Outdoors Information

Ultralight Backpacking Versus Traditional Backpacking


Contrary to what many think, ultralight backpacking is not just about the freedom to hike more miles or to take your whole pack up the mountain with you. It is also about comfort and safety. Backpackers with heavy loads work too hard and threaten their joints too much. Challenges may add to the experience, but why suffer more than is necessary?

The Disadvantages Of Traditional Backpacking

Lack Of Freedom

You can't easily take a side trip up that hill, just to see what is there. If you do it without your pack, you have to go back the same way to get your pack.

It's A Hassle

Putting on and taking off your heavy pack quickly becomes a chore. You start leaving it on even during rest stops, just so you don't have to deal with it.

It's Tiring

Backpacking is clearly more tiring with a heavy pack, and you probably won't enjoy yourself as much when you are tired.

More Injuries

Sprained ankles, blistered feet, sore muscles, and back and knee problems are just some of the common consequences of too much weight on your back.

Slowness

More weight equals slower progress, which means less access to wild places (you can't go as far on your four-day trip), or it means less time to for enjoyable activities, like a swim in a mountain lake, or a relaxing evening in camp.

More Dangerous

More injuries, and the inability to move quickly when a storm is coming or an emergency requires you to get to a road, means that backpacking can actually be more dangerous with a heavy load. Add to that the possibility of bad decisions due to tiredness.

The Ultralight Backpacking Alternative

Done the right way, ultralight backpacking gives you more freedom, more comfort, more safety, more enjoyment and less suffering than traditional backpacking. It allows you to move faster, but notice that I say "allows." It doesn't require it. It just gives you the option. That's more freedom.

I have yet to meet or hear about a person who has tried lightweight backpacking for a while, and then gone back to a heavy load. I'm not saying it is for everyone. Bad ankles may require heavy hiking boots, and bad habits may require a big pack to satisfy them. But even a backpacker who needs a pillow and big rectangular sleeping bag, can find these in lighter forms.

You just can't understand the sense of liberation felt by a convert to ultralight backpacking, until you try it yourself. When I, with my eleven-pound pack, walk past overloaded backpackers struggling up steep trails, I remembered being in their place, and I know I am enjoying myself more now.

Misconceptions About Ultralight Backpacking

Lighweight Backpacking Means Sacrifice

Not so. Bring your favorite camera! A lighter load means you can stop to use it more easily. If you leave behind the things you don't need, and bring a lighter backpack, tent, and sleeping bag, you can more easily bring that telephoto lense or whatever is really important to you.

Lighweight Backpacking Is Less Safe

The opposite! Bring all the safety items; a sleeping bag, first aid kit, shelter, water purification, etc. Just bring lighter versions. A light load makes you less likely to lose your balance and fall, or to otherwise injure yourself. It also means faster response to iffy situations.

A note about safety:

It is lagely a matter of knowledge and experience. A trained survivalist will always be safer backpacking with no shelter than a neophyte with the best tent. Learn a little about how to use you equipment properly, or to read the sky for comimg storms, and you can go lighter and safer.

Lightweight Backpacking Is Less Comfortable

Is it less comfortable to have 18 pounds on your back than 50? Is it less comfortable to have an ultralight sleeping bag if it keeps you just as warm? I stopped getting blisters (totally) when I started using running shoes instead of hiking boots. Cut the weight on your back by twenty-five pounds, and you can add back a heavier coat, if that is what you need to be comfortable.

Lightweight Backpacking Is Expensive

Ultralight sleeping bags are expensive. Almost everything else needed for ultralight backpacking can be found for the same price or cheaper than traditional gear. There are many sub-three-pound backpacks under a hundred dollars, for example.

