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30 Indicators You’re Carrying Too A lot Stuff in Your Backpack

There isn’t a common blueprint as to how you need to backpack. All of us have our personal motivations, wants, and ranges of expertise. That being stated, one factor upon which everybody can agree is that climbing is considerably simpler and extra satisfying in case your pack doesn’t weigh the proverbial tonne. Listed below are 30 telltale indicators that you need to think about lightening your wilderness load.

(Word: This can be a revised and expanded model of an article I printed in March 2019 – 14 Indicators You’re Carrying Too A lot Stuff in your Backpack; Word 2: For the opposite finish of the load-carrying spectrum, see 50 Indicators You Could Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking Too Far):

(L to R) Over the many years, I’ve carried packs of all sizes and weights. The shot on the left is from the Pyrenean Haute Route in 1999. The picture on the precise is from the Cape to Cape stroll in 2010.

1.  Your backpack has a capability of 70 liters or extra. Regardless of the size of your climbing journey, you at all times discover a method to fill it.

2.  Your path identify is “Kitchen Sink.”

3.  It’s a must to sit right down to put your pack on.

4.  Once you subsequently rise up, not solely do you inadvertently groan and wince, however anybody who occurs to be within the neighborhood additionally groans and winces.

5. You’ve bought a poster of Cheryl Strayed in your gear storage space at house. You’ve got a miniature model of the identical picture within the leather-based pockets you keep on path.

6.  Your First Support Equipment places EMTs to disgrace.

7.  When totally loaded, the highest of your pack is above your head.

8.  You repeatedly attain water sources with between one and two liters of H20 nonetheless in your pack.

9.  When trekking within the Himalaya, porters discuss with you as “brother.”

Porters on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit (Photograph: Dmitry A. Mottl, Wikimedia Commons, Inventive Commons License).

10.  You’ve got named your pack one of many following: Ennis, Bertha, Goliath, Beast, or Ben (like the large bell inside Elizabeth Clock Tower). Alternatively, when you predicate any reference to your backpack with the “F” phrase, that’s additionally a reasonably good indicator.

11.  Your go-to sleeping bag for three-season journeys has “Arctic” within the mannequin identify.

12.  Regardless of whether or not you’re going up or downhill, folks on horses at all times give method to you. Mountain bikers too.

13.  You think about carrying a heavy pack to be a badge of honor. Funnily sufficient, in recent times, I’ve seen the “pack weight script” flipped on its head. Nowadays, you’re extra prone to hear cherry-picking ultralighters drone on about their pack’s tininess than bipedal packhorses puff their chest out about how a lot weight they’re carrying.

14.  Your luxurious objects outnumber your necessities. Two to at least one.

15.  Your steadiness is considerably compromised any time you’re negotiating river crossings, snowfields, blowdowns, scree, boulder hops, and steep/uneven descents.

16.  Whereas out on the path, you consistently end up rummaging by means of your pack, in search of objects that you’re certain are in there someplace however can’t fairly bear in mind the place.

17. Boy scouts level at you and giggle every time they see you on the path.

Scouts on the point of hit the path (Photograph: NThurston, Wikimedia Commons, Inventive Commons License)

18.  After breaking camp and hitting the path, your morning espresso lastly kicks in and also you understand you forgot to take a #2 earlier than departure. Nonetheless, your pack is so heavy that you simply don’t wish to undergo the method of taking it off and placing it again on once more. Due to this fact you determine to suck it up and subsequently spend the following hour in a hide-and-seek battle of wills with Terry the Turtlehead. When the purpose of no return inevitably occurs and also you understand that Tezza received’t be denied, you drop your pack unceremoniously in the course of the path and sprint for the woods. Nonetheless, you don’t make it greater than ten yards earlier than you lose all sphincter management and soil your self previous to with the ability to dig a cat gap and decrease your shorts. Making a foul state of affairs even worse, you had been in such a rush that you simply left your rest room paper within the backpack. The ethical of this not-uncommon story is: A. Have your espresso slightly earlier, and; B. Carry a lighter, much less encumbered load, which is simple to take off every time the necessity arises.

19.  When it’s pouring rain, your climbing companions (all six of them) congregate in your tent’s vestibule to play playing cards.

20.  You might be consistently worrying about not being sufficiently ready and invariably overcompensate by bringing objects which can be unsuitable and/or pointless for the surroundings into which you’re venturing (e.g., mega multi-tools).

21. You lately signed a deal to be the face of Coleman Tenting Gear.

22.  You carry sports activities sandals (which weigh virtually as a lot as your footwear). “However I would like them for river fords.” Are you certain? Alternatively, take your socks off and insoles out and cross in your path runners.

Crossing the Rio Verde (in path runners) in the course of the Copper Canyon Traverse (2013).

23. Once you empty your pack after ending a visit, you understand that there are no less than 5 objects that you simply not solely didn’t use however that by no means really noticed the sunshine of day in the course of the course of your hike.

24.  You repeatedly end up leaning too far ahead whereas climbing. That is usually an indication that not solely is your pack too heavy but in addition that it’s sitting too low in your again. Given time, this posture can lead to rounded shoulders, neck pressure from consistently tilting your head up with the intention to see correctly, and strain on the lumbar area.

25.  Your tenting kitchenware for an prolonged backpacking journey consists of a pot, plate, bowl, frying pan, two mugs (one for strangers in want), knife, fork, spoon, french press, and a cheese grater.

26.  You pack an additional day’s meals for weekend journeys.

27.  You put on sturdy climbing boots on three-season backpacking journeys. Historically talking, heavy-duty boots and overloaded backpacks go collectively like peanut butter and jelly or vegemite and toast. In case you see one, you’ll usually see the opposite (For an in depth dialogue, see Path Runners Vs. Mountain climbing Boots: A Thirty-12 months Perspective).

28. Your garments and all of your climbing gear are in camouflage design. Even your bathroom roll is in camo.

29.  You’re a bushcrafter (see #28).

30.  And the most important signal that you simply’re carrying an excessive amount of stuff in your backpack whereas out within the woods? You focus extra on how uncomfortable you are feeling than the great thing about your environment.


Clearly, a number of the above-listed factors are tongue-in-cheek. Nonetheless, the premise of the article is kind of critical. There are a selection of causes to hold a lighter load whereas out within the wilderness*, nonetheless, in my expertise, the large ones are merely consolation, well being, and pleasure. It’s higher for each your physique, which is much less prone to incur stress-related accidents, and in addition your thoughts, which will likely be much less distracted than it might be beneath the burden of a heavy load (*Word: At all times in accordance together with your expertise degree and the dictates of the surroundings into which you’re venturing).

Postscript: I used to be nearly to hit publish for this text when the previous axiom, “don’t pack your fears,” popped into my head.  That is a kind of phrases that hikers repeat advert nauseam when discussing what (and the way a lot) you need to carry within the woods. Nonetheless, I’ve lengthy felt that biases, preconceptions, and plain old school stubbornness can usually be equally limiting and heavy. As somebody who travelled the lengthy path to light-weight/ultralight backpacking, I’ll go away you with three parting ideas: 1. Regardless of how lengthy you’ve been climbing, hold an open thoughts in terms of gear selections; 2. Do your due diligence and hearken to folks with a broad depth and breadth of expertise, and; 3. In the end, we’re all attempting to optimize our trip in nature. Lightening your load may help.

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