When you’re out on the trail at the start of any hiking trip, it can be difficult to see the world as your oyster, due to the excessive weight of a fully-loaded, heavy pack on your back. The first thing seasoned hikers will often tell you to do in order to lighten this load, is to go out and pick up a weighing scale, however, we don’t think that reducing the weight of your pack needs to be this complicated, with there being a number of easy to follow tips that can help you achieve this with minimal effort.
Below you’ll find our list of 5 tips to help you lighten your back pack ahead of your next hiking trip.
- Swap your Tent for a Bivvy Bag
If you take a tent with you when through-hiking, it could be worth looking at replacing it with a bivvy bag, as these are much lighter, typically weighing in at 1 kg or less, and are extremely compact, boasting a very small pack size. As well as this, they’re also much quicker and easier to setup, particularly in poor weather conditions.
When compared to tents, bivvy bags also tend to be much cheaper – this is especially true when it comes to premium, ultra-light weight tents – with some of the best bivvy bags retailing for less than £100.
- Repackage All Food and Personal Care Items
You’re never going to use an entire tube of sunscreen or toothpaste within a few days, so don’t bother taking that much, as these items will only take up space and add weight to your backpack. We’d recommend to just take what you need – throw away the packaging and squirt an appropriate amount into a small container.
- Ration Water Better with Forward-Planning
Depending on the time of year and where you’re headed, there may be several springs and streams on the way that offer a reliable source of fresh water from which you can restock. By taking a simple water purifier with you, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the amount of water you’ll need to pack – something that will have a greater impact on reducing the weight of your backpack than anything else.
It’s also worth considering swapping your rigid, plastic bottles, for a Platypus Softbottle or bladder system, something that will reduce both the pack size and carry weight of your backpack even further.
- Cook and Eat Out of a Single Pot
Dishes and cups may work well for a camping trip, however, when it comes to a through-hike, they’re nothing more than unnecessary weight.
Keep it simple, take with you a single pot or mess tin that you can use to both cook your meals in and eat them out of. This will not only work to keep things light, but will also minimise water wastage, as you’ll have far less to wash up after a meal than you would otherwise.
- List All Unused Items When You Get Home
When you get home after your next through-hike, make a list of all items from your backpack that you didn’t use. There are obviously some infrequently used items that should remain, such as an emergency lighter, first aid kit and perhaps some duct tape, however, when it comes to the bulk of other items in your bag, you’ll fast realise that you can make do without most of them.
There you have it, our list of 5 easy to follow tips that can help you lighten the load on your next hike. It isn’t difficult to lighten your backpack – you don’t need scales or much planning, just common sense. We hope that you found this list of weight-saving tips useful and that you utilise them to reduce the carry weight and pack size of your backpack before your next trip into the wilderness.