How to Save Some Weight and Space in Your Backpack
We all know that there is always a trade-off when it comes to reducing weight and conserving space as much as possible. Once you've whittled down your items to those that you will use during your hike or while camping, there's still room to make some additional changes. Let's look at a few ways to shave some excess fat from your backpack without having to cut out basic essentials or important accessories.
Whenever possible, choose synthetic fabric over cotton. Cotton is heavy, bulky and can add pounds to your backpack if the material gets wet. Cotton also takes a long time to dry compared to other material as well. Synthetic material is light, easy to store and will dry in a fraction of the time that it takes for cotton. Just make sure that you choose material that insulates as well as breathes in order to allow moisture from your body to escape without causing heat loss.
Consider downsizing some of your items and pack their smaller counterparts. Making the switch to LED lights can reduce the size and number of batteries that you need to pack. Dehydrating food will allow you to store more meals in a lot less space, with a lot less weight. Consider grabbing some smaller lighters instead of bigger ones, or get a Zippo instead. You can even replace backpack covers with lighter options that are just as durable and effective at repelling water. Go through your items and see what else you can downsize. Chances are that you'll be surprised with the results.
The less water that you take with you the better. Bring a good sports bottle that's filled along with suitable filter and some purification tablets. Plan where you will source your water ahead of time, and drink up on-site instead of lugging all of that extra weight and bulk around. Water bladders are a popular option due to their ability to change shape around the contours of your body or backpack. However, the water will slosh around as you hike, and this can impact your balance in addition to adding extra weight to your load. Focus on getting water on-site, and your body will thank you later.
You can also literally trim items that are bigger than needed. Tarps and sleeping pads are the first things to come to mind. Most of them are longer or wider than we need, and cutting them down to size can free up a lot more space than you may think. You can also probably find other uses for the excess material and store in a more compact manner as well.
Taking these simple steps can help to save additional space and cut down on even more unnecessary weight. Go through your gear, accessories and clothing and assess how you can make what's left even more compact and easy to carry around. Remember that just because you have a big backpack doesn't mean that it needs to be completely-full. However, having a lighter load along with some additional space will allow you to carry other, optional items that didn't make the cut earlier.
Get creative, get practical and get on the trail with a backpack that's easier to carry.