If you are planning a long day trek, or a multi-day trek, then you are going to have to carry some kit with you.
How you pack for your trek can make a huge difference to how enjoyable it is.
A heavy backpack can be a nuisance, leaving you to labour under the strain rather than taking in your surroundings.
This is where the art of packing light can make a real difference!
Here are some ways to pack light, so you feel at one with your backpack and your trek a fun one.
Only Bring What You Need
Your backpacking kits should consist of some basic essentials.
Then you can add to this with other items depending on where you are going and how long for.
Make a list and gather all the things you want to take with you for your trip.
When you see it all in front of you, look for items that are not really necessities.
Aim to reduce as many items as you can to slim down your backpack.
Your Basic Essentials
While there are essentials that you will need, you can cut down on the space and weight they take up in your backpack.
Here’s a list of essentials you should take on a long hike, and how to reduce the bulk.
Mini First Aid Kit
Rather than buying a first aid kit off the shelf that often has excess items, instead choose a small tub and fill it with things you really need. Blister care, painkillers, stomach medicine, antiseptic cream, hand-sanitizer.
These are the basic first aid essentials you need. If you have any regular medicines, then you need to pack these too.
Remove all excess packaging from products, you don’t need the outer cardboard box your antiseptic cream came in! Choose mini-sizes rather than large-sized products, as often a little will go a long way.
|1||Mini First Aid Kit, 92 Pieces Small First Aid Kit - Includes Emergency Foil Blanket, Scissors for...||2,109 Reviews||£9.95||Check on Amazon|
|2||General Medi Mini First Aid Kit,92 Pieces Small First Aid Kit - Includes Emergency Foil Blanket,...||869 Reviews||£12.99 £9.95||Check on Amazon|
|3||Lifesystems Pocket First Aid Kit - Red||197 Reviews||£10.39||Check on Amazon|
Maps, compass and GPS are all essential equipment for all hikes.
|1||Garmin eTrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit, Black/Yellow (Renewed)||17 Reviews||£84.95||Check on Amazon|
|2||Garmin eTrex 32x Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit with 3-axis Compass and Barometric Altimeter, Brown||219 Reviews||£219.99 £198.14||Check on Amazon|
|3||Garmin Foretrex 601 Outdoor, Hiking, Military, Army GPS Watch Navigation||445 Reviews||£199.95||Check on Amazon|
Power Banks & Portable Chargers
If you have electronic devices, such as GS equipment and a phone, leave the heavy portable re-chargers at home.
Go for a super-light solar option that you can use instead.
These power banks and portable chargers are a great way to ensure that you never run out of juice, when you need it most!
|1||GETIHU Power Bank, LED Display 10000mAh Portable Charger, 4.8A 2 USB Ports High-Speed Battery Pack...||6,148 Reviews||£14.98||Check on Amazon|
|2||HETP Power Bank, Portable Charger 25800mAh [Newest Black-Red Design] High Capacity Power Banks with...||2,053 Reviews||£19.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||Anker Power Bank, PowerCore Essential 20000 Portable Charger with PowerIQ Technology and USB-C...||12,625 Reviews||£34.99 £20.79||Check on Amazon|
Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are essentials for any hiking trip, so don’t skimp on these in an effort to save weight.
For skin, sun protection in the form of oils are lighter than creams and lotions.
|1||Fishing Hat Summer UPF 50 UV Protection Outdoor Hiking Jungle Mountain Sun Mens Quick Dry Baseball...||118 Reviews||£8.98||Check on Amazon|
|2||InnooCare Unisex Cooling Neck Gaiter Face Scarf Balaclava Bandana for Men Lightweight Breathable Sun...||17 Reviews||£6.89||Check on Amazon|
|3||TAGVO Wide Brim Sun Hat with Detachable Neck Face Flap, Outdoor UPF 50+ Protection Fishing Hats,...||61 Reviews||£8.99||Check on Amazon|
A simple head torch is ideal for hiking as well as around the camp. Use one with lithium batteries.
