I touch up on this a bit in my about section on this website, and I get the question quite a bit. Why should one go light? I think it’s pretty obvious really but I will try and break it down a bit. I will tell my story first and my move to the light side. It was about 5 years ago now when I made my first solo long distance hike – before that I had done a lot car camping and overnight stays, but never a long distance hike. I was going to walk 50 miles in 3 days. Not too long, but horrific with a heavy pack.

I had my massive backpack, sleeping bag and tent and thought life was good, food and even a shower with me, the pack weighed about 40lbs or 17 kilos. Even though I had a heavy pack, I didn’t have much shit with me – no water filter so I had to stop and boil everything, which meant hot water, I had pots on the outside of my pack hooked on with clamps. On top of that my sleeping bag weighed about 2 kilos and was more for winter than a may hike and I slept on a shitty little plastic sleeping mat. I was cold and miserable when I slept. My feet had blisters and were hurting like hell from my big ass boots, to add insult to injury I couldn’t even splash around in the mud puddles with my awesome gore-tex boots because I knew I would be screwed if they got wet.

Of course I even had the cotten g-1000 fjällräven pants and a big ass Bear Grylls buck knife strapped on my leg – I felt like a boss, but in reality I was as close to an amateur as you could get. The first day I thought I was going to die, my thighs were on fire, my feet were wrapped in tape and I my whole body was cooking because of the heavy ass pants and shirt I had on. I hated every second of the journey but loved the nature and frequent stops. I started thinking that maybe hiking is just about the stops and the journey was suppose to be hell. After all – there are some pretty proficient well known hikers out there that advocate a heavier pack – because it builds muscle! One word for that mentality: Idiots.

In any case, I really started rethinking my love for the outdoors – maybe hiking wasn’t my thing. With that I started to sell some of my gear, that’s when I ran across the Hilleberg Akto – which was 1-2 kilos lighter than the tent I currently had. And that is really where my journey started. From there I found such sites as fjaderlatt.se and Jörgens thoughts, Andrew skurka, backpackinglight.com and so on. One piece at a time I started to sell and purchase lighter gear, over the course of the year I went from a 16 kilo pack to a 3 kilo pack. Super light and I loved going on long distance treks – but then I started to hate the stops – I had no comforts instead. I was sleeping in a tarp on a torso pad and my only rain gear was an umbrella. So I started adding comfort into my hiking equation – went over to hammock camping for a while, but missed being able to sit up in a tent when it’s raining outside.

Anyway, that is where I am at now – My total gear for a week long hiking trip weighs around 5-7 kilos (ex food) depending on what camera gear I take, and I am so comfortable it should be illegal. I have layers on top of layers, chocolate drinks, non-stop coffee, an excellent breakfast lunch and dinner and I’m always warm. My hikes are lovely and my camps are amazing and I love every second of all of it. The journey and the camp. I don’t dance around streams and get scared every time rain clouds start to appear – I just go for it! I play when I am out in nature and it’s a freedom that is hard to explain – it’s just something you have to experience for yourself.

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I can sum it up like this: 
Being in the outdoors is suppose to be fun, it’s our chance to rekindle our love for mud and water and nature in general. Don’t be afraid of the elements, just be prepared for them. Clothing and gear that dries quickly, shoes that are comfortable and a pack that is light certainly makes the process a lot funner. If your dancing around streams because of fear of getting your big ass gore-tex boots wet or your back is hurting because your pack is heavy – your doing it wrong.
To help others is to help yourself:
So this is where I got the idea for the blog – besides loving being outdoors, I feel I have to atleast try and help others experience the love of nature and the elements as I do. When I see these campers out with their heavy packs I think two things: Amateur and pain. I know people spent amazing amounts of money on their awesome canvas backpacks and in the end these packs make just good closet ornaments: Because the people who bought them will never go out again, or atleast not very often – that to me is a tragedy.My goal is simply this: your hiking should be fun, all aspects of it! making your gear lighter will make that possible, that is why you should go lighter! for the fun and love of being outdoors.
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Quick edit: Akto is not my tent these days – it simply opened my eyes to the idea that tents didn’t have to be for 3 people and weigh 4 kilos. My total pack list for my last 5 day adventure you can find here – For the time being I use a MLD Duomid, my pack is the Zpacks arc-blast and sleeping bag is a quilt. My big three items tent, sleep system and pack weigh less than 2800grams – with rainponcho/floor 3080grams.

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!

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