23

I have decided that I would like to hike.

I have read a bit on hiking, and bought some gear and a backpack to get started. I want to start with backpacking through mostly flat forests, and later advance to mountains in Poland, like Bieszczady, and Tatry.

The problem is, when I put on my backpack and put on the hip and chest belts, it felt heavy and cumbersome, making me lean forward. I was wondering — am I so out of shape, or did I pack so much unnecessary things?

My backpack weighs about 10.5 kilograms (or about 23 pounds) without the food and water with all the equipment I would like to take on a two to three day hike. Is this too much? For a two-day hike, I would like to add at least 3.5 liters of water, and around 1 kilogram of food, bringing the total weight to about 15 kilograms (or about 33 pounds). For a three-day hike, my backpack weighs about 16 to 18 kilograms (or about 32 to 40 pounds).

Here's what's inside my backpack currently:

  • A sleeping bag

  • A tent for two people

  • A foam camping mat

  • A fleece jacket

  • A t-shirt

  • Pants

  • Two pairs of underwear

  • Two pairs of socks

  • A tarp (just in case of rain, used as a poncho)

  • About ten meters of paracord

  • Hygiene items, including wet wipes, a small towel, biodegradable soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and toilet paper

  • Tools, including a small sewing/backpack fixing kit, knife, multi-tool, tape, a pen, and paper

  • A headlamp

  • A flashlight

  • A power bank

  • Batteries

  • Bug spray

  • Suntan cream

  • A mess kit that includes a pocket stove

  • Some fuel

  • A steel mug

  • A spork

  • A lighter

  • Matches

  • Flint

  • A compass

  • A map

  • A whistle

  • Some zip bags

  • Some trash bags

  • A first-aid kit

  • 15
    For water, you may want to look into filtering and purifying. Depending on where you hike, you can usually find water sources on your route. The only times I've carried more than 2 liters have been on extremely hot days when I don't expect to see good water on my route. Usually in the desert – Karen Jun 5 '16 at 1:09
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    20 kg is very, very high for a 3-day hike. Your base weight of 10 kg is relatively reasonable (although it could be cut), but 10 kg of food and water is just crazy. – Ben Crowell Jun 5 '16 at 16:05
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    Much depends on water. Where we hike (Sierra and Rockies), we would not carry more than one quart of water apiece, plus maybe a water purifier. That's 5 pounds off your load right there for the two day hike. 2 to 3 pounds of food for two days is also high. As for the tent, you have to go with what you have, but if you are going to do a lot of solo hikes, consider a much smaller tent. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jun 6 '16 at 0:06
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    @K.L.: I drink a lot and sweat a lot and 2l/day of water is a minimum for me. But why are you carrying three days' water on your back? Poland isn't a desert. Don't you have water sources on your route? – Ben Crowell Jun 6 '16 at 17:51
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    @BenCrowell, I don't think the advice to drink from running streams is a wise one. While cholera is unlikely in an unpopulated area, Giardia is found worldwide, and it's not just people that pass it on. Hikers drinking unsafe water is one of the risk factors cited in CDC. cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/general-info.html. Either boil running water, treat with iodine, or use a filter. (There will often be a safe water supply from underground, such as a spring). Note that water treatment is a lot lighter than carrying water. – Dov Jun 7 '16 at 0:48

14 Answers 14

29

You're bringing all the right things... (the only thing I would question is why a flashlight as well as a headlamp? - though if it's just a small flashlight, no big deal- I sometimes bring a spare headlamp). 20kg's is 44 pounds and 30-40lbs is about right for a 3 day trip alone. The only way to get the weight down is by bringing lighter (i.e. more expensive) versions of what you've already listed.

In terms of the pack feeling awful, some of it is indeed getting used to carrying weight over many kilometers and many days, but one of the biggest factors to your comfort is a properly fitted pack.

The best thing you can do is go to an outdoor shop and see if they can help you adjust the pack you already have... sometimes it just takes some adjustments of the pack to make it fit you better. A properly fitted pack makes ALL the difference in the world to your comfort. That being said, you are still carrying 20kg's, good fit or no, it's a bit of weight and so you will feel it to some degree regardless.

