Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 
Backcountry Gear Clearance and Sale

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
BackcountryGear.com
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 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


 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

Stay Healthy--Eat Well

MARY JANES FARM ORGANIC MEALS

Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals

NATURAL HIGH GOURMET MEALS

Natural High

 

Page 2 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#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: 2742
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: 3569
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: 6372
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
Page 2 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Bivvy Sack combo Arrangement
by Jim M
10/18/17 01:58 AM
what is the lightest framed backpack around 40L
by toddfw2003
10/16/17 07:23 PM
a worthy challenger to the msr pocket rocket2
by the-gr8t-waldo
10/16/17 01:28 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Napa Fires
by balzaccom
10/11/17 07:43 PM
Backpacking the Ouachita Trail thanksgiving
by toddfw2003
10/05/17 11:54 PM
Rockfalll on El Capitan in Yosemite
by balzaccom
09/28/17 09:47 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
alcohol stove comparisons
by Bike_packer
10/03/17 08:56 PM
Can footprint plasticizer harm tent ground-sheet?
by Weston1000
09/10/17 02:24 AM
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
0 registered (), 37 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Blackbuzzard, LivelyLiz, Weve, Tones21, Pasquale
12424 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