though I haven't gone the full route. (Yet.) It changed the way many of us viewed backpacking, from an "assault on the outdoors," with 60 pound packs and everything we could need, ever, to "fitting in to the outdoors," with correspondingly lighter packs. Lessening one's impact, rather than leaving one's mark, was a natural fit with the minimalist style you adopt as an ultralighter. It sparked a revolution in gear, as cottage makers forced the big companies to drastically redesign their gear or risk losing a growing market segment.

I'm just wondering if we're reaching the point of going too far in the relentless pursuit of weight reduction, and if it has now become an end unto itself, rather than a means to an end. (I hopped off the UL train at 17 pounds, and I'll add the heavier bag and jacket without a second thought; I still don't light fires.)


Edited by Glenn (06/27/11 12:13 PM)
Edit Reason: One additional thought

Top
#151950 - 06/27/11 12:01 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 847
Loc: Torrance, CA
I agree ultralight goes too far when it infringes upon LNT. Packing out garbage is added weight, you can build a shelter out of cedar bows, etc ...

How about disposable products that are lighter weight than reusable products? I have a friend who packs in a new emergency blanket every trip that he uses as a ground cloth. He packs it out, but it ends up in a landfill, when he could have used a reusable sheet. Is that antithetical to LNT?

It blows my mind when people spend inordinate amount of time, energy, and money to get out into "pristine" wilderness and then destroy it.


Edited by BZH (06/27/11 03:59 PM)

Top
#151951 - 06/27/11 12:09 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: BZH]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I hadn't thought about one-use, disposable gear - that's a great point.

Top
#151955 - 06/27/11 01:28 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The BPL thing is an ad for a sale on firestarters in their store. Adding to the conflagrations currently pictured on their home page is last week's "state of the market" report on wood-burning stoves (which, like many of their other SOM reports, appears to have omitted some of the more effective models).

Whether or not a campfire is an infringement of LNT principles depends on where it is! If you are at lower altitude (not near or above timberline), fire danger is low, there is lots of dead and down small wood around (not requiring sawing or chopping) and there's an existing fire ring in which to build the fire, no problem. Where all four of these conditions do not exist, there is a problem.

I can't see where lightweight (or lighter) backpacking conflicts with LNT. Responsible backpackers always expect to carry out their trash. Since most of us eat more food than we generate trash, being responsible has little or no effect on initial pack weight.


Edited by OregonMouse (06/27/11 01:33 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#151958 - 06/27/11 01:53 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
OM, I agree fully about the four conditions; I guess my presumption for this thread was that at least one of the four would not be met. The other presumption was that there may be a developing a sub-UL (or "lunatic fringe UL", depending on where you stand) philosophy that, to save the maximum weight, you should take lighter layers and sleeping bags than conditions would indicate and rely on building a fire to help keep you warm - this shifts the decision from "When is a fire appropriate?" to "Always plan to use a fire because carrying the lightest load is the only important consideration."

It was that inferred "light-at-all-costs" philosophy that I felt might be in conflict with LNT - and I'm hoping to find out whether my inference is correct. I fully agree that it is easy to incorporate LNT into lightweight backpacking; in fact, in many ways, they seem to mesh quite well. One example: lightweight philosophy says to reduce food packaging to a minimum by repacking before you leave, which meshes with LNT's pack-it-out philosophy. (Lunatic fringe UL would say, "Burn it in the fire, and you don't have to carry it.")

Top
#151961 - 06/27/11 02:19 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
I'm in the camp of it's reasonable to vary one's strategy, depending on the destination and nature of the trip. Do I think relying on cookfires is "cheating?" No, so long as it's a match for the region being traveled. Good technique will leave behind no premanent damage.

I'll never be a hypermiler (there are no 30+ mile days left in my legs) but occasionally tackle trips where every ounce makes a difference due to the physical challenges. For those, I parse the ounces and the weather forecast closely and trim, trim, trim. But more typical are simple backcountry getaways and I'll pack whatever suits my fancy (still taking light stuff but more and better food, warmer clothes, gadgets, etc.).

I understand the self-sufficiency appeal of wood stoves and while I don't own one, I wouldn't mind giving it a try. My scouting years were in the Cascade foothills and we plowed through vast amounts of wood for cooking, campfires, drying soggy clothing, building structures, etc. It was second-growth alder and cedar forest that had once been old-growth Doug fir, and there was literally an unlimited supply of wood because the forest was in transition back to Doug fir. I'll guess the Boy Scout guidelines have changed a lot since then, and I'll also guess that patch of forest is now a suburb of Redmond.

Today I primarily hike the Sierra Nevada where easy wood exists in lightly traveled areas and in areas crowded with undersized second-growth trees, but more popular areas are generally stripped of easy wood or are alpine and never had wood to begin with. In some areas fires are banned completely or limited to below a certain elevation.

With this crazy quilt of conditions and regulations it's not easy to rely on cooking fires, but it's still at least possible. A couple summers ago I took a trip where I forgot my stove canister (duh!) and had to cook with fire instead. Every site had an existing fire area and wood was easy to find, so I had a lot of fun rediscovering long lost skills. The smoke was also nice for driving away clouds of mosquitoes.

I guess I don't have an overall point, just that I've considered LNT to be an unobtainable goal intended to keep us thinking about how to minimize our impact and going further, consider ourselves stewards (leave our sites nicer than we found them). Without hovershoes and zepplin tents we're always going to leave some sign of our passing, and I don't consider that a failure.

Politically we're seeing renewed pressure in the House to "open" more Forest Service and BLM land to motorized travel, and that's what I'm fretting about these days. I just love being called "elitist" by somebody who owns a $40k custom 4x4 rig towed to the mountains behind a $50k turbodiesel truck, hellbent on conquering them there hills.

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (06/27/11 03:18 PM)
_________________________
--Rick

Top
#151965 - 06/27/11 03:03 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Rick_D]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree that "Leave No Trace" is a misnomer because it's impossible. Maybe LMT (M for minimal) or LLT (L for little) would be more appropriate. Just hiking through an area will leave some trace (footprints)!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#151973 - 06/27/11 04:09 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: BZH]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
Originally Posted By BZH
I agree ultralight goes to far when it infringes upon LNT.


I agree; the use of disposables for UL backpacking where a fairly light non-disposable option exists has always bothered me, particularly by young healthy persons who can easily handle a couple of extra ounces. I don't do freezer bag cooking for that reason, or use a disposable (i.e. single-trip) groundsheet. Using handi-wipes rather than soap and water is another example; it's just extra landfill to me, whether disposed of on trail or at home. I do bring TP backpacking (minimal, after using a squirt bottle) but pack the used stuff out now.
_________________________
dk

Top
#151974 - 06/27/11 04:42 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: OregonMouse]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
In my opinion, at least here in the Ozarks, the decision to leave the stove, fuel, and some clothing behind to save weight is not necessarily going too far, and actually makes sense. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that hasn't the skills and experience to understand the risks that may impose and how to deal with them safely, but I actually do this myself.

If I did not do that I'd have to carry, at the very least, my down jacket to stay warm when it gets dark around 5:00pm, or wear my sleeping bag. That's way before I'm ready to go to bed and I don't like the idea of dragging my sleeping bag around before I settle into my hammock for the night. Instead, I add a layer or two of clothes and huddle over a small fire and enjoy the evening for several hours. I love this particular part of the experience.

