Lightweight Hiking can see you going from lugging a 50lb pack to a 20lb pack, but as you can imaging, it takes a considerable shift in mindset.
It takes some getting used to because you are bringing along less clothing, less sunscreen, less shelter. Basically, you are only bringing along the must-have items for safety. That can take a bit of time to get used to.
Your light pack will be very limited in space so you will have to firmly decide what to take with you and what to leave behind. Long term hikers might have a problem giving up items they have naturally included in every trip.
But, if you want to keep the weight down and cover some serious ground you will have to make some sacrifices.
Take advantage of multi-purpose gear, pieces that serve many purposes vs those items that have only one purpose.
Some multi-purpose items will consist of utility knives, Swiss Army Knives, and multi-tools. You might want to consider stuffing your socks in your pillowcases, use your sleeping bag as a makeshift stretcher.
In other words, with a little thought you can come up with some clever ideas.
Pick the correct size pack with the correct amount of clothes, but do not over-pack items such as sunscreen or even food. If your goal is to travel 25 miles or more each day, items are going to be dead weight.
Choose with care and use portion control.
If there are a few of you hiking together, does it make sense to bring two stoves?
If you share the weight with your companions spread out the weight evenly and actually you will all have more items included then you would have hiked alone.
Water weight is one of the major reasons to have a heavy load on the back – but water is a must-have item when hiking on the trails in the wilderness.
Only carry the amount of water needed because it will start to feel very heavy after a while. Use either a water bottle or hydration pack to supply the liquid refreshment.
It is possible to carry less water from the outset on trails that have frequent watering holes. But for the more remote trails with no means to stay hydrated, it is necessary to pack enough water for the duration of the hike.
Make sure to plan the hike and get familiar with the area to ensure the right amount of water is carried.
Get in shape
Even the lightest load in the backpack isn’t able to compensate for poor fitness. While it isn’t necessary to have a physique similar to a bodybuilder it certainly helps to be in shape.
Even if a pack is kept at 20-lbs, this will soon start to feel very heavy after walking a few miles for those completely out of shape.
Whether seasoned hikers or relatively new, starting out with light hiking for the first time can be an amazing experience.
Lighter weight equates to greater speed and that’s the whole point. Once bitten by this bug, it might be quite difficult to go back to heavy backpacks, slow traveling with less ground covered.
It’s not for everyone, but for those who love covering a great deal of ground in one day, it is heaven!
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.