While I was away it seems that ultralight hiking took a bit of a bashing from some bloggers, Martin Rye, Andrew Skurka, Dave Chenault, among others and to various degrees. At the time I was out on my Coast and Moor hike so didn't get involved because, as we all agree, actually hiking is far more important than just talking about it! Since returning I've had time to read it properly and some good points have been raised, some I agree with... others, not so much. I've been an ultralight hiker since 2000 but its not something you will find mentioned much in this blog. It's just a label and not really relevant in the real world. Hendrik of hikinginFinland.com fame asked me, and a few others, to contribute towards an article he was compiling in favour of ultralight hiking for his blog. I was happy to do so. I recommend you read the full article but I think my thoughts on the subject are important enough to be published alone here.
From the day we are born we are set targets. A baby, if not of a certain weight, is classed as at-risk and nurtured until it reaches its target weight. Throughout school, and beyond, we are set targets through tests and exams. Athletes aspire to reach a certain target and when they do that target is moved that bit further away. As an engineer I'm often given a specification, or target, for my designs. Targets are what drives us to innovate, learn and progress. Without targets laziness and stagnation takes hold. Ultralight hiking is no different and if we don't set ourself goals, or targets, then little progress will be made. Even worse it's all too easy to take small backward steps that, over time, become giant leaps.