The batteries last a long time and they are small and lightweight.
|1||OMERIL LED Head Torch, Lightweight COB Headlamp with 3 Modes, IPX4 Waterproof, Super Bright 150...||5,958 Reviews||£15.99 £5.99||Check on Amazon|
|2||Gritin LED Head Torch, [2 Pack] COB Headlamp Super Bright Headlight, Adjustable & Comfortable to...||195 Reviews||£6.99 £5.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||LED Head Torch,OMERIL USB Rechargeable Headlamp with Super Bright 200 Lumens,5 Lighting...||6,533 Reviews||£25.99 £10.99||Check on Amazon|
To pack light, only take mini-travel sized toiletries with you, and only what you really need.
A child’s sized toothbrush is smaller than an adult’s but does just as good a job.
|1||23 Items Travel Size Toiletries Set - Toiletry Kit for Travel - Gift set Women&Men - Reusable...||41 Reviews||£22.99||Check on Amazon|
|2||Travel Bottles Set, Comsmart TSA Approved Leak Proof Travel Accessories Silicone Cosmetic Makeup...||320 Reviews||£8.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||Nivea Women Travel Essentials Pack||17 Reviews||£10.83||Check on Amazon|
Tents can be heavy.
There are ultralight tents that you can buy, but the lighter they are the more expensive they become.
One alternative if you are hiking in moderate climates is a simple piece of tarpaulin you can use as a groundsheet or rain cover, and a bivvy bag.
This is essentially a waterproof bag that you put your sleeping bag inside.
Some come with heavy duty rings, so you can create a hammock if you prefer.
If you prefer the feeling of security you get from a tent, do some research and go for the lightest you can find.
A pop-up tent is usually a good option.
Roll a couple of layers of duct tape around you water bottle instead of taking a whole roll. Or wrap around hiking poles if you use them.
Travel sewing kits are a useful investment, giving you just enough to get by on the road.
|1||Bushcraft BCB Sewing Kit - Black||26 Reviews||£7.32 £6.10||Check on Amazon|
|2||Builders Hardware||1 Reviews||£0.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||DenTek Temparin Filling Material Single Item||5,594 Reviews||£4.99 £4.52||Check on Amazon|
Water is heavy, so unless you are hiking in super-hot climates, only bring what you need.
Running out of water though is also a problem.
Bring purification tablets or filtration equipment so you can replenish supplies along the way.
Once you are at a water source, drink as much as you can so you are well-hydrated for longer on your hike.
It is also a good idea to study maps of the area so you know where possible sources of water might be.
Re-usable water bottles are a good idea and prevent you littering, or carrying un-necessary weight on your trip.
|1||HYDRATE Motivational Bottle(Pink)||2,943 Reviews||£10.95||Check on Amazon|
|2||Science in Sport Clear Drinks Bottle, 800 ml, Transparent||7,712 Reviews||£5.00 £3.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||ADORIC Sports Water Bottle, BPA Free Tritan Non-Toxic Plastic Sport Water Cup, Durable Leak Proof...||2,529 Reviews||£25.99 £11.99||Check on Amazon|
Being out on the trail for days mean you need to take plenty of food with you that is high in calories and protein.
To keep a light backpack, choose dried packet items such as instant noodles, dehydrated meals, cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts.
Some hiking backpacks are much heavier than others.
It can be so easy to get excited about all the cool pockets and features, that sometimes we overlook the weight of the product.
It’s important to get a backpack suited to the demands of your route, but also which sits well on you.
|1||Trespass Albus Backpack/ Rucksack - Orange, 30 Litres||4,100 Reviews||£39.99 £17.99||Check on Amazon|
|2||Cacyy Hiking Backpack 80l Large Waterproof Breathable Tactical Assault Ultralight Folding Unisex...||£7,499.00||Check on Amazon|
|3||Loowoko Hiking Backpack, 50L Waterproof Travel Backpack Trekking Rucksack Mountaineering Backpack...||470 Reviews||£45.99 £27.99||Check on Amazon|
Make sure all your clothing is made of lightweight synthetics. Avoid cotton. It simply soaks up moisture that can then make you feel cold, and is heavier.