Aside from pack fitting, the way you pack your pack also makes a difference. The ideal scenario is:

Mid-weight stuff on the bottom of the pack; heavy stuff in the middle of the pack- so that the weight can be distributed properly within the suspension system (i.e. shoulder straps and waist belt); lightest stuff on top. That's the general rule. Don't spend too much time on it, but keep it in mind.

From what you said though, I think there's likely some adjustments to the pack you could make, or, the pack just doesn't fit you. And, yes, you do need to get used to hiking with weight again. :)

Research pack-fitting online/on youtube. Some key things are that you shouldn't have a giant space between your back and the pack - if there's a big gap, then you might want to gently bend the metal stays (depending on what kind of pack you have) so that it fits closer to your body. Usually a big space will cause the pack to kind of pull you backwards, and so you will tend to lean forward to compensate.

  • Thanks for good advice, I will try to ask for help with better fitting my backpack :) – K.L. Jun 4 '16 at 20:27
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    Also try to pack the heaviest/densest things closer to your back, and try to pack the backpack to maximise its height and minimise its depth. This will reduce the mount you need to lean forward to counterbalance them and reduce the amount the straps pull back on your shoulders. – patstew Jun 6 '16 at 13:05
  • ^^ Exactly! ^^ :) – twotoques Jun 6 '16 at 20:02
29

Trying to cut pack weight is all about leaving "extra" things out and then replacing needed things with light versions. Some things that jump out at me as "extra":

Tent for 2 people

If there is only one of you, why do you need a 2 person tent. For only 2 or 3 days, I would go with a tarp which will be lighter

2 pairs of underwear and socks

A spare pair of socks is nice, but extra underwear is not really needed.

Tarp for when it rains

You definitely do not need both a tent and a tarp for a 3 day trip.

Around 10m of paracord

What are you planning on tying up? If this is for putting up the tent/tarp, it might not be enough. If it is extra in case of an emergency, you probably do not need it since you have some cord on your tent/tarp.

Hygiene items, including wet wipes, small towel, biodegradable soap,toothpaste/brush, toilet paper

This list could weight anywhere from an 100 g to 1 kg. Make sure it is on the lighter side.

Tools, including a small sewing/backpack fixing kit, knife, multitool, tape, pen and paper

A knife and a multitool seem like overkill. What are you going to use the pen and paper for? Can you use your phone instead? What are you going to sew? If you clothes rip, you can wear them for a few days with holes. If you backpack rips, you can make repairs with your foam pad, tape and knife/multitool.

Headlamp, flashlight, phone charger, spare batteries

Not sure why you need both a headlamp and a flashlight especially since your phone can be a backup light source. If you put new batteries in before you leave, you will not need spares. Where do you plan on charging your phone? I would think your phone could last 3 days without a charge (use airplane mode and/or turn it off when not in use).

Bug spray and suntan cream

Again, you only need a little bit of both.

Mess kit with a pocket stove, some fuel, a steel mug and a spork, lighter, matches and flint

Lighter, matches, and flint seems overkill. For 3 days you could go without a stove. Mess kits come in various sizes. A lot of people go with just a single pot and spork/spoon. You can either drink from you pot or get a lighter mug.

Some zip bags and thrash bags

Make sure you only bring what you need

A med kit

Again, smaller is better. Ask yourself if you really need anything more than some aspirin, ibuprofen, and tape.

  • 10
    Pen and paper: you can't leave a note for someone else on your cell phone. Paracord: useful for a wide range of things -- I once used mine for stability while descending a washout. A modern two-person backpacking tent isn't much heavier than a one-person tent, and it's far more comfortable. Med kit: most of the time, you won't need more than a painkiller, but when you need the rest, you'll really need it. – Mark Jun 5 '16 at 6:32
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    He's going to save so much weight by leaving extra underwear at home. I mean, why even critique something that menial? – Insane Jun 5 '16 at 8:23
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    @Insane Because saving 100g ten times saves a kilo? – David Richerby Jun 5 '16 at 17:53
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    @Insane -- It all depends on how light you want to hike. "Is X too much?" is a broad question that leaves room for lots of subjectivity. A few too many "it's only a few ounces" choices and suddenly you're five pounds heavier. – Russell Steen Jun 5 '16 at 18:03
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    I would not skimp on a med kit! – Jack Aidley Jun 6 '16 at 13:58
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The answer to "is it too much" is extremely subjective. Is this strictly too much? No. Are there some things you can trim back if you want? Yes. I like to hike light, but not ultralight and this would be far too much weight for me to consider now but is almost exactly where I started out. Over time my base weight (without food and water) has drastically decreased.

