Yeah about 3 years ago I attended a slideshow/talk given by a guy who hiked the Appalachian trail and many other long thru-hikes around the US. I forget his name which sux because I learned a lot that nite.
You can make a 1/2 to 1 oz stove out of a red bull can that will boil 2 cups of water on 1/2 oz of alcohol in around 4-5 minutes. I experimented with this and found it to be true. So I made a sideburner stove and bought a MSR windscreen kit (thick fancy aluminum) and fashioned a small priming tray and windscreen for it. I also bought a Snow Peak titanium French Press Coffee Maker and tore off the handles and got rid of the press part and voila I had the ultimate 3 cup cooking pot that the windscreen, stove, and fuel all fit inside. It is no exaggeration to say that my complete cooking kit with 2 oz of fuel, enough for at least 8 cups boiling water, weighs less than anyone I know’s cooking pot.
Since I don’t have a camera I am going to borrow one and put in some photos of the set-up so anyone else can copy it, it is truly awesome.
My whole setup for bike camping: ground cover; sleeping pad;sleeping bag; cook kit; Leatherman crunch; backpack; water bladder; headlamp; etc- only weighs around 6-7 lbs. I could weigh it and tell you the exact weight but since I don’t really care as long as it is stupid light, that is good enough. Suffice it to say my whole setup weighs about as much as most people’s sleeping pad and sleeping bags alone!
Funny how I created the system for riding up Little Pine Mountain in the Los Padres and camping at the top, then riding back down in the mornings. A 3700′ climb on a 36 lb bike with backpack and only 1 leg is a fun challenge. I did it several times and pretty much dialed in my setup so it is easy to take anywhere and always ready.
2 years ago my wife and I split up which really sucked ass. 15 years is a lot to leave behind but since she is smarter than me I went along with her request as quietly as I could, I knew I had no solution to the relationship gap we had developed, and I was not a good provider.
Turns out I am better at travelling than keeping a home. I spent a lot of time crashing out on people’s couches, but soon realized I cannot rely on my friends all the time ands started to camp outside like I had while attending UCSB.
It is kind of a homeless-by-choice dealio but I will not lie to you- I cannot stand the professional homeless people that clog the welfare system and work harder at scamming everything than they would if they had jobs and paid rent.
So I am technically without a home, but that is something I was kind of used to in the big picture anyways. As soon as I moved to college my mom sold everything I owned at a garage sale and converted my room into a victorian doll room, hence nowhere for Ken to stay and nowhere to keep any of his things while at college-pretty lame message to send your kid I thought. And I have more or less lived the last 30 years feeling like I don’t have a real family to fall back on. I remember being at my dad’s house while in college and he wanted me to take the one box of stuff I had there, all my yearbooks and my letter for soccer, plus some other stuff. I had nowhere to put it so I went outside and threw it all in the trash and that pretty much let me know what my family felt about me and the security they have given me as a person. No wonder I am ok on the streets since I never knew security anyways.
I could not imagine bringing a child into this world and wanting nothing more than for them to go away and stay away, but this is the message I got and more or less have continued to get all these years. Sad.
Luckily I am a resilient person and somehow able to fall back on my genes and Viking roots and survive and thrive in adversity. And I do believe I have been able to grow even more as a person, fully experiencing the human condition, and later learning that the mind is weak and tells us things that are not important to our survival and health. Now that I can ignore my mind I feel I am way better off and can handle stress better and survive and thrive where others would wither and die.
So now my ultralight bike camping set-up gets used almost every day. I have my killer spots in Montecito, sleeping right next to 30 millin $ houses, in my 1 lb sleeping bag, waking up to the sunrise over the pacific ocean every day. I now learned to enjoy and look forward to the nights I sleep under the stars and watch the sun rise. A change of attiude and not having a home becomes a blessing is many ways, I am camping near the beach every day, something people only dream about doing on their short vacations from work, and not having perfected the system like I have, I guarantee it is not as fun as when you have it all together really well, minimalist camping, maximum comfort. It all comes down to the exact specific pieces of gear and nothing more at all. Nothing more is needed and more weight is no good.
I will continue with my Ultra Light Camping tips when I get a camera to show you some of my gear.