How to Make a Backpack Lighter

When going on a backpacking excursion, you might find that it’s hard to feel like you can enjoy nature when you can’t stand up because your backpack is too heavy. A pack that is heavy makes it difficult to enjoy your trip – which isn’t something that you want to have happened.

While some experienced backpackers will say that all you need is a scale, however, there are a few simple things that you can do to make your backpack lighter without losing many comforts. So, here are ten easy things that you can do to lighten up your backpack before your next excursion.

Use Smaller Containers for Food & Hygiene Items

Think about it, who needs an entire container of toothpaste for a two-day trip? You can easily get by using a smaller container with just a little bit of the toothpaste in it for those two days. The same thing can be done for food items! You can easily use resealable baggies to hold nuts or granola and squeeze out all the extra air before packing them to save weight and space.

Get a Tent That Can Be Pitched Using Trekking or Skiing Poles

tent with backpack

If you’re taking a hike with trekking or ski poles, this is something simple you can do. Tent poles can weigh up to a pound, which takes up a lot of space and weight in your bag. So, if you’re already bringing along poles that could easily work to hold up your tent, why not go ahead and eliminate the tent poles? If you’re a minimalist hiker, you can go for a modest tarp setup, but by using trekking or ski poles, even all-season shelters can be set up using those poles.

Maximize on a Tiny Bit of Insulation

sleeping bags with tent

A sleeping bag with much insulation is known for keeping you warm and for being compressible, you don’t need the warmest bag on every trip. If you’re going on your backpacking trip during warmer months, all you really need is a heavy jacket. You can easily wear the jacket at night and use a lighter sleeping bag to save room and weight in your backpack.

Cut Down on Clothes

stack of folded shirts

You’re backpacking outdoors, don’t worry about your body odors – it’s bound to happen, and it’s natural. Therefore, unless you’re going on a long trip where you know you’ll need to wash your clothes, and you can’t wear your outer layers of clothing to do it, you can probably cut out bringing an extra outfit. Think about situations where you might need an extra pair of clothes, then consider the probability of that is happening while on your trip to help you make your decision.

List Previously Unused Items

backpacking list

After every backpacking trip you take, make a list of the items that you ended up not using. Then when it comes time for your next trip, you can refer to that list and take time to consider if you’ll need those items this upcoming trip. There are some items including duct tape and an emergency lighter that you should always have in your bag, but others you don’t need. For instance, if you’ve packed a pair of gloves for the last two trips and found that you never used them, you should consider leaving them at home for your next trip.

Avoid Carrying Books

This goes for guidebooks too, just don’t pack them. If you need to refer to any information found in a guidebook, take photos of the pages on your phone before leaving. This way you can still refer to those pages, but without the excess weight, the book would bring. If you like reading before going to bed, consider using a reading app on your phone – you can carry ten books without extra weight.

If you are worried about your phone’s battery life, consider bringing a small battery pack or recharger just in case. Another thing that you can do is keep your phone on “airplane mood” or off whenever you aren’t using it.

Ration Water Carrying

If the trip you’re planning includes a trail that is known for having an abundance of streams along it, consider how much water you’ll really need to bring with you. If you bring a water filter for a water bottle, you’ll be able to refill your bottle without worries – plus, it cuts down on much space. By doing a little bit of research before going on your trip can help save you much worry regarding your water needs.

Swap Water Bottles for Water Bladders

Water bottles take up much weight in your pack, so why not swap for something that will only take up a couple of ounces in your pack? Water bladder bottles are known to only weight about 1.2 oz compared to the hard plastic 6.2 oz water bottle to save weight while still bringing a water bottle.

Drop a Supply

If you’re going on a trip that is going to take multiple days and retracing your steps, consider leaving supplies of food and water along the trail. This will help lighten your load a little bit for the rest of your trip while allowing you to know that you’ll have food and water along the way. However, if your trip’s destination is where you plan on preparing all of your food, this might not work out for you. Remember, also, to account for varmints and bears who might also be interested in your food and water rations.

Eat out of Pots

Cups and dishes are a nice thing to have at camps. However, they only serve the purpose of holding your food before you eat it. Consider, instead, eating out of the pots in which you cook your food from and leaving the dishes in your car or at home. This way you’ll save a lot of space and weight while still being able to cook and eat your food – plus, it’s one less dish to have to wash.

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