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  • Writer's pictureAllyana Cross

How to keep your backpack light on your next hiking trip

Having a light backpack will only enhance your next adventure. Pack smartly with these simple recommendations.

Going on an outdoor adventure is always a memorable experience, especially when you’ve got the essentials and have carefully planned the trip. (Photo: Alex Weiss)

Aside from a Hiking Journal that will help you document your travels creatively, a backpack is an important companion for all adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll want to ensure that not only do you have all your necessities like suitable clothing and gear with you but also that you pack as lightly as possible for more freedom and mobility. With less weight to lug around, you can navigate any terrain and feel comfortable in transit or on the go. Here’s how you can keep your backpack light for your next outdoor trip.

Choose the right backpack

Before you think about which items to take with you, consider whether your backpack is suitable for the length of your trip and the kind of activity you’ll be doing. With a lot of designs and models in the market, this list of travel backpacks can help you narrow down your choices by factoring in size, cost, comfort, and functionality. Lightweight bags with adjustable straps can better suit your frame, though you would have to consider whether they’re durable enough for extended backpacking trips. Meanwhile, heavy-duty backpacks with waterproof surfaces are perfect if your trip involves a stretch up rivers like the Kromrivier trail in Limietberg.

Maximise every bit of space

It’s easy to get tempted to throw in all sorts of things that will overload your backpack. On top of preparing a checklist, there are other smart packing tricks you can use, for example, by rolling your clothes; this maximises every bit of space as opposed to folding or laying them flat in your bag. Using packing cubes also helps you visualise how much space you have left while categorising your necessities for better access and convenience. Compression bags are also an excellent choice for backpackers who need to pack bigger and heavier gear like sleeping bags, as they keep things compact by squeezing excess air out.

Embrace multipurpose gear

Another way to cut down the number of items you bring is by embracing items with multiple uses. Your cooking pot can be the bowl from where you eat, and you can even save space for cutlery and utensils by rather using a spork. What’s more, both your wallet and shoulders will be grateful for you opting for multipurpose gear. A foam sleeping mat, for example, is comfortable for rocky terrains and can double as a camp chair when you want to sit down and admire the sights.

Research the terrain beforehand

It’s crucial that you gather as much information about your destination beforehand so you can avoid last-minute surprises. Using Forge maps, you can access relevant and up-to-date information about what awaits you on the trail, such as points of interest, path conditions, and even permit requirements for specific routes. If you’re well aware of the critical features of the terrain you plan to tackle, you can prepare everything you need, dress accordingly, and even avoid injuries by steering clear of areas that are beyond the level of your outdoor skill and experience. Having a light backpack will only enhance your next adventure. Written exclusively for Forge by Allyana Cross.

Forge also recommends that you take only what you need - be selective and don't be shy to discriminate items that are unnessecary or heavy. Also, be sure to take lightweight alternatives, from quick-dry towels to dehydrated food.


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