Articles tagged ‘lighten up’

Making Light ~ Clothing

Even St. Nick uses a light load whenever possible. On the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009

Take only as much as you need

It may seem obvious that if you want to minimize your pack weight, you shouldn’t carry any more of anything than you’re likely to need. (Congratulations – if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re hooked on the idea.) But how much is that?

Here are some tips to help you answer that question when it comes to clothing.

Study the climate, weather, terrain (especially elevation) of the route and season of your walk. Consider how you plan to deal with inclement weather. (more…)

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Making Light – Introduction


A Stroll Through Longwalking Tips & Techniques…

Making Light is a series of articles on observations and lessons learned about how to lighten the load of your backpack. The focus is preparation for a long-distance walk, mainly on trails and back roads, with occasional off-trail forays.

The context is 3-season hiking, from village to village, inn to hotel to guest house to gîte d’etape to chambre d’hote, etc. – or at least, to a dry place to throw down a sleeping bag. The pro forma trip duration is 30 days. (more…)

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Why stop at “ultralight” backpacking?

longwalking escargot demonstrates efficient backpacking technique on Grande Randonnee trail in France

There has been a rising chorus for years about switching from traditional (HEAVY) to ultralight (even “hyperlight”) backpacking. I admit it, I signed on years ago, as soon as I was granted the right to spell “obsession” in all caps. I’ve enjoyed all the benefits of lighter loads across thousand of miles of walking trails.

So it made me wonder, “Why Stop at Ultralight?” How can we make it easier to just float down the trail? I mean, do you know how much it hurts to drop a sub-kilogram base weight on your big toe?


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Weights & Measures – part 2

walking across France...on through color that never ends...

Body or “Skin” Weight

Body weight or “skin” weight is simply the naked weight of a person. Just shed your clothes and hop on a scale and you have it. For ultralighters, it’s one of the standard figures used to calculate the total weight of everything that’s planning to walk down the trail. The more you weigh, the more energy it takes for you to travel a given distance. That translates into calories, which means fuel for you (food), and possibly, fuel to cook it (alcohol, gas, etc.). All fuel weighs something.

Body weight is an important factor in fitness, and creates the single heaviest load on your joints. Depending on the speed and slope that you’re walking, every pound of weight above the knees, exerts 3 to 5 pounds of force on your knees. Anyone with arthritis below the waist should be especially mindful. Even a 5 or 10 pound reduction in body weight is beneficial for helping to ease these effects. If you’re feeling a little portly and are planning a long walk, get out and start training today.


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