Any ultralight hikers out there?

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  • Any ultralight hikers out there?

    Hi all,

    The missus and I are getting back into hiking in a big way this summer, after her illness prevented any meaningful multiday walks over the past two years. After a few trips over the past month or so, I've been reassessing a fair bit of our gear and looking to upgrade several components as funds allow. Some of it is ending its useful life, some just doesn't work right or provide reasonable comfort, and overall we need to lighten up our pack loads. This is especially, important for my partner as she's still at risk of fatigue if she overexerts herself, but I'm also keen to get my 1-2 night pack closer to 10KG than 20KG, especially while I get my track fitness back. Lightening up the base load will also help compensate for the added weight of fishing gear (which is the reason 9 times out of 10 we're out hiking in the first place) or for if/when I start hike hunting (which I'm seriously considering for the upcoming fallow season).

    In the last couple of years it appears that ultralight (UL) hiking has well and truly gone from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream, with a plethora of off-the-shelf products available. My initial reaction - and that of my girlfriend's - is that while much of this gear is less suited to Tassie conditions than those lovely, open US forests with a soft underbed of pine needles (!), there's still plenty of scope to achieve a nice and light pack without sacrificing reasonable safety and comfort in our snake/leech/insect/marsh/rock/kerosene bush riddled, snow-in-summer hellhole we love

    I'm also coming slowly around to the notion of using a cuben fibre tarp (with mesh insert) rather than a tent, at least for summer camping when I'm out hiking solo or backcountry fishing with my mate (and only have to please myself in regards to nightly accommodation). Amongst other things, I'm eyeing off one of these tarp systems (eg.Hyperlight Mountain Designs Echo II) as an alternative to a traditional double-skin single person tent.

    ... although with a flat tarp rather than catenary-cut.

    Anyone here able to share their experiences and thoughts on UL, particularly with regard to doing it safely in the Australian environment?

    Cheers, Ben.

  • #2
    i know this is slightly off the question / topic, but when i hunt the vic high country (im from adelaide) i try and get my car deep as i can into the good stuff and then just set up camp with a stretcher & swag.. Personally i dont feel very "safe" just lying under a UL in the bush.. theres alot of wild dogs hangin round vic atm. Just my 2c.

    However, i have friends that use the UL and just roll out there sleeping bag (ontop of a ground sheet) underneath the UL. Would also get mighty cold during winter months so make sure you bring appropriate clothes.



    • .357sig
      .357sig commented
      Editing a comment
      Can't help you with the tarp, but I have done a number of Tasmania walk &fish trips (multiday).
      My pack is always over 20kg, and that is with a lot of light stuff (the scotch doesn't count!).
      Good luck

  • #3
    I am partial towards using a hutchie but thats upon in QLD where the coldest it will get is low negatives.
    Always in need of just one more gun.


    • #4
      I do a fair bit of walking when I can - although very little since baby has arrived!
      I've walked the Overland three times, done the Mackay Highlands and Whitsunday Great Walk (twice) and used to just zip off for a few days in the scrub by myself.
      The first time we walked the Overland, we referred to ourselves as Team Loco, after the amount of young ladies who declared we were crazy. When I walked the Whitsunday Great Walk in 2008 for the first time, some Pommy backpacker lass couldn't fathom the concept why I'd want to walk in the bad, scary jungle all by myself. My answer: because I just don't like people!

      I follow the UL philosophy, but not religiously like some believers. I'll reduce the load as much as possible, but not to the point of sacrificing safety like I've seen some do.

      Reducing the load as much as possible, now that I'm rapidly approaching 40 and have some service and work induced injuries, is all about management nowadays.
      Some items, like the new Klymit lightweight skeletonised sleeping mats, seem like a great idea. Other things, like some of the UL shelters, not so much.

      I'm one of those people, who has been travelling and living out of a backpack for work and play for long periods of my life. I still get some strange looks for what I can drag out of my pack to make life a tad more comfortable.
      I'm hoping to return to my roots and do some walking to bag a deer or two in the next twelve months, now that I have my shooting license and a rifle. Nice to see other crazy walkers around here
      Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.


      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        My new ultralight setup is a Seekoutside 4 man Tipi and titanium stove for keeping cosy in the victorian winter and alps

        Its currently being shipped but with liners and stove it weighs in at under 2.5kg for a comfortable setup but you could do it much lighter. if you drop the liner or stove from the mix

        Having used a friends Kifaru 4man tipi and stove in winter is unbelievable, its alightweight setup with two people its even better since you can justify the stove!

        Apart from being able to cook in the tent and heat the tent, waking up in the morning rolling over and lighting up the stove in inclement weather is a moral booster and those camping with you are likely to be jealous that your tent is a toasty 20-25c when outside its 4c.

        light fire, put kettle on top return to sleeping bag, get up and dressed in a lovely warm environment with a hot coffee priceless