Building a better list
Gear lists are like opinions. Everyone has one. Or rather everyone should have one. Tossing gear into a backpack, willi nilli and heading off into the wilderness is a recipe for disaster, in more ways than one. Backpacking trips take planning, especially ultralight backpacking trips. The first part of that planning starts with understanding where you are going, what the weather, temperature range and terrain will be like. Only when you know these criteria will you be able to put together a list of gear that will keep you comfortable, warm, dry, safe and well fed under those conditions.
Will change the way you think about backpacking!
As our site grows we will be adding more articles about new ultralight techniques and tips to help you refine your skills and increase your comfort level.
Ultralight Backpacking Introduction
The number one thing that needs to be expressed right at the beginning is that backpacking is suppose to be FUN. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you are carrying, if you are not having any fun than why bother. We all go out in the woods and connect with nature for lots of reasons, so if going lighter makes it easier and less stressful than the possibility of exploring those far off locations becomes a reality.
The first thing we need to do is define what ultralight backpacking is. When compared to mainstream backpacking as a whole, the ultralight approach is relatively new. It would be tough to estimate even when it started, or became popular. I am sure even back in the caveman days some traveler was carrying very little or nothing on his back for days. My earliest known example was Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in the 1960s carrying only a duffel bag slung over her shoulder which contained a wool blanket and a plastic shower curtain for shelter. Lets hear it for grandma! The next one to come along and make a splash was Ray Jardine. He wrote a book called Beyond Backpacking back in 1992. The early followers of his ideas and techniques began to refer to them as the “Ray Way”. A lot of what Ray wrote was slanted towards long distance thru hikers. But his ideas and approach can be used by anyone. The whole idea is to reduce pack weight.
The fastest way to reduce your pack weight is to first take a look at the big three. The big three are the backpack itself, your shelter and your sleeping gear. The reason we call them the big three is because other than food and water they are the heaviest items you will carry on an overnight trip. As this site grows we will be including more specific articles on choosing the big three. For now this will get you started in evaluating what you currently have and investigating options and alternatives. Read More
Man I love to eat! But food is heavy and most of all I hate to do dishes while backpacking. I am not especially fond of doing dishes at home let alone while on the trail. So over the years I have developed a way of cooking and eating while on the trail that really simplifies things and keeps the weight down.