I have to point out that I am never cold as a result of doing this. That is never a trade off I am willing to make.

I will add that I don't think that many backpackers actually practice making campfires that are designed to LNT, and that is really an issue that might need to be addressed and it leads me to some interesting questions, like, How do you do that?

Which leads me to this one:

What if you had a piece of gear that did most of that for them?

Which reminds me of this:

Jason Klass has a video review of a wood fueled cook stove on his site. The stove is light and could certainly be used to maintain a low impact source of wood heat. That's certainly something that has interesting possibilities.

What if that stove were optimized for heat and LNT?

  • It could eliminate the need for a "Fire Ring".

  • It could eliminate the need for a big fire.

  • It could only use small sticks for fuel.

  • It could burn fuel almost completely to ash.

  • It could be duel purpose (cook/heat).

  • It could potentially reduce the risk of starting wildfires (spark arrestor?).

  • It could reduce scaring of the ground.

  • It would be carbon neutral. wink


Since it already meets several of those goals, starting with the stove Jason reviews, I think it would be interesting to consider how to modify it to better meet them all.


_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#151976 - 06/27/11 05:29 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
It all depends on where you are hiking and current condition, Glenn. A big fire of driftwood on a Texas beach is no problem.
A big fire in a national forest with a fire ban, is a problem. grin
I do my very best not to cook at all but when I do, my first choice is a "cook fire". Cook fires done right leave no trace and use sticks no bigger than hand fed twigs, which are completely consumed. If I pack a stove, it will be Esbit.
A fire is just one more learned skill in the Ultralight bag of tricks, as is the decision to have one or not. Not "cheating" in my opinion.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

Top
#151985 - 06/27/11 07:34 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: dkramalc]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
What about the use of disposable Bic lighters (cheap) vresus a refillable lighter like the Windmill (expensive)?

Top
#152016 - 06/28/11 10:29 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Frankendude Offline
member

Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 69
Glenn: I've owned around 3-4 windmills. (I'm a slow learner!)
Just not a reliable piece of equipment. Regardless of the difference in price, I'll take the bic over the windmill to save my butt in most all circumstances.


Edited by Frankendude (06/28/11 10:30 AM)

Top
#152017 - 06/28/11 11:59 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
Originally Posted By Glenn
What about the use of disposable Bic lighters (cheap) vresus a refillable lighter like the Windmill (expensive)?


You've got me there, Glenn. Hmm - I guess I can defend myself by saying that all the Bic lighters I've used are ones I've found on the street or in the wilds, rather than purchased - so I'm really just recycling? blush

However, I'd probably purchase one of those rather than a Windmill if I needed a lighter. Maybe it's just rationalizing, but I would tend to classify those as more like Tyvek, in that they aren't just single-use even though they eventually wear out; they last a pretty long time. And now that I hear Windmills aren't as reliable, that tilts the balance too.
_________________________
dk

Top
#152018 - 06/28/11 12:09 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Frankendude]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Oh, they work great at home (sea level) but up in them thar hills don't do squat. Pathetic waste of money (on my part).

But they look kewhl. eek

Cheers,

Originally Posted By Frankendude
Glenn: I've owned around 3-4 windmills. (I'm a slow learner!)
Just not a reliable piece of equipment. Regardless of the difference in price, I'll take the bic over the windmill to save my butt in most all circumstances.
_________________________
--Rick

Top
#152020 - 06/28/11 12:41 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Rick_D]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Has anyone tried the peanut lighter?

Peanut Lighter

They look like a good option for a sustainable lighter. Plus they are small, and even come in titanium. I haven't tried one yet, so have no experience.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

Top
#152021 - 06/28/11 12:55 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
I personally agree with the commen opinon that in the right place a fire isnt cheeting. Its luck, luck would have it im allowed to build a fire in the fire ring that i luckly happend upon. If im lucky enough to land a couple fish. Ill cook them on that same fire if im lucky enough that its not raining cats and dogs. I personally have been carrying my bush buddy ultra this year. but only use it when stelth or LEAVE MINIMAL TRACE smile camping. most of the time i use established campsites with fire rings. alot of time il join people already having a fire thus negating my impact that much more.

as far as bics go prob the only desposible gear ill carry. granted ive come along way from the utillity tarp toating blue foam pad sleeping hippie. i was a few years ago. although my new found kit due to the most part. is thanks to generous freind that single handly changed my life for the better for ever.
another stroke of luck i guess. that im looking forward to passing on to others everyday.

i kinda of feal you cant really cheet at backpacking. you could die from exsposure, go back to the car or have to be rescued in my book thats about as close to cheeting as it gets. and would not wish either of the three on anyone.

i beleave that true lnt ul backpacking isnt so much what you personally doo its that you teach others how to do the same.

just my opinion SAMOSET


Edited by Samoset (06/28/11 01:23 PM)
_________________________
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.

Top
#152025 - 06/28/11 01:29 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Samoset]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
As for carrying a lighter than needed sleeping bag, I wonder if they travel at night, then sleep during the day when temps are warmer? I trample the grass and ground more stomping around camp than the rest of my impact on an area where I sleep or cook.

Top
#152028 - 06/28/11 02:58 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Frankendude]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
The Windmill was just one example (mine has always worked fine); I know Brunton makes one, and I've seen some others - my point was, where do you draw the ethical line (given equal reliability), the cheap disposable or the costly refillable? And I didn't even raise the issue of the environmental cost of the fuel! smile

Top
#152029 - 06/28/11 03:09 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Samoset]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Again, I'm not trying to argue against fires under appropriate conditions. (In fact, the post wasn't really about fire; that just happened to be the example that triggered the thought.)

I'm just curious where you all think the line is that we won't cross - at what point do you sell out the LNT ethic (or any other ethic you care to choose) in order to lower pack weight?

Although I don't build fires myself (I find them too much like work, and I don't go out to increase the number of chores I do), I'll gladly sit around someone else's and enjoy the evening. Last time I did that, it was about 10 degrees, and I stayed a good ways back from the fire so a stray spark didn't put a hole in my down jacket or pants. (Toasty warm without the fire.) But I did enjoy the camaraderie.

For me, the line may be toilet paper: I don't think I'd pack out my poop, thank you. That doesn't really have anything to do with pack weight, but it is still a point at which I'll put LNT secondary to my own preferences.

You make an excellent point about the need to teach others the ethics you use in the outdoors. We can probably all do better. And "cheat" may have been the wrong word to use in the original post - something about "how do you determine your priorities" might have been better.

Top
#152033 - 06/28/11 03:56 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: hikerduane]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By hikerduane
I trample the grass and ground more stomping around camp than the rest of my impact on an area where I sleep or cook.


That is absolutely true, and it's something I've been paying more attention to and making an effort to minimize. I can come pretty darn close to LNT when I go solo, but it's pretty hard to do that when I hike with others here.

The first small cookfire I ever saw put to practical use was made by a friend who'd just returned from a hitch with the Marines. We were camping and he heated a can of beans up with a fire made from twigs. When he was done the ash footprint was about 3" in diameter.

You can keep toasty warm in pretty cold temps over a fire with about an 8-10 inch footprint and you can fuel it all evening with an armful of small sticks and still have plenty of fuel to make your coffee in the morning. What's left is easy to scatter and re-cover and essentially LNT when you're done.



