Backpacker Magazine – September 2012
Master Class: Lighten Your Pack
Foods with more than 100 calories per ounce (Bydlon)
Carry Less With Careful Planning
Jettisoning the last five pounds requires thorough trip research, confidence in your trail skills, and, yes, sacrificing some creature comforts. The prize? Easier hiking every step of the way.
Ο Research Trail Conditions
Pack only what your route requires.
>> Get seasonal beta.
Call park offices to ask about campsites, trail conditions, water access, and other seasonal issues. Are fires allowed? Leave your stove at home. No snow in the
passes? Don’t pack crampons or an ice axe. Also review recent trip reports at backpacker.com/community
>> Be weather-wise.
Research backcountry forecasts at weather.gov
. Subtract 4℉ for every 1,000 feet of elevation above the
forecast area. Warm front approaching? Ditch your puffy.
Weight saved 5+ lbs.
Ο Carry Less Water Weight
Water’s heavy—two pounds per quart. Schedule breaks to coincide with water sources, drink at planned refill stops, and tote no more than two quarts on the trail (unless safety requires it). Plus:
Shed bottle weight. A 32-ounce-capacity Gatorade jug weighs 1.6 oz.; a similarly sized Lexan screw-top weighs 6.2 oz. Prefer a hydration bladder? Only fill it to 60 ounces (use as a pillow at night).
“I don’t carry toilet paper. I haven’t had any in my backpack for well over 20 years and it’s not an issue. There is plenty of natural toilet paper out there.”
Potential weight savings 3 oz.
Ο Switch Your Pack
Baseweight below 15 pounds? Downsize to a frameless midsize hauler; the lightest are made of waterproof (but delicate) silnylon and weigh just 5 ounces. Use your sleeping pad to add structure to the backpanel,
pad sharp gear (stove, tent poles) with clothing so fabric doesn’t wear, and don’t yank compression straps or secure heavy items to them, which might cause seam blowouts. See reviews of
our favorite UL packs
Save high-power headlamps for caving. For backpacking, use a single-battery unit like Mammut’s S-Lite ($23; 1.7 oz.;
Weight saved 6 oz.
Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter