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Your Outdoor Skills: Shedding Weight for an Ultralight Backpacking Experience

Posted by Esther Drebelbis of Littlbug Enterprises on

We look forward to throwing a pack on, heading into the wilderness, and sleeping in the dirt during the summer. Long winters in places like northern Minnesota make the summer months even more special. But it doesn’t matter where you live. Almost everyone experiences excitement when backpacking season begins each year. However, heading into the backcountry requires gear to keep you dry, warm, and fed, taking up space in your backpack and the pounds add up quickly if you aren’t careful.

We put together a few strategies you can use to help shed some weight this backpacking season, while keeping your backpacking experience comfortable.


Clothing can be tricky depending on where you live and easy to overpack. Play around with different clothing and layers while car camping or going for long day hikes to find out what clothing you may need from early morning to evening. With the right clothing, you won’t need more than one outfit to hike in and one outfit to sleep in, plus some layers to help with fluctuating weather.

Try to keep your layers to a base layer, a mid layer, and two outer jacket layers: an insulated jacket and a rain jacket. If you anticipate chilly mornings and nights, try packing a warmer jacket instead of throwing in an additional layer. A stocking hat helps keep you warm as well and takes up less space and weighs less than an additional layer.

Socks are crucial and fresh socks are a real treat on the trail. Instead of packing a pair for every day, pack two pairs and rotate washing them and wearing them. Tie the pair of socks you washed on the outside of your pack to dry while you hike during the day. This also applies well to underwear.

Food & Cooking

Food gives you energy and can be crucial for your backpacking adventures. It’s a hard balance between bringing too much or not enough food. When packing for a trip, freeze dried meals or vegetables are lightweight and easy to cook by just adding boiling water. If you’re looking for non-processed snacks, look into dried fruit. These delicious treats weigh less and keep better than whole fruit, have little waste, and have a lot of the same nutritional value. Not to mention they taste delicious on the trail. If you’re looking for a salty snack, try throwing in cracker or chip snack mixes.

Cooking meals and boiling water requires added fuel to your pack. A single fuel cannister weighs more than a pound and you will probably use more than one.  They also take up valuable space in your pack (even when empty!).  Using a wood burning backpacking stove gives you the opportunity to leave fuel at home and use nature’s fuel of sticks and twigs. Littlbug’s wood burning Junior Stove weighing 5.1 ounces is an ultralight cook stove for your backpacking adventures. Its quick set up and fast boiling efficiency cooks food or boils water and saves you pounds. If you’re worried you may not have adequate fuel sources for your wood burning stove, Littlbug Stoves will also work with an alcohol burner.

Water & Purification

Water adds weight to your backpack quickly, making ultralight backpacking a tough practice. Consider packing only the water you need and don’t hesitate to purify water as you go using a filter or our favorite, Aquamira drops. If you’re worried about not having a filter, you simply boil water over your ultralight wood burning stove. With this, you don’t have to worry about wasting fuel since you’re using twigs and other natural fuels to keep your stove burning hot. 

When it comes to outdoor skills the more you bring along, the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, tear, and they don’t get wet!

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