The Utralight Philosophy

This post is about explaining my personal vision about what UL means to me, my outdoor experience and how I believe it is beneficial.

For me, going ultra light or light means carrying less on your back to enjoy the nature and the hike more. Taking less means seeing more, feeling your surroundings more intensely. It means you can scramble up that extra hill, or hike that extra mile detour for an extraordinary view. Whereas you might feel limited with a heavy pack, that all vanishes when carrying lighter gear and smaller necessities. Going light makes it more fun to go out and about, not to be completely beaten when you arrive at camp but cheerfully smiling, not exhausted and not aching (this can ruin a trip or even end a camping career).

But there is a deeper side of the story I believe. Don’t you think this is all kinda zen? Just another way to implement minimalism and simple living? Being able to differ your wants from needs has something almost Buddhistic for me.
You are more when you have less. 

You grow more conscious of your gear and you learn more skills. You don’t need a camp lantern, armchair, king size mattress or a double walled expedition tent for a trip to the Eifel. You are also saving yourself a lot of pain, you might not feel it when you’re in your twenties but the stress on your back, feet and all joints in between can surface in the form of pain later in life. So I think it’s even healthy to go lightweight, just don’t go stupid/or maybe better blindly light. Don’t dump you first aid kit and learn the proper skills before you start sleeping under tarps in storms.

Nature knows no boundaries, if Iceland decides your airplane isn’t going anywhere then so be it, so why should humans be limited in a limitless nature?

Being outdoors for me is about enjoying being away of the daily routine and spending time with the people I care about. With no cell phones ringing and Internet, I am able to clear my head and opening up for thoughts and ideas.
It provokes creativity and it proves to be healing. Just look at all the people hiking to Compostella, everyone has a reason to do it. Personally I do not need the healing effect, I just enjoy not to have to think about anything else but where to camp. I think that everyone would benefit of hiking and being outdoors. It takes your mind off of things. After all, it is our birthplace and our brains, organs, body and sight have adapted to being outdoors. We have done so for millions of years (sorry creationists).
Going light is becoming mainstream, this is obvious looking at major manufacturers who are already adopting some technologies and are spending R&D budget to go lighter. There’s certainly future in this segment. Going light lowers the threshold for more people enjoying the benefits of being outdoors.

I believe the lightweight hikers are among the most passionate hikers, they can be obsessed with gear (I know I am, drooling away and spending hours reading about the new products, reviews, visiting e-shops,…) but they are also craving for the next trip, just to be out there, without leaving a trace.

If you want to read more philosophies, then check out these sites:*

* I am not being paid to put those links up, heck this isn't even a high-traffic blog. I do think they succeed in explaining the UL goal, ambition and mindset. 

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