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Why Go Light?

Over the years backpacking has evolved on so many levels.  The type of gear you carry, food you bring, types of trips and a whole lot more.  Over the past fifteen or so years backpacking has really came into a new style: going lighter.

Going lighter can mean many things ranging from pack weight to your body weight but there are many reasons you need to go lighter.

  • Gear can be heavy – Heavy gear can make for a very long backpacking trip.  It can make you uncomfortable and even possibly cause an injury.  The heavy weight of all the gear on your back can really impact your muscles, joints and mental strength while out on the trail.
  • Take away from the experience – Gear that is too heavy can take away from your overall experience on the trail.  For example, you may be focused on some item, the soreness of your body as well as other things instead of focusing on your experience.
  • Slower pace – The more gear that you carry the more likely your pace will be much slower than desired which could make you not complete the hike that you are attempting.

Going Light

Going light

There are many things that contribute to the idea of going lighter and they all don’t deal with just gear.

  • Your brain – Your brain is a very powerful tool that should be utilized as much as possible.  Learning new skills for hiking is so important.  When you learn new skills you are able to carry lighter weight gear that may be a bit more complicated (knot tying skills for example) over gear that is simple and heavy.
  • Get more experience – Hiking in diverse environments and seasons allows you to learn more techniques.  These techniques and skills will allow you to be more confident in yourself which could really help in your goal of going lighter.
  • Gear – Over the years gear has gone from being very heavy to light as a feather.  The way gear has been made, the fabrics its made out of, fabric strength and more are just a few examples of how gear has grown over the years.

Going backpacking is so much fun.  It is something I highly recommend to anyone but try to make sure to lighten your load some before you head out on the trail by learning new skills and selecting lighter weight options (trail runners over traditional hiking boots).  Making the decision to go lighter will allow you to be safer, have more fun, hike faster and just have an overall better experience in most situations.  Doing this will allow you to get out backpacking more as well as others.

What are some lightweight tips that you have? Feel free to comment below or Tweet me! Also check out last week’s article by clicking here, it covers 7 tips to go light.

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Tips To Get Lighter

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When people head out on adventures whether they are short or long a constant recurring problem is the fact that they carry too much gear. Being worried about the “what ifs”, lack of skills, people to hike with as well as many other factors can contribute to this happening. In this post I’m going to address some tips that will help you lighten up your pack weight and still keep you safe while out exploring.

Figure Out What You Really Need

  • There are many factors that play into what you may need for your adventure: location, time of year, length of trip, sun exposure, precipitation, hours of daylight, available water sources, snowfall, distance from civilization, insects and wildlife.
  • After studying up on all of these then you will be able to make a better decision on what you decide to bring along with you on your next adventure. Don’t just go by the “what ifs”. Those “what ifs” can cause you to carry too much gear!

Bring Less Food

  • When people go out on a hike, especially a multi day trip, they tend to carry more food than they actually need. Find foods that are high in their calories/oz. For example, find foods that are around 100-125 calories/ounce. Also a good starting point is to average around 3,000 calories per day for food. 3,000 calories is approximately 1.5 pounds of food.

Bring Less Water

  • Water, just like food is another thing that people can bring too much of. When deciding how much water to bring focus on the distance between water sources.
  • Along with this, use your previous trips as factors as to how much water you need to bring with you.

Forget the GPS, Bring a Map and Compass

  • GPS units are great and they can help on so many levels but if you get in an area where the GPS does not work or if it dies you may end up being in big trouble if you’re too far from help. So with this in mind, I highly recommend bringing maps of the area as well as a compass.
  • Having a map and compass can help you identify certain things a GPS can’t. For example: thick brush, rivers, streams, terrain that is too tough to cross, etc.

First Aid Reminders

  • First aid is extremely important. The thing to remember is that first aid consists of treatable and non treatable injuries. Treatable injuries can be fixed while in the field (minor cuts, thorns, headaches, etc). Non treatable injuries are too severe to treat in the field (broken bones, severe cut, etc).
  • Just keep in mind that certain injuries just can’t be treated while out in the field. Don’t bring an ambulance worth of supplies with you.
  • I will address my first aid kit setup in an upcoming post.

