Author Topic: The Heavy Debate  (Read 5235 times)

Lyle Brotherton

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The Heavy Debate
« on: April 12, 2012, 08:53:07 PM »
The last time I was working in California the guys I was with were waxing lyrical about lightweight kit, and when they lifted my rucksack they told me it was ‘Way too Heavy Man!’

The weight of my kit is way down on my list of priorities, so when I am in Arctic temperatures (≤ minus20°C) I wear books that are 0.6kg each - but I can still count five toes on each foot  ;)
 
My reasoning is that if you continually carry the same weight of kit your body builds its strength accordingly and there is no need to sacrifice the performance of the kit you are using. Now I guess that the manufacturers want to convince us otherwise, forever creating lighter and smaller items to sell us.

And yes, to an extent, I have been suckered  ::) and have been using a Lifeventure 500, but frankly always disappointed at the way it kept, or more appropriately did not, my drinks hot. And when I decided to do my long walk in poor weather, warmth from exercise as well as warm nourishment are equally important to me so I popped into my local Morrisons and bought a glass lined ThermosFlask.



 This baby here carries 1 litre of Yorkshire Tea (enough for the daytime). I had packed it at 0500 and usually stop for a brew every three hours, at 1700 I poured my last cup and it was still steaming   :D
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 09:37:59 PM by Lyle Brotherton »
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

sniperkona

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 09:33:18 PM »
yip the light weight thing is the new kid on the outdoors block, i know guys that even cut there tooth brush down to save a few ounces!

Having carried some silly weights on different jobs, and then skimped out to save weight on others only to "Wish i had brought such and such", It all boils down to personal compromise, will i need it? can i be bothered to carry it, yes/no , move onto next item.
Over the years i have learned to pack things smaller and weed out the non essentials and end up with a reasonble weight whilst leaving my tac/sgt his 10% ha ha. Still carry the bouncing bomb sleeping bag about though, some things are to warm to leave behind. :)
And some good coffee!



Hugh Westacott

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 12:19:54 PM »
Ho, hum! 

It's all very well for you young whippersnappers who think nothing of humping packs weighing 20kg to be dismissive of ultra-light backpacking techniques. You are young and strong, as once was I, but now that I'm old and decrepit, I bless the research done by gear manufacturers that  enables me to reduce the total weight carried on my back, excluding food and water, on a week-long trip to less than 5kg. This allows me to continue to enjoy wild camping during the  temperate months of the year.

Ultra-lightweight bacpacking has a peculiar pleasure of its own. It sound silly when considering the high cost of my outfit but somehow, with my gear pared down to an absolute minimum, my sense of self reliance and adventure is enhanced.

Hugh

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 05:27:51 PM »
Fair point Hugh, I was thinking back to my late Pop, gunner and rugby player, and whilst he never lost his innate strength, weight that he carried became an issue for him.

So when it does for me either I will have to ditch some of the ridiculous kit I carry (red smoke flare, PLB, splint, spare mobile phone, in fact spare everything - and this is just for ordinary walks, not MR!) or load my son up with it as did my Dad!

Hugh I made a commitment to you a few weeks back, and I will honour that commitment and read it tonight!
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Skills4Survival

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 08:48:14 AM »
Going (ultra) light does not automatically mean that you skip items.

It means trying to find lighter items for the one you have and yes the next step is that people leave stuff at home. Bringing a lot of weight is never better than having less weight.

Especially if your body is not trained to handle the weight, and during long trips or emergency situation the chances on accidents/injury are higher.

Of course you can train yourself before. If I change the crusader mug and all the stuff which comes with it to a MSR burner or light weight gas burner/small plastic cup I think I made a good move. Some of the old stuff (e.g. military stuff, specially the older stuff) is aimed for very long durability and warfare, you simple do not need it and some of these items are ridiculously heavy.

E.g. I had a new backpack used by the Dutch Commando's, from Lowe Alpine Vector. 120l pack, strong as a tank. The thing weighs 4,4 kg, pack only. Now I have a pack which is smaller, but still goes to 85l of 2950 and actually I am pissed that the new expedition pack, which is bigger is 2250 grams. That pack again is bigger and stronger ...but half the weight of the military one. An emergency whistle of 50gr might work as well as one of 6 grams, if you do this for all items you will be amazed how much weight you can reduce. Reducing weight sets you free; you will be able to cover more ground easily, if that is what you want.

If you want to take a bottle of whisky for the weight you gained...that is a different story...you see the opportunity :-)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 08:55:48 AM by Lyle Brotherton »
Ivo

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 09:00:08 AM »
Do you know Ivo - you are right ;)

Your posting has made me realise that when a rucksack feels heavy on my back, psychologically, it is like a comfort blanket to me, because I am used to heavy ones in mountain rescue, and I also think to myself that I have packed everything for every eventuality!

