If you’re looking to make your hiking trips even more enjoyable, one of the best things you can do is to know how to make hiking backpack lighter. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature and get some exercise at the same time. This can be done by carefully considering what items you need for your trip, and how much they weigh.
10 Tips On How To Make Hiking Backpack Lighter
When you’re out on a backpacking trip and your pack is so heavy that you can barely stand straight, it’s difficult to feel as though the world is your oyster. Have you seen, for instance, the film Wild? A cumbersome pack diminishes the enjoyment of a backcountry trip. While ultralight backpackers will advise you to start by purchasing a scale, there are a few tried-and-true methods for losing weight without sacrificing comfort. Here are ten suggestions for minimizing the weight of your backpacking pack.
1. Food and personal care items must be repackaged
When going on a three-day vacation, is it really necessary to use the entire tube of toothpaste or sunscreen? By squeezing a small amount of product into a smaller container, you may be able to get away with carrying a smaller, lighter bag. Likewise, this is true for food. Even small changes, such as resealing your trail mix and sucking out the air, will help you save space.
2. Sleep System: Maximize the use of limited insulation
Few factors have a greater impact on your body weight than your sleeping pattern. Understanding ASTM/ISO ratings and the R-value will assist you in remaining comfortable at camp while avoiding unnecessary weight.
If you’re looking to upgrade your gear to join the #lighterpackclub, our Hyperion sleeping bags and Vesper quilts are among the lightest in their respective classes. Our XLite, UberLite, and XTherm pads are designed to provide the optimal combination of warmth and weight in any situation.
3. The tent should be easy to set up with ski poles or trekking
This is a no-brainer if you’re already using trekking poles or hiking sticks for your hikes or ski tours. If you simply use the poles you already own, you can eliminate the weight of a tent pole set. If you want to keep things simple, a tarp is a way to go. In all-season shelters, trekking or skiing poles can now be used.
4. Maintain an as-simple-as-possible wardrobe
For the majority of experienced backpackers, body odor is a non-issue. Odor is an inescapable component of life. It’s best to avoid carrying an entire extra set of clothes unless your trip requires washing your entire wardrobe, which is impossible while wearing outer layers or rain gear, and you need a dry set of clothes to keep warm.
5. Do not bring any books
Even guidebooks will fall short. Rather than that, take photos of the relevant pages and refer to them as needed—you can always zoom in on the screen. If you enjoy reading in your sleeping bag at night, consider downloading the Kindle app rather than carrying a paperback. You can carry an entire library on your small device, which you probably already have. Your phone should be kept in airplane mode or turned off except when necessary (in which case keep it in airplane mode) and a small battery pack or charger should be carried. It will remain lighter and more compact than a guidebook or novel.
6. Plan and transport the least amount of water possible
If you’re traveling to an area with numerous streams or a reliable spring, calculate the amount of water you’ll need to get there and then use a purifier rather than carrying enough water for the entire trip. A little research may reassure you that you can travel from stream to stream carrying very little water. If you’re leaving on a short trip, ensure that you’re adequately hydrated before departing.
7. Opt for collapsible water bottles rather than bulky ones
A 32-ounce rigid plastic reusable water bottle with a bladder weighs only 6.2oz less than the same bottle without one. To pack three liters of water, more than a pound of water bottle weight is added to the already substantial weight of the water. Because an empty 32-ounce pop bottle and a 34-ounce Platypus Softbottle both weigh 1.2 ounces, swapping them can save you a few ounces.
8. Make the transition from road to trail running
Keeping in mind that your backpacking load is not entirely contained within your pack is critical to reducing the weight of your backpacking pack. Even if they are not carried on your back, a pair of heavy backpacking boots can add significant weight to your pack.
Add a pair of tough trail runners to the mix to amp things up. Before leaving them at home, ensure they provide adequate traction and support for your insole. We also recommend taking them on a few day hikes before embarking on a week-long backcountry adventure.
9. Consume immediately from the pot
While dishes and cups are convenient to have on camp, if you’re only using them to move food around before eating, consider eating directly from the pot while backpacking and saving the dishware for car camping. Additionally, you’ll only have to clean one dish.
10. Each time you go backpacking, make a list of your unused items
Then consider how you’re going to pack them the next time. Certain items, such as an emergency lighter and a few inches of duct tape, should always be carried in your pack, even if you have no plans to use them. However, what if you brought gaiters on each of your last three trips but never wore them? They may be best left at home.
The best way to make your backpacking lighter on your camping trips and more enjoyable is by slowly switching out heavier gear for lighter options. But, if you want to lighten your load for an upcoming trip, consider some of the tips above. You might be surprised how much weight you can save without sacrificing too much comfort.
Do you have any tips on how to make your backpacking pack lighter? Let us know in the comments below!