10 Easy Ways to Lighten Your Hiking Pack

If you’ve ever struggled through a long distance backpacking trip with too much weight on your back, you’ve put some thought into lightening your hiking pack. Reducing pack weight is a fun and challenging puzzle. Some people like to figure it out on their own, but here are 10 easy ways to lighten your hiking pack if you need some pointers.


Water is super heavy, but it’s also absolutely necessary. There’s no way around carrying water, but you don’t have to carry 3+ liters on your back. If you’re hiking near sources of water, carry water purification drops or a water filter to reduce pack weight.

Dehydrated meals

Food is another backpacking essential that takes up a lot of space and adds a lot of weight. Dehydrated backpacking meals are much lighter than bringing ingredients for meals. Plus, they’re filling and super easy to make and clean up after.

Unpack before you pack

Remove any excess packaging from food, toiletries, etc. Also get rid of any unnecessary bags or packaging for gear as well. This not only helps lighten your pack but also reduces the amount of trash you generate – and helps minimize your potential footprint – on the trail.

Plan ahead

Look at weather forecasts and distances, and pack accordingly. This can help reduce the amount of weight you carry such as sleeping bags or layers that are too heavy, unnecessary rain gear, too much clothing, etc.

Practice packing

More people should practice packing their hiking packs. This helps you make the most efficient use of the space in your backpack, and it can also help you realize whether or not you need to leave some gear at home.

Pack less

This is an art, and it’s one that many have a difficult time mastering. Eliminating unnecessary items is easier said than done. You don’t have to give up all of your luxuries, but if you really want to lighten your hiking pack, you’ve might have to leave some gear at home.


Items with multiple uses

Finding multipurpose items can really help you save some weight in your pack. For example, stuff sacks can help contain clothes and also double as a pillow. Your cook pot can also double as your dish. Trekking poles can be used to set up a tarp shelter.

Make the most of your phone

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t bring books on the trail. They’re heavy and they take up a lot of space. Instead, equip your phone with apps, books, trail maps, trail guides, etc.


Learning some basic bushcraft or survival skills can help you lighten your hiking pack. Knowing how to build a shelter with a lightweight tarp and some cord will save the weight of a tent. Knowing how to start a fire with a magnesium striker means you can leave your starter logs at home.

Get lighter gear

If you’re willing to upgrade your camping equipment or your backpacking gear, investing in lightweight hiking gear can definitely shave some weight off your hiking backpack. Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters to check out our selection of outdoor gear!

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