If there is one core piece of advice I could give to anyone interested in UL, or simply going lighter, it would be to learn how to sew.

For anyone who possesses even a modicum of mechanical aptitude, you can learn how to sew 2-3 basic seams within 1 hour. With those 2-3 seams, you can sew any rectangular object ie tarp, quilt & sack (backpack). (Note that I don't mess around with clothing - that's a whole different skill level.)

And the sewing machine doesn't need to be anything fancy either. In fact, the preferred machines for DIY gearheads are older metal Singers pre-dating the plastic era that began in the late 70s. It's harder to find these machines these days since so many UL hikers started making their own equipment, but you can still find them for under $100.

Once you can sew, then you're free to use absolutely the best materials available for a relative pittance compared to available retail products. I'm talking stuff that extreme expeditions use ie super strong, lightweight & warm. I provided a link above to T-H, but here it is again:


Learning how to sew is what launched me into the SUL stratosphere. I used this T-H silnylon to make my backpack - it weighs 9oz and could easily carry over 20lbs:


My tarps are made from the same material, and are nothing more than oversized versions of the these plans @ TarpTent - which are in turn versions of Ray Jardines original concepts:


That's about it - get a few things together, and all of a sudden, you're in the UL zone.