Fast and Light, 8lb of base weight?

A few days ago I decided to ask a simple question among our community in Facebook,  whats your base weight?  I knew a chaotic turbulence of responses will lynch my questioning, and I was positively hoping for a huge diversity of responses, since we as a group care more about the experience of backpacking and advising people without taking a particular roll over ultralight or minimalist backpacking. Everything is about the journey “Get Out and Go do it” is our slogan.

But there’s a big benefit to become  an ultralighter, is also a big expense that for many, take years to accomplish. From the posting and the many angry, funny and overkill responses John Davis was the lightest at 8lbs, so we got curious and ask him “whats in your pack? Here are some questions we ask Him and a full list for his rig.

john 4 Credit: John Davis

Where are you from? Im located in San Diego at the moment

  • How long it took you to become an Ultralighter?

My journey started in a search of a two burner stove by coleman on ebay and quickly discovered penny stoves, soda can stoves. Later thru investigation  discovered ultralight madness by reading reviews on BPL (Backpacking Light) and branch out to other sources. 

  • What do you recommend for people starting?

My recommendations are brand agnostic but I do have my favorites and wish lists. First, make sure you feel safe, consider sleeping without doors, without 200 poles holding your tent, without cooking; consider not having a zipper on your sleeping bag. Think about not changing clothes ” for dinner”. Instead consider tarps, consider boiling water and re-hydrating your own meals. Buy the best of each of the big 3 (Backpack/Shelter/Sleeping bag) that you can afford, they will last a long time.

  • Are the prices for UL gear worth it for the sporadic hiker/backpacker?

Price vs use…I think  a weekend hiker with 10-15lb base weight will have a better time than one with 35 pounds. My weight is low and i could get lower by cutting more corners like less socks. Moderation is the key; as long you keep the big 3 at around 2lbs each you should be fine.

  • Whats your input regarding Cuben Fiber/Dyneema?

The only cuben fiber I own is a stuff suck, is tough, very light and love it. I cannot say is good or great for pyramid shelters and packs but I plan on going to a full cuben fiber pyramid shelter myself in the near future; once I sell a few pieces of gear like my Silnylon Tarp and Trailstar by Six Moons Designs 

  • Whats is the total expense of your rig?

Including everything from upgraded stakes, clothing, apps and gear at least $1000 or more.




Gear List

  • Gossamer Gear Mariposa 23oz
  • Jacks R Better Quilt 21 oz
  • Event Bivy  12 oz
  • 2 groundsheet poly 4oz
  • NeoAir pad 14oz
  • Exped pillow 1.5oz
  • 2 platypus 2L bags (1 with hose) 6 oz
  • Toaks Titanium 550 pot 2.8 oz
  • Nested plastic insulated GSI cup 3.5 oz
  • Toaks Titanium spork 0.63 oz
  • MSR pocket rocket stove 3 oz
  • Sawyer mini and adapter water filter 2.7 oz
  • Petzl Tikka headlamp 3.3 oz

Sub-Total: 93.8



  • Tooth brush with paste
  • Soap
  • Trowel
  • TP

Sub-Total: 5oz


  • 1 pair of smartwool undies
  • 2 smartwool darn tough socks
  • montbell shamwow
  • montbell down jacket
  • Beanie
  • Hat

Sub-Total 19oz

 Grand Total: 7LB 9 oz 

A whooping under 8lb base weight that will accommodate your needs in spring/summer and fall without rain. John obviously is an Ultralighter but also a minimalist….and that is hard to accomplish; it takes time and error to accommodate your needs and still feel safe.









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