Hey folks, I hope you're all enjoying your shoulder season hikes. It's my favorite time of year for camping. Not so cold that your boots freeze overnight, but cold enough to keep the bugs away. Not so hot that you're drenched in sweat .5 miles into your hike, but warm enough to feel toasty in just a base layer and wind shirt so long as you keep moving.
Anyway, the purpose of this blog entry is to tell you about major changes to the AppUL business model. Up until recently we've had a few base backpack models that customers can make small variations on. This has worked out great so far, but to be perfectly honest, it removed me from my passion -- *designing* backpacks. So moving forward, I'm removing the custom shop and selling ALL items through our Ready to Ship page. Rather than ordering one of our five current backpack models and waiting 3-4 weeks for me to work through my backlog, I'm going to be adding truly one-of-a-kind backpacks directly to the Ready To Ship page as I complete them.
I'll still make variations on some of our former base models, but now I'll have the freedom to focus on designs that are totally different from what is being offered right now through AppUL (or anyone else for that matter). You can expect a lot more experimentation in these new offerings.
In addition to the backpack changes, I'll soon be releasing an AppUL poncho. This will be a dedicated poncho (not a poncho/tarp or poncho/groundsheet). And at a remarkable ~2.75 oz, it will be the lightest poncho available anywhere, bar none. The prototyping is complete, I'm simply waiting on my supplier to receive a roll of the white .51oz/sqyd DCF that this item will be constructed from.
I've had a ton of great feedback on our 2018 line of backpacks, so I know that this decision isn't going to make everyone happy at first. But I hope and think that once y'all see some of the innovative stuff that I'll be putting out there, most folks will be satisfied with the changes. And I really think that this poncho is going to be a hit in the UL community.
Last order of business -- this won't affect customers so much, but I'll be packing up and moving my shop from Allentown to Philadelphia this July. It's something I've had planned for a long time, and I'm very much looking forward to the change. Sadly, I won't be 20 minutes from Lehigh Gap anymore. But I will have my car, and I'll be able to get to about half of the Pennsylvania AT sections in a quick hour and a half car ride.
Happy Trails Fam,
Cody Miller, Owner of AppUL
p.s. If you're waiting on a backpack, no worries at all. I'm going to honor all existing custom orders before I start on these new models.
The day has finally come! Our 2018 update is live. We added two backpack models to the existing line -- The Balloon and The Trapper Keeper. And we made a few small tweaks to our old favorites -- The Thru Hiker's Pack, The Reach Around, and the The Day Tripper. Here's a video comparing and contrasting our five backpack models (I hope you enjoy my Lenny Kravitz cover):
We currently have 16 -- yes -- SIXTEEN backpacks on our Ready-to-Ship page. All different colors and feature options. All of which are priced at 10% off normal retail price. So now's a great time to swipe one for yourself.
Lastly, we're offering 5% off all custom backpack orders in our store through *my* birthday, February 26th, 2018, with the code <ILOVELENNY>. Because if you don't love Lenny Kravitz, then what planet are you living on?
Thank you everyone who has been patient as we worked toward these updates. We're really excited to bring these finely tuned lightweight packs to market, and we think you're going to love them as much as we do.
Next year, we will make small updates to our 3 existing backpacks (The Thru Hiker’s Pack, The Reach Around Pack, and The Day Tripper Pack) and add a completely new item to the mix — The Trapper Keeper Pack.
To commemorate our upcoming 2018 product line, we commissioned talented Philadelphia artist Yona Yurwit to illustrate our updated backpack models, and we couldn't be happier with the result:
Each of Yona’s illustrations exhibit one of the four unique color combinations we’ll be offering in 2018. We may have updated the colors, but we are still using the same DCF and DCF hybrid fabric that we used in 2017. Here are photo samples of the new color options:
In addition to the aesthetic update, all 2018 backpacks will utilize RipstopByTheRoll’s Venom™ UHMWPE flat webbing. This webbing has a remarkable strength to weight ratio — making it both lighter *and* stronger than any and all nylon and polyester webbing.
There are also a few things we won’t be changing. We will continue to make every backpack in house, and to order according to your preferences. We will continue to tape every seam on every backpack so you have a strong and amazingly water resistant backpack. And lastly, we will continue to pay attention to every detail, and never mail out a backpack that doesn’t meet our obsessively high standard of quality.
This update will take effect mid-January 2018. There will also be a big inventory of Ready-To-Ship backpacks made available on the day of the change.
We’re really looking forward to sharing this new iteration with you. Thanks again to Yona for the incredible work she did with us on this project.