Take three pairs of socks, rather than a pair for every day of your hike. Wear one pair, then after your day’s hike you can wash with a little soap and rinse with water.
The next day wear a fresh pair, but tie the damp pair to your backpack to dry out as you hike. You will have the third pair to wear in case your feet get soaked by puddles or streams and you need to change.
Rotate these three pairs of socks for the duration of your hike.
|1||Storm Bloc - 4 Pairs Mens Cushioned Anti Blister Breathable Ribbed Hiking Socks with Arch Support...||994 Reviews||£11.99 £9.99||Check on Amazon|
|2||YUEDGE Men's 5 Pairs Wicking Breathable Cushion Comfortable Casual Crew Socks Outdoor Multi...||2,429 Reviews||£19.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||YUEDGE 5 Pairs Men's Athletic Socks Performance Cushion Crew Socks, Performance Moisture Wicking...||1,521 Reviews||£20.49||Check on Amazon|
Just like your socks, underwear can be washed and rotated.
Lightweight, moisture-wicking t-shirt or vest.
For long treks, pack two.
Base layers are easy to rinse and quick to dry.
|1||Under Armour Men's UA HeatGear Long Sleeve Breathable Shirt, Black, M||7,514 Reviews||£30.00 £22.00||Check on Amazon|
|2||BUYKUD Men's Long Sleeve Base Layer Compression Athletic Underwear Shirt Tights Top & Bottom Set,...||242 Reviews||£16.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||Mountain Warehouse Talus Mens Thermal Baselayer Top - Quick Drying Winter Jumper, Easy Care, Long...||564 Reviews||£12.99||Check on Amazon|
|1||MEETYOO Women's Thermal Underwear Set, Ultra Soft Base Layer for Ladies, Fleece Lined Long Johns...||416 Reviews||£26.98||Check on Amazon|
|2||Helly Hansen Women's W HH Lifa Crew Baselayer, Black, Small (UK 10)||126 Reviews||£35.00 £29.44||Check on Amazon|
|3||Canterbury Women's's Thermoreg Baselayer Long Sleeve Top - Black, Medium||67 Reviews||£39.00 £31.20||Check on Amazon|
1 x long sleeved jumper, synthetic or wool.
1 x fleece or wool jacket.
|1||Regatta Men's Montes Lightweight Half Zip Overhead Micro Fleece Jacket, Grey (Light Steel), M||507 Reviews||£25.00 £10.00||Check on Amazon|
|2||Calvin Klein Golf Mens Micro Grid Layering Mid Layer - Navy/Orange - M||35 Reviews||£34.95||Check on Amazon|
|3||Stuburt Golf SBTOP1122 Mens Evolve Extreme Half Zip Mid Layer Thermal & Breathable Sports Golf Top...||190 Reviews||£29.99 £27.69||Check on Amazon|
|1||Island Green Women's IGLMID1908 Ladies Thermal Golf Mid Layer, Blue Yonder, Size 14||£16.50||Check on Amazon|
|2||Rossignol Women's Classique 1/2 Zip Mid Layers, White, 2X-Large||1 Reviews||£50.17||Check on Amazon|
|3||Dare 2b Women's Loveline II Core Stretch Mid Layer-Freshwater Blue, Size 14||3 Reviews||£5.99||Check on Amazon|
A down-filled waterproof coat.
|1||Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket Green 2XS||12,260 Reviews||£129.99 £103.99||Check on Amazon|
|2||Berghaus Men's Tephra Stretch Reflect Down Jacket, Black, Medium||227 Reviews||£170.00 £132.94||Check on Amazon|
|3||Rab Mens Cirrus Flex Hoody Fast Drying Warm Versatile Hooded Jacket Activewear Mountain Hiking Use...||42 Reviews||£130.00||Check on Amazon|
|1||Trespass Women's Arabel Ultra Light Warm Compact Stowaway Down Jacket, Navy, Medium||132 Reviews||£48.98 £43.09||Check on Amazon|
|2||Mountain Warehouse Florence Womens Winter Long Padded Jacket - Water Resistant Rain Coat,...||436 Reviews||£74.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||RIOJOY Packable Down Jacket Women Hooded Ultra Lightweight Short Winter Jacket with Carry-on Bag Red||122 Reviews||£29.99||Check on Amazon|
Ideally get hiking trousers which zip off to make shorts.