_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#152035 - 06/28/11 04:00 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: billstephenson]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Y'all remember when you could tell someone cooked over a fire due to the two rocks 4"-6" apart? Lots of work gathering wood.

Top
#152039 - 06/28/11 04:41 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Glenn
at what point do you sell out the LNT ethic (or any other ethic you care to choose) in order to lower pack weight?


That would be safety first, then comfort, but I enjoy striving to practice it. Low impact fires are an example of that, as well as trying to restore a campsite before I leave it. Both do make an impact, but they can be very minimal with a little practice. I like to think I'd be pretty hard to track. Since I don't know any real trackers, I may be deceiving myself though wink

Where I do toss it out mostly, I admit, is when I am camping with a bunch of people who haven't a clue. I'll gently nudge them, but I don't often bark orders. Instead, I'll do some cleanup and restoration after they've all left.

To be honest, some of my recent experiences with inviting a group of people have left me a bit sour after realizing the impact the group made, and that has been a sort of driving force behind enjoying going solo more. I don't have any lingering guilt of being responsible for people I invited and could not nudge.

But I do enjoy getting them out there too, and trying to share what I love about it, so I suppose I will sell out again. I can't say it won't happen. The saving grace for me is that our forest here recover on their own very quickly.

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#152041 - 06/28/11 04:51 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: hikerduane]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By hikerduane
Y'all remember when you could tell someone cooked over a fire due to the two rocks 4"-6" apart? Lots of work gathering wood.


I have a backpacking buddy here that refuses to make a small fire. Bigger is better as far as he's concerned and he'll drag fallen tree trunks into a fire if they're around. When he sees my fires he tells me I'm burning "Squaw Wood". I just tell him he's nuts laugh
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#152043 - 06/28/11 05:17 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: billstephenson]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Good point about groups - the impact is greater just because there are more folks, and the odds are that some don't know/care about impact.

Like you, I find that I'm going out with fewer people, mostly who also try to limit their impact. I'm not going to bark out the orders, either.

Top
#152047 - 06/28/11 07:43 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: billstephenson]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Bill, I've been with folks who seemed to be very concerned about the environment, but then instead of packing out there aluminum beverage cans and other accumulated garbage, they throw it in the fire made from drift wood. Seems to me there is still stuff in the ashes from burning cans. I guess that is ok along with call of nature (high tiding) practices. Comes back to each individuals definition of LNT I guess.

Top
#152052 - 06/28/11 08:39 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: billstephenson]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
They used to tell me to build a "white mans fire" and I would just answer why? We don't need to so why do it...unless you want to set your tent on fire or something.

The whole fire thing is simple. If an area is overused, no fire. Rarely traveled, having a fire is OK. I came from a background of using the fire for cooking (I carried the grill), but now days I rarely have a fire.

Top
#152056 - 06/28/11 09:01 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: skcreidc]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I was afraid this would happen: instead of a discussion about whether ultralight should involve compromising principles/ethics for the sake of a lighter pack, we've morphed into a discussion about fire.

Interesting discussion, but not my original intention. Ah, well. smile

Top
#152061 - 06/28/11 10:58 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
The logical answer to LNT and ultra-light is no-cook meals. Hot meals are optional, not a necessity. I do not think LNT and fires are necessarily at odds. I think the reason most people do not cook on fires is not LNT but that fires, done properly, are really time consuming. Also, does LNT refer only to the land we hike on? What about the impact of the technology needed to make gas cartriges or white gas? Every living thing leaves a trace. You are fooling yourself if you think you leave no trace by using artifical fuel. To me the problem is over-use, pure and simple. Put 20 people a day on any given campsite, and there will be impact, whether they use stove or fires. Second problem is that because very few people nowadays use fires, few people know how to make a good small cook-fire and clean up all evidence of the fire once they leave ths spot.

Top
#152065 - 06/29/11 08:14 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
grin
Quote:
I was afraid this would happen: instead of a discussion about whether ultralight should involve compromising principles/ethics for the sake of a lighter pack, we've morphed into a discussion about fire.



You used fire as your example. grin A hot topic. wink
So, lets talk about shelter. No, I wouldn't cut trees and boughs to make a lean-to, in order to cut pack weight. I will use trees to hang my hammock, taking care not to damage the tree, which really doesn't require a lot of care. By default, if stuck sleeping on the ground, my pad/ground cover footprint is smaller than any tent. Food...I never 'forage' to save food pack weight...but I will pick a berry once in a while.

I like to leave campsites as though I was never there...and regardless of whether you are going lightweight or not, I find that many users don't typically care or know how to care.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

Top
#152067 - 06/29/11 08:28 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Yeah, using fire as an example was a tactical mistake. But I liked the point you made, using shelters: you won't compromise your low-impact principles to reduce pack weight when it results in obvious and direct damage to the environment you're passing through. I think that's pretty much how I feel, too.

We can mire down in specifics all year: you used shelter. We could also discuss burying garbage versus packing it out, ditching around tents, burying toilet paper versus packing it out, tents (crushing vegetation) versus hammocks (girdling trees), and merely the impact of one's foot on fragile environments (I've read two-page discussions of whether it's better to walk single file or spread out in a line in a meadow, or plow through the mud rut rather than widening the trail by going around.)

For me, I think the line comes at obvious damage: I'll carry what I need to avoid the obvious damage, and try not to think about the hidden damage (the damage to the environment caused by the far-away drilling and manufacturing needed to create all those neat pieces of gear that let me avoid the obvious damage to the backcountry area I can see around me.)

Top
#152070 - 06/29/11 09:14 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I actually felt that I addressed the original post along with the side thread, although this was probably unclear. Rick_D said it better...

Quote:
I'm in the camp of it's reasonable to vary one's strategy, depending on the destination and nature of the trip. Do I think relying on cookfires is "cheating?" No, so long as it's a match for the region being traveled. Good technique will leave behind no premanent damage.


So simply said, I feel the responsibility of taking care of the area you are going to use for backpacking supersedes the desire to be as light as possible. If we are solely fixated on being ultralight, it seems to me we may be missing the point of going backpacking in the first place. This is the generic "we" btw. Shelter building, food collecting, fire building and the like are now in my survival technique category. Push comes to shove, it is still all about me.

You can get into the impact of all the things we do to prepare and get to our outdoor destination as well. When I go to the Wind River Range at the end of August I will drive for 2 days to do so. But I think this is loosing sight of things. As our society makes changes, eventually (maybe) I will make the drive in an electric car... Or maybe there will be some sort of mass transit to the area then. Who knows. People will always have an impact on this planet as long as we are here. All we can do is try to minimize this and getting back to the original example, being smart about our use of fire is one small way to do this.

Top
#152071 - 06/29/11 10:01 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: skcreidc]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
You did do a good job of answering both the original and side issues; I fully agree with you about strategy including not only ultralight considerations but consideration of when and where you're going.

My reply about drifting off into fire-land was intended to be whimsical, and definitely wasn't intended to target you - I just happened to use the "reply" button on your post because it was the most recent.

The general tone of all the replies has reassured me that, at least among the folks on this forum, ultralight has not morphed into a "true-believer" philosophy that puts saving a few ounces ahead of caring for, and taking care of, the backcountry we all love. And that's no small thing.

