How to Reduce Backpack Weight In 5 Easy Steps

Some people want to get their base pack weight below 10 pounds. Others just want to take the strain off their knees. While there are many specific things that you can do to reduce backpack weight, embracing some general concepts is the best place to start. Here are 5 things that you must do if you want to reduce backpack weight.

Plan accurately and thoroughly

There’s a fine line between preparedness and over-packing. One way to reduce the amount of gear that you take – which will in turn reduce backpack weight – is through detailed planning.

You can save weight by carrying a single bottle of water rather than a large water reservoir. Of course, this requires constant and ready access to water. Make sure you do your research and determine whether or not this is a practical option.

Plan meals accurately. Look closely at calories and nutritional values and compare that to the duration and difficulty of your hike. This allows you to ration food based on your dietary needs so you don’t over-pack.

For longer backpacking trips, coordinate drops rather than packing everything that you need for the entire hike.

Check the weather and pack appropriately. If there’s a zero percent chance of rain over the next 5 days, you can probably get by without packing a rain jacket and rain pants for your two-day backpacking trip. Also, instead of packing a bunch of extra jackets and warm layers, pack only what you need to stay warm.

Many include extra insulation and rain gear as outdoor essentials, but a long sleeve base layer and an emergency rain poncho are sufficient, lightweight options.

Sacrifice comfort

Many hikers and backpackers like to bring little extras and luxuries for added comfort. Maybe you like to pack a portable speaker or a lightweight backpacking chair. If you don’t mind the weight, or if you value the added comfort, it’s totally fine to bring these items.

However, if you want to reduce backpack weight, consider leaving the luxuries at home. Once you start eliminating non-essentials – and more importantly, learning to make do without them – you can really start to see weight savings in your pack.

Learn to do without

There’s a big mental component to hiking, backpacking, and spending time outdoors. Comfort is subjective, and your mental state can influence how comfortable you are.

If you think to yourself, “I’m hot, and tired, and I really wish I had a nice, big sofa to sleep on right now,” you’re going to be less happy and less comfortable than if you think, “I love being out in nature, and this sleeping pad sure beats the cold, hard ground!”

Learn skills

The easiest way to decrease your pack weight is by leaving gear out of your pack. Of course, there are some items that you just can’t leave at home.You can, however, learn skills to replace the need for heavier items.

A tent, for example, is one of the heaviest items you will pack in your hiking backpack. While you need a shelter, you don’t necessarily need to bring a tent. If you learn how to tie knots and make a tarp shelter, you can save a lot of weight.

The more skills you know, and the more confidence you have out in nature, the less you will have to rely on your gear.

Assess your gear

Lightweight backpacking gear is essential to get your base pack weight as low as possible. Those who want to enter the world of ultralight backpacking should be prepared to upgrade and invest in lightweight backpacking gear. Your pack, shelter, and sleep system are typically going to be your heaviest items, so look to upgrade here first.

Visit Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for hiking gear, backpacking equipment, and more!

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