Welcome! Ultralight backpacking is my passion, and keeping up on new technologies, gear, and techniques relevant to UL backpacking is what floats my boat. I'm always looking for the lightest, most functional gear to improve a lightweight or ultralight backpacking kit, and report my impressions and field testing results here. For hikers wanting to keep up on the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking gear, this is a good place to hang out. Also, there is a lot of information here (and on our informational website Southwest Ultralight Backpacking) on useful techniques and backcountry etiquette -- food for thought for hikers wanting to lighten their load and their impacts.

My goal for Ultralight Insights is to understand, test, and report on new technologies and gear of interest to lightweight and ultralight backpackers. It's a passion after all, so we just plain enjoy talking about it. I hope readers will add their own wisdom and comments, respond to my questions, ask their own questions, and correct me if I get something wrong. Happy hiking! Will

Monday, December 14, 2015

GEAR REVIEW and My Favorite Gear #1 New Series Coming: My Favorite Gear

It’s been quiet here for about a year, but that’s about to change. After writing for Backpacking Light Magazine for 12 years, I have decided to move on and concentrate my efforts here. Backpackinglight.com has updated their website, and recruited a new cadre of writers, so we can look forward to some interesting content there.

At Backpacking Light I wrote hundreds of gear reviews and gear articles over 12 years. The articles are still there, but it requires a subscription to see them; use the website's search function to find them. I enjoyed my tenure with BPL, but now its time to move on. I still  get out backpacking as much as I can, and I still enjoy writing about it -- here. (Illustration credit: Mike Clelland!)
For me, I now prefer the independence of focusing on my own website, sharing what I know with those interested in reading up on lightweight and ultralight backpacking. Visiting here is free, of course, and you are encouraged to comment and add your thoughts.

I am launching a new series called My Favorite Gear, which will be a series of articles on my gear choices for my ultralight gear kit. Actually I will eventually post two gear lists: one for summer backpacking (warmer temps), and the other for the shoulder seasons (cooler temps). I will eventually get to my gear choices for lightweight backpacking and day tripping.

I realize, based on forum discussions, that hikers have very diverse needs and preferences for the gear they choose, so it’s always a lively discussion. However, most everyone is looking to lighten up more, and make improvements in their gear kit, and are looking for recommendations from experienced ultralighters. And that’s where this blog, and those of my fellow outdoor writers come in – we’re passionate believers in ultralight backpacking, and want to help others come over to the light side.

Articles coming in this series will focus on my selection for each piece of gear, and I will include good alternatives when they exist. I won’t restrict my gear picks to SuperUltraLight (SUL) limits; I will also highlight alternatives that fit within the Ultralight (UL) base weight limit of 10 pounds. With the gear choices we have nowadays, it is very easy to design a gear kit that is well within the UL weight limit.


  1. Yay! I've kept your blog on my feed and now I'm glad I did. I'm really looking forward to the reboot of your website. Carol

  2. I was a fan of your work over on BPL, and I'm looking forward to reading even more over here. Don't pull any punches Will! Say it like it is!