There are two ways to reduce weight. The first is to remove items you don't really need and the second is to get lighter weight items.

Before you start you will need two scales. A fish scale for heavy items and a precise kitchen scale for light items. Weigh everything you are currently taking and write those down (or make a spreadsheet). These decisions come down to weight vs. comfort/experience vs. money. For a given item you have to decide: Is this item really worth carrying around ?kg for the next three days? Once you get rid of the things you don't really want, you may still want some luxury items. For me this is a .5kg tripod stool.

My comments on your gear are in italics.

  • Sleeping bag
    There's no doubt that you need a sleeping bag. If you need/want to reduce weight here then you will have to spend $$$ or be very patient watching used gear sales.
  • Tent for 2 people
    If there is only one person you could consider a lightweight one man tent and probably save kilos. As someone suggested there are also tarps, but that's a personal preference thing.
  • Foam camping mat
    These are close to as light as it gets for ground pads.
  • Fleece jacket, t-shirt and pants
    Clothes can weigh a lot. If you are wearing regular everydays stuff, or god forbid jeans; strongly consider buying some lightweight gear. I find that running shirts are often cheaper than hiking shirts and work the same.
  • 2 pairs of underwear and socks
    Probably not much to save here. You can buy ExOfficios and just wash them but that's saving grams when you are still at the stage of cutting kilos.
  • Tarp for when it rains
    I would eliminate this. When it rains at camp - get in your tent. A tarp makes a really sucky and cumbersome pancho... just buy a cheap poncho
  • Around 10m of paracord
    If anything, I carry more cord
  • Hygine items, including wet wipes, small towel, biodegradable soap,toothpaste/brush, toilet paper
    You'll find that most of this can go. Soap? I take smoke baths and/or use rubbing alcohol. If you prefer not to skip this stuff, do make sure you are carrying travel sizes
  • Tools, including a small sewing/backpack fixing kit, knife, multitool, tape, pen and paper
    Ditch everything but the knife, tape, and sewing kit.
  • Headlamp, flashlight, phone charger, spare batteries You really only need one light source. Decide if you prefer headlamp or flashlight and ditch the other.
  • Bugspray and suntan cream
    Necessary in many locales, but get the smallest size needed.
  • Mess kit with a pocket stove, some fuel, a steel mug and a spork, lighter, matches and flint
    Sounds like you are already pretty lightweight here.
  • Compass, map and a whistle
    Necessary safety stuff.
  • Some zip bags and trash bags
    Not strictly necessary, but I like to have these as well.
  • A med kit
    If you bought a prepacked med kit, consider packing your own. It will generally save you weight.
11

For the most part, your list looks reasonable for traditional (ie. non-ultralight) backpacking. The most important thing now is to get the pack fitted and balanced properly, and then get used to moving around while carrying the weight. 20kg hanging off your back will change your balance, so you need to get used to it.

A few things to look at:

Sleeping bag

Car-camping and backpacking sleeping bags aren't the same thing. A good backpacking bag weighs about a third of what a car-camping bag does (and costs three times as much), so if you just picked up a random bag from somewhere, you might have room for significant weight savings here.

Fleece jacket, t-shirt and pants

2 pairs of underwear and socks

For overnight trips, I don't bother with a change of clothes, just a spare pair of socks. For two nights, I add underwear and a shirt. I'll only carry warm clothing if the forecast calls for cold nights.

Tarp for when it rains

Unless the weather forecast calls for significant rainfall, I carry two cheap plastic ponchos (one for me, one for my pack, total weight 80g) rather than my regular rain gear (600g).