Take Care and Stay Warm on Those Winter Hikes,
Cody Miller, owner @ AppUL
We’re thrilled to finally reveal our 2017 line of backpacks. This year, we’re bringing you 7 distinct designs to serve the entire spectrum of lightweight backpackers. Here's a chart for easy comparison:
Starting today, we’re offering an updated version of our Thru Hiker’s Pack, as well as 3 completely new models — The UL SpeedPack, The No Nonsense Pack, and The Balloon. Click here to view their individual specs in our store.
All packs are frameless, featuring extra wide 3” shoulder straps and short-profile side pockets for easy access to water while on the move. Sternum straps come standard with all backpack orders.
The 2017 Thru Hiker’s Pack — our fully featured 45L backpack — is offered in both Robic Nylon and Dyneema Composite Fabric (cuben fiber) variations. This is our flagship product, the backpack we would suggest to all but the most elite ultralight backpackers. The Robic variation is our “workhorse”; constructed from the toughest fabrics we carry. This pack can take a beating — not that we recommend you go out of your way to give it one. Compare that to the DCF (cuben fiber) version, which is far lighter, and completely waterproof (while taking a modest tradeoff in terms of durability).
The first of our new designs is the UL SpeedPack. This 35L backpack is the little sister of the Thru Hiker’s Pack. This is the pack to go with if you’re carrying a light summer load. It’s also the pack to go with when you get so UL, your flat tarp and down quilt just don’t fill up 45L anymore. Offerred in both Robic Nylon and Cuben Fiber versions.
Our second new offering is The No Nonsense Pack. Utilizing tried and true 2.2 oz hex nylon and a minimal feature set, we were able to reduce costs and offer this pack at a budget-minded price point. We offer this pack in both 35L and 45L versions. And TBH, the Robin Egg Blue is *hot*.
Lastly, we have The Balloon. This is our experiment in creating the most functional XUL backpack on the market, ounce for ounce. What we came up with is a 30L, 6 oz beauty of minimal design and state of the art fabric engineering. Hipbeltless, and constructed top to bottom from 1.43 oz DCF (cuben fiber), this pack is best suited for base weights below 8 lbs.
Now for the gift...
Take $10 OFF ANY backpack order with the code 2016SUCKS through the end of the year*.
And if that wasn't enough...
The first 5 backpacks sales we complete starting 12PM today** will receive a FREE Backpacker's Electronics Kit along with their order***.
So there you are. This is the culmination of months of design work and prototyping on our end, so we're very excited to finally share what we've been sitting on. Click here to find YOUR perfect backpack and take advantage of this deal.
Have a joyous and safe holiday, everyone.
*Code expires at midnight on December 31st, 2016.
**The date this blog was published -- 12PM on 12/18/2016
***Backpacker's Electronics Kit includes (1) A 10000 mah USB power bank (2) a 2.4A wall charger (3) a usb to micro usb/lightning adapter and (4) a USB-Rechargeable Headlamp,
10% of All Sales going to Direct Action Groups in 2017 -- Starting with Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock
I've been mulling over this idea for a while and I want to make it official.
Beginning January 1st, 10% of all income generated from our sales will be donated to pro-woman, pro-indigenous, pro-LGBT, and anti-racist organizations, as well as those who support folks suffering from addiction, mental illness, poverty, and homelessness.
The truth is this -- This company exists directly as a result of the educational and material support I had from my family. This company exists directly as a result of the fact that the system I was born into was made to serve people exactly like me. I worked hard to get here. But I wouldn't be anywhere if I didn't have those other things, too.
I honestly believe that it's everyone's duty to use their power and privilege to make the world better than it was for those who came before us. That means something different for everyone. For now, this is my personal attempt.
For each month of 2017, a different group or issue will be chosen to receive our support. We plan to pick organizations who engage in direct action to support the groups listed above. Rather than announce the issues ahead of time, we are revealing them one-by-one. This gives us flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing political and social climate in which we reside.
For the month of January, we will be making our donation to the Water Protectors from the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock.
If you're wondering why we're choosing to donate to Standing Rock after the easement for the pipeline has been denied, here is our reasoning --
While the pressure from the water protectors finally reached a tipping point and the Obama administration was forced to act, the denial of easement was at most a short-term postponement until president-elect Trump takes office.
Here's the statement from Energy Transfer Partners in response to the denial of easement:
"As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way." You can read the full press release here.
