Tips for Lightening Your Pack Featuring The Real Hiking Viking

Looking for ideas on how to reduce your pack weight? We grabbed the Real Hiking Viking to get his advice and tips for lightening your pack weight, specifically for three-season hiking.

Tips for Lightening Your Pack

Find a lighter backpack. This will mean spending more money, but it’s worth the investment for higher quality, lighter gear. Your pack should weigh no more than two pounds. If you’re looking to cut weight, see if you can do without the hip belts, lids, and frames. Shaving these items from your pack will eliminate weight.

Find a lighter shelter. Look for shelters made of materials like cuben fiber or nylon that aren’t freestanding (or yes, semi-freestanding). Your shelter should weigh in at under two pounds. Freestanding shelters tend to weigh more so look for tents that aren’t freestanding or try some alternatives to tenting like hammocks and tarp-tents. 

Find an ultralight sleep. Look for a down sleeping bag or quilt, which will compact smaller and has high insulating qualities. Quilts can be good for summer hiking because they wrap around you instead of under you, and don’t have the hood, eliminating extra weight.

Reduce the amount of clothing you’re carrying. You don’t need a different set of clothes for every day. What you should carry is one set of clothes to hike in and one to sleep in. Look for shorts with built-in underwear, carry two to three pairs of socks at most, and embrace the fact that you’re going to get dirty and smell bad.

Pack your food accordingly. Don’t carry more than you need to get to your next resupply. If you find that you’re getting into town with a day or more of extra food, try adjusting how much you carry to reduce weight. Also, looking for foods that are higher in fat and more calorically dense.

Find multi-purpose gear. A ground sheet that can also be used as a poncho, using your trekking pole to hold up your shelter, or a tent stake that can be used as a trowel are all examples of multi-purpose gear.

If you want to carry luxury items like a pillow then do it; just remember you’re adding extra ounces to your pack. Don’t feel like you have to be miserable on a hike just to be super-ultralight if that’s not what you’re going for. Everyone’s different but these tips will help you shave some extra pounds from your pack if you choose to follow them.

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Comments 3

  • DMNIFO : Dec 8th

    It’s not just what is on your back, it’s the total up the mountain – don’t forget the least expensive option – lose 5 or even 10 pounds. 🙂

    • fm : Dec 14th

      Haha! Someone finally said it.


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