Ultralight Carry- A Discussion

November 21st, 2012 in Articles Ten Essentials

Ultralight Gear Carry: An Emerging Psychology

Is Ultralight (or ‘UltraLite’) gear better suited for all hikers and backpackers? Does it completely replace conventional gear? What are the pro’s and con’s?


Pocket Space Blanket

Many prefer carrying the smallest, lightest, minimum gear possible in an effort to:

  1. Reduce pack weight to minimize fatigue or perceived effort when hiking.
  2. Condense pack contents to a smaller space requirement, allowing one to carry all gear in a smaller day pack or larger fanny pack.
  3. Allow more room in a larger pack for added heavy or bulky items (examples are firearms and gear for hunters, or radios/batteries, and rescue or EMS gear for SAR personnel).

Number 3 on the above list was my reality for years. As a consequence, I became an ultralight-gear enthusiast.

Ultralight Gear, the Pro’s

Those who champion ultralight gear emphasize the Ten Essentials Category items will go with you at all times, on trips short and long, if they’re light and easy to carry.

Ultralight Gear, the Con’s

I quickly discovered that ultralight gear items may be a poor compromise compared to their heavier, bulkier equivalent. Sometimes lighter but not as durable or designed for extended use, smaller but not as comfortable, or minimized but not with as many functions or capabilities.

An example is a space sleeping bag (ultralight) compared to a moderate-to-cold weather nylon shell/polyester fill sleeping bag (regular). What do you think you’d be the most comfortable in on a cold night?

Test and choose, before you plan to use!

The choice is up to you. Assess your needs and your expected level of comfort. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Try out ultralight gear first and make sure it works for you before you expect to rely on it.