Top
#152072 - 06/29/11 11:00 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
You both hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

Top
#152074 - 06/29/11 11:29 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: skcreidc]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
Originally Posted By skcreidc
So simply said, I feel the responsibility of taking care of the area you are going to use for backpacking supersedes the desire to be as light as possible.


Well put indeed; also I'd add that taking care of not just the area you're going to use but the planet in general (with regards to creating waste by using disposables) is another of my targets. I'm not always 100% successful at living up to my principles, of course...

In regards to taking care of the area you're using, that plays into some of my decisions; in certain areas, I will pack out my poop, or refrain from any fire.
_________________________
dk

Top
#152075 - 06/29/11 11:49 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Glenn, as usual, I'm late to this party, and most that's needed has been said. I find I'm in pretty general agreement with what I think is consensus here.

But the original, and key, question was what degree of ethical lapse is acceptable in the name of reduced weight. My answer is none. I do not expect to use fire to keep warm or to cook, nor boughs to shelter or bed, nor forage to feed.

Part of that has to do with the psychology of backpacking for me. I like to believe I can plan and pack so that I am essentially self-sufficient on the trail for the length of trip planned. It's part of the fun, the challenge and ultimately the satisfaction for me.

On the other hand, I'm also not ultralight. My base weight is just under four km (about eight and a half pounds). Best, jcp

Top
#152076 - 06/29/11 11:59 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: JPete]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Wait!!! A BASE weight of 8.5 lbs is NOT ultralight? I'm afraid to ask..., but what IS considered lightweight and ultralight?

I'll be in the corner with my eyes shut, fingers in my ears, and singing la la la la la waiting for the answer. Up until now I felt good about my under 15 lb base weight...that I just reached I might add. It IS a work in progress though.

OK. I looked it up and arrived at a "general consensus" of 10 to 20 lbs for light, under 10 lbs for ultralight, and under 5 lbs for super ultralight. All base weights of course. I am shooting for 10 to 12 lbs myself. As it turns out I have done super ultralight before; its called being lost without your gear ! grin


Edited by skcreidc (06/29/11 12:29 PM)

Top
#152077 - 06/29/11 12:26 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: skcreidc]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Yeah, I'm suddenly a little shame-faced about my 12-pound base weight, too. Got room in that corner for one more?

I think 8.5 still qualifies as ultralight, in my book.

Top
#152078 - 06/29/11 12:31 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: dkramalc]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Of course, our biggest impact on the planet hasn't got anything to do with backpacking; it's the fact that we continue to expand by reproduction - as Colin Fletcher puts it, "we've exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet."

So, which 3 billion of us have to go, and how do we accomplish it?

Can open, worms everywhere... It's a rhetorical question; I don't expect an answer - and I doubt Charles has enough server memory to hold the full discussion, anyhow. smile

Top
#152081 - 06/29/11 12:54 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I'm doing my part! No kids... well no kids without fur wink and we don't buy them they find and adopt us.

Top
#152083 - 06/29/11 01:07 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: skcreidc]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
I've understood for some time that "ultralight" meant "under five pounds base". Not sure where I got that idea, but, like Glen, I have gone lighter by simply being caught without my pack. It was a worrisome incident, it was a bit chill, but I had a lighter and small knife in my pocket, a canteen and cup on my belt, and I was in an area with lots of down wood, and time enough to get ready. I was hungry, a bit sleepless, and not completely comfortable, but I was certainly ok when my friends came and got me in the morning. If I had had the compass on my wrist (that I always have now) I think I could have walked out instead of bivouaccing. And then there was the night of the Order of the Arrow initiation. Best, jcp

Top
#152084 - 06/29/11 01:08 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
LOL - I like the "can open, worms everywhere" metaphor.

Didn't had kids, but I'm not ready yet to off myself to save the planet. I guess that's where I draw a line for LNT!

My working theory is that sooner or later overpopulation will cause disease, climate change, war, or some other catastrophic event that will reduce or eliminate the human population.
_________________________
dk

Top
#152085 - 06/29/11 01:43 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Remember the old McDonalds golden arches? Well we can just hang a large banner off the Golden Gate Bridge saying "Over 7 billion made"...


Edited by skcreidc (06/29/11 01:45 PM)

Top
#152093 - 06/29/11 06:13 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Enviromental stewardship does not begin at the trailhead. Just like the danger in hiking is the drive to and from the trailhead, our environmental footprint is more about how we live, work and play.

The LNT principles are about allowing others to have quality experiences and not degrading the environment.

I like to think I leave the trail better than I found it.

_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

Top
#152102 - 06/29/11 09:33 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Glenn
try not to think about the hidden damage (the damage to the environment caused by the far-away drilling and manufacturing needed to create all those neat pieces of gear that let me avoid the obvious damage to the backcountry area I can see around me.)


While I appreciate (and agree) with the sentiment you're thinking here about manufactured guck. Don't take this the wrong way, but worrying about this is a bunch of horse cookies.

Your being there, carefully, does more to save that environment from the ravages or commercial exploitation than any damage the manufacture of your gear could do to it.

If you aren't there and caring about it - nobody will give a darn or speak up for it when it goes for gas exploration or a coal mine or whatever.

Wanna worry about it? walk or bike to work for a week - and you're probably then far ahead of the game in terms of your contribition to pollution on the course of your hike

_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Top
#152103 - 06/29/11 09:42 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: ringtail]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By ringtail
Enviromental stewardship does not begin at the trailhead. Just like the danger in hiking is the drive to and from the trailhead, our environmental footprint is more about how we live, work and play.


Agreed. well said.

Quote:

The LNT principles are about allowing others to have quality experiences and not degrading the environment.


I agree completely. It is not about environmentalism and reducing your carbon footprint - while they aren't exclusive it's not the same thing.

Using technology to ensure you can have as little impact on local environment as possible means more people can enjoy it. more people enjoying it means it is more likely to stay that way rather than becoming a coal mine or gas lease or anything else anyone might want to exploit it for.

and LNT is a *principle* not a *religion*. I adhere to it sensibly for where I am. but I'm not a zealot.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Top
#152104 - 06/29/11 10:32 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: phat]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Gotta admit, that statement was considerably tongue-in-cheek. In the end, humans will have an impact, period. So will horses, wolves, deer, trees, fire, and everything else. Our impact seems to be disproportionate in relation to most other life forms, there isn't any real reason to worry excessively - all I can do is try to live responsibly and not muck it up too badly. I can't do anything about the places that are drilled or given over to factories, or cities, or highways - that impact price has been paid. So, all that is left is trying to limit my impact and act responsibly when I'm in the backcountry - and plant 14 trees in my third-acre "homestead."

All in all, I'm pretty worry-free.

Top
#157252 - 11/11/11 09:52 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Depending on where you are hiking, sustainability can trump LNT. LNT is a more local ethic for high traffic and more sensitive habitats. Sustainability is a more global ethic. In less sensitive and lower traffic areas, a small fire can be better practice than most stoves, even alcohol stoves. By small fire for one, I mean basically a hobo stove in summer, and somewhat larger in winter, particularly when it is used only occassionally, as a hedge against extreme lows, or falling through the ice, or something like that. So with prudent use of a wood fire in such instances, and wood scrap fired stoves for meals and drinks and ablutions, they rest of you kit and practices can have less impact on the global environment, and still be sustainabile in the local habitat.