Bottom Line:

Try it. The first time you are fifteen miles into the day, and you realize that you can easily run up that hill-just to see what is there, you'll know you made the right decision.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of going light. His advice and stories can be found at The Ultralight Backpacking Site. (http://www.the-ultralight-site.com)


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Outdoors: Get to the lake early and beat the heat
Waco Tribune-Herald
... weather pattern of high temperatures in the 105 to 110 range for longer than my tomato plants will bear, but don't just look at one side of the picture – early mornings and evenings, along with the overnight hours, are pretty comfortable times to ...



Mountain Xpress

Local outdoors outfitters keep things stylish and environmentally friendly
Mountain Xpress
Western North Carolina is an influential part of the state's outdoor industry, playing host to major outdoor-oriented businesses such as Astral, Liquid Logic, Diamond Brand Gear, Sylvan Sport and Eagles Nest Outfitters. And it's a big industry ...



Baltimore Sun

Recreation and outdoors calendar (July 22)
Baltimore Sun
July 23: Robert Christy will speak about crabbing at the monthly meeting of the Perry Hall Chapter of Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Gunpowder VFW Post 10067, 6309 Ebenezer Road. Visitors welcome. Details ...



Chicago Sun-Times

Youth event in Lake Co., blackberries. the Eastland: WWW Chicago outdoors
Chicago Sun-Times
And an Eastland disaster event on Sunday. More on that below. With that, to the Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors. YOUTH OUTDOORS: A collection of outdoors groups hold the inaugural Lake County Outdoor Education Day on Saturday ...



Indiana Outdoors 7/21/18
1070 The Fan - Indianapolis (blog)
State Forester talks about timber proceeds, Dir. Of Nature Preserves shares public hikes and State Etymologist discusses invasive plant risks. 1070 The Fan · IO 072118 · Download Share. SoundCloud cookie policyCookie policy · Indiana Outdoors. Jul.



Tallahassee.com

Outdoors: Beware of Mr. Gray
Tallahassee.com
It's Shark Week! It's Shark Week! For some folks it's the most wonderful time of the year. Sharks are a symbol of dread. An apex predator. Something to be feared. A target for teenagers and adults to prove their worth and dominion over the worst nature ...
Shark Week | Watch Full Episodes & More! - DiscoveryDiscovery
Glass straws? Straw straws? Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to plasticUSA TODAY
IUCN Red List Reclassifies Whale Sharks as Endangered • Scuba Diver LifeScuba Diver Life
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation -Georgia Aquarium
all 91 news articles »


KFGO News

July 21 Outdoors Live +CJ Johnson update!
KFGO News
Saturday, July 21, 2018 7:24 a.m. by Doug · Download (17.2 MB). CJ Johnson has been battling some health hurdles, he gives us an update and of course some fishing and humor in the "net" as well! Pat Stockdill with a central Dakota outdoors report as well!



Mankato Free Press

Outdoors column: Salmon, trout are prizes of Great Lakes fishing
Mankato Free Press
It's 3 a.m. and the alarm rings. My brother-in-law Mark Escen and I sit up, not in comfortable beds but in bucket seats in Mark's sedan. We've dozed for a mere two hours in a parking lot in Racine, Wisconsin, and now it's time to change clothes, grab ...
Outdoors | Lake Ontario salmon fishing challenging, rewardingThe Columbus Dispatch

all 3 news articles »


Elmira Star-Gazette

Letter: Let's make the outdoors tobacco-free
Elmira Star-Gazette
Summertime brings about smiling, happy faces on children and adults in the outdoors. The outdoors has a lot to offer for people during this time. Let's not have it ruined by exposure to someone else's secondhand cigarette smoke. Implementing policies ...



The Durango Herald

Seniors Outdoors schedules activities
The Durango Herald
Seniors Outdoors will offer the following activities: Monday: 8:30 a.m., bike ride for intermediate road cyclists, call or email Bob Schuckhart at (832) 285-2373 or bschuck1@gmail.com.Tuesday: 7:15 a.m., hike to the summit of two peaks; call or email ...


Google News

home | site map | Ocean Photography
© 2006