What is Ultralight Backpacking?

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Ultralight Backpacking
Ultralight Backpacking

Ultralight backpacking is a specific type of backpacking that allows for less restricted, faster paced travel provided by the significantly reduced overall pack weights. This goal is accomplished by focusing on packing the lightest and simplest kit possible for a given trip. Safety is very important, so the kit is all about necessities & light-weight alternatives to standard gear, packs, food & water.

Base Pack Weight
Weight of a backpack plus all gear packed in & outside of it. This weight does NOT include consumables such as food, water, and fuel.

Light & ultralight are generally defined as base pack weights less than 20 pounds (9.1 kg) and 10 pounds (4.5 kg) respectively. In comparison, traditional backpacking typically have base pack weights above 30 pounds (14 kg), and sometimes up to 60+ pounds (27 kg).

Weight for consumables vary depending on the duration and style of trip and are to be reduced as much as safely possible. This can be accomplished by means of carrying less food that contains water or other liquids. As well as reducing or eliminating packaging weight as much as possible while still keeping food safe to eat.

Ultralight Backpacking Trip Planning
Things taken into consideration when planning all backpacking trips are:

  • Destination
  • Trip Duration
  • Weather
  • Night Time Temperature
  • Elevation Changes
  • Access to fresh water

Your Gear, Food & Water requirements can be fine tuned once you finish your trip planning based on elements listed above. It’s essential to come up with a daily calorie & water intake requirement which can be used to select the type and amount of food to be taken on your trip. Climbing and cold weather cause higher calorie burning so plan accordingly.

Ultralight Backpacking Checklist click HERE

Ultralight Backpacking can be a freeing experience allowing you to get a great sense of simple living while enjoying the outdoors as well as a feeling of accomplishment from planning & going on a trip not weighed down by to much STUFF.


Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by fortherock