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Methods For Keeping Weight Down For Long-Distance Backpacking / Hiking

By Editor | February 27, 2010

Reduce weight of backpack content go ultralight

Going backpacking or camping by shaving as much weight (ultralight) as possible off your backpack might sound quite hardcore, but veteran hikers and backpackers know that the lighter weight of not carrying so much stuff is worth it and easier once you get the knack of it.

Try going ultralight in phases, like start with trimming the weight off of your hiking footwear. Then in the next few years reduce the weight of other items like the jackets, stove and tent etc. You do this until you can reduce the weight of your backpack to eventually half (50%) of the weight as when you first started this ultralight backpack goal. This move should be gradual because it can get quite expensive if you go out and get all new gear.

You must decide what is essential for your backpacking / camping trip. This way you only bring what you need…ask yourself questions like do I really need 2 spare t-shirts, 2 pots and a candle lantern? You can reduce the weight of your backpack significantly by just leaving things at home.

Here are the 5 steps you should take to get your backpacking load ultralight:
1. Weigh every item of gear – This step will help you identify the weight of every item, so you will be able to add it up later.

2. Decide what items to put in the pack and what items to do without.
3. Pick out the items that can be lighter and start to replace them – example here can be replace your tent with a tarp, heavy rain gear with a lightweight shell, or multi-tool even with a mini tool.
4. Identify your heaviest piece of gear and think about modifying or replacing them – replacing a tent or removing the frame from your pack can save pounds of weight.
5. Make weight a priority when selecting gear and items of food

One thing to note is that you don’t make weight a priority though when it comes to safety, an example of this is your first-aid kit you should always bring one, and lighting you do not want to be in the woods with no light…for this replace your flashlight with LED headlamp which last much much longer.

You also have to make sure that your ultralight gear can handle the environment you are going into, like your jacket you need to make sure it will keep you warm and dry, no use sacrificing freezing for weight. You must use your common sense as well.

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