At higher elevations, and drier habitats, and higher traffic areas, I would not use fire. Here in New Brunswick, its best practice, if done right. Certainly much better practice than alot of stuff, like canister stoves etc.

Top
#157259 - 11/12/11 12:53 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: JAK]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
There are plenty of places where firewood is in abundance, in fact over-abundance, and a properly placed fire is a good thing. Unfortunately, out here in the west at high elevations (where what wood there is needs to be left to rot and replenish the thin alpine soils) and with a long dry season, that is not often the case. Here in the Northwest, it seems that either the fire danger is too high to build a fire safely or everything is so soggy that all we can achieve is a smudge--nothing in between!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#157262 - 11/12/11 10:22 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: JAK]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
The carbon footprint and environmental impact of our camping stoves is an interesting question. I somehow doubt that we are going to raise the sea level very much by firing up a canister stove. Does anyone have solid data? I suspect that that my trip from home to trail head and back does more to whack the planet than the manner in which I cook my meals.

Anyway, look on the bright side. If sea level is rising, it obviously is the case that it is easier to attain high summits. Perhaps we should differentiate climbs done in the old days from those accomplished in a warmer, lower, modern era.

Top
#157268 - 11/12/11 12:34 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Maybe this discussion goes too far. If anyone wants to feel guilty about their behavior, do it on a plane flight, or driving a car. Any form of backpacking is the least of our worries.

Using fire as an example. Burning wood is completly carbon neutral. That's why I heat my house with it. A fire the size on one's fist will cook most backpacking meals. When I see campfire rings I dismantle them. How can using a fire be cheating? Using dino fuels, with stoves made in Japan, that leave disposable canisters cannot be a step forward.

OregonMouse, a resident of the PNW is absolutely right about the overabundance of fuels in forests throughout the US. Just use common sense at high elevations and during times of high fire danger.


Edited by ppine (11/12/11 12:36 PM)

Top
#157272 - 11/12/11 02:34 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Oldranger, my perception is that summits have become higher and steeper in recent years.
lol

More likely an effect of aging than changes in sea level, though!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#157284 - 11/12/11 08:04 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: ppine]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Originally Posted By ppine
Just use common sense at high elevations and during times of high fire danger.


If only that would happen. Unfortunately, there are many,many square miles of scorched forest demonstrating that "common sense" was not in operation and a camp fire r signal fire got loose.

The problem is that, even if nearly everyone is careful, it only takes one to create a disaster.

Top
#157296 - 11/12/11 11:15 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Oldranger,

As a forester I must point out that our scorched forests are largely a result of strict protection from fire in the past on public lands, and a lack of harvesting. The vast majority of fires in the backcountry are caused by lightning.

Top
#157299 - 11/13/11 01:44 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: ppine]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
That is perfectly true. However, in both Arizona and California, there have been at least two monumental fires that were careless campfires. I can't recall their names - the Heber fire in Arizona, and the big one near San Diego a couple of years ago. I am not certain about the Station fire in the Los Angeles NF. We have way too many clueless people out there with matches, but it only takes one or two. I am pretty sure we all realize that you don't care for the historical management practices in western forest, and we all realize that there is abundant data to support your position. Of course, there are those prescribed burns which managed to get loose...

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires!

Is it OK to discuss those fires? After all, I wasn't on any of those fire lines (those pesky rules which prevent the elderly for having any fun)- I only read about them.


Top
#157332 - 11/13/11 07:58 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Let us not forget the out-of-control "control burn" that closed roads and torched acres of land in Yosemite just a couple of years ago...

There are lots of places along routes to some of my favorite hikes that are just forest fires in the making - lots of deadfall and zillions of tiny trees just ready to become tinder. You can tell a fire hasn't been through in a long time.

And, I've come upon still-hot coals in a lot of fire rings - even cross country hiking. Poorly built campfires can ignite roots under ground, too. Then there is the pull-the-end-into-the-fire method - light a great big chunk of wood on fire and leave it smoldering. You can't trust people to be Leave No Trace, or even Follow Regulations Or Get A Fine.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#157336 - 11/13/11 08:25 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
The year was 1957 and I was taking fire fighting training for my very first NPS job, fighting fires all summer in the Rincons. During the course the question arose about letting fires burn under some circumstances. Our instructors told us that there had been some experimentation with "controlled burns,: which promptly ended when one near Prescott jumped the lines and burned unanticipated acreage. What can you say - even in the best of circumstances, you are playing with fire.

We had a good year. Our first thunderstorms delivered more rain than lightning, so our fires were relatively small and fairly easy to extinguish. The last one I fought was nothing more than a decent campfire by the time we reached it, requiring about fifteen minutes of easy work. The time keeper was amazed that we did not claim any overtime...

Right now is a pretty good time in most of the west to let a fire go. It will usually quietly consume the light fuels and make the forests safer - usually. It is a tricky business.

I have recently had the opportunity to extinguish some campfires in local campgrounds - all situated in highly flammable oak woodland. People are unbelievably obtuse about fire sometimes.

Top
#157382 - 11/14/11 10:40 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Oldranger,

When I was in graduate school in 1974, there was a movement at the U of WA to convince the USFS Reg 6 in Seattle to consider the use of prescribed burning as a management tool. It was many years later that the Feds were even willing to have a discussion about it.

What is old is new again. Now the Federal Govt is in love with prescribed burning, and they use it at inappropriate times. The National Park Service is by far the worst offender. They insist on lighting fires in September, like the recent bad one in Yosemite. They insist on lighting fires when the weather changes for the worst and the USFS calls them and says they had better cancel their plans. (Los Alamos fire).
In 1988 during the driest year in a century, the Park Service elects in Yellowstone to adopt the let in burn philosophy.

The Forest Service and the BLM on a lesser scale have a decent track record in the use of prescribed fire. The Park Service is like a bunch of kids with matches, and needs adult supervision.

Top
#157390 - 11/14/11 12:47 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: ppine]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Very interesting. Are the stats available somewhere? I thought everyone burned when the fire was within the prescription and the procedure was fairly uniform.

Top
#157400 - 11/14/11 03:00 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: oldranger]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Back in the late `70s early `80s, when I lived in CA, I heard a rumor that firefighters were starting fires so they could get overtime pay. Shortly after that a firefighter somewhere near Ventura/Oxnard did get arrested with incendiary devices in the trunk of his car that were very much like those used to start a wildfire. A few years later there was that woman firefighter in CO that said she was burning a "love letter", or something to that effect, that also started a wildfire.

I got to witness a single tiny bottle rocket start a raging brush fire in Saugas, CA one evening when I was there to watch a car race. It was put out very quickly by the local fire dept, but it sure demonstrated how fast they can get roaring.

An old timer that grew up in the San Fernando Valley told me that the hills surrounding it were covered with big old oaks when he was young. It must have been really beautiful back then. What a difference people have made there!

I used to work near the Van Nuys airport and watch the C-130s when they were pressed into service fighting fires. They look so big when they're on the ground, and so tiny when they are dumping on the fires.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#157419 - 11/14/11 06:49 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: billstephenson]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Sadly, that is not the first time that has happened. As a matter of fact, there is a current case here in SoCal in which a top arson investigator is accused of being an arsonist. He got away with it for several years. I don't recall the details nor do I wish to. Arson is among the most despicable crimes.

