Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ultralight A-Z Video Series - YOU Help Make it Happen

UPDATE - This project has been funded. Thanks very much to all those who contributed.

READ QUICKLY - TIME IS WASTING. Please contribute to a good cause.

As a favor to Hendrik Morkel with the great UL backpacking site Hiking in Finland (http://www.hikinginfinland.com/) I wanted to pass along a great project he's working on which I'm really hoping will gain your support. To be clear, the support I'm looking for it not only your moral support, but your financial support. Please keep reading because there is very limited time to get this done (days, not weeks) and every dollar (literally, every $1) helps. If the goal is not met, this project cannot be completed.

First and foremost, I'm not one to solicit for money. If you check my blog history, I have however written about the importance of giving back to the backpacking community whether that be towards environmental causes, cottage manufacturers, or those that can be more proactive than you and I. I personally take great joy in contributing towards groups like the Sierra Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, as well as many other grassroots efforts with lesser notoriety or individuals pushing to live their dreams. This is in addition to other worthwhile causes which I'm driven to support, whether that be St. Jude's Children's Hospital, diabetes research or others. Bottom line, I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't found deep personal satisfaction from giving towards the inherent human condition.

Hendrik is working on a project which will directly support the very industry you and I both cherish - ultralight and lightweight backpacking. Probably like you, I too research this industry quite heavily in an attempt to gain practical knowledge, experience, and guidance on what works, what doesn't, and to also get some insight on where my gear money may be best spent.

Ultralight A-Z is a series of 26 video episodes about lightweight backpacking philosophy and principals. If you've spent any time at all on http://www.hikinginfinland.com/, you'll likely agree that Hendrik is an educated and well spoken guy who puts out quality information, quality pictures, and quality videos. He doesn't waste my time - which I appreciate.

The purpose of Ultralight A-Z is to introduce information about this great industry with the same humor and educated resourcefulness that Hendrik offers throughout his blog. More importantly, it will off insight into both knowledge and skills, but also safety and comfortably in a variety of conditions. If you are new to this hobby, want to learn more, or simply want to help push this industry in a positive direction, consider contributing.

Hendrik is using the funding platform of Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/), the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. For this project to be successful, Hendrik's goal must be reached before time runs out - or NO MONEY WILL EXCHANGE HANDS.

The goal is $6000. As of the date of this posting, there are 18 days to go, 43 people have contributed, and $1,824 has been raised. Although any amount will be accepted, contributions of $25, $50, $75, $150, etc. each come with it an additional "thank you" consisting of stickers, DVD's, t-shirts, etc. depending on which level you choose.

Be a part of something great. If you're like many, you toss money at many things which ultimately give you little return for the investment. Whether it be a cup of coffee from an overpriced vendor or another trinket you probably didn't need, you probably have a few bucks to spare. This is different. This is worthwhile. This fuels the very industry you love and is your chance to be more personally involved. Please contribute.

Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/ and type in "Ultralight A-Z" into the search bar.



Brian said...

Great to see so many of us getting the word out.

Jolly Green Giant said...

Honestly, I hope more pick it up. Hendrik did a good job reaching out to the community, but it will take others to run with it and close it out. I'd really like to see the product he comes out with.

Hendrik Morkel said...

Thank you for the nice post, JGG!

Anonymous said...


not the best place to post here but i remember a while back you had some information about some new lightweight air mattress

any updates, looking to buy a new one and wanted your thoughts



Jolly Green Giant said...

Hey benjie - The most recent air mattress I talked about has received some mixed reports about a valve issue, so I'm hesitant to deal with it until this gets corrected. Probably the next mattress that will really grab your attention is the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm which is boasting an impressive R-value of around about 5.7. Although I personally didn't like the NeoAir, mainly because of the horizontal baffles, I'm guessing this will take the industry by storm as it will only be about 15oz.

Anonymous said...


thanks i am currently looking at getting either the new neoair or and the pacific outdoor peak elite ac

any thoughts?


Jolly Green Giant said...

@ benjie - I like the POE Elite a lot. Course I like the Exped SynMat 7 UL too especially for it's weight and colder conditions. It's my perception, although relatively ungrounded, that this is going to be a big year for air mats. There seems to be a lot of new technology once the NeoAir became such an industry leader. I feel the same way about rain gear as GoreTex seems to have run its course and now everyone is trying to find something new after eVENT showed other breathable fabrics were available. Fortunately, competition drives innovation and I think what we'll see are big changes to air mats and rain options. Course, you could always have a mat custom made for you by Bender at Kookabay (http://kookabay.com/) who would probably be willing to make whatever you wanted. In the end, I wasn't a fan of the NeoAir, so I personally would avoid it even though it is terribly popular. I am heavily biased though because I'm a pretty big person. Whether it's my weight, height, or width, it just didn't work out which is something I'd say about quite a few mats. It might be a great solution for you though. If you can hold off, wait until after the summer/fall outdoor shows to see what pops up on the market as it could be something better than what you see now. Course, that's the risk just about every year. Good luck.