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The biggest question we ask ourselves when packing gear for a backpacking trip is “how to lighten the load”? With the Ultra Lightweight craze that has hit the mainstream hiking community, some find themselves buying lightweight gear only to find it isn’t for them. Or it isn’t what they thought the gear would provide…a better outdoor experience.

Lightning your pack weight is a science and there is a strategy. So let’s be clear on something first: Just because you buy a lightweight pack, doesn’t mean you have entered into the lightweight community. It’s only one piece of gear. Moreover, if you place mid weight gear in a lightweight pack, you are probably going to be uncomfortable. For example: The Hyperlite Southwest 3400 is a great lightweight pack. But it can only hold 40lbs (which is kind of heavy anyway) without the structure of the pack failing. So don’t put heavy items in a lightweight pack.

Lightweight Backpack means, lightweight Sleeping Bag, lightweight Tent, and Lightweight Sleeping Pad. Your base weight has to compliment each other.

The Sleep System is going to be a relative key into lightning the load. That is where the rubber meets the trail so to speak. Some weight can be shed from the type of backpack you buy. But you can really convert pounds into ounces with your Tent, Sleeping Bag, and Sleeping Pad. AND that’s where you start shedding the pounds.

Here is an example of Lightweight Backpacks and Base Weight



Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack. …
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 Backpack. …
Granite Gear Crown 2 60 Backpack.
Zpacks Arc Blast Backpack. …
REI Flash 55 Backpack (women’s) …


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In 2003 I completed a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Since then I have over 12,000 miles underfoot and 20 years of backpacking, and camping experience. Certifications include WFA, WFR, LNT Trainer, and belong to AORE. Have been guiding backpacking trips for over 10 years. The outdoors has taught me one thing. Trusting the Trail! really does provide everything a person needs.

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