Want to become a minimalist hiker? Follow these tips to keep your backpack from weighing you down.
Going outdoors is fun but not when you’re hauling a heavy load on your back. So, hikers, these days are putting way more thought on what they actually need to try to make their backpack as light as possible. Nowadays the term “minimalist hiker” is often used to describe such hikers. When you become a minimalist hiker, you can spend more time enjoying everything that Mother Nature has to offer instead of dealing with a sore back.
To put it simply, an ultralight backpack means more fun on the trail. That’s the very reason why lighter gear, smaller backpacks, and fewer clothes are becoming common on long thru-hikes. After reading this article, you’ll have some great tips to help shave off every ounce physically possible from your backpack.
If you too are thinking about embracing minimalism, here is a list of ideas and few tips on how to become a minimalist hiker.
1) Selecting the right gear
Selecting the right gear will ALWAYS help you decrease weight on your backpack. You can have an ultralight backpack if you mercilessly analyze every piece of hiking gear you have before the start of the trip. So take a good look at all your equipment. Leave anything unnecessary behind. Only bring items that will truly be useful on the trail. This may mean that you may have to compromise on your comfort. Remember that a lightweight backpack is a priced asset for a minimalist hiker!
Go through your items as you look for that hidden weight – items that often go unnoticed. It’s true, pounds are made of ounces! Things like the packaging on food, extra buckles, and cords on backpacks, those small medicine bottles, the center paper of your tissue paper, etc. Just weigh your items before you eliminate the hidden weight and then weigh them afterward. You will be surprised!
Note: Inflatable gears are the way to go when it comes to lightweight travel.
2) Have a proper mindset
Becoming a minimalist hiker is a mindset, a conscious decision. And having a proper mindset is everything when you’re pushing yourself to the limits. Accept that life in the wilderness is going to be somewhat or entirely different than staying in the comfort of your home. In fact, it’s this difference that hikers and campers find thrilling. But it can be difficult to follow a new pattern from the get-go. You may even feel intimidated at first. So start slow and gradually improve your choices on what to bring. No need to rush it.
3) Choosing Food
Tasty and nutritious food is as vital on the road, maybe more vital than when eating at home. Visit your local grocery shop and check out for those foods that are high in calories. Freeze-dried and caloric dense meals are the go-to food options for minimalist hikers. Even if you do not eat them at home because they aren’t all that yummy, they can provide the nutrients as well as other minerals that you require when you are in the jungle. So don’t pack your backpack with heavy pieces of meat. Instead eat cold food such as hard cheese, nuts, and even packed sandwiches.
4) Clothes… One Outfit Only!
This is an area that can easily become quite personal. We all have our favorite attires but most of the time these favorites aren’t really what we need when out in the jungle. They are often hard to let go but extra clothing will weigh you down. Wearing a good top and bottom layer is good enough for most hiking adventures. You can complete most hikes without carrying multiple outfits. Having said that, you do need to think about the weather and carry raincoats & jacket for a three-season kit.
Extra Tip: After each hike, make a record of what you found useful, and what you didn’t use or eat. Note that you should not put safety items such as gloves, first aid kit, or your rain gear in the list of things you didn’t use, but it should include those clothes you always carry but never use or that food you always bring home uneaten. Refer to these notes every time you’re about to go outdoors and make your load lighter.
Whether it’s your first hike or your tenth, you can always learn some new tricks to lighten up your backpack. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you too can become a minimalist hiker without jeopardizing your safety. Don’t forget to leave a comment & let us know which tip worked out best for you.
Hike light. Have fun.
Thinking about hiking at night? Check out this blog post: 7 Safety Tips For Hiking At Night.