The first step:

I just got back from a week long hike in the Swedish mountains above the artic circle with a friend from Denmark. My friend Mike is nowhere near an ultralight hiker – or even a lightweight hiker for that matter; his bag alone weighs 3.6 kilos his tent closer to 2.5. Through no fault of his own of course, he just didn’t know any better. How could he? he was raised with the scouts and for him anything that was green and said fjällräven was of course the best way to go.

That is the brilliance of the hiking and adventure companies such as Fjällräven who makes great city wear – but fairly mediocre outdoor gear by todays standards. When Fjällräven released their g-1000 textiles on the world for the first time it was revolutionary – today it’s pretty – but functionally speaking – gear that keeps you wet and cold is probably best for the city streets than for the outdoors.

I won’t get to deep into my thoughts on fjällräven or other similar companies because everything has positives and negatives and this isn’t the right post for that kind of write up.

With that said the point of this post is to help people like Mikael who have no idea what lightweight or ultralight is all about or the faintest clue on how to start. So I thought at first the best thing to do would be to buy an ultralight backpack and start from there – why? because you can’t carry a 5 kilo tent in one – it would force you to rethink everything. But that of course is over ambitious – most people like Mike don’t even think about weight, or what it means on the body. So why buy the equipment if you don’t know about the weight?

So in my mind the most logical way to move forward is to know exactly what you have and how much it weighs. That means getting out the kitchen scale and start weighing everything. I found the easiest program to record and organise the weight of gear is an ios app called Gram weenie

Gram weenie allows you to easily add all your data into your iphone and keep in there for future use. You can split up the details depending on what you have – packing, clothing, tent, sleep system, consumables, wearing and other. I would of course love the option to be able to add custom groups but it serves its purpose.
I would also like the ability to just take pictures of my gear as well and export to excel – but as I said, for this article and for what I use it as it is good enough.

Once I weigh all my gear I can them make a trip and a specific gear list for that trip – I can lie in bed weeks before my trip and just start making my gear list. I weigh everything right down to my tea bags, toilet paper and the exact amount of coffee that I bring. I suggest you do the same.

The app is simple and intuitive and I believe that once you start weighing everything then you start thinking about the weight – it’s not just about buying the greenest and biggest gear you can find – after all if you only have 5 kilos of gear with you, why on earth would be buy a big ass green canvas backpack that weighs 3.6 kilos – that´s just stupid.

Once you know what everything weighs you start thinking about that equation in your purchase choices. Many of the better outdoor retailers and producers are starting to put the total weight of their products on the packaging – many online website do this as well – here in Sweden I find to be the most proficient at this.

Other than gram weenie you can of course put everything in excel and other such programs, but I prefer gram weenie because I am a simple person that has simple needs.

I hope this article helps you on your journey to funner, smarter and longer hikes in the great outdoors!

Posted by Kenneth Shaw

Blogger, photographer and backpacker. If you like my writing or my site don't be afraid to follow me, like or share my posts here on the site. Thanks and enjoy!

One Comment

  1. […] Hiking shoes or trail runners Going lighter: The Tent Bring man back to nature Going lighter: The backpack Going lighter: The first step […]


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