Headlamp, flashlight, phone charger, spare batteries

I carry two headlamps and no spare batteries. The headlamps use the same type of batteries, so I can switch between them if needed.

a steel mug

Depending on the mug, you might save weight with a plastic one (and gain the ability to handle it while it's full of boiling water), but you'd lose the ability to cook directly in the mug.

lighter, matches and flint

This is overkill. You only need two separate ways of starting a fire, and two sets of matches stored in different parts of your pack is good enough.

  • 2
    I'd go with titanium over plastic. Losing the ability to cook in the mug means needing an extra cooking vessel... which negates any saving from going with plastic. – Russell Steen Jun 5 '16 at 13:35
8
  • Make a list (much more detailed) of your gear
  • Weight everything
  • For each item, consider whether or not you really need it. For example, the extra pants, the tarp, the extra batteries, the multitool, the paracord, ...
  • Make a new list with only the items you really need.
  • Profit.

Then, you can consider getting lighter replacements for gears you already have, but that's for another time I think.

Finally, even though it has already been mentioned, consider filtering and purifying water. This way, you can a/ carry less water and b/ stop worrying about not having enough water.

7

I suggest you don't need a tent and a tarp, unless the latter is also to be worn as a poncho (unless I've missed them you don't mention waterproofs). Similarly you don't need a head torch and a torch, or a lighter and matches and a flint. But neither of these will make much difference.

That load is similar to what I carried years ago for a few days between food sources, though we had more access to water. It's not an unreasonable total, though there are plenty of people who successfully carry much less. If you're with others, some items can be shared, which makes a big difference.

What's important with that sort of weight is that you pack correctly. This means packing first for balance with access to particular items of secondary importance. The heaviest items should be low and close to you. As much weight as possible should be carried on your hips, and the load shouldn't swing around as you walk. All this will avoid the need you feel to lean towards for balance. It will still feel odd at first if you're not used to carrying a pack, and even that assumes the pack fits properly.

Assuming you're already used to day hikes, you could try some hut-to-hut trips or youth hostelling as an interim step. That way you won't need the tent or so much water.

  • Thanks for the answer :) I do intend to use the trap as a poncho. I will try to follow you advice on balancing the load and hut to hut trips :) – K.L. Jun 4 '16 at 21:02
6

In terms of the items on the list it all seems entirely reasonable and an overall pack weight is not by any means ridiculous, although it is in the regions where shaving a few kg is likely to make quite a big difference in overall comfort.

It is fairly likely that your tent is the heaviest single item, a two person tent intended for car camping can be pretty weighty but if that's what you've got you may not wan to buy a new one to save a few kg. However you can look at whether all of the bits of the tend are entirely necessary, for example carrying spare tent pegs for a 2 day trip is definitely wasted weight. Indeed if you are hiking in a forest you may not need any pegs at all as you can just use sticks. Similarly if you are camping in a forest just a tarp may be entirely adequate (certainly don't take both)

Overall a good approach is to to at least one trial run even if it is just a few hours walk followed by camping for a night in your garden this will give you a much better idea of what you really do need.

It is also worth noting that this is your decision some people will go to great lengths to shave every possible gram while others will carry a bit extra for the sake of a few luxuries to make the whole exercise more enjoyable. But still there is no point carrying things you absolutely don't need eg cut a small piece off a bar of soap rather than taking a whole bar and take a travel sized tube of toothpaste indeed but a few plastic tubes or jars for things like sunscreen and insect repellent that you will only use a tiny amount of.

Also consider getting a cheap old style phone with a battery life which will last the entire trip rather than a smartphone which needs constant recharging. Similarity one set of batteries will last in your torch for a 3 day hike, especially if you get an LED one with a low intensity setting.

Think about whether you really need a stove and mess kit you could just have food t hat doesn't need cooking, bread, cheese, dried fruit, nuts and preserved sausage (of which Poland has an amazing selection) should see you through a 3 day hike and will keep for that length of time (I would actually rather eat this sort of thing on a hike than rehydrated gunk). If you absolutely must have hot drinks then a tiny solid fuel or alcohol stove with the bare minimum of fuel should be adequate.

I suspect from your list that you could shave a couple of kg by taking smaller sizes or lighter versions of things and ditching a few unnecessary items.

