When going for a long distance hiker, you can be easily tempted to over-pack, in readiness for anything unusual that might happen on the trail. However, a heavy pack can cause fatigue, pain and misery. This means that it will eventually take away the freedom and fun that you anticipated, when you were planning for the hike.
Moreover, a heavy pack is definitely going to slow you down, meaning that you will take longer to complete the trail. You don’t have to spoil your outdoors fun with needless suffering. On the other hand, a lighter pack will give you all the freedom, while preventing your knees and back from injuries. Here are several tips that can help you to pack light, for that long distance hike.
Most people embarking on a long distance hike for the first time, tend to carry a very large pack. An average day sack is just enough for most trails. Your backpack should have a limit of 35 liters. However, it takes careful planning, to achieve such limits. There is no room for spare shoes, bulky fleeces, a pillow, a big tent, a puffy sleeping bag, and 6 pairs of cloth. All those are excess and unneeded baggage. If you want to pack food to last you several days, then you should always pack large. Ensure that your food does not exceed 5 liters the recommended capacity. With modern fabrics, there is no need for bulky clothing. You don’t require more than one change of cloth for your evenings. Remember that you will not be sleeping in a five star hotel. Therefore, you need to sacrifice some comfort and travel lighter.
Outdoor clothing is available in different colors, sizes and shapes. However, the choice should be ultimately determined by performance. You just need something that will keep you comfortable depending on the trail conditions. Trails are different, which means that you will pack accordingly. If it’s possible, limit yourself to one set of clothing for daytime hiking and one change of cloth for relaxing in the evening. The evening set of clothes should be as lightweight as possible. With such planning, you can wash your daytime hiking clothes occasionally, and rinse them when day is over. Modern fabrics take a short time to dry. This means that they will be ready as you set out the following day.
This is where most people go wrong and carry tons of food. If you carry too much food, you will end up with too much weight, while still consuming a lot of space, which could have been used for other items. One liter of water is one kilo. Most lightweight backpackers prefer packing several lightweight dehydrated meals. However, they encounter delightful shops along the way, selling fresh and delicious foods. If you find yourself in such a situation, then you should only buy food when it is needed. Only pack enough to last you until the next shop. Most trails have food re-supply points. Therefore, you don’t have to carry excess weight in terms of food.
It is preferable to buy food along the way, since you will get an opportunity to sample different foods, instead of boiling the same food every evening. If you are hiking on remote trails, then chances of buying food are minimal. During such instances, pack the dehydrated food that you will require during the hike. There is a wide range of dehydrated foods nowadays. So your choices will not be limited. Another tip of lightening your pack when hiking for long distances is to consume the heavier foods first. Heavy food will consume too much space on your backpack, while creating a lot of excess weight. Eat them first and lighten your pack as you get to the more demanding sections of the trail.
Sharing is good If you are not hiking alone, then don’t forget your colleagues. Sharing your burden will also reduce the amount of weight that you will have to carry, along the trail. A tent for two is always lighter, than carrying two single tents for one individual. With coordinated planning, you won’t have to carry excess baggage, especially if you are travelling as a group.
This is one of the most expensive options in terms of your gear. There is high performance low weight gear currently available. However, you don’t need to splash ridiculous amounts at once. Every item on your pack should have at least two uses. If it doesn’t, then it should be replaced by another one. For example, your hiking clothing can be rolled up to form a pillow. On the other hand, your cooking pan can be used as a mug. Carry tents that can be erected with trekking poles, which allows you to leave the tent poles at home. I learned this stuff from bootbomb.com, which has a lot of information regarding hiking and hiking gear.
With appropriate planning and consideration, you can reduce the weight of your backpack from 100 pounds to 50 pounds. Always ensure that only the necessary and multipurpose items should be carried. Be creative and enjoy the hike.