February 15, 2012

What is Lightweight Hiking? Why should I hike light?

The answer most ultralight hikers would give is: It’s more fun. Lightweight backpackers typically say they feel free, close to nature, and enjoy not having the burden of a heavy pack.
Ultralight backpacking typically is not “fast packing” or covering as many miles as possible. It’s about hiking at the pace you like and enjoying it a lot more. The simplicity of ultralight hiking allows you to spend more time on the trail seeing more of the beauties of nature.

And the lighter weight means you end even high mileage days feeling stronger and more refreshed. Lighter packing weights leave your feet and legs with far less soreness and fatigue.

Many people are forced into lighter packs by age or injury, but more and more young backpackers are discovering the common sense freedom of lighter packs. Long distance hikers often start out with their “old” heavy packs, but are quickly converted to the joys of ultralight hiking after the first few days on the trail. Weekend hikers can recover from heavy loads, but thru hikers need to make better plans.

Weekend hikers might as well learn from the experience of others. It makes sense that you’ll have more fun on any hike when you’re carrying less. Think of the freedom you feel with a day pack. Then think of the weight you usually carry when hiking and camping for one night or longer. Wouldn’t you like to be close to that day hike weight when you’re on extended hikes?

Steve Green of www.hikelight.com. Steve is an avid hiker who has enjoyed trimming his backpack weight for over 40 years.

More information on Ultralight Backpacking Gear, Tips, and Techniques can be found at Onestep's Ultralight Backpacking Resource  “section hiking the Appalachian Trail with a 10 pound pack”.

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