3

There are some good points how you could try to decrease the weight in the answers (didn't read all, but 16-18kg for 2-3 days seems very definitely too much), but I think the main point is - why do you want to hike carrying your tent and sleeping bag with yourself? Sure, that's one of the options how we can hike, but you can just as well have your tent on the camping and do one-day circles, much more people you'll meet on the trail will do it this way, so what's the reason to start with the harder option for the first time? Of course, there are mountains (nowhere in Poland or neighbourhood, though) where that's the only option, but while you have a choice... in Poland going with tent has really advantages in you being more flexible if you go for like 10 day hike and want to cover a lot of ground, if you want 2-3 days in each area I don't see any gain (and for 10 days you can also just stay 2-3 days somewhere and then move with a bus, really what someone prefers).

In Tatry, the communication allows you to easily go to every trail in the Polish part if you stay in Zakopane. Some of the places like Rysy demand good condition if one wants to do them in one day without sleeping in shelters - but you won't go to Rysy anyway for the first time as it's demanding from technical point of view. And you can easily spend like 10 days whole time having your tent in Zakopane, then move to a campsite in Slovakia close to railway and have several days more. Not speaking of 2-3. In Bieszczady if you go to the area of Ustrzyki Górne you have like 2, maybe up to 3 days of walking returning to the base, then you can move to Wetlina or the area and have 1-2 days more. Absolutely no need to walk everyday with all you have.

And especially in Tatry and Bieszczady you're not even allowed to camp wild, so you'd need to go with your tent to the campsites on the valleys level anyway. In Tatry going with the sleeping bag (without tent) has advantages that you can stay in shelters (you can have a bed only booking much in advance, otherwise floor so sleeping bag/pad is necessary), but going form the city level every day is also a good option, it's the trade-off between having more height difference to cover vs covering it with a lighter baggage on your back, both have advantages and surely none is required. If you're going every day from the city level you really need (assuming it's summer) just like a T-shirt and a shirt, 2nd t-shirt to change, coat (if you have one good from both rain and cold wind, otherwise depending on the case add fleece jacket / cape). Plus water, food, and obviously the small things you mentioned like first aid, torch etc. etc. but they're all small. You can consider poles, they make walk significantly less tiring although not everyone likes them. And all the rest of the things you need for the campsite you leave in the campsite (or room/shelter if you rent one). Also if there's a shelter on your way, remember you can buy water there, prices obviously are hight but that's another of the trade-offs you can determine one way or another. I'm a bit less clear about how easy it'll be for you to stay at some place and return to it on the flat areas as there is less tourist infrastructure there, but I'd guess you can plan your trip to match it too. Maybe you could've got something 10% more interesting if you walked with the tent, but what's the point if you're going to like it 80% less due to carrying way more than you're used to, not speaking about seeing less due to being able to cover a slower distance in a day?

2

You need waterproofs (top and bottom). A survival bag isn't a bad idea either in the mountains. They only weight 100g. And a hat and gloves.

Lithium batteries are lighter than alkali, and pack more charge, though you need to be careful as not all head torches are rated for them.

What is the power bank for??

I go camping for one night in mountain marathons with a pack of under 5kg (including food, drinking from streams), albeit with no luxuries. You may well find that your sleeping bag, tent and rucksack weigh a substantial amount combined - could be anything from 2kg to 6kg!

  • The powerbank is for my phone, which I use for taking photos and/or emergencies. – K.L. Jun 7 '16 at 14:10
  • Put it in airplane mode, and you should find you have sufficient battery for photos and emergencies without the power bank - though I suppose power banks do come pretty small. – Nutkey Jun 7 '16 at 15:37
2

Yes, you're taking too much weight at least for 3 days. I recently went on a 7-day trip in the Wind River Range in Wyoming (USA) where I camped at 11000+ feet or 3350+ m all but 1 night. There was one day/night of rain and one morning got down to 18 F (-7 C). My total packed weight with food and 1 L of water was 26.5 lbs (12 kg). I do use a tarp rather than tent when I'm solo so that saved a bit.

