Is dropping weight from your pack worth it? Yes. I mean we all carry things and little comfort items on our hikes that we just can’t seem to shake, but do we really need these things? The idea of ultralight is to live through a principle of simplicity out of your pack and only carrying the things you need with still being able to be comfortable while keeping a sub 10 pound base weight. Pack base weight includes everything you are carrying, minus consumables which would be food, water and fuel.
A few reasons to shed weight from your pack:
- It’s healthier for your body! Do you think your body enjoys carrying 30 + plus pounds on your back on long distance hikes? I guarantee the answer is no, and you probably don’t either. Regardless of the weight on your back, you’re putting wear and tear on your body but in the long run it’s worth it. Once you lose a few pounds your feet and knees will thank you kindly after a long day of walking on rugged terrain, especially in southern Appalachia.
- While upgrading gear can be pricey, it costs absolutely nothing to leave gear at home. I’m not saying you need to leave crucial items at home, but try leaving luxury items at home that in the long run you may find you’ll never use. For example, I used to carry books with me, a deck of cards and other camp goodies with years ago when I first started hiking. I learned quickly that when I get to camp, I am ready to set my gear up, eat and catch some Z’s. But that’s just me. I ended up saving extra weight by ditching luxury items. When dropping weight from your pack, do it within your means and comfort zone. Don’t make irresponsible decisions just to try and save weight. One of my favorite suggestions that I will make to people is to try and bring less clothing. Obviously don’t ditch your jacket and check the weather, but I mean do you really need 3 pairs of socks and an extra shirt? Chances are you’re going to smell like a hot bag of trash from sweating in the woods anyways so wear your stinky clothes. It’s all part of the experience. Try to limit the amount of clothing you bring to camp clothes, and worn clothing.
- Bring less, do more. It’s as simple as that. The less you weigh, the easier it is to go further, see more and do more. But again, always hike your own hike.
Those are a few reasons I can think of at the moment to drop weight from your pack. The more you hike, the more you’ll learn about yourself and your body. The best way to start ditching unwanted items is to simply do a shakedown of your pack! Lay your gear out on the floor in some sort of organized fashion and thoroughly sort through it and slowly start to get rid of things you have found you never use. The list will also grow over time. If you’re an avid hiker, in the long run it will be worth it.