Our actual hobby

When you’re spending 10-12 hours every day walking, you notice every single pound (or kilo) on your pack. I generally don’t spend a lot of time in camp apart from eating and sleeping, so my gear is optimized for efficient hiking. The common term for this approach is ultralight backpacking, and while there is no clear definition, most ultralighters aim for a sub 10 lbs (4.5 kg) weight for a three season trip. While carrying less weight is always nice, it’s important to take the conditions of your trip into account, and plan accordingly. It shouldn’t be a surprise that my snowy GDT hike required more gear than hikes in alpine summers.

I find that 8-10 lbs of gear is my sweet spot. It’s easy to get caught up in optimizing a fictional gear list, but once you actually hike you realize what works and doesn’t work well for you. For example, I sleep cold so carry a heavier quilt and down jacket than most hikers. It took me a while to figure that out and now usually bring a quilt rated at 5-10 degree (Fahrenheit) warmer than what most hikers are comfortable with. Once you know what you are doing, it’s incredibly rare that your trip gets ruined by your gear selection, even if it’s not optimal. Being prepared and in good shape is way more important than worrying about which of two perfectly fine rain jackets you are bringing (note to self).

You can find all posts about gear here and some helpful resources below.


If you’re interested in ultralight backpacking, I suggest picking up some books to get started. The internet’s great and all, but books give you a more in-depth and focused introduction.


Blogs and websites

  • Cam Honan’s The Hiking Life: Cam has hiked extensively across both the US and worldwide, and is a great resource for trail guides, reports, and skills.
  • Pmags: Lots of great resources about Utah and budget gear, as well as general UL skills and techniques.
  • Things to Luc at: If you’re interested in Alaska, packrafting, or knowing how to plan your own off-trail trips, Luc’s the guy.
  • Andrew Skurka: Guided trips, fun trips reports, skills and more from hiker extraordinaire Andrew.