I believe it has been concluded that the Station fire, the largest in LA history, was arson caused.

Top
#157427 - 11/14/11 07:42 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Paulo Offline
member

Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 158
Loc: Normally Pacific Northwest
Up in the Okanagan area of BC there was a fireman that did the same to increase his rank. They caught him when they called in a different department for the fire and he showed up anyway.

In any case the old adage is true: Fire is a good servant and a bad master.
_________________________
Without a doubt, the hardest thing of all in a survival situation is to cook without the benefit of seasonings and flavourings. - Ray Mears

http://theoutdooradventure.net

Top
#157532 - 11/16/11 10:18 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Paulo]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
There can be no doubt, that firefighters have their share of arsonists. When fire weather is favorable, some firefighters get really antsy. They have seasonal jobs, and hope for overtime pay. When it doesn't show up, a few of them take matters into their own hands.

For anyone who has worked with people who have studied fire scince, not just the grunts on the field crews, don't you think some of them are unusual people? Some fire people are really into fire, in a scary way.

Top
#157548 - 11/16/11 01:22 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: ppine]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I think that can be said for any profession and a couple of hobbies too (not that said people are really into fire, but their specific area.)

I've seen scary:
computer programmers
gun hobbiests
environmentalists

So I think less than a specific area and more of a specific portion of the human population.

Top
#157550 - 11/16/11 02:00 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Heather-ak]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Heather-ak
I think that can be said for any profession and a couple of hobbies too (not that said people are really into fire, but their specific area.)

I've seen scary:
computer programmers
gun hobbiests
environmentalists

So I think less than a specific area and more of a specific portion of the human population.


+1.

Most of the psychopaths I've met are either fresh out of prison, or working as CEOs. I suspect the latter are just the smarter ones.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#158507 - 12/08/11 11:05 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Dryer]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
We take a home made hobo stove that folds up inside the cooking pot, when we leave the camp site area we make a game of leaving no evidence we were ever there. We always plan on two meals a day. In some places because of the possible spread of fire and sparks we use one cooking stove for all four people hiking but only when really needed. Our population is loving our wild-life to death.
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

Top
#163210 - 03/03/12 11:11 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
MarkJones Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/05/08
Posts: 3
It's always a comfort - trade off issue with me. That right balance and what your going to do.

I have seen folks that go for the miles. Leave all the comforts at home for the bare min.

Others could care less about miles and are good to go out a few miles and hang around camp at a favorite spot cooking, eating and fellowshiping.

Others are gear mongers... bring it just in case. They could care less about miles, camp fellowship. They just enjoy using and messing with the gear.

I saw two guys do a 48 hour trail run with just a smal pack with miminial food and water... only time they stopped was for a hour or so to take a small nap. The rest was running the trail.

For me. If there is no fire. I would just as soon stay home. Fire can be built to leave no trace. In Missouri and Arkanas there is no shortage of firewood. It's that part I really enjoy.

It's what your expecting from it that makes it right or wrong for you... everyone is different.

Mark Jones

Top
#163213 - 03/03/12 12:24 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: MarkJones]
Barefoot Friar Offline
member

Registered: 01/23/09
Posts: 175
Loc: Houston, Alabama
Originally Posted By MarkJones
<Snip>...cooking, eating and fellowshiping.


You wouldn't happen to be a church-goer, would you? That word is a dead giveaway!

smile Welcome to the forums.
_________________________
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."

Top
#165620 - 05/03/12 11:38 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Glenn
This is not intended as a thread to discuss the ethics of fires in the backcountry; that's an issue that involves too many variables including where you are hiking, and has been well-discussed in other threads. For purposes of this thread, let's simply accept that in most times and places, campfires would be at odds with Leave-No-Trace practices. I'm also not trying to re-ignite the "light is relative to what you're planning to do" issue; we can safely assume that as an accurate and well-proven point, too.

Instead, I'd like to get some discussion on whether fire is "cheating" at the ultralight game. This question occurred to me after reading another thread in this post, and seeing a headline at BackpackingLight.com (I think it's an ad for their store, not a serious article; but I'm no longer a member there, so I don't know.)

The other thread I read here made the point that one of the trade-offs true ultralighters (and sub-ultralighters) make in order to carry the extremely light loads they carry is to make compromises in warmth: they might choose to take a 30-degree bag when 20-degree lows are predicted, and only a light down vest or sweater, only liner gloves, and lightweight, not midweight, long underwear. The logic is that they're going to do high-mile days and spend very little time in camp, so they'll tolerate not being toasty warm for a lighter load.

The headline at BPL is: "TO BUILD A FIRE: Stave off the chill ... with a warm, comforting blaze..."

That is a strategy that works, no doubt about it (assuming you have the requisite skill to be able to get a fire going when it's been raining all day, and all the available wood is soaked.) However, it seems to me that somehow a line has been crossed here. I have to wonder if part of the UL philosophy has morphed to say that LNT, once held as a near-sacred principle, can now be compromised or ignored in order to shave a few more ounces off the load.

I'm not trashing the ultralight philsophy; far from it. I have benefited greatly by following it generally, though I haven't gone the full route. (Yet.) It changed the way many of us viewed backpacking, from an "assault on the outdoors," with 60 pound packs and everything we could need, ever, to "fitting in to the outdoors," with correspondingly lighter packs. Lessening one's impact, rather than leaving one's mark, was a natural fit with the minimalist style you adopt as an ultralighter. It sparked a revolution in gear, as cottage makers forced the big companies to drastically redesign their gear or risk losing a growing market segment.

I'm just wondering if we're reaching the point of going too far in the relentless pursuit of weight reduction, and if it has now become an end unto itself, rather than a means to an end. (I hopped off the UL train at 17 pounds, and I'll add the heavier bag and jacket without a second thought; I still don't light fires.)


I guess I cheated last weekend. I suspected we didn't have the gear for as cold as it was going to be. So we went to a place where we knew there are fire rings and planned to get up before sunrise so we could have a fire. So about an hour before sunrise, I lit a fire and we drank coffee for awhile before packing up.

When we left, the campsite was no different than we came. To me, this is the essence of "leave no trace."

In the national forest near here, it is permissable to build a fire ring where there is none. However when you are done, you are supposed to scatter the rocks and cover the ashes. The area is the cleanest I've ever hiked in. This particular area has the oldest trails in the national forest system and has been in use for almost 100 years.

From my observations, it is the car campers who leave the most trash and cause the most damage. The areas a mile away from the trailhead don't seem to change too much.



Edited by Gershon (05/03/12 11:40 AM)
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165630 - 05/03/12 05:38 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I don't think you cheated at all. You modified your plans to find an area where your particular gear load and the camping conditions could be reconciled. To think you cheated is to slide over into the "is fire ever ethical?" discussion - in the situation you described, it's clearly not a violation of LNT, since the land managers set up an area to "sacrifice" by concentrating the non-LNT use.

My original discussion was oriented toward "what do you do when two competing philosophies are apparently at odds?" Using fire, instead of carrying a stove, would be in line with going light at all costs. However, assume that you're not in a dedicated camping area with a fire ring, and that LNT would indicate that it would be best practice not to use a fire. What do you do: go for the lightest load and use a fire, or give precedence to LNT and take a stove? Which philosophy wins?

