Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How to Pack Light when Backpacking

I read this from a facebook post by Jhocen Grace Ganiron and thought it would be nice to share with everyone :)

The following are tips on how to pack light when backpacking.

"UP Mountaineers -- Ramon Vizmanos99, Niko Geronimo97 and Kerwin Nicolas93

Ultra Light backpacking is a belief and practiced since time and memoriam. It may sound a little scientific but it helps a lot saving energy and a solution to your cranky back and knees. Packing light is also stepping light at the trail and you maybe doing it already unknowingly. It minimizes backpack bulk to enjoy more the trip negotiating through an impenetrable forest and the lighter the weight the faster you go. Climbing newbies may find it strange but the idea is as good as stuffing your clothes into a plastic bag and voila! - You have a pillow instead of bringing one! We did not want to confuse a climber of what to bring and not to bring so we listed almost everything with substitutes and divided it into 5 major groups: Essentials, Clothes, Toiletries, Group Items and Optional items.
 
1. ESSENTIALS:

  • Money
Leave those bulky wallets at home, place the money instead in a tiny resealable plastic bag that are available on groceries or plastic shops. Sometimes bringing ATM or credit cards may help. Spend or leave all those coins you have before the climb.

  • Folding Knife
Choose a model that suits your needs and at least must have a knife of course, a scissor and can opener would do fine. Leave the mammoth ones.

  • Backpack
Climbers are comfortable carrying a 90+ liter pack on a major climb. Light packers prefer a 42-65 liter packs good enough for 5 days. Take off items on your pack you are not using shove it sleeves, extra ladder locks, cord lock and cut short long spindrift collar strings. Using a 42-liter pack for 5 days may stress the pack and it takes some time stuffing equipment in it. Backpack size may vary on the type of climb and duration and use your left brain here - If youre a big guy, you have big clothes, big appetite, a big tent - therefore:__________

  • Cellular Phone
Yes! Texting while climbing can be interesting.
sample text: hi! m hir @ mt pulag! sna ur hir 2. mis u.

  • Flashlight, extra bulb and batteries
Manufacturers came up with compact designs like Petzl Zipka. Local imitation products are also available but its not as reliable compared to these ones. Try using rechargeable batteries. Its only draw back with this kind of batteries (mostly nickel metal hydride) easily drains it power easily on cold climate but its cheaper in the long run if you recharge it on your neighbors house.

  • Whistle and Dogtag
If you are alone and fell on a ravine and you broke a leg and your alive and dont have a whistle - your screams will kill you eventually. The dogtag will help identify your body. Try using a referees whistle.

  • Duct Tape
Include it as one of your best friends in your repair kit. Remove the inner cardboard and flatten or stick it to a walking stick. Aside from being used in kidnappings, it is very handy in fixing stuffs. i.e.: boots, tent, water containers etc.

  • Lighter
Bring at least 3 if you're traveling alone and have it waterproofed and place one in your cookset, survival kit and windbreaker or on different parts of you gear. Having done this puts you the advantage at the time you need it when the situation gets soaking wet.

  • Earth pad
The bulkiest item a climber has. Choose a thinner one or if you can afford an inflatable pad spoil yourself. If you dont want to bring any of these to minimize bulk: use your pack as sleeping pad.

  • Tying Strings
Bring made of nylon. A material of so many uses: clothesline, for repairing, guylines and if you want to hang yourself. 
  • Spoon and Fork
Leave the fork if you brought a folding knife. Or bring a spork. Or choose a spoon made of aluminum or titanium. Plastics spoons are light but its easily broken and its hard eating using the head only. You may also drill holes onto the handle if you want to.

  • Aluminum or Plastic Drinking Cup and Mess Kit
Leave it if you are bringing the groups cookset. Bring a trail water container instead or might as well eat and drink from the cookset if you felt tasting food leftovers in your water.

  • Trail Food
Do not forget this item because it may serve as your regular meal when a situation needs one specially when you get lazy cooking.

