Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

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

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


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


Sleeping Bags


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






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#135822 - 07/04/10 05:40 PM less is more?
ringtail Offline

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
No, just enough is more. My charcoal chimney starter is the perfect example. For mine the perfect amount of newspaper is one and a half standard sheets crumpled, or two tabloid pages. Less and the charcoal does not start and more creates a smokey mess.

The correct dosage is the most important part of homeopathy -- too little is not effective, too much may be dangerous.

We had a thread on this long ago. It is time to post the idea again.

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

#135838 - 07/05/10 09:41 AM Re: less is more? [Re: ringtail]
Dryer Offline

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3584
Loc: Texas
Interesting thought...
When I built my bicycle wheels, less weight is certainly "more faster" however strength was a concern. 12 spoke, 20 spoke, carbon fiber, ti/steel, etc. Having witnessed wheel failures I always built them the old way...32-36 spoke but with light rims and nipples. A little heavier but much stronger.
Curbs and railroad tracks never fazed me and I never had a failure.
Trekking poles run the same way. My wife's super light poles 'slip' if I put my weight on them on a very steep down hill or climbing. I use converted ski poles, good ones....just a tad heavier but they don't fail or rattle.
So yes, "just enough" is a better way to go at it than shaving weight for sake of it.
paul, texas KD5IVP

#135845 - 07/05/10 12:31 PM Re: less is more? [Re: Dryer]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2796
Loc: California
When designing anything, be it backpack gear or cars, you are always playing a game of optimization - balancing conflicting criteria - a real multi-variable problem. "less is more" is a cute saying, but fairly meaningless. And since most of us are not millionaires, we have to select from all the gear out there to optimize gear to our own specific uses. We all would like the magic - one piece fits all applications. But this just is not possible. If 10 different sized bear cannisters were made and I were rich I could have the perfect solution to each length trip I take!

I think the more general gist of the saying "less is more" is to counter our western cultural idea that more stuff is better. At some point the stuff takes over and runs the show. I sort of go back to basics with backpacking - adding all those gagets and gizmos just means I have to carry more weight, keep track of them, and bring batteries or whatever to keep them going. The key as I see it is to really know what is essential and what is discretionary. Then you can evaluate each trip regarding how may discretionary items you are willing to add for comfort, fun, whatever.

#136316 - 07/14/10 10:41 PM Re: less is more? [Re: wandering_daisy]
DJ2 Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I agree.

#136384 - 07/16/10 12:12 AM Re: less is more? [Re: ringtail]
sparkyy Offline

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 20
Loc: southern california
I agree with less is more. It is something I always think about when I go backpacking also.

All these things we surround ourselves with, the materialism and the hypocritical society that has been constructed, is so out of wack and out of touch with what we actually need. When you cast all those things away, strip your psyche of the walls it has built out of the projections of society, you realize that the human world is just way more complicated than it needs to be.

We need to fine tune our society. Simplify the machine. It will never happen.

It's funny though. The nature of the universe seems to be one of chaos and order, working in perfect conjunction. I see that as an accurate reflection of human society. Maybe our selfish and fearful human ego fits into the universal plan somehow? After all the earth can't all be rainbows and fluffy clouds, humans had to be created to balance things out. Eradicate certain species of plants and animals. Atomic radiation causing gene mutations. Maybe we are the forest fire here just to burn the duff from the forest floor. To cleans it, and create new life. Nothing new nothing special, it is just what the universe does...

Chaos and order, you can see it in human society around the world, you can see it in quantum physics and in the behavior of galaxies.

Whoa ok I kind of ranted there.... grin

I don't know if I am saying less is more anymore, but I sure don't need a lot to be happy

#136400 - 07/16/10 07:48 AM Re: less is more? [Re: sparkyy]
DTape Offline

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 661
Loc: Upstate NY
"Less is more" can have many different meanings even within the same context. It is these different interpretations which is why some people will agree or disagree. Within the confines of backpacking I interpret the statement to mean... As one decreases the amount of 'stuff' one brings into the wilderness, this increases the connection one experiences with mother earth. If one doesn't bring and use an ipod, one will hear the sounds of nature. If one doesn't bring a sleeping pad, one will feel the ground beneath them. For most it seems the gear they bring is to find the proper balance they desire in experiencing the outdoors. The less you bring, the more you will experience. Different people will have different opinions on whether a specific experience is positive or negative.

#136414 - 07/16/10 11:55 AM Re: less is more? [Re: ringtail]
bigfoot2 Offline

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Yup...less JimShaw = more quiet in the woods grin But then again, it's not as interesting.

BF cool
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

#136472 - 07/17/10 06:05 PM Re: less is more? [Re: bigfoot2]
DTape Offline

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 661
Loc: Upstate NY
While I enjoy the sounds of nature and the solitude. I also enjoy sharing the experience with others. If Jim was ever up in this area, I would welcome the opportunity to take a trip with him. The sentiment also extends to the rest of you.

#138619 - 09/10/10 08:35 PM Re: less is more? [Re: wandering_daisy]
JAK Offline

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Here is an interesting idea. If you build some of your gear using natural materials readily available in the region you hike, they can sometimes be built lighter, because if you break it you can repair or replace it. Not everything can be built light or easily using natural materials, but some things. Pack frames maybe. Hiking sticks maybe. Cordage? Maybe not for climbing but maybe for something. Buttons? Coffee mug?


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Berghaus Mens Hyper Hydroshell jacket...
by Alf
08/03/18 06:36 PM
Anyone using a Gossmear Gear The one?
by toddfw2003
07/27/18 09:36 PM
Getting Accustomed to Zero Drop Shoes?
by Bill Kennedy
07/23/18 02:32 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Wither Bergans of Norway?
by Steadman
09:09 AM
bad idea taking a newbie into the backcountry?
by toddfw2003
08/11/18 11:23 PM
Has anyone ever used the GEOS SAR service?
by willie1280
08/06/18 10:17 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
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 (), 55 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
eaglesfan122, RedRobin, walkingnatur, shawonfarhan, Grump
12618 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

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

Backcountry Forum

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