Currently there is too much emphasis on light backpacking.  What should be emphasized is right backpacking - the optimum combination of gear that helps you achieve the objectives of your trip, which usually includes a reasonable degree of comfort.  A hugely important factor is your skill and knowledge'  Gear is useless, whatever its weight, if you don't know enough to use it effectively.

What is the right assortment of gear,]given the knowledge to use it effectively, and what does it weigh?  It depends on a lot of factors - the climate in which you are hiking, the ruggedness of terrain, campsites that are available, your personal tolerance of discomfort, and many others.

The only way to balance these factors is to oad up your pack and hit the trail.  Evaluate the experience, adjust, and try again.  What works for you may not work for you - this is a very personal process. After ten or twenty trips, you will be much happier with the results, but I have been hiking and backpacking for sixty years, and I am still adjusting my load to get things just right.  It is a never ending process, and that is part of the charm of coping with the outdoor environment.

Let's not forget safety.  A decent first aid kit is essential, and even more important is the training and experience in dealing with problems.  Know your limits.  Stop and deal with issues of exhaustion, thirst, etc. before you collapse and become an even bigger problem.

The skills you acquire in dealing with the wilderness come in handy in many ways in so called "normal" existence- say when you are faced with a wildfire and must leave your home quickly.  Self reliance is a good thing.

Right not light....



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