Lightweight Backpacking and Some Insider Tips

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A growing number of backpackers have become aware of lightweight gear. People are starting to look at ultra light backpacking as appealing especially when weather conditions are favorable. The lightweight backpacking movement now evolves around 5 different systems: sleep, shelter, clothing, packing, cooking systems from thepnw.co.
Sleepers
During summer or moderate weather conditions, the sleeper is a light weight foam pad. During winter or cooler weather, the sleeper of choice can be an inflatable sleeping pad. This adds additional comfort and protection from a frigid ground.

Cooking system
For short (weekend hikes) some prefer a small alcohol stoves because it’s so lightweight and simple to operate. Others prefer the heavier canister stoves for the better (compressed) fuel system,

Shelter
The foremost change in the movement toward lightweight backpacking is in terms of shelter. More and more trekkers seem to be open to tarps over tents. A tarp typically shaves off 2-4 pounds of weigh. Tents themselves lighter and more functional. Minimalist hikers just deal with a poncho tarp which can serve as both rain gear and shelter especially during summer. Winter sheltering is more likely to be a heavier, though small, pyramid tent-type shelter.

Clothing
Clothing is now soft shell for winters. For summers, consider the use of a poncho or a waterproof jacket, 8-oz down or synthetic pull-over shirt with pants. And in the heat of the day, wear a moisture wicking material. Just do not wear cotton-it just soaks in all the sweat.

Depending on your destination, foot gear can range from an all-terrain tennis-type shoe to leather hiking boots. Regardless of your shoe selection, make sure that it’s well worn or broken-in. Avoid new shoes, they can be killer on your feet and cause blisters. And that could ruin your whole trip.

Backpack
Ultra light packs have no pockets no, frames, and now require hikers to have a new mindset. The backpack itself can be hi-tech canvas or sturdy-duty water-proof material. With heavier gear, you’ll just tire out.

So, too, the items that are inside have now changed considerably. Check specifics on necessities to carry online prior to venturing out. For example, instead of lugging a lot of water containers, make more extensive use of water purifiers and tablets (or purchase bottled water onsite where available). And if you’re really going to hike, forget the travel or guide books-they add a lot of unnecessary weight. But it’s okay to take pad and pen to take notes. You may just get the urge to jot down inspirational thought or a noteworthy observation. Do throw in duct tape–no don’t carry a roll, just wrap some around a pen or pencil.

And just as in taking any trip away from home, put the things you are going to need most on top. It can be really tough trying to dig into your bag to a much needed change of clothing.

One last tip before you head off to delve into lightweight backpacking, check out online forums. It’s more important to first network among experienced hikers than to go on a shopping spree. You don’t want to end up buying items you may not need. Happy trekking!

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