Tips for Lightweight backpackingTrek: Annapurna Base Camp
Going on a trek is a lifetime experience. It gives you a lot of memorable experiences and crucial lessons that lasts a lifetime. However, when you hit the trail, it becomes a little difficult to feel like being at the top of the world, if you can barely stand straight due the heavy backpack. A heavy backpack will make your trek uncomfortable, inconvenient and you cannot have as much fun as you thought you would because you are struggling with the wieght of your backpack.
Packing a bag for a long excursion is a tedious task and despite having a clear idea of the things you will need, it isquite confusing to pack your bag with the necessary items. Light packing is a very revered skill and as trekker, you need to be a pro at it. Here are some tips that will help you reduce the non-essential weight from your backpack.
Use The Right Size Backpack
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 whatnot. 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 requirement. Do not by a backpack that is too large and it remains half empty during your trek. This will only icrease your inconvenience and also lead to improper weight distribution on your back.
Keep It Small
When you are going to go on a trek, you will definitely not need an entire tube of toothpaste or an entire bottle of moisture so avoid carrying big tubes and bottle and the small-sized containers. Find miniature versions of everything. This will reduce weight occupying less space. The same goes for your food, use only one small tiffin so that vegetables and roti or rice can fit and you can keep on reusing the box. Instead of a bulky towel, a long napkin can work, since you will bathe only once or twice, befor and after the trek.Every tiny thing effects the load of your backpack so act smart when packing.
Place The Right Way
How you place your stuff inside the backpack also plays a keyrole in how you are utilising the space inside it. When packing the bag, always keep the tent and sleeping bags in the bottom, while these itmes are voluminous they are not as heavy. They will also serve as a great base for your backpack space. Keep your woollens and jackets in the middle, tightly rolled. This is also where you can stove your ministove and ration for the trek. In the top most layer store the small essential stuff like the medicine kit, water bottles and poncho, etc. This way it is easier to carry the backpack and also you will have the things you will need the most on the trek on top and the things you need the elast at the bottom.
Reduce Weight By Removing Backpack
Remove packaging of boxes 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. By removing the packaging, you can reduce a lot of weight from the backpack.
Who knows yourself better than you? Carry only the essentials, things that will assist you on your trek or might be useful on the road. Be a littler smart when it comes to packing. For exampl: you do not need to pack a moisturizer and suncreen if you can get a two in one. Always look for lighter alternatives. You can also sort your supplies by need, want and luxury and this way you can easily discard things you won’t need in the trek. Keep a count of the number of trekking days and pack accordingly. Carry only 3 pairs of trousers, 2 for trekking, 1 at the night. Same with the t-shirts. We suggest bringing enough pairs of socks both woollen and normal.
Reuse As Much As You Can
Carry objects that can be reused or have multiple uses. For example, a woollen bandana can act as a balaclava to cover the face and a cap as well. A thermos can work as a bottle too. Use chargeable batteries that can be used even after the trek. Such items are very resourceful and at the same time help keep your backpack light.
Wear Light Weight Clothing
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
Understand the type of trek before packing your bag. Do not carry a 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 won’t be needed. Basically, know your trek, know its season and then plan accordingly.
Ration The Water Appropriately
Water is one of the heaviest items in your backpack that adds to the weight of your backpack. If you are going on a trek that has enough water sources then do not carry excess water with you and you can drink and refill your bottles at the water sources.
Share With Your Buddies
If you are going in a group then you can easily consolidate your resources. You don’t need two toothpaste tubes, or two medical kits or two stoves. Each of you can distribute the items among yourselves and thus reduce the load on the backpack. Share the gear weight evenly and this way everyone can keep their backpack light.
Keep in mind, the backpack should not weigh more than 8-10kgs. You do not need to be a minimalist to be a light packer. 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!