Lightweight Hiking: Five Tips to Help You Pack Lighter

Hik­ing is a fan­tas­tic pas­time; it is relax­ing, fun and a great form of exer­cise. But if you don’t pre­pare prop­er­ly you could end up haul­ing an unnec­es­sar­i­ly heavy bag. If you find that your back­pack is always heav­ier than you want it to be, use these five tips to help you on your next light­weight hik­ing trip.

1. Break Up The Weight
It doesn’t mat­ter if you are going for a quick day hike or an overnight trip; either way, you will need to bring a few heavy items. From water to tents, lots of items can be fair­ly heavy, and the best way to pack lighter is to dis­trib­ute the heavy items among the group equal­ly.

If you are hik­ing with a part­ner, ask them to car­ry a cou­ple of heavy items so that nei­ther of you has to car­ry too much. This is even eas­i­er in a big group as every­one only has to car­ry one or two heavy things, which real­ly light­ens the load!

2. Choose Lighter Equip­ment
If you are think­ing about buy­ing a new tent, a new sleep­ing bag or even a new water bot­tle, con­sid­er the weight of the item before mak­ing a pur­chase. The lighter items are more expen­sive than the heav­ier ones so it can be tempt­ing to go for a cheap­er option, but be aware that it is like­ly that the item will be heav­ier and hard­er to car­ry.

This is not to say you light­weight hik­ing is only for those who can afford to splurge on high-cost items. In addi­tion to shop­ping at The Clymb, there are plen­ty of hacks you can use to light­en your load on a bud­get.

It can also be use­ful to buy a light back­pack with wide straps, as this will reduce the weight even more (and the wide straps help to dis­trib­ute the weight even more).

3. Be Stingy With Cloth­ing
One of the most com­mon mis­takes that ama­teur hik­ers make is pack­ing too many clothes. If you are going for an overnight hike it can be tempt­ing to pack a few dif­fer­ent out­fits to wear, but in real­i­ty, this is total­ly unnec­es­sary. You don’t actu­al­ly need a clean out­fit for every new day; if you’re going on a light­weight hik­ing trip it is much more prac­ti­cal to reuse your cloth­ing, espe­cial­ly if your out­fit has lay­er­ing.

The ide­al hik­ing out­fit has base lay­ers, mid­dle lay­ers, and an out­side shell. The base lay­ers should be leg­gings, vest tops, thin T‑shirts, pants and socks; the mid­dle lay­er should be jumpers or items with long sleeves, and the out­side shell will be a coat or a jack­et.

Real­is­ti­cal­ly you only need to change the base lay­er of cloth­ing as this will keep you clean (and you should only need to change the top two lay­ers if they get wet or very dirty). For this rea­son, it is best to pack spare tops and spare hik­ing socks, but extra jumpers and jack­ets tend to be unnecessary—unless you are expect­ing the weath­er con­di­tions to change halfway through the hike!

4. Be Rea­son­able
Lots of hik­ers pack more than they need as they are being over­ly cau­tious, but this means that they spend days car­ry­ing around items that don’t get used once. This adds weight to your back­pack and takes up space, so next time you go on a hike make sure you only pack the items that you need to make your pack lighter.

Of course, you can pack a few lux­u­ry items (such as extra food) if you want, but be aware that this will increase the weight of your back­pack. If you con­stant­ly over-pack, take a good look at your pack after you get home from a trip; what did you not use that you can get rid of? Don’t keep pack­ing things that you might need to use only once a trip.

5. Use Items With More Than One Pur­pose
Savvy hik­ers fill their back­packs with items that have more than one use, such as camp­ing tools that include can open­ers, scis­sors, knives, and oth­er use­ful tools. This should help to reduce the weight of your back­pack for your light­weight hik­ing adven­ture!