Tips for Lightweight Camping

Tips for Lightweight CampingI recently completed a four day solo camping trip in Finnish Lapland, just north of the Arctic Circle. My complete outfit weighed twenty-nine pounds. I know there are ultralight campers who carry even less, but in my experience, most people take far too much and there really is no need to. Here are some tips for lightweight camping which come from my own personal experience.

Get a modern tent. When I first started camping back in the eighties, a two man tent weighed over twelve pounds. Today, the modern equivalent weighs just three pounds. Fabric technology has really moved on.

Pack dehydrated food. Assuming water is plentiful, foil sachets of dehydrated food are the best choice for longer trips. The weight saving is significant.

Use an alcohol stove or a modern heat exchanger butane/propane stove. The Swedish Mini Trangia or a home-made Pepsi can stove have no moving parts, weigh little and virtually never go wrong. That’s my preference. However the modern type of butane/propane stove incorporate a heat exchanger in the pot base and a pot cosy to keep the contents war, That makes them so efficient even a small fuel canister lasts a long time.

Use an LED head flashlight with lithium cells. You need to keep your hands free. Incandescent bulbs are less efficient, less reliable, and are obsolete technology. Lithium cells are lighter, last longer and have a terrific shelf life. In the Arctic I left the flashlight behind – the sun never really sets in the Arctic summer.

Baby wipes are a convenient and lightweight way to wash and I don’t shave on trips either. Saves a few more ounces.

Consider the latest sleeping mats. For example, the Thermarest Neoair. Lighter and more comfortable.

Nothing beats goose down for warmth-to-weight ratio. A down sleeping bag will be lighter than an equivalent synthetic bag, but is useless if it gets wet.

Know more, carry less:Tips for Lightweight Camping  I know people who carry a steel trowel for toilet purposes. But if you are in forested country, it takes thirty seconds to make a digging stick using your pocket knife. For fast and light mountain trips where I’ll be using walking poles, I ditch the tent and string up a silnylon tarp between the poles. If environmental conditions allow, cooking on a wood camp fire saves your stove fuel for when a camp fire is not feasible.

Don’t keep changing your kit, and pack things in the same place each time: I often camp with friends of varying experience. You can tell who is an old hand at the game. Their outfit is well-used and battered, and they know exactly where everything is and how it works. Flashlights in particular should be kept in the same place so you don’t waste time in the dark trying to find it. Most modern outdoor clothing has a terrific number of pockets. You need a system of where to stow things.

Author: Peter Ewing
Edited By: The CampTrip Team

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