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Tips to Lighten a Backpack

Q. My troop likes to go backpacking. I’d like to participate, but my pack is really heavy. How do I lighten it?
— Lighten-the-Load Austin, Danville, California

A. With all the cool gear out there, it’s easy to over pack. Eagle Scout Ryan Jordan, founder of and a licensed wilderness skills instructor, shares his tips for cutting down pounds:

Weigh it. Get a digital scale and weigh your gear. Add it all up and assess: Camp chairs, GPS devices, the latest novel — do you really need all this stuff? Make a list of items you must carry, and research to find lighter options for the heaviest items on your list, such as a tent or camp stove.

Consider multiple-use items. Opting for multi-use gear reduces the number of items you carry and can simplify life on the trail. For instance: Use one pot for boiling, eating and drinking.

Practice makes perfect! Backyard camping is a great way to tune your gear without the risks you might take in the backcountry. Plus, it helps you develop outdoor skills, which will strengthen your ability to improvise in the backcountry and thus lighten the things you carry “just in case.”

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5 Comments on Tips to Lighten a Backpack

  1. I go backpacking.

  2. Consider using a lighter back pack (smaller or nylon instead of canvas.)

  3. Scouting Mom // December 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm // Reply

    Share items so everyone doesn’t have to carry the same thing. A small tube of toothpaste goes a long way or a single package of moleskin.

  4. Most commercial survival kits are overpriced for the value they provide. They can be made cheaper and better yourself.

    Your kit should be tuned for the type of environment you’ll need it for.

    Google backcountry survival kits for ideas.

  5. Survival Sammy // April 30, 2017 at 6:11 am // Reply

    What survival kit should I get?

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