Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back to the Future - Back to - Super Ultra Light (SUL)

Threads about "REAL" Super Ultra Light Gear, SUL Gear Lists, SUL techniques etc have diminished over the last couple of years to only a few once in awhile at the more popular Backpacking web sites. There are still a few of us, however, quietly working away on our ideas, our SUL - MYOG projects, and occasionally posting something about them.

In my first version of SUL, Carbon Fiber, Titanium and Cuben Fiber made it almost easy for me to make a good set of SUL gear and get near and then at the 5 pound mark. This SUL gear list was for moderate weather, hiking on trails such as the Appalachian Trail (AT).

Then in the first sequel, playing with gear design and a few other ideas and again using Carbon Fiber, Titanium, Cuben Fiber and other light fabric I was able to get my gear list weight well under the 5 pound mark. I was able to use that gear on a short AT hike with a Sub-2 pound gear list in the cool but moderate October weather in North Georgia. I was questioned by a few of the hikers I saw as to the durability of my very light gear and ask if I thought it would hold up on a really long hike. Yes, I thought it would hold up as well as most of their gear.

Like the movie my Trilogy continues with what I hope proves to be the most versatile of my SUL gear to date. The new SUL gear and a new concept of layering that I have been working on may get a durability test on a very long continuous hike such as 1000 miles or so on the AT. Like the movie I am back with what I hope will prove to be the best set of SUL gear to date.

I am working on a hiking window that might be open for me this year from around the end of April until mid-September. This would give me enough time to go 1000 miles on the AT. If I can start by the end of April I might even have enough time to complete all of the AT if I decide to try.

Over the next two months I will be working on some new projects, update (code word for lighten) some of my older gear and will post the new MYOG projects for the gear I plan to use on this hike. This will also give me time to test the new gear I am making for the layering system I have been working on. One of the nice things about San Antonio winter is that it is much like early spring along the southern part of the AT. This gives me a chance to test my new ideas in a temperature range like I might find on a late April hike start and a mid September hike end. Today it is a little cold for this time of the day - about noon - it is about 36 degrees F. and damp. It feels like it could snow but I am sure it will not. The last real snow we got here turned our roads into "your worst nightmare" for those that tried to drive on them.

Side Note: MYOG Materials

I get asked a lot about where I get the materials that I use for the gear I make. Most of it comes from one of the following:

Quest Outfitters -
Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics - -
Thai Silks -

I am also look at the following local stores:

Home Depot
Local Fabric Stores

I am always looking for lighter stuff and from time to time I find and buy material or hardware items at other places. I also buy some items direct from the manufacture. This normally means buying a large amount of that item. This can be lots of yards of fabric or insulation or a 100 or more of certain hardware items.


Blogger samh said...

Let it be known that your the results of your efforts are not simply for your own gain, Bill. Others, such as myself, watch with much anticipation the individual pieces you invent and re-invent. Even more exciting is not the pieces themselves, but the methods by which they are combined to solve multiple problems and serve multiple purposes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:45:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home