Why Lightweight Isn’t Always the Right Weight

Ounce counting is a dangerous game. It’s easy to get caught up in slashing hiking pack weight. Some think that losing as many ounces as possible is the key to being comfortable on long backpacking trips. Or maybe they just want to brag about a sub 15-pound pack weight. Either way, reducing pack weight becomes an obsession. Ounces are eliminated at any cost.

Pardon the dramatics. It’s true that reducing the weight of your hiking backpack can increase comfort, and there are lots of reasonable people who just want to get rid of excess weight in their packs. It’s just important to be aware that reducing pack weight isn’t always the right move. Here are a couple of things to consider as you make efforts to lighten your load.

Reducing pack weight can leave you uncomfortable

Being a little uncomfortable is a normal part of backpacking. You’re leaving climate control, pizza delivery, and memory foam mattresses behind for a while. That being said, you don’t want to be so uncomfortable that you end up feeling miserable.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when reducing pack weight is blindly putting weight savings before comfort. Leave the frivolous luxurious and unnecessary items at home, of course. But also realize that you’re going to be on the trail for a while, and be honest with your threshold for discomfort.

Not packing enough insulating layers or choosing an inadequate sleeping pad or sleeping bag because they’re lighter are common mistakes people make when trying decrease hiking pack weight.

Leaving things out of your pack can be dangerous

Sometimes reducing pack weight means leaving items out of your hiking backpack altogether. This is actually a good practice. Most beginner hikers and backpackers end up carrying way more than they actually need. Of course, the danger with leaving things out of your pack is that you sometimes put yourself at risk, especially if you’re inexperienced

Not packing a first aid kit or rain gear, not packing enough water, or bringing an inadequate shelter in the name of shaving ounces is dangerous. Do yourself a favor, and don’t take unnecessary risks just to save a few ounces.

One easy way to decrease the weight of your pack without putting yourself at a disadvantage is by investing in lightweight backpacking gear. Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for camping supplies and backpacking gear in Northwest Arkansas.

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