Mar 25, 2006 at 1:03 pm #1218142
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I made up a list of all the tips and techniques I have found here and the BackpackingLight Yahoo mail list. Help me edit/expand/improve it.
· The best equipment to lighten your load is above your eyebrows: know that you have control over the weight of your load. Learn to work with Nature rather than fear it. Think outside the box. Less is more.
· Don’t take anything you won’t really use.
· Weigh and compare all your gear.
· The Big Three in weight savings are pack, shelter, and sleeping bag. The second big three are clothing, hydration, and cooking gear.
· Trim off extra straps and hardware, find the lightest alternative wherever you can: leave no stone unturned.
· Find gear with multiple uses.
· Use tarps and/or bivvies rather than double wall tents
· Down sleeping bags are lightest. Down quilts are very light. Use the lightest bag you can that is appropriate for the conditions/season.
· Use packs that are simple in design, made of strong but light fabrics and use your sleeping pad instead of stays or frame sheets.
· Use the lightest sleeping pad you can tolerate. Closed cell foam pads are among the lightest and help your pack take shape.
· Use trail running shoes rather than boots.
· Plan meals that use as less fuel, use pot cozies.
· Use small alcohol, solid fuel, or gas canister stoves.
· Use flexible water containers like Platypus rather than hard polycarbonate ones.
· Use recycled water or soda bottles for hard water carriers.
· Use chemical treatments like chlorine dioxide rather than heavy filter systems.
· Use small light cooking containers of aluminum, titanium, or large recycled beer cans. Coordinated stove and container systems can save weight.
· Use a spork or a spoon for eating.
· Use the smallest knife/multi-tool.
· Decant larger liquid items into smaller bottles, taking only what you need for the trip.
· Use small LED micro lights and headlamps.
· Maximize clothing layers. Look to wind shirts, down or polyfill insulation layers, and wicking base layers.
· Use hats and gloves to maximize heat retention.
· Use polyester and other synthetics or Merino wool and do not use cotton.
· Find the lightest, most breathable rain gear.
· Use trash compactor bags or pack liners to keep your gear dry.
· Find the smallest, lightest (and fewest) components for your essentials and personal hygiene. Be smart and stay safe.Mar 26, 2006 at 8:16 am #1353458
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Good stuff, Dale.
I’m gonna steal it.Mar 26, 2006 at 9:33 am #1353463
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
It took you this long, huh? I was copy and pasting it as Dale loaded the thread.Mar 26, 2006 at 11:40 am #1353471
@pa_jayLocale: on the move....
Dale, great list. I like the idea of forum-compiled faqs and mini-tutorials here. Right now, we’ve got a lot of good info often buried just a little too deep. My 3 cents:
– Efficiently integrate all clothing and sleep insulation. Consider fit, relative breathability of each layer, & where moisture is likely to accumulate from external AND internal sources. Some items can be packed together to increase simplicity. Packing other items together, you run the risk of squeezing moisture from one insulative layer into another, otherwise drier layer.
– Experiment with the drying time of your action layers. It has been said elsewhere here that being dry is overrated. Sometimes true. If you rain-soak a thin, very breathable windshirt earlier in the day, it is easy to ‘hike it dry’ with nothing more than the body heat of continuous exertion (even in cold weather). If in a similar timeframe you soak your windshirt in rain, then have to don your hardshell over it as conditions deteriorate, take care to dial back your exertion level: just enough to maintain body heat and continue drying the windshirt inside, but not so much as to overheat and further soak your underlayers with sweat. This beats packing or air-drying a soaked windshirt. Eventually you’ll be confident enough to allow some wetting out when you’re still a few hours from camp. But… allow this to happen right before crawling into your sleeping bag, esp. w/ down fill when temps are cold, and you may still dry that windshirt overnight. However all that moisture will simply displace into an even worse location, the bag! Synthetics can mitigate, but do not totally solve, this problem. Experiment.
– On longer trips, food weight can easily outweigh gear. Pay as much attention to the nutrient-density of your meals as you do to the performance:weight ratio of your equipment.
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