Tag Archives: Light backpacking

Take a Load Off

Recently I’d mentioned that, with the difficult climbs I’ll be encountering on the Long Trail, it’d be a good idea to try and lighten the load I’ll be carrying compared to what I brought on the Colorado Trail. Then, fully loaded with 2 liters of water and 4 days of food, the pack came in right about 31 pounds.

Let’s see, my new IPhone means I’m not bringing an IPad. That saves 14 ounces. With more resupply stops, the 4 ounce Solar charger can stay home too. And since the trail is (hopefully) marked pretty well, the 5 ounce GPS won’t need to be there to bail me out if I get lost. Wow, that was pretty easy. Nearly a pound and a half saved just in electronics.


Banking on warmer weather saves a couple ounces with no gloves or cold weather hat. A bigger risk with the sleeping bag saves some more. With the silk liner, an REI Travel Sack should keep me toasty all the way down to 46 degrees. Plus there’s no down (or much of any) insulation to get wet in the damp environment. The savings of 7 ounces only cost 30 degrees of comfort. (Actually 20 degrees of comfort and 10 degrees of survival.)

The “camp “sandals” that were abandoned in Colorado were replaced with a pair weighing 5 ounces less. (Whenever this new pair gets abandoned, there’s another pound of savings.)

The Long Trail has more opportunities for resupply, so three days of food will be the most carried, saving over a pound.

At this point, I’m down to close to 27 pounds. Unfortunately there are add-ons to fight. Food on the Colorado Trail was insufficient, to say the least. Adding in more trail mix, peanut butter and soft tortillas puts about a pound back. As an aside, I waited until the last minute to buy tortillas for my resupply boxes in an attempt to have them last on the trail. I needn’t have worried. I don’t know exactly what’s in the Old El Paso brand, but they don’t expire until next February.

I also had to fight weight with the guides. Instead of one (4 ounce) data book like for the CT, the information needed on the trail is spread between a map, an End to Ender’s Guide and a big honking Trail Guide. Fortunately, a razor knife can be used to edit the books. Between the two, close to 100 pages were carved out of the final product. What was left was split in two with the 2nd half being mailed in a resupply box. I think everything worked out to about a wash.


Considering it’s been a wet summer, and it’s Vermont, there’ll be more insect repellent to carry too.

All in all I’m still saving about 3 pounds, or 10 percent of the load. Time will tell if it’s enough.