Top
#165635 - 05/03/12 07:14 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
First, I do not believe in UL as a philosophy or a game which competes against any ethics, which is what LNT is, outdoor ethics. In fact, I do not consider UL a philosophy at all, I look at it as techniques which allow one to carry less weight. Without knowledge and skill going without certain gear or using minimalist gear is uncomfortable at best and potentially dangerous. If one want to "win the UL game", strip naked and run into the woods with nothing. There, the skin out weight is zero, you win.

That said, it is the techniques, knowledge and skill which allow one to be safe, have fun and still hold true to outdoor ethics. For example, I know few who carry a trowel to dig cat holes. How do they practice LNT principles? Knowledge and skill. Same with fires. LNT does not dictate to never crap in the woods or never make a fire, Just that there are ways to do it in a manner consistent with outdoor ethics. If one knows what they are doing they can build a fire and still be practicing LNT. Just as they can take a dump in the woods and still be practicing LNT. LNT is not a set of rules, but a guiding set of principles which constitute outdoor ethics.

To me, a more significant question/discussion would be when a situation requires one to choose between two (or more) LNT principles. These discussions would be similar the Talmudic scholars who debated ethical scenarios which required one to violate Rabbinic Law in order to obey another.
_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

Top
#165636 - 05/03/12 08:43 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: DTape]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
As one who has studied Talmudic discussions, perhaps I can shed some light on this as it's a perfect analogy.

Talmudic discussions generally take place over many years. Each side is discussed in great detail. Many of the discussions are just for fun and a way to delve into different concepts in the Torah. Others expound on civil law in a way that rivals a legal encyclopedia in fairness. Often a writer will choose an opposite position just so it is discussed.

To focus on the physical aspects of the Talmud would be making a great mistake. Much of it is allegorical or what if types of questions. The key is the value concepts behind the discussions. In the end, they make a ruling to follow "for now." In a future time and place, one of the other opinions might be more appropriate. In most cases, the most lenient way is chosen.

I think it's the same with this discussion. For a trail where there are lots of campsites with fire rings, I see no problem using a lighter weight sleeping bag and using a fire on the nights you need it to stay warm. If a situation arises where I need a fire and there is no fire ring, then I'll choose a place for a fire that will leave as little trace as possible. Or I will choose a place where nobody is likely to stumble across it.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165680 - 05/06/12 04:45 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: DTape]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
That could be a very interesting discussion - what would be some examples of two LNT principles that conflict?

Top
#165683 - 05/06/12 08:13 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
It isn't that two principles would conflict. It would be a situation which requires one to have to make the choice between violating two principles.
_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

Top
#165690 - 05/07/12 06:08 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Glenn
That could be a very interesting discussion - what would be some examples of two LNT principles that conflict?


This weekend, we backpacked along a trail that had the oldest campgrounds in the United States. Back in the 20's, about 2,500 people used to camp along the trail during the weekends. They weren't exactly LNT. Then in the 40's, the area got cleaned out by a big flood. There are signs around not to remove any evidence of camping as it has historical value. It might even be illegal to clean out an old fire pit with a steel grate because of the old cans in it.

As I looked around, I realized the forest benefited from removal of a lot of the dead wood. This allowed for a lot of diversity in plant life. Maybe people are part of the ecology. Maybe we are meant to camp in areas, clear the wood in fires and then move on. Perhaps strict adherance to LNT damages the forest.



Edited by Gershon (05/07/12 06:10 AM)
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165691 - 05/07/12 07:04 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Great example! Do we perhaps need to introduce "situational ethics" into LNT? It may already be there - I thought I rememebered reading something about taking where you're hiking into account as you apply LNT principles.

I'm ashamed to admit I haven't stayed current on the ins and outs of LNT over the years. (I re-read them from time to time, but never spend a huge amount of time deliberating over it.) When I first learned the concept, it was expressed as "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time." And, backpacking only in the lush vegetation of the eastern US with its relatively quick recovery times, that works. It isn't as critical if you made a small mistake (I'm talking about one night of camping on vegetation, not about indiscriminate scattering of food or hacking on growing trees.) Since I haven't lit a fire in 25 years myself (resembles a chore too much), since I splash through the muddy trail instead of going around (and have the wet socks to prove it), and since I don't cut switchbacks (easy - they don't believe in them in Ohio), it's just never been much of a problem to comply substantially. If I ever go somewhere less resilient, I'll definitely need to put in some study time. (My last thorough reading was about 5 years ago, before a trip to Isle Royale.)

It would only seem logical, though, that you adapt the principles to fit your area - more strictly applied where damage occurs more easily and takes longer to heal, routinely applied elsewhere. It would also seem that, in your case, you have justification (in the form of regulation) that trumps some LNT principles for a circumscribed case.

Top
#165693 - 05/07/12 08:21 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Sometimes LNT has unanticipated consequences. In the 90's, all the campgrounds here had dumpsters. Because of the dumpsters, the campgrounds were clean. But the bears learned they could feed in them. Then they took out the dumpsters to get rid of the bears. It also got rid of the people. Campgrounds that used to be full are nearly empty. Now the firepits are getting overgrown and present a fire hazard.

Transportation is the key to use of an area. People say "Don't go there, that's a horse trail." Often horse trails have gulleys a foot or two deep. In a downpour, they might be a mess. So, people don't go there because the trail is a little inconvenient. Others want to ban horses from the trails. How do they think people get the chainsaws far from the trailhead to clear the blowdowns? How do they think rescue will come if something happens?

Switchbacks may prevent erosion, but they make an area that used to have no switchbacks more popular and other problems occur.

We are told not to cut down saplings. In the 60's Boy Scouts used to cut down saplings for projects like building tables and chairs. Now the areas are overgrown with saplings or bigger trees that grow too close together.

WAG bags are crazy. If an area is pristine, more people will go there. If you want vegetation to regrow, plant a few white tulips around the area.

Increasingly, regulations are being made by people who have never been in the backcountry. They want to localize damage into a car camping area with odor free outhouses. They don't realize if they just left things alone, people wouldn't go far from a parking lot.

From this forum, I get the impression it's not much fun to backpack on the coasts. It's way too crowded and there are too many regulations. In comparison, here it is difficult to find anyone who might know a trail with the exception of the Colorado Trail.

LNT has become a religion to many. There used to be circular trail markers nailed to trees and painted different colors for different trails. Now they insist on wooden signs which are much bigger and don't last as long. Since they are more expensive they are more infrequent and make it easy to get lost.

As a concept, I feel LNT is great. But when it gets codified into a bunch of rules by people who seldom venture on a trail, it is merely a means to increase government control. They have this vision of streaming hordes going down the trails when in reality, I seldom see people.

A simple way to implement LNT would be to implement "Make no improvements." Then people wouldn't go there much.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165694 - 05/07/12 10:18 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
You're starting to sound suspiciously like Colin Fletcher (a self-styled "curmudgeon.") smile

Your approach does have echoes of his approach to replacing the backcountry permit system: replace it with the system of making access more difficult, not easier - "the key that fits the lock" was I think how he described it. The cure for overuse was to stop doing more than minimal trail maintenance - don't clear the blowdowns, don't rebuild the bridges across small streams, etc. The harder to get to, the less people try; the fewer people, the less impact - and less need for regulation by permit.

