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.


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 6

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lisette : Jan 15th

    This hits close to home. I’m planning a 2022 thru hike but am already trying to lose some, though I have more than 10lbs to lose. In a perfect world, I’d like to get off the insulin I take for my T2 diabetes but that may not be realistic. I’m also working on my balance, my gait, and anything else that will make it less miserable to get from Georgia to Maine. My family thinks the easiest thing is to not go. That isn’t happening!

  • Jurahd : Jan 30th

    If you go in too lean it’ll eat into muscle mass. Better go in over.
    You’ll need fat to repair real body bang ups and creaks. I’m 70 and done 3600 miles
    in four AT visits. NOBO ‘07, ‘13. Lost 30 lbs by the time one gets ‘hiker legs’ (6wks).
    The thru hiker diet is real easy, it shred pounds like snow in Smokey’s spring sunshine.

  • Rolf Asphaug : Mar 5th

    These are good tips. I’m fretting over ounces (and in some cases half-ounces) in my pack when I’m carrying a good extra 25 pounds on my body. My knees, other joints and muscles can’t tell whether my weight is fat or backpack. I have about 4 months to prepare for the Colorado Trail at age 63, and dropping some excess weight is on my to do list.


What Do You Think?