Lightweight Backpacking Gear: Taking the Load off

A person with a serious interest in lightweight backpacking has to purchase lightweight backpacking gear. With traditional equipment, it is almost impossible to keep the weight of the pack within the ten to twenty pound range required for lightweight backpacking. With the increase of technology, it is much easier to find lightweight backpacking food, equipment, stoves, tents, clothing, etc.

A Matter of Planning

Lightweight backpacking gear consists of the large items needed to camp and that take up the majority of the weight in the pack. Next are the smaller items that are also essential, but are smaller items that don’t add substantial weight to the pack.

The larger items of lightweight camping gear consist of four categories: the backpack, the tent, the sleeping bag and clothing. Each of these components does not stand alone for they require additional supplies to help modify them according to the conditions of the trip.

The backpack must also include things such as straps, rain covers, and liners in order to prevent wetness in case of rain and also to strap on items that don’t fit in the pack itself. The tent must also include a tarp and a sack to put it in if the hiker has to cross a river. The sleeping bag also includes a liner for more extreme weather as well as a sleeping pad to cushion the ground while sleeping. Clothing includes everything necessary for the trip.

The smaller lightweight camping gear required is also essential. These consist of kitchen items for storing and cooking, navigation supplies, such as maps and radios, bathroom supplies, such as soap/shampoo, and finally emergency and repair supplies.

The supplies mentioned above are all of the ‘fixed’ supplies, meaning they are the essentials that do not change weight on the trip. They make up the bulk of the weight in the pack and must be bought and planned for so that they are as lightweight as possible. The other supplies are the ones that are consumed during the course of the trip, such as food and water, so that at the beginning of the trip they might add significant weight, but by the end of the trip they will be almost gone, leaving no additional weight at all.

Time of Year

Another issue in terms of planning out what lightweight backpacking gear is needed is the time of year the trip is going to take place. If it is in the summer time, the pack can usually be much lighter since clothing is smaller and less is needed as well as sleeping supplies and the possibility of not needed an actual tent at all. In the winter time, there is need for much more items in order to have protection from the elements and the warmth required to have an enjoyable time.