This is a style of backpacking where the emphasis is placed on minimising the weight carried on trips. By carrying lighter and more multi-purpose equipment, light weight backpackers are better able to cover longer distances per day with less wear and tear on the body. This generally allows a more enjoyable experience and helps facilitate a more energy efficient trip.
We came to the lightweight philosophy after reaching a point on our travels where we were sick of taking unnecessary, cumbersome items because they fulfilled the ‘just in case’ mentality which marketing departments had got us believing.
We’ve lost count of the number of people we have spoken to, who remember their first outdoor or DofE (Duke of Edinburg Award Scheme) experience at a young tender age as being one of intense misery and pain, due the shock and agony of carrying their first rucksack loaded to the hilt with everything bar the ‘kitchen sink’.
Similarly many older ‘born again’ hikers come to us at the other end of the age scale knowing they can no longer carry 20kg+ loads and are seeking a way for them to get enjoyment in the outdoors whilst maintaining comfort.
By minimising weight through careful selection of items in your pack including – cooking, sleeping, safety and clothing equipment as well as your pack itself you can ensure a more enjoyable outdoors experience.
Symptoms of carrying too much weight include; exhaustion, irritability, low team spirit, increased chance of injury, chafing, sore body parts, back, knees, tendons, muscles, blisters, shoulders, twisted ankles, a tedious view of the trip, dehydration, loss of heat through sweating.
Of course when you are tired any decision you make can be a poor, even dangerous, one. Finally, exhaustion means you just don’t enjoy the main reason you are there. The outdoors; chilling out, chatting, sunbathing, camp cooking, counting the stars, exploring your surroundings and a good night’s sleep in the fresh open air.
The lightweight philosophy has made a huge difference to the way we enjoy the outdoors and it is an ideal which has spread through many sectors from walkers, cyclists, kayakers, runners to world travellers to many more! The message that people are spreading now is that ‘minimum weight – does really equal maximum fun!’