Lightening the Load

My friend shared her gear list for a 22-mile backpack journey and asked for suggestions on how to lighten her load. Here is her list, with my suggestions for her to consider. Items to eliminate are crossed out, with suggestions to consider in parentheses. My suggestions are bold and in red. These are simply my suggestions for her to consider. In the end, the key is to LOVE YOUR GEAR! One inspiring moniker I heard as a beginning backpacker is “if you don’t have it, you don’t need it!” I think about that every time I go out.

Here’s the list:

backpack without brain
backpack cover
Zpacks total tent with sacs and stakes (consider no sac and minimum stakes)

Hammock Gear sleeping quilt: Burrow Econ 20 w/stuff sack and pillow 1.78 (use clothes in sack for pillow)

Walmart sheet liner 9.6 ounces .74 pounds

sleeping pillow

sleeping pad + pad repair kit and stuff sack

Garmin InReachExplorer

bandana with elastic and without same weight

beanie hat OR buff, not both??


emergency whistle on neck lanyard

pepper spray and carbiner

wind shirt/long sleeve

rain jacket  (use a small, cheap umbrella instead)

blue puffy coat (consider a lighter warm layer, fleece or wool)

???sleeping – smartwool layers – shirts and pants, sleep socks
(consider minimal extra clothes, ONE set of dry camp wear. One extra pair of socksCan serve as mitts if needed)

1 pair of trekking socks

camp shoes

Contractor bag

mini bic

Ursack and 10 x 12 opsak (consider lighter might be cord + small caribiner
and throwing food bag over a branch – if you can do that)


trail data book page(s)

compass plate

LED headlamp

extra headlamp batteries  (put new ones in, phone for backup)

first aid kit (minor wounds, meds, blisters)

toothbrush and toothpaste (use salt or peppermint oil for teeth + first aid)

hand sanitizer) with holder (small bottle!)

kula cloth

para cord bracelet (use this for food hanging rope??)

sawyer squeeze filter, 4 aqua tablets

CNOC dirty water bag 2liters


anker battery charger, cord and mesh bag (minimize if possible!)

sanitation: toilet paper, ziplocks, trowel, freshette(consider no toilet paper, use leaves, dig with heel or stick, wash with water in a tiny4 oz ziplock bowl and a small cellulose sponge, hotel size soap)

knee brace

sit pad

2 safety pins

1 oz bug spray




Happy walking!

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