I wrote a paper for Boy Scouts several years ago that applies to just about anyone new to backpacking that would rather go lighter. You may find it useful. Lightweight backpacking

While lighter stuff can be expensive, it doesn't have to be if you are a little creative and get some things on sale or used. My most expensive piece of gear on this trip was my sleeping bag which I got new for $130 US. Well, I guess that's not true anymore because I bought a DeLorme inReach SE for this trip since it was mostly off-trail over rugged, exposed terrain.

1

Your pack is substantially heavier than I would be happy with for 2-3 days. For two days I take 7kg including food and water filter. Many of the other answers have good suggestions; I think there are two general themes:

  • you have some items which are redundant (e.g. tarp and tent; headlamp and flashlight; knife and multi-tool)
  • you can always spend (lots) more money on lighter gear, but you can probably cheaply replace some of your things with lighter versions (e.g. plastic for steel mug; polyester for cotton clothing; if your mess kit has steel pans/tins replace them with aluminium; don't take a pan lid take a couple of pieces of foil)

The additional recommendation I would make would be that you list and weigh all your gear, then after each trip note whether you needed each item or not (and whether there was anything you wanted but didn't have). Obviously there will be some things (whistle, med kit) that you hope you will never use, but need them anyway, but this gives you a good idea of what you can drop. My pack weight has come down a lot with experience.

1

The wide array of answers here, and disagreements in the comments, only helps when I give you the dreaded answer that nobody likes to hear: It Depends. Everyone has their own opinions about what is important and what is not important.

Fortunately for most of it, what it depends on is you.

Safety (Generally, "Must Have")

There are a very few things that are absolutely essential which you definitely should have for safety reasons, unless you are willing to risk your safety for reduced weight (I advise against it)...

  • Shelter
  • Fire starting tools
  • Knife
  • Med kit, but you might consider leaving out things that won't apply to your situation or which you do not know how to use anyway. Ex: I have a snake bite venom-extraction tool (suction) which is not needed in my area (not to mention many people suggest against using them anyway).

Everything Else

You need to figure out what you are comfortable with, and your weight carried will generally be a weight/comfort trade-off. Only you can decide where on that scale you lie.

If you really like being toasty warm, bone dry, well fed, well watered, and to do all that with minimum effort so that you have more time to sit and admire nature, then you need to get used to weight.

If you really like being highly mobile during the hike, and you are willing to either spend more time in camp-setup or not be fully sheltered, and have other niceties you don't mind sacrificing, then you can get the weight way, way down.

Minimal Camping

I am on the "travel lite, sacrifice comforts" side. I would be willing to take just a tarp and sleeping bag for shelter. Since I like to camp even through the winter though, the sleeping bag specifically I do not sacrifice on. Cold weather bag under a tarp is fine.

Water: I'm fine taking little to none. Gathering and boiling; for me that is part of the fun experience but for others that might be a nuisance.

Food: I don't mind getting hungry, don't mind eating some edible leaves, or even stripping some inner bark off my firewood to eat before burning the rest. My food expectations are low.

I've been more than 3 days without anything but water, and I've been more than 24 hours without even water. And there have been plenty of times where I've gone a week or two eating only once every day or two days. The 24-hours-no-water was not planned but it wasn't terrible. Going for days on no food or little food is not exactly planned but I knew it was a possibility, and I was fine with it.

I know plenty of people who would refuse those conditions: 2+ square meals per day or they quit.

For fire, I'm with you on backups-upon-backups. I like to have at least 3 different ways to start a fire available, but I'll take even more if I can. I prefer ferro rod to start mine with a spark, but having lighters and matches available is a good thing. I had to use a bic lighter to start a fire once this year when the rain and wind were bad. The backup was welcome.

However, my primary fire kit is just a tiny tin. It's not an altoids tin, but it's similar, a bit smaller I think, weighs probably a few ounces when full of my kit, and it's sufficient almost every time.

I do not weigh my gear, but I think I would be fine with 10 pounds (that's about 5 kg) or less for a 3-day trip. I am sure there are some who would be comfortable with less.

If, for some unknown reason, I could go on a 3-day trip I wanted but could take nothing but a bottle of water, a knife, a tarp, and my tiny fire kit, I would not let that stop me from going on and enjoying said trip.

