When you hit the trail for a backpacking trip, it’s tough to feel like the world is your oyster if you can barely stand up straight because your pack is so heavy. I mean, did you see the movie Wild? A pack that’s too heavy sucks all the fun out of a trip into the backcountry. And while ultra-light backpackers will tell you the first thing you should do is buy a scale, there are a few easy tried-and-true ways to shave a bit of weight without losing too much comfort. Here are 10 ways to lighten up now.
1. Repackage food and personal care items.
Who uses an entire tube of sunscreen or toothpaste on a three-day trip? Squirting a little into a smaller container will save weight and space, so you might even be able to get away with a smaller, lighter pack. The same goes for food. Even tiny things like pouring your trail mix into a resealable bag so you can burp its air out will save much-needed space.
2. Maximize a minimal amount of insulation.
A down sleeping bag is the most efficient warmth for its weight and compressibility. But you don’t always need to carry the absolute warmest bag. If you’re heading out in warmer months, and planning to take a puffy jacket, you may be able to skimp a bit and go with a lighter sleeping bag, wearing your insulated jacket to sleep in for warmth instead.
Remember to include your mattress when thinking of lightening your sleep system. For instance, going from a 12 oz. NeoAir X-Lite mattress with an r-value of 3.2, to a NeoAir XTherm model will nearly double your mattress’ warmth and add only 3 oz., allowing most people to go with an even lighter sleeping bag.