Weekend Planner: Pack Less

Get outside earlier and faster by taking less with you. Here's how to ditch excess gear and pack light, tasty food.
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Get outside earlier and faster by taking less with you. Here's how to ditch excess gear and pack light, tasty food.


You don't have to obsess over grams to benefit from the ultralight approach. The less you take, the less you have to fuss over, and the faster you can hit the road. "One of the lovely things about a two-day trip," says Andrew Skurka, who once hiked 6,875 miles in seven months while carrying, essentially, an oversize daypack, "is that you can go out of the house with hardly anything." Here's how to pare down your packing list:

No tent Check the weather before you go. If the forecast calls for dry and temperate conditions, particularly in the West, leave the tent behind. You'll enjoy a lighter pack and a night under the stars.

No extra clothes Skurka goes for months on the trail with precisely one set of clothes that he repeatedly washes. Do you really need more on a weekend trip?

No camp shoes Today's lightweight footwear should be comfortable even after a day of hiking.

No stove/cookware "Who wants steaming hot mashed potatoes on a warm summer night?" asks Skurka. But going stoveless doesn't mean you have to settle for a menu of peanut butter and bagels. Try these no-cook Hula Wraps, from Teresa "Dicentra" Black, a frequent contributor to Backpacker.com forums and the author of the camping cookbook One Pan Wonders.

Hula Wraps

2 large flour tortillas

3-ounce package of tuna, in foil

2 individual, 1-ounce packages of cream cheese

2 rings dried pineapple, finely chopped

4 tablespoons macadamia nuts, finely chopped

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

At home Combine the dried pineapple, macadamia nuts, parsley, and curry powder in a zip-top bag. Pack tortillas and cream cheese separately.

In camp Spread one package of cream cheese on each tortilla and top with the other ingredients. Roll. Serves two.