  • Sleeping Bag
Backpackers will dispute bringing thinner types or bulky ones but its up to the climber what kind of comfort does he/she need a good night sleep with an exhausted trek or a spirited trek with arctic nightmares at night. Ultra light packers bring plastics or thermal blankets instead of sleeping bags. Some dont bring at all on a tropical setting.

  • Water Containers
Collapsible containers are sold in many sizes if you can afford one. Use a 1.5 - liter Coca-cola soft drink container if you felt saving money. The plastic bottle can be flattened after you use it but its as sturdy again re-using it. On a hot day, some climbers may drink up to 3 liters of trail water and if you know water is surely available on your way to your campsite, dont bring more than you consume during the trek unless you are sharing it.

  • First Aid Kit/ Personal Medicines
Place it in a resealable plastic bag and leave those pouches. Cut the corners of tablets and capsules so it wont punch holes of the plastic. The kit includes Triangular bandages, Pain Relievers, Insect Repellent, Anti-Diarrhea, your lover's laminated photos, Anti-Skin Allergy Tablet or Ointment, Prescription Medicine (if any) and Chili powder for hypothermia (stick it to the victims eyes so he wont be able to sleep).


2. CLOTHES:

  • Trekking Shorts
Bring a light but tough one. Use it going up and descending. Substitute cycling shorts instead of undies to prevent had-had. Example no. 1: On a 5-day climb, bring at least 2 shorts and undies. You may do some laundry on spare time during trek so climbing buddies wont complain of the smell your in.
 
  • Undies
Follow example no. 1.

  • T- Shirts or Trekking Shirt.
Local manufacturers came up with intelligent buys - light and quick dry. Most local climbers still feel cotton as their best friend even it retains moisture because its soft and cool to the skin on a hot weather. Follow the same system like we did in the shorts. It may sound risky if the weather is too cold and you bought only a pair of clothes but when a typhoon arrives always remember: its your brains will do most of your survival.

  • Socks
On a multi day climb, some climbers change their socks every 2 hours to prevent moisture eating the foots skin. Some climbers can tolerate 4 days with only a pair of wet ordinary socks but its up to the needs of the climber.

  • Trekking pants
A good substitute for shorts. Its also a good warmer during sleep. Choose a quick-dry fabric.

  • Bush Hat or Sombrero
Some climbers dont bring this at all but it really helps on a scorching trek. Others are contented bringing shades. Ultra-light packers just pick fallen large leaves along the way.

  • Sandals
Ultra light packers dont bring any and they enjoy barefoot at campsites but it will be troublesome when your boots got busted. On a local setting, we can bring pambahay sandals. So it will be really light and by the way, rafter sandals do stink on climbs.

  • Climbing Shoes
Another argument: a high cut or low cut boot? Which is safer? - Doesnt matter, as long it is functioning. Your feet will go on walking even your mind tells you to stop. Buy your boots wisely.

  • Rain Jacket or Windbreaker
NEVER forget this one. On a tropical country and you enjoy a wet and cold climb, you dont really need wind breakers with Gore-tex technology. Do the traditional layering. Dont forget that we go outdoors so we can savor the climate as long as we can take it. Most gore-tex are bulky, heavy and expensive. Again, its up to the climber who wishes to feed his needs. Try checking out Ukay-ukay shops near you for good deals!


3. TOILETRIES:

  • Toilet Paper
Leave the inside carton at home because you dont need it. Always make sure this is waterproofed.

  • Face Towel or Scarf
You may also use your triangular bandage as head gear with libag ng mukha visible on it. Apologize if ever youll gonna use it to an injured climber.

  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush
You may cut your toothbrush handle if you can hack brushing in style. You may pull some of its bristles too. Do the same to your hairbrush or comb. For your toothpaste, place a small amount (good for your trip) in a tiny resealable plastic. Do not share your toothbrush with others unless you are really good friends.

