When I go backpacking, I love my creature comforts. Comfortable air mattresses, extra camera gear, good paperbacks, plush animals and food are all things I bring when backpacking. These little extras can be brought and kept under 12 pounds. I am careful about how heavy and bulky my gear is and how it serves multiple purposes.
My concept of comfort has changed over the years as I have experimented with new gear, and learned new skills.
- I switched from hiking boots and trail runners.
- I switched from pump-based water purification to chlorine dioxide droppings.
- I switched from tarps-tents to them.
These themes are comfort vs.weight trade-offs, lightweight backpacking’s benefits, and evolution of comfort. Here are some excerpts of comments that I received from readers.
Comfort vs. Weight trade-offs
- My sleeping bag, tent, and pack have all been lighter. However, I haven’t given up the comforts of my 2.5” sleeping pad and JetBoil cooking stove.
- My goal is to have the best possible experience and then be as light as possible, while still maintaining that level of comfort.
- I’m not super-light and I don’t intend to be. Some comforts and gadgets are a plus on the trail.
- I love creature comforts like an inflatable pillow or an in-tent flashlight. I am very careful about how much gear I carry so that I can still have luxuries but keep it light.
- You can also bring some luxuries along with you on the trail, which might not be possible with heavier packs.
- There is still a lot I can do to reduce my weight, but I am content with the idea that being lighter doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up anything. It’s just more comfortable, more fun, and simply easier.
- I’m always looking for ways to reduce my burden, but there are some things that I can’t live without. I love to cook! I LOVE TO COOK
- One item is in my bag that I won’t ever weigh. It’s a harmonica. It’s a harmonica.
Benefits of lightweight backpacking
- Being lighter is my greatest benefit. I can see more of the natural world than I would normally be able to.
- As I age, I find it easier to lose weight.
- I find the greatest benefit to me carrying less gear is the lower risk of injury.
- There are two main benefits to me: Less work (more enjoyment) as well as less separation from the natural world.
- Being able to carry less stuff, and not having to worry about all the things that people think they “need,” helps me get closer to my goal of going hiking.
- When my pack was light enough to take off without breaking a vein, I was more inclined to drop it than to continue on the trail.
- You realize how much you don’t need when you live without it. This can be translated into your real life.
The Evolution of What is Comfortable
- You should weigh everything. To keep track of your loads, use a spreadsheet. You will make many changes, compromises and eliminations when you first start.
- On my Patagonia and Long Trail hikes, I discovered that the more stuff I owned, the more cluttered it made me feel.
- I have learned that I don’t really need as much clothing, which adds bulk and weight.
- Conversion is a continuous process of buying lightweight gear, resisting temptation to take all I own on trips and accepting that I can live with very little of it.