“Lightweight & Ultralight Backpacking Foundations” Video Series by Clever Hiker


A few months ago, Dave Collins started an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign to raise support for a video series on ultralight backpacking. After talking with Dave via email, and of course watching his video, I liked what I saw, so I opted to help fund his dream by making a small monetary donation. However, it wasn’t just me that liked what Dave presented, there were enough other people that felt the same way since not only did he reach his proposed goal, but actually exceeded it!

Then, just a few short days ago, he delivered! I received an email from Dave with the link to his new website (aptly named: CleverHiker.com), as well as a link to download his first “Lightweight & Ultralight Backpacking Foundations” video series, an e-book and even a gear check list. After downloading these items, then watching all 10 videos in one sitting, and reading through his e-book, I felt that I had made a worthy donation.

Dave is passionate about light weight and ultralight weight backpacking, and that passion shines through in the videos. His high-quality videos (I know, I watched them on my big screen HDTV) are jam packed with lots of good, useful information. What I enjoyed out of the entire video series is how he included lots of gear that is available today, and not only from the big names, but also from the cottage shops such as ZPacks, MLD and Gossamer Gear. But gear is not all he covers in these videos, he also covers applications of both individual pieces of gear, as well as entire systems.

Dave does point out some of his personal favorite pieces, but I never felt that he was pushing anything on me. Instead, he has done a excellent job at making the viewer aware of a number of different options available, and then brings up both the pro’s & con’s of each one. This way the viewer can make a more informed decision, but based on their own specific set of needs.

Here is one of his teaser videos for the series:

At the moment, the Indiegogo contributors now have access to these videos and the e-book, however, he plans to make them available to everyone else starting June 3rd. The videos and the e-book can be purchased either together or separately, however, for those that preorder them before June 3rd will receive 10% off the total cost! For more info on purchasing these items, you can either go to Cleverhiker.com, then click on the “Store” button near the top of the page, or for an easier option, just click HERE.

After personally watching each one of his videos and looking through his book, I feel like Dave has a lot to offer to the backpacking community, and especially so to those that are looking to go a little lighter than they currently are. As well, I feel like new backpackers will really benefit from his series by helping them to make the right decisions the first time (unlike me, and so many other backpackers out there…)

So, head over to CleverHiker.com, and check out his videos and his e-book for yourself. I think that you will enjoy them, and very likely to take something away from them.  However, if you feel that it wasn’t worth your money, Dave will refund you 110% of your money back! That’s right, I didn’t mistype it and you didn’t read it wrong… it is his 110% money back guarantee. So check it out, what have you got to lose?


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Dave Collins or CleverHiker.com in any way. I chose to help fund his project on Indiegogo with my own money. I have now received the videos as was promised when making the donation, and the comments above are based on my own opinions formed after personally viewing the content. I am not obligated to write about CleverHiker.com, however, I feel like it will be a very helpful resource to many other backpackers out there, and have decided to share this information.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Gear, Gear Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to “Lightweight & Ultralight Backpacking Foundations” Video Series by Clever Hiker

  1. Scott Denton says:

    Great discussion. I’m sure the videos and e-book are worth a look and the price seems right for what you get. As one who prefers the journey over the destination, I hike from dawn until dusk most of the time so the lighter the gear, the better for me!


  2. heyjt says:

    As a leader of our backpacking program for Troop 4, I’ve seen a revival of interest in backpacking within the Scouts and adult leaders since my introduction on LW/UL backpacking. There are still some heavy haulers who I think take pride in their 50-pound packs. But I know for myself, at 51 years old, my knees can’t take the weight any longer. Ultralight has beed a godsend for me and my wife.

    Although I see myself as an “ultralight evangelist” I also have to keep in mind that not everyone wants to hear about going light–it’s almost offensive to some. But once the non-believers see how freeing LW/UL can be through video, books, blogs or experience, they may want to make that change.

    I think it’s all about how the “good news” is delivered.


    • Stick says:


      Thanks for sharing. As has been discussed, I agree with you, I know there are some that just like heavy packs and don’t want to hear about “lightweight” anything. This is fine with me. In real life, these people are usually easy to spot, and I just know to find something else to talk about when we meet up. But, I also agree with you about how much of an improvement lightweight backpacking has made my trips. I can actually enjoy being out rather then huffing and puffing and hurting too much to enjoy it… And while I know it is not about the gear, I do enjoy playing with all the different gear.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing, I appreciate it.



  3. andrewskurka says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing this video series and e-book when it finally comes out. The videos appear to have pretty high production value, higher than anything else that’s been offered for this niche — hope it was worth all that time.

    If I dare say again, I think the entire focus on “lightweight and ultralight” misses the mark. Two reasons:

    First, some people *want* to carry a lot of weight and UL just isn’t for them, ever, or for particular trips. For example, if I’m going on an overnight with a group of friends, why not bring steak, fresh eggs, and the plushest sleeping pad that money can buy? The LW/UL perspective looks down on such trip objectives, as if they’re non-sensical, even though that’s where a considerable portion of the backpacking market is. Sticking to the LW/UL line is a great way to limit the size of the market that might listen to what you have to say. Believe it or not, most backpackers don’t want to thru-hike, or adopt a thru-hiker’s style for their weekend hikes.