I will try and break this habit – but the Thermosflask stays 8)
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Phil

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 11:49:09 AM »

I will try and break this habit – but the Thermosflask stays 8)

Pleased to hear it Lyle - A walk without hot tea is no fun at all.  :)

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 11:55:15 AM »
Hi Stranger ;)
And it is Yorkshire Tea too!
Seriously, I carry this stuff allover the world with me.
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Skills4Survival

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 06:26:44 PM »
Actually, having a hot drink at hand really can be beneficial, since you will not be able to make a hot drink always (depending on your situation). So, seen from a survival/safety point of view, having hot liqued at hand...might really help if you have symptoms of slight hypothermia (of course you need to solve structurally as well), or ..simply to boost morale. :-)  During my courses at Ray Mears...quite some people (mainly UK..:-) where drinking tea so often I began to wonder what it means in their life :-) Maybe the same for me if it comes to coffee, for which I installed my burner six times in three days..makes me wonder.
Ivo

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 08:03:50 AM »
Ivo, tea and the British relationship with it could easily be the subject of a book, for us as a nation, it has become much more than a drink, and it is an intrinsic component of our culture.

For me psychologically it has powerful associations, let me give you an idea how it has conditioned my thinking, through just three episodes that have shaped my life.

As a young man I sat with relatives Ralph (nicknamed Raff), and Olive, two wonderful people. I had asked about his active service during WWII where he had seen action on most fronts, from Africa to mainland Europe. He told me about his home coming after over two years of serving at the front; tours of duty were not defined as of then. He arrived back home after travelling from Italy in the back of the truck, ship, train and a bus to his village. He walked from the bus station to his home knocked on the front door - as he did not have a key - Olive opened the door, smiled and said ‘I will go and put the kettle on’.

As a boy, when my Grand Mother died, somebody who I was incredibly close to, my Father came from her home to break the news to the rest of the family. My Mother could see he was distraught and she sat us all down and brewed a pot f tea,

As a man, I had returned with some other mountain rescue team members from a harrowing incident where a boy of 16 had taken himself into the hills and hanged himself. After we had recovered his body we came back to the small village police station we were using as our control, there was a deep silence and I put the kettle on, and we all drank tea.

For soldiers, a Brew as it is affectionately called is a much bigger motivation to get to the end of a yomp than the RSM kicking them up their backsides.

Anyone else want to share their Tea stories?

Right, off to brew a cup of tea  ;)
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Callum

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 09:30:09 AM »
My first 7000m peak 12 years ago with Brian and Greg was Aconcagua. Although the day started bright, freezing fog blew across the peak when we reached the summit. The water took seconds to boil and the milk was near frozen, but the brew was one of the best I have enjoyed :) 

Phil

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 10:19:01 AM »
Hi Ivo

I couldn't start the day without at least three cups of tea.

When at home it has to be loose tea brewed in a teapot  8) - tea bags just don't cut it. When away tea bags are okay, as I find the tea tastes different anyway because of the water.

But in Yorkshire it just has to be loose tea, and as Lyle mentioned earlier the brand of tea needs to be 'Taylors Yorkshire Tea'!


Egg

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 11:44:14 PM »
I think tea is the psychological glue that binds us together or keeps us going in all sorts of situations.
It's certainly a great companion on any day on the hill.
Thinking back to when my mum died. Her sister was on the way to the hospital but never got there in time. It was down to me to break the news to her. She was in shocked silence until a nurse brought in a pot of tea. Somehow that jogged her back to reality and we were able to talk about what happened.
I often see it at work when the crews have been to a bad job. Tea is always the first priority when they get back. It seems to start the process of getting things in perspective and back to something like normal.
As far as Yorkshire Tea goes, can't beat it when it's made with the right water. I'll be up in York on Saturday so will be looking for a cuppa and a nice fat rascal. :)
Everyday's a school day...

Pete McK

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 08:05:15 AM »
I think that you have started a thread that will run and run Ivo  ;)

I too have similar tales to those of Egg and Lyle with bereavement, and remember well sitting at my late Father’s bedside as he slipped away, then the nurse bringing in a cup of tea, somehow it helped me, like it did Egg’s sister.

On a more cheerful note my overriding memory is of the occasion, when my then 16 year old sister, announced at dinner that she and her boyfriend had been to Gretna Green and secretly married. I could see in my Father’s eyes the look of sheer disbelief and we all sat in stunned silence, to which my Mother said ‘We must have him over for tea’. Tony duly came over for tea, we drink Tetley Tea, and 18 years later they are still married  :)

Nowadays, Emme and me always carry tea bags,plus our Jet Boil, even in this hot weather!

Tea most certainly is the glue of British Society.

Rescuerkw

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Re: The Heavy Debate
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 11:29:24 PM »
Well I seem to have missed a great deal of this debate, but catching up quickly now. When it comes to tea I always pay attention as it's a brew that surpasses all else, even beer when the occasion is right. I drink far too much of the stuff, but it's been a long standing tradition in my family and with all my relatives that tea precedes every occasion, so really I'm just maintaining the family tradition I guess. Moving on swiftly to the weight of backpacks- I like most young men (I'm not so young now) believed that backpacks should be truly heavy if one wished to be serious about the subject. I undertook the exercise of laying out everything I had in my rucksack on my living room floor one day and I couldn't believe it. Someone talked about rucksacks being a comfort blanket' and I really do believe for most of us they are. I couldn't believe some of the stuff I was carrying, that never got used but always got packed. Well now I'm not so young and discovering my right knee was literally falling apart I underwent an operation and now have a brand new Titanium knee. It hasn't stopped me back packing and I'm still doing the ten mile walks, but believe me there is not a gram of extra weight in my rucksac now. Surprising how disability concentrates the mind - but it's also surpising how it becomes a motivator to carry on and not stop. Just to travel a little lighter, that's all.