As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been growing increasingly interested in the topic of ultralight hiking recently. So what does “ultralight” actually mean? Definitions vary, but generally speaking, there are three main categories for the amount of weight you carry on your back:
- Lightweight: max. 15 kilos
- Ultralight: max. 10 kilos
- Minimalist: max. 5 kilos
I realize I’m being generous with the conversion to kilos here. It’s just easier to remember this way.
This excludes any provisions and water, but includes tent and sleeping system.
I believe my 6.2 kilos (including provisions and water, excluding tent and full-grown sleeping system) for two weeks on the E5 were already a good start, considering I had only heard of the concept quite recently. But I want to see if I can stay on a similar weight level when I include a tent as well.
My experience of camping is limited to some trips to the sea with friends and a week of canoeing across several lakes. But it’s never too late, so I plan on doing a camping trip in September this year.
Here’s what I intend on doing within the next couple of weeks to reduce pack weight (ordered from high to low priority):
- Go camping. I ordered a tarp tent already and will work with what I have for mattress and sleeping bag for now.
- Order a lightweight sleeping pad and a sleeping quilt (which is lighter than a sleeping bag and should be sufficient for my purposes).
- Try if I’m okay hiking with trail runners.
- Possibly buy a new backpack. I need a backpack to fill the gap between the 20l and 65l backpacks I have.
Already I’m settling for some compromises though, rather than going full-on ultralight / minimalist:
- A tarp tent feels safer than a mere tarp for now. With the little camping experience I have, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sleeping that exposed to the elements just yet. Setting up the tarp tent still works with trekking poles, which saves a lot of weight.
- Regarding the sleeping pad, I’m leaning heavily towards buying an inflatable mat rather than a foam pad. With me being a side-sleeper, I’m worried about aching hips with the foam pad.
- I’m still unsure about the backpack. Ultralight hikers usually go frameless and use their foam sleeping pad to make up for the lack of stability. I’m not sure if I want to go that far, though. I like having a stable frame keeping the weight on my hips and away from the shoulders.
This should sum up my thoughts so far pretty well. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!