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Thread: Ultralight Hikers

  1. #1

    Ultralight Hikers

    I've read throug quite a few of the lightweight equipment and hiking threads, but I just wanted to see if there are any "ultralight" hikers/backpackers out there who shoot large format and what they use.

    I do a bit of hiking in the mountains and through forests and occasionally take my Pentax 6x7 which is a beast and very heavy. I used to have a huge box with a heavy Toyo monorail which was even worse. Looking to get back into LF shooting while out hiking but interested in the concept of doing this in a ultralight fashion.

    What do you use? What compromises have you made to keep things extra, extra light? Would love to hear some creative solutions.

  2. #2
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    Well, here's the key part of my equipment strategy:

    Tachi 4x5 + Schneider 150mm g-claron + Fuji QuickLoad holder w/ 20 sheets.

    The disappearance of QuickLoads will catch up to me next year, I think.

    The weight of tripods is a special problem, which is why it gets (and deserves) so many dedicated threads. I'm certain I have a greater tolerance for carrying my Ries J600 than most people.

    -----
    I have never, ever, ever scrimped on hiking boots.

  3. #3
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    I'm not into ultralight hiking; I should put the effort into shedding pounds from my midsection rather than ounces from my gear. I'm not naturally or artificially lanky.

    The lightest weight camera I have is my pre-anniversary speed graphic. Seems a good pound lighter than a late model speed graphic and is pretty rugged for a wooden bodied camera, and it folds up into a neat little box. Some lenses if they are low in profile can stay right on the camera when it's folded.

  4. #4
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    What items people leave behind is also interesting.

    I've left behind my Lee compendium shade, for weight and space savings.

    Always a difficult decision.

    -----
    Water is so very heavy.

    A mere quart weighs more than 2 pounds.

    If you can reduce the water you carry, and bring a water filter, that eases LF hiking like nothing else.
    Last edited by Heroique; 17-Feb-2014 at 17:28. Reason: Added thoughts about H2O.

  5. #5
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    I can only offer guidance relationally to your question. Going "ultralight" (base pack w/o food = 8 – 12 lbs.) precludes anything but a 6 oz. digital P&S, no matter how you cut it. No pack designed to carry such light weights will come close to being able to carry a large camera as well. It may be possible to go "light" (base pack w/o food = 12 – 18 lbs.), not including something on the order of one of those no movement Fotoman types using no tripod (you'll really have to be creative to be creative with these cameras). The tripod capable of securing a camera for work worthy of justifying the use of LF, may be the biggest bugaboo in this regard. I easily attained UL or L status with Spartan gear except camera, spot meter, filters, holders, film, tripod, etc. on many occasions. With 5x7, my pack never weighed less than 45 lbs., decidedly not UL or L. I travel light, as specified, these days with P&S, or GoPro, because there are a few comfort items I can no longer leave home without: air mattress (ExPed), tent and a pack that can carry 25 - 30 lbs. comfortably. Don't get me started on that extra 2 lbs. for that damned bear canister.

  6. #6

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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    I used a 3 lb Toho and a four lens kit. It was lighter when quickloads were still available.

  7. #7
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    I don't know if this fits into your ultralight hiking (I don't even know what defines "ultralight") world but I've hiked a lot with my chamonix 4x5, one lens (a 150mm), a grafmatic or two, a meter, 3 filters, and a tripod. It makes a pretty svelte kit.
    Chris

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawlowski6132 View Post
    Grow a pair and go shoot.

  8. #8

    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    Wow, great feedback everyone. Ultralight is a definitely a lofty goal for shooting LF. It's more of a novel idea then any real practical use but still something I'm interested in. I've actually been shooting 6x7 for years now but long ago I'd shoot on a big old monorail beast, Toyo pre-G series stuff. I've been building simple box cameras for 4x5 since then which has been fun but I'd like to get into a bit more seriously now. It'd be interesting to see some hikers homemade solutions to lighting their pack (either homemade cameras or modifications).

    Don't get me started on bear canisters! Just the shape and size of them are a pain in the ass let alone the weight, definitely put a bit of the wrench in the works for the multi-day hike I did in King's Canyon last summer. Had to cut out a few bits of photo gear I really wanted to take along but couldn't make fit.

    Interesting mention of the Quickloads. Unless you are carrying quite a lot of film the weight difference probably isn't too great. Even then if you have a clever solution for unloading/loading your double dark slide holders you could have your weight lower than a Quickload setup. Speaking of which, any hikers have home-made tents or changing bags?

  9. #9
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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    Don't get me started on bear canisters! Just the shape and size of them are a pain in the ass let alone the weight
    I was able to improve my weight and comfort significantly when I switched from a Super Redhawk to a Glock 22 bear canister. Both shape and weight are much improved.
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    --A=B by Petkovšek et. al.

  10. #10

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    Re: Ultralight Hikers

    I have been using A Linhof Tech with the 120mm or a 210 G-Claron lens attached for compactness. If the hike is not too long I will add another lens; Fuji Quickloads until they ran out; I now use the MIDO film holder system with mixed results. Tripod is a Bogen Carbon Fiber with a Linhof Head (forget which one - very compact but not light). Pentax Digital Spotmeter, Toyo Loupe, small notebook. Food, First-Aid Kit, knife. (By remembering how heavy the pack is I know I am forgetting some things). An overnight stay adds quite a few pounds - but that's another story.

    Unloading and reloading film on location sounds better that it is in practice, at least for me.

    The water is the heaviest item.

    What I really need is a pack mule...

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