What’s in Michael’s back­pack?

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL - — K.N.

Michael Martin uses a frame­less pack with no hip belt. For mul­ti­day trips, he takes:

•A tarp made of Cuben Fiber, which can sleep three to four peo­ple. The tarp is set up us­ing hik­ing poles and can be con­fig­ured depend­ing on con­di­tions — one side down to block wind or rain. Many D.C. Ul­tra­lighters (or ULers) pre­fer tents.

•Sleep­ing bag, in­flat­able pad, in­flat­able pil­low. Patch kit for the pad and pil­low.

•Maps and a com­pass. D.C. ULers must know how to read maps — no re­ly­ing on a GPS. Michael teaches a pop­u­lar six-hour D.C. UL course on way-find­ing.

•A wind shirt. At 1.7 ounces, it’s a light ex­tra layer. In the moun­tains, weather con­di­tions change

quickly, so wear­ing cloth­ing that can be added or re­moved is es­sen­tial. •Hat and gloves. Even in sum­mer, night­time temps can plunge at high al­ti­tudes.

•Head lamp.

•Two or three pairs of socks.

•A bright or­ange hunt­ing vest.

•Hand san­i­tizer, ban­dages, blis­ter pro­tec­tion, aspirin, Be­nadryl, Imod­ium, tooth­brush and trav­el­size tooth­paste, small amounts of soap, in­sect re­pel­lent, sun­screen and mouth­wash.

•A sand­wich bag­gie with toi­let pa­per.

•Wa­ter in a thin plas­tic bot­tle. Bleach to dis­in­fect wa­ter col­lected on the trail. (Read up on wa­ter dis­in­fec­tion tech­niques be­fore head­ing out.)

•A cook sys­tem from Trail De­signs, con­sist­ing of a half-dol­lar-size con­tainer for de­na­tured al­co­hol (the fuel), a wind shield and a beer can to hold the wa­ter that will be boiled.

•A ti­ta­nium spork.

•A small pocket knife. In terms of cloth­ing, Michael and his part­ner, Jen, ad­vise plan­ning for all pos­si­ble con­di­tions. That means lay­ers and some­thing dry to change into af­ter a day in the rain. Although Michael did not pack food on this trip, in gen­eral, he and Jen choose calo­rie-dense, por­ta­ble foods — salami and cheese, for ex­am­ple. Michael fa­vors pack­aged meals that can be cooked in their pouches by adding boiling wa­ter.


Jen Adach andMichaelMartin — “ul­tra­light” back­pack­ers who make an art form of shed­ding gear — nav­i­gate a rocky de­scent on Gap Creek Trail.

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