Six ways to minimize weight in your backpack

Be fast, efficient and have more fun in the mountains

Jake Horton

All photo credits: Luke Dusenbury

When you compare ounces to pounds in terms of weight, it sounds pretty insignificant. After all, no one says that they are going on a diet to lose a few ounces or just a pound or two. Though ounces do not seem to matter in our regular day-to-day lives, they do count on the mountain. This is especially true when looking at 20 or 30 items that we may have in our pack that weigh a few ounces or pounds more than they have to. Extra and unnecessary pounds in our pack truly matter because they go on your back and will wear down your body quicker and make your hunt harder. Here are six ways to minimize your pack weight and go on the mountain lighter so you can come out heavier.

Pack the Necessities

When packing my pack before a hunting trip, it becomes easy to think about the what-if scenarios. Now, don’t get me wrong. We need to be prepared for bad situations to ensure that we get off the mountain; however, there is prepared and there is over-prepared. I remember my first western hunt to the mountains and how I overpacked and wore my body out. It was an afternoon hunt and I packed a full pack with over 50 lbs of gear. I even packed my hammock because, for some reason, I thought I was going to have time to relax on my six-mile round-trip hike. Needless to say, after that hunt, I went through my pack and decided what was necessary and what was an unnecessary luxury. I encourage you to make a list of what gear you feel is a necessity and determine why. If it truly is a need on the hunt then pack it, but if it’s not, then leave it at camp.

If you need some gear list suggestions, be sure to check out all the great list articles here.

Replace with Different Options

Once you determine your necessities, then it’s time to see if any of them can be replaced or repurposed with a lighter option. For example, I own a few excellent water filtration systems, but these are unnecessary to carry on the mountain when I am doing a day hunt — no matter how light they are. I am packing my water and will bring some water purification tablets instead of my 11 oz water filter just in case I run out of water. If you bring a PocketRocket stove to the mountains, you should think about taking the smallest fuel canister they sell instead of buying the more cost-effective larger fuel canister. Find ways to replace extra items with lighter versions that perform the same function is ideal.

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