Tips to Make Your Backpack Lighter

white freeze dryer, orange tent by a river, a backpacker, food cooking over an open fire

The easiest way to absolutely hate a hiking trip is by having a heavy backpack. Lots of factors go into determining what a pack should weigh, but there are some general guidelines that hikers can follow:

  • A loaded backpacking pack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight
  • A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight

So, for example, a hiker that weighs 150 pounds should try to carry 30 pounds or less on long backpacking trips and 15 pounds or less when going on a day hike. While these guidelines may not be best for everyone, it does help establish a starting baseline.

Most hikers and backpackers want to carry less in their packs. There are a few ways to help eliminate weight and enjoy hiking more.

Replace old gear with lighter gear.
Go through and weigh the gear that you are currently using. Companies come out with lighter and lighter gear every year. If you can afford to do so, pick a few of your heavier items and purchase lighter, replacement gear.

Eliminate unnecessary items.
Do you really need those pajama pants? Look through your pack and take out those items that you can live without.

Repackage and share.
If you are hiking for only a day or two do you need a large tube of toothpaste? Look through your items and see which ones can be trimmed down and repackaged. If hiking with others, end up sharing some weight. Everyone in the group doesn’t need to bring a map, pots, tent, etc.

Pack for the weather.
Select clothing and gear that is appropriate for the season and weather. If it will be cold, dress in layers. Layering is more effective than carrying a bulky sweater or coat.

Pack freeze-dried food.
Probably the very best way to cut down on the weight of a pack is by packing freeze-dried food. You have to pack food but you can really eliminate weight when you decide to pack freeze-dried food. But you also have to pack the right freeze-dried food. Store-bought freeze-dried food contains added preservatives and salt and after eating a few of these meals you may not even feel well enough to continue hiking.

That is where freeze drying at home comes in. By freeze drying meals at home using a Harvest Right freeze dryer you can make meals you actually enjoy and that you know are healthy. Hikers with food allergies or special diet restrictions will love home freeze-dried meals even more.

Replacing traditional food items (cans of stew, boxed mac and cheese, etc.) with freeze-dried food will significantly lighten your pack and actually make you look forward to eating a meal after a long day of hiking.

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