First off I'll say I didn't really start out thinking, "Hey... I'll be an "ultralight" backpacker. Honestly it just started with my lazy ass style of thinking. What was the best way to avoid the pain of carrying weight? As a 40 something getting back to my backpacking roots I knew I could not do things the same as when I was 20. While its true the newer technology and gear meant less weight; you still go without. Below is the top five things I do not carry with me that a typical backpacker/camper would. Also I explain the alternatives that I use.
|A look inside my Bivy...Behind me is mesh so I can see the stars.|
2) Food.... This can be a huge drag in the weight department. I now exclusively, say for some trail mix go with dehydrated foods. The weight of my food is a fraction of the typical camper/backpacker. They literally carry tons of stuff for the calories and I carry a lot less and do sometimes suffer with weight loss.Taste I could care less about and am always surprised how good dehydrated things taste now. Really when cooked right, there is not much difference. However it leads me to my next weight saving method...
3) Stove... Typical stove is any where from 5 to 7 lbs. My stove with kitchen gear is 10oz, the fuel is a separate matter but obviously I use a lot less. Water and coffee (Starbucks via packets) is the only thing I use it for. Then pour into my food pouch (never a plate) and I have a meal. It's that simple. Food to me is substance; not a damn thing more.
|A normal setup for me|
5) Hygiene products and clothes... I carry travel size things and do not use deodorant. This is mainly because of the bears and honestly I'm not trying to impress a woman out there. It's backpacking people not a dating scene. You go with what you need and can always clean up later. Do I smell my best? Nope. Do I stink to high heaven? Only after I'm running for my life but other times NO!
In the clothing department I may carry one or two changes of lightweight UV resistant clothing. and that is it. Maybe two changes of socks and this is all. It's an adjustment but again not a dating scene out here; its nature.
It is also very important to note that "Ultralighting" is as much about mentality as anything else. I don't need a shave until I get back home. I stay warm by moving and doing jumping jacks before I go to sleep at night. Not with heavy clothing though I do carry Military poly-lite thermals.
|Not uncommon for me to sleep like this either|