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Backpackinglight Northeast Meetup

Backpackinglight Northeast, Mt Alander
Backpackinglight Northeast, Mt Alander

This past weekend,  I went on a two night backpacking trip with a bunch of other northeast hikers who are active on the Backpackinglight.com Forums.  Clint, Ryan, Seth, Ben, Steve, Bryce, Eric, Walter, Greg, myself and Peter (not shown) all met up at Mt Washington State Park in the Taconic Range near the Berkshires for a weekend of hiking, camping, and good times.

Ultralight House Tour
Ultralight House Tour

We got to hike through some nice autumn foliage overlooking the Hudson River Valley and of course check out each others’ ultralight gear including a panoply of shelters and backpacks from the usual cottage and ultralight manufacturers. It was great for me because I got to inspect and discuss some that gear that I’ve never seen up close like a Laufbursche Backpack (don’t know the model), a Tarptent Rainbow, a Gossamer Gear “The One” tent, a ULA Circuit Backpack.

Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles made from Golf Club Shafts
Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles made from Golf Club Shafts

But even more fun was checking out all of the MYOG or inexpensive ultralight finds that people are using. Ultralight backpacking sometimes gets a bad rap for being very expensive, but the truth is you can make a lot of stuff yourself in the American Hobo tradition, or use everyday objects for purposes they were never intended for.

For example,

  • Clint showed us a great backpack that he’d made that can compress down to a much smaller capacity day pack
  • Walter made hiking poles from carbon fiber golf club shafts
  • Greg had a Rayway tarp kit he’d sewn and was using shrink-wrap window insulation as groundsheet
  • Steve had a 12 oz kids XL down jacket he’d found at Costco for $30
  • Bryce was using a exterminator fumigation bag as a pack liner, and Webber Fire Cubes instead of Esbit
  • Eric had a homemade supercat stove and pot cozy he’d made out of closed cell foam
  • I was trying out a inexpensive tyvek tarp and sleeping bag cover
  • Bryce and Walter were using $20 Dri Ducks rain gear
  • Most everyone was using soda or Gatorade bottles for water

The evenings were rather chilly this weekend with temperatures dropping down into the mid thirties, but we had a good time in camp sitting around a fire (which most of us never make when backpacking), sipping wine and toasting marshmallows. It was really great meeting all of these folks and I’m pretty sure we’ll be taking more backpacking trips together in the future.

6 comments

  1. What a great weekend that was! I just posted a report at my blog, too, and I'm off to work now. It was great to see you again, Phil. I can't wait to get the group together again for some snowshoeing and intense gear-nerdiness.

  2. It was a great time and I'm glad we all got out despite the chilly weather. Here are a few links to trips reports, and more photos.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/earlylite/NortheastB

    http://guthook.blogspot.com/2011/10/backpackingli

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpacki

  3. The last time I was together with other backpackers and bloggers the only gear on show was made by RAB. We got called a RAB convention. At least you had a bit of mixed gear on show. Always good to meet others.

  4. This was mostly backpackers except for Ryan and I. Just a bunch of us getting together to hang out (including one hammock hanger) very informally. Contrary to what you might think, we didn't talk about gear exclusively. Good to get to know some new folks who are also excellent hikers/backpackers.

  5. excellent time!

    definitely looking forward to some winter hiking and to pick Guthook and Clint's brains some more for my potential AT hike next year.

  6. Steve, I'd forgotten you said you might hike the AT. I fully support that idea :)

    It was very interesting hanging out with you and Clint, since I am more often unemployed than not, so having someone else be more adventurous and irresponsible (in a good way!) than me is something new to me. I'm actually kind of jealous.

    Either way, hopefully we'll make it on some hikes this winter. I'll try my best to make it happen.

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