The Art of Packing Light

Remember that scene in Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods when his flabby and out of shape companion starts dropping
gear all over the place to lighten his load? Well, the two were self-professed amateurs when it comes to long hikes,
but you can avoid similar problems by heeding a few simple rules. First, pack only what you KNOW you’ll need, and be
smart about which equipment to bring. For example, do you really need that two-burner stove when you can get a very
lightweight MSR stove for less than a hundred bucks? Simple, sure, but you’d be surprised what people bring with

This article in The provides
several useful (and some obvious common-sense) tips to help make your next trip into the wilderness a more comfortable
one. What about your sleeping bag? Are you hauling along a sub-10 degree bag for a balmy week in the woods? The piece
smartly advocates “synergistic relationships”, that is, sharing cooking and shelter gear with your hiking partner. The
reality is, most of these tips would occur to you anyway. Packing smart is all about deciding what to leave behind
(i.e. you probably don’t need the portable DVD player…and I am speaking from the experience of someone who’s hiking
companion actually brought such a thing on a trip). Another good place to determine what kind of equipment works best
for you is the REI site, which
provides articles and info on the best equipment for your specific type of trip.