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Backpacker Radio

Oct 10, 2022

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Mike Clelland. Mike is the author of one of the preeminent UL backpacking books, "Ultralight Backpackin' Tips: 153 Amazing & Inexpensive Tips For Extremely Lightweight Camping". We go through some of his top tips for getting pack weight down, how he arrived to the world of UL backpacking, his work with NOLS, his Alaskan expeditions, and much more. We also dive into Mike's fascination with the interplay of owls and UFOs which is perhaps predictably equal parts bizarre and fascinating.

We wrap the show with a Triple Crown of things we don’t like about Colorado, clichés that we think are total bullshit, and we get another update from MG.

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Interview with Mike Clelland

Time stamps & Questions

00:04:47 - QOTD: What is a cliche you think is total bullshit?

00:07:17 - Reminders: support the Blue Sky Fund and subscribe to Backpacker Radio!

00:08:57 - Introducing Mike

00:11:02 - When did you get into illustration and cartoons?

00:13:51 - What was your favorite toy to draw advertisements for?

00:16:29 - Was your job anything like Mad Men?

00:21:05 - How did you get into backpacking?

00:28:56 - What was your backpacking experience prior to working at NOLS?

00:30:31 - Were you apprehensive about switching to ultralight gear?

00:32:16 - What are some of the key differences between Lighten Up! and Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips?

00:37:35 - Tip #3: Scrutinize Everything

00:41:40 - Tip #6: Try Something New Every Time You Go Camping?

00:46:44 - What’s a recent example of something you’ve tweaked in your setup?

00:48:24 - How important is it for someone to have DIY skills?

00:50:56 - Tip #9: Cut Stuff Off Your Gear

00:58:07 - Why should someone go ultralight?

01:05:30 - Tip #25: Appreciate the Wilderness

01:08:17 - Tip #30: Is going ultralight more expensive?

01:11:22 - Do you scrutinize your food as much as your gear?

01:16:31 - Tip #55: Prepare a Simple First Aid Kit

01:20:44 - What’s your take on torso length sleeping pads?

01:24:08 - You say a backpack can be as light as 3 ounces?!

01:26:22 - Tip #65: Choose Bold Routes

01:29:01 - Tip #100: The Humble Pillow

01:31:15 - Tip #116: Poop

01:40:44 - What are some of your favorite and least favorite natural wiping devices?

01:49:30 - Talk to us about UFOs and owls.

01:59:17 - What is hypnotic regression?

02:03:02 - Do you think these are ghost, alien, or other paranormal experiences?

02:04:45 - What percent of owls do you consider suspicious? 

02:10:00 - Should we be suspicious of owls?

02:11:48 - Mike’s newest owl stories

02:17:28 - Are certain types of owls more suspicious than others?

02:22:07 - Where can people go to learn more?


MG Check-In

Send Us Your Owl Stories

Trek Propaganda

Triple Crown of things we don’t like about Colorado

5 Star Review


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A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Jason Lawrence, Christopher Marshburn, Sawyer Products, Brad and Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Patrick Cianciolo, Paul Packman Sealy, Matt Soukup, Jason Snailer, Greg Mac,  Tracy “Trigger” Fawns, Mike Poisel, and Kristina Diaz.

A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Liz Seger, Cynthia Voth, Emily Brown, Dcnerdlet, Jeff LaFranier, Peter Ellenberg, Jacob Northrup, Peter Leven.