Ultralight backpacking has become increasingly popular in last decade or two. This is mainly due to a change to hiking philosophy. Until recently, we observed backpacking as an activity where men go to challenge the nature. As such, part of the ordeal was withstanding excess weight. Like some similar things, it was surrounded by macho preconceptions.
On top of that, hikers believed that, by having more stuff, it would be easier to adapt to unpredictable situations.
Ultralight backpacking teaches us that it is possible to hike with minimal supplies. Everything comes down to proper planning and preparation where hiker decides what is necessary and what is not.
Here are some cool tips that will help you hike ultralight.
- Your weight does matter
According to backpacking classification, personal weight is a factor that needs to be considered. Basically, during longer expeditions it will start having impact. Even if you are all muscles, high weight will pose a problem as it will strain your legs. Similar to sports, where you have an ideal build for a certain activity, medium to light body mass is ideal for hiking. So, if you have excess weight, you should think about shedding several pounds. If you are in for a longer thru-hike, you will probably lose it as you go. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you should suffer first several weeks until you achieve that perfect hiking build.
- Everything you’ve been taught is wrong
When you first start hiking, people teach you that this or that product is ideal. Everybody has a tent or backpack to recommend. Unfortunately, if you are willing to go ultralight, you probably won’t be able to use these manufactured products. Instead, someone will have to sew your backpack. Most of the ultralight equipment is modified or made from scratch. Simply put, ultralight hiking products are very limited so you will have to create something yourself. If you go with manufactured goods, you will instantly have too much weigh to be considered ultralight.
- Think about the food
Food is one of the things that commonly weigh down the hikers. Some people think that during longer hikes, they require a lot of food diversity as a way to replenish energy and stay in shape. This is wrong. All they need is energy rich food regardless of its form. You can easily thru-hike some of the longest US trails (such as the Appalachian Trail) by only eating dry food. In fact, the best solution is for you to dry and pack your own stuff. This way, you will get portions that are adequate for you and save a lot of space in your backpack.
- No need for water
Here is another example where fear governs our actions. Yes, you will require a lot of water during hiking. However, that doesn’t mean you should pack heavily. Most trails have sources of fresh water and you can easily replenish your supplies as you go. Basically, you shouldn’t carry more than one medium bottle of water.
- Minimalize your clothes
Truth be told, you will stink when you finish the hike. Experienced hikers wear only one set of clothes for their hikes (except for socks). Even if your boots start dissolving on your feet, you can probably get a new pair on the trail. So, do not overdo it.
Heavy packing is born out of a fear. Let’s be honest; if you already decided to set out into wilderness, you shouldn’t be afraid because this emotion can only way you down. Prepare adequately for dangers ahead and you will be fine. In other words, prepare ultralight.