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How to Pack a Lightweight Backpack for Hiking


Obviously, not every single person going out hiking wants a lighter backpack or cares to have a lighter backpack. so why should you? well, the start a lighter backpack is easier to carry since whatever you bring on your hiking trip, you then have to haul up mountains for miles and miles on end, it’s more comfortable on your shoulders and joints, and your muscles. Today we’re gonna talk about how to get a lighter backpacking kit and I actually made 8 tips to help you achieve this.

Carrying the less weight, it allows you to do more and see more since you can walk more freely without the pain or the stress of a heavy backpack, and in many ways, it helps to avoid potential injuries that you might see with folks toting a heavier load. I personally have done all of my hikes with a six-pound base weight or a six-pound backpack sometimes even less than that, so although I really enjoy traveling super light now with a really minimal kit. You don’t have to go anywhere near as light as I do, but I do think it’s good to be aware of what you’re carrying and how much you’re carrying and how heavy the things that you’re carrying are. so as you’re going on your shakedown overnight hikes near home, this is the stuff that I would like you to consider. a thru-hike upwards of two thousand miles is much more than a camping trip and in reality, it’s a lot more like a walking trip whew through hikes out there. so we hike day in and day out all in efforts of trying to race the weather north or south, all of this would be made much more difficult with a heavy backpack. so these days most aim for a more lightweight system while hiking something that they can carry, more comfortably while on their walking trip.

1. Start with the gear you already own.

I know it’s tempting to go out and buy new things but the best way to learn and grow is to simply get out there and try things this way you can get a better idea for what you really want when later on. if you do too so choose to go out and buy some new stuff when you do go out with her gear try and take notes on what you would like to be different. maybe there is a different shaped tent that you would prefer, or maybe your sleeping bag isn’t warm enough for instance. 

2. Take out everything you have weigh it and write it all down.

preferably prepare a backpacking checklist and a little kitchen scale. it’s one thing to go out backpacking and know that your kit feels heavy, it’s another thing to know exactly where all that weight is coming from. so with backpack checklist you can move things around and remove things and weigh different things, see how this changes your overall base weight categorizing things.  This way allows you to scrutinize your gear further and oftentimes for free you can lighten your backpacking load.

3. Reevaluate the gear that you brought.

So you’ve got a day here or a day there that you can take off from work. maybe a weekend or a couple of days in a row and you can do a short little overnight trip, take as many of them as possible, and every time you come home, think over your trip and again, reevaluate the things that you brought and do this over and over and over.  The only way you’ll figure any of this stuff out is by doing before hiking. I learned more on those little tiny trips than I ever have on any through-hike I’ve done.

4.  Make a distinction between necessary for survival and the luxury item.

You can decide if that luxury is something that you would even use oftentimes you get out there. and you realize at the end of the day you’re a lot more tired than you thought you would be. and maybe you’re not really gonna read that book that you brought, or carried a fishing pole for 500 miles and only used it once. try and remember while doing this that through hikes are much more of a walking trip than anything else and it’s good to make this distinction, so you know exactly what you can leave behind and not truly suffer for it. this applies to everything in your pack if it isn’t purely for your survival, then at least for this thought exercise let’s consider it a luxury and that it could be left behind without much consequence.

5.  Modify everything to push the limits of what you carry to.

Go through all of your things and see if you can modify them in any way to be lighter. are there any unnecessary features that you could possibly cut off? you’ve probably already seen or heard about people cutting their toothbrushes in half and that’s kind of the idea here. do you really need a full handle toothbrush to brush your teeth or could you do it with a shorter one? same goes for anything else. do you really need all those extra straps that are attached to your backpack? or do you think you could cut them off?  you’re not going to be saving pounds at a time by cutting these things off but every little bit counts. removing a half an ounce here or an ounce there before you know it you’ve done that enough, and you’ve removed an entire pound from your backpack. this is awesome to do because again it’s totally free and you’re actively making the gear you already own lighter in the process.

6.  Find the value in the bare minimum and then add back things.

When people ask me for a shakedown, I make a point to show them what the bare minimum is with the gear they have. the least amount of items that they need to survive or rather the most important items in their entire backpack and then everything else that I’ve taken out from there I let them add back in what they truly want. I do this because I think it’s very important to know just how little you could get away with, and also to hopefully help make that distinction between luxury and survival. so that’s what I’m gonna ask you to do to try and make that distinction and to find the bare minimum of the gear that you own to make two separate piles, the most important items you have and then other items that you just really enjoy, and then to go through that pile of items that you enjoy but don’t truly necessarily need, and add back items from it. you know the stuff that you really love and the stuff that’s really gonna make your trip a lot more fun or more comfortable.

7. Select a good campsite.

Good campsite selection means you can get away with a lot less gear by replacing that gear with knowledge and skills. for instance, you can get away with a much lighter tent if your campsite is really good or that maybe you know the trail you’re hiking has a lot of vegetation to shield you. thus, saving a lot of weight with more minimal shelter.  the same goes for warmth. if you’re constantly setting up in really exposed areas or near water or at the tops of mountains, then you would need a lot more insulation than someone who is being a little bit more choice about where they’re setting up. maybe you have a rock wall or, maybe you have a bunch of trees or a bunch of bushes surrounding you to block the wind. you don’t want to camp on the tops of exposed mountains as generally that’s very windy and cold and also you don’t want to camp in the bottom of valleys since that’s also pretty cold. so I generally look for somewhere right in the middle. doing all of this whenever possible and you’ll be amazed at how little you can carry and, still remain totally comfortable. You don’t need to do each and every one of these things every single day, just try and be choosy be picky about what type of weather you’re experiencing and how you should deal with that. searching online for others that have been successful on them through hikes and comparing their gear choices to your own. or taking notes on the types of things that they used and how that might be helpful.  

8. Don’t pack your fears.

Do a research plan and understand how you can overcome your fears.  All this planning having an ultra-light kit isn’t about just bringing the bare minimum, it’s really about being extra prepared and knowing the conditions you’re gonna face to a very high degree. having experience with your gear and going out on those short little trips so that you know that you are prepared. the more you understand your fear the less frightening it becomes and instead it turns into a strength. I see people carrying too much is clothing it is I imagine the fear of being cold or for a lot of people the fear of being dirty or maybe not knowing what will be warm enough. So studying what others have done before you or possibly using your own experiences out on these short little trips you’re taking is really important.

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