Lightweight backpacking or
certainly enable you to travel more miles in a day. I can easily go
farther in my running shoes, with my fifteen-pound pack on, than I
could with heavy hiking boots and a forty-pound pack. That isn't
all, though. Going light also means more comfort, more freedom and
even more safety.
Disadvantages Of Traditional Backpacking
Less freedom. It isn't easy to take a side trip up
that hill, just to see what's there. Do it without your pack, and
you have to go back the same way to get your pack.
More tiring. It's clearly more tiring with a heavy
pack, and you probably won't enjoy yourself as much when you are
More Injuries. Blistered feet, sprained ankles,
sore muscles, and back and knee problems are just some of the common
consequences of too much weight on your back.
More hassle. Removing and putting on a heavy pack
quickly becomes a chore. Some backpackers start to leave it on
during rest stops, just so they don't have to deal with it.
Slower. Weight equals slower progress, meaning
less access to wild places, since you can't go as far on a trip. It
can also mean less time to for enjoyable activities, like a swim in
a mountain lake, or a relaxing evening in camp.
Riskier. Injuries are more likely with heavy
packs, but that's not the only risk. The inability to move as
quickly when a storm is coming or when an emergency requires you to
get to a road, can be a real problem. Then there is the possibility
of bad decisions due to tiredness.
Lightweight Backpacking Advantages
Safety. Have all necessary items, but bring
lighter versions. Lighten the load, and you're less likely to lose
your balance and fall, or otherwise injure yourself. You can also
respond faster to iffy situations. Safety is also a matter of
knowledge and experience. Expert survivalists are safer with no
shelter than a neophyte with the best tent. Know how to use you
equipment properly, or to read the sky for comimg storms, and you
can go lighter and safer.
Comfort. Does 18 pounds on your back instead of 50
sound nice? I completely stopped getting blisters when I started
using running shoes instead of hiking boots. There's no sacrifice
here. Eliminate twenty-five pounds of pack weight, and you can add
back a heavier coat, or whatever you need to be comfortable.
Speed and freedom. When I walk past overloaded
backpackers struggling up steep trails, and I have an eleven-pound
pack on, I remember being in their place, and I know I am enjoying
myself more now. Lightweight backpacking allows you to move faster,
but notice I say "allows." No requirement, just the option, and that
means more freedom.
Never yet have I met or heard about a person who
tried lightweight backpacking, and then went back to a heavy load.
This isn't to say it's for everyone. Some hiker's bad ankles may
require heavy hiking boots, and some bad habits require a big pack
to satisfy them. Still, even a backpacker who needs a pillow and big
rectangular sleeping bag, can find these in lighter forms.
Try it. You'll experience more freedom, more
comfort, more safety, more enjoyment and less suffering. The first
time you are fifteen miles into the day, and you realize that you
can easily run up that hill - just to see what is there, you'll know
you made the right decision. You'll love lightweight backpacking.
Steve Gillman is a long-time advocate of lightweight backpacking.
His tips, photos, gear recommendations and a free book can be found
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steven_Gillman
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