My thoughts on “stupid light”

There is a term in the hiking world that is becoming more popular these days, especially as more hikers such as myself in the sul/xul world are educating UL hikers in the ways of SUL hiking, that is called “stupid light”. It is a term that is being used by very experienced hikers (most of whom I greatly respect) and by HH/UL hikers who just do not ‘get’ what sul/xul hiking is all about. The term is taking on a whole new level of meaning as those of us in the sul/xul world strive to push ourselves and our gear further to the extremes and have started educating others about it.

In all but a few of the cases that I have seen some of the worlds top hikers use the term ‘stupid light’ I have found myself disagreeing with them. I fully and completely understand that their reader audience and followers are thousands and sometimes tens of thousands more than what I and other sul/xul hikers have, so they have the responsibility to their readers, to those who they are educating, to approach things from a “99%” rather than the “1%” such as what I do. By this I mean that the xul world of hiking makes up around one percent (probably less than half of one percent) of all of the hikers from around the world. Within sul hiking that number goes up a small percentage, but for the most part, when you take the millions of hikers that have hiking gear some where in their house, those who are going out for 10+ day trips with a SUL backpack are just not that large of a percentage. So I can respect these fellow hikers with massive followings and their need to write and speak to the broader audience at large.

I think that the problem that is being faced by those of us who are sul/xul hikers and who are doing these things that others consider “stupid light” is not that what we are doing is wrong, nor is it unsafe, nor is it stupid – but rather the term itself is wrong. “Stupid light” should more aptly be termed “very experienced hikers light” or something along those lines.

Many of these guys throwing around this term over the last year, that have huge followings, have been out there using exactly the gear that they now call “stupid light” – as can be easily researched when you look at their gear lists for previous hikes that they have done. This is not me being critical towards those hikers, but rather I think it is important to point this out because it shows that “stupid light” is not about being “stupid” – it is about being “experienced” and knowing exactly what your gear is, how to use it, how to keep it in good shape, how to repair it should something happen, and how to just use your brain in general when things do not go as planned. The exact opposite of being “stupid”.

For the record, I do not strive to have a massive following. My style of hiking, and the website, is all about the sul/xul styling of hiking. I accepted the fact that I would loose 90+% of my followers when I went to only talking and educating others about sul/xul hiking, and that is exactly what happened, and I am perfectly fine with that. What it has done is it has allowed me to connect with a much larger group of hikers who are sul/xul hikers than I ever did when I was focused on UL/SUL hiking. It has also given me the amazing opportunity to help a few dozen hikers break through the UL levels of backpack and work their way down into the SUL world – and good for them!!

So here is my request to those hikers out there who are using the term “stupid light” in their course of communications: The terminology is simply not right – and most of you know that. To claim that those of us in the hiking world, who collectively have tens of thousands of miles as sul/xul hikers, are “stupid” because we have the experience to go out onto the trail with gear that the 99% have no right to be out there using, is not “stupid”. We are experienced hikers using gear that can keep us as safe as any hiker with a 20 pound setup. We are experienced hikers who are helping to revolutionize the hiking industry as a whole by seeking out new gear and new materials and new methods of approaching how to solve the problems hikers face. Stupid has nothing to do with it – it is all about experience.


Preparing For Shoulder/Winter Season, Clothing

Hello Hikers,

I figured with it being mid-June that I should probably start putting some thoughts into the 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season. If you have been following my articles for very long you know I am not a big fan of that white stuff that so many others seem to enjoy so much, and thankfully here in the Redwoods of Northern California we do not get a lot of it.

Earlier today I was catching up on some fellow hiker articles and one of my favorite hikers from New Zealand posted a article about his planned base-layer for the rest of the year, and that is what got me thinking that it is getting close to that time of the year where I need to start planning my own setup.

So below I will outline what I am planning at this point in time for my 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season clothing setup. I would love to have other hikers out there who are planning and writing up their own shoulder/winter gear lists drop me a comment with your own setup! Each year the hiking industry is getting larger and larger and I am sure there is gear out there that some of you are using that I have no idea even exists and could be better than what I am planning to use!! Continue reading “Preparing For Shoulder/Winter Season, Clothing”

2 Ounce Cook Kit

Greetings Hikers,

It has been awhile since I posted an article on a cook kit, and my good buddy Chad recently decided to post a blog on his cook kit, which he and I worked on a bit to finalize (and I think he really nailed his) so I figured I would go ahead and share with the world what cook kit I have been using lately. The difference between his and mine is somewhere around 0.1 ounces so these will be pretty close to identical. I also know four or five other hikers out there who have contacted me the last few months and are building themselves nearly identical cooking setups. Most of them SUL hikers, one I think was UL wanting to just have something light and simple.

I feel it will be important here to start off by saying I have typically been a “no cook hiker”, which means that my meals are able to be made without the use of any hot water. For 2012 I have told myself that I will not abuse myself as much as I did last year (in my quest to go hard core XUL, with sub 2 pound BPW setups) and so I have switched back to carrying a cook kit. This does result in an additional 8 ounces of weight per section of trail (1 ounce per day of fuel + cook kit, on average of 6 days between resupplies) but the ability to have a warm cup of coffee in the morning, or some eggs, or a hot meal after hiking in the rain all day, well it really makes up for those extra eight ounces, when it all comes down to it. Continue reading “2 Ounce Cook Kit”

What is “Core Temperature” – How important is it – What you need to do and know!

Hello Hikers,

A few years ago as I was developing my long distance hiking skills I realized a very important aspect of hiking which I eventually formulated into a sort of motto by which I hike – and now use as a principle teaching platform.

Managed Core Temperature + Proper Preparation + Proper Sleep + Proper Food + Proper Gear = A High Chance of a Successful Trip!

I am fully convinced that nearly everything you learn about hiking should be founded on those 5 skills!

It does not take a great deal of time spent out hiking to realize just how important those four skills are. The difficulty comes in learning them and learning how to keep yourself aware of each of them, and learning how to keep yourself in tune with each of them regardless of the environment  and conditions that you are faced with while out on the trail.

It would be unfair of me to sit here and say that I have mastered each of those four aspects, because I have not. There are times I am on a hiking trip and I realized that I have highly under estimated the situation and end up not being able to properly sleep – usually it comes down to the cold or hot weather, or from not having enough water or food to keep my body in tune with itself. Continue reading “What is “Core Temperature” – How important is it – What you need to do and know!”

Yes-Gear For 2012!

I have to be honest to my readers… this whole “No Gear For 2012” is just soooo not going to happen for me! I do not want to get into whether it is a good thing or a bad thing – that is something only each of us as hikers can answer. I sort of think it is great that hikers are out there trying to commit themselves to it, but for me, it is just never going to happen.

With the exception of a few pieces of cold weather gear I could take my existing hiking gear setups and do almost any hike anywhere in the world. But the thing is, I just love checking out new gear and I so love supporting the outdoor cottage gear companies it would be hard for me. Even though I already have all the gear I could possible need, there are a few items out there that I still really want to buy. Some of them to make my hiking life better, some of them to simply try them and see if I like them enough to use, some of them to see how they perform against existing gear that I already have, and some of them because they are just down-right awesome looking. Continue reading “Yes-Gear For 2012!”