This article will help you reduce the weight of your backpack by choosing backpacking gear that can be used in multiple ways. You can reduce the weight of your gear by bringing less. A smaller backpack can also help you to cut down on pack size. Let’s begin by listing the most common ways ultralight backpackers reduce their pack weight.
Multi-Function Gear Tricks
- You can use trekking poles to replace the tent poles supplied by the tent manufacturer. This can reduce the weight of your pack by a pound.
- A frameless backpack can be stiffened with a foam sleeping pad such as a Therma-Rest Ridgerest. You can simply roll it like a book and place your gear in its middle. Frameless backpackers are often lighter than average because they can reduce the weight of your gear.
- A poncho can be used as a shelter for tarps. You can use the Exped Poncho Bivy to replace a rain jacket, rain jacket, rain pants, or backpack cover. It will save you at least one pound of gear weight.
- You can use a bandana to make a hat or scarf and also as a potholder. This is where buff bandanas come in handy.
- As a cat hole scooper, use a tent stake.
- You can use rocks and sticks you find in the forest as stakes or anchors for your tent guy-line.
- A sleeping quilt can be used as a jacket. Sierra Designs offers a Mobile Mummy Sleeping Bag that can also be used as a jacket.
- Your cook pot can be used as a plate or a mug. You don’t need to take anything else with you for eating and drinking. This will help you save approximately 8 oz.
- Rain gear can be worn in your sleeping bag to act as a vapor barrier. You can bring a lighter sleeping bag and save weight.
- While you’re sleeping, slide your sleeping bag into the empty backpack. The backpack will act as a barrier against heat, so that you are able to bring a lighter bag. It can also be used as a bad-weather half-bivy when you are sleeping under a tent and the rain is coming onto you.
- You can carry a mylar blanket as an emergency blanket and use it to make a tent footprint, or as a signal mirror.
- To reduce the amount of heat your body needs, stuff all your clothes into your sleeping bag at bedtime. This will make you feel warmer, and your sleeping bag will be lighter.
- As a pillow, use an empty hydration bladder.
- Use a stuff bag to store clothes.
- To carry water from camp, use a backpack cover to protect your water bottle.
- You may be able to reduce the weight of your bag by sleeping in a jacket or vest made from down, whether it’s spring or fall.
- As a spoon, use a stove repair tool. MSR’s Alpine Tool Spoon was designed to do exactly this.
Safety Tips for Backpacking
These are some excellent ideas. However, some of them may require you to make weight-to-safety tradeoffs that might be more difficult than you are willing to make. This is particularly true if you’re trying to cut down on the weight of your sleeping system. You can use vapor barrier techniques, or alternative insulation to lower the temperature rating and weight of a sleeping bag. In these situations, it is important to experiment and be cautious. To understand your own safety limits and to determine which weight/comfort compromises are best for you, it is important to test many different gear combinations in different weather conditions.