Reducing the weight of your pack doesn’t have to happen quickly or be a drastic overnight change. It can happen over the course of several months by making incremental reductions to what you pack as you become more aware of what you are carrying and what you really need or use.
However, reducing the number of items you carry is only one method of pack weight reduction and something that you can take only so far – after all there’s only so much you can not take! Another very effective form of reducing your pack weight is to pay particular attention to the things that you have decided you must take with you, to see if there are ways to trim a little excess weight off of them but still have them be fully functional.
A simple but sometimes overlooked method, is to use smaller containers for things that you usually carry. Sounds obvious right? But you can easily miss these types of weight saving opportunities. Below is a picture of a common backpacking item and one that I
carry used to carry, liquid Camp Soap (5.5oz). This is a very handy thing to carry and is good for all manner or uses while out on the trail, but the original container is quite large and requires you to carry a lot of soap which is heavy and would be far more than you would ever need for even a multi-day trip.
So, to shave off some weight from this item that I still need to carry, I filled up an old Visine eye drop bottle with liquid Camp Soap (0.75oz) and saved 4.75oz in the process. The Visine bottle holds more than enough soap for a multi-day hike and has the perfect little nozzle for squirting a small amount at a time. Now I can carry my soap but I’ve made a significant (at least I think so) reduction in weight for just one item.
This can be applied to many other things with a little creative thinking. Here’s another quick example. I wouldn’t dream of not carrying a toothbrush with me, but the small travel-style toothbrushes are just horrible IMHO. So I bought one of my favorite brands of everyday toothbrushes (0.625oz) and cut it down in size to save some weight. The end result is a fully functional “normal” toothbrush with a sawed-off handle (0.25oz) = weight saving of 0.375oz (or 3/8oz) on this one item.
So, I hope that these two easy examples help to demonstrate that reducing you pack weight can be done by not only removing whole items that you never use or don’t need, but also by looking carefully at what you do need and seeing if there is a way to shave a little of the weight off of individual items without sacrificing their functionality.
If you have examples of how you reduce your pack weight, please leave a comment on this post.