Ultralight Backpacking Gear for Long-Distance Adventures
Long-distance hikes require extra preparation. You’ll have to deal with changing terrain, weather conditions, flora, fauna and secluded locations without another human in sight. For the inexperienced, the challenge clears the way for making wrong choices and overpacking.
The Weight on Your Shoulders
Carrying a lot of weight affects hikers’ ability to walk comfortably, which can result in physical injuries and might prevent them from completing the long-distance hike and reaching their goal. Common backpack-related injuries include foot blisters, lower back pain, chronic joint pain, compression of cervical spinal nerves known as rucksack palsy and paresthesia, a temporary numbing sensation affecting the legs, arms and feet.
How Much Is Too Much?
Experts have been trying to conclude how much should your pack weigh. Primarily, the consensus was 30% of your body weight but these values are drawn from military standards, making them unfit for most of us. More recent reviews on pack weight say it shouldn’t weigh more than 20% of your body weight.
One study explored how backpack weight influenced hikers on the Appalachian Trail, one of the most mesmerising long-distance trails in the world. Out of the hikers whose pack weights were over the limits, only 26% completed the trail and 91% that had at least one injury had backpacks weighing over 20% of their body weight.
Packing for Long Distances
Expert backpackers usually recommend newbies not to go ultralight when deciding on the number of items they pack. In the beginning, it’s safer and more convenient to be prepared instead of deficient and it should be up to the experience of the hiker to decide what they do and don’t need.
Nonetheless, there are outdoor essentials that you must include. Luckily, there’s camping gear like ultralight tents, sleeping bags and trekking shoes which is specifically designed to take the load off your back, making it easy to stick within that 20% without having to compromise on necessities.
Even when you’re not experienced enough to know what you will and won’t need, you can still make sure your backpacking essentials are optimised for the long haul. Get lightweight outdoor gear from the start and skip the phase of learning through trial and error:
When you heard the words “ultralight tent” did you start imagining something that resembles a garbage bag, light but thin, can tear easily and fly off with the slightest wind? Let me stop you right there. Not only do freestanding ultralight tents offer multi-pitch versatility but are also symmetrically designed to fit more than one person for more than one season.
Scientists and experienced adventurers around the world answered what are some ultralight materials you should be scouting for when choosing outdoor camping gear. Silnylon is one of the least expensive and most widely used ultralight fabrics. It’s standard nylon impregnated with silicone that makes it waterproof. Also, it uses ripstop weave, meaning that any tears in your tent won’t continue to expand.
Ultralight Sleeping Bags
The weight of a sleeping bag depends on what fills it (insulation) and how it’s cut (shape).
A backpacking sleeping bag with down insulation would be a better choice if you’re looking to reduce backpack weight. The world’s lightest down proof nylon, Anti-Gravity nylon, weighs only around 21 grams per square meter.
In spite of its lightness, Anti-Gravity Nylon is still very durable thanks to its super-high thread count and mini-ripstop weave. The exceptionally low weight allows down to loft to its full potential with minimal restriction leading to more warmth with less down, weight and bulk. Some sleeping bags weigh only 300g and pack to a size hardly more than a 1L bottle!
Regarding the shape, rectangular sleeping bags are roomier. On the other hand, mummy-shaped ones are more compact and fit your body economically.
Undoubtedly, a down mummy shape backpacking sleeping bag would be the lightest sleeping bag, making it perfect for long-distance hikes.
There are ways to enjoy adventures in style but when going on a long-distance one, make sure to set your priorities. Remember, on some trails you might not see other people for days. What’s more important, how you look during the journey or if you arrived at your destination safely and efficiently?
Leave cotton and linen for a walk in the town and choose lightweight clothing made from Gore-Tex, a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric. This will allow you to stay dry while simultaneously avoiding condensation. If you have such a multi-purpose outfit, you won’t need to bring additional items to keep you protected from the elements, thus saving on weight and pack space.
Lightweight Cooking Equipment
How do you bring your kitchen with you without actually doing so? By using multi-tools you get the weight of more items (or less) in one, lighter and more practical product.
Choose titanium products as they offer a significant weight decrease over steel or enamel kitchenware. Titanium is a lightweight but strong, eco-friendly, corrosion-resistant and bacteria inhibitive material. It has good heat transfer but is also resistant to extremely high or low temperatures.
You can find titanium mugs with a folding handle and lid that come in 300mL, 600mL and 900mL sizes. Weighing only a bit over 100g, you can both drink out of it or cook in it.
A titanium spork can weigh just 15g, making it the perfect tool for delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some even have an integrated bottle opener, taking care of all of your gastronomical needs.