Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Best Ways to Cut Weight for a Backpacking Trip

This post was written by guest author Rhett.
Backpacking can be a great way to experience the beauty of nature and get away from the
chaos of everyday life. However, if you find yourself weighted down with a pack full of heavy equipment, you may have a hard time enjoying the journey. You will find that you can still carry everything you need down to your camo wallet and be lightweight enough to hike with ease. Here are 4 practical ways to cut weight for your next backpacking trip.
Clothing
What you wear while you hike can make a big difference in the overall weight you are carrying. The most important place to cut weight with your clothing is your hiking boots. Heavy boots will weigh you down, creating greater fatigue in your knees and legs with every step.
Look for comfortable, durable, lightweight hiking boots. Try them on before purchasing to be sure they fit your feet well. If you have to purchase boots online, check the weight specs so you can tell if the boots you are ordering are truly lightweight.
Pants, shirts, and socks should also be lightweight. Clothing made of breathable, synthetic materials can provide extra comfort as they often wick moisture away from your body. Try to avoid cotton as it is bulky, relatively heavy, and absorbs sweat. While these pieces of clothing are not going to make as big of a difference as your hiking boots, cutting their bulk and weight will still make hiking easier.
Equipment
The heaviest piece of equipment you will have is your tent. You can cut weight here by purchasing a lightweight tent or if you can't purchase a new tent, check the weather before you leave. If there is no chance of rain, you may be able to leave the rain fly at home. However, you do risk getting caught in an unexpected storm.
Another possibility is to bring a ground cover and/or tarp to create a shelter that allows you to sleep under the stars. In this case, you lose the weight of tent poles, rain fly, and ground cover. Be sure to practice making your shelter before you go so that you are prepared to set it up.
Food
Food makes up another significant portion of the weight that you carry. Replace your food with freeze dried meals because they are lightweight and easy to prepare. These meals have zero moisture, which means you are carrying only the essential nutrients. As long as you have access to enough water on the trip, you will have all the food that you need. Along with your food, a small, simple way to cut weight is to use plastic eating utensils. A plastic fork, spoon, knife, and plate eliminate the extra weight of silverware.
Use Items for Multiple Purposes
You can cut weight without having to invest in more lightweight gear by rethinking what you are already taking with you. For example, instead of packing a pillow, stuff your extra pants and shirt inside your coat or sweatshirt and use it as a pillow. Instead of packing pajamas, either sleep in your clean clothes and wear them the next day or sleep in your dirty clothes and put on your clean clothes in the morning.
Backpack with the Essentials
As you take the time to go through your backpacking equipment and clothing, you will start to find the items that can be purchased in a lightweight or smaller version. After going through those items, creative thinking will help you to reach the pack weight that you want. Once you've gone lightweight, you'll be able to enjoy your trip more fully.

Outdoor enthusiast, turned blogger Rhett Davis brings his passion for all things outdoors into everything he writes. Rhett’s perfect Saturday is a morning on the lake, afternoon with the BBQ and an evening with family.


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