Anyone who planning to backpack for the first time will inevitably pack more than they need. It is normal to have thoughts and fears that you won’t have enough. You’ll soon learn what you can get by on. Experienced hikers have more confidence in their own abilities and that has a lot to do with them carrying less gear.

Inexperienced backpackers normally pack their fears. They pack more food when they get afraid of being hungry. They take extra clothes because they are afraid of getting cold. That being said, it is easy to pack more because you believe everything you have is of a lighter weight.


It is easy to be fooled by the labels on hiking and camping gear. It seems that everything has become obsessed lightweight or ultra-lightweight backpacking. These labels are more often marketing ploys than they are a reality. The weight of your backpack will be what you need to take with you to be safe. There are some things that a hiker simply needs. SU-L (Stupid Ultra-Light) backpacking will put you in danger because you are not carrying the gear and supplies you need for safety or comfort, or you are carrying gear and supplies that are too light, for example, they don’t have the functionality, durability and reliability required.

It seems that so many products are labelled as lightweight or even better. I am of the opinion that these labels are being overused. It’s much like the way clothing companies label sports clothes as breathable. It seems everything is breathable these days. What does breathable mean? What does lightweight mean? Both of these terms are being bastardised by manufacturers and distributors, which only harms consumers in the end.


Backpackers should not think about their backpacking weight over their objectives. Some backpackers focus on hiking and some focus on camping but most are somewhere in between. Every backpacker should carry what they need based on their objectives and the conditions they will face. Of course, if you are hiking more than camping you will need to think about reducing weight without compromising your comfort and safety.

Those backpackers who spend most of their time camping are able to take more with them because they are not lugging it around all day.

There is plenty of information to be found OnDECK that will help you deal with these issues. Always pack what you need. If you are new to hiking, you are better off trying something that focuses more on camping to find out what you need to carry and how to carry it as your experience increases.


Do you have any tips for backpacking and packing you would like to share? Let us know through the comment section below.

John Steele

John loves cooking at home and outdoors, travelling, fishing and discovering a new life. He's got loads of experience he wants to share while he adventures through retirement.