Let's Strip: Lightening Your Backpack

5 ways to get rid of unneeded pounds without buying a new pack

1. Remove your pack's aluminum stays. They're usually overkill for loads under 25 pounds, especially if your pack has a good framesheet. Experiment until you find the weight at which stays are critical. Average savings: 8 oz.

2. Replace your rain cover with Sea to Summit's Ultra Sil Pack Liner ($45; see page 97), a feathery dry bag that'll last longer because it stays inside your pack. Average savings: 6 oz.

3. Swap out thick bear-bagging rope for 50 feet of a thinner cord such as Kelty's Triptease Lightline ($15; 1 oz.), which holds 180 pounds and glows in the dark. Average savings: 7 oz.

4. Remove your pack's lid, which is nothing more than a glorified pocket. Then cut off its external pockets (thus removing the urge to stuff them full) and trim straps that are too long. Average savings: 1 lb.

5. Ditch your water bottles. A 3-liter bladder holds more water than two bottles, shrinks when empty, and makes staying hydrated much easier. Average savings: 8 oz.

Max weight savings: 2 lbs. 13 oz.