This page hase moved to Go Beyond Ultra-light Camping, Go DirtWeight, Part 1 The Goal

Go Beyond Ultra-light Camping, Go DirtWeight
Part 1: The Goal

I read an article years ago about a guy that spent tons of time in remote places with almost no gear to speak of. He slept under the stars, got wet some, cooked on an open fire, got dirty and generally had a great time outdoors hauling almost nothing on his back. Since I was a child Iíve been captivated by the idea of having the skill and state of mind that would let me wonder off for days on end into some wild place with little more than the clothes on my back and a knife. Iconographic images of Australian Aborigines going on walkabout, Apaches covering fast rugged areas of wilderness, mountain men of the American west all surviving for extended periods with little equipment but wits and skill in abundance fascinate me. I love the stories of John Muir wondering out of his cabin door in the Sierras for a stroll with nothing but a pocket full of biscuits and staying gone for weeks on end because curiosity drove him forward. These iconographic figures used skills and experience to replace the need for gear.

Iíve loved being outside all my life. I have backpacked and camped as long as I can remember. For the last few years Iíve given considerable effort over to reducing the load I carry on my trips. I enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes from a light load. I want to take that process to the extreme end. I want to go beyond lightweight or ultra-light backpacking right through to dirtweight backpacking. I want the skill and confidence needed to leave the asphalt behind with no pack at all, to carry nothing extra with me than the dirt I pick up along the way.

The experience and interest I have in the outdoors gives me a good foundation of wilderness skills. Many of those skills are dependent on equipment. I am honest enough to know that despite how badly I want to just take off and do it there is a learning curve in front of me. I decided to take a step by step approach, to view this goal as one best achieved through a process not a flying leap. I will chronicle that process here, detailing its successes and missteps. Take a look at what I am doing. If you want to reach the pinnacle of weight minimization on your outings maybe this will work for you too. If you just want to further lighten the load your carrying, I am bound to pick up some useful tidbits along the way you can use.