Is Ultralight Right for You?

Backpacking has become more and more popular over the years, and the advancements in outdoor gear are a reflection of the increasing popularity. From the old school days of external frame backpacks to the the high-tech internal frame packs today, more and more companies are catering to folks who want to be on the trail for days, weeks, or months at a time. Ultralight backpacking has become a very popular option among through-hikers as well as weekend warriors.

The idea behind ultralight is to carry as little as possible and to ensure that the gear you do carry with you is as light as possible. Weight might not be that important if you’re doing an overnight hike, but if you’re on the trail for multiple days, the ounces start to add up.

There are people who take the ultralight backpacking thing very seriously. They cut handles off their toothbrushes, or opt to forgo the toothbrush completely in order to save themselves the added weight of the bristles. They calculate the weight of everything in their pack and constantly look for ways to shave ounces off their gear. It’s something people put time and effort into, something that people take pride in. At a certain point, ultralight packing becomes a hobby in itself.

One of the potential disadvantages of packing as light as possible is that you can leave out important items in order to save weight.

Maybe you decide that you don’t want to carry an extra pair of clothes, or a first aid kit, or maybe you don’t want to bring extra food. But do you have the skill set to leave these valuable items at home? Sure there are folks, who can wander into the wilderness with nothing but a knife and hank of paracord, but that doesn’t always mean that they should. Before you decide to spend the next two weeks on the trail with nothing but the clothes on your back consider whether or not that’s practical for you.

What would you do if you were caught in a rainstorm or fell in a river and got your clothes soaked? Are you going to be able to make a fire and dry off or are you going to wish you had spare clothes and hope for the best? There’s nothing like hypothermia to make you regret your decision to go ultralight.

For those with the experience, minimalist survival and ultralight backpacking can be challenging and enjoyable. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be dangerous. If you’re interested in ultralight backpacking, be sure to do some research and practice your skills before setting out with nothing but the bare necessities. At Uncle Sam’s we have everything for ultralight backpackers as well as the folks who like to be a little more prepared . If all you need is a pocket-sized strikerĀ  we can help you out. If you want to bring a stove and a instant meals we’ve got that covered, too. Stop by and say hi!

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