eNZees Blog

4 Cheap Tricks to Lighten Your Backpack

by Jill Schuman | June 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

We’ve all seen the price tag on fancy, ultralight backpacking gear. (And if you haven’t, you might want to take a seat first.) Dropping some serious ounces – and even pounds – from your load doesn’t have to break the bank. Try out these three cheap and easy tricks, because remember, it all adds up!

  1. Swap out the footprint that came with your tent for Gossamer Gear’s Polycryo 

Gossamer Gear Polycryo groundsheet. How to lighten your backpack. How to ultralight backpack

This is probably the quickest and easiest way to drop at least 7 ounces. Gossamer Gear’s Polycryo groundsheets don’t look like much – something akin to folded cellophane – but this ultralight and surprisingly durable material is a thru-hiker’s favorite. To test its strength, we stretched a sheet of Polycryo over a layer of sharp rocks… then drove a truck over it. The result? Only minimal puncture wounds. One Polycryo package ($9.95) includes two sheets, which can then be trimmed to fit your tent. Each sheet weighs 1.6 oz.

  1. Use small travel containers for sunscreen and other toiletries

 Nalgene 2oz bottle. How to save weight on backpack. How to reduce your backpack's weight. How to ultralight backpack

Who said you had to carry the whole bottle? Grab a few of Nalgene’s 2 oz. containers to only carry what you need. Because, really, when was the last time you used an entire tube of sunscreen on an overnight hike? A 2 oz. bottle retails for only $1.55. You can also use a travel-size tube of toothpaste instead of the big one you keep at home.

  1. Become a bag lady

 how to waterproof your sleeping bag, how to keep your sleeping bag dry while backpacking, how to make your backpack lighter

Who says you need a fancy, waterproof stuff sack to keep your sleeping bag dry? Put your sleeping bag in a trash bag before stuffing it into its normal compression sack. Be sure to twist the trash bag closed before sealing it all up. This will help keep your bag dry in the event of a sudden rainstorm or slip into the river. You can also use Zip-lock baggies to keep your extra socks and underwear dry. There is no shame in this.

  1. Practice layering at home 

how to layer for camping, how to layer for hiking, how to lighten your backpack, how to ultralightOne of the heaviest things in an inexperienced backpacker’s kit is too many clothes. Most people worry about getting cold, but a good layering system should keep you comfortable in a variety of temperatures. Take all your puffies, fleeces, rain shells, and base layers outside and spend a few hours in your backyard after dark. A good layering system is comprised of a base layer, an insulating layer, and a rain shell. Depending on the weather, I'll sometimes carry a fleece as well as a light puffy. Did you know that you can also wear your rain jacket to keep you warm? It will help trap your body warmth as well as block the wind. Figure out what you need at home, before heading into the field. You’ll be surprised at how many layers you don’t need!  

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Tips for Lightweight Hiking (Part 1 of 2)

by Jill Schuman | January 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Lightweight hiking tips

As a hiking enthusiast, my philosophy is to make sure I balance weight and safety. Indeed, anyone who has hiked for an extended period of time knows the value of lightening the weight you carry. A lighter backpack can not only help propel you up that menacing hill, or help your knees on the backside of that hill, but also can help you to enjoy the overall venture even more.

My favorite backpacks combine light weight, comfortable wear and convenient gear organization. For day-hikes, Osprey has one of the largest and most diverse lineups of backpacks on the market. From the Talon/Tempest series to the Sirrus and Stratos, Osprey has a huge variety of comfortable packs with features for everyone’s needs and purposes. Most Osprey packs feature a curved aluminum frame and a perforated back panel to maximize airflow between the pack and your back.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Windrider Ultralight Cuben Fiber Backpack

Weight becomes much more of an issue on weekend and multi-day backpacking trips when you are carrying several days worth of food, equipment and an array of gear. The best advice I have for packing light is to KIS: Keep It Simple. If you have invested in a complete kit of ultralight gear and are well versed in the practice of minimalism, I would recommend checking out the selection of packs from Hyperlite Mountain Gear or the Osprey Exos, a very comfortable ultralight pack.

However, if your base weight (the amount your pack weights before food and water) is over 15-20lbs, an ultralight pack will do more harm than good as it doesn’t have the support system to comfortably carry that much weight. The Osprey Atmos/Aura AG series is truly one of the most comfortable packs I’ve ever worn when carrying any amount of weight. The Osprey Anti-Gravity suspension system is truly remarkable and is great for weekend or multi-day backpacking trips.

Stay tunes for more light packing tips next week….

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