Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking 2017-06-29T12:57:45+00:00

Since 1999 your best source for honest & factual information on gear & technique for lightweight & ultralight backpacking & hiking

Recent Posts on Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking

Best Satellite Messenger inReach vs SPOT?

January 28th, 2018|54 Comments

Last year we had a local backpacker freeze to death. They'd likely be alive today if they had brought a Satellite Messenger & activated its emergency signal (by the time they were reported missing and the [...]

  • Best Backpacking GPS

How to use your Smartphone as the Best Backpacking GPS

January 24th, 2018|1 Comment

Smartphones like an iPhone 8+, X or Samsung Galaxy S8 outperform a conventional GPS in almost every way. This post has all the information you need to use your smartphone as a the best backpacking [...]

  • Quick and Efficient Training for Backpacking

Quick and Efficient Training for Backpacking and Hiking

January 16th, 2018|34 Comments

We use this common sense, 2-day-a-week training program to prepare for hiking 30+ mile days on the AT. But it's also excellent training for the John Muir Trail, PCT, CDT or even the GR20 in Corsica, considered “the toughest long distance trek in Europe.”

Review of Sawyer Select S2 Water Purifier – fast, effective virus & chemical removal

January 7th, 2018|2 Comments

Viruses, pesticides & harmful chemicals in water are a concern for international hikers, and even areas in the US! Sadly, until recently there were no inexpensive & lightweight water purifiers that could handle all these [...]

  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack Review – Fantastic Do-it-all Pack

December 26th, 2017|0 Comments

While the Southwest 2400 is our favorite backpacking pack, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack is our favorite pack for every other need. It is the waterproof ultralight daypack that we trust with $5K to [...]

Best Backpacking Cameras 2018

December 19th, 2017|112 Comments

This post takes the BS & mystery out of finding the right camera. A camera that meets YOUR needs & YOUR budget. And you don't need an expensive camera to take superb backpacking photos. Some of [...]

  • smartphone hiking photography

10 hacks and accessories for better smartphone hiking photography

December 17th, 2017|6 Comments

Many stunning outdoor photos are shot with smartphones. BUT most are no accident. The photographer used good basic techniques & inexpensive gear to get that great photo. The good news is that you too can [...]

  • Smart and Light Gift Guide for Hikers and Backpackers

Smart and Light Gift Guide for Hikers and Backpackers

November 21st, 2017|11 Comments

This gear is smarter, lighter and more thoroughly tested than your typical buyer's guide. Enjoy our picks of the best light and practical gear in our 2018 Smart Gift Guide for Hikers and Backpackers. There's cool gear from [...]

Rain Jacket Durability 101 – How to Select the Best Durable Rain Jacket

November 16th, 2017|12 Comments

Rain jacket “durability” is a complex topic not well understood by most people. This post debunks some durability myths and clearly lays out what to look for in a durable rain jacket. Finally, we list [...]

Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to REI Gear Up Get Out Sale

November 10th, 2017|9 Comments

I've been an REI member since the mid 70's. Still, when a REI sale comes around, I get overwhelmed trying to find the best lightweight gear among the vast inventory. This year, I decided to [...]

Top Mistakes Using the Layering System – How to Stay Warmer and Drier

November 7th, 2017|33 Comments

The layering system sounds attractive in theory. But as practiced by most hikers it is seriously flawed. It can be heavy, and expensive. And not used properly it could even make you colder. This article points out the [...]

Light L16 Computational Camera – Hands on First Look

November 1st, 2017|6 Comments

The Light L16 is one of the first “computational” cameras to hit the market. If it works it’s a game changer for high resolution and lightweight photography. Especially for hikers, backpackers, outdoor adventures, travelers or [...]

No Car Needed Appalachian Trail Section Hike – Roanoke to Shenandoah National Park

October 25th, 2017|2 Comments

As of November, 2017 Amtrak offers service to Roanoke, VA. This makes another stunning section of the AT accessible via public transportation to most of the East Coast. This hike is just south of Shenandoah National [...]

Review of Hyperlite Mountain Gear THE SHELL

October 12th, 2017|13 Comments

Hyperlite Mountain Gear boldly calls their $450 rain jacket THE SHELL, and states "this jacket is unprecedentedly breathable, waterproof, and tough as f*#k for its weight." To see how well it stands up to the hype [...]

5 Pound Practical Lightweight Backpacking Gear List

August 22nd, 2017|13 Comments

The lightest gear that's supremely efficient and safe! Whatever you like to do: enjoying great views, photography, swimming in a lake, fishing, getting some extra camp time, or just putting in some trail miles this efficiency focused, 5 Pound Practical Lightweight Backpacking Gear List will give you more time to do it.

Why Wilderness First Aid Matters and How to Take a Course

August 20th, 2017|2 Comments

Knowing what to do in a medical emergency in the wilderness can make all the difference to someone in need. That someone might even be you! I was reminded of this as I refreshed my Wilderness First [...]

The Ultralight Backpacker’s Guide to Leave No Trace

August 13th, 2017|2 Comments

Want to practice good Leave No Trace (LNT) but keep your pack ultralight? No problem, this guide gives you some think-outside-the-box, ultralight (UL) options for LNT. It also covers areas of caution where UL backpackers [...]

  • Ultralight Day Hiking Checklist

3 lb Ultralight Day Hiking Checklist – stay safe, be light, have fun!

August 3rd, 2017|4 Comments

Day hiking is supposed to be fun. And part of the fun is a light pack for easy walking. Unfortunately, most day hiking checklists are way too heavy. If you add up the weight of [...]

  • Hammock Camping is Fanstatic

7 Reasons Why Hammock Camping is Fantastic – How To Get Started

July 22nd, 2017|12 Comments

For much of the US hammock camping is fantastic & arguably the best way to sleep in the backcountry. This is true anywhere with trees—nearly all of the eastern US & much of the Mountain [...]

13 Essentials for the Modern Hiker – A Realistic “10 Essentials”

June 7th, 2017|16 Comments

This article proposes a more realistic 13 Essentials that will better keep the modern hiker safe. This is because the Classic 10 Essentials (first proposed in the 1930's) need an update for the 21st Century given the realities of [...]