Tips for Lightweight backpacking
Going on a trek is a lifetime experience. It gives you everything, more than you can ask for. Despite being super fit, clear weather conditions you might feel a dearth of joy because of the heavy backpack. You keep wondering why the hell I carried these things, which probably you won’t even use!
Packing a bag for the long excursion is a tedious task. Despite knowing the list of trek essentials, it is confusing. The ultimate aim is to keep the backpack as lightweight as possible. Being smart, being jugaadoo works sometimes in mountains. Here is something that will help you lose some weight!
- The backpack itself comes first: Check the size and weight of your backpack before purchasing it. Every backpack has its own weight due to the padding, frame for the back and what not. For small treks carry a small backpack of 45L. For big treks, you can take a 60L bag. Try to pick a light one as per your need.
- Keep it small: Do not carry big bottles of moisturizer, Colgate etc. Carry small sized containers. You can also carry sachets as per the number of the days of the trek. Find miniature versions of everything. This will reduce weight occupying less space. Use only one small tiffin so that vegetable and roti or rice can fit. Instead of a bulky towel, long napkin can work, since you will bath only once/twice before/after the trek.
- Keep it simple, remove the packaging: Remove packing of box or plastic wrapping for new t-shirts, pants or jackets. Peel off the extra packing, roll the clothing and stuff them into your backpack. Then try to squeeze the small items between them. Bring soap papers instead of a soap bar.
- Keep it less: Who knows yourself better than you? If you can adjust without something then better keep it home. No need to carry moisturizer, sunscreen separately. Try to get a moisturizer having SPF or use only a sunscreen. Do not carry the big pack of medicines if you need any. Keep a count of the number of trekking days, carry only that much. Carry only 3 trousers, 2 for trekking, 1 at the night. Same with the t-shirts. We suggest bringing enough pairs of the sock both woollen and normal.
- Reuse: Carry objects that can be reused or has multiple uses. For example, a woollen bandana can act as balaclava to cover face and as a cap also. You do not need to get a separate woollen cap. A thermos can work as a bottle too. No need to carry another water bottle, use your thermos. Use chargeable batteries that can be used even after the trek.
- Wear light: We usually suggest dry fit clothing, they have their own advantages. And they are light too. Choose a fleece that is warm and light compared to a bulky, thick one. Use floaters at the campsite than slippers. Slippers are anyway not that comfortable when the campsite is grassy or rocky. In case your shoe betrays you, floaters are there.
- Know your trek: Do not carry down jacket for summer treks, instead wear layers, fleece, light jacket for the summit. For winter treks, wear enough layers, or 2 fleece jackets, so that one down-jacket will suffice. No need for woollen trousers, you can wear thermals under normal ones. We say it may rain anytime in the mountains. Therefore, choose a windcheater that is waterproof, a separate rain jacket or poncho can be out. Basically, know your trek, know its season and then plan accordingly.
- Share with your friends: If you are going in a group then make one person carry one item so that others won’t have to carry it. For example, share Colgate, sunscreen, moisturizer, toilet paper etc.Keep in mind, the backpack should not weight more than 8-10kgs. Know yourself, know your trek better. Go through that checklist again. Shed as much as you can. Even an extra gram feels heavy at high altitude. Therefore, keep it simple, keep it minimal, and keep it light!