Making a long-distance hike carrying nothing but you backpack with you can be a unique experience. But not if your backpack is so heavy thay you need to drag yourself to your destination. Whether you’re staying in mountain cabins or pitching a tent every night, you will need to bring a lot of gear with you. Take in account your food and water and you’ll be carrying above 15kg, easily. Reasons enough to have critical look at the content of your backpack.
Here are five tips to make your backpack lighter:
Tip 1: Make a gear list
The only way to have a look on how to save weight in your backpack is to make a list of all the gear you need. Write the weight of every item next to it to get an idea what is making your backpack heavy. It is better to weigh everything yourself and not just read the description of the product. To get an idea on what a gear list should look like, you can have a look at our gear list.
Tip 2: Only take what you really need
Taking to much with you is a mistake every novice hiker makes. When packing your backpack, always ask yourself: ‘Do I really need that?’ Only pack the necessary items and avoid luxury items such as chargers or beauty products.
Bringing too many clothes has no use. Try to estimate what you will need. Picking many lighter layers is better than bringing different outfits. With lighter clothes you can add layers depending on the weather conditions.
When planning your hike, check the possibilities regarding resupplying. Carrying seven days of food when you have the option to visit a store everyday is waste of energy. Only take what you need and add one day extra of supplies. Water can be found (and purified by boiling) in every river or lake.
Tip 3: Choose light gear
Some gear is essential. Tent, sleeping bag and even a cooking stove. However this does not mean you haven’t got any options left. There is a huge amount of gear available online. When you have alternatives, choose the lightest option. But when adapting your list, keep these things in mind:
- Pack what you need and then look a the weight.
- Weight is important but so is quality!
- Lighter gear doesn’t mean inadequate quality.
You can find our recommendations about light gear in our blogpost Traveling light with a backpack: what to take with you?.
Tip 4: Test your backpack at home first
When you’ve hiked your first kilometers of your walk and feel your backpack is too heavy, you’re already too late. Your first hike with your backpack should be at home, where you still have time to adjust. While making this ‘test hike’, don’t forget to use all of your gear. It is better to test new gear in advance.
Tip 5: Gear is one thing, stamina another
You can decide how obsessed you want to be when it comes to a light backpack but weight is only one thing. When venturing a long-distance hike be sure to prepare yourself well. Plan your hike or expedion well, work on your skills and don’t forget your body. Make some training hikes carrying your backpack to prepare yourself physically well for the challenge. A decent stamina is more important than a light backpack.