Articles tagged ‘lighten up’

You can always have another chance

To leave that extra stuff at home

Whether it’s a business trip, weekend getaway, or trip home for the holidays, every time you travel is a new opportunity to pack light and pack small.  Ultralight travel doesn’t have to be with a backpack (although that’s still my favorite kind.)  Travel with a suitcase works, too.

A lot of us are used to just throwing a bunch of things into a suitcase and dashing off to the airport – but these days, with checked baggage fees piling on, taking less makes more sense than ever.  (more…)

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A Longwalking Packing List

Footpath through the Gers

My 2011 Pro Forma 30-Day List – Gear, Clothing, Supplies

Creating a gear and clothing list is one of the principal ways of planning a long-distance, and crucial if you want to start off with everything essential, no extra payload, and with the minimum possible weight for your needs.

This is a detailed list of everything – all clothing, gear, equipment, and supplies – that I’m planning to use for a walk across France in 2011. Although it continues to evolve, this is the current, latest, up-to-date list. It’s grouped by what I will have, which is not necessarily how I will carry it. It includes clothing to be worn.

This is an updated list of what I used during a 12-week walk across France, the Pyrenées, and Spain, from late April to early July, 2009. For my experience and purposes, this is adequate to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, for example. (No camping gear was used, or is included.)


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Cargo Creep

bizarro comic strip. cargo pants

Pick your pockets well…

Where did I put my compass this time? And my pen? And my map? And my wallet? And my …?

Memo to my amused friends and family: Dan Piraro, creative mastermind of Bizarro, makes my case. There are too many pockets in the world. Yes, they are everywhere. Ubiquitous. And they all weigh something. (more…)

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Gear ~ Compass

GR trail, France, 2005

Suunto Clipper – 5 grams

On my first grande randonnée, I started off with a compass that was inset on top of the grip of my walking stick. Although it was a very small compass, it was all I required to keep track of which direction I was heading. At unmarked trail junctions it was easy to determine which trail was most likely the one shown on the map, and it was very convenient, because it was always out there in front of me. I just stopped, observed the needle, and moved on.

Unfortunately, it proved not to be very robust (more…)

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Making Light ~ Take Less

Path from Lyon to Le Puy, France 2009

Less doesn’t weigh as much

Here’s a real quick and simple one. Go through your packing list, and find at least one thing, pull it out of your kit, and leave it at home. You decide. But if you’re like most people, you won’t miss it. At least not that much. And you’ll soon forget that you miss it, or even why you thought you needed it in the first place. (more…)

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Making Light ~ Getting Small

Trail junction on the path from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009

Smaller makes lighter possible

“Space is a vacuum”, as our astronautical friends are fond of telling us. And vacuums don’t like being that way. Space doesn’t like to be empty. It wants to be full. So if you buy a pack that’s bigger than you need, it will come with its own insidious need to fill up.

By finding the smallest pack that can accommodate your gear and supplies, you automatically limit how much extra you can haul around.

“Don’t Buy a Backpack…” …until you know what you’ll need to carry. (more…)

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Making Light ~ Get Rid of It

Through the alley between two estates on the trail from Lyon to Le Puy-en-Velay, France 2009

It’s never too late to lighten up…

It’s almost inevitable, no matter how hard we try. Somehow, something extra ends up in our backpacks. A week down the trail and you start wondering, “Why did I bring this? Or maybe you just end up with something extra, which can easily happen for any number of reasons.

Depending on what it is, where you are, and who you’re with, you can easily take control of this most unwelcome situation.

Get Rid of It. You can: (more…)

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Making Light ~ Sharing the Load

Over a rural rail crossing on the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009

It’s nice to have a friend…

I’ve started planning a long walk for 2011, probably through France. This time, I’ll be joined by my wife for part of the walk. Until now, I’ve always walked solo, so I’ve been looking at ways we can share our total load and still have everything we need.

Other than clothes, personal medications and some toiletries, it turns out that a lot of the gear can easily be shared. Of course, we’ll probably choose to each take a camera, but quite a bit can be left behind by one or the other of us. Here are some examples of things that might be shared by two people walking together on the grande randonnée trails of France, and the caminos of Spain: (more…)

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Making Light ~ the “2-Day” Rule

Over the old Roman bridge on the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009

“What if I need it?”

One of the hardest hurdles for some novice ultralighters to overcome is mastering the art and discipline of “leaving it behind”. They worry over lists of gear and supplies that they might need, even though they think (and hope) they probably won’t. “But I might! And what if I do?”

For example, ”What if I catch a cold? Maybe I should take some cold medicine. Just in case…” “What if there are mosquitoes? Maybe I should carry repellent. Just in case…” “What if etc., etc,. etc…” (more…)

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Making Light ~ Expendables

Through an ancient village gate on the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009

Determining consumption rate

“Expendables” are the things you carry that disappear over time as you use them. I think of “Consumables” as those supplies used in a single day, such as snacks or a picnic lunch. Buy them on your way out of town, and finish them before reaching today’s destination.

Expendables, on the other hand, are depleted at a more or less daily rate over time – things like medications, toothpaste, antiperspirant, sunscreen, and first aid supplies – for the most part, items that make up your personal, medical, toiletry, blister, and first aid kits. For many of these supplies, you can determine very accurately how much you’ll need for a given period of time, and thereby start off with no more than you’ll need. The perfect expendables list will be consumed during your trip, day by day, and exhausted on the last day. (more…)