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.
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.
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.
- 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.