Here are a few ways you can responsibly and comfortably reduce your backpack weight by at least 2-3 pounds.
1) Extra Shoes
“Croc’s” being just a popular example, weigh between 11-16 ounces for a pair. While camps shoes are a nice luxury at the end of the day, consider going without to lighten your pack. If you spent all day hiking in your shoes, you will probably be fine using them around camp.
River and Stream Crossing’s
When fording a river or even wading through stagnant water, you may not be able to see the bottom. It is not a graded surface like the trail. You will be stepping onto potentially sharp objects or falling in pot holes. Keeping your shoes on offers more support to negotiate obstacles without having to worry as much a flimsier shoes coming off your foot in the rushing water or rocks penetrating the sole.
Potential Weight Savings = 11 oz
2) Nalgene bottles
These bottles are bulky, heavy and expensive. Consider a plastic bottle as an alternative. They are durable, lightweight and cheap. Smartwater bottles are a popular alternative because they have a threaded top to accommodate the Sawyer Squeeze water filter. Additionally, you can also carry a fold able Platypus to store your water.
Let’s be conservative with the weight saving’s of using a plastic bottle versus a Nalgene. Let’s say you have a 5 liter capacity for your backpacking setup. You currently use a 3 liter platypus as a water reservoir for storage in your pack and you carry (2) 1 Liter Nalgene bottles on the outside of your pack. If you were to just swap out your 2 Nalgenes for 2 Smartwater bottles, you will lighten your weight by 9.4 ounces.
Potential Weight Savings= 9.4 oz
3) Extra Pots/Pans
Most cooking setups come with nested pots, extra pans, pan holders, etc. Consider simplifying your setup by only using one pot. You can also use a piece of tin foil as a lid if you really want to count ounces.
Think about what types of meals you are making. Most backpacking meals consist of boiling water and re-hydrating something.
Let’s look at 3 examples of cookware and where you can save weight. In the picture above is a very economical and reasonably light cooking pot. It’s not the lightest on the market but for $10.00 at 6.4oz, its a great deal.
If we compare a more top tier brand and look at their Single Pot Setup versus a Multi Pot and Pan setup, we can get a better idea of weight savings.
Snow Peak Titanium Multi-Compact Cook Set – $95.15
- 11.6 ounces
- 34 fl. oz. pot = 2-7/8 inches
- 26 fl. oz. pot = 2-3/4 inches
- 17 fl. oz. fry pan = 1-1/4
- 12 fl. oz. fry pan = 1-1/4
Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Pot – $52.95
- 3.7 ounces
- .88 Liter
- 4.75 x 4.25 in.
Potential Weight Savings=7.9oz
Leave the extra pair of clothes in the car and consider only carrying an extra shirt as a luxury item. Also, consider your material. Investing in wool and/or synthetics will keep you warm,dry quicker and absorb less odor than cotton.
5) Large First Aid Kits
Try avoiding the large pre-made kits at the store. Those are usually bulky and heavy. A better option would to make your own kit. Everyone should bring a few first aid items. Pack what you think you’ll need but also keep in mind how many days you’ll be out for.