Awww, backpacking. It is one of the best ways to enjoy nature’s outdoors. You can rest by the stream and hear the doves in their little nests sing to you. It is music to anyone’s ears. If you want to enjoy those birds even more, then you need to take a load off your back. Fortunately for you though, you have this article, 10 Tips to Shave Weight for Ultra Lightweight Backpacking.
When shaving weight on your backpack as with shedding actual weight off your body, be careful. You do not want to leave an item or belonging you needed on the journey at home. It’s just a word of warning.
Let’s get started.
1. Multi-Use Items are the Way to Go
With this tip, you are, in essence, packing multiple pieces of gear into one item. The classic example is the Swiss Army Knife. It can pop the Champagne one moment and open your can of beans the next. You did not need to bring a can opener and wine opener in two separate items, only the Swiss Army Knife.
Another example is the bandanna; it doubles as a handkerchief, coffee filter, hot pot hand, sweat absorber, and sun block. That is a wide array of uses. You can eat directly from a cook pot instead of bringing separate pots. Use a carabiner to hold onto your head lamp and then use the same carabiner later on your tent. The possibilities are endless. You just need a bit of creativity and imagination.
2. Water is One of the Heaviest Items to Carry
Water is heavy. If you carried all your water on your backpacking trip, half your weight would just be water. This will not do. Instead, drink up at the water source as much as you can. You will then have to carry less with you. Also, carry only what you need to get you to the next source.
Lastly, plan your trip close to water sources. If you make frequent stops for water, then you do not have to carry as much along with you.
3. Look at an Item. Ask Yourself, “Do I Really Need This?”
Self analysis is going to be your best friend. It is my go to for whatever road block I encounter. Whenever I go to buy something for myself, I ask myself that question. Not surprisingly enough, I save quite a bit of money. The same goes for backpacking, but in a different context. Many items in your pack will not be used.
4. Repackage Food and Toiletries into Smaller Containers
Do you really need a whole tube of toothpaste? No, you don’t. You can put the toothpaste into a smaller container. Take the trail mix out of the bag and pour it into a separate plastic baggie and squeeze the air out. It won’t necessarily save you weight, but you will free up space for more valuable items on your adventure.
When you take this step, your backpack becomes leaner and meaner like an MMA fighter who dropped weight hard.
5. After Each Backpacking Adventure, List Your Unused Items
Self-reflection goes a long way. This goes off the third tip but at a different point in your journey. It is often difficult to self-reflect on a journey when you are the middle of it. You cannot throw away a piece of frivolous gear so easily. You can instead do it afterwards when you have the time and mental space to do so. If anything went unused, write it down. You are not going to need it on the next expedition.
You can feel your pack getting lighter already.
6. Your Tent, Sleeping Bag, and Pack are the Big Three
The tent, sleeping bag, and backpack are quite heavy. Focus on them and you can shed three pounds no sweat. You can buy lighter gear for all three of these. Down sleeping bags save the most weight. Also, when you grab a lower temperature sleeping bag, you save weight and can just wear your clothes to bed to keep warm.
There are also many lightweight tents and packs you can find that are quite the feather weights, but also, of course, a bit expensive. No one said shedding the weight would be easy. Instead of an actual tent, you can opt for a tarp and trekking pole tent. If you can handle a bit more bugs, then you might want to consider this option.
7. You Have Two Types of Clothing
Besides two pairs of socks, everything else can be singles. There are two types of clothes to bring along with you, camp clothes and hiking clothes. Nothing else should be in your wardrobe. Those are the two categories. The former group enables you to be comfortable as the day turns into night while the latter group is all about wear and tear. You can use that type of clothing to the max.
8. The Lightest Gear You Can Afford Shaves Weight
I’m going to be frank with you. It costs money if you want to save weight. On the average backpacker’s pack, you can shed an easy five pounds with gear changes alone. There are lighter stoves, Swiss army knives, trekking poles, boots, clothes, and the like.
If you can dish out the dough for your ultralight gear like a rock star on a Saturday night at the club, then by all means go for it.
9. There Are Cheap, DIY Ways to Shed the Pounds
On an opposite note from the previous tip, there are ways to lose weight on the cheap. Cut off the labels on your clothes. Use a trash bag as your backpack’s rain cover. Shave off the toothbrush. Share the load with friends. Switch the knife out for a razor blade. Cotton balls and Vaseline are enough to start a fire. Be creative. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
10. Food, Look for Low Weight:High Calorie Ratio
Not all food is created equal. You should not bring a Cheese Cake Factory Cake along with you. While they might be delicious, they will be heavy. You have better options available to you. You can find food with low weight to high calorie ratios. Nuts are the most common example. Rice works well too.
Grab a digital scale, start weighing what you have, and look at the calorie count/serving ratio. You’re just like a super model who tracks their calories to the bone. Details matter.
Are You Looking for a Backpack?
You should be all set to go. There are now a lot of tools at your disposal for you to cut weight like a heavyweight fighter down to 220 lbs. It is possible, but it does not mean it also isn’t difficult. Good luck!
If you want to lose weight, the best place to start is your backpack. It weighs a lot. An excellent article to find the perfect one for you is a previous piece, The Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2019 (do not fret if it is 2076 and this article still reads 2019; I update the ‘best of’ pieces on an annual basis :)). If you really want to drop the pounds, then you can bet on a backpack to be the way forward.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!