Most of the time, people make mistakes when they are packing for long hikes. In order to feel safe, we tend to crowd our backpacks with items that don’t actually help us much, but in fact, only make us more tired and frustrated. When we have a long hike, we get tired and our body experiences physical struggles. The last thing that we need is an additional weight that will slow us down and make us lose more energy. We end up with more weight on our shoulders than we should have carried, and eventually, we come to appreciate the value of light backpacking. You see, a lighter backpack can prevent our backs, knees, and ankles from getting tired or, in some situations, getting injured. We’re going to present you 7 tips on how to pack lighter for long hikes
1. Always buy a smaller backpack than you think you will need
The first and the most important tip is this: when you are buying your backpack, don’t select the biggest one. You will never need that much space for your hikes. This is the most common mistake that inexperienced hikers make. We often pack our backpacks to the point of bursting. No matter what size it is, we tend to want to use whatever space is available. It’s human nature! If we have big backpacks, we will always want to add one more item. In this situation, we find ourselves constantly needing to add more “useful” stuff that isn’t actually going to help much during the adventure. Bigger backpacks lead to carrying more weight, spending more energy, and likely becoming fatigued after a shorter period of time, so don’t get carried away when you are buying your backpack. You should always select a backpack that is 10% to 15% smaller than the one that catches your eye and that you imagine you will need on your journey. It is much better for you to have a smaller backpack because you will be more careful and selective, choosing only those items that are truly valuable to you during your hike. Eventually, you are likely to make the smaller backpack overcrowded too, but at least your burden will be less heavy than it would have been if you had chosen a larger backpack.
2. Choose lighter and more useful equipmen
When you are preparing for a hike, you have to determine what sort of equipment you need to take with you. Do not waste your space or your energy on anything that won’t be useful to you. For example, you don’t need hiking sticks if the terrain is flat and easy. Also, if you are taking a hike during the summer, carrying winter equipment wouldn’t be smart. Simply stated, don’t take all of your equipment everywhere you go. Depending on the specifics of your tour, you should determine which equipment is most suitable. Make a list of all of your equipment and their specifications. Knowing the measurements and dimensions of all parts of your equipment will be very helpful. You should pay special attention to the weight of your equipment as you will normally want to choose lighter items. However, you should also keep in mind that lighter equipment is typically more expensive because manufacturers know that weight is a concern for hikers. After several tours, you will learn which specific items of your hiking equipment are needed in which situations.
3. Keep jewelry, electronics, and books out of the backpack!
This is an important and logical piece of advice for all hikers: take only the things that you need during your hike. This may seem humorous, and you may say that you already know this rule, but do you always follow it? We’re 100% certain that at least once in your life, you brought some unnecessary items with you on your hiking tour. Here are a few things that tend to find their way into our backpacks without a proper reason: various electronics, books, valuable items such as jewelry, unnecessary clothing, entertainment items, and more. If you are still not convinced, we’ll provide a more thorough explanation. Why would you need your expensive watch or necklace during your hiking tour? You may be able to think of a reason to justify wearing these items, but consider the ways in which they can make your adventure unpleasant. They can slow you down, as if you were carrying a heavy burden on your shoulders. Also, imagine if you lose or damage your favorite watch. This will surely affect your morale and mood, and in the end, it will affect your adventure, perhaps spoiling it for you and your fellow hikers. Also, you don’t need to carry many electronic items. If you have your mobile phone, why should you pack additional items like a camera or mp3 player? We are the era of smart phones, so use yours for maps and orientation as much as you possible. Don’t fill in your backpack with unnecessary medical items or toiletries. Simple soap or antibacterial gel will do the job. Also, there’s no need to bring a large package of wet wipes when a smaller package is sufficient. Similarly, you will not need your whole guide book on your hike, so just extract the specific parts that you are going to need. We could provide many more examples, but we are sure that we have convinced you to substantially cut out unnecessary things from your baggage. Remember, lower your burden and take care of your back, feet, and energy. You will need them during tours.
4. Share your burden!
Sharing with others is an excellent strategy that will help you reduce your load. If you are traveling in a group, you can make a deal with your friends and arrange that everyone shares his items with the other members of the group. Of course, we are not suggesting that you should share your personal items such as hygiene items, but there are many items that can be shared. For example, if you want longer video recordings from this tour, you can arrange for one group member to carry his video camera. Also, just one person can bring a map, instead of everyone bringing their own. This arrangement will also create a strong bond in the group, culminating in a positive team spirit among all the hikers. Morale will be much higher, and your tour will be much more fun. In some situations, this can be priceless.
5. Take only the necessary clothes
As we have already discussed, baggage is one of the most important considerations when you are hiking. Usually, half of your backpack space will be used for clothing. This means that you have to carefully choose which items you are going to take with you. Important articles of clothing are socks, shirts, pants to suit the climate, and jackets. You will not need two jackets and three sweaters. Again, take only those items that will be most valuable to you on your hike.
6. Pack according to weather
In order to make your burden lighter, you have to choose your equipment according to the weather. We live in an era in which we can reasonably predict the weather for the next two or three days, so use that information. Before you start packing, you should check what kind of weather conditions are predicted for the area you are going to visit. If you do this, you will avoid much trouble and significantly reduce the weight of your backpack. For example, if you are heading for cold areas, you should pack clothing items that can be worn in layers. On the other hand, if you are hiking in, let’s say, the jungle, you will need a greater number of t-shirts and towels. The weather will also affect your decision about which hiking equipment to bring. There is no need to bring items designed for use on rainy days if the weather is going to be sunny. Although it logical to consider the weather conditions, many hikers fail to do this.
7. Eat and Drink Moderately
n regard to food and drinks, we have one more piece of advice for you: do not eat too much and don’t drink water very often. Don’t be tempted to drink a lot of water. Water will make you heavier and it will slow down your movement. You should drink small amounts, and drink more often. One sip every half an hour and you won’t experience either thirst or slowed movement. The same advice applies to eating. Don’t interrupt the tempo of hiking to stop and take a bite. After eating, we often desire to take a break; if you want to move quickly, you can’t afford to waste any time during the daylight. Rule number one about food is to eat the heaviest foods at the beginning of your trip. In other words, food in tins and cans are a heavy burden for you and should be eaten first. Our advice is to carry and eat dehydrated foods, as dehydrated foods take less space in your backpack and are lighter than cans. You can also choose food that is packed in foil or other light materials rather than metal. You also need to determine how much water you are going to take with you. One gallon of water weighs around 8.35 pounds, which is a considerable load for any hiker. One liter of water should be enough; anything more than that is a waste of space and energy. You should avoid juice and soda, because they often make us thirsty after we drink them.
There are many simple ways to make your movement and packing lighter. Often we don’t think about these things because individually, they seem like small concerns. But when they are added together, we notice that they affect our hiking greatly. After all, we don’t want to reduce the quality of our hiking tour because of slow movement, frustration, or bad moods. We hope that we have brought many helpful tips to your attention, and that our advice will help you experience many quality hiking tours in the near future.
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