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.
- 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!