Over the past few years I have been getting back into hiking and it has become my main focus for a pass time. After wanting to get back into hiking, I began to look into packs and tents as these were the two main items that I was lacking. I went straight to Kifaru for these items as I have used there products for many years and know their exceptional quality.
Kifaru is a company that focuses primarily on the hunting community as well as the military. Because of this, they make backpacks that are built tough and can carry immense loads. Coming from a military background, myself, I went ahead and purchased what seemed to me to be the perfect pack. I got a Duplex frame and Mountain Warrior pack and I am extremely satisfied with my choice. I also purchased a MegaTarp two person shelter which is capable of accommodating a wood burning stove.
While Kifaru’s design philosophy is excellent for their intended user, it would seem that I have drifted away from this and now I envy the lightweight and ultra lightweight hikers. At one time in my life I never imagined a pack weighing less than 5 lbs would be sufficient to carry the items I would to live in the wild for a weeks time. I also had never been exposed to the world of high tech / lightweight gear, as the military requires durable, but does not require lightweight.
Now that I’m focused on going as light as possible, I have begun to look into what available for lightweight gear. As it turns out, the lightweight hiking gear market is a big one. I’ve been looking primarily at 2 companies for a backpack. ZPacks and ULA. Both offer Cuben Fibre products and both seem to be very popular on the trail.
ZPacks also offers a number of other lightweight products such as cuben fibre shelters, sleeping bags and clothing items too. Whereas ULA focuses primarily on backpacks.
Cuben Fibre is an ultralight high-performance material originally designed for use as sails in yacht racing competitions. It is still used for this purpose but can also be found in windsurfing, airship hulls, medical applications and notably in ultralight backpacking equipment, such as tents and backpacks. The last being my focus for the use of this product.
Why go lightweight?
The lighter my gear is, and the smaller it packs down to, the smaller of a pack is required to carry that gear. The less weight I have to carry, the more miles I can cover in a day and less calories are required to fuel my body to do so. I also won’t be working as hard so I won’t be sweating as much so I won’t need to carry as much water, which in turn makes for a lighter pack. If I can reduce the amount of weight I’ll be carrying, this will result in less wear and tear on my body as well. All these things equal a happy hiker as far as I’m concerned.
My goal base weight (everything minus consumables) is somewhere between 10-15lbs. I want to be carrying no more than 30lbs of weight at any given time. This includes everything from the big 3 (pack/shelter/sleep system) to clothes, to food and water, electronics, etc. If I can achieve this I will be satisfied, at least for a short time. I have every intention of reaching this goal prior to hiking the PCT in 2017.