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Backpacking - Essentials while carrying light

Hey all!

I've recently finally got started on some real backpacking trips.

I am looking for tips on how to pack light when you have a multiday trip. Food? Layers for when it gets pretty cold at night? I have quite a bit of gear, including but not limited to; rain fly, hammock, ground cloth, inflatable sleeping pad, compactable cooking utensils/cookware, trekking poles, compactable down jacket, pack rain cover, poncho, hatchet, multipurpose knife, mylar blankets, water filter, knee braces,etc . I've done hours among hours of research for quality items that are also lightweight.

I went on my first backpacking trip this past weekend, leaving quite a few items behind, and my pack was unbelievably heavy. I didn't have room for a sleeping bag and I only brought essentials. I brought dehydrated foods and light snacks. I was miserable with how heavy my pack was. I do need to invest in a better bag that distributes weight more evenly (I got a free bag in a points exchange program through a previous employer, which I only recently discovered to be of terrible quality), but even then, it still is quite heavy.

I would really appreciate any tips you could give on gear that maybe combines several items into one, thermal gear to cut down on packing extra layers, and any other tips, hacks, or tricks you can think of that you do to keep your load light but still carry everything you need with you! I ended up having to leave my ground cloth, hatchet, and a camping blanket behind because it was too heavy and there wasn't enough room, even though I only had essentials and the bag was decently big.

Thanks a million in advance!!! 🙂 


20 Replies

5 think we should get specific here in order to give any further assistance.  Precisely how heavy is heavy?  What is the weight of your loaded pack and what are the contents?

I  also think we need to focus on your pack.  A typical backpack, suitable for overnight trips, has at least 55 liters capacity, plenty enough for a suitable sleeping bag and all other necessary items.

A temperature swing from 90 to 50 degrees is actually rather benign; especially at elevation, the daily swing is much greater, often dipping to freezing or below.

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