Are you an avid outdoorsman? Do you love spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are probably well aware of the beauty of backpacking. Backpacking allows you to get away from crowded camping spots and allows you to get back to nature. When it comes to planning a backpacking trip, there are a few important considerations to remember. Below, we will discuss tips on how to pack light on your next backpacking trip.

Plan your hike

The key to having a good backcountry experience starts with a good plan. Figure out where you will be hiking. Plan your route carefully. Once you know the length and duration of your hike, you will be able to assemble the proper gear. Is your hike a short weekend trip? You won’t need to bring extensive survival gear. Is your hike a week long expedition? If so, you will need to plan on bringing a lot more food and other gear items. Planning ahead is essential to a positive backpacking experience.

Trim the excess

Once you have determined the route, length, and duration of your backpacking trip, it is time to pack your bag. Lay everything out before stuffing your backpack, and bring along a scale. Weigh everything you plan on taking with you. Add it all up. This is where you can make some gains towards having a lighter weight backpack. Ask yourself a simple question as you weigh each item: do I absolutely need this? If the answer isn’t an obvious yes, leave it at home. Another thing to think about when deciding if you should bring along a certain item or not is whether the gear item serves more than one purpose. Multi-purpose gear items are more easily justified when packing for a lightweight backpacking trip. Trimming the excess can also mean finding a lighter weight alternative. Look for smaller, more compact substitues for gear you normally bring camping.

Distribute the weight

Another great way to cut down on excess weight is to distribute the weight of larger gear items amongst the group. This obviously only works if you plan on hiking with friends or family. If you are flying solo, you will need to carry everything you need yourself. In a group, however, you can split up heavy group items, like cooking gear and tents. More physically able hikers might be able to carry more weight than others, and this is a great way to distribute the weight throughout the group.

Pack light, hike light

Remember that if you pack light, you will be hiking light. Your back and legs will thank you once you reach camp. Good luck planning your next backpacking trip, and keep these lightweight backpacking tips in mind.