When it’s really hot, you know to dip your shirt and hat in water, which greatly enhances evaporative cooling. when water sources are scarce: “Soak an extra shirt and place it in a zip-top bag; stash it in your pack to put on later.”
Downsize your first-aid kit.
Honan’s 1-ounce kit: antiseptic wipes (3), 3M micropore surgical tape (tiny roll), ibuprofen (8 tabs), 3-by-3 inch piece of gauze, sewing needle, and dental floss. He uses this for all trips and replaces supplies as needed.
Pack gear that serves double—or triple—duty.
For cathole digging, Honan uses a tent stake instead of a shovel. More multitasking: a pot that serves as a bowl, cup, and washing vessel; socks double as mittens; and a poncho tarp. Of the latter, Honan says, “It’s my shelter, pack cover, and rain protection.” He likes Mountain Laurel Designs Silnylon Pro Poncho Tarp ($165; mountainlaureldesigns.com) because of the effective hood design and many guy-out options, which improve protection in a storm.
Use ultralight rain protection.
“Line the inside of your backpack with a garbage bag. It’s light, cheap, and does the same job as a pack cover or pricey liner.” Trash compactor bags are the most durable. Exception: In the foulest weather, Honan uses a multipurpose poncho-tarp-pack cover.
Carry an umbrella.
Sounds like a luxury? Honan considers an umbrella so valuable—to protect against both desert heat and bone-chilling rain—that it makes the cut as part of a sub-8-pound base weight (all his gear, minus food and water). He recommends the GoLite Chrome Dome ($25; golite.com).
“I go stoveless in three-season conditions. I rehydrate my beans/pea soup/lentils in an empty Gatorade powder container (the one with a wide lid).”