Ultralight Backpacking

There are many opinions on what exactly ultralight backpacking is, but the concept is always the same; carry the lightest and simplest set of gear possible while still maintaining safety.  It is left up to the individual to decide what “light” “simple” and “safety” means for them and to the specific trip they are going on.  There are many benefits to hiking with a lighter pack, some of which are obvious.  Reducing the weight of your pack allows you to cover more miles in a day, be less prone to injury or fatigue, and most of all enjoy hiking!

Kim and I have used the ultralight principles for our gear selection.  Whether we are considered “ultralight” or not is up to you.  The average weight of a thru hiker on the Appalachian trail is 30-35 lbs.  Our goal is to be 20 lbs or less.  A pack’s base weight is how much the backpack weighs with everything in it except food or water.

The “Big Three” or the “Three Heavies”

Your backpack, tent, and sleeping bag/pad are typically the three heaviest items a backpacker will carry.  Reducing these three items will significantly reduce the weight of your pack.  Because of this I am using Six Moon Designs Feather Light Backpack which is frame-less (my camping pad acts as the frame) and weighs 11 oz.  Kim is using Granite Gear’s Crown V.C. 60 weighing 2 lbs.  We are using Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp Tent paired with the Bug Net Tent for a 2 person double walled tent that weighs 2 lbs (our trekking poles are used to put the tent up).  Our sleep system is a Jacks’R’Better 2 person down quilt that weighs just under 2 lbs and Therm-a-rest Z-lite pads that weigh 10 oz each.  Taking time to choose our “Three Heavies” gave us a good start in trying to keep our base weights below 10 lbs.

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