This gives you two piece of clothing in one.
|1||YSENTO Womens Hiking Walking Trousers Quick Dry Lightweight Outdoor Stretch Camping Trousers with...||80 Reviews||£25.98||Check on Amazon|
|2||Mountain Warehouse Explorer Womens Zip Off Trousers - UV Protection Ladies Pants, Quick Drying...||49 Reviews||£39.99||Check on Amazon|
|3||donhobo Womens Trousers-Lightweight Spring Pants Quick Drying Ladies Bottoms Zip Off Lots of Pockets...||153 Reviews||£25.98||Check on Amazon|
One warm hat for cold weather or for sleeping in to keep warm at night.
A bandana can double up as a sunhat, a scarf and water filter.
|1||IPENNY Unisex Winter 3 in 1 Faux Fur Bomber Hat neck warmer Ear Flap Thermal Windproof Trooper...||89 Reviews||£11.99 £7.40||Check on Amazon|
|2||Pro Climate Adults Waterproof and Windproof Thinsulate Beanie Hat Green||269 Reviews||£7.10 £5.39||Check on Amazon|
|3||SEALSKINZ Unisex Waterproof Cold Weather Beanie, Black, XXL||626 Reviews||£25.00 £22.84||Check on Amazon|
If it pours down with rain, you also need to keep your pack dry. You can do this simply by using a bin liner to line your backpack and keep the contents from getting wet.
Or, you can put all you things that must stay dry inside the bin liner. You can also use ziplock bags for smaller items. This is a less bulky option than waterproof pack covers.
|1||Result Waterproof Jacket/Trouser Suit in Carry Bag Black XL||2,161 Reviews||£16.00||Check on Amazon|
|2||Regatta Men's Pack It Jkt III Jacket, Black, L||2,736 Reviews||£30.00 £17.53||Check on Amazon|
|3||Mountain Warehouse Pakka Womens Waterproof Packable Jacket - Foldaway Hood Jacket, High Vis Ladies...||367 Reviews||£26.99 £24.99||Check on Amazon|
|1||Result Waterproof Jacket/Trouser Suit in Carry Bag Black XL||2,161 Reviews||£16.00||Check on Amazon|
|2||Regatta Women's Wmn Pk It Jkt III Jacket, Midnight, 12 UK (38 EU)||804 Reviews||£30.00 £15.00||Check on Amazon|
|3||Regatta Women's Bergonia II Waterproof Taped Seams Insulated Hooded Jacket, Black, 14||6 Reviews||£42.06||Check on Amazon|
Having more than one use for the items you bring also saves weight.
- Investing in a stainless steel or titanium mug means you can also use it on your stove as a cooking pot. That means less washing up too!
- Keep your unworn clothing layers in a ziplock back, trap a little air in it and this can be used instead of a camping pillow, as well as keeping your clothes dry. This saves space and weight in your backpack.
- A small pot of Vaseline will moisturise chapped skin, yet also doubles as a firelighter when wiped onto cotton wool.
It is amazing how much weight you can shave off of your backpack, just by thinking carefully about what you need to take and reducing the size of items where you can.
If you are camping overnight, having sleeping bags, stoves and other equipment adds weight to your backpack.
To make your hike easier, share the load between you and your partner or group, and try to invest in buying equipment that is as lightweight as it can be.
Packing light means that you can get on and enjoy the trail without your backpack being a burden.
However, you should not neglect to take essential kit that will keep you safe.
Saving a little weight on items might not seem like much, but when you aim to reduce it on most items in your backpack, those small reductions add up.
This means more fun enjoying the great outdoors, and a great sense of achievement in carrying everything you need to survive out on the trail.
Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API