Also keep the specific trip in mind. If I were to go on a 3-day hot-desert trek right now I would take gallons of water, a few granola bars, and only 2-5 pounds of other stuff. In the desert I would be paranoid about getting stuck without enough water, so I would be willing to carry 20+kg (40+ pounds), almost all of it water, where someone else might bring a battery-fan and a tent.

Maximal Camping

On the other end of the spectrum, I sometimes camp with people who "need" so much stuff that vehicles must be brought to carry it all and you cannot stray far from the vehicles. Hundreds of pounds of stuff for a few people. Full camp stove, full kitchen set of pots, pans, dishes, folding chairs, folding tables, extra shelter to protect this mobile kitchen from weather/bugs, etc.. For them, carrying as much as they can possibly lift would still not be enough.

Summary

Make sure you can supply yourself with the food and water you need to stay fed and the shelter you need to stay alive.

I think people should push their limits and try to live with less from time to time since that only makes us better, but each individual needs to figure out how light they can travel and still be comfortable and happy. Don't go with 2 kg of gear and have a miserable time just because I said it's good for you. Bring enough to enjoy the trip. If that requires 18 kilograms, so be it.

Make your best guess, then keep re-evaluating.

I'll close with a couple tips: An easy way to reduce weight without sacrificing is to research edible plants. If you eat the occasional leaf while you walk and reduce your packed food accordingly, you get a weight reduction practically for free. Second: some items are consumable, therefore some weight is diminishing - 1 pound of food is only carried on day one, 0 - 0.5 day 2, and it's not in your pack at all while hiking day 3, and similar for water reserves.

0

A rule of thumb is that the maximum weight you should be carrying is 20% of your body weight if you do not know how much weight you could be comfortably carrying while on a multi-days hike.

Now you know how much weight you should be carrying, the next step is to rank items by how essential they are.

Water:

This is especially important in summer and dry seasons. In drier seasons, not every creek marked on your map have water. Hiking in high temperature while dehydrated could be fatal.

Unfortunately water is also going to be one of the heaviest items in your backpack. So knowing where reliable water sources are will help you managing the weight of your backpack.

Sleeping bag and clothes that are warm enough:

This is especially important in cooler seasons. Hypothermia could kill.

Food:

You can carry gourmet food and fresh vegetable and fruits. But you can also cut down the weight down by bring dehydrate food and multi-vitamin pills.

Shelter:

Two person tent is sure more comfortable than a single person one. But single person tent is lighter. If you are really into hiking, ultralight tent could help to keep the weight down as long as shelter is concerned.

Cooking utensils:

Some kind of container (i.e. steel mug) & spork could come very handy.

Stove & fuel - essential unless you plan to use camp fire to cook.

Orientation tools and first aid kit:

If you have a good guide and team of experienced hikers, then you can carry only the essential. But if you hike alone, more prepared is always better.

Personal hygiene and extra clean clothes:

Nice to have, but you will end up dirty after 2-3 days hiking and sleeping in the dirt/snow. Can cut down if needed to be.

Redundancy/just-in-case items:

Tarp when you already carrying tent; Flashlight when you already got headlamp; A lighter, matches & flint: all three of those fire starting items. Batteries and powerbank.

If you can carry extra weight and have extra space in your backpack, then sure. Otherwise you can do with only one set of them instead of carrying both.

-3

But 3.5 liter is not enough and still 1/4 of the weight.

Get a good filter, water treatment, or boil water. Even with a filter have some treatment. Boil is time consuming and with a bigger pot it adds weight. More fuel but it does not require much more fuel.

Note the food you cook does not need separate treatment just bring it to a boil in preparation.

The stuff in water you see is the stuff that hurts you. The mico bugs was what can hurt you. Muddy water does not taste very good but it is drinkable and the filter will remove most. If it is really bad get a water bag and let it sit over night and a lot will settle. Filter from the top in the AM. But a good filter is $100.

Treatment is going to be the lightest and fastest.

And you can add powder electrolyte for some flavor.

After water. Take the heavy items and consider if spending more on a lighter version is worth it.

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