You Might Be an Ultralight Backpacker If...
By Steve Gillman
You might be an ultralight backpacker if you you find yourself
saying "Hey, that's a good idea," to more than one
of these. I took them from a lightweight backpacking forum, and
added a few of my own. Hope you enjoy.
You Just Might Be an Ultralight Backpacker If...
You pack light for a family trip to Grandma's house.
You use the fruit scales in Walmart to determine the approximate
weight of a possible new piece of gear.
When at home you use 4 toilet paper squares for "practice".
You read that last one and say, "toilet paper?"
When you keep leaves and pinestraw in your bathroom to make
a preliminary wipe before you practice using 4 squares of Toilet
You no longer pack mole-skin in your first aid kit and use
duct tape from your repair kit instead, thereby saving approximately
You have no idea what the title, scale or contour interval
of your map is because.... you cut away all of the margins to
You can't grip the ends of the 6" long piece of floss
because.... that seemed so perfect at home and prompted you to
say "why do those idiots waste so much floss when it is
You consolidate all of your nutritional needs into a single
cookie recipe and take only those cookies on a 5 day trip and
are really happy with the whole deal until about day 3.5 when
you decide you can't take even one more bite of the next (just
like every one before this one) cookie.
If your wife's purse holds more stuff than your backpack.
If you sleep at home with the temps turned down while in the
buff just to get used to the cold so you can take an even lighter
You rub the outside of your pots with sandpaper to make them
thinner and lighter.
The thought of 1000 fill-power down gives you a little shiver
down your spine.
You cut the BRISTLES off your toothbrush.
You're glad you're going bald.
You're frustrated at being unable to find Silnylon boots.
You're wondering if your compass would still work OK without
all that heavy liquid.
Your woman says, "Go down baby!" and you hop out
of bed hootin and hollarin and order a Western Mountaineering
You no longer have tags on any clothing you wear.
Your mailman is trying to figure out why people send you empty
boxes all the time.
You eat with $40 titanium chopsticks instead of a plastic
fork because they weigh .01 ounces less.
You act like a clepto whenever you visit fast food restaurants
and get near the little condiments section.
You search for and save containers until they're so small
you can't figure out what to carry in them.
You walk through the grocery store thinking "saltines
have 1760 calories per pound, but mixed nuts have 2720 calories
per pound". (And by the way, wild raspberries only have
240/pound, but you don't have to carry them.)
Your hiking attire cost more than your best set of clothes.
Your trash can is full of snipped off bits of webbing straps,
labels, toothbrush handle ends, and tea bag strings.
You shave ALL the hair off your body to save a few ounces
on your "from the skin out" weight!
Your trail runners weigh more than your multi day pack.
you know the weight of your backpack, and not your wife.
You have to take your tent down to use your combination spork/toothbrush
because you used it as a stake.
Your picnic table is covered with burn marks from your alcohol
You find yourself, covered in burn marks from alcohol stove
You compulsively weigh things you have absolutely NO intention
of ever taking backpacking, just because.
You take laxatives before a trip, just so you don't have to
carry as much crap.
A Note to Ultralight Backpackers:
You can contact me, if you want to add to this list (stevengillman
@ hotmail .com). Oh, and you might be an ultralight backpacker
if you can easily come up with more of these from your own experience.
Check back for more in the future.
A reader sent me the following:
Your sports bra doubles as a water bucket.
Your boyfriend is not an ultralight backpacker and you
bring him so that you have someone to carry a bigger tent, mattress,
snacks, water filter, and beer for the first night out.