As I recall, you hike a lot in western Virginia and North Carolina. We should probably thank our lucky stars that we live in the vibrant forests, where we can apply principles rather than rules.

Top
#165695 - 05/07/12 10:38 AM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Glenn,

Almost all my hiking experience is in Colorado. It has been 25 years since I backpacked anyplace else. We do practice LNT. We also leave an evening's supply of firewood for the next person. We have only camped away from an existing fire ring once. That was because my son had altitude sickness and we needed to stop right then due to a bad rainstorm approaching.

We had 54 stream crossings yesterday. There was only a bridge across one of them. We finally took some freedom steps and started walking through them. It was a lot easier than trying to stay dry. A lot more fun, too.

There always seems to be some volunteers that clear blowdowns. Sometimes it takes a few years, though.

I'm learning miles aren't measured in distance. Many times a slow cup of coffee on a high point is worth more than an extra mile. I'll post a trip report on my blog in awhile.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165696 - 05/07/12 12:40 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Sorry about the location mixup - I miss my short-term memory as I age.

I can relate about stopping when a storm's coming - had to do that Friday night, myself. Didn't filter water ahead of time (there was a source where I was planning to camp), but setting my pot outside the tent fly got me enough water for supper and the night, and it was only an hour or so to the next source.

The "burden" of applying LNT on this trip was mostly wet socks. One aspect of well-watered country is that we get significant amounts of rain, which can erode trails. People can turn a trail into an interstate, just by hiking the edges (or a bit into the vegetation) to try to keep their feet dry the wider trail then becomes "yucky" (where it doesn't wash out down the side of the hill), so people go even wider. It's better (but messier) to stick to the middle of the trail and squish through the muck and running rivulets, and deal with the wet socks. It also reminds you that one of life's real pleasures is peeling of wet socks, drying your feet, and putting on dry socks for the evening.

Sounds to me like you've hit that sweet spot of balancing LNT principles against reality. (After all, the only way to leave absolutely NO trace is don't go there in the first place. Understand that, and the rest is just striking the best possible balance between necessity and impact.)

Top
#165700 - 05/07/12 03:49 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
To be completely LNT is to assume humans are not a part of the ecological system. If that is the case, we must be an invasive species planted here by aliens.




_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#165701 - 05/07/12 04:05 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By Gershon
we must be an invasive species planted here by aliens.

This is not a new idea according to Gods of the Universe . Available here.

Top
#165702 - 05/07/12 04:11 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Kind of like pulling weeds and throwing them over the fence? smile

Top
#165703 - 05/07/12 04:11 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Gershon]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
LNT is a concept that was developed a while back. When I worked at NOLS in the late 1960's the USFS and the school worked together to try out many methods that would reduce human impact. Some of our original practices were later revealed to be not so good. I did not hear the term "LTN" until much later. LTN is just a catchy name that someone put on a set of methods that reduced impact. It has a more marketing ring to it than "minimize impact". The practices we worked out was never meant to exclude people from the wilderness or exclude fires per se. A basic premise of the FS is multiple use. LTN is an evolving set of wilderness practices that are based on good judgement and should be applied on a site-specific basis. Unfortunately some groups of regulators are trying to turn it into rules set in stone. We just need to be aware of how our actions impact the earth and potentially spoil the wilderness experience for those that go after us; then we need to have a "set of tools" or practices that mitigate that impact.

As for trail maintanence, it is arrogant of us to pick our point in time and then say - no more change. I feel there are some trails that need to be made more "pristine" and some that need more work and a few areas that actually need a trail to be built. For example, boardwalks through fragile meadow areas is an improvement that actually mitigates impact. When an off-trail area becomes a web of individual use-trails, it is time to build a trail to contain trail damage. I even think some very popular trails could be paved (as they do in Yosemite for the VERY high impacted trails). I am certainly NOT an advocate of making entry to the wilderness more difficult as a means of controlling numbers. A permit system also works without the arogance of not allowing less fit people enjoy the wilderness. The wilderness belongs to all, not just elite athletes.

Top
#165704 - 05/07/12 04:20 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Nor am I an outright advocate of no improvement or regulation by hardship - I just remembered reading it somewhere.

However, I have seen places where, because visitors refuse overwhelmingly to apply low-impact practices, I could justify making it harder to get there. There are many spots in National Forests here in the east where the first two miles of trail are littered with beer cans and trash, the trees are hacked up, and "Sam and Sue Forever" adorn every rock face - sometimes painted, sometimes chiseled (sandstone.) Once, I wrote to the NFS in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky to suggest that they move the trailheads a mile or so back down the gravel roads because two places (Gray's Arch and Double Arch, for those familiar with the area) were getting beaten to death. I'm not naive enough to think that my letter carried any weight, but I found it interesting that, about two years later, they eliminated the road to the Double Arch trailhead completely and made the hike to it about 3 miles longer by starting it at Auxier Ridge. The reason they gave was overuse.

Just another example of what you're saying: you have to selectively apply general principles to selected situations.

Top
#165710 - 05/07/12 06:53 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Glenn
I'm not naive enough to think that my letter carried any weight, but I found it interesting that, about two years later, they eliminated the road to the Double Arch trailhead completely and made the hike to it about 3 miles longer by starting it at Auxier Ridge. The reason they gave was overuse.


I'm on a mailing list that the NSF maintains for the Ava district for the Mark Twain NF. When they are proposing any changes in the way this district is managed they send me a letter informing me of the proposed changes. Usually they have a list of options, with one being designated as that which they intend on implementing. They also provide info on how to submit feedback to the proposals. I'm pretty sure that every district must maintain such a list.

My experience is that they do listen, and often times do respond with a change in their proposed and implemented plans, so I wouldn't be too sure your letter didn't sway them.

I will say that limiting accessibility is, in my opinion, the least desirable option to prevent misuse and overuse. We pay a lot of money to maintain our public lands and insisting on access is not demanding too much for our money, nor is insisting on law enforcement where and when it is required. That, and maintenance, is what we are paying for.

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#181626 - 12/31/13 09:02 PM Re: Does fire take ultralight too far? [Re: Glenn]
Talthing Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 14
I think LNT is a principle to strive for. Obviously a fire (even in a pit built by others) leaves a trace. I have a hiking buddy that pretty much won't camp where he cannot build a fire. I think fires are great and love to have a fire where permitted. Fire is a trade-off, if you're practicing LNT, than a fire would be out. If you're shooting to see how little you can get away with carrying...then you're most likely going to have building a fire as part of your plan.

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Bivvy bag with wired peak
by Petro1234
01:06 PM
How cheap can you go?
by EMT Dave
12/05/17 07:07 PM
compass, thermometer, baro/altimeter
by edfardos
11/19/17 09:54 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Greetings - and a question
by valongi
11:35 AM
Just found out about UCO candles
by toddfw2003
11/30/17 08:41 AM
Hitting the eagle rock loop, Ark in 3 days
by toddfw2003
11/19/17 11:31 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Plant based insulation...
by billstephenson
11/18/17 02:58 PM
lightest grommets to use
by toddfw2003
10/22/17 06:13 PM
avalibility of thin ti rod
by the-gr8t-waldo
01/26/17 04:45 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 32 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
valongi, Atkinson J, Dcarpenter, Woodland, ultralight
12469 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
HOME
Backpacking.net
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum.com