Guide to Ultralight Backpacking

Ultralight backpacking is no easy feat. Backpacking is an activity that generally requires quite a bit of equipment, making backpacks heavy and backpackers weighed down with gear. Carrying the amount of gear necessary for a backpacking trip also often leaves backpackers tired and sore. A little careful planning can make ultralite backpacking easier, while still keeping you prepared.

Ultralight backpacking is slightly lighter than lightweight backpacking. Many backpackers consider ultralite backpacking to be a total gear weight (not including food and water) of under ten pounds.

Backpacking gear has made major progress over the years, in terms of becoming lighter. Materials are lightweight and fast-drying, and equipment is condensed yet still high-quality and easy to use.

Your tent is a good place to lose a lot of excess weight. Tarp tents weigh less than twenty-four ounces, yet protect from the sun, rain and bugs. They're not sturdy enough to take you through winter camping, but they'll be more than sufficient to get you through spring to early fall ultralight backpacking.

Choose a backpack that is light, yet can fit what you'll need to bring. Padded shoulders and a waist belt can make the pack feel lighter, as can waterproof material (by keeping your pack from getting heavy when it's wet).

If you'll be backpacking near water, bring a water purifier. This will reduce the amount of water you have to have on you (though you should always have some water on you just in case).

Rather than bringing a grill with you, pack some matches and a fire starter. This way you'll be able to cook any food that you've brought (or that you catch). There are also very lightweight stoves available on the market these days, which operate in a variety of ways. Look into the types of lightweight stoves out there, and compare them to your needs.

General backpacking advice states that you should always wear hiking boots, both for ankle support as well as protection from thorns and other things which may injure your legs. If you're really invested in making ultralight backpacking your priority, opt for a good old fashioned pair of running sneakers. Some companies make waterproof running sneakers, which are ideal for backpacking.

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