My January 4th Resolution – Minus 10 Pounds Before I Leave for the AT

I am an admitted gram weenie but not the most extreme type of ultralight backpacker.   These examples can give you some idea of where I fit into the world of lightweight backpacking.  I don’t drill holes in my toothbrush handle. I do carry a stove, although it is a very light stove.  I do own enough dyneema fiber things to bankroll a small island nation for a few months, and I only carry one set of day clothes and one set of night clothes.  My base weight is between 10 and 11 pounds.  There are far more extreme people than I am, but, at 61, I want and need to balance comfort with weight.

So let’s talk about weight.  I currently weigh in at 177 pounds which is 8 pounds over the “normal” BMI weight for my height.  I am not in the obese BMI category but fall in the middle of the overweight category.   I realize that 8 pounds is not a lot over, but it is over.  Plus I am a Type 2 diabetic, so better weight equals better diabetic control.

I see so many people discussing ways to cut weight, and I see manufacturers making lighter and lighter gear, often to the point of discomfort in my view and experience.  However,  I rarely see people talk about how to drop your ultimate combined weight (my term for base weight + things worn + consumables + body weight) by dropping some excess body weight.  In reality, you are going to be carrying all of that, step-by-step for an entire thru-hike and many thru hikers drop weight over time, especially men (sorry, women tend to drop less weight and some even gain weight – nature is cruel),  but not much in the first weeks or even the first month or two on the trail. To get that starved thru-hiker look, you need to be pushing into New England for most people.

My Plan for the Next Two Months

So here is my plan.  I want to drop 10 pounds between now and March 4th, so 2 months from today. That is around 1.25 pounds/week which is considered a very health and safe rate of weight loss.  At my age, I understand that weight loss is accomplished only with both diet and exercise.  I will cut sugar, flour, junk food, and fatty food while upping fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and nonfat dairy.  I am not doing anything that seems crazy in my view like cutting out who categories of food or going into ketosis.   I am going to up my hiking and bicycling.  I am also using my free trial of Apple Fitness + which I started today. It isn’t bad.  In reality, how many of you can look at your current gear list and find 10 pounds to eliminate?  If you obsess about gear like I do, there is little room for weight savings.

Anyone want to join me?  If so, post your weight loss goal in the comments and then update everyone when I post my updates.  T

I will report my success periodically, about once a week,  between now and March 4th.

Wazo

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Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Rick : Jan 4th

    Wazo, you are right, I do not see many people writing about dropping body weight as a way to bring down the pounds carried on a thru-hike. I see “skin out” weight from time to time; gear worn and carried. But not total weight. It makes sense though and I have thought about my own ideal thru-hike weight. Good luck with your goal!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Lori : Jan 5th

    Thank You for pointing this out. It’s not something that people focus on when it comes to weight. I also plan on losing some weight before my thru hike. I feel that it’s a solid plan for a favorable shot at success.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Ben : Jan 6th

    During training for my Grand Canyon hike this fall, I dropped 5 lbs of body weight, which made me feel better about carrying 3+ lbs of camera gear into the big ditch.

    Reply

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