The backpacking story…

You set out bravely, 100lbs/50 kilos of gear, food, and entertainment on your back. You make good time, hiking fairly rapidly and confident in your abiity, before you, ready for a good night’s sleep, finally make camp for the night…

You wake up, day two. Everything hurts terribly; you don’t move. You spend the day moaning in pain and eating everything in sight.

Days three and four are spent making short walks from base camp, seeing the nearby sights. You can finally move again, as long as you’re not carrying anything.

Day five and beyond, you feel a new sense of fitness and recovery. Somewhere between eating everything in sight and the phenomenal amount of exercise, you’ve gained ten pounds and look the best you ever have in your life. You feel a new sense of energy, like you can run for days, climb mountains, and lift anything, and never stop. You spend the next few days rounding out the trail and drive home, only to sit on the couch and lose you newfound fitness…

…and that is how you made the thirty-mile loop from the parking lot, which less-encumbered persons could have made a slow jog in a long day.

Sound familiar? Then you have definately gone backpacking before, and have the comedy to show for it, of which you are probably the butt of the joke. Want to be extremely physically fit? Keep it up – most people don’t get that kind of exercise in their life. Doesn’t sound appealing? In that case, you could probably use a lighter pack…

This is the backpacking story, and everyone’s got jokes. It’s natural to load up on way too much gear, and take a few months’ worth of food on a weekend hike, but unless you want the exercise – or are actually taking several months’ food on several months’ hike – it might also be holding you back. Choose a path – light or heavy packing – and read on to find solutions that are right for you…

Us? Our photograhers don’t get a choice; they start out with 30-50lbs (15-25 kilos) of photography and communications equipment. Pity us…

1. An example ultralight pack.
2. A lightweight pack.

1. Meet the heavy pack…

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