If you have been backpacking for any amount of time, you know the less weight you carry, the easier it will be, so to speak. As I get ready to set out on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in February I keep finding more and more ways to lighten my load even though some would say that I am carrying everything but the kitchen sink. So what are some easy hacks to lighten your backpack weight?
For me, I look for lighter “gear” to replace heavier gear. I also look for gear that has a dual purpose, and finally, I try and think outside of the box to look for items that can be used for backpacking even if they weren’t designed to be used for backpacking.
Here are my top 5 hacks to lighten your backpack weight:
Use a Nylofume bag as a bag liner: Compactor bags are great as a bag liner, but Nylofume bags are lighter and more puncture-resistant in my experience. An added bonus is they are also odor proof. For those not familiar with what these are or their original intended purpose; pest control companies use these to put food and other items in that cannot be washed while they are fumigating a home.
Neti Pot as a Bidet instead of Toilet Paper: Originally I was using a peri bottle to replace toilet paper for #1 (I always use a single wet wipe that I pack out for #2). I looked around for smaller and lighter versions, tried several travel bidets; even ones that go on a water bottle. I eventually found a child-size neti pot that is lighter than even the bidet ones that attach to a water bottle. Neti pots are actually meant to rinse your sinuses, but they work great as a bidet as well.
Make your own Sit Pad / Everything Pad: I bought a cheap “camping mat” that was made out of foil and EVA plastic. A lot of people will use Reflectix, but I found that the “camping mat” is more pliable and also weighs less. In fact, my body long mat weighs the exact same about as the Therm-a-rest Z Seat sit pad I had. I will use this as a sit pad, a pad or my sleeping pad (for extra warmth and to protect against punctures) cowboy camping, for the times I have to sleep in a shelter, and for stretching.
Crystal Light Container as Glasses Holder: Before I got LASIK, I was trying to come up with a way to protect my glasses and sunglasses while backpacking that would be lightweight. I found that the containers that the single-serve crystal light comes in works amazing. In fact, for extra weight savings, I found the Great Value brand to weigh the least AND it is square instead of an oval which allows two pairs of glasses to fit easily.
Use Pill Pouches for Medications: You can buy these in the drug aisle of your local grocery store or buy them here on Amazon. They are perfect for storing prescription medications or even OTC meds. For prescriptions make sure to have the pharmacy print off an extra label so you can attach it to the pouch.
What hacks do you have?
What hacks do you have to lighten your backpack weight? List them below in the comments section!