How would like to reduce your backpacking gear weight by 10 pounds without spending a lot of money? Interested? The key to doing this is to remove all the stuff you really don’t need or replace it with smaller, more compact alternatives. This in turn can make it possible for you to replace a large, heavy backpack, with one that is half or a third or of the weight, translating into very substantial weight savings.
Actions often speak loader than words – so here is a backpack makeover video we shot last month at a lightweight backpacking seminar we gave for boy scouts (that applies to anyone) that demonstrates the decisions that go into this process. In it, Grant Sible and Dave Cutherell from Gossamer Gear show an adult backpacker how to reduce her load from 26 pounds, without water and food, to 16 pounds.
Some of the key takeaways in theses video are:
- Ditch your Nalgene bottles: they’re bulky and heavy. Replace them with 32 ounce (1 liter) soda bottles or a platypus hydration reservoir that rolls flat when it’s empty.
- You don’t need 6 pound Gregory backpack to carry 10 pounds of gear (after the reduction). A 2 pound (or less) lightweight pack is fine.
- Don’t carry extra clothes. Ideally you should be able to wear all of the clothes in your backpack all at once (rule of thumb)
- If you spend 10 hours a day hiking, it doesn’t make any sense to carry a camp chair that you sit on for an hour or two in camp. You can sit on a tree stump or a rolled up sleeping pad.
- If you wear trail runners instead of heavy boots, you don’t have to bring camp shoes. They’re redundant.
- Replace a pack rain cover with an internal plastic bag to save about 4 more ounces.
If you’d like to see more videos from that seminar on lightweight backpack, here’s a link to the complete list.
Is there any other advice you’d give someone to reduce the weight of their gear without spending a lot of money?