I can’t say for sure when I first used the term ultralighter for myself, but in a weird way I guess I’ve always recognized I am one. For me, less has always been more. But that has always been the recurring theme in my life.
The long and short of it is I don’t like things. I really never have. Even my home is void of things. Save for basic furniture, my personal possessions all fit in the back seat of my truck. In fact, the last time I moved, I left all my furniture and television behind. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of having to move them. Based on modern terminology, I guess I’m a minimalist, if I was to put a label on it. Here I thought I’ve always tried to be efficient.
I recall early on when I got sucked into the survival vortex. I built kits and collected things. But as usual, the items always ended up in the darkest corners of my closet and dresser drawers after one outing, or more often than not in the trash or at the local Goodwill. In retrospect, I really never had any intention of carrying said items. I was merely enamored with the idea of what those things represented. Sure I had my quick phase with bushcraft type gear, but again it was the idea it represented I lusted after. I remember when I hit the dutch oven phase of my life. Boy did I really hit it. The irony of it, however, I never really ate anything I cooked. I would give away the food I cooked. Again, I did it more for the feeling of making me feel bushcrafty. And once I got done with that phase, all the dutch oven stuff was donated to the local Goodwill. And so is the cycle of my life; buy it, use it, get rid of it—Wash, rinse, repeat. For that reason, I imagine it is no wonder I am naturally an ultralighter. I simply don’t like things that don’t make sense.
I’ve often wondered how some people struggle with getting their base weights down. Over and over again, I come across posts from others struggles to really drop their pack base weight, or the reasons why they won’t go lower beyond, say, 20-30lbs. As the guy on the outside looking in, it really has more to do with people packing their fears.
I credit my overall disgust with inefficiency in making me an ultralighter. I don’t like making campfires. I find the ritual and management of them to be way too much work and inefficient— Find the wood, clear the area, make the fire, maintain the fire, make sure it’s completely out upon departure. Not surprisingly, I also don’t like cooking in the outdoors. I find it too tedious and highly inefficient—pull out the stove, warm up the food, clean your cookware, etc. It’s entirely way too much work, when compared to much simpler options. Funny, as I sit here and type, it’s no wonder I prefer a sandwich or burrito wrapped in a napkin rather than the ritual of having a meal served on a plate and needing utensils to eat it with. I also prefer eating while hiking, instead of sitting down to eat. For me, sitting down to eat is highly inefficient. Needless to say, I don’t carry cookware. I prefer filtering to boiling water for purification, again the process of boiling is way too inefficient. Even using Chlorine Dioxide is too much work. It is much simpler to use a Sawyer Mini. It’s too bad, too, since Chlorine Dioxide packs so much smaller. I also can’t stand sleeping in a tent or under a tarp and avoid it every chance I get. I simply don’t like setting up and taking down the shelter. It’s inefficient and I derive no pleasure from the process. Of course, there are times a shelter is needed. Thankfully, it’s not too often I find the need for one. I really do wish I could just walk out into the outdoors with nothing on my back and just check in as if it was a hotel. But until that can happen, I suppose I will have to carry at least the bare minimum to keep me safe.
Am I a minimalist, ultralighter, or efficient?