In a letter sent to Shaun King from an industry insider, we are assured that ETP means what they said 100%:
"They will NOT back down on this unless they are unequivocally forced to. They will fight with every tool they have and have a willing supporter in Trump. So not only is the fight for the pipeline not over, it likely just got HARDER, because attention and funds could fade. Everyone needs to be on their guard until literally every nut and bolt are removed from the site."
So for these reasons, we view the continued support of Sacred Stone Camp as absolutely essential in defeating DAPL once and for all.
We realize that not many people need backpacks. But many more people can donate. I strongly encourage you to donate to the Sacred Stone Camp by way of their GoFundMe page here, or from the camp's Amazon Wishlist here.
I'll follow up with results in early February.
Thank you everyone. And as always, Happy Trails,
Dave and I took a trip out to Northern Pennsylvania this past weekend for a Hike n' Bike of the West Rim Trail and the Pine Creek Trail. Creating a loop from these two trails allowed us to get the famous view of "The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" from both the mountaintops that surround Pine Creek and the ground-level perspective near the water.
Here is the general plan, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best weekend adventures in all of Pennsylvania:
Friday: Leave Allentown-area by car after rush hour > arrive West Rim Trail Southern Terminus late
Saturday: Lock bikes at Southern Terminus > drive car to Northern Terminus > hike 20 miles south > camp
Sunday: Hike remaining 10.5 miles to Southern Terminus > unlock bikes > ride 18 miles north on Pine Creek Trail > 1 mile on the road to West Rim Trail Northern Terminus Parking > drive home
My powerbank had less of a charge than I expected so I wasn't able to capture the latter portion of the trip. Here's a video of some favorite moments nonetheless:
Water: There are lots of water sources near the terminuses, but not so much reliable water in the middle. So be prepared with water for the night if you plan to make camp somewhere near the middle of the trail.
Campsites: There's lots of great camping throughout. But out favorite campsites with views are near mile 3, mile 16, and mile 27.
The hike is moderately strenuous with 5648 ft. elevation gain over 30.5 miles, but it's also very high reward. Particularly for a place like Pennsylvania which is known for green tunnel. The views are second to none in the state, and (perhaps this was merely our experience), there's a lot less foot traffic on this trail compared to the AT. When paired with the bicycle portion on Pine Creek Trail, this has become a favorite tough but contained outdoors getaway for myself and my hiking buddies.
We were a tad late in catching the best parts of the autumn foliage. But it was breathtaking all the same. I give this hike top marks. I couldn't recommend it more for anyone looking for a top notch PA backcountry experience.
Today I'll be giving you a rundown of my personal 3-season kit; the one that I use for the majority of my section hikes. Now, I may swap out an item here or there, but by and large this is what I'm carrying on my back when I hit the Appalachian Trail.
The video below gives a basic rundown of my kit, and where each item is arranged in my 30L Thru Hiker's Pack:
Here are the weight totals of each gear group:
But you can click here to view the specific weights of every item (via LighterPack, which I recommend you use). The weights are updated to the best of my knowledge, though I'm sure someone will correct me on something in there.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear how your kits compare to what I have listed above.
My name is Cody Miller, and I'm the owner of Appalachian Ultralight -- the newest addition to the ranks of cottage backpacking gear manufacturers.
I can't describe how excited I am to finally be sharing this website with you. It's a milestone that I've dreamed about for a few years, and something I devoted my life to for 6 months. Etsy was a great place to get my grounding. It gave me a place to develop my first few products and make a little cash to get me by.
But THIS has always been the goal. This site is where I hope to bring you killer photo and video content, killer blog posts, and of course, killer ultralight gear at more than reasonable prices.
I want to thank the redditors at /r/ultralight, for learnin' me good in the ways of ultralight backpacking, and for expressing support and constructive criticism every step along the way. I'd also like to thank all of AppUL's followers on Instagram and Facebook. It's been an amazing experience conversing with backpackers all over the US and the world. I'm looking forward to talking with even more of you.
To show my appreciation for your support, I'd like to offer everyone 10% OFF, SITE-WIDE for the next 10 days (expiring 10/7/16).
All you need to do is use this special promo code when you check out: OPENFORBIZ
I suggest you take a look at our Holy Trinity Modular Tarp System -- a sub 20oz modular shelter with full bug protection. This item, new for the website, is THE easiest way for a traditional tent camper to transition to tarp camping.
And our flagship product, The Thru Hiker's Pack -- a fully featured sub-10 oz frameless backpack -- is another great place to start.
So everyone, thank you again. Please keep commenting with your thoughts and suggestions. It keeps me on my toes and challenges me to constantly be improving our products.
And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. I love talking gear.