How To Save Weight on Your Next Backpacking Trip 

Weight is always on the mind of thru-hikers. Ever been out on a long multi-day hike with a backpack that’s obviously overweight? Shoulder pain, winded lungs, a straining neck—it’s no fun. These are all-too-common complaints about lugging around too much stuff. So how can we ensure lightweight treks that don’t cause stiff, over-encumbered legs and backs? Let’s start with the simplest, and possibly the most important step.

Opt For a Backpacking Hammock

1-Person Backpacking Hammock

Hammock camping is easily the top way to cut back on pack weight. If the weather permits, try sleeping in a hammock, especially a Tentsile hammock, which we consider the best of the best. Whether it’s one of our 1-person mesh hammocks or one of our more comprehensive multi-person hammocks, there’s really no way to beat the pack-ability and comfort of backpacking and sleeping with a hammock.

Consider the weight and space you can save without the tent poles and stakes that come with a conventional backpacking tent. A hammock can often be stuffed into a small compartment of a backpack, without taking up the bulk of the main compartment. 

Furthermore, you can always add lightweight accessories to your hammock as you wish. For example, our Sky-Pad Air Mattress, Large Double-Bubble Insect Mesh, and our Trapezium Tent Wall can add a lot of comfort to your hammock camping experience.

Ditch Unnecessary Creature Comforts 

Backpacking Gear

Okay, now that we’ve got the easy step out of the way, we can focus on some other useful tips for lightening your pack. Try this: forget the comforts of home, at home. For example, sitting is nice—but do you really need to bring along camping chairs on your 34-mile trek over mountain passes and into the woods? Truth is, you can just sit on the edge of your hammock in complete comfort. Plus, if you’re really dedicated to saving weight, you can find comfortable sitting spots on the ground, on logs, or even on large rocks.

Some other stuff to consider leaving behind are cameras and tripods (unless you’re trekking out for the sole purpose of photography), heavy food items such as produce (opt for backpacking pouches instead), and an overabundance of clothing. Realistically, a couple of outfits will suffice. Just make sure to stock up on socks and underwear.

Extra Tips For Saving Weight

2-Person Backpacking Hammock Tent - Connect Tree Tent

Outdoor recreation shops often sell backpacking-specific gear. Most of this stuff is lightweight and comfortable to use. For example, foldable cookware and utensils are light and easy to stow away. Soaps and toiletry items are often small and come in sealable pouches. Other than that, find your own, creative ways to lighten up the pack. Have a wooden toothbrush? Why not break it in half and leave the lower end behind?

Also, try using a single metal cup for multiple uses. Use it for eating out of, drinking out of, heating water, and any personal hygiene needs. Other than bringing along the best backpacking hammock you can get your hands on and ditching unnecessary comforts, cutting back in ways that seem small can go a long way when done altogether.

Safe travels on your next trek!

Ryan W