10 Tips To Lighten Your Backpack

Brad Robinson
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How To Make Your Backpack Lighter

Overtime, many lightweight backpackers have developed a passion for packing everything you need in a small space which obviously leads to ultralight backpacking. Backpacking in style without being bogged down by heavy and oversized packs. If you are a city slicker and used to carrying your laptop and books with you all around the town, you need to carry a lot more equipment when you go on an extended trip. And that’s when you realize how heavy your backpack is.

If your backpack is a little heavy, you have a big headache on your hands. The heavier your backpack, the more tiresome your journey becomes. To ease this pain, we have compiled a list of ten tips on how to reduce the weight of your backpack without sacrificing much comfort.

Get yourself a lighter backpack.

The first and the most obvious step is to replace your existing backpack with a lighter one. If it is out of question for you to buy a new backpack, you can always stuff it with clothing as it is a good way to reduce the overall weight.

Get yourself a lightweight sleeping bag.

Packing a heavy sleeping bag can weigh you down quite a bit. A three-season, 35 degree Fahrenheit bag will cost you about a pound and can let out a major gush of warm air when you open it up.

Use a rainfly for your tent.

Choosing a Lightweight Backpack

The majority of backpacking backpackers graduate from a regular school or office backpack to a sturdy backpack designed for the rigors of hiking.

You can drastically reduce the weight of your backpack by eliminating the unnecessary; by eliminating the nonessential.

This includes zippers, pockets, and backpack straps your backpack is not built for.

Multiple Compartments

Is Your Key To Weight Loss!

Here’s why: when your backpack has multiple compartments, you will naturally be forced to put less stuff in each compartment.

We know that decisions are difficult when you are under pressure. So adding additional pressure is a good way to force yourself to not overpack.

You could also try switching to a backpack with multiple compartments. I am speaking from experience that with multiple compartments, you will tend to pack lighter.

There is also a lot of pressure on each compartment. The idea that the weight is spread out in multiple compartments of your backpack discourages you from overloading any one compartment to the max.

If your backpack does not come with multiple compartments, add small pockets and pouches to it. You could also think about converting it into a backpack with compartments.

All in all, any extra weight in your backpack will lower the enjoyment level of your adventure. So try out one of the above methods to help you pack lighter.

Lighten Your Sleep System

Sleeping is vital to your outdoor experience. The consequences of sleep deprivation are nearly too numerous to mention, and they can include everything from the annoying to the dangerous. So we gradually came to realize that the quality of sleep is one of the most important factors in a comfortable trip.

The worst thing you can do is to underestimate the amount of sleep you will need or buy all the latest and greatest equipment only to find that they ignored their own bodies in the process.

How can you sleep when your packs are humongous? It’s better to adjust to comfortably carry less equipment than not get enough sleep.

Sure, you can get a lighter sleeping bag and a lighter tent and a lighter mat and a lighter bag liner and a lighter pillow and a lighter rain jacket and lighter and lighter and lighter.

And eventually you get a pack that’s about as small as a basketball. You can sleep in it and climb mountains and bike and raft and ski with it, and that’s great.

But you also can’t get much sleep in a basketball unless you use some of those other items, and when you get home all you can really do is tell your friends what a ball you had.

Truly, it’s often better to sleep well and minimize your weight than it is to try and totally eliminate both.

Minimalist Wardrobe

Lay everything out in two piles “ one with no blacks, one with no whites.

Try it on. If it feels too much like a uniform, it gets teamed with a black tee. A belt helps you decide where to set the hem.

Organize Your Backpack

When you have a lot of stuff packed into your backpack and it is loaded with different things, you need to keep the things easily accessible.

The best way is to separate them into different essential compartments within the backpack. It is also helpful to have a smaller compartment for smaller items.

You can use different sizes of water bottles, a smaller one for little items and a larger one for bigger items. If you don’t have a water bottle handy, you can use your old empty bags or any other durable material.

Make sure you write an inventory list so you know what’s inside your backpack and in which compartment it is packed. You should be able to know exactly what to put in your backpack, which will help you reduce that number of rummaging when you’re in a hurry, so you can just get out of the door faster.

Remember, there’s no bomb in your backpack. You have to take out every single little thing in order to take out just one item.

Be sure to keep the essentials close to you. Keep your important documents, your money, your camera and your phone in a small front or side pocket. Even if they are protected by a waterproof cover, better safe than sorry.

Avoid Carrying Books

A lot of house keeping , packing, and moving tips include the advice to carry as little as possible.

I keep my book reading to when I am in a place for a few days and there is free time available.

Books are bulky to carry and also a little heavier than a tablet. If you do not enjoy reading in a digital format, then buy the book in the destination and leave the heavy carrying to your luggage.

Personal Care Items

When you’re going camping, the last thing you want to worry about is toiletries, but all of those little bottles and tubes add up.

For the majority of trips, there are only a few personal care items that you really need.

I recommend keeping a small one- or two-gallon Ziploc bag in your backpack in case of emergencies.

This small bag can easily fit in a few bandages, Advil, nail clippers, a small toothbrush, some floss, and mouthwash, and some other items.

Remember that you pack out what you pack in, so keep that in mind when deciding what small items you want to bring with you.

In the end, you’ll spend less money when you go this route, and you’ll have less to lug around.

Food and Water

Weight Tip 1: Keep It Real

Stop eating before you are full. Try packing real food and not junk food. When your starving, real food tastes better.

Take only as much as you need. Eat and drink when you are hungry and thirsty.

Try taking only the food you like. Put in food that you think you will like to eat that day.

Do not eat anything that is made up of mostly sugar or salt.

Focus on nutritious items, like fresh fruits and veggies.

Think outside the box. Browse through recipes and make sure your food is edible.

Drop A Package En Route

If you are on a 1 or 2 day trip you can certainly take less. Experiment on a weekend trip and see if you really need that 3rd pair of socks or 2nd pair of shorts.

Alternatively, bring only what you will need the first day, then travel light the rest of the time. How? By carrying as little cash as possible, leaving valuables at the hotel, and ordering room service in. Sure, you’ll have to pay a bit more, but that money is a lot easier to replace than your passport.

If you have sensitive items to insure, consider looking into an inventory control box that’s big enough for your gear and fits in your bag.

Prepare a List of Unused Items from the Last Trip

Have a second look at the items you used and plan on taking on your next trip; if an item is not absolutely necessary, take it off the list.

You may find that a collapsible cup or a water filter can tide you through several more trips before they break down and need to be replaced.

Make Sure You Take Something Else

If you’re carrying too many clothes, your clothes will wear out faster. Take less clothes than you think you need-remember, you can always wash clothes. More clothes, more weight, and a limited budget.

Final Word

It’s easy to take most things for granted.

Lightening your backpack is one of those things that’s easily overlooked.

Until it becomes a problem.

The best time to consider lightening your pack is before its too late. As much as possible, always try to carry only what you need to survive and nothing else.

Your pack is your primary source of survival.

You only have so much pack size to work with.

If you think your backpack is already overly full, then you need to get rid of unnecessary items as it’s already too late to make space to carry extra supplies.