Anyone can pick up a lightweight pack and hike with it - that's the easy part. But what does it take to be content with its contents?

There have always been the Grandma Gatewoods, hikers who feel liberated heading into the woods with only a tarp, a pair of running shoes, and a blanket. Then there are hikers like myself who whittled down heavier packs item by item on their first long-distance treks. In the former case, perhaps they were born with Thoreau's “simplify” echoing in their very bones. But it's also possible to learn this mentality. If you're planning on going ultralight, it'll be hugely helpful to cultivate this attitude before trying to fit your gear into a tiny, ultralight backpack.

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