The Health Hour – How to Hike Lightweight

When you go hiking the last thing you want to hold you back is the weight of your backpack. You did your best with your clothes, your boots (check the best of the women hiking boots here: http://www.wahoohiker.com/) , but you got carried away with packing…

Ideally, your backpack should be around 2 kilos…. but real life showed otherwise 🙂

It’s difficult to make a list of essential items or to put it in the backpack since this depends on the length of your hike, the ambiance and…yourself. The minimum comfort to tough for several days, not even to say several weeks, depends on each hiker. Some will sleep even on the ground, others wouldn’t even touch a ear to the ground. Some will leave with a bit of soap, a toothbrush and an aspirin for just in case, while others would agonize unless they drag a drugstore on the road.

There is no bad or good backpack. There is only one rule to follow though: the weight of your backpack shouldn’t be more than 1/5 than your weight. That is 10 kilos for a 50 kilos woman or a 16kg backpack for a 80 kg man.

Everyone can make their own choices in the end  and find the balance between comfort and  weight. Only experience gives any hiker the proportion of which items to take or not without being too heavy.

The ideal content for a backpack depends on each hiker also. You can compare, follow some tips, but don’t ruin the pleasure of choosing your own garments, organizing it in your backpack- your closest hiking companion, after all!

Choose a backpack that fits your needs in the first place. For a two weeks hike, go for a 40-50 liters backpack, but keep in mind the weight as a selection criteria. It can go from 800 grams to 2 kilos. Some backpacks feature a rain cover. If the weather conditions don’t say anything about rain, use a trash bag for covering the backpack when raining. It’s around 30 g and it can be used also as a tablecloth, carpet, poncho and so on.

The sleeping bag and the ground carpet should be chosen by the temperature and comfort they provide. There’s nothing more disturbing but being awakened by the cold. For a sleeping bag, the more warmer and lighter it is, the more expensive it gets.

When it comes to the tent, either you are happy with a nice shelter and 2 bars, either you divide the weight of a bigger tent in two backpacks… 🙂

As for the camping stove, cutlery and meals…You have to purify or boil the water for the tea or the soup. Some hikers choose camping stoves using wood in order to avoid the weight of the fuel. Along with a Swiss knife, go for a folding bowl used for soup and eating as well.

When you go hiking it’s very important to hydrate: at least 1,5 l of water daily. Quite often you meet rivers on your trails, so put in your backpack some Isostar powder (full of vitamin C), cereal bars, chocolate (at last!), dry fruits- depending on your preferences.

To feel full, use cereals, oatmeal bars, Swedish bread, pasta, cheese. We don’t do the same when hunger strikes and the weight of the food may vary from 400g to 800 g daily.

Even though the days are long, nights do come eventually so you do need a headlamp! One should be enough for even two hikers.

Take your sun glasses when hiking and a ruler as well. It might be handy at some point…

A toothbrush, a bit of soap, a hairbrush, some sunscreen cream and hydrating cream also are items that need to be in your backpack.

When it comes to medicines, it’s again up to you what to take. Some find earplugs very useful, some aspirins, but bandages are on the list for sure!

As for the clothes, some hikers only take a helmet, a waistcoat, a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, one sweater, a pair of tights, some pajamas, underclothes and two pairs of socks. That is if you leave wearing some pants, a t-shirt and the hiking boots.

Don’t forget also to take your mobile, a camera (with two batteries), a book, a notebook, a pen, some washing powder, an address book. And a good mood never weighs anything.