    Second, the LW/UL conversation puts the focus almost entirely on the *weight of gear.* Yet backpacking is about so much more than gear and gear selection — and often lighter gear isn’t better anyway. The conversation usually omits the importance of skills, both product-specific skills and general outdoor skills. Clever Hiker’s outline suggests it also fails to address this topic.


    • Stick says:

      Thanks again Andrew for your feedback.

      I understand that some people choose to carry heavier weights, and that is fine by me, and in return I hope those people can say that it is fine by them that others choose to carry lighter weight gear. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that the term “HYOH” is usually more of an end to a “conversation” rather than the way of a conversation. Either way, I would imagine that the heavyweights don’t usually surf any of the “lightweight” sites…although I could be wrong.

      I agree with you about an overnight with friends. Carrying those luxury items will very likely make for a much more interesting and fun night… just don’t forget the beer though! As far as the plushest sleeping pad that money can buy… for me that is the NeoAirs, and those come with me on all of my trips, despite my weight goal. 🙂

      I don’t think that the true LW/UL perspective really looks down on such luxuries, as much as tries to find the ones that make more sense, however, I can see how it can be perceived this way. I don’t find that there is anything wrong with carrying *some* luxuries on any given trip, but what I do find is that so many of the products in today’s backpacking market is gimicky, and is just not needed in the outdoors. They try to sell lots of bell’s & whistle’s, and they do. I bought many of them when I first started backpacking, and I ended up with a heavy pack. Then I found out that I didn’t need a lot of those items…and in fact, I was much happier without them.

      I understand what you say too about many backpackers not wanting to adopt the lightweight lifestyle that many of us write/talk about. Here again, I think that this is where the term “HYOH” needs to be practiced rather than just preached.

      I agree with you that a “UL/LW” conversation puts much of the emphasis on the weight of gear though, and that there should be just as much emphasis on both outdoor skills as well as product specific skills. For this reason, when I personally write/talk about gear, I usually overdo it. I try and talk about not just the gear, but how I use it, how I expect it to function, and how it works with the rest of my kit. I also try to point out things that may not be so obvious from just looking at a product page trying to sell the product. As well, this is the sort of information that I look for when researching a product.

      With this in mind, I feel like Dave has done a good job with his video series. He does focus a good bit on gear, but it’s more about the different types of gear, and then points out some of the pro’s & con’s of each type. I feel like this allows the buyer to make a more informed decision from the get-go, as well at get’s their brain to working on how to use the items, and in what sort of conditions to use them in. As far as learning outdoor skills to go with it, this is where the reader must take it upon him/herself.

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment!



    • Dave Collins says:

      I wrote Andrew an email the other day to address his comments above. After a few backpackers told me that I should respond on the blog, I thought it would be appropriate to post the bulk of my email. Here it is:

      Thank you for your comments Andrew,

      I agree completely that there is too much hype surrounding ultralight backpacking. To be honest, I didn’t even know that there was a stigma around the word “ultralight” until I started this project. For me, backpacking has never been about hitting some arbitrary weight goal. My priority is always to get out into nature and have an adventure. I think that you’ll see that ideology played out in my video series.

      For example, the three philosophy points introduced in my first episode are this:

      1) You can do this – anyone can be a lightweight backpacker
      2) There’s no perfect way to pack – choose what’s best for you
      3) Don’t sweat the small stuff – start big and learn as you go. It’s most important to get out there and have an adventure.

      I also make recommendations in my videos like this: “When I’m out on a more relaxed trip with my friends, I like to take a freestanding tent for comfort.” Or, “a gravity water filters might be slightly heavier, but I often bring one when I’m backpacking with a group for convenience.”

      I fully agree with you about bringing luxury items – steak, wine, books, hammock, etc. – and I don’t look down on trips like that at all. In fact, I backpack like that with my friends all the time. It’s just nice to have a light pack, shelter, pad, and bag to offset some of those extras. My base weight still ends up being incredibly light, even with those fun extras.

      For me, lightweight backpacking did have a huge influence on how much I enjoyed backpacking trips. I dreaded the blisters and chafing that always accompanied my excursions. With a new lightweight approach, I was able to hike farther and enjoy my trips so much more. That’s really what I’m getting at with this series and I’m certainly not about to judge anyone else for how they want to pack.

      I strongly believe that our lightweight & ultralight backpacking video series and ebook will be beneficial for anyone wanting to lighten their pack. Whether they want to be an ultralighter, a thru-hiker, or just want to be more comfortable on the trail. It’s exactly the type of resource that I wish I had when I started learning how to lightweight backpack.

      As far as the focus of our first series goes, I wanted to choose a topic that was widely accessible and that I have expertise in. That’s why the focus of this first series is lightweight/ultralight backpacking. This summer we hope to shoot two more series with a broader skills-based focus. I would love to have your input for our content.

      Thank you again for your comments and I look forward to hearing your feedback after you review our content.

      Best regards,



    • Stick says:


      Well said. And thank you for sharing your email conversation with Andrew.

      As well, I really believe that we are all saying the same thing, just maybe with a different choice in words. Either way, I have thoroughly enjoyed your series so far, just as I have also enjoyed Andrew’s book. As well, for more on this subject, might I also suggest picking up Justin Lichter’s Book “Trail Tested,” yet another great book, and is in the same line as both you and Andrew’s projects.

      Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing what else you come out with! Thanks for all your work.



Leave Your Comment Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.