  • Alcohol (Isopropyl)
I remember a friend spent four 150ml containers in 5 days against a limatik campaign in Mt. Halcon by pouring it on every part involved. Save weight and resources by sticking only a droplet on a limatik because theyre not drunkards.

  • Nail cutter
Cut your fingernails before you climb, so you can leave the nail cutter behind or leave it if you know to cut your fingernails with your scissors in your folding knife. Try it!


4. GROUP ITEMS

  • Map and Compass 
You may cut map edges and leave the compass alone. Bring pencil instead of ball point pen. But if you already know the trail(s) you can leave it too.

  • Group Food
Dried food are still the lightest available and if you have pre-cooked food, place it in resealable plastic bags and leave your mothers hard-case plastic ware. You can place inside a cookset or mess kit to avoid crushing inside a pack. Always plan your meals and know when are you gonna consume it so you will know when it gets spoiled. Sorry about not recycling film canisters but place the spices in tiny resealable plastics. Film canisters do contain nitrate residue an ingredient that makes lead. We've tried placing the contents form a popular canned tuna in a resealable plastic bag and it didnt spoil for 4 days on a hot weather climb. Leave the can at home or before the trek and always experiment first before a major climb.

  • Cookset 
Use the top lid as your mess kit. If you can afford titanium cooksets- get it.

  • Bolo or Machete 
 Mostly heavy, leave it if the trail is already established. If you guys know where to buy a light weight bolo let us know.

  • Ground Sheet 
For tents and instant shelters. Choose a size made for your needs.

  • Trowel 
 Leave it if you carry a bolo already. Bring at least 1 for every 7 people or improvise - a tent peg?
 
  • Stove and Fuel
Bring butane stoves if you can afford one. Heard of the stove made of softdrink cans? Honestly speaking, it is the cheapest and lightest material one can have but it might be bothersome with a typhoon going on.

  • Tent Body, Fly Sheet, Poles and Pegs 
Bring only 1 stuff sack. Choose tents poles and pegs made of aluminum. You may peg a tent too by using your toothbrush, spoon, backpack, boots filled with stones, somebodys pegs, branches, grass or anything heavy and cute.

  • UPM Flag
 Your lover may have forgotten you but dont forget who you are.


5. OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Camera and Film or Digital Camera 

  • Candles 
 You know what type to bring.

  • Umbrella  
Are you sure?

  • Stool 
Use your pack instead while resting or better, use someone else stool.
 
  • Mirror 
Carry a small one for vanity reasons, it may serve as a visual signal if you got lost alone.
 
  • Biodegradable Soap 
If you want to bring it just remember to wash at least 10 meters or farther from water sources.
 
  • Walking sticks 
Yes! You might consider it as an essential if you are pitching an a-type tent with your groundsheet. Use it too as probe on a river and spanking.
 
  • Others 
(its up to you!)


Anything that works for ultra-light backpackers might not work for you but it wont hurt to try all of this. Take off all labels, hard case plastics (not for eggs) and patches that you find annoying, double or triple your waterproofing specially on cameras and cell phones, pack everything inside (even tent poles), gather all the items that you normally bring that you omitted and weigh it. The result: you may have spent time on this lousy belief for lessening a few ounce or grams lighter but It will guarantee it made your pack smaller from its original size! You can bring more food or frisbee or a frozen beer in can to meet your usual weight load! But why the hell go through all of this if you are going to replace a weight you took off with another item?


Three words. Mountaineering is fun."

 Photo credit to Jhocen Grace Ganiron 

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JoTan is a Foodie, Travel Enthusiast & she lives her everyday life as if it was the last.

 "IT'S FOR THE EXPERIENCE" -- this is what she always tell people when she wants to do something FUN like Mountain Climbing, Rappelling on a Hanging Bridge (which was not determined if it was in good condition since it was a really old PNR Bridge), Eating Beef Liver SASHIMI (yes, the raw one) and even Jumping off the Plane at 15,000 feet.

She also loves to share the new things she learned, her adventures and other personal encounters through this blog :) 

Send me a message:♥ jotan23@yahoo.com