CampSaver doesn’t define what is or is not ultralight backpacking. These 10 tips are basic ideas to help anyone lose extra weight in his or her pack regardless if you have a 60 lb pack or a 20 lb pack. These helpful tips and hints can be used for long 14 day trips or short day trips.
Here are CampSaver.com’s 10 tips to help you start your journey to the light pack.
1. Start with the 3 heaviest items you’ll carry. Tent, sleeping bag and pack. If your tent, sleeping bag or pack is more than 5 years old, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to shave 2-5 pounds off each one without sacrificing comfort or function.
2. When you come back from your trip, look at what you did and didn’t use. If you didn’t use the item, consider taking it out for the next trip
3. Unlearn some very bad packing tips from your Scout Master. Scout Masters are the worst packers. Iron Griddles, 32 oz. can of syrup, firewood, you name it and the Scoutmaster will pack it. Forget most of what you learned as a boy scout.
4. Planning your trip ahead of time helps you determine which items you need to bring or leave at home. Is there food, water, shelter or fuel where you’re headed? If so, consider leaving items you know you can buy or get along the way.
5. Dry camp vs. wet camp. A dry camp is when no water is available. A wet camp is when a water source is available. If your camp is dry, you might actually save weight by not using dehydrated food. If you’re just going to add water you carried from the bottom to your dehydrated food, you might as well bring whole foods. Plus, the food will taste better and it won’t give you gas.
6. Backpack with your brain. Food and water can turn a 20lb pack into a 40lb pack. Water weighs 2.2 lbs per liter and food can weight just as much. Dehydrated food is a great way to save weight if you have a water source to boil water.
7. Multi-use gear. Have you ever considered using your bandana as a pot lifter or first aid sling? How about that down jacket as a pillow? Many items in your gear arsenal can be multipurpose in function.
8. Share the load. How many tents does it take to sleep, 3 people? Three if you’re camping with 2 other men. One if your camping with 2 other women (make that one sleeping bag also). If you’re backpacking in groups, which are much more fun, you can share almost everything! Items to share: water filters, stoves, tents, matches, toothpaste, camp soap, fuel, sunscreen, first aid kits. If one person is taking an item that everyone can use, leave yours at home.
9. Entertainment. Leave your iPod, iBook, and espresso maker at home. You are hiking at 10,000 ft to get away from all that. Buy the compact binoculars if you must bring them. Bring a small digital camera and leave the Canon Digital Rebel at home.
10. Buy a pack with less volume, and then you’re forced to leave items out.