Campsite Selection

  • Campsites are very unique and must be looked at in a certain way. For example, established campsites can be overused, crowded and a place for creatures to roam into because they’re used to humans being at these sites.
  • So with that, here are some areas I look for when selecting a campsite:
    • Soft ground, leaves, grassess, etc.
    • An area in which two types of habitats connect; for example, the area between two ecosystems where you’ll find more wildlife.
    • Elevation. You don’t want to set your campsite up in a low lying area if you don’t have to because then you’ll be dealing with the cold and possibly more wildlife.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

  • Practice different outdoors skills. Knots, campsite selection, route finding, weather conditions, and more. The more you know, the less you’ll have to carry on your next adventure!

These are just some of the many skills that you can learn to lighten up your pack. What are some of the skills that you recommend? What are some of your stories of carrying too much or being over prepared? I’d love to hear from you; comment below or feel free to Tweet me your stories!

Open post

Tips To Get Lighter

(benonadventures)12819085_980091335362049_1003129201_n

When people head out on adventures whether they are short or long a constant recurring problem is the fact that they carry too much gear. Being worried about the “what ifs”, lack of skills, people to hike with as well as many other factors can contribute to this happening. In this post I’m going to address some tips that will help you lighten up your pack weight and still keep you safe while out exploring.

Figure Out What You Really Need

  • There are many factors that play into what you may need for your adventure: location, time of year, length of trip, sun exposure, precipitation, hours of daylight, available water sources, snowfall, distance from civilization, insects and wildlife.
  • After studying up on all of these then you will be able to make a better decision on what you decide to bring along with you on your next adventure. Don’t just go by the “what ifs”. Those “what ifs” can cause you to carry too much gear!

Bring Less Food

  • When people go out on a hike, especially a multi day trip, they tend to carry more food than they actually need. Find foods that are high in their calories/oz. For example, find foods that are around 100-125 calories/ounce. Also a good starting point is to average around 3,000 calories per day for food. 3,000 calories is approximately 1.5 pounds of food.

Bring Less Water

  • Water, just like food is another thing that people can bring too much of. When deciding how much water to bring focus on the distance between water sources.
  • Along with this, use your previous trips as factors as to how much water you need to bring with you.

Forget the GPS, Bring a Map and Compass

  • GPS units are great and they can help on so many levels but if you get in an area where the GPS does not work or if it dies you may end up being in big trouble if you’re too far from help. So with this in mind, I highly recommend bringing maps of the area as well as a compass.
  • Having a map and compass can help you identify certain things a GPS can’t. For example: thick brush, rivers, streams, terrain that is too tough to cross, etc.

First Aid Reminders

  • First aid is extremely important. The thing to remember is that first aid consists of treatable and non treatable injuries. Treatable injuries can be fixed while in the field (minor cuts, thorns, headaches, etc). Non treatable injuries are too severe to treat in the field (broken bones, severe cut, etc).
  • Just keep in mind that certain injuries just can’t be treated while out in the field. Don’t bring an ambulance worth of supplies with you.
  • I will address my first aid kit setup in an upcoming post.

Campsite Selection

  • Campsites are very unique and must be looked at in a certain way. For example, established campsites can be overused, crowded and a place for creatures to roam into because they’re used to humans being at these sites.
  • So with that, here are some areas I look for when selecting a campsite:
    • Soft ground, leaves, grassess, etc.
    • An area in which two types of habitats connect; for example, the area between two ecosystems where you’ll find more wildlife.
    • Elevation. You don’t want to set your campsite up in a low lying area if you don’t have to because then you’ll be dealing with the cold and possibly more wildlife.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

  • Practice different outdoors skills. Knots, campsite selection, route finding, weather conditions, and more. The more you know, the less you’ll have to carry on your next adventure!

These are just some of the many skills that you can learn to lighten up your pack. What are some of the skills that you recommend? What are some of your stories of carrying too much or being over prepared? I’d love to hear from you; comment below or feel free to Tweet me your stories!

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