Praise for ultra light kit

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by bwakel, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. bwakel

    bwakel Member

    Nov 7, 2006
    Med. Format RF
    We enjoyed a stunning week's walking in the French Alps last week and before leaving I purchased a Gitzo GT1550T tripod. I've been wanting one for years but kept buying cheap alternatives in the hope that I'd get a workable, compact, lightweight tripod that I could use for backpacking. Of course, none worked out and in the end I decided to buy the Gitzo (could have saved a lot of money if I'd bought it in the first place). I know I'll get years of use from it and would already have done so if I'd have bought one a few years ago!

    My regular tripod/head combination is a Gitzo G1128 with an Arca Swiss B1 ballhead. This combination is relatively compact and reasonably light and works well with all my cameras from 35mm to my Toyo 45A but it's still pretty bulky when backpacking.

    The GT1550T is tiny when folded - about a foot high - and incredibly light at 1Kg including the little ball head. What amazed me is that the tiny ball head really works and holds my Mamiya 7II, even when shooting vertical compositions, with no complaints.

    The real killer combination is my Ricoh GR1v with the Gitzo. The pair is incredibly compact and extremely lightweight and yet the results are a match to shots made with my Leica M6 and Tri-Elmar at 28mm.

    I'd be interested to know, does anyone else have an ideal ultra-lightweight combination that they find works when walking for days in the mountains?

  2. Jon King

    Jon King Member

    Sep 20, 2002
    New Hampshir
    Medium Format
    That looks like a great lightweight combination. My lightweight combinations are 'lightweight' but heavier (Bronica RF645 and a bean bag), but I do know an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker ( ) who carried, all 2000+ miles, a Nikon FM2, 50mm lens (if I remember correctly) and plenty of Velvia (but that did get dropped and picked up at post offices along the way).
  3. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

    Jul 4, 2008
    Latte Land,
    Multi Format
    Good morning, Barry;

    Here in the United States, the writings of Ray Jardine are probably the most definitive on really light weight gear for hiking and camping. Some of it may not be truly "durable," but there are some who say that the race car engine philosophy is the best: Just enough to get you to the finish line first. If the engine blows 10 feet past the finish line, it has done its job. An example is his recommendation for shoes; he likes light weight hiking shoes or even sneakers, not hiking boots. There are others who ask if this is a reasonable risk to trade off the protection for your ankles and feet for the reduction in weight. Read what Ray has to say, and you decide.


    Ralph Javins

    When they ask you how many megapixels are in your camera, just tell them; "I use activaterd silver-bromide crystals for my image storage medium."