By Emylene VanderVelden and Ryan Jordan
How to choose lightweight backpacking gear is an individualized and challenging skill.
When purchasing and packing gear, lightweight and ultralight backpackers can be prone to gram shaving for the sake of gram shaving. But don't overlook the role of comfort, durability, safety, and aesthetics in backpacking equipment, either.
Your development as a backpacker can occur when you progressively and intellectually process gear selection in a self-aware and intentional manner. Lack of intentionality in gear selection can lead to pack weights that are heavier than they need to be and gear that may not be optimized to your style or application (e.g., environment, weather, season).
A best practice for gear selection requires some cognitive finesse and is valuable for beginner and seasoned backpackers alike. No backpacker has ever mastered the art, and we all can make constant improvement.
We wrote this article to provide one example of a comprehensive framework that you can use as a model for selecting lightweight backpacking gear. Adapt it to your needs.
How to choose lightweight backpacking gear (article outline):
- Part 1. How to Choose Lightweight Backpacking Gear: The Core Process
- Talus Tom: the Gear Head
- Zero Drop Zoë: Maslow’s Protégé
- Sedona Sam: In Touch With Nature, Not Gear
- A Trichotomous Chaos
- 1. Core Needs
- Case Study: Personal Application of Core Needs
- 2. Functional Systems
- Case Study: Personal Application in Functional Equipment Selection
- 3. System Components (Equipment & Supplies)
- Setting a Baseline for System Components
- Frequent Trips
- Occasional Trips
- Bucket List
- The Styles
- Gear Junkies
- Gram Masters
- Edge Walkers
Length: 6,940 words / 6 photographs