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What’s the best way to shed 10 lbs pack weight?

My backpacking friends and I often sit around after a long day and discuss pack weight.  It seems that among my friends and I there is no consensus on the best way to drop about 10 pounds of pack weight.

Assuming standard gear (45L pack, 3-season sleeping bag, two person tent, bear-safe food storage, water filter, stove, and 1L water bottle) what are some suggestions?

- One foot in front of the other -
32 Replies

Transferring prepackaged backpacking meals to ziploc freezer bags saves weight. You can pour hot water directly into them and eat out of the bag. If you have several meals the grams you save doing this adds up. Of course, using the ziploc bags produces more waste. Your choice of 1L bottles is important, too. Platypus water containers are a great option as they are pretty lightweight.

I canoe in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Our goal is to do the poratages in one pass. It took awhile, but we up graded everything over the past five years. We switched to a thin summer bag from a 3 season bag and brough a thin wool sweater wool socks, and Under Armour for additional warmth. I kepts note from each trip and 1/2 liter of fuel will last 3 people 8 days with a MSR Whisper stove.  I dumped my single burner Coleman some time back. We went from a heavy ponchos to  Frogg Trogg rainsuits. We pared our food down to 1-1/2 extra days extra.  We no longer finish with 5lbs of gorp.  I use compression sack for the sleeping bags.  We limit our clothes to about five liters. We bring  2 pots, 3 plastic bowls, 3 spoons and 3 forks and a folding wash basin.  For hanging food we use 2 -  50' 3/8" ropes and a steel pully.  


I hydrate well before getting on the trail and plan water replacement at lunch.  It saves me a few lbs vs. loading up.  Of course you'll need a reliable water source on the trail to help you out.

I would be concerned about this idea. What happens if you arrive exhausted to your lunch location, and for whatever reason the "reliable" water source is not available?


I would point out that there are many sources of water that can be made available in an emergency sitiation.  Understand that if you are on the trail long enough, you eventually will have to rely on a water source of some sort.  If it is not there, then you may have to improvise.  Look up Water Stills, and Condensation Collection as examples of alternate means.  Obviously we want to LNT as much as possible, so a Water Still should be (IMNSHO) a last resort as you have to disturb so much soil. 

That said, I'm usually willing to hump an extra "just in case" litre of water with me on most trips.  Doesn't help with the original post, but it is a case of risk management/assessment, and worth considering based on the local 

Hope this helps!


I agree, water is the heaviest thing you carry.  Know where your next fill-up will be, the reliability of it,  and filter enough water to get from point to point.  Drink lots of water at the source where you are filtering from to reduce some of what you need to carry to the next source.

Consider using a tarp or bivy sack instead of a tent.  Use almonds or almond butter for snacks.  They have more calories per pound than Snickers bars.  Trim your rain gear.  No rain pants, or if there's minimal risk of hypothermia no rain gear at all.  No extra clothes that you don't need.  Use water added toilet paper instead of camp wipes.  You can use each one 4 times.  Once to clean your body, once to clean your bowl once to blow your nose and once to clean your butt.  Hope that helps more than "start with the big 3"


You're on the right track and all of the suggestions are good. Sounds like the only one you haven't already done is a 40-45 degree bag instead of 3 season. I picked up a "guide to ultralight backpacking" years ago and thumbed though it. The best thing it said was to buy a digital scale and a Sharpie...weigh EVERYTHING and mark the weight on each item. Ounces countses. AquaMira treatment drops or Sawyer water filter for can save about a pound alone over a heavy water filter, besides the time it takes to filter water along the trail, as can lightweight water bladders like the Platypus. Quit cooking food: don't even boil water. A stopwatch and a tiny tea kettle over a tiny stove can heat water to ~ 180-190F in a couple min, enough to rehydrate a hot meal. A digital instant read thermometer plays double duty as a weather instrument and cooking aide that rations fuel.  

I have been thinking that the best way for me to shed 10 lbs pack weight would be for me to lose 10 lbs.  Is my thinking correct?



Haha. This is actually the reason why I went on a diet.