Most of us are accustomed to a certain living standard and comfort level. When we begin backpacking, climbing, hiking, or whatever, in the backcountry, we often attempt to take that standard and corresponding comfort with us. Consequently, we each have our stories of laboring under heavy packs, and hopefully, each of us has learned ways to shed some of that weight. If not, or if you want to join me in shedding more weight, read on.
I have to laugh at myself. About 28 years ago, I spent four months traveling around Europe and the British Isles. During that time I didn't carry much in my pack--just enough to stay dry, warm, and nourished. After I returned home, I quit backpacking for some years and, in that interim, forgot the basic principle of traveling light.
When I began backpacking again, it didn't take me long to remember.
It was August, with temperatures in the high 90's - a six-day trip into the Washington Central Cascades, Alpine-Lakes Wilderness, High Enchantment Lakes. A long, gruelling, 12 mile climb, with over 6000 feet elevation gain. It was not a fun part of the trip - my pack weighed 60 pounds ! I won't tell you what was in it, but I will say that if I made that same trip today, that pack would weigh less than 30 pounds, at the outset !
Six days later, it was a descent that included negotiating the infamous Aasgard Pass -- next thing to vertical, losing 2200 feet in 3/4 mile on small rocks that invariably slide under the boot as well as large slippery rocks. No trail, had to follow cairns. Not a good place to be carrying a heavy (now 45 pound) pack !
The primary message being conveyed at this website, is that traveling light in the backcountry will increase your enjoyment level, significantly. A light pack will allow for increased awareness & enjoyment of the surroundings while enroute to your destination. Once you get there, you'll still have energy to celebrate your arrival, as well as to explore further. Also, a light pack decreases the risk of fatigue-related injuries (from falling, heat-exhaustion, etc.) and injuries from undue stress on back, legs, knees, and feet.
The "Packlight Philosophy" emphasizes a never-ending commitment to (1) scrutinize packing habits in order to fine-tune minimum packing needs and (2) aggressively seek out the smallest, lightest-weight, highest-quality gear available to satisfy those needs.
In these pages you will find information about lightweight (and ultralight) gear; weight-reducing tips; gear that can be used for multiple purposes; general packing information; gear checklists; backcountry ethics; and much, much more.
This website is always desirous of suggestions and, most importantly, reader contributions.
In addition -- and related to Packlite Philosophy -- the Lightweight Backpacker has been interviewed on several occasions. The following are a sampling of questions that have been asked and the TLB answers.
FREQUENT QUESTIONS & TLB ANSWERS