Trekking is always known to be an intense sport and there is no way one can deny it. all those beautiful scenic photos, pictures of snow-covered peaks come after a back-breaking hike through steep hills in unfavorable weather and chaffed lips. During my initial days of trekking, I would always wonder why is I am slower than those guides and trek leaders even though I spend quite a lot of time in the gym preparing for the trek. Took me quite a few treks to realize along with fitness the amount of weight you carry makes a huge impact. it only makes sense how much you carry on you is going to reflect on how much you enjoy the trek, a heavy backpack is not only going to slow you down but may also give you soreness. it’s quite essential to be as light as possible for a trek. though the wisdom of what to carry comes only with experience there are a few pointers where you can work on to reduce the load.
Analyze the gear
Analyzing the gear becomes a very crucial factor while preparing for a trek. This step is very crucial in making sure the gear is in good working condition and to make sure if any repairs if needed are done but in perspective of weight its helps to reduce unwanted gears With most of the trekking gear being heavy, this helps in making sure all that weight is going to be needed or not and if they can be replaced with a much lighter option. Also making sure that heavy gear must also be very efficient.
Being a team sport load sharing can be one of the best ways to lighten your load. Things like tents, ropes and cooking utensils, and other common gear will be used by everyone but everyone need not have to carry their own. These common things can be shared, people can take turns in carrying them. Carry a trekking tent-like trek 100 3 season tent instead of a heavy camping tent further reduces the weight
Mindset and Experience
Having a proper Mindspace is very important, when you decide to trek light be prepared for it mentally and carry only what’s very necessary, most of the time we may not use 70% of the things we carry thinking we might need them. Anything you feel you may use is not going to be used. Try to gain experience in trekking and outdoors, if this is your first trek talk to people who have trekked before knowing what to expect helps in preparing yourself for the trek as well as in helping what equipment will be needed and which ones can be avoided. Also learning new skills like building a fire learning to cook outdoors helps in reducing the things you carry. And always be prepared to improvise. A little bit of jugaad can make your bag way lighter.
another essential thing that forms a major part of the weight is our food. Try to carry dry rations instead of regular food and make it a point to carry high-energy food like dry fruits, cereal bars. Ready-to-eat meals are a great option too and always eat the heaviest food first. It is also nice if you can calculate the calories you might need and plan what to carry accordingly.
Know the trek/terrain
Do pre-trek research on the trail and the weather conditions, some trails may have shepherd camps or tea houses where you can try to restock food or bunk in for the night. Good trail research gives a good insight on what you can get on the trail and don’t have to carry, also knowing the weather helps in deciding how cold it might get at night and if there are gonna be any rains and you can take only the layers you might need. also talking to someone who has done helps a lot in deciding what to carry and what to avoid.
Clothes might seem like a simple thing but they make up a considerable weight in your backpack. Try to carry limited pair of clothes it’s not a smart decision to carry a pair for each day. start investing in lightweight trekking apparel, quick-dry odor repellent t-shirt and trek pants are an optimal choice for lightweight and durable apparel, when doing winter treks opt for down insulated sleeping bags n jackets to minimize space and weight. Make sure you have enough protective layers to keep yourself and your apparel dry, wet clothes are gonna weigh heavier thereby increasing your weight.
Another factor to consider in reducing weight is to be organized. Everything that goes into your bag the trekking gear, your apparel, and your food organizing them inside your bag makes it easier to access and also reduces any chances of them shifting during your trek. a trek bag like trek 500 has a lot of compartments also using packing cubes to organize your apparel and food.
Invest in multipurpose gear instead of carrying separate gears for each purpose. using a multipurpose bandanna is more sensible than caring for a cap and scarf. Using convertible pants is gonna save you from carrying additional shorts. A poncho can always be used as a groundsheet to sit on damp ground.