Taking only what you need, and cutting weight whenever possible, can help you hike more comfortably for longer periods of time… and your back will surely appreciate the effort.
You don’t have to be an ultralight hiking or backpacking guru to appreciate the benefits of a lightened load, either. Today, we’re going to share some easy tricks you can use to reduce the weight of your pack on your next backpacking trip. We’ll assume that you already have a backpacking pack, but if you don’t, choosing a lightweight option will give you an even better head start.
A digital scale is an invaluable tool that helps you measure your pack’s weight. You can get an idea of your starting and ending weights, and adjust accordingly as you add and remove things from your pack.
But, pro tip: don’t bring the scale with you on your backpacking trip.
Just say no to cotton
Cotton and denim are heavy and not exactly water resistant, so they aren’t the best clothing choices when backpacking. Opt for lightweight, synthetic fabrics instead.
Another benefit of synthetic and/or wool fabrics is that they don’t get quite as smelly. This allows you to comfortably pack fewer pieces of clothing. SmartWool and other brands that use merino wool are popular choices, and for good reason.
You won’t be carrying your footwear, but heavy boots take a big toll on tired legs after a while. Trail running shoes or athletic sneakers with good tread are a great way to shave some weight.
Food gets heavy, fast. We might be biased, but freeze-dried food is the ideal way to eat well without adding unnecessary weight to your pack. All you need is boiling water and something to stir with, and dinner is served.
It’s always safer to backpack with a buddy, and two people can also distribute the weight of the tent, camp stove, and other shared gear. Everyone wins.
If you bring trekking poles along on your trips, consider buying a tent that pitches with trekking poles instead of tent poles. Tent poles can weigh more than a pound, but repurposing what you already have easily takes care of that problem.
Deodorant and wet wipes add unnecessary weight to your pack and can attract wildlife. Besides, you’re already going to be dirty after spending a few days exploring the terrain and a few nights sleeping under the stars.
What you want to bring backpacking isn’t always what you need to bring backpacking. If you’re really trying to lighten up your backpack, assess every single item critically. Do you really need it, or is it just a nice-to-have? Answering this question truthfully is the best way to keep things on the lighter side.