With the quick and fast-paced life, almost everyone lives these days, it’s vital that you take a break from time to time. And one of the best ways to take this much-needed break is to go hiking in the wilderness. This fun activity will be more enjoyable when you aren’t carrying a backpack filled with stuff you don’t need. That’s why you have to know how to make your backpack lighter.
For a fact, if you have a heavy backpack, trekking would be a lot less fun. This is because the burden on your back will make you bend for most of the hike. Although you might be happy to carry it about, it’s only a matter of time before the heavyweight starts becoming annoying.
So what do you do to reasonably lighten your backpack? Experts in hiking suggest that you do two main things: firstly, you should choose a lightweight backpack. The second thing is to pack only the essential things needed for your hike. You should not overload your bag.
1. Choosing a Lightweight Backpack
If you’re buying a backpack for your intended hike, you should have these pointers at the back of your mind. They would help you to get the best backpack.
Quality: The backpack should be made of light materials like canvas and nylon. You should be sure that the backpack you choose isn’t heavier when it’s empty than with contents in it.
Shoulder-straps: You should pick a backpack with a well-padded shoulder strap. This is to make for even distribution of weight. If you choose a bag with thinner straps, it’ll dig into your shoulders, but thick-and-padded straps help to decrease the pressure on your shoulders.
2. Multiple Compartments
When shopping for the best backpack to take on a hike, you should pick one with multiple compartments. This will help to evenly distribute the weight around the bag and reduce the burden. A useful tip here is to go for a backpack with a separate mesh/holder on the outside for carrying your water-bottle.
3. Lighten Your Sleep System
Instead of taking the warmest sleeping bag possible, you should choose a lighter sleeping system where you can pack everything from the bag to the mattress will not add too much weight to your backpack.
If you expect cold winds, you should get a protective jacket, this would keep you safe even when you sleep.
4. Minimalist Wardrobe
You should get a minimalist wardrobe when you are backpacking. It will greatly reduce the overall weight you have to carry. You can reduce the number of sets, and whatever you decide to carry, remember to make it small and more compact.
However, when you limit your wardrobe, you have to wash during the trip, and may even have to bear body odor. But this is what backpacking is all about.
5. Organize Your Backpack
If your hike is going to last for a couple of days, then you should pack according to the length of the trip. You can start by preparing a list of things you need in a way that the things you least need will be at the bottom of the pack. Likewise, the things you will need frequently should be at the top.
By organizing your backpack, you will save yourself the stress of unpacking and repacking when you’re on the move. It will also prevent you from having to cut out extra baggage in the middle of your trip.
6. Avoid Carrying Books
I know it’s a great idea to take books on your trip. They can be a way to pass the time in the night. But books regardless of how thin, small or useful they are, have certain weights that will add to the overall weight of your backpack. An excellent alternative is to have screenshots of the route on your phone and an online library of your favorite books.
7. Personal Care Items
You might think it’s a good idea to take an entire tube of toothpaste, a full bottle of sunscreen/moisturizer, hand sanitizer, and the rest, they will only increase the weight of your backpack. A better way is to make smaller packs of your items depending on how long your trip would last. Then you can keep these items together in a side-pocket for easy access.
8. Food and Water
It’s very important to carry food and water on your hike. But you can adjust the quantity of the food and water you’re carrying. Two great tips to help you are portioning and rationing your food and water. You should also take resealable bags and soft bottles so your backpack will continue to provide the basics without being a burden.
9. Drop a Package En Route
Some hikes are in a roundabout way which means that you will retrace your steps. If your trip is like that, then it’s a great opportunity to lighten your load. You can have a separate cache of items you won’t need on the forward trip and keep them aside where it’ll be safe and secure. By doing this, your load will be lighter for at least part of the trip.
10. Prepare a List of Unused Items from the Last Trip
No matter how hard you try, there are some items you won’t use on your backpacking trip. You should list these items out and always refer to this list before the next trip. If you do this, you will know the most important items you need, and you won’t have to lug around things you don’t need.
Regardless of these tips for lightening your backpack, the way you carry your backpack is also important. You shouldn’t bend your knees or lift your backpack while putting it on. These will help you to prevent injuries.
Also, you should adjust the straps of your backpack properly and fasten your waist belt. The belt should never drop more than four inches below the waistline and should be along the curve of the lower back.
You should be careful of overloading as it not only interferes with your trip, it can also cause injuries to your back, neck, and shoulders. That’s why you should physically purchase your bags instead of buying online. You should also buy bags that would suit your trip and not just because of design and fanciness.
Finally, you should pick a backpack that is neither too small nor too big. This will make you comfortable, and with these tips on how to lighten, it should be of the optimal weight for your trip.