Few enjoy the thought of lugging a 30 kg backpack up steep hills for hours on end; even seasoned hikers are adverse to this aspect of the experience. This is why the concept of Ultralight backpacking is becoming increasingly popular. Traditionally, backpackers had to just suck it up and accept the fact that they would have to carry a heavy pack in order to spend a decent amount of time in the bush. However, due to advances in technology, camping equipment is becoming increasingly lighter – sparking competition among outdoor brands as to who has the lighters products.
Ultralight backpacking is defined as tramping with a pack which is less than 10 kg. Ultralight is a lot more weather dependent, as essentials are obviously a lot heavier. It is also best suited for those with wilderness experience. For example, to save carrying the heaviest item – a tent, experienced bushman may opt to construct their own shelter.
Weight can be easily minimised through only taking what you need. For example, there is no need to bring full tubes of sunblock or toothpaste. A handy hint for shampoos and soaps is to use the complimentary containers provided in hotels.
The heaviest items you take hiking are your shelter, sleeping bag, mattress, and the often overlooked; backpack. You simply cannot go ultralight backpacking with a pack from the 1980’s, you need to invest in a light weight pack. You should opt for a pack around 65 litres, and it may come as a surprise, but packs of this size can weigh as little as 1.5 kg. If you are not keen to build a shelter (a fair decision as sleep is very important) you should find yourself a light weight tent, ideally one that stores very small, and has carbon fibre pegs and poles.
It is important to note that, in your pursuit of having the lightest pack possible, you should never compromise safety. Always carry a first aid kit, and essentials like a knife and a compass. Safety should always remain as your number one priority, and be sure to thoroughly plan your backpacking expeditions before setting out.