Hiking is all about fun, thrill, and excitement. All it requires is good stamina, a bit of patience, and a lot of energy.
Hiking with a lighter backpack can make your venture far more comfortable. You’ll be able to hike better and for a longer period. With a heavy backpack, you’ll soon feel tired and your back, knees, and feet will start aching and you lose all your stamina in no time. You won’t be able to enjoy the adventure.
A lightweight backpack is important for efficiency and enjoyment. So, it is important to pack everything intelligently. When you are on the trail, your backpack will carry everything you’ll need to sustain yourself in the wilderness.
Here are 10 tips that can help you lighten the load but still carry everything you need.
1. Examine current gear
Check every piece of your gear. Try to weigh them first. This will give you an idea of the weight of your load. You will be able to better decide which items to keep in the bag and which ones to skip.
2. Lightest equipment in bag
Select the lightest equipment for your bag. Choose the lightest sleeping bag, backpack, and shelter per your budget.
3. Keep yourself light
In summers, you can’t predict how the weather will treat you. It can be hot…or it can be too hot. Wear light clothes and soft boots on your hike as they’ll make you feel more comfortable.
4. Only select what you need
“Pack everything you think you will need, then get rid of half of it.”
This is the most important tip. Pack only what you need, not what might be useful. For example, a laptop is a luxury and not a must-have to take on a hike, skip it. Likewise, if you plan on bringing a pocket knife, make sure it is sharpened before your trip so you won’t need to also pack the best pocket knife sharpener. Don’t carry things just because you think they can come in handy. From experience, most of the time those “handy” items are never used; but you end up carrying them all the way.
5. Consume the heaviest food first
Food and snacks take a significant amount of space and weight. Carrying them for a long hike will make you tired. To lighten your load, eat the heaviest and freshest items first.
Related: Top Camping Tips for First Timers
6. Try light options for liquids
Try to take juices and other liquids in powder form. Carrying the liquid bottles will add a significant amount of weight. For soaps, you can go for dry, thin, paper soaps and other dehydrated alternatives. If you’re taking water bottles, place them in the side pockets of your backpack.
7. Survival skills
If you’re experienced, you’ll get to know how “survival” skills help you overcome many situations with minimal equipment or supplies. This reduces your backpack load. And if you are not experienced, don’t worry! Head out and explore! From small to big, each challenge will impart upon you the tactics you’ll need to deal with any difficult situations as expertise is acquired through experience. The more you hike, the more experience you gain, and the more innovative you become. The more experience you have, the more exacting you become on carrying the right “stuff”.
8. Don’t hang extra stuff
Always try to avoid hanging extra items from the outside of your pack. They will continue to move from one side to another while you hike. This can shake off your balance, can make unwanted noise, and can catch on tree branches or brush.
9. Distribute weight
- Start packing the hip belt and shoulder strap pockets first. These pockets are always easily accessible and great place to put small, important items that you’ll need throughout the day.
- You can put a few energy bars and snacks in a hip pocket as it’s important to have lots of small meals throughout the day.
- You can put your sunglasses, camera, lip balm, or sun block in your shoulder strap pouch.
10. Use common sense to pack
Have common sense of what you need to carry. You’ll see, this is a process that is mastered as you gain experience. Make a list of all the items that you think will be useful during the hike. Try to take along multipurpose items.
Before, during, and after every trip, take the time to learn about your packing habits and get to know what items you used. Taking the time to analyze what you packed and if it was useful will help to reduce the amount of unnecessary weight and help you become practical on your next outing.
A lightweight backpack plays a very important role for a successful and revitalized hiking adventure. Carrying light loads and minimum amount of gear makes your bag much easier haul and less time-consuming to pack.