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TreeHugger 1P tarp weighs only 178g

July 18, 2021 — BarryK

Page first written June 5, 2021

Early this year (2021), I went for a hike with only a Mountainsmith Daylight Lumbar Pack. Blog post:

I was carrying about 4.5kg, including weight of the lumbar pack, which was a bit too much. Since then, I have been reconsidering my gear, aiming to get the weight down to about 3.5kg.

As part of that exercise, I decided to make my own tent. Yes, I want an extremely light weight tent, but also some comforts and conveniences, including these:

  1. Step-in and step-out, to save my back.
  2. Double-wall, to minimize condensation.
  3. Very quick and simple to erect, minimum of stakes.
  4. Can be used outside or in a shelter.
  5. Extreme light weight, rollup very small.
  6. If possible, some kind of back-rest.

I own a sewing machine, but skill with using it is practically zero. So, add item-7, minimize or even eliminate sewing.

This web page is a tutorial, a how-to, but first I will tell you the end result:


Base load

March 13, 2020 — BarryK

By Barry Kauler
Page updated: March 18, 2016

This is one page of a series that I am writing on "traveling light", whether it be hiking in the wilderness or wandering the world by boat, bus, train or air.

In this page I have itemised my "base load", which is everything that goes into my pack or on my person, apart from food and water.


Only one set of clothes are needed, with something minimal to wear while washing the main set. Following recommendations of experienced hikers, I need fibres that have a moisture-wicking capability and are fast drying. And light. Most of my usage is in the hot dry Australian bush, so keeping cool and non-sweaty is the highest priority. This is what I now wear:


Off-the-grid camping trip 2017

May 19, 2019 — BarryK

Originally written October 19, 2017, edited May 19, 2019 

The last camping trip by car, with tent, was several years ago. Have got the itch again. My "traveling light" series will also encompass the meaning of "light" as being independent, self-sufficient, with a minimal collection of gear. Not walking this time, so can throw a lot more into the car.

I moved house a couple of times since then, and some of the gear has gone astray. On the last trip, I stayed at some low-cost and free sites, without mains power. To handle this, I had a folding solar panel and a deep-cycle battery. I still have the panel, but not the battery.

That battery was 110AH, and was very heavy. Too heavy for me. At the time, it was on-sale at a very attractive price, and I reasoned that having more storage capacity was a "good thing".

Then there's the solar panel, it weighs 13kg. Not too heavy to move around to keep facing the sun and avoid shadows, but at that time I was having back pain issues, and found even simple chores like that to be a challenge.

Now we are at October 2017, and shopping for new, lighter-weight, solar power gear...

Waeco CoolPower 44

Instead of buying a battery and then build a box with sockets, etc., decided to go for something ready-made, even though it cost a bit more. I purchased this battery-pack, Waeco CoolPower 44, rated at 44AH. It was on sale at Tentworld here in Perth, Western Australia, for AU$299.99:

It is quite heavy, 13.5kg, but my back is better these days. Besides, I won't be moving it around much, plan to leave it in the car and run leads out. Here is a photo:


Notice the terminal lug, there is one on each side. This is the recommended way to connect a charger, with crocodile-clips, whether it be a mains-charger or solar panel.


Field tests

October 11, 2016 — BarryK
By Barry Kauler


Waist packs

March 18, 2016 — BarryK

By Barry Kauler
Page updated: January 25, 2016

This is one page of a series that I am writing on "traveling light", whether it be hiking in the wilderness or wandering the world by boat, bus, train or air.

Over the years, I have done a bit of hiking, or what some would call trekking, rambling, or bushwalking.

January 2015, mid-summer here in Western Australia, I walked a short section of the Bibbulmun Track. I attempted to travel light, but my backpack, loaded with sleeping bag, tent, folding chair, inflatable mattress, food, clothes, toiletries and miscellaneous other items, was a strain.

I'm not a spring chicken anymore. Age 66, my back has a degenerated lower vertebrae, which got stressed a bit carrying the backpack (as did my poor feet!), but trying to crawl around inside my tent was the worst part.

Anyway, moving ahead to the present. I decided to rethink the whole thing. Yes, I did think that I was on the "ultra light" side back in January 2015, however I have now taken it to the extreme.

Although a well-designed backpack is not supposed to pull much on the shoulders, I have yet to find one that doesn't. Also, I carefully observe anyone carrying a backpack, and always I notice considerable downward pull on their shoulders.

To totally eliminate stress on my back, I investigated ultra-ultra-light hiking with only a waist pack. These are also known as lumbar packs, waist bags or bum bags.

What's out there?

The challenge, I soon discovered, was to find a waist pack large enough. I set a minimum size of 6 litres, and this table shows what I found. I know, I know, 6 litres is pitiful, but bear with me.



March 11, 2016 — BarryK
By Barry Kauler
Page updated: March 12, 2016

This is one page of a series that I am writing on "traveling light", whether it be hiking in the wilderness or wandering the world by boat, bus, train or air.

Over the last few years, I have been a bit of a "tentaholic", accumulating them in my bedroom closet.
It is just that I have been searching for that elusive "ideal" tent ...ha ha, I guess there are others who, reading this, will identify with my obsession.

I decided to write this page, not as a comprehensive review of my tents, but as a presentation about what I consider to be the ideal tent, with brief commentary on what is wrong (and right) with the tents that I own, and others out there ...and I ask, in 2016 have I finally found that elusive ideal tent, or got close to it?

Types of tent for hiking

Before embarking on this page, some very brief comments on the different types of tents available:



March 11, 2016 — BarryK

By Barry Kauler
Page updated: March 12, 2016

Pushing minimalist hiking to the extreme, I evaluated overnight hiking with only a waist-pack:

Traveling light: waist-packs
Lots of fun! However, it is pushing the limit to add a tent, especially a "proper" tent (dual-skin, dome), so I investigated the next-step up, ultra-light backpacks.

If you go into any camping store, backpacks on display are mostly 1.5kg or more. I searched the Internet for packs that are close to 0.5kg ...yes, they do exist.

I have a particular requirement, and most of the ultra-light backpacks will fail here. The backpack must have hip straps and be of adequate design to carry all of the weight on the hips, not hanging off the shoulders.
This requirement narrows the field considerably.

In the range 350gm to 700gm weight, they are all frameless at the lower end, and some with frames at around 600 - 700gm.
I intend to do comparative reviews of what I consider to be the pick of the bunch. For now, I have only acquired one of them, the Gossamer Gear Pilgrim 36: