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What Is Ultralight Backpacking?

While backpackers have different ideas of what is essential, one thing they have in common is the thought of how they can lighten their load. Reducing the weight of one’s pack can be achieved by removing one item at a time, or starting from scratch. However, if you want to have the lightest load while outdoors, then you should try ultralight backpacking.

Ultralight backpacking is a type of backpacking that prioritizes the simplest and lightest backpacking gear for a trip. The total weight of the pack is reduced as much as possible while ensuring that the individual remains safe during the trip. While there is no concrete definition of what ultralight backpacking is supposed to be, it is commonly accepted that ultra lightweight is less than 5kg, and lightweight is less than 10kg.

Ultralight Backpacking Essentials

If you are new to ultralight backpacking, then you might have a hard time reducing the weight of your load. Below are the things you need to consider when packing your backpack.

The first item is the backpack itself. A 65-liter backpack can carry all the essential stuff for a three-day trip. It is important to find a backpack that’s as light as possible. There are 65-liter packs that are around 3-pounds in weight that’s perfect for ultralight backpacking. There are ultralight backpackers who use 40 to 50-liter packs. However, it requires more technical skills and not recommended for beginners. You should keep in mind that lighter packs utilize lighter materials that are not as durable as typical packs.

Another essential item that you need to carry is the shelter. Expert ultralight backpackers use only lightweight tarps for shelter. These will be of good quality such as the DD Hammocks ultra lightweight series. However, if you need a full-enclosure shelter, then there are small tents on the market that weigh around two pounds. However, the material is delicate and might not last long. Another shelter option for ultralight backpacking is a bivy sack. It is light weight and provides full enclosure. On the downside, it provides no sit-up space.

Don’t skip on the important stuff!

It is also important that you don’t skip on important stuff such as first aid kit, compass, or an insulation layer just to trim the weight to a couple of ounces. And don’t forget the whistle. You’ll never know when you need to signal for help while on an off-trail location.

And when it comes to consumables, ultralight backpackers save weight by resupplying on food and water frequently. For trails with multiple access points, ultralight hikers opt to place food caches or stop at stores to resupply their food and water.

These are the things that you need to know about ultralight backpacking. It might seem hard to reduce the weight of your pack, but you will get used to it in the long run. Just think of the unused items you carried on past trips, and remove them from your pack. This will allow you to keep your pack clean and lighter.

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