Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Dedicated Ultralighter

This is a photo of a cutting tool. It's the only knife I carry on backpacking trips: razor sharp with a retractable blade capable of cutting fabric, cardboard, shoes and most packaging.
I do use a larger, one blade knife for survival adventures. It comes in handy for striking flint, or building shelters.
But, I'm a dedicated ultralight backpacker. Lots of gear choices I make depend on size and weight. I started this compulsion while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2000 with Rainmaker. Before we hit the trail, he taught me that if I watch the ounces the pounds will take care of themselves.

Back in the 90's, Ray Jardine wrote a book about light weight backpacking. He introduced ideas few had even considered: making your own gear, using unusual equipment, stealth camping, and short fast seasons.

More importantly these ideas set the stage for individuals to reevaluate their needs, adopt a new mind set, and challenge accepted back country concepts.

When packing for a trip, I think about my comfort level and the goals of each adventure.

Hiking a long trail is about the miles, the traveling. There are no base camps, and time spent in the shelter is minimal.

How, and why would I need a knife?
I needed one for gear repair or refitting. I needed one for opening packages in towns.
I might need one for basic self defence. But seriously, would I be likely to find myself in hand to hand combat? This small one could be hidden in my hand, and brought to play for quick swipe. Then I would run. My goal would be escape.
For my backpacking needs, I found this small, retractable razor knife suited me perfectly. I carry it on a key chain with other tools in my pocket. Very accessible, it weighs 5 grams (there are 28 grams in an ounce).
It is about a person's mindset. What works for me may not work for anyone else.

No comments:

Post a Comment