You can cover more distance in a single day by hiking light or ultralight. I can easily go farther in my running shoes with my fifteen-pound pack than I could with heavy hiking boots and a forty-pound load. But that’s not all. Going light also provides more flexibility, freedom, and security.
The Disadvantages of Traditional Backpacking
There is a reduction of freedom. It’s not easy to take a detour up that hill just to see what’s there. You’ll have to return the same path to get your pack if you complete it without it.
It’s becoming more tiring. You’ll be more tired and won’t be able to enjoy yourself as much if you’re carrying a heavy load.
More people have been hurt. Blistered feet, sprained ankles, weary muscles, and back and knee problems are just a few of the side effects of carrying too much weight on your back.
There’s more unpleasantness on the way. Taking off and putting on a heavy load quickly becomes a chore. To avoid dealing with it, some travelers have started leaving it on during rest stops.
Slower. You’ll have less access to natural places if you’re overweight since you won’t be able to go as far on vacation. It may also mean less time for enjoyable activities like swimming in a mountain lake or relaxing at camp.
Riskier. Injury is more likely with heavy loads, but it’s not the only risk. When a storm is coming or you need to get to a road for an emergency, being unable to drive quickly may be a big problem. Then there’s the danger of making bad decisions as a result of fatigue.
Lightweight backpacking has a number of advantages.
Safety. Have all of the necessary items on hand, but bring lighter versions. If you lessen your load, you’ll be less likely to lose your balance, fall, or injure yourself. In stressful situations, you may also respond more rapidly. In order to ensure safety, it is also necessary to have knowledge and experience. Expert survivalists in the outdoors are safer than a beginner in the most luxurious tent. If you know how to properly use your equipment and monitor the sky for impending storms, you can travel lighter and safer.
Comfort. Isn’t it great to just have to carry 18 pounds instead of 50? I stopped suffering blisters when I switched from hiking boots to running sneakers. In this scenario, there is no need to make a compromise. After reducing twenty-five pounds of pack weight, you may add a heavier coat or anything else you need to feel comfortable.
Unrestricted mobility and speed. I remember being in their shoes as I pass overburdened trekkers trudging up steep hills with an eleven-pound pack on their backs, and I know I am having a better time today. Lightweight backpacking allows you to travel faster, but notice how I wrote “allows.” There is no requirement, just an option, implying more freedom.
I’ve never met or heard of anybody who tried light hiking and subsequently returned to heavy backpacking. This is not to say that it is suitable for everyone. Some hikers’ bad ankles may require the use of heavy hiking boots, while others’ bad habits may necessitate the usage of a big load to satisfy them. Even a traveler in need of a pillow and a big rectangular sleeping bag will be able to find lighter versions of these items.
It’s worth a shot. You’ll experience more pleasure and less discomfort, as well as more mobility, comfort, and safety. When you’re fifteen miles into the day and realize you can easily run up that hill just to see what’s there, you’ll know you made the right decision. Light backpacking is something you’ll love.