Tips for Backpacking Lighter and Smarterby JT Sheehan on 04/29/12
1. Don’t Pack when you’re hungry
Figure out how much food you need on your trip and pack that amount. Having 2 pounds of extra food at the end of your trip, depending on how hard it was, may feel like 10.
2. Try Teamwork
Does your group really need 2 compasses? Lose redundant stuff like extra toothpaste, bug spray, etc.
3. Downsize your DEET
Practice portion control with the bug juice, sunscreen, toothpaste, condiments. Use small containers or plastic bags instead of original packing.
4. Pick items that multitask
Take things that do double duty like hiking poles to set up a trap or wearing the tarp like a shawl.
5. Forsake your fork
Make it easy do one pot meals. Essential cookware: one pot, one lid, one mug, and one spoon.
6. Carry only what you’re wearing
For short trips in moderate conditions, and only these five other essentials: Shelter/raingear, sleeping bag, water, food, and fire starter.
7. If you run out of sunscreen
No worries, white toothpaste is a quick fix in emergencies to cover crucial areas and prevent burning.
8. Think Small
Eye drop bottles are great for carrying soap, Tobasco, and first-aid disinfectant. Pop the topper off, disinfect with mild bleach, then refill.
9. Prepare for Darkness
Mark important items like flashlights, water bottles, headlamps, etc. with glow-in-dark-tape or paint for easy locating at night.
10. Use your watch as a compass
If you are lost without a compass, point the hour hand of your watch at the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and the 12 on the watch will be south. This even works with Daylight Saving Time.