Minimize weight of packing

Yet another aspect of your gear is packing weight. Toss all of your stuff out of ziploc bags, plastic bags, stuff sacks, dry sacks. Take all of these together and put on a scale. OMG! Is that 400 gram is just the packing weight? So here are some tips on how to shave ounces here.

Reuse existing gear as stuff sacks

Clothes packed in a headnet

I’m sure you have items that could be used as stuff sacks. Do you take a pillow and stuff it with clothes? This is already a stuff sack. Headnet makes great ultralight stuff sack (http://goinglighter.blogspot.co.il/2011/09/headnet-as-multi-use-item.html). Avoid putting sharp items into headnet because if you do, this could ruin your headnet. Socks are great for items like sunglasses, they provide extra padding to keep glasses safe. In most cases I don’t take regular sunglasses not just because of the weight, but mostly because I may break or lost them. It is better to take film sunglasses like those made by SportEYZ. They weigh 10 grams and are very cheap. More on this in a separated post.

Freeze Dried Cooking

If you are completely into this you are probably using ziploc bags per each portion. Thus you have ziplog bags as many as planned days of hiking plus some extra. I switched to a different method: food that may be cooked in cozy, not just dehydrated. Examples: thin rice pasta, couscous. I’ll add post about this later. This allows you to take food packed into one big (and very light) plastic bag and reuse ziploc bag where you actually “cook”. After use wash the ziploc bag and air-dry it for next use.

Medications

Medications packed in tiny individual ziploc bags

Use tablets where possible. I’m really do not take any medication for 10 years maybe or even more.  However, it might be life saving to take pain relief (ibuprofen), something antidiarrheal (immodium), some aspirin. Also add medications you use regularly. Put each med. into its own tiny ziploc bag.

Use ziploc bags where possible

Some folks use dedicated built-like-a-tank “bath bags” with zippers. Skip those. Generally, some tooth powder, toothbrush, soap, small microfiber towel may be stored into medium-sized ziploc bag. If you replace your regular sunglasses with mentioned above film glasses, there is no need for heavy and bulky hard case for protection. You can pack 10-gram SportEys film glasses in a  ziploc bag with total weight of 13 gram (less than half an once!).

Switch regular stuffsacks to cuben fiber stuffsacks (maybe pricey!) 

Cuben fiber stuff sacks of different sizes

Cuben fiber fabric become more and more popular due to its low weight and firmness. There are tons of backpacking gear items now produced out of CF: shelters, sleeping bags, stuff sacks, dry bags and rain gear to list a few. CF is also water resistant which make dry bags made of CF lightest possible dry bags available today. Stuffsacks made of CF are also very light but cost more than their silnylon counterparts. If you are not on budget, go check these to shave an ounce or two from your load.

Plastic wrap

Home made granola bars packed in plastic wrap

For separating individual portions of food you can use plastic wrap. It’s completely weightless and do not take any place in your pack. Switch your ziploc bags to plastic wrap where this makes sense. Experiment with this.

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